I woke to ifnd my arm being encased in a tarlike plaster that smelled like rotten fish. I wrinkled my nose.

"Don't move," the doctor warned, giving me a stern look. I closed my mouth and settled back against the pillows, watching as he molded my arm into position. It hurt, but I wasn't about to complain, especially since there were six sailors from the ship standing in the room including Darren.

One fact about being a sailor is that you have to be tough and not complain, and that is not very easy when you're a woman and your body is not nearly as tough as a man's. Though you have every right to scream when you fall from tne feet above the deck and nearly get crushed by a mast, or when you get thrown overboard and nearly drown...  l settled for a blank look and waited for the cast to finish setting without a word.

The doctor wiped his hands off and stood directly over me, his expression a stern glare.

"I entirely disapprove of you leaving before your arm is healed, young lady. But Darren here has told me the story. You be careful and tyr not to fall overboard or get caugh tin rigging again and you'll be fine."

"I doubt that's going to be as easy as it sounds," I said, smiling slightly. "I seem to attract trouble. Can I get up now?"

The doctor sighed and ordered everyone out of the room except for a single female nurse, who babbled on about how it was dangerous for me to be going out to see at such a time of year, wiht a broken arm none the less, on a ship full of rowdy sailors more than likely to get drunk.. and on and on as she helped me get dressed in my sialor's outfit and pulle dmy hair back into its braid. At the end of it all the patted me gently on the shoulder.

"Good luck," she whispered, and left me to my own devices. For a moment I just looked in the mirror, regarding the tan on my face and arms and the way my eyes seemed to have caught a peice of the sea and kept it. My hair was sunbleached and was accented by streaks of gold, and my waist was thinner from weeks of work. I didn't really mind the difference, but it really didn't look much like me.

A knock sounded on the door. "Marina?" came Darren's voice.

"Come in," I called, feeling self concious as his gaze met mine when he came through the door.

"Everything's ready. The ship is repaired and the crew is wondering if you are ready as well." I turned away and looked in the mirror again, seeing the black sling that held my immobile arm.

"I'm as ready as i'll ever be," I said, trying to smile and only half completing it.

"Everything is going to be fine, Marina," Darren said, putting his hand on my shoulder and turning me around. "I made a promise to protect you, remember?"

"You still haven't told me why you made that promise?"

"I made it because i love you!"

"I somehow don't think that's the only reason," I said, running my good hand along his jaw. He blinked. "You and the mermaids just have too much in common."

The door suddenly burst open.

"Hurry! There's a ship in the harbour that says it was tailed by a galleon bearing the Jolly Roger! Come on, Marina! We must run!"

The End

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