His expression was melting before her eyes. Robbins set his cup down gently with one hand and, with the other, tightly gripped the edge of the table. Kezia stood up slowly and walked over to him, kneeling next to the chair he sat in, and wrapped her arms around the poor man’s body, a body which was now shivering from despair. The tough, grizzled man who had stood so bravely at the helm of the Maiden’s Gem in the midst of a gale was now simply a mortal, broken by a gaping anguish. His hands came halfway around her back, and patted her gently. She could feel wetness on her neck from his tears. His sobs began to quiet down more quickly than she expected, though, as he gathered back the strength needed by a sea vessel’s captain. She moved away from him just enough to look at his face.
“Thank you m’darlin’” he finally managed to say, holding her face in his hands, then clearing his throat. “I appreciate your caring.”
“Oy, Robbins!” the man nearest to Cooper on the yard shouted. She didn’t respond at first, being lost in remembrances, and not recognizing the name as her own. She acknowledged him. “Heard tell ye can sing! That be true?” the young man yelled.
“Aye! ’Tis!” she yelled back, adopting the pirate dialect.
“Give us a tune then, eh?” he cried.
“Aye!” She smiled, then began humming the song she had sung for Captain Kumasi by means of audition, the song which Captain Robbins taught her, the one he had sung—unbeknownst to her—while she slept that first morning on-board the Gem.
Several crewmen looked up to the sails as they were being unfurled by Cooper and the others. The sound of the song was especially pleasing to those on board with sore, pounding heads from the drink at the taverns on Long Cay. Her voice carried down the masts and across the decks. Many became silent as her voice filled the air. Some even noticed that there was a glimmer of a smile on Captain Kumasi’s face.
The dawn spread on the water which was as calm as could be. It seemed that this morning, this day, was only giving a welcoming pathway for Cooper to find her way back to Cabochon, the place that began as her home. She was so happy.
“Mr. Robbins!” a deep voice roared out her name. A chill ran through her. She knew it was Kumasi’s voice she had heard.
“Sir!” she instinctively said, though he couldn’t have heard her speaking so meekly from aloft, with him on the quarterdeck.
She scrambled down the riggings and looked toward Captain Kumasi. The former slave stood at the very front of the quarterdeck, feet wide apart, fists on hips. He was quite an imposing figure, not to mention a frightening one. He walked to the steps and descended, coming toward her as she stayed absolutely still.
“Mr. Robbins,” he said, “come with me.” He turned and began walking to his cabin.
Cooper swallowed hard, and managed a tiny “Yes, sir,” before stepping quickly to be behind him as he took the companionway below deck. There were only a few lamps in that darkness, but once Kumasi opened the door to his cabin, the outside light through his windows showed the way. She entered and saw there was a large table inside, with charts and plotting instruments atop it. Cooper wanted to look around the room, to see the decorations she knew to be there, but Kumasi’s gaze kept her from feeling free to do so.
“You must show me where on Cabochon is this place you mentioned,” he said. “What is the name?”
“It is Eidolon, sir,” she said. “Eidolon Cove.”
“Eidolon.” He stood at the table and pulled through the charts until he found the one with Cabochon on it. Laying it out flat in front of her, he ordered in his deepest voice, “Show me.”
“Show you … sir?” she asked. He simply stared at her, mouth closed tight, his breath audibly flowing in and out of his nose. “Yes, sir,” she looked down to the paper. “Show you. Let’s see, if I can just get my bearings here…”
Cooper’s eyes traced back and forth and sideways over the map while she tried to remember exactly how Cabochon was shaped and where the cave might have been. Meanwhile, she felt the figure of Kumasi getting closer to her.
“This is New Carlisle, here,” she said. “So … Eidolon Cove is on the opposite end of the island.” She prayed within that something or someone would guide her finger to find the correct spot. The pirate captain’s breath was getting closer to her neck. “Here!” she cried out, pointing to a small bay on the southeast end of the island. She turned to see him, “Sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to yell.” Turning back to the chart. “It’s here, at this cove.”
Kumasi put both hands on the table, and leaned down to get a closer look, then moved his finger to be touching hers, marking the spot with her. She pulled her hand away and he moved nothing except his head, turning his face towards hers, his eyes yelling that she’d best be right, or else.
“Yes, sir,” she said. “Just there.” She cleared her throat.
“Very well,” he said, standing. “You may return to your duties, now.”
“Yes, captain, right away,” she said. But she didn’t make it out the door before he said one thing more.
“The song was beautiful,” he said.
She paused for a moment, and turned to see the captain still gazing at the map. “Thank you, sir,” she finally said. Going through the door, then closing it, she had an astonished, happy look on her face, then suddenly a very frightened one. “Oh, God,” she whispered, “I do hope I’m right.”