Savage Miraya


A NOVEL OF ADVENTURE

BY JEFFREY BLAIR LATTA


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EPISODE 27: "Forget Her!"


Seagrave stood too close to the curved turret to discern more than tapered fingers curled over the fiferail above.

Before he could move, he heard a pounding rush of feet and felt powerful arms seizing him. He didn't even try to resist as he was half-dragged and half-pushed to a ladder, then hauled up to the top of the turret.

A triangular web of stays and ratlines reached down from the gasbag connecting to rings set in the circular platform. With silent efficiency, Seagrave was forced around to the outward side of the web, then pushed back against the cords. His arms were drawn straight out and bound tightly to the thick, rigid ropes at the wrists. Only then did his captors step back allowing him an unobstructed view of the figure now standing gazing meditatively out at the sea over the curved gunwale.

He had already recognized the voice as female. Now there could be no doubt. Even though her gaily-hued wings concealed her back, beneath the spread of the bottom wings showed lithe, elegant legs the colour of pale sapphire.

Then she turned and Seagrave's eyes widened involuntarily.

She was a Trayken, all right; there could be no doubt on that score. Like the men, two ivory crests flanked her head like tight rams' horns, gills stretched vertically across the curves; but her crests were slimmer and more closely fitted to her shapely skull, so they seemed like a helmet, with a slim strip of black fur rising from her forehead up the middle between the topmost lobes.

Beyond this, though, she seemed like a completely different species. Her face was gorgeously formed, her lips blue, framing flashing white teeth over which a pink tongue glided seductively. Her nose, like the men, was formed by two angled slits, but the effect was strangely attractive, feral. In contrast to the men's beady black eyes, her eyes were larger and exotically almond-shaped, displaying rich dark irises set in ivory whites, emphasized by luxurious outswept lashes.

Her wings were more finely shaped than the heavy moth-wings of the men. Top and bottom halves were brilliantly decorated with glittering colours that sparkled like metal dust, the smaller bottom halves ending in slender swallow-tail blades.

She wore a slight spangled garment molded tight to her loins. Two gold rings were fastened to thongs high on her hips; from these rings, two narrow straps crossed each other at her spine, stretched up over her ribs and arched over the tip of each breast before crossing again and meeting at a gold ring behind her neck. Gossamer veils formed shimmering boughs between gold rings attached to her wrist bands and other rings on the spangled straps where they cinched her smooth flanks.

Otherwise she was naked -- and Seagrave knew he had never seen a more breath-stopping combining of feminine suppleness and athletic, sculpted physique. Long legs rose to sleek, rocking hips, then to a tight, satiny abdomen and on up to a lithe chest with proud, uptilted breasts. Her supple thews seemed to glide beneath her glossy skin, effortlessly stretching and straining with each restless motion.

Her sloe eyes flashed as she narrowly surveyed the breeches-clad figure trussed to the shrouds. Slowly, like a stalking cat, she circled behind him and he stiffened as he felt sharp claws lightly scratching between his shoulders. After a moment, the claws retreated and she padded back into view.

"You have no wings," she remarked, frowning puzzledly. She had spoken in Kamir. "Yet there is no scar where they were torn away."

"My people don't have wings," Seagrave replied in a low growl.

His response seemed to baffle her all the more. "And yet you have only one head," she continued. "What manner of man are you?"

"I'm human," he snarled, and briefly strained at his bonds.

Seeing this, the woman merely smiled, her dark eyes wolfishly admiring the momentary play of light on his hard thews. As his struggles ended, she asked: "What moon are you from? I have never heard of... Humans."

"Not a moon -- a planet. Earth."

She gave a mild shrug, the name meaning nothing to her. "You are very lucky," she said. "We were taking on water ballast from a waterfall when you tumbled into the debris net. I'm afraid one of my sailors overreacted and struck you with his leister. You were unconscious all morning. There is little space to spare on my ship, so I ordered you tied up in the hold with the narses. I apologize but it was the best we could manage."

"It wasn't the accommodations I minded," Seagrave commented acidly. "But I don't like being tied up."

Again she gave a careless shrug, preferring to ignore the bitter sarcasm in his tone. She swayed closer.

"I am a merchant," she replied placidly. "I have to make sure no harm comes to my cargo." For a second, her eyes gazed into his, and he thought he sensed searching indecision behind those exotic slits.

Abruptly, her glance flicked past him and she gave a peremptory command in Trayken. Seagrave heard a voice respond and the sound of his captors clambering down from the turret. He didn't need to look to know they were now alone.

Her eyes returned to his, but now there was a strange earnestness in her lush voice.

"There is a price on your head," she said. "Did you know that? It is a substantial sum -- enough for me to replace the cracked meshmel plates on this ship. You must be very valuable to someone." When Seagrave remained silent, she continued: "Our course takes us away from Eukara and the city of Jinja Khyam, but, in two days, we shall reach the islands of Jimnyr. Then I will turn you over to the proper authorities and collect the reward."

Seagrave studied her mutely, his features dark and inscrutable. In a way, he found something refreshingly reassuring about this pantherish Amazon; her calling and his own weren't so very different, it seemed. A pirate remained a pirate whatever the world; a rogue remained a rogue...

"And what could I do to keep you from turning me over to the authorities?" he asked guardedly.

She paused a moment, a secret smile tugging at her blue lips. "What were you on your world?" she asked, with seeming irrelevance.

"I sailed a pirate ship," Seagrave replied. "The Sea Dog. I was her captain."

Her exotic eyes widened and she leaned closer with sudden avid interest. "I knew it," she gasped. "You are so strong -- there is the look of the open sea about you. Was your ship as grand as the Empress of Shek?" With a proud gesture, she indicated that this was the name of her vessel.

"My ship didn't fly," Seagrave replied. "It floated on the surface of the water."

She frowned doubtfully, wondering if he was toying with her. "On the water? That isn't possible -- no ship could survive on the surface. How did you fight off the manatyrs and the dynkairrs and --"

"There are no sea creatures large enough to threaten a ship on my world," Seagrave interjected. "And you haven't answered my question."

Reluctantly, she broke off her interrogation, turning her winged back with a careless shrug. The wind caught the veils looped between her wrists and ribs, rippling them against Seagrave's chest.

"My voyages are long and lonely ones," she explained, her eyes bitterly surveying the misty horizon. "I crave companionship. My crew, they are poor company, with no understanding of what it is I need. As for the Lan'lans..." She laughed as if at a terrible joke. "They are excellent climbers but they have the manners of narses. But you -- I think you understand. We are two of a kind, both captains of ships, leaders of men. You too have been kissed by the salty sun and known the sweet windy spaces of the immense open ocean."

Abruptly she whirled to face him, her whole length rigid with fierce excitement. "Sail with me," she pleaded breathlessly. "Promise to be my companion and I will see that they never find you. Stay by my side and I will protect you. Love me -- that's the only price I ask. Love me and you will be free!"

She fell silent, her eyes blazing, her breathing quick. After a moment, Seagrave spoke in a deep mutter.

"Where is the girl?"

Briefly she seemed to puzzle over his response; then her features hardened in a jealous scowl. "What is that slave girl to you?" she spat contemptuously. "She is nothing. She will be dead soon, anyway."

Seagrave's mind raced at her words. She didn't know Shyrin Shas was a princess, then. The girl must have told them she was only a slave girl. If they ever found out...

"That slave girl is my companion," Seagrave replied calmly. "If you have harmed her --"

"What?" The woman bristled venomously. "What will you do if I choose to kill her? This is my ship -- my crew. If I order her young body stretched and torn between the capstans, how will you prevent it?"

For just a moment, in her uncontrolled rage, a darker side was momentarily revealed, a fierce animal fury that breached menacingly from beneath her deceptively supple skin. Then, in an instant, she regained a measure of control -- but her fists continued to clench before the deep cup of her navel.

"I offer you freedom and love," she insisted, her voice now earnest, plaintive. "The slave girl is nothing. Forget her. Please -- let me make you forget her."

"Untie me."

She frowned, momentarily nonplussed by his growled request. She hesitated, weighing the risk. They were alone on the turret, but a single shout would bring sailors scrambling to her aid. Deciding, she calmly unbound his arms from the rigid shrouds, then stepped back as he straightened, massaging his wrists.

"There," she said. "I have shown I trust you. Now what is your decision? If you refuse me, I will give you to the navy and collect my reward." A dark gleam flickered beneath her lashes. "First though, I will destroy your slave girl in a manner lingering and excruciating. The decision is yours to --"

Without warning, Seagrave caught her wrists and whirled her around, heaving her back against the webbed cords where he had been confined the moment before.

The speed of his attack left her gasping. Her eyes widened fearfully as he grimly forced her straining arms out from her sides and bound them tight to the ropes using the veils at her wrists. For a moment, she twisted futilely, her lithe body urgently flexing, rippling with quivering bands of enraged sinew. Her breath hissed viciously through her clenched teeth. Her eyes blazed.

Still, she didn't call for help.

Seagrave regarded her a moment, his eyes burning over her trembling sapphire curves. Slowly, he touched a hand to the deep blue jewel nestled between her proud breasts, her "heart-gem".

She snarled like an animal caught in a trap and dragged at her bonds even as the gem began to smolder with a hot azure effulgence. As he caressed the stone, the pulsing light grew steadily more insistent.

Suddenly her struggles transformed as she felt the first fiery flush imparted by his touch. Involuntarily, her eyes squeezed shut, her white teeth gritting. Unable to resist, her sleek body responded, convulsively arching, shuddering, rigidly labouring again and again against the tight resistance of her bonds. A grudging cry broke from her lips, a sheen of sweat mantling her lifting breasts. Long wicked claws sprang out on her clutching fingers. She sobbed like a child --

Seagrave drew away his hands.

Slowly, breathlessly panting, she opened her sloe eyes and regarded him dazedly. There was a strange mixture of enraged fury and bewildered passion in her gaze. Her pink tongue moistened her blue lips and she spoke in an aching groan.

"Why -- why did you stop?"

Seagrave regarded her with a narrow, burning gaze. "You say the decision is mine," he told her calmly. "Fine then. Here is my condition. If you want me so badly, show me the slave girl -- then I will make my decision..."




Next episode...The Princess in the Vat!


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Savage Miraya is copyright 1998, by Jeffrey Blair Latta. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)