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 6 – The Bishop of Kelleroy

Cardinal Mellus hated traveling. Mostly he despised all the energy put into pomp and formality. “Wasted effort,” he called it, “action without purpose.”

But the Bishops needed to be appeased, and so he barely tolerated the constant running fanfare of bows and introductions. Everyone wanted to see the Cardinal, or rather, be seen with the Cardinal, while the opposite was rarely true. There was simply too much to do. Always there was too much to do.

Han, his assistant, understood this, and did his best to isolate him from the worst of the politics. He wasn’t sure how he would ever survive without his assistant’s cold and stalwart ways.

“Bishop Orn has arrived, your Eminence,” the younger man mentioned as he set out a tray of tea. The Cardinal happily marvelled at the other’s perfect grace in conjunction with his Nararis, simultaneously pouring the hot beverage into the waiting china cups while handing him the day’s schedule. It wasn’t necessary to write it all out, but Mellus did enjoy some things done the old way. Han’s flowing script was a beauty to behold on it’s own. It was what had first attracted his attention to the man.

“Thank you, Han. Is everything in place regarding the… other matter?”

“Yes, sir. I requisitioned the task through the special account as you requested, and received an acceptance by wire. I was told to expect his arrival this morning.”

“Excellent. Please show in the Bishop.”

Nodding once, Han took leave to the door and escorted a tall, slightly bent man to the table.

“Your Eminence,” said the visitor, bowing several times. “You honor my diocese. I humbly offer any and all services you might require, and will personally…”

“Yes, yes, Amos. Time is critical, so let’s get right to the issues at hand, shall we?”

“I… of course, your Eminence,” he answered, slightly flustered.

“Of the girl. What news is there?”

The Bishop swallowed nervously. “Nothing new, your Eminence. Our proctors were unable to determine conclusively how she managed to leave the campus, though they suspect that she went through the roof.”

Cardinal Mellus waved it away. “That is inconsequential at this time. Of much more importance is where she went. I must say, Bishop Orn, I expected more. Have you at least gone through her things as I asked?”

“Yes, m’lord. We found nothing that indicated her intentions.”

“Nothing at all? No note of explanation?”

Before the Bishop could answer, there was a knock at the door. Han, who had been quietly waiting nearby, rose at once to open it. He spoke briefly with someone outside, then brought a sealed envelope to the Cardinal. Picking up an ornate opener, the older man broke the seal and withdrew the letter within.

“Never mind. You need no longer concern yourself with the Amberly girl. I am bringing in a… specialist.”

The Bishop looked as though someone had just slapped him in the face.

“But… Who, if I may ask?”

“You may. He is quite well known for his work in Arken, though his diocese is just the other side of the river Shan’el. It’s a cozy little place known as Kelleroy. You might have heard of it.”

Apparently the Bishop had, for he utterly paled.

“You’ve brought in The Black,” he whispered in horror.

Tilting his head to one side, the Cardinal regarded the man. “That bothers you?”

“I… It’s just, his methods are…”


“Unorthodox,” he answered, nervously.

The Cardinal nodded once. “Perhaps, but he does get results. And in this situation, Amos, we need results, and we need them now.”

“Yes, your Eminence.”

The Cardinal continued reading. “I would like you to remain available for questioning, but it would seem that our man is going directly to the port. How interesting.”

“The port? Why there?”

The Cardinal looked up over the letter at the man, thinking how pitiful and frightened he looked. Something might have to be done about that but it could wait. He sighed.

“Her image has already been circulated to the nearest towns. If she’s hiding within walking range then it’s only a matter of time before she is picked up by the local proctors. The only other place she could have gone is the port. She may have stowed on board a ship.”

“To where?” asked the man, confused.

“Anywhere, I would think. The further from Gar she gets, the less likely we are to find her… at least right away. But that’s no longer your problem. You may return to your normal operations.” He waved the man away.

“Yes, your Eminence.”

“Oh, and Amos… You might consider evaluating your current security measures. If an uncredited girl can walk off with a priceless treasure without even alerting your guards, then it’s obvious that your procedures may be a bit… lacking.”


“Please come in, Mr. Bobs. Have a seat. We’re all friends here,” said a tall man standing in the shadows at the back of the room.

From what he could see of the stranger who had taken over his office, the man was some kind of guildie, probably a Tech. He had the robes of a Bishop, and the same kind of wide brimmed hat, but this fellow’s was split in the front like it had been cut, and he had a sabre at his side, and another was sitting on the table. That certainly wasn’t like a Tech. They never used weapons… didn’t need to. Nobody crossed the Guild, at least nobody that still wanted to do business with them, which was pretty much everyone.

“Am I in some kind of trouble, Bishop?” he asked.

The other smiled, but it wasn’t a friendly sort of expression, rather more condescending.

“Have you done something wrong, Mr. Bobs?”


The grin widened. “Then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I do need to ask you a few questions though… To clear up a little matter the Guild is currently investigating.”

“What sort of questions?”

The man stepped forward, his right hand coming to rest on the guard of the sabre on the table.

“The sort that require the truth. I’m sure you understand.”

Mr. Bobs nodded.

“Excellent!” The Bishop pulled out the chair across from him at the table and took a seat. Mr. Bobs did the same.  “Why don’t we start with a quick bit of background, yes? I understand that you’re the Dockmaster for this port?”

“That’s right.”

“And as Dockmaster, I assume you keep very accurate records of each ship, as well as cargo manifests, destinations, etc.”

Mr. Bobs briefly looked to the shelves, where he saw a number of his record books were missing. The Bishop slid one of them across the table, open.

“Like this, for example.” He tapped on an entry.

“I suppose. I like to keep things tidy.”

“Ah yes. I can see that.” He turned the book around and scanned the pages before him. “Here, dated four days past, you show a single vessel leaving port, the Grand Maiden. A passenger ship, yes?”

“That’s right.”

“And… that was the only vessel to make sail that day?”

“If that’s what the log says.”

The Bishop leaned back in his seat. “Come now, Mr. Bobs. Surely you can recall the number of ships that have come and gone to sea in the last four days? Was it the only ship, or wasn’t it?”

“If the log says…”

“Yes, yes, the log,” he interrupted. “Please try to understand, I don’t find that such written records are the best means of determining ‘truth’. Records are merely what the author wants them to be, nothing more, nothing less. Wouldn’t you agree?”

The Dockmaster was silent.

“Fine,” continued the Bishop after a time. “Let’s talk about your logs then, shall we. I see that you use port mooring.”

“Nothin’ uncommon about that.”

“No, of course not. Ships tie off on their port side of the dock first, with secondaries on the starboard side. You have entries showing that going back almost six months in this record alone. You’re quite thorough in that regard.”


“And then we have the Grand Maiden, four days ago. Your log, which you so adamantly insist tells only the truth, shows the Maiden, the only vessel in port that day, with starboard mooring. Care to explain?”

The man was quiet again.

“You know what I think, Mr. Bobs? I think you’re lying. I think there was another ship here, but that this mystery ship was the kind that doesn’t like to appear in log books like yours. I think that someone paid you a heavy pocket of coins to leave their ship out of those pretty books. I need to know the name of that ship, where they were headed, and who was on board when they left.”

The Dockmaster laughed. “Even supposing there was another ship here four days ago, somethin’ I ain’t sayin’ was the case, I wouldn’t know where there were headed or who was on board. I don’t get that kind of information.”

“You have eyes and ears. An observant and… detail oriented man such as yourself would certainly be interested in the business of a ship which wishes to remain undocumented in your port. You must have heard something, even rumor.”

Mr. Bobs glanced at the sabre, which the Bishop noticed.

“Ah! Perhaps I forgot to mention that I am willing to pay you for whatever information you might have gleaned?” Almost magically, a small velvet bag appeared on the table with the metal jingle of coins. “Substantially.” A second bag appeared next to the first. “And of course, you would have the much more valuable gratitude of the Guild itself.”

The Dockmaster made a slow sigh.

“Twas the Queen’s Mistress. She arrived a day before the Maiden, took on basic rations, water… nothin’ special. She left at first light on the second day. Rumor was, there was a single passenger. A man. He was dressed in robes.”

The Bishop’s face was stern, thinking. “Are you sure this passenger wasn’t a young woman?”

“‘Suppose, but I never saw ‘em. Don’t think so.”

“Why’s that?”

“Most of the ships that dock here are split crews. All the same sex, and mostly male. When you’ve been at sea a few months, you don’t mistake the shape of a woman in port.”

“Hmm. And this ship, the Queen’s Mistress? Who is her captain?”

“That would be Abigail Pennylust.”

The Bishop looked surprised. “The pirate?”

“So says the Royal Navy.”

“But not you?”

The man tilted his head. “I don’t believe all the rumors, Bishop.”

“Ah, and therein lies our problem. You see, I don’t believe all the rumors either, Mr. Bobs. I’m far too practical. So how am I to take what you’ve just told me? Do I give you my gold, take the information and go? Do I trust that information in the first place, after all, we’ve already established that you’re a liar.”

“Now wait a second… We had a deal!”

“… Or, do I kill you? You’ve already admitted to harboring a known criminal, a pirate. That crime alone would get you the gallows.”

“You can’t jus’ kill people!”

“Can’t I? Do you really think a proctor is going to question the integrity of a Guild Bishop?”

Bobs was eyeing the sabre on the table. He was leaning forward, while the Bishop was leaning back. If he moved quickly, he would reach it first. Lunging, he snagged the sword and stood smiling. The Bishop hadn’t even moved.

“‘Spose I kill you instead,” he said, taking a step forward. “Feed you to the fishes and take your gold to boot.”

The Bishop sighed. “You are making this too easy you know…”

Suddenly the Dockmaster gasped as he was impaled from behind. Stunned, he stared down at the sabre protruding from his shoulder.

“You’re right about one thing, Mr. Bobs. A proctor might not believe I killed you in self defense… Unless you were found with my sword in your hand. I’m sure I could point out the inconsistencies in your logs, and probably find a few drunken workers or whores to confirm your mystery ship, but I won’t have to. You’re simply going to disappear, to your fishes, as it were.”

Still confused, the impaled man turned his head to see who had managed to sneak up behind him, but instead of a second figure, he saw what looked like a floating black rope in the air. It looped from the sabre handle behind him, traveling all the way around the edge of the room until it wound its way into the Bishop’s robe.

“My Nararis,” he explained. “We’re alike in one respect, you and I. We’re both liars. Only, I’m so very much better at it. Sorry. Though I never intended to let you go, and killing you outright would be both easy and… satisfying, my practical side insists that I take up a third option.”

Mr. Bobs struggled against the pain radiating out from his shoulder. The blade was turned sideways, tilted slightly upward under his collar bone, and was literally holding him up. He couldn’t pull away, he couldn’t even sit. With a groan, the sabre from the table slipped out of his hand and fell to the ground.

“Th-third option?” he asked, trying not to put his own weight on the blade.

“Ah yes. That’s where I torture you until you give me every last detail on the Queen’s Mistress and what happened on this dock four days past.”

“I already told you everything I know! Ahh!” he winced in growing pain.

The Bishop looked concerned. “Yes, well. We shall see. I’m sure there are a few more tidbits we can pull from that feeble little mind of yours, with the proper motivation. And this way, I’ll know it’s the truth.”

His shoulder felt like a blazing fire as he watched the Bishop rise and smile. Then, to Mr. Bobs’ horror, a half dozen more black, rope-like tentacles reached from his robes near his neck and headed in his direction. Glossy, and silent, the new appendages would have been almost beautiful if they weren’t all tipped with nasty looking hooks and blades.

The man’s screams were scarcely heard back in the small town, and even then, no one paid them heed. They’d learned to ignore such terrors, especially with rumors that The Black was about.



Caravel found the dock house and listened for a moment before knocking. There were no noises of significance coming from within the small structure, but a face appeared briefly at the window, then the door opened.

“Cara! I was beginning to think you’d chosen not to join me this time.”

She smiled just so, and tilted her head slightly forward. “Marus, you know I’m devoted to you. How could I not come when called.”

He held open the door for her, grinning. “Do watch your step, and your skirts. The floor is a bit… slippery.”

Entering the small building was like walking into a slaughterhouse. Blood splattered most of the walls in glistening runnels, still wet, and her nostrils involuntarily flared to the copper-like scent in the air.

“Looks like someone has been having fun,” she commented as she examined what was left of the dockmaster on the table.

“Sorry. I had to start the investigation without you. But don’t worry, I think we’ll have plenty of chances to play this time. Both of us.”

“An interesting case?” she asked, removing her gloves so that she could dip her bare fingers into one of many holes in the corpse. Her face reflected a curious fascination.

“Wonderful! One of my own, a Guild member no less.”


He leaned in near her ear. “A female.”

Caravel ever so lightly gasped, her lips parted in aroused delight. Turning slightly toward him, she licked her lips.

“A runner from the Guild?”

“That’s right.”


He chuckled softly. “She managed to escape from Gar Ellis proper with no one the wiser.”


“It gets better. She took one of the Arn with her.”

Incredulous, she turned and looked at the man directly.

“Don’t kid, Marus!”

He just smiled and raised one eyebrow. Caravel’s mouth dropped open. “How did she manage it?!”

“I’ve no idea,” he laughed. “But I’m well on my way to finding her. Mr. Bobs here was most forthcoming. I would have preferred to leave him to your persuasions, but I didn’t know when you were to arrive.”

She turned and reexamined the body on the table. “Pity. But so long as you got what you were looking for. Care to share? I assume she took a ship, given our location.”

“Indeed. Four days ago when she disappeared there were two ships in port, the Grand Maiden, a passenger vessel, and the Queen’s Mistress, a boat of questionable reputation and purpose.”

“Pirates? How exciting!” she said clapping.

“More than simple brigands it would appear. They brought aboard a single unknown man. Quietly. From the description our host provided, he was educated, probably royal.”

“What would a royal want with pirates?”

“What indeed. But as much as that question needs answering, we need to stay focussed on the girl.”

She sighed. “You think she boarded the other ship.”

“It would make sense. She has family at their destination, Pellin Harbor, which is important since she almost certainly boarded as a stowaway.”

“They’d pay her bond,” she replied, nodding.

“Exactly. The ship is also on a predictable schedule. She could time her escape so as to be well away before anyone noticed. Did you see the frigate at the end of the dock?”

“Hard to miss. The Royal Navy does like it’s pomp. Are we going to persuade the captain to let us go after her?”

“Yes and no. There’s no way we’ll catch her, even in a ship as fast as a frigate, but we don’t have to. I’ll wire ahead and have the local proctors stand guard at the debarkation. Either they will snare her getting off, or she’ll see them and stay on for the return trip. In that case, we will intercept the Maiden on it’s way back and do a more thorough search of the vessel at sea, where there is nowhere for her to go.”

“Hmm. Two mysteries, but only one ship,” she said to herself, thinking. “Why not let the proctors watch the port, then board the vessel for the return trip. Let them do the dirty work of searching the hold, while we go after the other vessel, the Mistress. If she’s found on the Maiden, they can keep her under lock until we return. Frankly, I’m more curious about that Royal.”

“I love how you think, my dear Caravel. Why don’t you go on ahead and prime the Captain of the frigate, work your charms and all that, while I take care of Mr. Bobs here. I’ll just change my robes and be with you. Say, two hours?”

She smiled. “Perfect. I should have him quite pliable by then.”

“No doubt. I almost pity the man.”



As soon as the door to the Captain’s private cabin closed behind them, Molly spun around and held up her index finger, cutting off the Professor, who had followed her out and was about to speak. Her face was awash with dark anger. Snagging his hand, she dragged him away and down a deck, then shoved him into a store room and shut the door behind them. When she turned and faced the man, she snapped up her finger a second time, once again silencing him before he could start talking. Resigned, he sat himself on a barrel.

“Why the hell didn’t you tell me you were with the Academy when we first met!?”

“I.. er, why would I do that?” he asked, flustered. “The Captain asked me to keep a low profile…”

“OH? And you do this by seducing women in the showers?!”

“That’s not fair…”

“Like hell it isn’t!”

“Molly, I had no idea who you were. I’d only met a handful of the crew, and just assumed you were a part of them.”

“I AM a part of them! I may be green as a babe just off its mother’s teat, and a bondservant to boot, but I am a member of this crew, John Doherty, and don’t you forget it! But don’t you dare try to change the subject with me. Did you, or did you not knowingly seduce me in the shower room?”

He took a moment.

“I did, yes.”

She sighed, trying to calm herself.

“Molly, please let me explain?”

She just waited.

“Just because I’m a member of the Royal Academy, doesn’t mean I’m not subject to all the same urges and needs as any other man.”

“You’re really not helping yourself here…” she commented, flatly.

“I was as pleasantly surprised by the availability of the showers as anyone else. But I waited until the middle watch with the hope that I might find them empty, not to seek out a member of the crew as a bedmate. And I was indeed alone until you arrived…”

“Nice of you to announce yourself,” she mentioned, her face still grim.

Now it was his turn to sigh, though more in defeat.

“Yes. I admit the respectable thing to do would have been to announce my presence. Of this, I am guilty. I admit it, I have no excuse beyond my own surprise and lust at watching a beautiful woman unrobe before me.”

“Go on.” She prompted.

He stood and placed his hands on her shoulders, something that she visibly ignored. Internally, however, her heart rate jumped several notches. “When you came in and just started taking off your clothes, I was paralysed. I should have said something, but when I faltered, I knew it was too late. I could either fumble an apology, or play it cool and see what happened. Perhaps it was forward of me to approach you, but I did confirm your permission every step of the way. And… unless I am a hugely poorer judge of character than I think I am, I believe you enjoyed the encounter, yes?”

She blushed and briefly looked down. “Yes. I did at that.”

“And so did I. Very much. A man in my position doesn’t get much of a chance to… er, court.”

“Apparently not. You’re terrible at it. John, what the hell was that business back there about paying my bond?”

He looked sad. “Honestly, I wasn’t thinking. I have no excuse. I thought of the situation only from my own perspective, and I throw myself at your mercy. Molly, please accept my apology. I in no way meant to insult you or your honor. If you would rather not see me anymore, then I will… regretfully… leave you alone.”

She glared at him.

“Don’t you dare treat me like a possession ever again.” She put her open hand under her chin. “I’ve had it up to here with male dominated culture, and I won’t let myself be taken advantage of anymore. I like you, John. Even more, now that I know you have a brain as well as a… as, um…”

“Yes?” he asked, somewhat amused.

“What I mean to say is, even though you’re educated, you’re also…”

He raised his eyebrows in mock curiosity.

“Oh, fuck it all… Come here.” She pulled him forward by the lapels, drawing his face to hers. For his own part, the man hesitated only a moment before reaching for her as well. Molly hadn’t meant for the kiss to be anything other than a direct signal that she was very willing to forgive him, but she soon found herself lost in the moment. John’s hands reached around her hips and drew her forward against him, and to her surprise, her own hands landed squarely on his crotch. When she felt his very present erection, she gasped.

Having him massage her rear while they kissed was about all she could handle as far as resisting the man, and moaning, she reached for his belt. Her fingers were fumbling frustratingly with his britches, and he couldn’t seem to get the buckle loose, when suddenly it seemed to clear up on it’s own. In fact, she was quite surprised to find that not only were his pants free and dropping, but his tunic was open as well.

She was just marvelling at this erotic miracle, when her own pants hit the floor.

“Damn, you’re good…” she whispered appreciatively into his ear as she climbed somewhat awkwardly up into his lap.

“I am? I mean, thanks… um, lift a bit?… Ah!”

Molly was just a bit surprised at how ready she was as his manhood started into her, then they were both too distracted to do more than sigh and gasp as she settled atop his thighs. Looking up, she met his eyes and then slowly started to move.

Before, in the showers, there had been a strange anonymity since she had been facing the wall as they made love. Now though, they could watch each other’s expressions and see every little short breath, every spasm of pleasure as together their arousal grew and built, and finally exploded into a hard frenzy of uncontrolled lust.

She was pretty sure that John came first, but she wasn’t more than a few seconds behind. His hands were wrapped around her back, holding her pelvis tight against his so that his shaft was buried at its deepest point. She could squirm and tremble in ecstasy, but couldn’t pull away from the strong waves of pleasure that enveloped her when she came.

Molly cried out several times before finally collapsing forward onto his chest, exhausted and dizzy. The Professor just stroked her hair and tried to catch his own breath. Some time later, he tilted her face back up to his and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

“Can I assume then, that you accept my apology?” he teased.

She play-hit his shoulder. “For now. I may ask you to demonstrate your commitment to that promise again later tonight. You aren’t getting off that easy.”

“Then I look forward to apologising again. Perhaps I can think of a few other ways to show you my sincerity. I’m thinking of a few right now…” His hands slipped under her shirt and found her breasts, which he began to gently tease.

Molly closed her eyes and was just starting to moan when she heard seven bells.

“Oh shit…” She exclaimed, sitting up.

“What is it?”

She squirmed off of the man’s lap and stood, sighing as she stared down at herself. John handed her his handkerchief.

“Thanks,” she mouthed while she cleaned up a bit. She was pulling her clothes back on when she noticed her Nanaris. It was nearly invisible around her waist. In fact, she had totally forgotten she had it on as a belt. Had her clothing help come from a her mechanical partner and not John? She shook her head and filed that consideration for ‘later’. “I’m technically still on watch. I totally forgot.”

“Certainly they will understand, yes?” John stood, cleaned himself up as best he could, and then reached for his own pants.

“Maybe. I think the Quartermaster is pretty strict about such things. I don’t know what I was thinking…”

“Hey,” he stopped her, taking her by the shoulders. “If they give you any trouble then you tell them you were with me. You can say we were discussing technical matters or something.”

She softened a bit. “I appreciate that you want to protect me, but I’m not going to lie, especially to Brill. She’s been straight with me. If I have any chance of earning her respect, then I need to return that favor.”

He helped her with her coat. “You are a wise and wonderful woman, Molly Amberly. The ship is lucky to have you… as am I.”

She blushed, and then leaned forward for one more lingering kiss before turning and exiting the storage.

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