Love's Majesty

By XenitBiker


 




Disclaimers: The characters of Xena & Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal &Renaissance Pictures but seeing as how these are UBER characters - they're MINE.  Copyright 1999 XenitBiker.

This is a sample of General fiction. Feedback can be directed to: XenitBiker@aol.com

Violence disclaimer: We're talking pirates folks & not the Florida attraction kind so yep, theres some blood & stuff mentioned in this tale. Also, the story deals with a twisted villain so there's a bit of torture mixed in.

Love's Majesty
by XenitBiker

'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' (KJV: John 15:13)

Part 1
The cold rain soaked the lone figure's clothes as she stood on the deck of the 'Majesty'. The
sails waving furiously in the strong wind. It didnt seem to matter to the figure leaning on the
rails, she was lost in deep thought, in another realm of consciousness. An annoying sound
kept breaking through her dream, a relentless knat of a sound that wouldn't let her slip back
to the peaceful reverie that claimed her mind.
"Captain, captain..."
The voice was getting louder & more annoying as she turned to find the cloaked body of her First-Mate coming towards her."Sirena, you have to come inside, you're getting soaked."
The first-mate of the Majesty came to an abrupt stop at her side & grabbed her arm.
"I'm fine Bree, you should be below with the rest of the crew; I know they're shooting dice, you could win some doubloons for the next time we're in port." She took in the worried expression on the young woman's face. Trying to reassure her, she repeated herself," I'm fine. I just have a lot of thinking to do & I seem to do it best on the deck of my ship."
"In the middle of a rainstorm? Don't you think your blaming yourself too much?" As soon
as Sabrina Everhart said the words she regretted them. The Captain glared at her, blue eyed gaze narrowed to a pinpoint & directed at the smaller woman.'That was a mistake', she thought.
The once stoic frame exploded into action & turned her full fury on her shipmate,grabbing
her by the shoulders,"What do you know about it, you weren't there. You were too busy if I remember correctly. Too busy to help her shipmates, to busy to lend a hand. Too *weak* to respond to their cries for help!" With that said, the Captain pushed her roughly away. "Go
below deck, to your warm, dry bunk,enjoy your evening.Don't concern yourself with me -
or the rest of the crew."
Sabrina stood there for a few seconds in the aftermath of her rage, torn between trying to explain but finally deciding to let things lay where they were.Bree turned & walked slowly towards the small door which led to a hall then to the Great cabin, only stopping once to glance back at the dark figure at the rail.

Rage burned deep inside the dark-haired Captain of the Majesty. 'How dare she worry about me...how dare she think that *I* had more right to be rescued than the other men...' Thoughts painted in crimson swirled around in Sirena's mind, laughing, taunting, '..my orders were to leave me if it came down to it...' Sirena raised her face & was pelted with the driving rain,  like little licks of a cat-o-nine tails. Lightening bolts crisscrossed the sky in the distance. 'Why...?' she thought. ' Would *I* have done anything differently if the tables were turned?....' As that thought hit Sirena, she fell to her knees on the unforgiving wooden deck, "Aaaarrrgghhhh!!!" she screamed into the storm, her tears mixing with the cold rain..
 

Walking back to her bunk, Bree disguarded the heavy rain-sodden cloak & her thoughts returned to the night of the hurt. The night when three shipmates lost their lives. The night that plagued the Captain's dreams & every waking moment since. The night she had to make a decision, a decision that sliced through her soul like a sword.........

The sun had been hot that day but Bree felt a chill go through her as the crew of the Majesty
discussed their plans for a raid on the town of Cornwall. Information had filtered back through
channels that Cornwall's magistrate, Nelson Lawes, had become corrupt, placing people in jail for nothing more than not addressing him correctly. The villagers were taxed beyond their means & frequently thrown in jail for not paying exorbitant taxes. Women were taken as prostitutes for
the government's own profit. Children were being executed for not pulling their own weight in the
fields run by the town government. People were frightened & depression consumed the town.
All of this would scare off a common pirate-captain but we weren't talking about
the captain of the Majesty, common wasn't a word used to describe Sirena Christian. Born
to Robert Christian, feared pirate-captain of the Regal. Sirena had grown up on the Regal,
taking to the duties of rigging sails & washing down the decks. The sea flowed through her
veins like blood. She felt comforted walking the creaking wooden decks, they were her nurse-
maid. Sirena grew strong & independant,her body developed sinewy muscles from the jobs
on board. She could hold her own in a fight & was tested quite frequently, taking active part in
the plunders her father sought.All this went into the making of the woman who commanded
the Majesty.

"Mistress....Mistress..." The soft words brought Bree back to the present. Turning, she saw the
cook, Robin, a small man in his 40's waiting patiently.He hadnt wanted to scare her from the tormented dream she obviously was wrestling with. Robin had been standing behind the young first-mate for a few seconds before attempting to rouse her. He took in the haggard appearance of her thin frame & upon her turning he saw the drawn, tired face. Her strawberry-blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail & her once sparkling emerald eyes were clouded & cautious. Yes, this last encounter had taken its toll on the young woman. He saw it if no one else did.
"Robin, I must have been daydreaming. I didn't hear you. What can I do for you?" Bree attempted to smile at the kindly older gentleman but the warmth never reached her eyes.
" I thought you could use this. It's supposed to cure whatever ails you." Bree looked down at the mug in Robin's hand for the first time breathing in the pleasant aroma wafting upwards from the steaming container.
"Thanks" she smiled taking the dark mug from his hand. "Maybe you can try to get the Captain
to drink one of these ." Robin noticed a flash of sorrow pass before her beautiful features before it was replaced with the half-smile again.
" I could try, but she usually dismisses me before all the words are out of my mouth. I thought I
should tell you..." he hesitated before continuing, " ...the crews questioning our next move. They know the Captain will make the right decision but when she gets into a dark mood like this....she
can be....reckless." The last words were spoken so softly that Bree barely heard them.
"The Captain is having a hard time working through the deaths of the men." Bree's head went down & the smile faded. "If I'd only gotten there sooner. If I would've...taken the chance to save *all* of them."  Haunted eyes looked up into Robin's face. "I thought I made the right decision at the time...now I'm not so sure."
The portly cook stared at the first-mate for what seemed to be a long time but in truth was only a few seconds. "Mistress, no one blames you for your decision. We fared alot better than anyone
thought. We pulled off the raid of the century, we saved the townspeople of Cornwall, the Majesty none the worse for wear. The mates who were lost believed in what they were doing - they would die again...for the Captain."
"I'm sure she doesn't see it in the same light. In her mind, I suppose I was to abandon
her there." Bree's voice took on a sarcastic tone,"She could martyr herself for the good of the Cause." Bowing her head, a few tendrils of blonde hair escaped their confines & cascaded over her features, "I chose the Captain's safety over going back for the men."
Robin knew there was nothing he could say. The raid on Cornwall had been a bloody one. In truth, he was surprised anyone had lived through it. The firepower they'd been up against was
enormous. But, they were pirates - they knew how to sneak into a town & lay the best plan of
attack.
The Majesty had been silently docked in an alcove quite a distance from the island-town of
Cornwall. A small scouting party was formed to go in and map out the best way to attack the
armament.This same party consisted of the dead men - Hopkins, Rowan,& Croft. Another party was formed to scout the town itself, find the best way in & out; see what was actually going on . This was the party that included our Captain along with four others, & the Captain's ever-present black Great Dane, Destiny. Bree & the rest of the crew stayed on board to plan an attack from the water.

"I'm going to my quarters, if the crew needs anything I'll be awake. I guess I just need to think." Bree smiled a genuine smile at the the cook & touched his arm. "Thank you for saying what you did. I guess I made the decision & I'll have to live with the consequences." Robin watched as the young woman made the journey to the Captain's quarters, being that they were the only women on the Majesty this room also served as quarters for the first-mate.

Robin walked the path of a man going to his death as he made his way to the deck where the Captain was pacing. He watched from a safe distance as the dark figure moved stealthily back & forth across the creaking deck. 'Strong & powerful...dangerous.....' This was the description that came into his mind as he watched the woman on deck. Cautiously, he ventured out.
Sirena saw movement out of the corner of her eye & swiveled her body to face the oncoming intruder. Ice-blue eyes zeroed in on her prey, "What!" she snapped.
Nervous, Robin stopped dead still & clenched his jaw. "Captain...ah...the crew would like to know what our plans are going to be." His eyes strayed to a spot on the deck itself, not venturing another glance at the glacial chips of blue he saw moments before.
Sirena came up very close to the cook as she saw the fear radiating off him, a cruel smile appeared on her angular face, "I'll tell the crew my plans when *I'm* ready? Anyone NOT comfortable with the way things are run on this ship is free to cast off at the next port." The tall woman's face hardened to stone, "Is..that..understood?" she said menacingly slow.
"Yes, Captain. Excuse me."  Robin turned around & had to stop his brain's first instinct to run back inside. Closing the door, he put his back against it & breathed a sigh of relief. 'This is not good' he thought as he made his way back to the galley.

Bree came to the elaborately decorated door of her quarter's & opened it. A black form jumped off one of the beds & padded its way over to her. She saw the familiar shape & smiled, "Destiny...hey girl..."  The silky black Great Dane paused at the sound of her name & her tail began to wag, knocking ornaments left & right off nearby stands.Kneeling, Bree brought her face close, & hugged the huge beast. "I dont know what to do Des...everythings gone so wrong".  Not understanding the language but certainly picking up on the sad emotion pouring forth, the Dane licked the fur less animal's face.
 

Part 2
Sirena walked slowly back to her cabin, water pouring off her body in rivlets. Brushing a wet tendril of hair behind her ear she made her way to the Great cabin at the far end of the ship. Standing outside the door she could hear a faint rustling just on the other side & closed her eyes as her hand embraced the doorknob. Sirena touched her head to the door & took a deep breath. Turning the knob slowly, she entered the dimly lit room, a lonely candle was burning its existence away in the corner .Walking to her bed she quickly disguarded her soggy clothes & climbed into the dry softness.
A shadow moved across the room & stood by Sirena's bunk. Two eyes caught the little bit of  light available & reflected it back giving them an unearthly glow. "Hey Des...c'mere." The Dane jumped up onto the bunk with her master. Sirena lay on her back gazing into the black void of the room, one hand behind her head,the other absently scratching a patch of the Dane's coat. She closed her eyes & lay there thinking, willing her tired mind & body to escape into the peaceful oblivion that exhausted sleep allowed.
"Sirena.." a voice called out to her in the darkness.
Sirena's heart skipped a beat or two as she swallowed. "Bree...I can't talk to you right now."She heard a shifting in the next bed & couldn't stop the tears that flowed freely & silently down the contours of her face.
Bree sat up & looked in the direction of the disembodied voice. "Sirena..." She slowly bowed her head searching for the right words, a hurt entering her voice, "I know what your orders were...." Pause. "How could you ask me to do that? How could you ask me to abandon you... that isnt fair."
The Captain exhaled, "Bree... I cant get this out of my head..."
A soft hiccoping alerted Sabrina to the emotionally distraught form & she slowly arose from her bed. "NO!" came the command ,stilling her movement.
Gaining control of her emotions,Sirena finished rather harshly, "Bree, dont you see...this isnt fixable for me right now... I cant look at you & say, Oh okay just an error in judgement, lets move on."
Bree sat back down on the edge of her bunk listening to the tortured voice in the darkness & replied, "Maybe I should get off at the next port...maybe we both need some time to think things through." Clenching her jaw she ventured on, "I've been thinking a lot about my decision...about the rift thats been formed between us..." Bree raised her head to watch the shadows dance across the ceiling of the cabin made from the flickering flame of the candle."I'd do it again Sirena...if thats what it came down to. I'd try to save all of you but if there was a choice to be made... my decision would be the same as now. Your my friend...you've become my family when I had none...it wasnt an error in judgement for me."  Swinging her legs back onto the bed & under the blanket she paused a moment then spoke, her voice sounding tired & discouraged, "We should make it to Portsmith tomorrow, I'll get off there."  Pause. " I'm sorry about the men, but can you tell me honestly that you would've done anything differently if it were me in danger? You might be able to save EVERYONE...the mighty Sirena...but I couldnt. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how that makes ME feel?" Bree turned her back on her friend & pulled the covers up under her chin, "Goodnight Sirena."
As the storm gentled outside the porthole of the ship, another storm was still raging in the hearts of two young women. The candle flame flickered one last time & plunged the room into complete darkness. Amidst the blackness of a starless sky, the sounds of the creaking decks & billowing sails, two souls each lost to their own world of thoughts, silently cried themselves to sleep.
 

Part 3
The sun was directly overhead when the Majesty docked in the seaside town of Portsmith. Lines were thrown over the side as the bridge was lowered to allow the pirates to disembark. A tall, muscular dark-skinned pirate grabbed the heavy corded ropes & tied them around the posts on the dock.
Bree stood at the rail of the upper deck watching the bustling town & all its exotic-flavored trappings. "Mistress...?" The athletic body of the first-mate turned gracefully to see one of the crew standing there.
"Yes, Tom" she said flashing the signature smile that rivaled the sun's brilliance.
The rough-looking, unshaven pirate shifted from left to right on nervous legs. Bree momentarily found this scene funny, to look at this man you'd imagine him laying waste to a town or a bottle of rum but not standing before her obviously nervous as a young man on his first date. He cleared his throat & said, "Mistress..umm..the crew's wonderin if you gonna be okay here all by yerself. We sorta thought that one of us can mebbe stay & keep an eye out for ya." His head went down to hide the deepening redness that traveled up his neck onto his face & his figeting hands were shoved roughly into the pockets of his breeches.
Deeply moved by the gesture Bree reached for his arm & dipped her head to catch his eyes, "No Tom. I'll be fine. The Captain might be one tough pirate but she hasnt told you that *I* taught her a thing or two." She smiled at him while her memory returned to a sunny day in the sand of an island were they had stopped to make repairs. A scene where a bragging she-pirate was unceremoniously dumped on her backside by a woman quite a few inches shorter than the tall pirate. "I've plenty of coin. I can settle here for a bit & we'll see what happens."
The uneducated pirate dipped his head & nodded,"Ok...we'r gonna miss ya. You were perty good at the snake-eys." He smiled then & nodded once more before ambling off.
Bree took a breath & blew it into the air.'Well, this will never be any easier.' she thought. Turning to her left, her eyes caught a figure in deep bright blue & black on the quarterdeck by the ship's wheel.She looked up & found herself staring into the Captain's eyes. For the span of an instant green met blue & knowledge was transferred. A nervous smile came over the green-eyed first-mate & her eyes crinkled slightly. Sirena's eyes lowered & broke the visual contact. Bree's smile disappeared & she turned back to gaze out at the actvity of the town.
A dark-skinned pirate approached Bree, "Mistress... we're ready to go ashore to lay in supplies...if your ready, the mates & I can see you get settled in.We've already taken your trunks down to the dock."
At this moment, the weight of the world rested on Bree's shoulders. "Yeah, okay Jack...I'll be right behind you."  The pirate acknowledged & walked down the gangplank.
The first-mate of the Majesty cast one last look in the direction of the ship's wheel & found an empty deck. "Goodbye, Sirena."  Bree picked up her duffel carrying her belongings & slowly walked down the plank without a backwards glance.
Unbeknownst to the blonde-haired woman, blue eyes watched her retreating form from the porthole of her cabin, watching until the small figure was swallowed up by the crowd.
 

Part 4
The Majesty was a day out of  Portsmith when Robin approached the Captain. The portly cook paused a moment before walking the step or two closer to the tall pirate. "Captain.."
Sirena was standing near the rail of the quarterdeck sharpening her cutlass when he spoke, she glanced down at the colorfully dressed gentleman on the steps that led to the deck."What is it Robin?"she replied bruskly.
"Captain, the men want to ask if we could talk to you about Mistress Everhart." Robin replied cautiously.
The sharpening stone that up until then thrummed out a rhythmic sound was momentarily silent before it resumed. Not looking up from her task she replied, "Why, is it any business of yours?"
"Captain.."  Pause. "I've been with you two for quite a few years now, cant you be honest with *me* at least?"
Sirena stopped sharpening her sword & took a moment to gaze into the blueness of the ocean before her. She noticed a band of dolphins running alongside the ship, splashing & spraying water into the air in greeting. "You might deserve an explanation if I had one Robin." She returned her gaze to the cook. "I dont know what to tell you."
The cook trudged up the remainder of the steps & came toward the dk haired pirate, "Captain..., You & Mistress Everhart have been through a lot together. Are you going to let this tear up what the two of you have built?"
Bristling, the pirate captain stood to her full heighth & glowered down at the small man, cutlass at the ready in front of her, "You take liberties cook. I'll advise you to back off & stick to what you know - that isnt me."
A bead of sweat appeared on the cook's upper lip but he stood his ground, later he knew he would question his sanity - if there was a later for him, but this had to be said, " Permission to speak freely Captain."
Sirena's eyes narrowed a moment & she answered, "Granted."
"The deaths of the mates were an unfortunate accident but they knew the circumstances. They knew at any given day they could lose their lives, they made that decision. When I first came on board, it was right after you stopped plundering for profit. The 'She-Wolf of the Sea' that I'd heard so much about actually had a heart after all... it was then you made the decision to only plunder for a Cause... a revised Robyn Hood so to speak. You changed lives Captain, you gave the men under you a reason to be proud of themselves - the men may have lost their lives but it was for a Greater Good." The older man stared into the cold eyes of the Captain & waited for his fate.
Sirena backed off a step & turned toward the rail. "I'll say one thing for you cook, you have guts." The tall, imposing pirate turned & looked at the man who had just taken his life in his own hands."So, you think I've been pretty much a fool these few weeks eh?" she asked with a slight smile.
Robin stared momentarily at the sight he didnt expect to see & almost forgot he was supposed to answer the question she posed. "Uh.... no... uh.. Captain." He glanced down at the deck then back up, "I can understand you would be saddened over the lose of the men but it should not have been blamed on Mistress Everhart, she did her best - we accomplished a feat no one else would even dare try, we had a few loses - thats understandable."
"I gave orders - they werent followed." The she-pirate growled.
"True, but to a certain extent they were. Mistress Everhart accomplished the job you wanted her to do. She took out the armory, & the cannons on the hill. What seems to have gotten her into trouble was...she cared about you."
A silence filled the air, a thick ominous deafening silence.Then, "Thank you for your observation Robin. That will be all."
Knowing there was nothing more to be said & quite frankly, overjoyed that he was still alive, Robin turned & walked back to the galley.
 

Sabrina Everhart was making the most of her stay in the pleasant town of Portsmith. The young woman had decided to take a room at the local inn until she could figure out what to do with.... the rest of her life. Passing stands set up on both sides of her she paused a moment to look at some of the wares the townspeople were selling.
A savvy looking young man caught her attention & went into his speech, "Ah... a lovely lady. Look what I have here... material from the Orient... would look great on a woman of your complexion."
Bree half-smiled & decided a little fun was in order, "Oh but sir... you ask too much for this...where I have traveled, I could get this for half the price that you ask here in this small town. Really, it is just too high a price for the market."
"Oh, but Miss..you cut me to the quick, I only mark up a meager amount to make a living for myself. This is quality material, you'd be hard-pressed to find it elsewhere."
The green-eyed first-mate tilted her head & pondered a moment, inspecting the silky material in question," Wasnt there a merchantman taken out of the Carolinas a month past? Hmm.... yes, if I remember correctly, it was supposed to be carrying merchandise of this kind." She glanced over the other items of the kiosk, " jade....medicines... spices..." A wide-eyed expression came over her face, "Oh sir...dont tell me that this stuff was from that same nasty old pirate raid! Oh, I am so shocked, ..are you in conspiracy with those smelly pirates?" For the full dramatic effect, Bree pulled a hankerchief out of her pocket & started to fan herself with it. "Oh, I do believe I'm going to faint....imagine, bloodthirsty pirates able to sneak this close...oh, I cant believe what this world is coming too..." Swiping the cloth across her forehead she waited for his reaction.
"Shhhh...shhhh..." The man said, looking around to see if anyone else had caught the conversation," Listen....pirates are caught & hung here without question.I dont know how you heard about that but it isnt this stuff I tell you..."
Bree was on a roll now & had no intention of letting the coniving man off so fast or painlessly,"Oh, I bet you're one of those people who sell stolen things arent you.... you should be so ashamed of yourself.... you know, I think for your own good I'll have to tell the magistrate of this town." Bree glanced around for effect.
"Now, hold on lady, you cant prove nothing..... I'm just here making a living....."
Bree's words cut him off mid-sentence," Your here to swindol these people on merchandise that should've come to them in the first place, at half the price.Who are you connected with? Are you part of the pirate crew of the Doria?" Sabrina's expression shifted from the damsel in distress to an enraged tigress & she advanced on the unknowing salesman.
Backing up the man held out his hands, "Whoa.... hold it....I'm selling this stuff thats all.... make a little profit here & there."
Bree looked the con artist up & down noticing the smart looking clothes he wore "I would suggest lowering your prices unless you want some people to know a lot more about your business practices."
"I hear ya...lower prices."
With a satisfied smile & a little chuckle of sheer joy, Bree wandered off to see what else could catch her eye. Unbeknownst to the first-mate, a figure was watching her from beneath a hooded cape. The figure moved & the hood fell back momentarily, revealing a large, disfiguring wound from forehead to chin. As Bree rounded the corner to walk down the alley towards the inn, the cloaked figure grabbed for her. Spinning, Bree drew her dagger out of her boot & faced the attacker, "Who are you..what do you want?"
The hooded figure revealed his face & spoke, "Surely you remember me, I was the one your fair Captain decided to toy with, she let me live or maybe thought a slow, agonizing death was more appropriate for me - but I survived."
A name registered to Bree, "Lawes.."  she blinked & settled the dagger in her palm, anticipating any move he might make.
"Thats right, you are a clever woman. Your Captain decided to stick her pretty nose in where it didnt belong, she took what mattered to me.... now I'll take what matters to her."
A chill ran up the woman's spine. "She should've cut you down like the dog you are Lawes."
The disfigured mans eyes grew huge. The fresh sword wound running down the right side of his face puckered as the stitches were strained to their limit, "You insolent whelp, you havent known pain until now...first I'll have some fun with you, then I'll summon that She-Wolf in before I end your miserable life."
Taunting him, Bree laughed, "You are such a coward arent you. The joke is on you, Sirena wont come for me - & I have no intention of letting you get away with anymore crimes. If it ends here then so be it but you wont find me to be an easy mark."
"Oh little spitfire, I have no intention of fighting you now.My fun will come later when I put you on the rack, do you know how close to death you can come without actually drawing your last breath?" He smiled & exposed rotten teeth."Now...!"
At his command, 4 figures jumped out from behind Bree & surrounded her. Her emerald gaze shifted from one figure to the other, "Come now boys, I dont have time to play." She lunged at the closest man & drew her blade across his chest, slicing into the shirt & digging into the skin  beneath. The man jumped away clutching his chest. "One down....who's next?" Darting green eyes looked from man to man, she raised her hand & beckoned him with her fingers, "You... " The 2nd pirate jumped at her & she dodged his brutish attempt, "Finesse, boys....finesse."As the pirate stumbled past her, Bree brought her knee up hard into his chest & brought the dagger handle down on the back of his neck."Hmmm, looks like thats 2 for me...none for you Lawes." She risked a glance in the direction of the enraged ex-magistrate.
Lawes face became red & he bellowed, "Get her..!"
Bree's attention reverted back to the 2 remaining men, "Thats right boys... come & get some." Both men lunged for the first-mate, Bree dodged in between them & grabbed a staff-like  object leaning against the corner of an unoccupied stand. Swinging the wood around in her hands, she adjusted the weight. The men charged at her, swinging left then right Bree brought the end of the staff down on top of the dk haired mans back producing the effect she wanted - he was down & not getting back up for a time. The remaining lighter-haired man advanced on her & she readied the weapon for another blow when she felt white-hot pain rip through her. Momentarily surprised, the staff started to slip from her hands, 'Whats going on?' she thought to herself. The event registered in her mind as she caught sight of Lawes, in his hand, a bloody dagger, stained with *her* blood. Images started to swim before Bree's eyes, she saw the man advancing on her but was too weak to do anythnig, she felt herself falling to the hard ground. Bits of conversation filtered through to her in a haze...first Lawes talking to the light-haired man then to her...
Lawes reached down & grabbed a handful of long blonde hair twisting it painfully & flexing his arm slightly, pulling Bree up with it."I told you...you will pay... then that She-Wolf will pay."
Bree could smell his foul breath on her face & tried to turn her head to get away from the offensive odor but she couldnt move, pain flashed through her nervous system & screamed into her brain. Her last thought before she felt the peace of unconsciousness, 'Sirena...'

Sirena stood behind the ship's wheel, thinking,' What am I doing? I'm being a stubborn idiot right now, how could it get to be this way? Okay, I'll turn around & go back..she's still there.'  Her decision made, Sirena hollered down to the deckhand, "Tom, we're heading back to Portsmith."
The unshaven pirate smiled, "Aye, aye Captain." Slowly the large vessel turned & headed back from where they came, expecting to find everything well. Isnt that what's supposed to happen? There's always one more day to make things right in life - isnt there?
 

Part 5  ' Nothing is so strong as gentleness/ Nothing so gentle as real strength'  ~unknown

The Majesty had just docked when Sirena gave orders for the ship to be scrubbed up while she was gone. "I'm going to find Bree then we'll set off for Tortuga."  The Captain walked down the gangplank & was soon enveloped in the crowd of people.

High above the town of Portsmith, situated on a hill was the castle, Raven's Nest. The castle was built many years ago by Captain Samuel Lawes, ruthless pirate captain of the ship, Sceptre, father of Nelson Lawes. A craggy path led up to the heavy front door emblazoned with a spread-winged raven. Inside, down the dark, damp halls a swish & a crack could be heard reverberating off the walls. In one of the rooms in the bowels of the castle was a large wooden contraption with leather straps to hold the arms & legs of intended victims, at the present time the young first-mate of the Majesty was its guest. Lawes walked around the young woman sadistically, taunting her with his words & actions."Do you know that the She-Wolf & I go back a long way together?" Disinterested up until this point, Bree's attention was drawn to the face of her captor. As she raised her head, multiple bruises & abrasions graced her face, blonde luxurious hair was streaked & matted with blood."Ah, finally something that interests you. Yes, the she-bitch & I actually grew up together - those were the days you know. Pillaging & raiding, setting fire to ships, taking what we wanted..." For emphasis his black gloved fist clenched directly in front of the young woman's face. Bree coldly stared into his eyes, not giving way to the "game" Lawes had played with her for the past few days."Well, I see your Captain hasnt been completely truthful with you eh? Didnt tell you of her checkered past? Surely, she didnt let on what good friends she & I already were."
Bree's body hurt. She tried to focus on the string of words Lawes was spewing at her but none of it was making sense to her addled brain. She knew she had taken some damage, the "sessons" Lawes had put her through were getting more difficult. Lawes seemed to be fond of the flagellum & she could feel the caked blood on her body & wounds that felt like fire ripping across her skin.Each time the weapon swished & cracked, the wounds were splayed open once more making them raw & infected. A coward hits someone without a fair fight, what Bree feared most was the fight was going out of her. Minimal care was given to the wound in her back, just enough to keep her alive for the cat-&-mouse game Lawes played now. What was he telling her now, 'Lawes was the man Sirena grew up with?' Bree remembered a night onboard the Majesty in the Great cabin, about a year after she had first started travelling with the striking she-pirate...

 Sirena had been brooding for a time & Bree had had about enough of it, "Alright, whats going on?" A dark head raised in confusion to stare at the first-mate.
"What? what do you mean?" A puzzled look crossed the angular features of the tall woman.
Exasperated, Bree put down the quill she was writing with & addressed the brooding pirate."I mean, when are you going to tell me whats going on with you? You've been stomping around here for a day or so, yelling at the crew. Even Destiny has been keeping a wide path around you." Bree swept her arm across the room to where the black Dane was laying in the far corner of the cabin,head on her paws, watching the event unfold. At the sound of her name, the Dane's head raised a moment then glanced at the scowl on her master's face & quickly lowered her head back onto her paws."Sirena, whats going on?"
Sirena dropped her head, trying to decide if she wanted to go into the problems, then lifted her eyes to stare into concerned emerald ones. Slowly, the whole tale came out of the she-pirate. She told Bree of the dark past she had, she told her of a partnership she & her father had with a father & son team. Sirena's tone became more intense & angrier as she explained the breaking off of the life-long friendship when the other pirate Captain had chosen to get into some practices she & her father wasnt going to stand for - slavery of men, women, & children."We broke off the partnership & went our own ways. A year after that, my father was murdered outside a tavern one night. That was 2 yrs ago today." Her head bent to hide the tears she knew would flow down her cheeks.It was easy to hide the emotions before, the crew minded their own business & hadnt ventured to question her moody personality at times but with this young woman living so closely with her, so openly honest & caring, Sirena found it hard to keep her guard up.
Bree stood up & crossed to the cautious pirate & knelt down in front of her, "Sirena....I'm so sorry. Is this the reason for the moodiness, the anniversary of your father's passing?" Tentitively, she reached out her hand to lift Sirena's chin & see her eyes.Tears streamed down the face of the pirate captain making her seem younger & more vulnerable than Bree had ever seen her. Blue eyes darted away from the searching green ones. Something in Bree's resolve melted at the vulnerability of the strong woman in front of her."Shhh..shh...c'mere." Slowly, cautiously, the pirate captain allowed herself to be drawn into the other woman's arms. Throughout the night, on the floor of their cabin, Bree held the distraught captain, soothing her with words of comfort & rocking her back & forth like a small babe when the sobs periodically increased. All the secrets came forth on that night, a deep & lasting friendship was forged in the heat of the emotional battle. Much had been said except the name.....

CRACK. "Your not listening to me, whelp!" Lawes whip lashed across Bree's shoulder separating the little bit of shirt that was left, leaving in hanging in strips on her body. A searing pain went through her as she was roughly hauled back to the present-time. Her head was jerked up & she stared defiantly into the black eyes of...
"YOU killed Sirena's father, didnt you?." Bree's voice sounded strange even to herself. She knew it was more than likely because her lip was swollen from Lawes past game but it set a chill to her skin.
Stepping back as if he was burned, Lawes good eye narrowed. Calculating, he answered,"Yes. My father & I cut the cowardly dog down in the street. He was coming out of a tavern one night & we grabbed him from behind & dragged him into the alley. We slit him top to tail." A cold, evil smile lit his face making him seem like the devil himself.
Bree closed her eyes momentarily & swallowed to take in the confirmed news. When she opened her eyes, a new resilience was there,"The way I see it is you were a coward then as you are now. You couldnt face him in a fair fight so you decided to murder him while he was drunk. You have no respect or honor at all." Bree anticipated the blow before it actually came. Lawes right fist smashed into the side of her face & all went black.
Lawes turned at the sound of the heavy, wooden door being opened. "What is it?"
The light-haired man from before approached the ex-magistrate, "There's trouble. The She-Wolf is in town & she's searching for this one." He motioned to the form of Bree.
A smile filtered across the face of Nelson Lawes, "Good, make sure she finds her way up here." With a wave of his hand, Lawes dismissed the man. Glancing over at the bowed head of the unconscious first-mate he said, "How much are you worth to the fair she-bitch?" Walking around the rack that held the woman, he considered,"Would she give up all she owns to save you? Would she give up her crew, her ship, her holdings..... her life?" Circling the woman he considered further,"Would she freely march into hell itself to keep you safe? I do believe I've found the one weakness the fabulous She-Wolf  has, the one thing that will bring her down to her knees, begging me.....oh, wouldnt that be a glorious sight eh? The proud She-Wolf begging for your release....begging ME....."  A gleam lit his eyes & he reached out to draw the unconscious womans face up, "Thats what it will take you know... I will break her, I will make her beg, I will let her think she is able to save you by releasing all to me.... then, when I've captured her, I will kill you...I will let her watch helplessly as your lifesblood flows from your body. Then, & only then will I give *her* release from this life. She will know that it was *I* who took everything from her - her father, her treasures, her best friend. How sweet the victory will be. It will be Nelson Lawes who broke the infamous She-Wolf of the Sea by the only weakness she had - love."
 

Part 6
Sirena had made her way about the town, asking various people if they had seen a woman resembling Sabrina Everhart. Half a day later, the pirate captan was in none too jovial of a mood as her attempts to find the first-mate were met with resistance. Sirena had walked into a tavern with an old sign hanging off one of its hinges reading, The Wild Hare, & sat down to enjoy a mug of ale when a figure stopped in front of her table. Glancing up, she saw a man in his 20s, strongly built with blonde hair. "Can I help you with something or do you just want to stare for a while?" Her eyes returned to the dark liquid inside her mug.
"I might be able to help you... Sirena Christian."
Sirena raised her head & took a good look at the young man."No games mate, what do you want? I'm in no mood to be played with today."
The young man boldly took a seat opposite the irritated captain. This proving to be one in the line of many future mistakes the blonde-haired sailor would make. Sirena's eyebrow lifted & disappeared into her bangs for a moment."What if I told you I had information on the woman your looking for?"
"Then I would suggest you tell me before I waste my time ripping your heart out." A slow feral grin came over the dark captain transforming her once beautiful face into a mask of danger.
A noticeable gulp was heard before the man spoke,"She's being held in a castle not far from here - Raven's Nest."
Always alert, Sirena approached the news with caution. "Why are you telling me this? Who owns this castle & what would they want with the woman I'm looking for?"
"The castle is owned by Captain Nelson Lawes, perhaps you've heard of him?" The young man smiled broadly at her.
A cold fear gripped Sirena by the throat threatening to strangle her. ' Lawes has Bree'. Momentarily taken aback with the revelation, Sirena sat back in her chair as her heart started to beat wildly in her chest. Looking across at the smirking blonde man, she knew this was no easy fix. Lawes wanted something from her & he wasnt about to stop with a pleasant visit. For so long she had beat down the violent urges that consumed her at times, bottled them up in a nice safe place inside her where they couldnt get out to hurt anyone. Slowly, she could feel the cork on the bottle of her emotions start to move, inching its way free to loose the raging demons inside her very soul. Jaws clenching, Sirena asked, "What does he want?" A simply spoken question that held the key to her very life.
Amused, the blonde laughed out loud, throwing his head back to enjoy the freedom of an entertaining situation...mistake number two. Sirena's hands were across the table & attached to his throat before he realized his fun had ended. Slowly squeezing his neck, the muscles bunched & flexed screaming for air. "I'm NOT going to ask you again." A quiet hush settled over the tavern as Sirena's mood changed, & was replaced with the barely restrained fury of a woman possessed."You take me to Lawes -right now!" Her grip on the man's throat tightened & his eyes began to bulge in surprise & fear."If she isnt alive because of the time you wasted here, I'll.. rip.. you.. apart." With each word her hands tightened even further around his throat.
With an affirmative nod from the man, Sirena released him & roughly hauled him up to exit the tavern.

"I really do not want to learn the 'finer points' of sword fighting, Sirena" Bree's clipped words answered the remark the Captain had made about practicing a while with cutlasses.
"Well, I think its a little dumb to be aboard a pirate ship & not use a sword." came the answer from a lounging Sirena as she tried to figure out something to ease the boredom of a day without much wind.
Bree looked up from the parchment she was writing on & scrunched her face at the smirking pirate sitting on the deck. "I can very well take care of myself thank you. I hadnt expected to be onboard a ship for the rest of my life - until YOU showed up." Her voice took on a sarcastic tone.
"I could've left you there to be sold like any common mule." A smile graced the Captain's features bringing out her high cheekbones.
"Ha, so now I'm a mule am I?!"
"Well, I can see the similarities sometimes." For emphasis, Sirena tilted her head & shifted her gaze down the first-mates body.
"OOOH! You are soooo dead!" Bree jumped up from her place on the deck & charged forward at the now openly laughing pirate. Reaching down into her boot for her dagger, she stopped two feet from Sirena & waved it menacingly in the air."C'mon....uh..."  Cough.  "She-wolf... show me what you got."
Sirena anticipated the move the woman made & stood at the ready to join in this little game of one upmanship. Drawing her sword from the scabbard at her right side, she swished it in the air a few times for effect. Sirena glanced over at Bree & raised her eyebrows."You'll never learn will you." Circling, the two woman each looked for a spot open on the other to press the advantage. Sirena with the sword & longer reach was almost a sure bet to win the confrontation but Bree had the speed & agility to hold her off. Taunting each other the players had sport for a time, each feining attempts to outsmart the other until one of the crew hollered at a crucial moment momentarily distracting Sirena & allowing Bree to claim first-blood. The dagger glanced off the she-pirate's shoulder, biting into skin beneath the billowing white blouse. In moments, the shirt was stained red with blood.
"Oh God Sirena, I'm sorry, I thought you saw that move coming." Bree resheathed her dagger immediately & moved toward the injured woman.
Grimacing, Sirena let her sword drop back in its scabbard, "Well, I would've if a certain sailor hadnt called my name just then." Sirena glanced across at the embarrassed form of Tom as he shyly motioned that it wasnt anything that couldnt wait until later, & made his escape.

The two women moved to the Great cabin where Sirena sat down at her desk while Bree got together some things to clean the wound. Ripping the shirt sleeve, Bree noticed her aim had just missed the head of the black wolf Sirena had tattooed on her shoulder."A little closer & she would've lost her head." Bree said nodding to the tattooed animal.
"She has nine lives. It would take more than an inexperienced nic to kill her off."
Thinking for a moment, Bree paused & asked, "So, when do *I* get a tattoo?"
Surprised by the question, Sirena just stared at her a moment,"Thats a big step, that tattoo idenifies you with this crew, I would think you'd want to think about it. It isnt an easy decision to make."
"Sirena, I've been part of the crew for close to two years. Its more than a decoration, its a mark that says I'm part of the family."
Lowering her head, Sirena answered,"Bree, a lot of people in this world know what that symbol means. You would have to be careful... always on guard. Do you want that?"
Bree stopped wiping the wound & concentrated on placing a dry bandage over the black wolf figure. "I'm part of the crew, I'm proud of that...." Pause. "unless this hesitation is because your ashamed to have me as part of your crew."
Sirena's head shot up & stared into beseeching green eyes. "No, it isnt that. I just want you to be sure."
Bree finished her task & pushed the bowl of water away. Sitting on the desk in front of the pensive pirate captain, Bree pushed her short sleeve up to expose the ivy band imprinted around her right bicep. "I want the pawprint right here." She said smiling & pointed to the space right above the band.

The smell of searing flesh brought Bree out of her reverie.Steam appeared in front of her face & a heat was felt on her shoulder. Slowly turning her head, she saw Lawes standing to the side of her holding a hot iron. Glancing at her shoulder, the tattoo of the wolf pawprint was blistering but still visible, shining through in defiance of the treatment it received.
"Ah, your awake, thats good." Lawes sinister voice registered inside her mind. "Good news, your ever faithful friend will be here shortly. I bet she just cant wait to see you."
Bree's mind clicked on this thought & could only hope that Sirena would be able to take him down without trouble. If he got the jump on the Captain, Sirena would more than likely give herself up to buy time. A noise was heard in the corridors above them & Lawes threw the iron he had in his hand behind him.
Slowly, he leaned forward & breathed into Bree's ear, "Let the games begin."
 

Part 7
Sirena came to the door of the castle & immediately pulled the blonde sailor in front of her, using him as a battering ram, she drove his face & shoulders into the thick wood of the door. "Knock, knock." she snarled. Gripping the back of his collar, she pushed the dazed pirate away & opened the door. Scruffing him again, Sirena pulled him with her through the corridors of the castle.Bending close to his ear, she purred,"Where's your master, bunny? If I let you go will you run like the scared little rabbit you are? Hmm?"
Frightened beyond comprehension, all the pirate could do was stumble forward as Sirena hauled him along with her, down corridor after corridor.Before too long the couple came across some of Lawe's men sitting in the dining hall with their feet up on chairs.Sirena came through the door & stood addressing the room, "Lets see, einey, meiney, miney....mo" Sirena walked up to the closest guard & drove her fist into his face shoving him backwards & shattering the chair beneath him, tipping the table the with food & drink. Spinning, she unsheathed her sword & swung it in slow small circles. All eyes were on the wild figure circling the group of surprised guards. "I'm here for a friend of mine. Perhaps one of you could show me the way." The guards each looked at one another & started to laugh.
"Yeah, I *could* show you the way if I was finished with my dinner but as you can see...." The burly guard bent to pick up some food that had fallen onto the floor & raised it to his mouth."...I'm not finished yet."  The remaining guards laughed at the joke their comrade had made.
Sirena walked up to burly guard & a slow smile came over her face, "Let me help you." The she-pirate pushed her fist & the guards hand into his mouth until a gagging sound could be heard."Wouldn't want you miss your 4 basic food groups now would we?"  As the guard began to choke on the food, the other guards made a decision to rush Sirena.
Springing away from the group, Sirena raised her sword against the oncoming mob. "Step right up...Hell is waiting." Sirena's arm swept through in an arc at the first guard to come towards her. The man's face registered surprise as he looked down at his body. He dropped his sword in order to capture the falling entrails that jutted from his middle. One glance up at Sirena & what he saw was a cold mask of fury. Intense,blue eyes glistened in the lamp light. Taking a step forward, Sirena advanced on the group of men. They raised their swords but fear was written on their faces. Sirena could smell their fear & fed off of it. Hard sapphire eyes scanned the room." You have a choice - leave here now with your lives or die for that spineless coward of a man."
All the men turned to one another & made the decision that Lawes wasnt worth it to cross swords with the She-Wolf. Instinctively, they each knew that Lawes would lose this match. Dropping their weapons, the men raised their hands & backed away."Smart men. Where is Lawes holding my friend?"
One of the guards motioned to the inner door,"He has her down on the rack."
Sirena risked a quick glance to where the guard was pointing then turned back to the men.Gritting her teeth she growled, "Leave! Dont you come back or I'll splay you open like a roasted pig." The men backed out of the door & footsteps could be heard running down the corridors.
Collecting her thoughts, Sirena reached deep inside for the calm she had to recapture. She didnt know what she would find in the room, & she had to have her wits about her. One wrong move could prove fatal for both Bree & herself. Lawes had the precious bargaining chip, everything was in his hands right now. If Sirena let her emotions get away from her, Bree would be dead.Sirena slowly walked through the door & down the hall to meet the demon of her past.

Standing outside of the room where Lawes held Bree, Sirena put her ear to the door. She could hear a rustle & a crackling fire, nothing else. Slowly, she opened the door & adjusted her eyes to the interior light. Looking around, she cautiously stepped into the room & looked around her, sword raised in front of her. Her view swung around to the left side of the room & there, she saw a sight that made her cover her mouth as a strangled cry burst forth. A figure of a woman was strapped to the wooden rack. Her body covered in welts, cuts, & bruises. Her upper body was only partially covered due to the strips of cloth that hung on it. It took a minute for Sirena's shocked mind to recognize that this was Bree. Scanning the room, Sirena made her way over to the tortured woman. Standing just in front of Bree, she reached out a shaky hand to touch the bruised & battered face. "Bree?" The words came out softly, almost shyly.
Bree had been floating in a semi-conscious state for the better part of the day & raised her head to blink at the dark-haired stranger before her.Her battered left eye tried to focus on the figure she thought to be a hallucination. "Sirena...?" she croaked.
A single tear made its way down Sirena's cheek as she worked to free the hands from their leather prison. "Its alright Bree, I'm here... I'll get you out of here."
Bree's mind registered what Sirena was saying. Through cracked lips she hastily replied, "Sirena...he's here, he's waiting for you. It's a trap."
"You let me worry about that. Lets get you out of here." Sirena finished unbuckling Bree's limbs from the wooden hell. Carefully, Sirena lifted her off the rack.
"Uhhh..." Bree was so tired all she could do was whisper into Sirena's neck about the wound on her back. Gently, Sirena carried her over to the chair by the fire. Setting her down, she turned to tear a cloth banner down from the wall & brought it over to cover the near naked form of her first-mate. A creak of the door alerted Sirena of an intruder. She took one last glance at the tortured body of her friend, in quick detail memorizing every cut, bruise & wound the woman had to endure & turned to face the evil incarnate who did this injustice. Sirena's eyes landed on the form of Nelson Lawes & all she could see was a swash of red come down over her vision.
Lawes stood there sword in one hand, a goblet of wine in the other & laughed at the enraged she-pirate. "Well, my dear Sirena, we meet again. Your friend & I were getting along so swimmingly together before you showed up to ruin the party." He smiled an evil smile & took a drink of wine.
Sirena's short hold on her temper broke, "You will pay for this Lawes. Today is YOUR judgement day & I'm judge, jury, & executioner." The barely restrained fury engulfing Sirena had her visibly shaking.
"Now Sirena, you didnt think I would make it that easy now did you?"
"All I know is you will pay for this, you will pay for every drop of blood that was spilt from Sabrina. I will send you to Hell personally."
"You know, my dear, this whole charitable thing never suited you. I knew there was that evil in there, waiting to rear its head again. You might be able to fool the little townsfolk of your heroic deeds but I've seen you in full battle, clothes dripping red with the blood of men."
"The time for talk is over Lawes. Its just you & me - it ends today." Sirena tightened the grip on her sword hilt.
"You never were very patient were you? such bold words She-Wolf."
Sirena had enough of the chatter & rushed at Lawes. Throwing his drink at her, Sirena dodged the liquid & regained her balance to finish the charge forward. Swords clashed in heated fury. Sirena's arcing cutlass slashed back & forth wildly, while the slim blade of Lawes' rapier swished & sliced the air. For all the thought Sirena had put into staying calm & calculating, images of Bree's torture flashed through her mind pushing her forward in a crazed, wild frenzy. The cutlass drew first-blood through the sleeve of Lawe's shirt. Its blade cutting deep into the skin, severing tissue & muscle. The sight of the warm blood urged Sirena onward. She advanced on the injured ex-magistrate & pushed him back & back towards the edge of the window. Unable to use his right arm because of the injured muscle, Lawes quickly switched his rapier to the other hand. Sirena's cutlass swung again & glanced off the thin blade of the rapier. Lawes countered her strike & brought his blade across to bite deep into Sirena's side. A crimson stain instantly appeared on her shirt. Flinching, Sirena drew back & circled Lawes. In the span of the next instant, Sirena's cutlass flashed & down it came across his injured shoulder severing the arm cleanly from its socket. "Aaarrgghh!" Lawes screamed. The painful howl fed into Sirena's bloodlust, she advanced on the injured man & attacked with her sword once more, striking his blade again & again in a mocking display of cat&mouse. She tapped her cutlass first to the one side of Lawes' rapier then swung it around to the other, prolonging the game...prolonging his pain until she was finished toying with him.Slowly, Lawes slipped to the floor, his rapier still pointed at the She-Wolf in a futile attempt to defend himself. He was beaten, she knew it & so did he. A cold decisive decision was made, Sirena knocked his weapon out of his hand & stood over him, her boot lifted to rest forcefully on his chest. "You will now pay for the lives you ruined, for my father, & for my friend. Where's the bold boasting now Lawes?" Her boot heel crushed down on his chest making it hard to breathe."I thought you were going to beat me? As you slip into eternity, remember even at the end of your life, you were a coward.You chose to hurt innocents instead of facing me alone.You never actually believed you'd win did you?" Sirena's blade was poised over Lawes' sternum, taking an almost sadistic enjoyment out of the prolonged waiting she made him endure."Poseidon should have claimed you long ago Lawes, I'm happy to send you too him. Vengeance!" Sirena gripped the hilt of her cutlass & was just about to run him through when she heard...
"Si...rena.....no." Bree's voice filtered through the rage. Sirena turned her head to look in the direction of the voice when Lawes made a last effort attempt to save his life & knocked the sword away, in the same instance drawing a pistol from his bracer across his chest. Sirena had a moment to digest the turn of events when a lead ball ripped through her leg,causing her to fall to the floor beside Lawes.Sirena drew her sword above her & plunged it down with her body on top of Lawes bloody form. She & the ex-magistrate were nose to nose as Sirena saw his eyes understand what happened & fear flitted across the features. Then, it was over...Lawes closed his eyes & gave up his last breath.
Sirena closed her eyes & let her body slide off the now dead form of her enemy.For a second she laid there. Resting in the peace that followed the gruesome events of the last few days. Lifting herself up on her elbow, she glanced across the room at her first-mate. Bree's arm was supporting her weight as she tried to stand & make her way over to the dark-haired pirate. Sirena raised herself up on shaky legs & limped the distance over to Bree. Almost shyly, the two looked at one another & came together in an awkward embrace.

A hot sun baked the decks of the Majesty & its two occupants sitting in chairs on the forward deck. A dark-head rested with eyes closed, listening to the waves & gulls that flew past searching for fish. A blonde-head sat gazing out across the water. Neither of the women had the energy to hold up a conversation but instead enjoyed the companionable silence. A loud barking could be heard coming from the lower deck & grew louder as a black silken form appeared & ran up to the lounging pirates. Destiny loped over to her master & a large pink tongue escaped the canine mouth, washing the face of the pirate captain, bringing her out of her semi-awake state into full clarity."Ahhhh, Des...." Sirena sat up abruptly & regretted the movement as her side screamed its annoyance. "Uhh..." She complained clutching her side.
"Looks like we're part of the walking wounded for awhile huh?" Bree's face turned towards her companion.
"Uhh..I know someone else who will be walking wounded if she does that again." Sirena half-heartedly scowled at the Dane who didnt believe the expression & wagged her tail furiously.After circling three times, Destiny layed down on the deck beside Sirena's chair. Venturing a glance at Bree, Sirena began, "Bree, I'm sorry all this happened.I'm sorry for what you went through because of my past." Sirena's direct apologetic gaze rested on Bree's recovering face.
"We came through it, thats what's important. It wasnt your fault that Lawes was twisted, in the end, I didnt want to see you lose a piece of yourself in killing him."
Sirena gazed out at the ocean,"He wouldnt have stopped, you know that. He would've found another victim & another. I did what was necessary."
Bree gently shifted her body to face the Captain, "Can you live with that? Can you understand the dark rage that engulfed you?" she asked.
"Its part of me & it saved both of us this time. I might not be proud of it but it served a purpose."
"You gave yourself over to the darkness for a time Sirena, is it worth it?"
Sirena searched the compassionate eyes of her friend & answered, "You will always be worth it."
Bree smiled a small smile, "Always."
"Always." Sirena returned the smile.

~The End?~

Dedication: Once again, this story goes out to my friend & beta-reader, Kjay who puts in many hours of reading as I send her re-write after re-write. Through it all, she continues in her support of me & my hacker writing style. Many of the ideas that evolved throughout this story came from her brain & a long IM session ;)  Your the best, my dear.

I include Taiko in this dedication not only for her support but the *gentle* urging she made of me to put my ramblings on her site. Her Taikoness reigns ;)  Where's Argo? >;)

Little Red Riding Hood lied  - Restore the Wolf

Wolf Haven International: www.wolfhaven.org/home.htm
Wolf Recovery Foundation: www.forwolves.org/help.html
Wolf Park: www.wolfpark.org/
Timber Wolf Information Network-Interactive: www.timberwolfinformation.org/


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