There is no explicit warning for this chapter.
Arg Isle was magical. Captain Rain was certain of that, but she hardly had time to think about it, let alone question Jameson. She followed him to a stone building where he passed out exotic swords that were thick enough to work as clubs and had the entire lower half serrated to ugly points.
Jade politely refused the one offered to her, touching her own cutlas and letting the devilish blunderbuss on her opposite hip speak for itself.
Jameson took a bow and a skinny quiver that looked like it only held a few arrows. The feathers were black but shiny, and he also filled his pockets with small caltrops, metal triangles that would turn any terrain into a painful consequence.
The row of ship’s on the ocean were paying them no mind and Jameson was happy for the turn of luck. Timber had noticed their sudden turn for the horizon and read it for what it was.
“They see whatever it is you guys are waiting for,” she said to Jameson as she invited them into her home. “It must be big to chase away that many sting boats.”
Most of Timber’s house, with accommodatingly large hallways, was underground. Arg Isle went deep and had good rock to dig into for all sorts of projects.
It was Timber who dug the tunnel for the Push, doing so in a time that would make the Season’s Kingdom’s scientists waggle their tongues in disbelief.
That project gave her a lifetime of ideas and Jameson had the perfect way to exploit one of her earliest and most elegant inventions. A trash chute.
“I have to say, I half expected you to have a perfectly good explanation for why there was no way this would work.” Jameson was practically skipping down a straight flight of stairs that might have been a thousand steps strong. He was talking to Timber but she was twenty feet behind him.
She heard his comment but the pretty girl introduced as Jade was right behind her, so she turned her head slightly and addressed the silently walking Captain.
“It’s actually perfectly safe. I’ve done exactly what Jameson proposes to do many times.” Timber had a girlish voice as well as a youthful bouncy stride despite her apparent age.
“Done what, exactly?” the Captain asked casually, more casually than one would expect for something that her life depended on.
“Shoot the shaft!” Timber’s declaration was no help, but she called Jameson to a halt when he reached the bottom of the stairs and waited for everyone else to catch up.
“I have to go back to spring the shaft for each of you, so let me explain how this is going to work.” Timber’s voice echoed back up the way they came. The chamber was filled with nervous energy.
“It will be fun for most of you so don’t be afraid. You are going into battle, let THAT be your chief worry. When you get to the end of the hallway, and it’s almost three lengths by the way, you will see a watertight door with wheels in the middle of both sides.” Jameson and Jade were nodding their heads which was good enough for her to continue. Since there was only one door, it wasn’t like they would mistake it for a wheelbarrow. “One at a time you will go through the door and spin it shut. Then a grated floor will lift you up into another chamber with a hatch above your head. Do not touch anything, keep your weapons sheathed. PUSH ALL THE AIR OUT OF YOUR LUNGS! And wait for the cold.”
She looked around to make sure that all eyes were on her. “You will be about fifty feet below the surface and if you push up hard enough when the hatch opens up, you can stay in your chamber’s air bubble long enough to take a free gulp of air before it beats you to the surface. And it will.”
“What if we’re not fast enough?” Jameson asked grimly.
“You won’t get a free breath half way up, but you shouldn’t need it. The whole thing takes less than a minute. I’ll talk to you through the squawk-box on the wall and if you press the button, you can talk back. You say ready, I hit the switch. You say ready, I hit the switch.”
“Got it!” Jameson said and sped off down the hallway.
No one else got it. Timber could see that and touched a dark button on the wall and the passageway lit up brighter, enough to see a chain stretched along the ceiling. She touched another button and the chain began moving in the direction Jameson had gone. They could see him in the distance stop and look up.
“What’s the hold up?” he hollered as he began to jog back.
Timber walked over to what appeared to be a random heap of discarded wood and rope but as she lifted up a plank, they could see that it had rope tied through it on either end. The other ends of the rope were tied through the eye bolt of a black iron hook.
Timber put the hook into the rumbling chain and the supported plank started sailing away.
“There goes your ride, PJ,” Timber said. Jameson ran after his wooden swing and climbed aboard.
“Take the hook out before the end of the line or you’ll stop the whole works!” Timber shouted to him. He gave her the thumbs up and hopefully not just because he was already enjoying the ride.
“Now, the rest of you…” Timber walked back over to the wooden planks. “there should be plenty of these.” She began handing them out.
Jade helped her. “Why do you call him PJ?” She asked.
“Price Jameson,” Timber answered. “He doesn’t like the title ‘Lord’ and insists on something more informal. That’s been my nickname for him since he was crawling away with my tools.”
Jade was the last one to hook in and ride her levitating chair to the end of the line. She closed her eyes and rode through the cool tunnel thinking about the recent treasure she had found. A treasure that she almost literally dug up and had since filler her life with surprise and passion.
Jameson was up ahead cheering like a child. He was just her type.
Timber’s tin voice was spilling from the squaw-box when Jade jumped from her swine and pulled if free of the chain that disappeared into the wall.
“…much too close to the door, just a few turns. Once someone’s in, say the word and I’ll send them up.”
“I’m going first,” Jameson said. “Are they here yet?”
“Not quite yet, but I’m going to send a bubble up to get a sighting. I don’t want to miscalculate and release you too late. I’m thinking that if I can get you ahead of it, you can swim into its path and grab the dock ropes.”
Jameson pushed the button. “I’m thinking the exact same thing Timber. How visible are we going to be though?”
They waited. Three lengths away, Timber was watching the ocean through binoculars and spotted the disturbance in the water when she opened the hatch and released a big air bubble.
“It’s bright out there,” came her response. “I think you’ll be hidden in the sheen of the surface to be honest. Still, I’m going to try to put you up pretty close. I hope you all can swim.”
Jameson turned around. Immediately, he saw three faces that were white and one that might have even been green.
“I don’t want heroes,” Jameson said softly, keeping his eyes down. “I want killers.” He looked up. “If you can’t swim fast, climb faster and kill before you even know you’ve killed…or you will die out there. I need only the most fearless and confident among you. Honestly now, who’s not ready?”
Five of the eleven men and women who came that far stepped away from the group. Jameson was not harsh with them and he did note that the woman who volunteered was still standing in front of the fearless few with her chest out and her eyes fierce.
Six, eight including Jade and Jameson, that was actually an easier number to manage in this kind of operation and Jameson thanked the five men who stepped aside.
“It took more courage to admit that you were not ready then it would have taken to stay quiet and try despite your doubts. I’m proud of you five. I want you to run back, unless you can find a way to reverse this chain and get boats ready. We will need lots of boats and Timber will be too busy to arrange it.”
Captain Rain had pushed the button on the squawk-box when Jameson began speaking and released it in time for Timber to tell them how to make the chain churn the other way and to give them a last-minute warning.
“You might run into some fish after the first few of you go through. They come over pretty quick when they think it’s chow time.”
“What does she mean?” Jade asked Jameson.
“Most of what goes up through here is leftovers,” he said sheepishly. “It disposes of organic material and feeds the fish at the same time. The fishing community really flourishes because of it.”
“That explains the smell,” someone said from beside him.
“I think that if you can all be ready in the next minute, I can put you right in front of it. It’s moving slowly, heavy in the water.” Her words only confirmed the seriousness of their mission. The ship was heavy with their friends and family.
Jameson walked over and pushed the button. “I’m going in. Fire when ready.” He turned to face the group. “Captain Rain, I want you next. After that I want to see Ron, Sophia, and Kirk. Get to cannon ports and either climb up or climb in. The dock ropes should also be there and on either side of the bow.”
He then walked over to Jade and slid his hand to the small of her back. He pulled her to him and didn’t stop until their bodies and lips were pressed tightly together. “If I die today, I will have only one regret,” he gruffed harshly. “Not having you as my Princess,”
He was gone as quickly as the chuckle he got from her.
Jameson hummed to himself after he spun the wheel on the door and the sound was loud in the small space. He heard Sophie’s muffled voice report to Timber, ‘he’s in’ and he began to rise up to the next level. He looked down between his feed and saw the floor below him close beneath the grate he stood on.
He took a deep breath, then his eyes widened as he remembered Timber’s most forceful advice and let his breath out just as the hatch above him slid open. The water thundered down all around him, and for the briefest of moments he was surrounded by water but not wet. A second later, he pushed off as the tube of sea water collapsed from the ground up, forcing him out like a cork in a bottle.
Jameson pushed up hard and as soon as his arms were clear he swam upward with all his might. He could see many bubbles racing him to the surface, and was indeed mostly inside one that kept his hair dry almost all the way up.
He got tired and felt the tickle of the bubble traveling up his body as it drifted undeterred toward freedom. As it’s edge brushed his neck, he took a deep breath felt the sea water kiss his face and soak his dark hair.
He was facing the ship when he came up and was indeed directly in its path. He leaned backward and leisurely swam to one side but thought that there would be time for almost all of his compadres to pop up before it reached him.
Timber thought the same thing. As soon as Jameson’s chamber was emptied and returned to the entry door she instructed the next person, Jade, to ‘get on in there’.
She was not as strong a swimmer as Jameson, but was able to enjoy nearly half her swim inside her air bubble. She could have even gone faster at first but Timber also warned against that.
When she came up into the sunshine, the ship loomed large before her and Jameson was only thirty feet away and smiling at her.
“Some fun eh?”
“We should have been holding balloons,” Jade responded.
Jameson noted her ingenuity and made a note to have her spend more time with Timber if they ever got back. All eight of them got up to the surface before the large ship sailed overhead. It was a wooden whale in the water, but it had many ways to climb up. From Timber’s spyglass, it looked like large insects were crawling all over the ship’s hull.
She had three boats of her own and she dragged them down to the beach by the time the other five showed up. Together, they located several more boats but no more people. They had already been rounded up and were in the Push and on their way to safety.
When Timber put her first boat in the water, the large ship was beginning to turn towards shore. She watched in horrified fascination as the boat started steaming right at her.
She had holstered her spyglass like a pistol and put it to her eye. It was Captain Rain standing at the wheel. Timber couldn’t make out much more than that, except to see that the fighting was still underway. She watched as Jade pierced someone through the neck and put her boot on their face to free her blade for the next chop, which came a moment later and was, if possible, more gruesome than the one before it.
With two bodies at her feet, Captain Rain was largely avoided by the remaining slavers. Jameson and his volunteers were elegant swordsmen considering the blunt instruments they swung. The large flat swords with serrated lower halves were wielded with a surgeon’s precision. She also noticed that they often fought as a team, switching fighting partners to throw their foes off and taking advantage of the distraction.
There were more slavers than they expected which would have spelled certain doom, but they were mostly in a drunken and celebratory state which lead to the first dozen getting killed below decks with the sight of sticky red metal sticking out of their chests.
Half of Jameson’s crew went further in, to begin releasing their countrymen while he took the Jade and a few others to fight for control of the wheel.
“If any of you see a fire, put it out,” he said before they split off. “Get back up on deck as quickly as you can, but send the others out through the stern glass.”
They met a beefy man on the steps leading up to the deck and he almost cleaved Jameson in half. Captain Rain watched it happen in slow motion and drove her boot into Jameson’s leg behind the knee. He collapsed downward and the axe that was thundering down at him only nicked his nose.
Jade steadied Jameson with one hand and freed the blunderbuss pistol with the other. She fired with her arm straight and the flood of material that gushed from the gun was noting compared to the gush of material that flew from the man’s back as he toppled backward.
The tremendously loud report, as well as the gout of blood that streaked the deck above the stairwell, gave everyone on deck a welcome warning to the flood of grim-faced soldiers that issued from the bowels of the ship.
It was not a complete victory. One of Jameson’s volunteers, Albert, was decapitated abruptly as he fought off two seasoned sailors who had isolated him and struck together.
Jade screamed with fury and buried her cutlas in one of their backs while she took his no longer necessary sword and thrust it so savagely at the gut of the other man that she got her hand bloody. She kicked the latter over the edge of the ship and continued to the wheel where the Captain of the ship stood, watching her.
“Come to me little girl!” he said through crooked teeth. “I’ll be sure to whisper the names of every man you killed today in your ear as I fuck you for days.”
Jameson hadn’t lost track of Jade, but his hands were full with a crazy-eyed fool, who had two swords and boundless energy to swing them. He was backed up to the rail, but landed a solid punch to the man’s chin and skirted under his thin blade.
He reached into his pocket and dropped great handfuls of small black pyramids on the deck. The man in pursuit was immediately pained by the painful caltrops and Jameson turned to fight aggressively in order to keep him dancing on what he had heard his father call, ‘battle jacks’.
Jameson got his chance a moment later and cut a sliver of a line in the man’s stomach that opened like a cut tomato and spilled his life all over his boots.
Jade was approaching the slave ship’s captain with caution. Captains were usually good fighters, it’s what kept them in charge. She kept her head moving in order to stay safe from sneak attacks, but her opponent didn’t. It was an unforgivable mistake in battle.
Kirk walked slowly up to the captain of the ship and slid his giant sword under the man’s chin.
“Yield the ship or die.”
“Go Fuck…” He did not finish his sentence.
“Good job,” Jade told him as she took the wheel. “Go help Sophie. She took a hit while tending to Al.”
He left her to steer the ship. She could see that there weren’t going to be enough boats sent out to ferry the freed slaves back home so she did something that seemed quite reasonable at the time. She steered the ship toward the beach, but the movement got the attention of the remaining slavers. They attempted to avenge their fallen captain and regain control of their ship.
Jade dispatched them with ease and she planted her boot in one of their faces to pull her blade from his pulsing neck. It was satisfying. It used to be the most satisfying thing she had ever indulged in, but Jameson had shown her new fruits of passion and togetherness with his mere words, let alone his strong smooth body that she could cover herself with each night if she chose.
A few moments later, the stairwell rustled with noise and island prisoners were squinting their way onto the deck. Some of them slipped on the generous amount of blood decorating the rough wood.
“I’ll try to slow her down,” Captain Rain shouted towards Jameson and his gathered soldiers. “but she’s going to cut a trench about fifty feet long when we hit.” She called Kirk back over to hold the wheel while she scaled the ship’s rope ladders to begin taking in the sails.
Jameson joined her.
“You fought well.” He wanted to sound more relieved than impressed. Jade actually heard it as pleasant surprise.
“You and your friends train together don’t you?” she asked in response.
“Our Arg Isle Army,” Jameson said, gathering canvas at the same pace as Jade. “It’s formidable.”
“It is,” she said quickly. “You fight with an awareness of each
other that I’ve never seen before. I watched you shift into another man’s battle just as he turned to face your pursuer and you both struck killing blows due mostly to shock.”
“If we had more men, we could take half of the Pox islands.” Jameson spoke matter-of-factly, they both knew he had no such aspirations. Jade jumped over to the next sail arm, but Jameson climbed down and climbed back up on the other side.
“You’re crazy,” he said.
“You’re could be right,” she admitted. “But I wouldn’t have considered that if I were.”
Her logic was as infallible as it was humorous. He looked up and worry creased his lovely face.
“We have time,” she said. “grab the second line above your head, the one with the slip knot.”
He looked up and grabbed the rope she indicated.
“Both hands,” she corrected. “Above the knot.” He complied.
Jade then walked over to him and grabbed the same rope, placing her hands just above his. “When I say so, start running to Port.” Her breath tickled his ear but it was her outlandish suggestion that got his mouth to drop.
“Are you crazy?”
“We covered this already. GO!” She started running along the thick beam that held up the sails and Jameson had no choice but to stay half inside her stride to keep up.
Jade untied the slip knot just before she jumped, listening to Jameson gasp and curse at the same time. They swung in a wide arc over the tops of their companion’s heads and when the ship struck land they were propelled around the mast and Jameson hooted with delight as their bodies tilted at an angle from the speed.
“You need to let go when I say,” Jade’s voice was a vice in his winded ear.
He nodded his head, hoping it wouldn’t be soon.
Jade let them wrap themselves around the lower mast three times before they were low enough for her to give the order. Jameson assumed that she would release them over the water, but it was the sandy beach that cushioned their landing. A huge drift was created by the ship and Jade sent them straight over the bow of the ship where they fell only eight or nine feet to the sloped sand.
They ran forward down the drift as the ship came to a complete stop.
“Did you see what happened to Al?” Jade asked him.
“I did,” Jameson stated solemnly. “His sister is a close friend so I’ll want to be the one to tell her when we return to the other side of the island.”
“I’m sorry, love.” She spoke the words into his arm just before she kissed it.
“He helped us save them. He’s a hero, and he’ll be remembered that way.” Jameson spoke with a King’s resolve.
“I’m glad,” Jade answered.
“You helped us too Jade. We couldn’t have rescued them without your help.” He kissed her deeply and did not stop until he heard his mother clear her throat from the rail of the ship.
“Would you like to introduce me to your friend, Jamey?”
The Push had indeed been sent back for them and from that day forward, it made the round trip every three hours as ordered by the Queen, who spent the whole trip back in an awe filled daze.
Timber had pressed the PUSH button rather than the RUSH button and that pleasant female voice came over the speakers in the headrests again.
“Please take your seats. We will be arriving at The Flat in 92 minutes.”
Everyone gasped at the impossible prediction except for Jameson and Jade, who were disappointed that the trip was going to take so long, especially if they weren’t alone.
Jade nudged Timber. “That’s your voice, isn’t it?”
Timber blushed, her mountainous state seeming playfully volcanic. “How did you know?”
Jade spoke as they took seats on long davenports lining the walls. “The last time I heard that voice was through the squawk box under the sea. I remember it because I wondered if it would be the last thing I ever heard. And you know what? I was comforted by you. Thank you for that.”
Timber looked down, but Jameson walked up and captured her gaze just before her shoes could fully tempt her.
“Why the two buttons?” he asked. “Why not just cruise as fast as you can all the time?”
Timber nodded her head. The carriage trembled and was then spit forth like a watermelon seed. Once again, the flat rubber ropes that hung down squeaked on the windows. “You’ll see why when we get to Nectar Lake.”
After an exhaustive twenty minutes with Queen Pineapple Alexander, the restless couple huddled together on the love-seat at the end of the carriage. The very seat they started their adventure in together. Except now, they were moving backwards.
They didn’t notice the difference, wouldn’t have even guessed if not for the rings of white lights that probed the cabin every so often. They were cradled like eggs in a robin’s nest.
“Your mother seems very nice,” Jade said. “For someone who just got sprung from a slave ship that is.” She realized that her observation could have been misread as sarcastic but Jameson was already smiling widely.
“She likes you Jade,” he said almost as if it were a prison sentence in and of itself. “Oh she likes you a lot and that means that she’ll want to be in on all the planning.”
“In on all what planning?” Jade was watching the people of Arg Isle embrace one another and fill the fast-moving carriage with renewed purpose and exuberance.
He didn’t say anything for a while. Jade almost probed him again when he reached his finger to his eye and took away a tear as if it were a lady bug. “I have never known love. I know that now. In fact, it pains me to come to such a harsh realization. Never-the-less, I know that I have never known love, until now. Until you.” Another clear lady bug crept from the same spot and he allowed it to tremble down his raw cheek.
“I don’t want to control you. I don’t want to own you. I just want to love you and, if you’ll honor me, marry you as soon as you’ll have me.”
Jade gaped at him. She knew her answer was going to be ‘yes’ but she couldn’t form the words. Fortunately she remembered that she could still communicate because just when Jameson’s hopeful eyes began to fill with miscalculated dread, she nodded her head gleefully and asked the only thing she could think of.
“What about Commodore Clyde’s Booty?”
Jameson had a certain smile, one he reserved for an answer to a question he had expected. It was one of a thousand things she hoped to learn about him. “I didn’t want to ruin the surprise, but I was thinking that it would make a great honeymoon.”
Jade hugged him until she felt him stir. He stood as quickly as the sight of his mother generated an idea. Jameson put his arm around his mother’s waist and bent down to speak in her ear. A few seconds later she squealed with delight and turned to give Jade a look of pure joy.
Jameson spoke further and The Queen clapped her hands together before removing a delicate golden ring from her plump pinkie.
He strolled back over to Jade and held his hand out as he sat down. Jade placed her left hand in his rough but warm paw. He slid a ring over her finger that looked like it was growing ivy. It had dozens of tiny leaves and was as golden as the morning sun on a freshly cut lawn.
“This is the engagement ring that all Queens of Arg Isle have worn until such time as they passed it on to their daughters.”
Jade hadn’t fully realized the scope of what she was accepting with his proposal until his mention of what was surely to be only the first of many traditional and royal influences.
She searched her heart and reminded herself that honesty was the only road to happiness. She made both decisions in her mind and as soon as she considered the thought of not waking up next to Jameson every morning, her stomach cramped.
“It’s beautiful,” Jade looked into his magic hour eyes. “I can’t wait to see who gets to wear it next, but I hope it feels like an eternity until then.”
The lights turned to yellow and then they were zooming through Nectar Lake. Timber was right, the slower pace made moving through the water much, much more hypnotic.
The multi colored fish could be seen more clearly and the plants lent a carnival of greens to the landscape. Everything seemed so much more vibrant, so much more alive. Or maybe that was just the impression of the couple sitting at the front of the speeding carriage and watching the world go by.
It was my intention to have a three-part tale…then it grew to four parts…now, shit, I don’t know when it will end. The problem is, I am committed to other projects and have to put this down for a while. I never meant to tease you and if you think it is indeed worth pursuing, please share your thoughts.
This was intended to help me get beyond my aversion to writing erotica and despite not having so much as a nipple in this last chapter, I think I have made some great strides and pushed my limits to the point where they don’t limit me anymore.
After all, that’s what we strive for.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you will find yourselves reading about Jameson and Jade’s adventures to and through the raindrop islands and into heart of the Pox islands where Commodore Clyde’s ghost has teeth.
I look forward to writing such chapters as: “Cool As A Cucumber” and “G Marks The Spot.”
Thanks for reading.