In our last chapter, Julius and Isabel help root out two evil Dukes bent on the overthrow of King Patrick. Their marriage and coronation bring about many joyful events for the citizens of New Cowan; their blessing seems to bless the kingdom and its citizens.
During the first months after my coronation as Prince, I acted as Duke for both Camarillo and Bethany, dividing my time between the two cities. Bethany was in far worse shape than Camarillo and Isabel and I spent far more time there. Jeremiah was still waiting his appointment, but the people Camarillo knew and respected him. Even before his appointment was secure, the people there came to see him as their Duke.
Actually, I learned much from Jeremiah, by allowing him to govern Camarillo in my absence. Occasionally there was things I had to sign off on, but I found I respected him more for some of the difficult decisions he made.
Bethany required that I changed nearly all the guards, their sergeants and officers. Most of the former Duke’s court was corrupt. They are none I can trust in that court. Therefore, I called on Captain Michael for his assistance. We left his wife and daughters in New Cowan they stayed in the palace near the rooms Isabel and I shared when there. Father visited often, occasionally bringing Jeremiah and Mom with him. When they did, I would seek their counsel. Jeremiah really impressed Dad and myself. After three months, Jeremiah’s appointment secured, and Britney went to a young Duke.
He brought his own Captain of the guard a middle-aged man, a weapons master and a longtime family friend. The young Duke named Michael Patrick Cowan, a very distant cousin, although a little arrogant, I felt he had a decent character.
After a little coaching by both father and myself, he seemed to calm down. I even managed to ease his arrogance. I finally convinced him that his position was not a privilege but a responsibility. I explained to him that I expected him to serve the people of his duchy, not the other way around. His responsibility is to their welfare, not them to his privilege. Father smiled as I finally told my cousin, “You are to govern with their welfare in mind, when your people prosper you are successful as a man, and a Duke. Our job as royalty is to ensure the well-being of our people. You need not be submissive to them, but be mindful all your decisions should be for the greater good, of your city, your duchy, and the kingdom.”
Father turns to Michael and says, “That is very good advice, my father had nearly the same words for me. Follow them well, if you do your people will love you.”
Isabel and I begin training with Master Justin and our guard before our son is born. We found out because of my connection to Isabel she could learn spells that I knew quite easily. Isabel made journeyman wizard very quickly because of that. I quickly proceeded to wizard, after mastering a few more spells. With the experience of late, and the power boost Isabel grants me Justin feels I deserve the title. With Isabel’s added strength, I soon mastered many advanced enchantments, along with many offensive spells. The same holds true for her. By the time our son was born, the kingdom has begun to settle down.
At least in private I finally got my guards not to go to their knee whenever I approach. They still insist on bowing, and I have taken to return their bows, they prove their respect, loyalty and bravery. Captain Michael joined my guards, his wife helps Isabel, and of course, after we found his two daughters have magic. They needed to train with a wizard, namely me, and Justin.
I was correct, father did love Isabel’s dowry, the carpets she created for his couriers proved more than valuable. When the couriers begin to carry mail, Morgan clan proved more loyal than any spy network, and more reliable. They helped us greatly in rooting out the evil that had nearly taken over our father’s kingdom.
It is now late summer, and our son is eighteen months old, walking and getting into everything. He is talking, and quite curious.
We are getting him ready for bed, which seems to be getting more difficult. Our boy asks, “Daddy why do I gotta go to bed now?”
Smiling I say, “Patrick, you need your sleep so you can grow up strong.”
Isabel says, “Son, your Dad and I need our rest too. It will be dark soon. Now lay down and go to sleep.” As Patrick lays his head down, Isabel gently caresses his back as she had since he was born. Little Patrick immediately relaxes, only a few minutes of his mother’s gentle caresses has our son asleep. Isabel lightly lifts her hand from our sons back and whispers “I love you baby.”
Little Patrick smiles in his sleep before murmuring, “love Mommy.” We quietly leave his room.
Our own bedchambers are just a little down the hall, something Isabel insisted on having. Outside of Patrick’s door his nurse smiles as we pass. We give her a nod, and she whispers “Good night.”
We return her good night, as we move on to our bedchambers. We check our room. On occasion one of the children of the servants, or the palace guards has hidden in our room to see the glow. Isabel does have a modest streak, is not that she does not mind showing the glow off. She just does not want to show her body off. We learned to do that before removing our clothing. Occasionally one of these children were hurt and afraid to tell their parents.
Isabel would usually care for these children as if they were her own. Always finding out how they were injured, so far three have fallen from a tree and one broke his arm, most of the time we get a bump, bruise or scrape. Occasionally, one of the parents actually bring the child to us. Isabel or I would never turn a child away or a desperate parent.
If we find a child hidden and injured in our room and after the goddess would heal them, Isabel and I usually carry the child back to their parents. Usually to frantic parents searching for their child. Occasionally a parent come to the gates begging assistance, we gave orders to the guards to summon us no matter the hour. Some things cannot wait, and injured child should never be one of those things to wait.
The goddess seems to smile on us. Perhaps that is why the healing still worked, for both child and adult alike. Perhaps because we took no credit for what the gods do, after all we are only messengers.
Finding our room empty, I place our normal ward spells, one on the outer door, and the balcony to wake us. Second on the balcony alone, that would paralyze anyone not allowed in the castle.
Isabel has a mischievous look as she waves her hands our clothing disappears, and reappears in the hamper. She is laying on her back and she spreads her lovely legs. Her flower opens and she gently plays with yourself, her soft aroma excites me and I go straight for what my wife wants me to do. I kiss from her knees to her labia, and then gently licked along the outside of her opened flower. I tease Isabel holding her hips not allowed her to move to direct my tongue too quickly. I want her to build up to her orgasm. Isabel is still learning to give me enough time at our little game. My wife can be impatient when it comes to my affections.
When she struggles too much, I simply kiss down her other thigh stopping at her knee. I slowly kiss back up to her labia. Isabel gets the message and runs her fingers through my hair. I gently lick her labia teasing the folds with my tongue until they extend fully. Now the little knob standing on his short stem throbs with her heartbeat.
Isabel utters, “For the love of the goddess stop teas...” Isabel loses her voice as my mouth wraps around that small knob that is her clitoris. My tongue teases it as my lips hold it hostage. The room floods with light as we glow brightly. I release Isabel’s hips and immediately she thrusts her clitoris into my mouth, my hands slight up her body, and squeeze her breast before my thumb and finger find her nipple. I tweak her nipples, a light pinch and pull starts Isabel screams of euphoria.
I release her clitoris to lick and lap her nectar, my tongue darts into her tight opening allowing the nectar to flow into my mouth. I taste her flower its nectar and it drives my lust. I lick and suck enjoying her nectar as it flows. Soon her quaking stops, but I again attacked the stem and before long, a second wave of bliss washes over Isabel. At the end of this orgasm, I can no longer deny my pleasure.
I lift up and reposition myself. My manhood begins to slide into her as her arms are going wide begging me to come to her. As I slide in, I lean forward, Isabel takes me into her arms, and we kiss as our bodies join. A fast rhythm brings Isabel to climax in only moments, I hold still to write out the waves of bliss that flow-through Isabel. Holding myself as deeply as I can, grinding against her to heighten her pleasure.
Her breathing is still heavy and deep as I begin long slow strokes, never allowing Isabel fully come down from her euphoria. She smiles into my face in with heavy breath she says, “It is going to be one of those nights, when you drive me crazy with love.”
Returning her smile I say, “It is.”
Once I am no longer close to my own orgasm, I began moving faster to find that rhythm Isabel loves. Isabel shutters kicks in the air as she raises her legs. Only a few more minutes at that pace and Isabel is again in heaven, her eyes rolled back in her head as her orgasm becomes very strong. I slow my rhythm, or hold still as I come close to my own, never allowing myself to go over the edge until Isabel has had least half a dozen orgasms. As Isabel is approaching her sixth I keep going fucking her fast and deep. I feel my own coming and I pray Isabel reaches hers first. We are both moving into our point of no return Isabel’s legs wrapped around my waist and she uses her legs to pull into every thrust I make. Isabel is not going to allow me to continue any longer without taking pleasure myself. My mind screams, (I am Cumming).
Isabel’s mind echoes, (I am Cumming).
Isabel shutters hard, she gushes fluid as she pulls tight to me. I push is deep as I can as my balls push forth my seed and what feels like a solid stream, time seems to slow and what could not be more than moments seems like an hour as we are in a constant state of bliss.
We kiss each other between gasping for breath. Once our breathing has returned we look into each other’s faces, loving the glow that surrounds us, we laugh much as we had nearly every time Isabel and I have made love. I roll Isabel onto my chest and stroke her hair in the warm night air. Exhausted yet so satisfied we fall asleep.
The next morning after breakfast, Isabel and I join father as he reads to little Patrick, when his steward interrupts us with a message. Word has arrived by courier that Raiders are threatening the coast again. Several small fishing villages now found in ruins. They learn to stay away from the major cities; they tend to hit the fishing villages, possibly moving inland up to a day’s walk to catch those fleeing. Father reluctantly is going to send Isabel and me; however, he does insist we leave his grandson with him.
We take our guard, and a new carpet we have created. It is a light blue, once we lift high in the sky it seems to disappear. We can travel unseen by day or night, catching the Raiders by surprise. Isabel and I both have learned the spell of invisibility. Isabel and I with our guard can infiltrate a ship and determine if it is a slave raider without anyone on the ship knowing.
That is a handy thing to do considering, if we attack a different kingdoms ship, and cannot prove that it is a slave ship in our waters, it could mean war something I would prefer to keep our kingdom out of if possible. It is one thing for a wizard to do that, but the Prince to attack another kingdom’s ship unprovoked, and without proof of it being a slave ship that is taking our citizens would be an act of war.
Father sent diplomats to the known kingdoms to deal with the political ramifications, most of these kingdoms would not wish to go to war over a renegade Captain taking our citizens. Some of these kingdoms have already abolished slavery as we did a decade earlier. Although they still have a problem with an underground slave market like our own, that we have been working on abolishing.
We had more than one Duke suspected of allowing slavery to go on in their duchy, with enough evidence we charged two. A few Dukes suspiciously ran taking their treasury. Bandits and Raiders alike went after those Dukes, if the Raiders captured them first we never heard from them again. If the bandits catch them, more often than not only the bodies found.
If they are enslaved, held prisoner on a ship headed for the slave market, after taking their own citizens, father and many others feel it apt punishment. However, Isabel and I would see them come to trial, and if treason found, that charge removed their royalty, and that of their family. Only two Dukes, other than you had Duke Egger, had suffered that fate, hopefully no more. Duke Egger was the main source of the corruption within the kingdom. Now without his influence many of the other Dukes have again sworn allegiance to father.
Having Jeremiah as a Duke, and leader of house Morgan has given my father a great advantage. House Morgan merchants have traveled freely among the duchies for decades; they have many friends in each of those duchies. House Morgan now stationed in Camarillo, they use the carpets and crates and have set up many shops permanently in many of the duchies. Word of disappearances or other strange occurrences find their way back to Jeremiah quickly.
One of the magical items Isabel created was a set of communication mirrors; she gave one to her father and the other to her father-in-law. Talks can happen between the two with no one other than the two knowing. One of those talks has Isabel and I headed towards Camarillo, the island off the coast has smoke rising for the last two days.
It may be nothing, possibly someone ship wrecked, or the Raiders use the island to stage their attacks. Whichever is occurring, Isabel and I will find the truth.
Lifting off on our carpet, we carry a smaller chest. This one has enough room for the suits of armor, weapons, even settles if needed. Our guards are enjoying the ride as we had directly towards the coast before skirting it down looking for Raiders. It takes a little longer than going direct to Camarillo, but our mission is to find Raiders and they will not be in land anywhere near that route.
We only have to check out two ships, they proved to be normal merchantmen and carry no slaves. We have approached near where the island is located, now we head out to sea. Approaching the island, we see two ships anchored. Many people on shore, even from the height we are at we can see the slave pens. There are two richly fashioned tents, and I wonder if that is some of the escape Dukes.
A smaller single massed cargo ship known as a cog is sailing towards the island. Either bringing more slaves or restocking the slave ships for their return to their kingdom. We circle around getting a good look. We make a count of the Raiders and the number of slaves. We remain watchful to determine exactly what the cog is carrying.
We watch the cargo off load from the cog, mostly food, along with water barrels. The ships must be preparing to leave. We come up with a plan, will do some damage tonight. When we are ready, a larger assault force take on the nearly a hundred and fifty Raiders, as a smaller group rescues the slaves.
We leave well before nightfall, and the tides are wrong for them to leave before dawn tomorrow. I doubt they will have the cargo stored away on the larger ships before then. I do want to find out, who is supplying them, consider the cog flew a Bethany flag. That does not really mean anything, the Raiders often use local flags, and it could be a captured ship. They have use that tactic in the past.
We quickly speed away to Camarillo. I would have to talk with my father-in-law, and asked to use the mirror to speak to father. We speak with several merchants that sell food, and ask about the cog from Bethany. Isabel is very persuasive, using her beauty the merchant will say anything to keep her talking to them, and she acts as if she is browsing their goods, as she chats with them. Apparently this is not the first time that crew has shown up in a new ship, and purchase similar supplies. About once a year this occurs.
Having found out what we could, we head to the keep to share our information, and our plan. The first thing I want to do is damage the larger ships, leaving them marooned for a time. The weather this time of year should play into hand; there is many a foggy night. I can always help that along a little, it is an easy spell to do to make the air a little cooler that should cause fog to rise.
As I speak to father, I tell of the two ships and a slave pens holding nearly a hundred of our people. We describe the plan and the troops we will need to make it possible. Isabel and I had created several large carpets, and we can land an equal amount of men before dawn, if they leave New Cowan tonight. Jeremiah has volunteered a third of the city guard, for the attack, we should easily outnumber them, with the element of surprise on our side; the victory should be very quick and one-sided.
Father agrees, and will be leaving within an hour with the necessary troops, as a diversion he will head first North then out of sight of the city turn to Camarillo.
Now it is up to me to make it an impossibility for the two ships to leave earlier, perhaps a swell lifting the ships from their anchorage, even to the point of beaching them. Where they are at that would be possible, and without a mage to sense the presence of magic. They would believe it would be an unfortunate but natural event.
We fly back out to sea, over the horizon and find the ships much as we left them. The sailors are stocking the ships, probably going to spend one more night here before leaving. Their makeshift dock consisting of rocks covered with planks is barely above water during low tide. They do not seem to be in any great hurry, so we wait for the tide to rise slightly.
Just before dark, some of the Raiders begin pulling females from the slave pens. Apparently, the cog had brought rum too, and the Raiders are celebrating their good fortune. Knowing what is about to happen, Isabel and I look at each other and know we will not allow it to occur. I asked Bill, “You think you can put a flaming arrow into their rum barrel.”
I can see the look of hate for the Raiders on his face as he shakes his head yes. Bill says, “Set me down on the island I will kill as many of those bastards as I can.”
With a voice of cold steel I say, “You are not doing this alone Bill, their rum exploding is just to get their attention while we slip in and end a few rapist lives. I will cause fog to rise. We stay together, move quietly and quickly. Our target is to kill as many of the Raiders as we can, without raising an alarm. We will start on the edge, work our way around it moving deeper slowly, the rich looking tents we save for last.”
Michael points out, “We should only hit the rum if an alarm is raised. That will take their attention away from the ones in the camp, or at least prevent the entire camp coming to the aid of whoever called the alarm.”
I shake my head yes and look at Bill and say, “Could you keep track of where the barrel is as we move around in the camp?”
Bill smiles and says “Yes.”
Be quickly dress in the armor I had made for just such an occasion, the armor constructed from black drake leather, with star silver material backing the leather. Certain areas are padded, or the leather doubled, all of it has been enchanted with stealth spells, and strength and vitality except for the two mage suits that Isabel and I wear. The two mage armors give us stealth and protection against magic.
Bill gathers to quivers of arrows, one that specially made arrows that flame on contact burning white-hot. The other a simple set of normal arrows although excellently made, they fly true and for a very long distance. Picking the best spot to begin our infiltration, we land silently hidden from view by several large trees, and begin making our way to the camp.
They only have a few guards, one on the inland side of the slave pens, a second and third on either side. On the beach, a bonfire burns the barrels of rum sets on a table near it and inside the light of the bonfire. It would be a simple matter for Bill and myself to kill all the Raiders around the bonfire. The only problem is now that were closer one of the enslaved females is being held there.
We slip into the camp, there is a tent and two of the Raiders are within they are pushing around a young woman; they toy with her like two cats play with a mouse. They are so preoccupied with her; they do not even realize we stepped into the tent. They ripped at her clothing as they push her back and forth in a sick game.
Ruth silently moves to one, as Ben moves to the other the two stab into the necks up into their brains as the two Raiders fall, the girl screams again but that is not out of the ordinary for this camp. Once she realize we are here to help, she goes silent. I whisper to her, “Long as we’re not discovered we may be able to free most of the captives.” She looks down at the two men who still jerk before pulling a knife from one of their belts. She stabs them both once each. Now that they move no more she shakes her head and heads for the door. Ruth falls in beside her.
In the next tent a single man is with a girl, he is taking his time removing her clothing, silently Ruth moves up behind him, her dagger comes in under his chin and back to his brain stem, and his mouth opens with a scream that makes no sound. His body limply falls to the floor and the two girls hug each other. I tell them, “Stay here kill any raider who comes to the door. We will be back soon so watch for us. If you hear an alarm, run.” The two pull weapons from the dead body, then nod their heads.
We seem to repeat that numerous times, within half an hour we have killed more than forty pirates and still have managed not to raise the alarm. Now close to where the rum is I whisper a spell to increase the potency of the rum, its alcohol content doubles without changing the taste. There is a dozen or so drinking, their pushing a nude girl around, laughing at her as she attempts to get away.
I have to pull Ruth and Isabel away, pointing out to the next row tents, and telling them more girls are inside, will come back for that one is quick as we can. I hate to leave myself; I know that eventually one of the Raiders will do more than just push her around. I hope that with the alcohol, they will soon be too drunk to stand, and the girl may get away.
The next row of tents went very similar to the first, only one girl was too hysterical and I forced to put her to sleep to prevent her from running and raising the alarm. We quickly move through the other tents, killing as many as three Raiders at a time. By the time we work our way back to the bonfire only two Raiders are on their feet, the rest are so drunk that they may not even recover.
I know there is a least a dozen Raiders on each of the ships, and who knows how many captives held onboard already. The only thing left are the two large richly decorated tents, and from the sound of it, there is at least one girl in each. Of all the Raiders we counted earlier, we must have killed close to three fourths. We move into the first tent, two guards are outside the door, fortunately both are pointing in opposite directions, with the fog they cannot see very far. The camp now is more or less silent and the guards look nervous. Ruth and Ben move silently and kill the two guards without each crying out. Bill slides inside first with an arrow notched, Ruth moves behind him. I only hear a momentary rustling and a body falling, followed by a girl screaming.
I step in and cast a sleep spell on the screaming girl. We stepped back out just in time to catch the guards coming around, Isabel move so quickly catches one of the guards with her short sword, she pushes it so hard it comes out the top of his helmet as he falls. The second has an arrow through his mouth as he began to call out.
As far as we know, there is only five living guards, along with whoever is in the last of the large tents.
With no guards at the door, we move in silently instead of killing the man who I recognize I cast a paralyzing spell. His body freezes, as Martin and Samuel pull him away roughly. The two big man have guarded our backs this entire time, the girl under the child of the traitor, is dead. I will see him hang tomorrow for her death.
Martin and Samuel once they see the girl is dead; they break several of his bones as they kick his paralyzed body. Paralyzed does not mean unfeeling, he feels each bone as it breaks although he is unable to scream. The look of terror and his eyes, he probably earned a hundred fold.
Getting the two big men’s attention I say, “When we finish, you too can come back and have all the fun you want. I will even remove the paralyzing spell so you can hear him scream. We have a few more guards to kill before we release the captives.”
I point to Bill, the one inland of the slave pins, Ruth and Ben the far side, then Martin and Samuel the near side, then moved to the docks, I think we can get those Raiders by the bonfire. Isabel turned and begin moving, and I had to hurry to catch up. They were not very quiet about killing the three guards by the pins, and they screamed for minutes drawing the drunken once from their cruel game by the bonfire.
The lightning that Isabel called forth struck one traveling through him and struck the one behind. Both men glows for an instant before disappearing leaving red marks on the ground where they stood.
Only one other struggles to his feet, the girl laid crying in a ball trying to protect herself from the man. Fortunately, they have gotten too drunk to take advantage of her. The one who made it to his feet, all the anger at what I see comes forth, and a red line of energy rips him apart. The alarm is being sound from the ships. The girls that we have freed move, they run away from the alarm, as our companions rejoin us. Bill fires arrows, as the gangplank become crowded behind the men who fall into the water with an arrow protruding from their chest. Isabel and I both bring forth lightning it flies straight down the gangplank as raider after raider turns into brilliant light leaving only boiling water where they had stood.
Finally, one of the Captains holding a young girl with his knife to her throat starts to shout, only to feel my paralyzing spell freeze his muscles. The other ship captain stepping onto the bridge shouts orders only to find an arrow in his chest. There is no one left to take his orders anyway.
Orbs of light come into existence, as our troops dissent from the heights of the island. Only four guards remain, and they quickly sink to their knees giving no resistance in hopes of staying alive. The ships searched and we find forty young men chained below deck. We take the ships logs, and any records we can find. We will go through them and discover what kingdom was there heading, I will see to it that that kingdom gets a word on what will occur to all Raiders sent to Cowan.
I finally go back to the son of the traitor; we search his tent after I release him from my paralyzing spell. Martin and Samuel toy with the man, they threatened to kill him as he had the girl, except it will be a stallion taken its pleasure with him. He begs and pleads, but they asked if he has the power to bring the girl back, when he shakes his head no. Bill says, “Then your fate is sealed by your actions.”
Father arrives, and I still go to my knee in his presence, along with all in the tent. He looks at me and says, “You were supposed to wait until we arrived.”
Isabel speaks first, “They were raping the women my King. I could not stand by.”
Turning to Isabel the King says, “My lady Isabel I can understand. Nevertheless, you could left more for us to do.”
Looking at me he says, “I should be angry; you risk your life and my daughter’s life. However, you are your father’s son, and I could not stood by either. Next time remember that before you make a plan.”
I say, “The next time these Raiders land on this island they will find us waiting for them. We will bring in a fleet and surround them they will surrender or die.”
Dad chuckles, “That sounds like a much better plan, no hostages for them to barter with.”
I say, “It would not surprise me that their homeport orders five ships next year, they will not know what occurred to these two until then. Unless we have a spy from Izmira, both ships came from that port. They gathered just enough slaves so as not to raise too much concern from anyone Duchy. However, if you think about how many years they have been at this. The last decade, we have probably lost ten thousand of our citizens to Izmira.”
“That weakens our kingdom; it would not surprise me if it were a prelude to their invasion. Our people taken to their shores, their labor allows Izmira to build a large army. When they come back, we should bring the full force of every magic user in the kingdom against them. Save only one, for him to bring word back on their destruction.”
Dad in a serious tone asks, “Have you glimpsed this in the future?”
I turned to the blubbing son of a traitor and say, “Tell him, and I will let your death be quick, if not you will suffer many, many days.”
His eyes widened knowing I am not bluffing. He starts by nodding his head yes without a word, I say “Out loud, so all may hear your treachery.”
Through his sobs he says, “Yes, half of all the treasure was going to go to them. I am to be the new King when you and your brat are dead.”
Anger is in the King’s eyes and he says, “By the right of my forefathers I sentence him to death, do any disagree?”
All in the tent say, “No sire.”
I say, “Get a rope and hang him far outside the camp. What Isabel and I will do next is not for him.”
My father chuckles and says, “We would not have the goddess heal him only for him to strangle again.”
Turning to my father I ask, “Could we bring all the prisoners into one spot, even the dead. My heart tells me that needs to be done.”
My father nods his head yes before he orders, “Make it so, bring all the injured and all the dead back to the outside of the slave pens. Do it before dawn.”
Isabel and I leave this tent, it is then that Isabel collapses against me. The harshness of this camp have finally sunk in and she needs her emotional release as tears run down her face. I hold her close and wish I had never brought her to this place. If I could, I would go back in time and meet these two ships before they made landfall and destroyed each, before they took a single prisoner.
Perhaps the gods heard me, because in the next instant Isabel and I stood alone without any thing around, it was early morning and out to see two ships are at full sail. They are the same anchored here moments ago, or a month from now. This is when they begin their raids, Isabel and I can prevent all the death and destruction they cause.
Isabel backs away, confused she asks, “What just happened? Where is the camp?”
“It is yet to be set up, the gods have given us a chance to prevent that terrible night and all that happened to our countrymen at the Raiders hands.”
Isabel turned seeing the ships and says, “Give them to the sea, they deserved no better.”
I call the carpet; somehow, I knew it would be with us. Isabel and I move on to it. We rise in the air and speed away toward the ships. I reach out and since if any innocence are on the ships, all I feel is evil, I nearly sickened by it. Isabel and I both prepare lightning bolts; the amount of energy in them is staggering. Each would have turned the Drake to dust in less than a second. We passed between the ships so quickly the sailors aboard barely turn in time to see the lightning bolts flash out into the sides of the other ship. As the bolts lightning strikes planking explodes leaving huge gaping holes at the waterlines of both ships.
Water pours into the ships and they list towards each other, their mass slamming into each other breaking apart as they do. I draw forth the ships logs, and their orders. Their orders are together a hundred and twenty slaves before they return, eighty female, the remainder male. The order is signed by, the Duke of Izmira. Now with the evidence of the Dukes complicity I think a diplomatic mission may be in order.
Even as the ships begin to sink, their crew ready crossbows and aim toward us. Our goal is not just to sink the ships, but to destroy their evil crew. The carpet veers wildly, and we change altitude rapidly, crossbow bolts fly pass harmlessly. Isabel and I have two fireballs ready, and we both strike the ships simultaneously. The concussion from the fireballs is so strong it nearly knocks us off our feet on the carpet. Sailors not caught within the fireballs tossed into the sea, and two gigantic holes are in the deck where the fireball struck, fires burn over most of the deck. The remainder of the crews dive into the water.
As the ships sink below the surface, Isabel and I fly back towards the island, in the light of day we see the cog making landfall. Out of the water walks the son of the traitor, the man who would deal with those wretched men that would have brought death, destruction, and slavery to so many of our citizens.
Isabel is so angry I can see her shake as a young girl pulled behind him. He killed the same girl only a month later, after the Gods knows how much torture he put her through in that time. Judging from her demeanor it does not look as if it has begun yet; fire is still in her eyes.
There is only four seamen aboard that ship. Helmsman, and three to work the rigging, it is a small ship, and four men in mild weather could easily handle the ship. However, it is possible there will be more below deck.
There is only one were truly interested in, although I will take the rest prisoner, perhaps they know something useful.
Isabel readies a lightning bolt. I warn, “See the rope it may hurt the girl if you cast it onto him.” Isabel drops her spell, as we approach. He turns and pulls a dagger. Before he can pull the girl to him, I paralyze the son of the traitor. He once was the crowned Prince but lost that title as the treachery of his father discovered, and his family nobility stripped away.
Landing a few feet away, I asked the girl, “Has he hurt you yet? I mean, are you uninjured?”
The girl kicks him, he topples over unable to adjust his balance, and the force of the kick sent him to the ground. Isabel giggles, and the girl turns to us. “He has not hurt me yet. Who may I say is my rescuers?”
I smile and say, “I am Julius, and this is my wife Isabel.”
The sailors charge us splashing through the water, which is a great mistake on their part, before they can make the shore Isabel and I cast two lightning bolts that leave only boiling water where the first two stood, the next sailor thrown back into the side of the ship. The helmsman dies as he lifts a crossbow. A fireball ends his life and sets the ship on fire.
I shake my head, “Such a waste they could have lived if only they would obey the laws of the kingdom.”
The girl sink to her knee, head bowed, her voice shakes as she says, “My pardon Prince Julius, Princess Isabel. I did not know you.”
Isabel giggles, realizing we just changed her history, present or future, it is hard to figure out these things. Isabel says, “Of course, you did not know us, or us you. If you did, you would know that we do not take offense and such matters. Please rise.”
I echo my wife, “Please rise, we took no offense.” I step forward and cut the ropes binding her to him.
Returning my dagger, we are again standing before my father in the light from spells. The gathered captives seem to shimmer in the dim light before they vanish. Even the dead on the ground are gone. The young woman stands in front of us and even in the near darkness; we see her face go pale. In place where the captives stood, now eleven sailors stand bound.
My father asked, “What just happened? You were gone for an instant.”
“I do not think we need to worry about the injured. The gods sent Isabel and me back in time. We faced the Raiders before they arrived. Sinking both ships and killing most of the crew.” Dad shakes his head as many do. It is as if they are trying to clear the cobwebs from their thoughts.
The girl asks, “Why did I not vanish like the others?”
Isabel steps close to her, wrapping an arm around her waist she says, “We changed your past, the path you had before you could not travel, the gods must have sent you with us back to the present.”
Dad looking into her face says, “Oh, oh my Gods. Are you the daughter of the Duke of Edmonton?”
Realizing who addressed her, she sinks to her knee once again. Shyly she says, “My pardon sire, yes I am.”
I look around quickly for the son of the traitor; I spot him still swinging from the tree limb where he hangs. I guess the gods did not see fit to change his destiny. Dad taken a deep breath and says, “I think the gods wanted you to still live. Earlier tonight I swear I saw your body, but here you stand unharmed.”
The girl stammers, “How, how, how can that be?”
I say, “It is a privilege of the gods. Do not dwell on it. It will only make your head hurt.”
Dad chuckles and pulls the girl up giving her a hug. The girls a little more than shocked by my father’s action. After he releases the girl he says, “Think the gods for their kindness. I would not want to tell your father that his daughter is anything other than safe and unharmed. Your father was, and I hope still is, a friend. What is your name child?”
Isabel says, “She is no child, she cannot be more than a year younger than I.”
The girl gives Isabel a smile and says, “Sire my name is Carissa Hope Cowan, daughter to the Duke of Edmonton.” Taking a half step back, she curtsies to my father, and he gives her a bow in return.
One of my father’s Knights chuckles and says, “Now the father takes lessons from the son.”
My father turns to him and chuckles, “It is well that I should, he recognizes loyalty and praises it higher than one’s blood, my old friend. If I had you would had your own city long ago.”
The Knight goes to his knee removing his helmet he looks into my father’s eyes and says, “I love you as a brother, but please do not make me a royal. I love the life I have.”
My father teases and says, “Get up before you scuff your armor, my friend your squire works too hard at keeping it polished. If you do not wish it, you need not worry.”
The Knight retakes his feet, he and my father began to laugh warmly, and all but the eleven prisoners join in.
In the morning, we show my father the shipwrecks out to see nearly five miles. The clear water allows us to see the ships over fifty feet below the surface. Only my father, the Knight from earlier, Isabel, Captain Michael and I are on the carpet. Even from this height, we can see the massive holes Isabel and I blasted into the ships.
The Knight shaking his head says, “Prince and Princess I am so glad you are on our side.”
My father chuckles, “So am I.”
Isabel smiles, she and I both sense the treasure hidden within the ships. She begins a gathering spell, and the treasure floats up into the air landing in a large pile on the back of the carpet. Apparently, they were going to do more than just gather slaves. Perhaps they wish to purchase star silver weapons, or armor. The amount of treasure Isabel has brought up would suggest it was something quite expensive. Perhaps that is the cover, to ships carrying large amount of treasure, mostly gold, to purchase very expensive materials.
Father had seen the order, knows these are no merchant ships. He too, wonders why they are so much treasure aboard slave ships. Perhaps they have already taken slaves back and had not time to divide the treasure. They could have been paying the son of the traitor to hire mercenaries as the initial strike on our kingdom. It could be hundreds of reasons, but it matters not, their plans will never come to fruition.
We rejoin the main body of troops, father retaking his normal carpet. My guard rejoins us, along with Jeremiah and Lady Carissa. We fly to the courtyard of my father-in-law’s keep and my father joins us. We send the troops off to procure their breakfast, after handing them five gold pieces each, nearly a tenth of the pile of gold coins taken up by our generosity. The remainder will go into the treasuries of the kingdom and Camarillo.
The eleven surviving Raiders taken to the dungeons and will be questioned, before they are tried or returned back to their homeport. Any officers most likely will receive death penalties, but the general seamen; most likely, we will sell back to their homeport.
Jeremiah is the nearest Duke to the island, so it should fall under his territory, with Raiders using it as a staging area it would do us well to fortify it. I believe we should build a small keep on the island, with fifty or so soldiers, and a mage. They can warn of any ship approaching, especially those flying the flag of Izmira.
We will get an architect, someone accustomed to designing defenses and keeps, have them design the plants for us to build. Isabel and I have found some spells that we wish to experiment with magical construction. This island sounds like the perfect area. First it is deserted, second the fortress need to be done before the next raids of the spring season.
The Raiders seem to come in either the spring, or early summer usually only once a year, for perhaps a month or slightly longer. Now we see a pattern, they use trade winds the only blow toward us during the spring, during late summer the trade winds change directions. They need somewhere to wait for favorable winds. Building a fortress on this island would deny them that, it may not stop the raids altogether, but it definitely will make their life harder.
Tomorrow morning we will leave with Lady Carissa traveling to Edmonton, and return her to her father. I wonder why we have not received word about her disappearance, considering it was a month ago. At least two carriers have come and gone from Edmonton in that time. Her father should have sent word of her capture, and requested our assistance in her return.
After she was safe in the keep, Lady Carissa retreated into the chambers my father-in-law granted her. Her ordeal had taken far more from her than what we had realized. A priestess of Aphrodite called, to counsel Carissa and provide what comfort she could.
It was nearly an hour before the priestess exited the Lady Carissa’s room, Isabel and I walked the priestess out with Jeremiah at our site. I begin, “I understand what Lady Carissa said to you is confidential, I would not ask you to break her privacy. However, if you could suggest anything I can do to help I would be most appreciative.”
The priestess smiles and said, “For any other I would not even suggest anything. However, you are the chosen of the goddess; your help would be most appreciative. Lady Carissa fears her homecoming, she had not said so directly, but I can tell. Perhaps a delay of a week may have benefits to you and your father.”
Jeremiah smiles and says, “I would not mind houseguests, and perhaps the Lady Carissa would like to visit New Cowan, and a tour by carpet, that could easily take a week or possibly more.”
The priestess smiles and then says, “I will continue to visit as long as she is here. Perhaps in time she will share with us what she fears.”
Isabel and I stroll around the palace grounds, eventually find ourselves on the west wall, a tower there and we climb it to see the view of the city and the sea. Just on the edge of the horizon we can see green, at first rethink our eyes deceive us. Nevertheless, I realize we are very high, and when at this height on the carpet we can spot the island.
Of course, we cannot see it clearly it is a great distance away; however we can tell it is there. That gives me an idea, place a tower near the highest point on the island, either magical or using a fire to create light that can easily be seen from this tower. Station guards here to raise the alarm, we might need fewer troops on the island, at least not all the time. There is only a few months with favorable winds for the Raiders to arrive. Those months we should station more men, with the benefit of fortifications and mages perhaps only a couple hundred men in total, compared to the fifty we will leave there permanently.
A tower on the island should also be able to see further out to sea, like the tower here. With guards on the tower there to watch out to sea, we should have hours of warning, most likely enough time to send reinforcements, ships to intercept, and possibly carpets with crossbows, and mages.
The sun is getting lower in the sky, as we hear Isabel’s mother and father laugh as they climb the stairs. Isabel clears her throat getting their attention as they reach the top. Her mother giggles, “I see you found our spot. It is a great place to watch the sunset.”
Jeremiah says, “This is where I spotted the smoke, a few the prisoners have already began to talk. They say they hung that bastard for stealing food. They had been ship wrecked for a month without food, have eaten everything on the island they could find. Only in desperation did they light a signal fire.”
Isabel looking at her father for a moment turns to look back out to sea. Her voice is far away as she says, “Yesterday, I saw how bad our people are treated in slavery. I fear for all those who disappeared. The gods allowed us to go back in time. This one time we prevented the ships that carry the Raiders from coming to our lands. Hundreds of lives do not know the horror those Raiders carried with them. I wish I did not know.”
I pull my wife into my arms, as she begins to sob her mother and I tried to comfort her.
Her father says, “I too wish you never had learned such an evil exists, that man can do that to his own. I will do what I can to make sure it does not occur again. I have sent word to our people in Edmonton. I want them to find out what they can. Why would a Duke not want to find his daughter, why would he not asked the King for help to do so?”