The days passed as calmly as a day could on the Storm-Swept Sea, and Devil’s Reaper came into port at Shadowdale four days after capturing the Weeping Molly. Kasa surveyed the small port as she steered the ship toward the docks without actually touching the wheel. The Moon Dagger Isles were known as such due to the large white stone mountains that stretched toward the sky out of a luscious tropical forest. There are a total of seven isles, each between three and five sea miles apart. The Moon Daggers were primarily inhabited by elves, though many other races had come to call the small villages and towns home.
Shadowdale was the one place in all seven isles that could be called a city. It was inhabited by nearly one-hundred thousand people and was the only full port so far out at sea. Kasa smiled when she caught glimpse of the Blue Eagle, Captain Breshear’s ship. She brought her vessel to a halt and the Weeping Molly with it. Both the Blue Eagle and another ship flying the Grand King’s flag, sailed in her direction.
“Bring up the prisoners,” Kasa ordered.
“Aye, aye,” the crew replied.
Kritis and Broen appeared by her side. “You two coordinate with the second vessel, they will be taking the prisoners and the Weeping Molly,” she told them. They both nodded in agreement and walked toward the brig.
The Blue Eagle was a large ship but not nearly as large as Devil’s Reaper. Looking down from the main deck, Kasa could see Captain Breshear, his first mate, and an unknown female waiting. Kasa stared at the female, taking notice of her fine clothes, her pale skin, and the gold and silver jewelry on her fingers, ears, and toes. Her interest was piqued, and once the ship was in position, she unconsciously lowered the gangplank before her crew could even touch it. They shot her worried looks. It was unknown to those outside of Devil’s Reaper’s crew of Kasa’s special bond with her ship, and they all made it a point to keep it secret. Kasa shook her head, clearing her mind of naughty thoughts, and shouted a greeting to the Blue Eagle’s captain. “It is a pleasure to see you, Captain Breshear.”
“And you, Captain Brace. I see you have brought me another of the Grand King’s most wanted.”
“That I have, though sadly I was again forced to usher the captain to the shadowed realm,” she said with a fanged smile.
“That makes six in as many months; I fear you may be attempting to put me out of a job.”
“Fate’s no, Reinold. My ass would look horrible in that uniform.”
“Ha! I highly doubt that. Permission to come aboard, Captain?”
“Of course. I certainly do not wish to shout at you all day. I do that plenty with this lot,” she said, gesturing at her busy crew. Captain Breshear nodded and ascended the gangplank, his first mate and the noblewoman following behind. Captain Breshear and Kasa shared a warm embrace and a small, quick kiss. Kleine respectfully shook Captain Breshear’s hand and that of his first mate, Timothy.
“Captain Kasa Brace, allow me to introduce to you Lady Minerva Wintergrew of House Wintergrew,” Breshear said with a bow. The human female stepped forward carefully with the poise of someone raised in high living. She was of average height for her race, around five foot four or five. Her features were soft and pleasant; she had a round face surrounded by dark brown curls. Her eyes were a shade lighter than emeralds and were accented with emerald- colored eyeshadow and dark eyeliner . She wore a light green dress that was far too nice to be worn out at sea, and she accented it with green-painted toes poking out of emerald-colored sandals.
Though she presented an air of confidence, Kasa could see that the lady was uncomfortable. Those pale eyes seemed to have difficulty focusing, almost if she was unaccustomed to seeing so many males topless--or was it the near topless females? Kasa mused.
Kasa bit her lip and said, “A pleasure to meet you, Lady Wintergrew, though I’m unsure why one of your station would wish to board my vessel.”
The lady spoke in a surprisingly soft, timid voice that sent tingles down Kasa’s spine. “I am here as a representative for the lords of Hawk’s Landing,” she said with a small curtsy. “The lords wished for me to convey an invitation to the House of Lords. They desire an audience with you, in person, to honor your recent exploits that have made the trade routes between Hawk’s Landing and Avaloin safer.”
Kleine gasped; Kasa’s eyes narrowed. “Well.. I have not been doing this out of any sentiment for Hawk’s Landing. Capturing those ships were simply a means to get to my goal; it just a happens that the good captain pays very well for wanted pirate ships and their crews.”
“Captain Bresher has informed me of such; nonetheless, you have provided a great service to Hawk’s Landing and in turn to the Grand Kingdom. The lords wish to recognize this.”
“Captain,” Kleine said, “it’s not like you can say no to the freaking lords of Hawk’s Landing.”
“Yes, but I really do not wish to pull the Reaper into port there, either. Deadeye is not the only prey we have to worry about.”
“As I understand it, your ship is a flyer, yes?" Lady Wintergrew asked.
Kasa nodded in affirmation.
"Then this should not be a problem; you have been granted permission to drop anchor in the lords private docks within the walls of the lord's manor."
"Well, it appears the lords thought of everything," Kasa said. She paused as a hungry thought entered her mind. She stepped forward, taking the lady's hands in her own. "I assume the lords have some form of letter or form for me to present? I rather not be shot out of the sky."
Lady Wintergrew's eyes widened as Kasa's touch sent unexpected sensations coursing through her body. Kasa smiled as the noblewoman shuddered and unconsciously stepped a little closer. From behind her, Kasa heard Kleine grunt. The sudden sound snapped the noble out of the mild trance.
"Yes...yes, the lords have provided such an item."
"Good, then I will accept the invitation," Kasa paused, as though the Lady was about speak, then when she didn’t, the crimson pirate continued, "if you, my lady, would accompany us."
Lady Wintergrew stood there for a moment, mouth open, Kasa’s request causing a momentary interruption in the noblewoman's line of thought. Both Captain Breshear and Kleine rolled their eyes, the two of them being familiar with Kasa’s habits. Kasa continued while gently rubbing her thumb against the back of the noblewoman's hand. "I assure you, you will be perfectly safe."
Almost absentmindedly, the lady relaxed; the tension she had eased from her and her eyes slightly glossed over. Some of the formality left her voice. "Yes... I think I would like the trip back."
Kasa clasped both hands around the noble’s with a look of childish glee shining in her silver orbs.
"Captain, the ship has been transferred to naval custody," Broen said.
Kasa broke eye contact with the enticing noble and looked down to the mite tribesman. "Excellent, get one of the others and assist first mate Tim with the lady’s belongings.”
“Captain Brace, I will leave you to your,” Captain Breshear paused, “pleasures. Once again, I know you do this for your own reasons; still, your work is appreciated.
Kasa smiled a devilish grin. “Thank you, Captain.”
Captain Breshear returned her smile and bid them farewell.
“Have to be honest, I did not think you would agree to stay,” Kasa said, watching the navy captain return to his ship.
“Normally, I would not,” Lady Wintergrew said. “You… intrigue me.”
Kasa smiled. “I intend to do far more than that, my lady.”
Lady Wintergrew blushed and jumped with a start when Kritis approached from behind her. “I hear we have a guest for our next voyage.”
“That we do; Lady Minerva Wintergrew, please allow me to introduce you to the best swordsman on the Storm-Swept Sea, Kritis Melda.”
“Pleased to meet you,” she responded, looking up at the shirtless six footer.
“I assure you, the pleasure is his,” Elenoren said.
The lady looked down at the source of the voice in amazement. “And that,” Kasa said, gesturing toward the sword on Kritis’s hip, “is a bitch trapped in a sword.”
“Say what you will, devil slut, but such language should not be used in front of a noble person,” the enchanted weapon retorted.
“I…” Lady Wintergrew started to say, bewildered, but Kasa took her by the hand.
“Kleine, have Des bring us into port. I want the ship restocked, and then give the crew leave for the evening. Give each enough gold to get fed, drunk, and laid, but warn them that anyone not back on the ship and ready to sail in the morning will be left behind,” Kasa ordered with a smile. She had her own plans for the evening.
Kleine nodded and issued commands to the crew as Kasa led the somewhat confused noblewoman to her private quarters.
"Have you ever been on a pirate ship before?" Kasa casually asked as she removed Widowmaker, Dragon's Breath, and Blood Biter from her belt. She turned and mounted each weapon on her wall before turning to face the lady.
"No," Minerva answer timidly. "Is this still considered a pirate vessel?"
Kasa smiled, removing her dragonskin overcoat. "Oh very much so. I may spend my time hunting other pirates, but in truth, I am still a pirate. And this ship, she's an old pirate." Kasa slowly walked around the lady. She stopped behind her and dragged a finger down the nervous noblewoman's spine. "Have you heard the tale of the pirate king Briarbeard?"
"I can't say that I have," she answered with a shudder. Kasa pulled at the strings holding the dress' bodice in place. Minerva exhaled at each small tug of the strings.
"Some 300 years ago, King Briarbeard was a ruthless cutthroat and one of the finest with the sword," Kasa said as she gently kissed Minerva's exposed shoulder. "That sword there," she continued as she directed the noblewoman's head toward the scabbarded cutlass, its hilt like a ribcage, that was mounted on the wall, "was his. You see, he and his black ship were so feared that other pirates clamored to fall under his banner rather than fall victim under his might." Kasa slid the remainder of the lady’s dress to the floor, Minerva’s breathing increasing with each whispered word and light touch.
"Wha--what happened to... um, the pirate king?"
Kasa reached out a hand and grasped Lady Wintergrew's hand. She led her toward her bed. The lady did not resist, though Kasa could sense her hesitation.
"Greed. Briarbeard found the greatest treasure, the severed hand of a long-dead king enchanted to turn whatever it touched to gold."
Kasa laid the the noblewoman down on her soft bed, her eyes gleaming silver orbs of excitement and anticipation. She removed the remainder of her own clothing, before she began kissing her way up Minerva's body, starting with her painted toes.
Lady Wintergrew shuddered. "And what happened?"
Kasa laughed. "He sealed his ship, crew, loot, and self in a cave under an enchanted island." Kasa paused to bite down on an exposed nipple. Minerva gasped. "This ship, my ship, was his."
Kasa slid beside the cooing noble to whisper in her ear while her nimble fingers caressed the noblewoman's delicate flower. At the same time, her tail teased her bare breast. "His ghost haunts this vessel still."
Lady Wintergrew’s back arched and she moaned loudly. Kasa rolled on top of Minerva and took her in a long kiss. Their exposed breasts caressed one another as the kissing increased in vigor. The lady wrapped her legs tightly around Kasa’s red, tattooed frame. After a brief time, Kasa broke free and rolled over, putting the flushed noble on top of her. She thrust with her hips and lifted Minerva to sit on her face. The lady cried loudly as Kasa's well-practiced tongue worked its magic.
The crimson pirate spent the next hour exploring, teasing, and pleasing her noble passenger. Afterward, they laid naked on Kasa’s disheveled bed, drinking red wine and munching on cheese and crackers.
"Can I ask why?" Minerva asked, while absently tracing a finger along Kasa many tattoos.
"Why? Why I hunt pirates or why I asked you to come along?
"Well, I'm truthfully hunting a single pirate: my former first mate, Winston. The others were stepping stones. Poor sods took up arms under his banner and happen to be worth quite a bit to Hawk’s navy.”
"Oh, what did he do?"
"Mutinied, tried to kill me, nearly killed Kleine, and stole my ship."
"I see," she said, staring out of the small port hole in the captain's cabin.
Kasa rolled on to her side, facing Minerva. "As for why I asked you to come along, there were two reasons. First, there is a very wealthy man in Hawk’s Landing that wants me dead. If this visit were a trap, a pretty noble like you would refuse to join us on the return trip.
“What if I were an assassin?” Lady Wintergrew asked, with a small smile.
“You’re no assassin, I know all the tricks of that trade,” Kasa replied and pinched one of Minerva hips, making the young lady squirm.
“So sure, are you?”
“Absolutely. As for the second reason,” Kasa leaned over and kissed Minerva deeply before saying, “you looked delicious.”