A Word of Caution

Welcome to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Feel free to wander and browse, but know that the content you will find here is not for the faint of heart. The visions portrayed are often darkly erotic, even disturbing, and should be traversed only by those with the appropriate character and mental age.

You have been warned.


Chapter 11 – Confessions

The violent crack of thunder that finally woke Molly was loud enough to shake the ground of her shelter. Pulled from a nightmare where she was back in the barrel, she sat up and nearly flipped out of the hammock. A second explosion of electricity nearby had her on her feet staring at the fabric wall of her temporary home as though it were some kind of trapped and frenzied monster. A small hole had developed near the top, and was quickly widening. Rain and wind were ripping through the forming gap with enough force that it looked like someone was simply holding an open water pipe to the space.

“Shit!” she exclaimed, as she rushed forward and tried to repair the tear. It was quite difficult to work while the wind thrashed and pressed the sailcloth to its maximum, but once she had the hole closed, she was able to give the fabric wall a little more strength by pulling in the slack and stretching out some thicker ropes to take some of the stress.

From what she had seen through the tear, a major storm was currently lashing the island. She had no idea what time it actually was, but her own internal clock was suggesting somewhere in the early predawn morning. The lightning was constant enough that going back to sleep wasn’t an option, so she dragged the map tubes from her sack and started going through them, carefully keeping them away from the water that had sprayed in through her “door.”

Most of them were pretty useless, as they pertained to entirely different parts of the world, but one partially referenced several island chains that could quite easily be her own. It also showed the larger island chain known as Ringlet Harbor. Shaped like a broken crescent, the main island was split, the larger part on the eastern side being Ringlet itself, and a smaller section of the harbor known as The Bon, which was connected to a long peninsula that stretched out for some thirty kilometers unbroken. The other side of Ringlet Harbor was a treacherous extension of islands and reefs that blocked the seaway for nearly seventy kilometers.

If the maps were accurate, and she was where she thought she was, then Ringlet Harbor was at least two full days away at full sail… And she had no ship. She might be able to make something that could cross that distance, but if she ran into a storm like the one that was battering the island right now, she’d be cooked. And of course, she had no idea how to navigate in an open sea. If she was off course by even a few degrees, she could sail right past Ringlet and into the even more tumultuous seas beyond.

The alternative was to wait. If she stayed where she was, she’d have food and water indefinitely, and could watch for passing ships to flag down. The problem with that was she would have to trust whoever happened by. The Guild was still looking for her, and had no doubt put a bounty on her capture. If someone recognised her, she would have nowhere to go.

No, it was the Queen’s Mistress or nothing. Captain Pennylust held her bond and she was a part of the crew. She would either be looking for her, or would assume she was dead. Molly seriously doubted that the Captain would divert her charter and risk the lives of the rest of her crew on the off chance of finding her troublemaker bondservant on one of who knows how many islands in the area. They would have no idea how she even came to be off the ship, or when.

That thought started her thinking about Cassandra Plinket. She reached up and felt the bump on the side of her head where the girl had struck her. She knew it had only been a couple of days, but it seemed like weeks had passed. A hot flush washed over her as her anger blossomed anew, and she took a couple of long, deep breaths to clear her head. She couldn’t change what was done to her, but she could spite the venomous bitch by surviving. Perhaps someday she would have the chance to pay her back, but that day would have to wait.

She poured over the maps for a bit more, then carefully rolled them up and put them safely back in the tubes. They too would have to wait for another day. Finally, with nothing else to do, she brought out the saber.

She removed the blade from its scabbard and admired the swirled blue of the metal again. It was beautiful. Almost without thinking, she started using her Nanaris to carefully clean and remove the crusting and corrosion that had built up on the handle and guard. The leather grip was in pretty good shape considering it had been in and out of seawater for weeks if not months. With a little repair work and some polishing, the sword looked almost new. She smiled as she held it up and wondered if she could ever learn to use such a weapon. It was only very slightly curved, and shorter than a full calvary blade, so it fit her well. Still, she wasn’t much of a killer. Turning to the scabbard, she was presented with a bit more of a challenge. It was necessary to completely disassemble the protective sheath in order to clean it inside. It wasn’t made of the same polysteel, and so there was much more corrosion of the metal and straps. By the time she had done her work and returned the sword back to the scabbard, she was surprised to find that the storm had passed. It was the lack of noise that finally got her attention.

Moving to the entrance of the cave, she untied her door a bit and peeked outside. It was just before sunrise, and a golden orange and red glow was slowly pushing back the deep blue of night from the east. The rain had passed, and only a handful of puffy clouds remained in the sky. The air was still and quiet, and she could actually hear the waves gently lapping the shores of her island for the first time in many hours.

Her island… Yes, it was hers now, whether she wanted it or not. This was her home until the Goddess decided to blow her somewhere else, so she might as well make the best of it. Stepping out of the cave, she let herself down to the jungle on her spindly metal arms and noticed that the wreck had survived another lashing. She was slightly worried that it might have been washed away in the night. Molly had big plans for that mess of sail and timber, and the day was young.

“What do you mean you can’t find her?” said Professor John Doherty to the rigger he had sent to locate Molly.

“Well, sir, it’s a big ship. She could be down in the lower holds working on one of those projects of hers, or with the Carpenter. You want me to pass word?”

“No… I… I’ll look for her myself.”

“You might check with Star.”

“Star,” he repeated, confused.

“Star Haven. She’s Miss Amberly’s bunkmate. She usually knows where she is.”

“Ah. Very good. Thank you.”

Star was at her hammock, preparing for the day when he cleared his throat.

“Ah, Professor,” she said bowing and smiling at the same time. “How are you this morning?”

“Oh, fine, er… well…It’s Star, right? Star Haven?”

“That’s me! But please just call me Star.”

“Right… Star, look, have you seen Molly? I can’t seem to locate her. I’ve tried mess, and even had a runner do a quick search with no luck. I haven’t seen her in a day or so… I just assumed that maybe her watch changed, or…”

“Wait… a day? Wasn’t she with you last night?… Uh, I mean… I guess that’s not really my business.”

John felt his stomach tighten. “No, Molly wasn’t with me last night, or the night before… She wasn’t here either?”

Star looked confused. “Oh crap…” Snagging a passing crewmate by the arm, her face became serious. “Dex, pass word. Have Molly report to the main deck at once, and step!”

“You got it, Star,” replied the man and jogged off. John heard him speak to another crewmate, repeating the summons.

“Miss Haven? Why do I get the impression you know more than you’re telling me?”

The other pulled on her boots and then urged him from the crew quarters. “Let’s just hope I’m wrong and that she’s waiting up top when we get there.”

Molly wasn’t there, and after several minutes Star was looking panicked. A few moment’s later, Brill arrived.

“Haven? What’s going on? Why did you have Molly pulled from her duties?”

“She’s not at her duties, sir. Carpenter Pound reported that she never showed at the start of the watch.”

“You checked with Manny?”

John responded. “I did. She’s not there.”

“Star?” asked the Quartermaster when she noticed the girl wringing her hands. “What’s going on?”

“Shit… shit…”

“Haven! Report!” said the tall woman in a harsh voice.

“Plinket, sir… Molly had a confrontation with the Plinket Trinkets a few days back. Apparently Cassandra threatened to put her off the ship…”

“Oh hell…”

“I… I thought it was just a jealous threat, and that it would blow over, you know?”

“Mister Greenly! Beat us to quarters and form a search! We have a missing crewmate. I need confirmation that Molly Amberly is aboard!”

“Aye, sir!” replied the boatswain. He then took the sticks of a message drum and signaled general quarters.

“Danny, reduce sail and heave to. Have Master Jorsten plot our exact position.”

“Reducing to stop, aye!”

“You two come with me,” said Brill and turned to the quarterdeck stairs. The Captain joined them as they made the deck.

“What’s goin on, Bee?”

“Amberly’s missing, sir, and I have good reason to believe foul play may be involved.”

“By the Goddess…”

“Excuse me, Captain… Zhang, have Cassandra Plinket, Jessi Long, and Moria Biel report to the deck on the bounce!”

“The Trinkets? Aye, sir!”

“Heaving to, sir,” said the Navigator as the sails were loosed of wind.

“When did this occur,” asked Pennylust.

Brill was setting up a map on the navigation table. “We’re not sure, but it could have been as much as two days ago…”

The Captain glanced over at the Professor. “How do we know…”

“I think we’re about to find out,” she interrupted, nodding to the approaching trio of girls.

“Reporting as requested, sir!” said the brown-haired girl. All three bowed.

Brill glowered at them. “I need straight answers, and I need them now… Did you three put Molly Amberly off this ship?”

Moria Biel, the brunette, just stood there with wide eyes. Jessi Long’s mouth actually dropped open. Cassandra Plinket looked bored.

“Answer me!”

Moria shook her head. “No, sir! Is she missing? That’s terrible…”


The blonde-haired girl just shrugged her shoulders. “Given her failure on deck, I’m guessing she fell overboard.”

Brill stared them all down. “No one has seen her for at least…”

“There was an altercation,” started the dark-skinned Jessi, looking at the deck until she took a deep breath and met the Quartermaster’s eyes again. To her side, Cassandra hissed a warning. She continued. “We… the three of us… confronted her near the showers a few days ago. Cass roughed her a bit…”

“Shut your mouth, bitch!” erupted the blonde, taking a step toward her crewmate. The Quartermaster caught her by the collar and pushed her back to the rail, hard.

“Continue, Miss Long.”

“We just meant to scare her, but… I knew that Miss Amberly had taken a blow to the head. Cass was… well you shouldn’t be that rough with someone who’s had head trauma, and I told her to stop. She did…”

“See!” interjected Cassandra.

Long continued. “…But not before she threatened to put her off the ship, sir.”

“You liar!!”

Brill pinned her silent with a look. “And then?” she asked of Jessi.

“That’s the last time I saw Miss Amberly, sir. She was okay when we left her, but I suppose she could have fallen overboard.”

“Miss Biel? Can you corroborate?”

The brunette started to look to Cass.

“Eyes on me, girl!”

“Sir! I… I suppose that’s about right, sir.”

Brill turned her attention back to Cassandra. “And what about you, Plinket? Did you threaten Miss Amberly?”

“I did nothing of the sort. We razzed her a bit, but we never threatened her!”

Jessi Long looked stunned, and Moria surprised. “We?” commented the brunette. “You’re the one who was pushing her around!”

The Quartermaster squinted at each of them, and then took a step back.

“It would seem, Captain, that we have conflicting accounts.”

Pennylust sighed and looked over at the Professor, who was standing at the far end of the rail, staring intently at the sea.

“We need the truth, Bee,” she said to her first mate.

“Aye, sir.”

Drawing her left sword from its sheath, she brought the blade up sharply, centering the point just below Cassandra Plinket’s chin. The girl was wide-eyed and suddenly very still. Moria actually squealed in terror.

“Miss Plinket, two of your closest friends have accused you of lying to me. Of that offense, I really couldn’t give a damn. But it’s imperative that we know what happened to Miss Amberly. So I’m going to ask you one more time, and I suggest that you think on your answer very carefully… Did you, or did you not threaten to put her off this ship?”

The tip of Brill’s sword was just touching her neck.

“Fine! Yes, I told her I wanted her gone…”

The Quartermaster lowered her sword. “And?”

She looked at her friends. “And we might have roughed her a little…”

“YOU roughed her!” yelled Moria.

“And you allowed it!” spat back the blonde.

The Captain growled. “Enough of this…” Drawing her dagger, she pushed Cassandra back over the quarterdeck rail so that the girl was staring up at the rigging, Pennylust’s blade was pressing against the skin of her neck just shy of drawing blood. “What did you do?! TELL ME NOW!”

The girl was struggling just to keep from falling over the rail to the main deck as she gasped in panic.

“Stop! Please… I… I roughed her! It’s true!”

“Where is she!? ANSWER!”

“I… I don’t…AHH! A barrel! I put her in a barrel! She was alive, I swear!!”

Pennylust turned and looked to Brill.

“The water barrels! We put them off about the same time she went missing… to make room for the artifact. It would explain it, Captain.”

Releasing Cassandra, the Captain sheathed her blade, smoothed out her uniform, and then regarded Cassandra Plinket with disgust.

“You say she was alive when you put her in the barrel. I don’t suppose she went willingly…”

“She was unconscious… I hit… I hit her with a pin. Knocked her out, the little cunt… what does it matter, she was just a fuckin’ bondie… ACK!”

The Professor had reached over and gripped the girl with both hands around her neck.

“HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO HER?!” he demanded. Back against the rail, there was little Cassandra could do to free herself, but both Brill and the Captain worked quickly to restrain the man’s wrath, pulling his grip free just as Cassandra was starting to turn pale in the face. Freed, she slumped to the deck, coughing.

“Mister Zhang! Get Plinket out of here. Put her in the brig, FULL IRONS! She’s to have no visitors… Oh, and cover the grate with a cloth to block the light. I want her to know what it’s like to be trapped in a barrel!”

“Aye, Captain!” replied the Master Gunner, grabbing Cassandra roughly and dragging her off as she kicked and cursed. Calming, the Professor shook himself free of the two officers.

“Molly’s gone…” he said, trembling.


The woman took a deep breath. “We put the barrels to sea the day before last,” she said going to the navigation table again. “Stan, have you got that fix for me yet?”

“Here, sir,” replied the navigator, handing her a slip of paper. “It’s as tight as I could get it.”

“It’ll do. Captain, we plotted the location of the artifact here,” she was pointing to a notation on the map. “And Jorsten has us… here. The current is mostly south, but the wind is from the east. She might have made it to one of these islands, but she would have been smack in the middle of that storm we skirted last night.”

“Are you saying she could still be alive?!” asked the Professor hopefully as he joined them at the table.

“Maybe. I won’t kid you, the odds are pretty far against it. If she somehow managed to get herself onto one of the islands in this chain and found shelter, then she could be alright. But Professor, she was locked inside that barrel, probably unconscious, definitely hurt. Adding a second crack to the head couldn’t have done her any good either. But…”

“Speak your mind, Bee,” said the Captain.

“Well, she’s a resourceful girl, sir. If anyone could have found a way out of that mess, it’s her.”

Pennylust considered her options. “How long to get us in visual range of that chain at flank?”


The man rubbed his peppered beard. “We’d have the wind mostly against us… Say, three days of fair weather. Maybe a little less if we put up every scrap of sail we have and come around wide to avoid a direct tack. But Captain, that only gets us to the edge of that group. There are over fifty islands in that region. That’s an awful lot of sea to cover looking for one small girl who may not even be there to begin with…”

“I understand, Mister Jorsten.”

“Please, Captain… Abigail… Whatever monetary resources are needed…” began the Professor, desperately holding onto hope.

“That won’t be necessary, Mister Doherty. Miss Amberly is a member of this crew, and frankly… we owe her. But John, you need to understand that while I am willing to go look for her, we need to be realistic about our chances. Either Molly is on one of those islands or she’s not. If she drifted through the chain, then we’ll never find her in the open ocean. Worse, that region is heavily frequented by pirates looking for an easy mark coming out of Ringlet Harbor. My… reputation will only get us so far if we encounter the wrong kind of people. If we have any chance at all of spotting her, or more likely, her us, then we’re going to have to come in close to land. That will reduce our maneuverability and make us vulnerable. I’ll take that risk so long as our stores hold out, and we can even make land on some of the larger islands to extend our larder further. But, eventually, we’re going to need to call it and make port at Ringlet, understand?”

The man nodded. “A chance is all I can ask for.”

“Very well. Stan, make it happen. Best speed for the western end of that group. We’ll take them one at a time.”

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