Nene Adams 1998-2000. No portion of this publication
may be reproduced or copied without the author's permission.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Sweet Abandon
Elizabeth stepped back and put her hands on her hips, nodding in satisfaction. "Very nice," she said in approval.
Safiya shook her arms and legs gingerly. She was clad in an old linen nightshirt, the hem hastily trimmed down, and a pair of loose cotton breeches. Bandages covered wrists and ankles, and her braids were held away from her face by a faded red bandana. She grinned, teeth a startling white against the contrasting blue-black of her skin. "Not too tight," she observed. "It is good."
Graciela had been leaning her hip against the ship's rail, sharpening a knife. "Where'd you learn to speak a civilized tongue?" she asked. "I thought all you heathens spoke gibberish."
Elizabeth frowned but Safiya answered without rancor, "I speak the language of humans, the people of the plain... and the gib-ber-ish of ghosts like you. I learn from a black-coat no-legs ghost who came to our village to speak for your dead god."
There was a puzzled silence while Graciela tried to make sense of the African's description. "Ah!" she exclaimed, snapping her fingers. "You mean a Jesuit missionary." The Fathers habitually wore long black robes that concealed their lower limbs.
"Yes. Father Mendoza. He told us not to fight the raiders." Safiya's eyes clouded for a moment then she shook her head. "He spoke to them, told them the peace-words of the dead god... and they killed him. He was a good man."
Elizabeth sat down in a coil of rope. "Was Father Mendoza your friend?"
Safiya clicked her tongue. "I am a warrior. I have no friends." She stretched, bent backwards until her palms touched the deck, and slowly flipped herself over until she was upright again. A thin stain of blood on the back of her shirt showed that she'd reopened the cuts on her back. "We fought the raiders after the Father died. I led the other women; my husband commanded the men. Many died. I saw my husband fall... I swore he would be avenged."
Graciela gestured with her knife. "How did the blackbirders manage to take you alive?"
"They came, many many men, and hit me until Mother Night came and closed my eyes," Safiya replied, rubbing her head. "When I climbed out of sleep, I was chained in the ship. There were three tiers - I was in the lowest. Shit and piss and blood to the ankles; death on every side." She closed her eyes briefly and snapped them open again. "All was darkness. There was little air. The weakest sent their souls to Mother Night quickly; others lingered in pain and tears for a while. I swore the ghost jackals would not steal my breath until I put a spear into all their bellies."
Elizabeth swallowed back compassionate tears. "We can give you money, Safiya. Book your passage, send you home, if you wish..."
"No." The African woman knelt in front of Elizabeth. "I am dead to my people. If I went back, they would throw stones at me, afraid I was a starving ghost who would curse the village. I cannot go back." She put a fist to her forehead in a kind of salute. "Instead, I will serve the Sun Woman who gave me life again. She carried me back from death and a warrior pays her debts."
Graciela snorted. "That's all well and good. Another titted tyro to tempt the men on a sea voyage." She gave the former slave a dark look. "I'll tell the crew you're off limits, woman, but I've no time to mollycoddle you. Stick close to Lizzybet and do as she says. Another thing..." She pushed away from the rail and scowled. "There's but one captain on the Quartier, and that's me. When I give an order, I mean for it to be obeyed tout suite and no mistake. Is there goin' to be a problem with that?"
Safiya looked at Elizabeth for confirmation, and the red-head nodded. "I will obey you as a second mother," the African answered the captain solemnly.
"Good." Graciela turned her head towards the quarterdeck. "Miguel, take Safiya down to the storeroom and get her kitted out weapons-wise." As the one-eyed Spaniard came down the steps to the foredeck, she added, "Assign our new crewmate some bunkspace and make sure our men know she's not ordinary rape fodder. Any cock who wants his wick dipped had better steer clear of the heathen or he's liable to draw back a bloody stump."
"Aye-aye, Cap'n," Miguel said. "I'll take care of it."
He jerked his head and Safiya rose to follow him.
As soon as they were out of sight, Graciela gave Elizabeth an exasperated glare. "Well, now... I suppose you figured that old Reichart wouldn't pepper you full of holes, eh?"
Elizabeth ran a hand through her hair. "I just couldn't stand it anymore," she replied. "If you'd seen the way they were treating those poor people..."
"I've seen a blackbirder auction or two in my time, querida. I don't approve of it but that's the way of the world and we're not likely to change it anytime soon. Nor am I going to host a hold full of rescued supercargo from Africa, either, on account of your heart's bigger than your common sense. I backed you up because I didn't want to have to mop your pretty face off the stage after Reichart blew it off with scattershot, not because I felt a sudden urge to add a black-skinned heathen to the ship's roster." She sighed. "Lizzybet, I swear you're going to make me old before my time."
Elizabeth scrambled out of the rope coil and stood beside the pirate. "She'll be fine, really. I'm sorry if I made a mess of things but Safiya was... well, I couldn't stand seeing her chained. She was different from the others. More full of life..."
"More like full of piss and vinegar and pure contrariness, like a certain other tallish lady of my acquaintance." Seeing the way Elizabeth's face fell in disappointment, Graciela relented. "Aye, very well, princess. Have your way. P'raps this Safiya of yours will prove useful in a fight. But..." She raised a finger. "I'm not havin' her in our cabin. She can bloody well sleep with the rest of the crew and take her chances."
"Oh, don't worry! I'll take care of her!"
Graciela sighed again and raised a hand to the sky. "And so I said to my mother after dragging a stray kitten home to keep. Damned ungrateful furball ran away after a week o' coddling, and me stealing fish heads and other dainties for the bugger as well!"
Elizabeth giggled. "It'll be all right. You'll see."
"I hope so, b'Christ." The pirate glanced at the sun, mentally calculating the time. "Enough of this business. Come below with me, querida. I've something to show you."
In the cabin, Elizabeth sat down on the window seat while Graciela unlocked a trunk and pulled out a wrapped bundle.
"Here," the pirate said, unwrapping four pieces of what looked like ill-cured leather and laying them out on the desk. "T'is the map that leads to the Sirena and more treasure than any son of the sea ever claimed."
Elizabeth dutifully examined the 'map.' The tattoed blue lines on the leather were blurred with time but clearly showed a route through a chain of islands, ending at a particular place in the scattered archipelago. Graciela tapped the X-marked island with a finger. "There's bad reefs and shallow shoals, damn near impossible to navigate." She cleared a space on the desk and unrolled a parchment chart. "We'll be sailing past Goat Head Key and into the Maze. The map has navigation marks but I'll still be wanting a man in the bow with a lead-line to measure our depth. The Quartier's not a shallow-beamed river beater and I'll not be wantin' her stove up on a reef with all hands over the side."
"Why are you telling me this?" Elizabeth asked, a puzzled frown creasing her brow.
"You need to learn how to read maps and charts," Graciela replied seriously, "if you still intend on sailing with me. Do you, querida?" She leaned closer to the girl, close enough to catch a whiff of the salt-and-musk tang of Elizabeth's skin. Her voice dropped to a husky purr. "I'm no saint, Lizzybet, nor nun besides. I cannot stand the temptation of watching you and knowing I cannot touch you. We've clashed a time or two but if you stay, t'is my bed you'll be sharing, and I don't mean solely for sleep."
The red-head blushed but didn't move away. Instead, she loosely curled her fingers around Graciela's wrist, thinking, I may never have another chance. My fear has kept us apart too long. Time to let go of doubt... aye. Time and past time for us to come together as we should, as it was meant to be.
"I'll stay," Elizabeth said softly. "I want you, my pirate chieftain. You've stolen my heart and set my soul aflame. I've never had such feelings before; it's like you've given me wings and now I stand on the crest of a mountain, waiting to fly."
"T'is a poet you are and no mistake," Graciela said, picking up Elizabeth's hand and kissing her knuckles gently, one by one. "Come live with me and be my love," she said, quoting the playwright Christopher Marlowe. "And we will all the pleasures prove..."
Elizabeth eased herself off the window seat and led the pirate to the bed. "Love me little, love me long," she replied with another quote, sitting on the edge and drawing Graciela into the space between her spread legs.
Graciela gently pulled the linen shirt over Elizabeth's head, exposing her lightly freckled breasts. "Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air, clad in the beauty of a thousand stars," she murmured, continuing the game. Bending her head to give her lover a kiss, it seemed to Graciela that she'd never tasted lips so sweet. She slipped her tongue inside Elizabeth's mouth, delighted when the girl responded boldly in kind.
Elizabeth tore her lips away, gasping, "Oh! Mistress mine, where are you roaming?" - all knowledge of Marlowe had fled, leaving Shakespeare in its wake. Graciela's hands were caressing her breasts, tweaking nipples made stiff and aching with desire. When her lover's hot, wet mouth engulfed a nipple, tongue and lips suckling skillfully, Elizabeth groaned, closing her eyes.
"Oh, stay and hear, your true love's coming!" Graciela whispered, kissing each freckle scattered across the girl's chest. Her hands snaked downwards, began tugging Elizabeth's breeches down. "Trip no further, pretty sweeting; journeys end in lover's meeting."
The red-head whimpered with need, falling backwards on the bed, raising her legs as the tight breeches were peeled away A fire had awakened in her belly; each touch, each feather-light breath across her skin threatened to turn the flame into a raging conflagration. "In delay there is no plenty," she urged, raising her arms in abandoned invitation. "Come and kiss me, sweet-and-twenty..."
Graciela hastily doffed her own clothing and stared down at Lizzybet with appreciation. The girl's green eyes were hooded, lips parted slightly, the shining wealth of her hair spread across the blankets. Her face, arms and throat had been kissed golden by the sun but not the rest; the tangled mat of curls between her thighs blazed like rubies against the paleness of her skin.
Abandoning the poet's game, mouth gone suddenly dry, Graciela replied, "Aye, my goddess, my Hawk of the Sun. Spread your wings, querida. Give yourself to me." She crawled up onto the bunk and hesitated, suddenly unsure. Elizabeth was an innocent virgin, a maid untouched and unspoiled. The pirate was afraid of despoiling that virtue, terrified of being too rough and frightening her would-be lover, half convinced her fingers might leave blackened marks of sin on that silken skin.
Elizabeth made an impatient sound in the back of her throat. She slid around until Graciela was kneeling between her boldly outspread thighs. The girl felt wanton, wicked and wild; she smiled lazily, seductively, raising her hips in wanton invitation. "Take me," she commanded; the burning itch that flared so sweetly in the core of her being was driving her insane. Her body craved fulfillment, demanded more kisses, more caresses, MORE. "Love me!" she cried.
The pirate needed no further invitation. She got down on her belly, hands grasping Elizabeth's hips, and lowered her mouth to the thatch of red-gold curls. At the first delicate touch, Elizabeth let out a gasp of surprise and ecstasy, fists knotted in the blankets, thighs spreading wider still. "Jesus!"
Graciela glanced up, her gaze traveling the length of her lover's body to meet green eyes open wide in shock. "Nay, not Jesus nor the Father nor the Holy Ghost. Get ready to fly, querida. T'will feel even better soon." She bent her head once again and ran her tongue along the lightly furred lips of the girl's mound for a moment or two, then plunged it deep inside.
Elizabeth nearly came off the bed. She'd never felt anything like this before. Rubbing herself with her own hand was one thing, but this! She moaned, pulling up her legs and bending her knees towards her chest, opening herself wider, all modesty fled beneath the sheer onslaught of pleasure so powerful it was almost pain.
Graciela stiffened her tongue and thrust it again and again into the offered opening, musky fluids smearing her cheeks and chin. When she judged the time was right, she began lavishing attention on the swollen knot of Elizabeth's clitoris, glorying in the texture and taste.
"Oh! Oh! Oh yes!" The scream was ripped from Elizabeth's throat. She was soaring, flying on a wave of unbelievable sensations that lifted her higher and higher. "Please..." she begged. "Oh, please..."
Graciela eased a finger into the girl's tight opening, passage eased by the slickness of the flesh, and felt the thin barrier of maidenhood. Concentrating most of her attention on the center of Elizabeth's pleasure, she pushed her finger deep inside, breaking through the virgin's shield. Knowing she was the first - and only - lover this girl would have made her feel so proud, so powerful and yet so tender that she could have roared in triumph and wept for the sheer beauty of it all.
Elizabeth felt a slight pinch of pain but it wasn't enough to override the white-hot pulse of climax that was threatening to sweep her away. "GRACIELA!" she screamed, falling headlong into wheeling, fevered sensation that shook her to the core, carried her away in a breathless delirium. Her hips bucked instinctively and she grunted as shorter, sharper waves stabbed upwards from her belly, finally dying down to a toe-tingling satisfaction that left her panting.
Graciela gave those blazing curls a final kiss before moving up on the bed. Her finger was speckled with blood, as was the blanket beneath them - proof of the girl's virgin state. "You are mine," Graciela said, nuzzling Elizabeth's throat. "Always."
"Yes," Elizabeth replied. "Always." She felt as if her entire body was glowing; she was sweaty, tired and sated, but also so exhilirated she couldn't stop grinning. A thought occured to her and her smile grew wider, infinitely more wicked. Rolling over on her side, she flung a leg over Graciela's hip and pulled the smaller woman into a tight embrace.
"It's your turn now," the girl said, hands beginning to roam, lips tasting, tongue probing...
By the end of the afternoon, Elizabeth had proved herself a very quick study... and Graciela was turned from teacher to willing victim of lust without a single murmur of protest.
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Aargh, matey! That be all! Keep yer eyes peeled for more
exciting adventures of Blood & Thunder !!