The ballet opens with a sailors' song.
It tells the legend of La-Mort-Rouge, a bloody pirate who, it is said, was born a gentleman but embarked to avenge the rapt of his beloved, Cassandra, who was kidnapped in front of his eyes by pirates.
Feared on all seas, he tirelessly attacked the ships carrying the black flag in order to rescue the captive women, in the hope of finding among them his lost fiancée.
On the deck of La Folie, Captain’s Le Fol's pirate boat, the crew works under threat, while the captain admires his catches of war: treasures and women. The crew clean the deck and hoist the sails, Le Fol and his right hand men have fun scarring and threatening the captives, and try to abuse them before reselling it.
Gulnare, one of the women, rebels and stand up in front of Le fol. Captives are sent back to the jail. While routine returns on the bridge something is brewing.
The boat is attacked by L’affranchie, the boat of Captain La-Mort-Rouge and its crew. He is the famous pirate who sets free captives all over the seas.
A terrible battle ensued, from which La- Mort- Rouge emerged victorious after he killed Captain Le Fol.
Le Fol’s crew is taken prisoner and the Captain gives freedom to the captives women by offering to return to their country on a row-boat escorted by his men.
All of them accepted, except Gulnare who decide to stay with him. La Mort Rouge accepted.
On L’affranchie, La-Mort-Rouge ‘s boat
A daily life scene on the bridge of L’Affranchie. Sailors are busy, doing tasks, playing. A new hierarchy has been established on La-Mort-Rouge’s boat, since Gulnare is now his right hand.
A fine complicity reigns between this two, and Gulnare is in love with his captain.
During a moment of rest, La-Mort-Rouge watching Gulnare, remembers Cassandra, the lost fiancée of the legend. The Captain is like snap up in a memory as. The characters of the two young girls, Gulnare and Cassandra overlap. La-Mort-Rouge relives the rapt of Cassandre by the slave trader Lankedem and his men.
In the captain’s cabin, while La-Mort-Rouge studied his maps, Gulnare confesses her love, but the Captain doesn’t share it. After several vain attempts, La-Mort-Rouge undresses and reveals to Gulnare her true identity: she is not a man but a woman, and Cassandra is not her Fiancée but her sister.
At the same moment, L’affranchie is attacked.
Lankedem and his men, the assailants, enter the cabin. As she doesn’t want to reveal her true identity, La-Mort-Rouge lets herself be captured as an anonymous woman.
Conrad is running the kingdom’s business, while his court surrounds him. Ali his prime minister and best friend watches over.
Lankedem arrives to bring his new catches, among who, Gulnare and La-Mort-Rouge, to the palace.
La-Mort-Rouge sees Cassandra passing away. She finally found her sister and has to deliver her. Lankedem informs Conrad that Captain La-Mort-Rouge has escape during
the assault, as he doesn’t recognize the famous pirate in the guise of the young Woman he captured. Conrad is upset, he dismisses Lankedem and the new slaves.
In the harem La-Mort-Rouge and Gulnare explain their plan to the courtesans. They attack the guards who are watching them. All the young women they sneak into the halls of the palace. During the fight Gulnare trying to save Medora's life gets killed.
Cassandra appears to her like a dream their reunion is an emotional moment. But Ali comes to defend Cassandra of the pirate. La-Mort-Rouge begins to fight with him but Cassandra stands between them. Ali is harmless, he is her beloved one.
Conrad enters finally and La-Mort-Rouge fights with him. In the middle of the fight, she reveals herself as she is, a woman.. Conrad is moved by this disclosure.
We can ear the sailor’s song, whose words no longer tell the legend of La-Mort-Rouge but the story of
Médora, who saw her sister being kidnapped in front of her eyes and raped and became a pirate to find her.
Conrad, troubled by Medora’s history and personality, implores her to let him live and rule over her home and heart.
The ballet finished in a topsy-turvy way, when Conrad and Médora walk together as one crew on her boat.