CHAPTER SEVEN Continues ….
The sound of Grey’s voice chilled him.
‘Kent, be certain I know the exact reason you run from the British authorities.’ The man went on. ‘I persuaded the captain, of my last transportation vessel, not to blow you, and this splintering tub, clean out of the water, and I now must advise you of your debt to me.’
‘I owe you no debt.’ Michael hissed turning to look up at the man standing so casually in the doorway, pompously studying a fingernail.
‘Oh yes sir, you have no idea how much you do.’ He replied his eyes flicking down at the pair, a sneer warming his face ‘The queen, my cousin, is very annoyed you should have escaped her gaol.’
‘The Queen is just mildly piqued that I may have escaped her noose…’
‘Oh no sir, be very sure she wanted to watch you hang.’ Grey’s cheek twitched as he emphasized the cynicism of the title with such punishment due to be exacted. The piercing glare of his beady eyes was in contrast to the malleability of his face twitching and sneering as he spoke on through clenched teeth; pausing on certain syllables and words for dramatic effect that would be the envy of any great actor.
‘She watched your lashing and looked forward to witnessing your face turning puce then purple, and be absolutely certain that you pleaded for her mercy as you gasped your last.’
Seemingly forgotten in this argument, Rhiannan felt frightened at the jousting of words, no more so than witnessing the purest glee shining in the Lord’s dark eyes as he described what had to be the morbidity of a slow hanging death.
‘Would, that there be the day, that a sovereign should hold such fascination of my demise.’
‘You jest.’ Grey sneered. ‘Do you really consider your misdemeanor not worthy of the anger of our queen?’
‘All I am guilty of is to avoid the service to her admiral.’ Michael gave him with contrasting flippantry and deciding to end this banter, he sprung, surprisingly fast, to his feet and drew Rhiannan to her own behind him.
‘And the deflowering of sweet Marguerite?’
Rhiannan could not see Michael’s face but she did feel him stiffen before her.
‘You left the girl impregnated.’ Grey went on ‘Your lust for sexual satisfaction destroyed the child’s future as lady’s maid to her godmother the Queen, and her ability for a decent marriage …’
‘To you if I guess correctly.’ Michael surmised.
Lord George spluttered and coughed with indignation then furious demanded the truth from Michael.
‘So you do not deny the charges I set before you?’
‘Yes of course I do.’ Michael was tired of the man’s over dramatics, after all they were on a ship in the middle of an ocean what did this imbecile think he would achieve? He defended himself more for Rhiannan’s hearing than out of any demand from the pompous nincompoop Grey. ‘I have never seen this lady Marguerite let alone bedded or impregnated her. But if it has saved her a life of servitude not only to that spoilt English brat but also to you, then I should think she’d be grateful.’
‘You sir …’
‘This, sir, is my ship!’ Michael’s voice gave them no doubt he had reached his tether. ‘I would take care what you say aboard her and most carefully what you choose to advise me.’
‘This ship remains yours only for as long as you avoid capture or death.’
‘And never yours!’ He shot in, his tone viciously low, his face reaching dangerously near the nose of his opponent. ‘Take care sir; the briny is not so forgiving nor does it care for your rank,’ he paused here and sniffed theatrically himself to give insult to the man before him. ‘And title should you fall from these decks!’
Michael gathered Rhiannan to him protectively and pushed past the man in the doorway. ‘Remove yourself from my presence sir, find a hole to hide in, before I find one for you, until Rio offers you sanctuary; for I will not have you walk my decks freely with the will of my demise in your breast.’ He pulled Rhiannon behind him, sheltering her from the glance of the pompous noble. ‘Take that one if you feel so inclined.’ He indicated the room they had just vacated. ‘I will order it to remain as empty as it is now, just for you.’
‘The Queen will hear …’
‘Not from your tongue, should you accidentally bite it off; nor from your hand, should your fingers fuse from the boiling oil you foolishly wash them in.’
‘You cannot threaten me so …’
‘I can and I have!’ Michael replied victoriously articulate. ‘I suggest you note it well.’
And with that Michael pushed Rhiannan before him down the passage, leaving the Lord to stare after them, outraged and indefensibly useless. The huge black man was nowhere to be seen.
As Michael passed the hatch he bellowed for Maloney. By the time he reached Rhiannan’s cabin Maloney was behind them.
‘Get this weasel out of this cabin, throw him overboard for all I care but lock him away from all harm before I exact my anger and show him just what harm I can do.’
Rhiannan sought the safety of the other bunk as Michael grabbed the man Jake from hers and hauled him almost over the table towards Maloney who was bellowing for ‘Mr Fairchild Sir!’
Rhiannan closed her eyes so as not to see the man hastily pulling his trousers to around his scrawny waist. She had once mistakenly looked to the man’s front in past days noticing the discolouration to his blue trousers, her servant mind wondering as to why and how she could suggest to him the best laundering. Now she feared guessing correctly and never wanted to look at the despicable creature again. A not so small part of her wished Maloney would take Michael’s suggestion of turfing the slimy worthless entity overboard. She was certain no one could miss him.
‘And as for that leach, if I see him I will kill him. Confine him to the cabin assigned him and it had better not be mine.’
‘Aye, aye, captain!’ Maloney winked to Rhiannan showing her the pleasure he felt that Michael was resuming his metal as leader of this ship and its crew.
‘And Patrick.’ Michael added letting his tiredness show in his voice, his head hung from his shoulders as he paused straight armed, knuckles on the table. But Maloney’s face whitened at Michael’s use of his Christian name ‘Get us to Rio as fast as humanly possible, even if I must man an oar myself.’
‘Aye, Mr Kent, sir.’ Maloney replied in complete reverence, leaving the cabin and closing the door.
Finally alone in the cabin Michael slumped into a chair and held his forehead in both hands. Rhiannan had felt a wash of fear closely followed by a deep wave of caring seeing him show his exhaustion. She stood behind him her hands resting on his shoulders and let the fingers move in hard pulsing circles against the solidness of his tense muscles.
He moaned aloud in sheer pleasure at the feel of her administrations. ‘My sweet lord you amaze me with what you do. That is sheer bliss.’
Smiling with self pride that she was helping him somehow, she continued and exacted more vocal appreciation when she pushed with her thumbs into the muscles lower on his shoulder blades. He groaned with complete appreciation and she felt herself brighten with pleasure as she continued to massage his muscles, feeling the tension in them ease at her touch. It seemed what she felt in her own tired muscles if she touched him he relaxed and moaned or sighed in pleasure. When she ventured to run her fingers up his neck and into his hair the response was audible bliss.
‘Oh yes! My lord god yes!’
He supported his forehead with his hands, resting his elbows on the table and allowed her to control his head with her fingers and thumb. She waggled his head by rubbing the chorded muscles in his neck receiving hisses and moans that were somewhat arousing within her.
‘Ho there Lassie, when you have finished with him, may I sit my turn?’
Both sprung to defense; Rhiannan grabbing the water jug and Michael the dagger from his boot. In a heartbeat they registered Lord George stood in the open doorway drenched in the contents of the jug with Michael’s dagger in his right shoulder; his eyes wide with surprise as blood darkened his ridiculous coat. Already Michael had rearmed himself with the lantern from the table, Rhiannan with a tankard, and paused for further fight, they watched as the man sank to the floor unconscious.
Dropping the metal cup, Rhiannan covered her mouth and let out a mute scream.
‘Oh my god! We’ve killed him!’
‘No we haven’t.’ relieved of the need for further fighting, Michael placed the lantern on the table collecting the dropped cup to place also. ‘His heart, if he has one that actually beats, is on his other side.’
‘But he dropped to the floor dead!’
‘He fainted.’ Michael stated resignedly ‘Maloney!’ he bellowed as he stepped forward to attend to the prostrate man.
‘How did he know I was a girl?’ Rhiannan asked in a small frightened voice.
Michael looked up then smiling stood up, stepping over the leg in the way, and running his hand into her hair drew her face up to be kissed by him.
‘How anyone thought you a boy was beyond me, but without your green bandanna there can be no mistake; your glorious hair gives you away for the true beauty you are.’
Maloney stopped at the door and looked from them to the body on the floor and back. He sighed just as resignedly as Michael had before. ‘Mr Fairchild! If you please sir, your assistance is yet again required!’
For my NaNoWriMo challenge
One Part of a three part novel.
A spin off from my Daintree Daughter’s Book
Beware: this is a realistic Adult book & not a pretty tale like my poetry
It tells of the fight to become free and happy, with the leading characters first facing the trials of the ugly side of life, and the shackles of their pasts dragging at them as they carve their own standard of living. But in the mid 1800s it was normal for the children of the poor to see the activities of their parents – good & bad; generally they weren’t sheltered … that came in soon after when everyone wanted to live like the well to do did & hide or ignore the brutality of the ugly side of life.
Remember in Australia, Corporal Punishment was only outlawed 35 years ago! Child abuse is still being fought & wives could not testify against their husbands for anything including marital rape until recent times also.
So all that aside I hope you can enjoy the story! ☼