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It's 1688 AD, in the midst of the British "Glorious Revolution" and a Dutch invasion to take the throne, as wealthy widow Rebecca DuMaurier, an African British royal court favorite of King Charles II, runs from a forced marriage with a famous general, a white-haired English earl, and into a infamous pirate troubling and walking the shores of her Cornwall home.
Cornwall's rocky, treacherous coast is but a stepping stone for lively Becca, her tenacious soldier fiancé, and her intriguing, brown-skinned, Irish Catholic pirate of many faces.
Historical Romantic Adventure Fiction
The Hawk on the Celtic Sea;
Draft, Chapter: BECCA GETS BLOODY
The bottom of the ship left her feet just as—.
Becca fell securely back into the Present.
The Hawk was hard in the grip of a heaving tempestous sea as the assaulted little ship reverberated with bone-jarring intensity, bespoiled by cannon shot and quick turns as The Hawk snaked down along the sickening edges of swells to briefly hide at the bottom of them, before nauseatingly rising up, like sliding up a wall, as all clung to whatever they could and water sloshed everywhere and many a thing not secured ended everywhere upon the floor with Her Ladyship.
Out of nowhere, Ezekiah helped her back onto her feet, then led her foreward by hand, through the dancing chaos of cannon, whilst the flooring heaved out from underfoot and the walls tilted in to strike you.
“He needs you safe, Lady ... March….” He stopped talking, not certain about her titles or how to address her, whilst under duress himself.
He dragged her across the deck lined on both sides with open ports and loaded cannon, and someone opined:
“That woman’s a Jonah. Throw her over for the Dutch to fish out and be their plague!”
She looked about to see who’d said that or the shocked reaction of the men, and saw only men and powder boys at their posts.
“This is the safest place.”
Ezekiah left her in the medico’s tiny cabin, adjacent to the surgery, from where hard smells and sounds came. Men moaned. One shrieked in terrible pain, fear, or both. Becca understood the man having fear, because she was feeling her own coursing through her. She even feared that her fear was about to be terror soon, as the scents of frightened men undermined her control.
Watch the physician, not phantasms in your mind!
He seemed an appropriate fellow, this medicine man; but whether he was a full physician or even trained in any formal or useful surgical skills, Becca could not tell, from this distance; and didn’t recall anyone saying he was. Actually, she hadn’t known there was one aboard, had not seen him, as far as she could tell, at this angle; but, no one had mentioned him in his medical capacity, nor had she been formally introduced to him. However, since few to none of the men had conversed congenially with her, nor volunteered appropriate introductions, her ignorance was quite the obvious thing.
She was abruptly distracted from her offended thoughts on a lack of basic, common civility, when the ship heaved in a great roll, and the Marchioness did likewise; emptying her stomach more than once in a Heaven-sent bucket, perhaps placed for her, in that area so densely fetid with a mix of cold fear’s musk, hot blood, pungent urine, and excrement.
Disgusted with herself, Becca proclaimed her intention, “I will not be useless here, not now, not when there is need.” Thankfully, the storm was softening its rage, the sea settling from angry swells to less nauseating ones.
She rinsed her mouth, ate a bit of salt she’d found by a neglected meal, to angrily force her stomach to settle by salt and by Will, then stepped from her shelter into the main space.
“Hold still, Liam,” the medico commanded. “Hold still, man!
“How can I be of help to you, sir?” Becca said clearly to be heard above the battling above between Pirates and Dutchmen.
The medico looked up and stared at her as if not knowing what she was or from where she’d come; then he ignored her, whilst fully engrossing in Liam’s concerns. She now recalled the Medico’s face, one of many men, to whom she’d not been introduced. He had had the appearance and manner of a gentlema—.
Wait. She abruptly recalled someone saying his name. She must have cataloged it, without thinking much on it; it was a necessity at Court. Watching him handle this chaos in a competent fashion, and how the men sought his help, she had her answer; he had true education as a physician.
And whether he liked her or not he needed another pair of hands.
“Crace, isn’t it? Doctor Crace, how can—?”
“Ignatius Crace, Lady Cornwall. If you truly want to help, bring over that ointment there. In the blue jar,” he commanded. “Please,” he added, self-consciously.
She obeyed, whilst both Crace and the injured pirate seamen watched her, in disbelief. She held the jar out to him for his use, Crace said nothing, only continued staring, as the injured man, Liam—she recalled Liam’s face now as well. Plus, he was just “Liam” to her now, they all were, not merely a sailor … nor pirate even, any longer, but a frightened-eyed, injured man needing help, like all the others here.
“Shall I open it for you?” she queried, and her voice, her gentle questioning manner roused Crace from his stunned reverie.
“Yes, my lady. But, wrap this around you.”
He handed her a length of sturdy clean-ish canvas, well, it was clean until his fingers left bloody finger marks. She tucked a corner of the fabric into her busom and wrapped it around her clothing, and thus Lady Cornwall entered Dr. Crace’s medical service; helping him pull blood-stained finger-long splinters. For some time, she had her own line of injured; dabbing ointment on burns from the hot cannon, cannon tapers and one from a coal brazier that had made searing contact with a man’s face, then his bared foot. Becca had gingerly swathed that handsome man’s face then tended his singed foot with the soft aromatic goose grease ointment from the blue jar.
“Lady Cornwall I need you. Talk to him,” Crace commanded her, when he began preparing to cut upon a man’s messy adominal wound.
“What?” she said, in utter incomprehension.
“Distract him, my lady. Say anything, please. Look at the Marchioness, Diurmid. When surrounded by dark ugliness, man, look to beauty and its light.”
“Mm. Oh. Well...,” she stuttered, before spewing forth her first thought, an introduction. “Well, Diurmid, I … wasn’t born noble, merely Mistress Rebecca DeLann. In formal precedence in our … in the Queen’s presence, I, as the lowest born, untitled, and newest at Court, especially as a child, I normally came last, despite being of the landed gentry and receiving our yearly family income from the traditional pursuits of farming and mining. Oh, from the nontraditional income of my father’s professional gambling and the DeLann family concerns in Bristol, of the port and the spas.
“Erm. At the time, only my father was titled, he is a Knight of the Realm. My dear friend Lady Merchant is also common born, although, if we had arrived at court the same time, I would have had precedence before her, although she is a few years older than I.
“Lady Merchant, as you can tell by her title, was born of a merchant family, who are so often frowned upon for working in trade business; but so often sought for their wealth. Evadne’s … Merchant’s Christian name is Evadne, she’s … my best friend, and like an older sister to me, to the consternation of my actual older sister.
“Like me, Lady Evadne is now a Countess in her own name; but, by marriage, she is….”
Becca prattled on for hours, distracting the men, whilst she helped and adapted to all the exhausting and raucous activity above, below, and around her; whether distant explosions, not so distant explosions; sounds of destruction and of repair, and of frustrating uncertainty as they bobbed about in God’s Huge Hands.
“Sing a song, my lady, please.”
“Oh! Erm.” She wanted to say no but could not, the asker had been in such earnestness, and was so young, not more than ten, and all were instantly expectant of her. “I warn you, gentlemen, you are in enough pain.” Most chuckled, but the one who’d made his request still waited. “As you wish, my good young sir. Well, Master Purcell, said I had a fair voice, for a female, and taught me his and Master Cowley’s I came, I saw, and was undone for a Valentine Court Masque.”
She normally wasn’t afraid of an audience when singing or acting in a masque; but, today, she stared at a swirling design in the wood hull before her, instead of so many earnest and frightened men covered in sweat, fear, blood, and more scents than she knew, whilst getting her breath settled and Henry Purcell’s tune and Alexander Cowley’s words properly recalled to mind, and also the emotions, the emotions she always felt were imbued into this lovely thing, this living song two men had created.
Marcus had said she did not “sing it as an angel but like a lost human desperately seeking Heaven.” And he’d said it was a compliment.
Bloody Bollocks, this performance is hard. This is not home and the friends, family, familiar enemies of Court with….
Without looking at her injured pirates, and blocking the side view of them waiting for her, she closed her eyes and sang:
I came, I saw, and was undone;
Lightning did thro’ my bones and marrow run;
A pointed pain pierc’d deep my heart,
A swift cold trembling siez’d on ev’ry part;
My head turn’d round, nor could it hear
The poison that was enter’d there.
So a destroying angel’s breath
Blows in the plague and with it hasty Death;
Such was the pain did so begin,
To the poor wretch when Legion enter’d in,
“Forgive me, God,” I cry’d, for I
Flatter’d myself I was to die.
But quickly to my cost I found
‘Twas cruel Love, not Death had made the wound;
Death a more gen’rous rage does use,
Quarter to all he conquers does refuse,
Whilst Love with barbarous mercy saves
The vanquish’d lives to make them slaves.
I am thy slave, then let me know,
Hard master, the great task I have to do;
Who pride and scorn do undergo,
In tempests and rough seas thy galleys row,
They pant, and groan, and sigh, but find
Their sighs increase the angry wind.
Like an Egyptian tyrant, some
Thou weariest out in building but a tomb;
Other with sad and tedious art
Labour i’ the quarries of a stony heart.
Of all the works thou dost assign
To all the sev’ral slaves of thine,
Employ me, mighty Love, to dig the mine.
When Lady Becca finished, she took a deep breath and looked around and all were silent, introspective, a few sniffling. Dr. Crace looked … truly pleased with her for the first time.
And then, someone noted in surprised relief, “Wait! It’s easing.”
“What?” she said in distraction, then listened.
It was. The storm was passing, the waters calming significantly, and all the cannon quiet! Abruptly, an order was passed down in hisses.
“Silence! Kill all lights!”
All the lights were covered or blown out; so no light showed through any hole nor chink in the wood hull alerted all the enemy eyes in search for them. One closely shielded light was kept near for any surgeon’s emergency; but Death was too close for emergencies. And Becca realized the predatory Dutchman’s cannons were quiet, in muted search for an accurate sighting of The Hawk.
There were whispers of “the storm pushed them from us; but they’re still too near.”
“Quiet!” Dr. Crace hissed.
All remained in the dark, unmoving, ears straining until hers rang with silence, hurting to to hear what eyes could not see and no muted voice could explain, without threat of betraying them all to their enemy’s own ears.
“Ah!” Becca started quietly when a large hand fumbled at her skirts, groping at her!
_continues in the novel "Becca DuMaurier"
A brown-skinned girl of African English descent and common birth amongst the landed middle class has been raised to the nobility ranks of Britain by personality, good heart, and wit. And the love of a young noble and their King.
Now a titled noblewoman with the highest connections and wealth, Becca is more than a petulant runaway bride, because the powerful men and women interwoven through her life are changing Great Britain into a modern power.
Plus, who’s to say a Lady cannot be dangerous?
A well-loved general and high peer of Britain, who has lost his only heir and has watched Becca grow to maturity, without realizing his true feelings for her.
He is awake now to his feelings about his friend Marcus' wife; and Lord Jon has waited long enough and has the reach and the will to have her captured and returned to his side and bed no matter how far she runs, whether on land or sea.
A notorious Irish Catholic pirate with conflicting reports about his skin's color and even his gender. Gentleman pirate Aidan O'Rourke is in personal revolt and revenge against all that is Great Britain has taken from him.
But, an unexpected British gift comes to him in the shape of lively, irresistible Becca.
But, can he claim and keep hold of her?
A young nobleman and only male heir to his family's highest title, fortune, and hopes. In a family doomed with short-lived males, his stubborn choice for love is a brown-skinned, vivacious commoner, Becca.
As a child, Lord Marcus will introduce little Mistress Becca as his future bride to their king, Charles II; changing the lives and fortunes of many.
The legendary "Merry Monarch" of Britain's Restoration of the King to the Throne is best known for his numerous mistresses and royal bastards than for ushering all English-speaking people into modern concerns and failures, like: news tabloids, shopping malls, women actresses, industrialized African slavery, and more.
Oh, and present Brit Royals are his bastards' descendants. How's that for relevance.
BECCA DuMAURIER is the expanded and much extended full novel built from:BECCA, a swashbuckling pirate story, as short story chapters* formerly online at Romantic4ever.com* [now offline / defunct]!
* Chapter 1: Becca in the Woods
* Chapter 2: Becca Escapes to Sea
* Chapter 3: Becca Gets Her Sea Legs
* Chapter 4: Becca's Faux Honeymoon
* Chapter 5: Becca Comes Ashore
* Chapter 6: Becca Outlaw's Sea Battle
* more "Becca DuMaurier" and Becca.Neale-Sourna.com
Sneak Peek: VIDEO SHORT STORY Film / BOOK TRAILER
An extended book trailer / film short of two chapters of the following novel. Film was done as a film class thesis project. Submitted to Cleveland Film Festival.
"BECCA GETS HER SEA LEGS" [13:55"] from the expanded original short stories of Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of:
BECCA, a swashbuckling pirate story* formerly online at Romantic4ever.com* [now offline / defunct]!
* Chapter 2: Becca Escapes to Sea
* Chapter 3: Becca Gets Her Sea Legs
Cuyahoga Community College Media Arts and filmmaking marketing photo taken on stage during student film shoot of "Becca Gets Her Sea Legs" by Neale Sourna
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Copyright 2020 Neale Sourna
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