Kidnapped during voyage

One loop of the coarse rope binding Raven Winthrop to the mast of the pirate vessel was around her neck, holding her cruelly. Acrid black smoke from the cannons still hung in the air, stinging her eyes, burning her throat, and making her so uncomfortable. She twisted her hands, trying to loosen the grip of the bonds that cut deeply into the tender flesh of her wrists, and strained against the ropes tied too tightly around her chest and narrow waist. After struggling for a long time without any positive results, She finally stopped her useless struggles, defiantly held up her head with its black, tangled mass of hair and gazed at the carriage around her.

The ship she had been erected from was sinking and the half naked pirates hastened to finish their looting, tossing boxes and bags and every other valuables onto the deck, heedless of the blood still pooled there. They leered at her, laughing and making coarse jests about the ways in which they would enjoy their captive once their work was done. Fear congealed around her heart, constricting her chest even more tightly than the bonds that held her, until she felt she could scarcely breathe.

On the second pirate vessel on the other side of the stricken ship, the pirates worked just as feverishly to unload the spoils of their victory before the sea stole their prize. The second ship was the smaller of the two pirates vessels but had taken the prominent role in the battle. Perhaps because it was lighter, sleeker, and more maneuverable it had taken the most dangerous positive during the struggle and its cannons had more often found their exact mark. Or perhaps it had been more skillfully handled, its crew more disciplined, its bottom less barnacle befouled.

But it had not been an easy victory for the pirates. The gallant Dutch Captain has put up a brave fight, all the braver for its hopelessness. He was outnumbered, outgunned and outmanned, and his fat merchant ship outmaneuvered. Raven wondered where the captain and his crew were now. Surely the pirates had not just killed all of them ..No! She should not think about that now. She closed her eyes for a moment to the terror about her, gathering her sh

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