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Lieutenants Edward Hamilton and James Wray are on the way to deliver an English Noblewomen to the harem of the sultan at Istanbul while evading capture by a renegade Irish pirate
Edward Hamilton of the Royal Navy – Mediterranean Voyages part 2

June 1799, Calabrian Coast of Southern Italy

The night was a moonless black and the mountainous shore could only be seen by noting a lack of stars in one direction. They took two boats and a cutter. Hamilton lead one, with Zuberi along to translate, while Ahmar lead the other. The cutter had only a minimal crew, as it was expected there would be many captives to ferry back to the ship. The boats were run up onto the small beach easily and a pair of men left to stand guard. Hamilton organized the rest of the men in a rough column and started inland. The twins Almas and Akouta were sent forward as scouts, each with a pair of muskets slung over her back, and a pistol in her belt.

Hamilton shook out his hat, now with a Jacobin cockade, and put it on. He had insisted, over the objections of Katherine, that the bandages on his head be removed. Rachel Palmer had added rich epaulets and other garish flourishes to his jacket. At his side was the sword given to him by the Pasha-Bey of Tunis. The entire result was not right for French naval officers, but he hoped that in the darkness and confusion it would be close enough for townspeople who would only have seen the occasional French Hussar.

The town of Belvederi was only two miles from shore, but it was a hard two miles up steep, twisting paths. After crossing the second hill they could finally see an outline of the town against the faint glow of a dozen flickering lamps inside the walls. There were two gates into the town, neither of which seemed to guarded well, if at all. Hamilton split his small force in two and sent axmen to the front. The gate was cracked open after a few heavy blows, and within less than a minute, they were inside, shouting and firing off muskets to wake the sleeping town.

Hamilton stood in the town square ten minutes later as the leading citizens were brought out, most still in their nightshirts. Only a few men in the town had tried to resist, two of them taking musket bullets, but no one had been killed. The assault had been so swift and unexpected, most were more confused than anything else.

"Tell him I want women brought out," Hamilton said, speaking quietly to Zuberi who spoke the local dialect well enough to be understood. The town leaders mumbled to themselves until one man stepped, hesitatingly, to the front. He answered Zuberi.

"He wants to know who you are and why he should do this," Zuberi said.

"Ahmar, send ten men and go round to those buildings, along that street where the lamps are lit. Look for suitable women and bring them out." Hamilton gestured wildly but spoke quietly. He didn't trust his rudimentary French and it would be a disaster if the townspeople found out he was English.

The town's mayor put his hands together and pleaded, as tears streamed down his face. Hamilton walked up to the man, then slowly pulled out his pistol and pointed it at his head. The desperate man froze in terror, his eyes crossed as he looked at the muzzle less than a foot from his forehead.

He cried out, "Prena aviri medere! Latru! Non sciavo sacrifiziu lu cori citadina!"

"He begs you to stop," Zuberi said. "You are a thief and taking slaves will destroy this town."

Hamilton pulled back on the hammer slowly, the sharp metal clicks seemed louder in the still night air, but it did not stop the mayor from frantically pleading, "Nave degli sciavi! Devu pagari ora pi' favuri!"

"He wants to pay a ransom." Hamilton glanced at Zuberi and then pulled his pistol back and carefully set the hammer back down. He watched the mayor with narrow eye, then shook his head and threw up his hand in a dismissive gesture, trying to act the part of a haughty French revolutionary.

There was a scream from the far side of the plaza. Ahmar and his men brought forth a dozen young women and herded them into the square. Hamilton congratulated him on his fine catch. He looked down at one of the dark haired beauties and reached out for her face. She spat on his uniform. One of the sailors instantly grabbed her, but Hamilton stopped him from slapping her. He turned back to Zuberi and the mayor.

"Tell him, that Mor Cuanaich demands one hundred beautiful women," Hamilton whispered. "Make sure he knows that fighting for the liberty of Italy requires gold, and that these slaves will help pay for the defense of the great Parthenopean Republic. He will be making a noble sacrifice."

Zuberi did. They mayor began to plead, "Troppu grandi!" over and over. Hamilton felt a droplet sliding down the side of his face. He touched it and saw, to his disgust, that his head wound was bleeding again. The mayor's pleading was giving him a headache. Hamilton glared at the frightened mayor, then fired his pistol over the man's head. The mayor flinched and ran back, frightened by the crazed man with blood streaming down his face. Zuberi yelled and the man stopped running.

"Tell him one hundred women in the next ten minutes -- one hundred beautiful young women -- or I will burn the town." Thirty captives were rounded up quickly. Almas and Akouta managed to find a pair of hidden storerooms where a dozen more had been sent to hide. Twenty minutes later eighty slaves were huddled between musket wielding men in the town square. The sailors had bound the women's arms behind their back and taken small lines, knotted once, for use as gags. In some cases hobbles were tied to the captive's ankles, but most of the women were too terrified to do anything but obey.

"This will be enough for us," Hamilton whispered. "But tell him that he is to send one hundred slaves down to Straca Marina at dawn. If he fails, then both towns will be turned over to Mor Cuanaich's men and the French dragoons." Zuberi told the shocked men, who stood frozen.

"Secure lanterns from these people, we'll use them on the way back." Hamilton ordered. "Ahmar, keep five men and the twins behind our column to make sure they don't try to follow us."

The line of captives set out, slowly winding down the narrow tracks back towards the beach. Five of the women managed to escape in the dark, but the rest were placed on board the cutter or distributed to one of the boats. It was crowded, though none of the men minded being pressed tightly against one of the frightened women. By dawn the slaves had placed in one of three makeshift cages built in the Tigress' lower decks.

"Up anchor!" Hamilton shouted once the boats were secure. The orders were given and the men, tired but very pleased with their catch, hauled round the capstan. The anchor cable tightened and soon it was lifted from the water and catted.

"Hands aloft to make sail!" Hamilton yelled. Zuberi called out the orders in Arabic and Turkish and the men ran aloft, those on the mizzen mast following behind the agile twins.

"Mr. Ahmar, shake the reefs from the tops'ls and make ready to set courses. We'll bend east-by-south and when we clear the first mile we shall set t'gallants and stays'ls. I want as much canvas as she'll take, so make ready with stuns'ls."

"As you wish, Captain," said Ahmar, "I will add preventer stays fore and main."

"Very good, Mr. Ahmar." Hamilton turned and shouted to the crew, "man the sheets and halyards! Stand by! Stand by lads! Avast and let fall!" Hamilton watched the sails as they unfurled and took the wind. The evolutions for making sail were clear enough to the experienced sailors that Zuberi's translation wasn't really needed. "Quartermaster, out the wheel two points starboard and a half! On deck there! Tend the lee braces! Haul taut! Handsomely, now! Handsomely! Belay!"

A cry came from the maintop. "He sees smoke, Captain," Zuberi said. "He says it is from Straca Marina. He says... Captain, he says he sees the beached war galley in flames!"

"I would imagine those people we met last night are not favorability disposed towards Mor Cuanaich." There was laughter and the Tigress moved off the southern Italian coast, heading east towards Greece.


The ship was rolling harder when night came again. Hamilton had ordered the bulkhead separating his cabin and the smaller fore-cabin to be struck and the large table from the wardroom placed inside. He invited Van Schoonhoven and the officers, such as they were, to celebrate their outwitting of Mor Cuanaich and the capture of 75 attractive female slaves.

"To Captain Hamilton, yes, yes, a great man!" Van Schoonhoven said as a toast. There were smiles all around, some drinking from a case of French wine while others preferred Turkish raki.

"A clever ruse, Captain," Ahmar said with a half-smile. "Mor Cuanaich will be angry."

"This is not a time to worry about such things!" Van Schoonhoven bellowed. "We drink! We sing! We fuck the women, yes?"

"You are both right, gentleman," Hamilton said. "I will say this, though. It will be a day, perhaps two, before he makes good on the loss of supplies from his Italian haven. That should be more than enough time for us to sprint to Corfu or Paxos."

"Do not the French control those islands now?" Van Schoonhoven's tone shifted instantly to concern. "That Corsican of theirs, this Bonaparte, he is everywhere! He swallowed Venice, yes?"

Ghanashyam, called Ganny by those who could not pronounce his name, a Hindu who acted as the purser and secretary, nodded his head. "That is true, Pieter, but the French were driven from Corfu and the rest of the Ionian Islands not more than one hundred days ago."

"The Russian fleet was there," Ahmar added.

"Yes," Ghanashyam laughed, "the Russians helping the Turk, who would believe it!"

"Exactly, gentleman. In six weeks it may be different, but now, the western islands of Greece will be filled with ships hostile to those renegade pirates. It will be a simple cruise." Hamilton looked around the room at the men, all now with much more confidence in his leadership. He smiled, although he doubted the remainder of the voyage would be uneventful. Mor Cuanaich was almost certain to catch sight of them as they rounded the Peloponnese.

"Slaves! Let us see some of these fine, fine, women, yes!" That brought more cheers.

Katherine Abington and Rachel Palmer were already in the room, standing behind Hamilton, and the blonde Rana stood behind Van Schoonhoven. Ahmar had his favorite Basmah, a dark skinned, petite woman who had been taken from somewhere in Egypt and eventually sold in Tunis. All the women were dressed with light silks that draped over their faces, and slightly heavier cloth around their hips. Each stood submissively.

"Mr. Ganny, if you please, pass the word for three of the new slaves to be brought here." There was more laughter and the cabin door was opened. Twenty five of the new slaves had been given to the crew, and already, after only six hours, they had been subjected to hard use. The remaining fifty were being kept apart. Those would be made available to officers and as special rewards for the crew, though it had been agreed to keep the use of the lash minimal and so preserve their value when sold.

Three of these women, some of the choicest of the lot, were brought forward. All were dark haired, with lithe bodies and bouncing breasts. None of the new captives had been formally renamed. Hamilton pointed to the middle slave. Zuberi asked her what he name was.

The men in the room grew quiet as the slave said, "Andrea Falasco." They all applauded and laughed. Orhan, a Turk who acted as the Captain's coxswain, reached out and grabbed her. She shrieked and tried to push him away. Hamilton glanced at Katherine and saw her staring with a mixture of fascination and fear as Andrea was pulled forward and a length of rope tied to her wrists.

Zuberi asked the other two woman for their names and discovered that Cecilia was the tall one, Lucilla the shorter. Unlike Andrea they were afraid to mention their family name, and no one cared enough to press the issue. Andrea, her wrists bound before her, was pushed up to the table.

Orhan stood up and grabbed the other end of her rope and quickly knotted it through an iron ring in a beam above them. Now kneeling, with her hands bound above her, she looked back and forth at the men who now owned her and screamed. Rana, who had been given the task of holding pre-made gags, passed one to Orhan. He yanked hard on Andrea's hair, pulling her head back roughly as he shoved the knot into her mouth and then secured the gag.

Hamilton pointed to Cecilia, "Slave! Get up there." There was no need for a translation, Cecilia slowly moved forward. The men pulled their chairs back and gave her room to crawl up on the table.

"Roll over. On your back." Cecilia hesitated but then obeyed. She tried to keep her hands on her breasts and her legs together.

"Slide up so that you can taste your friend's pussy," Hamilton said. Zuberi translated this order, and Cecilia, though she was horrified, slowly pulled herself up and underneath the bound Andrea. Cecilia put her hands around Andrea's legs and bent her head up until her tongue just touched the other woman's slit.

Men were caressing both women's breasts, while Zuberi slowly let two fingers slide in and out of Cecilia. Her hips squirmed at his invasion, but she kept her tongue pressed to Andrea's cunt. The bound and gagged Andrea was spanked hard on the ass when she tried to wriggle free of Cecilia's touch.

Lucilla had tried to hide in the corner, but she was quickly brought forth and her hands bound behind her back. The men maneuvered her onto the table with a precision reserved for setting a topgallant royal, placing her so that she straddled the prone Cecilia while leaning forward so that her mouth could reach Andrea's breasts. Lucilla cried in protest as the sailors pulled the ropes from her arms to another metal ring, leaving her in a painful strappado.

The result was a right triangle of slaves. Andrea, kneeling with her hands above her head as Cecilia lay under her with a tongue to her cunt, and Lucilla kept at an angle so that her legs straddled Cecilia and her mouth sucked on Andrea's breasts.

Hamilton sat back, watching the men play with the slaves. He certainly didn't mind this show, he enjoyed it very much, but it also served to establish his leadership. He turned around and looked for Katherine. With a nod the blonde Viscountess stepped forward and fell to her knees. She reached out and unbuttoned his breeches, slowly bringing out his hard shaft. Katherine leaned forward and let her lips embrace the tip of his cock as Hamilton rested his hand on her head. She kissed down his shaft and then let her tongue slide back up before opening her mouth wide and taking his cock deep into her throat.

On the table one of the men began to spank Lucilla's ass, but with her arms already in a painful strappado she didn't seem to notice. She kept sucking on Andrea's breasts as the men shifted her from one to the other. Hamilton watched and idly put both hands on Katherine's head. He pushed her down slightly on each down stroke, slowly taking control of her head as she bobbed back and forth.

Katherine sucked deeply, her eyes looking up at him as she tried to please him. By the time the men were flicking small droplets of hot wax at the struggling women on the table he had taken full control of Katherine's motions, sliding her back and forth rapidly on his shaft. She let him use her without resistance as she concentrated on making sure her teeth did not touch his hard cock.

Lucilla cried out as a large section of wax dribbled down her back into the crack of her ass. The men, now well filled with alcohol, roared with laughter. Hamilton felt the erotic power of owning these woman, of having been able to seize them and force them into servitude. It was wrong, he knew, dimly, in some part of his mind, but it felt so very good. Hamilton felt the pleasure rising and until it exploded, and his cum slid deep into Katherine's mouth. He released her head so she could suck deeply and capture every drop.

The party continued and hours later, in the calm night, Hamilton was surprised to wake up and find Lucilla in his cot. He sent her back to the cages below and fell instantly back to sleep.

"I'm frightened." Hamilton looked up into the almost total darkness. His head hurt, whether from wine or his wound or both he didn't know.


"Yes, master. I'm frightened." Hamilton allowed her into his cot and, once again, fell instantly asleep.


Hamilton's head still throbbed in the morning, although the bleeding had at last stopped and the wound was looking better. He forced himself to concentrate on the charts spread out on the table in his cabin. Most were in Turkish or Arabic or Persian, though some were in French and one in Greek. Zuberi had provided translations for many things, but it was still difficult. The style was different from Admiralty charts, and it was irritating to have to deal with distances measured in farsangs as opposed to good English sea-miles and leagues.

"Damn," Hamilton said, pushing back from the desk. Even the simplest calculations were difficult this morning. Katherine, who had been lying on the cot reading a book, sat up. She was naked, with just a blanket loosely wrapped around her body.

"There is nothing wrong, please leave me be," he snapped.

"I would imagine you are suffering the effects of all that raki you drank last night." Hamilton glared.

"I'm sorry, master." She stood up, still wrapped in the blanket, and walked over to him. "Would you feel better if you used me?"

"No. Not now." He pulled out a chart of the islands off western Greece.

"Which one is Ithaca?"

"This one."

"I would have thought the larger one. Will we stop there? I'd dearly love to see the home of Odysseus."

"No. We will stop here. Paxos. I'm going to have to take on a local pilot to guide us down the coast of Greece."

"And after that, Edward, do we go to Istanbul?"

"Yes." He put his arm around her waist and looked up at her. "Are you still frightened?"

"I was frightened because of those poor girls last night, by the way in which they were taken, by the lusts of the men. I don't think I could live like that. I have always dreamed of the Harem, for as long as I can remember, but, as foolish as it sounds, I never wondered whether I would end up in anything less than a world of silk and baths and elegant princes."

"You are more than a beautiful woman, you are a prize. They will take good care of you in the Harem." She nodded.

"And what is wrong with that, hm? To be desired by the ruler of an Empire to such a degree that you can influence the course of his policies."

"Yes. Though that is only because he is a bit weak minded. And yet... I..."

"What's wrong? If you are having doubts about this then tell me now. We are likely to pass Russian ships, I could put you and Miss Palmer on one of those."

"Oh, no! No, Edward. I mean, no master." She pulled the blanket over her head and made a silly face. "It's just, I don't know, as a child I was given everything I could have wished for, but it wasn't enough. It was never enough. I wanted adventure! I married Henry because he could give that to me. And he has! Henry is a good man, in his own way, but he is cold and ruthless in his work. He is deep in the center of a tangle of webs that spread from London all across Europe. I know he loves me even though I don't love him. But he has given me what I want: the means to seek adventure, while I have given him what he wants."

"Intelligence? Like from your surreptitious trip to Spain to seduce their generals?"

"Yes, there was that, but it was mainly colonels," she said, adding excitedly, "I also uncovered Jacobin sympathizers who had been hidden amongst the French exiles in London, that was much more thrilling. But... but now even those adventures are not enough."

Hamilton laughed. "Being a slave of a Sultan sounds like an adventure, although I suspect most of your time will be spent in idle conversation with other women of the Harem."

"It is more! I have found that what I want! What I really want! Do you know what it is? What I want more than anything is to be taken, to be swept away and put in the power of some strong man."

"You want to be controlled," he said, pulling his hand away from her.

"Yes! I wish to be controlled! I want to be desired, I want to be admired, I want to be loved, but I want all of that wrapped around a feeling of being in total control of some brave and strong man."

Hamilton only nodded. "Is that so wrong, Edward?"


"I'm sorry master, have I said something wrong?"

"No. You haven't. It's just... I've heard others talk like that."

"Oh? Who? The Countess of Salisbury? I have always heard stories of her, wild, wild stories!"

"Not her."

Katherine knelt down next him. "Forgive me for speaking out of my place, master."

"It was Nasira. Nasira said something like that to me in Tunis. She told me I had a 'desire to control.'"

"I can see that in you, master, just as I see the desire to be controlled in me. I hope to find that in the Harem. I hope you find what you wish too."

"I hope to find Nasira," said Hamilton, the words slipping out.

"It is all right, master. We all know this." Hamilton frowned.

She stood up and kissed his head. "I have to look at these charts," he said, after a moment. "Go back to the cot."

"Yes, master." Katherine took off the blanket and picked up her book. "And thank you, Edward. I mean, thank you, master. This is the first time you have spoken about her without getting angry."

Hamilton didn't look up. He keep staring at the chart, the marks blending into a meaningless series of lines and curves. And there, on that chart, was Istanbul. He could get there, but it was a huge city. He had no idea how he would find Nasira. And if he did, would she want him? Would she even want to see him? When they had parted neither expected to see the other ever again. She was a beautiful woman and she was also, technically a slave. Perhaps she had already been taken by someone.

He glanced up quickly, making sure Katherine didn't notice the tear rolling down his eye. He wiped it and went back to setting a proper course.


By the time they reached Paxos Hamilton had given up wearing his English naval uniform. Rachel Palmer had done her work well and removed the flourishes, but it seemed foolish to be the only one wearing heavy wool in the hot sun. He now wore a simple tunic and trousers with a heavy leather belt, not much different from the rest of the crew, but with the addition of his saber.

It was a crowded anchorage, but none seemed to pay much attention to the brig-sloop. All eyes were on a trio of Russian two-decker sail-of-the-line, each boasting 60 to 80 guns, although whether the Greeks were pleased or horrified by their presence was hard to tell.

"The Russians sent their Admiral Ushakov to pound the French," Ghanashyam said when he returned from shore. "The officers I talked to insisted that the French had one thousand guns on Corfu alone. I don't believe that, but it must have been a hellish fight."

"I'm sure it was."

"I also saw an English newspaper with an account of the Siege of Acre. It claims that the principle reason Bonaparte was unable to take the city was due to the intervention of Admiral Sydney Smith who, so it said, brought English sailors into the city to fight at the breeches. That may be exaggerated as well, but I am inclined to believe that the English did give direct assistance to the Ottoman defenders. There is no denying that the French have retreated back to Egypt."

Hamilton nodded, somewhat disappointed, he wasn't quite sure why at first. He looked at Ghanashyam and asked quietly, "Do you think this means our mission to deliver Lady Dunsbrooke is superfluous?"

"I don't know. Perhaps. Although the Sultan is expecting this gift, it would be a great insult to him if we turned back."

"Yes," said Hamilton. "That is good news the French have been turned back. At least we won't meet them in Istanbul." Ghanashyam laughed and then discretely put his hand on Hamilton's arm. He lead him towards the taffrail and said in a very low voice, "I also met some Venetians. They told me that Mor Cuanaich had put a substantial price on your head."

"I shouldn't be surprised by that."

"There is more. He wants the Lady Dunsbrooke, but alive. They say he has vowed to use her as the figurehead for his war galley."

Hamilton nodded grimly, "Did you discover if Mor Cuanaich might be in these waters?"

"He has been on Corfu," said Ghanashyam, "and south at Zakynthos, but he had only brought his galleys ashore where he could find the protection of French guns. Otherwise he would never dare. He is hated among these people, because he has been taking Greeks from fishing boats to work his oars."

"That is useful to know. Thank you, Mr. Ganny." The Indian turned and went to his cabin as Ahmar approached the Captain. "Water is being sent," Ahmar said, "and Ghanashyam purchased food from the Russians, already salted and casked."

"Did you sell those five?"

Ahmar nodded. "Yes. Though the price was too small."

"It's better than throwing them overboard. In Tunis I never saw slaves fight like some of these women from Belvederi. The lash didn't dissuade them at all, but, no matter, those slaves can trouble their new owner."

Van Schoonhoven pulled himself over the rail at last. Breathing heavily he walked slowly to the quarter deck. "Mr. Van Schoonhoven, did you find a pilot?" Hamilton asked.

"Yes, he is coming. Soon. And we should leave, Captain, as quickly... as quickly as possible."

"Yes, we've been discussing that."

"These people, Captain Hamilton," Van Schoonhoven continued. "Many greeted the French when they came, thinking they were freed from Venice, yes? Then some grew unhappy with French demands, and others are now unhappy with Russians so close. But all of them, oh yes, to a man, woman and child, they despise the Turk."

"We will leave as soon as the pilot comes aboard." Hamilton called Zuberi to join himself, Ahmar and Van Schoonhoven by the binnacle. "Let me show you my concern." Hamilton took out a small sketch and spread it out for the others to see. "Here, when we are rounding the Peloponnese, that, I believe that is where one of his galliots will find us."

"Perhaps farther north?" Ahmar asked.

"I don't think so. It would have taken him days to recover from the loss of his haven in Straca Marina and from there he will only be able to guess at our next move, whether along the Greek coast, or south to Crete. He will have spread out his fleet, some sent to these islands, but others sent towards Crete, and maybe some into the Aegean. I don't believe he would risk sending any towards Corfu, not with the Russian squadron still here."

"Captain Hamilton," said Ahmar definitively, "if we see his galleys we will give battle and him."

"I'd rather avoid them than fight, it only takes one lucky shot to snap a mainbrace. Now, if we encounter a single war galley, perhaps with one or two smaller galliots, then as long as the winds do not slacken they can be evaded." The other nodded.

Hamilton stood for a moment as the others went to check on the provisioning of the ship. Standing on the quarterdeck, his hands clasped behind his back in the manner of a proper English Captain, he thought of the other pleasures on the ship. And since there was time, he went down towards his cabin. "Let me know when the pilot arrives," he said, though he instantly regretted it. Of course they would.

Rachel sat on the cot in the fore-cabin, dressed in a simple slave wrap. She was hard at work sewing one of the men's clothes. She looked up at and said, "Hello, master."

"Rachel." He looked at her, she was a delicious morsel. "Where is Katherine?"

"She is down below, sir, I mean master, with the doctor, they are tending to Kalila, she fell, or so they say, in her cage and bent back a finger on her left hand, pulled it back hard. Shall I fetch her master?"

"No." All her wanted was a brief diversion, somehow Rachel didn't seem suited for that. "Go find that French slave, Luloah."

"Yes, master."

He waited in his cabin for only a minute before there was a quiet knock and Luloah entered. She had pale skin, only lightly tanned, and short dark hair, he vaguely recalled some incident where it had been cut by another woman, but it seemed to suit her. "I am here to serve, master," Luloah said, with her pretty French accent.

"Yes, you are. Strip." Luloah was only wearing a slave wrap around her hips. She removed that and stood before him, her hands at her sides, and head tilted downwards.

Hamilton stood next to her and ran his hand down her body, over her breasts and stomach, until he was pressing against her mound. "I wonder why I haven't fucked you more often."

"I... I do not know, master."

"Put your hands behind your head." She obeyed, locking her fingers together.

"Your slave name, Luloah, means the Pearl, if I remember correctly."

"Yes, master." He stood behind her and felt along the curve of her ass. The slave maintained her position, but he could see she was terrified. He liked that reaction. He had no illusions about what he was doing, it was wrong, exceedingly wrong. But he didn't care. Or rather he cared more for the erotic pleasure it gave him to control this beautiful young woman.

"Tell me, Luloah, what was your name before you were taken?" As he spoke he walked over to his sea chest and reached in.

"I am Evelyn D'arcelle, master." Hamilton pulled out a rattan cane, one he had taken from a vicious bosun's mate a few years earlier. It was a pity, he thought, that he hadn't brought it to Tunis.

Luloah looked back, quickly, to see what he was doing. "You were Evelyn D'arcelle, now you are Luloah the Sex Slave. Though, Evelyn is a pretty name."

"Yes, master." Her voice was trembling as she heard the cane swishing through the air. Hamilton stepped to the side and snapped the cane, hard, on the slave's ass. She cried out and fell forward, pulling her hands forward keep from losing her balance. Then she forced herself back into position.

He smacked her ass with the cane again, and then a second time, without pause, and then once more. "Ah! Please, master," she said. "Please, I am being good, master."

"Oh? Do you think this is punishment, slave, is that it? Well, not to worry. I am not punishing you." He emphasized his comment with another snap of the cane.

"Ah, yes, yes, master. Please!" Luloah's knees were trembling.

"I am simply playing. You are a diversion slave, a toy, something amusing to pass the time."

"Yes, master... oh!" He took the cane and pressed it between her legs, pushing up on her slit. She looked nearly ready to faint. Hamilton pulled the cane away and placed it back in the sea chest. He sat back on his cot. "Over here, slave, kneel before me."

"Yes, master." She slid to her hands and knees and crawled to the cot.

"I want you to serve me, slave."

"Yes, master." Luloah reached up and began to unbutton his breeches. His cock was hard as she took hold of it. She leaned closer, opening her mouth.

"Just your hand for now."

"Yes, master."

"I like this. I should do this more often." She nodded, not even pretending to force a smile.

"Tell me, now, what did Evelyn D'arcelle do? Where did she live?"

She stroked his cock, squeezing slightly now and then. "I... I lived in Archachon, master. My father and brothers worked at the shipyard."

"Really? Were you in one of the ships they helped build when you were taken by the Corsairs." She nodded.

Hamilton shifted around, putting the slave between his legs. "Press my cock between your breasts." She moved closer, leaning in so that his hard shaft was against her chest. Luloah pressed her hands on either side and his cock was enclosed in the soft embrace of her breasts. He put one hand on her head and ran his hands through her hair, as his hips slide his cock up and down. Looking at her, watching the pretty young woman, torn from her home, and forced to serve, in every way, the whims of men who owned her, the pleasure began to build.

Luloah looked up at him, she tried to smile, clearly hoping that she was pleasing him. Hoping to avoid more strokes of the cane. She was. His cock burst and cum was soon dripping between her breasts.

There was a cry from on deck and he could hear Zuberi yell out, "That is the Greek pilot, let him come aboard."

Hamilton had Luloah find a small cloth. She dipped it in a bowl and cleaned the stickiness from his cock. "You may clean yourself, slave, and then return back to the cages."

"Yes, master."

Hamilton was back on deck as the pilot, a somewhat sour looking Greek fisherman, came up on deck. "Well gentleman, we sail with the tide."


Hamilton had expected the galleys of Mor Cuanaich to find them somewhere along the southern peninsulas of Greece. He was wrong.

The pilot, a moody man named Georgios Demetropoulos, had insisted that there were favorable currents in the Strait of Ithaca, a two mile wide channel between the islands of Ithaca and Kefalonia. Ahmar was skeptical, but with some hesitation Hamilton decided to accept the pilot's advice. If nothing else, the view was magnificent with the steep slopes of the islands rising from the rich blue waters on either side of the Tigress. Katherine was on deck with Hamilton's naval jacket around her shoulders, discussing Homer, in Greek, with Zuberi.

Ahmar, who had gone to the fo'c'sle with the best telescope, suddenly swore. The cry of, "Sail ho!" came from aloft as Ahmar rushed to the quarterdeck and handed Hamilton the telescope. To starboard, a barca-longa, a type of two masted coastal lugger not uncommon around the islands of Greece, was slipping out from one of the many sheltered beaches along the Kefalonian coast.

"She's in the broad reaches," Ahmar said calmly, "trying to come abaft our beam." Hamilton took the telescope and climbed to the maintop. He looked more carefully at the approaching vessel. A mass of men armed with boarding pikes and muskets were crouching in her waist hiding, though not very well. This was obviously no simple trading vessel. He climbed down the shrouds and informed Ahmar.

"They know our cages filled with slaves," the Yemeni said. "They would not wish to fire on us."

"I hope you're right, Mr. Ahmar, so let's outrun them." He looked around at the crew, many of whom were instinctively aware of something afoot. "Put us under all plain sail," Hamilton ordered. "Katherine, get below. Find Rachel, Rana and Basmah and go down to the cable tier. No! Don't argue, go!"

"Sail ho! “cried Almas from the mizzen crosstrees.

"Where away?" Hamilton yelled back. But before the young woman could answer he saw for himself. A galley and a smaller galliot were emerging from a headland two miles to the south, their sides glistening white as the oars churned the water. In the narrow channel, with galleys in front of them and the barca-long a aft, the Tigress was trapped.

"Damn," Hamilton muttered. Then he turned and yelled, "Beat to quarters! Clear for action! Mr. Ahmar, if you would be so good as to take charge of the guns." Ahmar nodded and dove down into the ship. The crew of the Tigress knew their jobs. Along the gun deck the bulkheads were struck, open casks of water distributed for rammers and against fires, and sand spread on decks; the familiar ritual of warships around the world. Ahmar kept at the gun crews, working them at a furious pace. He personally pulled the tompions from a half dozen muzzles as charges and shot were laid about. Gun crews took their stations and loaded their weapons.

"Ah, Captain Hamilton," Van Schoonhoven said excitedly as he burst up from below. "This is most unfortunate! Trapped, yes? Oh, dear sir, we are trapped!"

Hamilton ignored the Dutchman. He drew his saber and laid the point at the pilot's throat. "Mr. Zuberi, kindly ask our pilot if there are other of Mor Cuanaich's vessels in these waters."

"He says he is sorry. He had no choice." Zuberi shook his head as he listened. "Now he is saying something about his family being held hostage, but I can't understand him well."

"His family can go to the devil. I care about my ship. Now ask again: are there other galleys?"

"He claims not to know, Captain."

"Then tell Mr. Demetropoulos to jump. If he hesitates shoot him." Hamilton sheathed his sword and looked back at the barca-longa with the telescope. He barely noticed the splash behind him.

"Captain, if I may," Zuberi said. "We can run past those galleys, if need be, a single broadside will discourage them."

"Perhaps. But this ambush that seems too well planned. They may have other galleys or masked batteries to the south." Hamilton snapped the telescope shut. "No, we're going come about."

"I hope you are right, Captain."

"So do I, Mr. Zuberi." Hamilton then turned and shouted out to the crew, "All hands! We're going on the other tack. Prepare to brace about! Mr. Zuberi, if you will assist in directing the men. I'll take the wheel myself."

"Yes, Captain!" the Egyptian ordered the crews into their proper divisions.

"Hard over!" Hamilton cried as he pushed over the wheel. "Slack the windward braces! Now take up the lee braces! Haul hard! Haul hard and make all!" The Tigress turned in the narrow channel, heeling over as she across the waves in the channel. She shifted around on a shallow curve as the bow moving across the wind. The brig settled in a new course towards the north end of the Strait, or rather as northerly as possible. The wind was against them and even while close-hauled the bow was pointed at Ithaca. Any other time, that was no cause for concern, they could take their time and beat back up the channel by tacking back and forth. Hamilton looked off the larboard bow, the barca-longa was closing rapidly, he didn't have that time.

Hamilton gave the wheel back to the quartermaster and scanned the enemy. The deck of the barca-longa was swarming with armed men, all of them wanting to gain the prizes down below. The barca-longa was going to attempt to take him by boarding, and he worried they might even ram if necessary. Yet even if he could fight off those boarders, which was unlikely, the galleys would close on the entangled vessels and all would be lost.

At three hundred yards there was the sharp crack of musket fire. That gave Hamilton some confidence, the range was much too great for muskets and only inexperienced men would fire so soon.

"Half a point starboard!" Hamilton cried. He paused, waiting. "Run out the guns!"

"We have some ruse, Captain Hamilton, yes?" Van Schoonhoven asked.

"Ruse? No, we're going to shoot them and kill them," Hamilton turned and yelled to Zuberi "Pass the word to fire as we bear! Quartermaster, another half a point to starboard!" The Tigress slowly turned and then eight guns belched fire, smoke, and iron. The cloud of acrid smoke the engulfed them was quickly carried by the wind. On the enemy ship, the foresails were torn and men were crying out on the crowded decks.

"Reload! Double shot with canister!" The guns were loaded with a cylindrical case filled with musket balls on top of another 18-pound iron shot. When fired the thin metal case broke apart and the lead balls would spread out like a shotgun blast.

There was a flash and puff from the bow of the Corsair vessel as a pair of small chasers were fired. Both shots passed close over the Tigress's waist. A man standing next to Van Schoonhoven dropped to the deck in a smear of bright blood. More muskets were firing, and bullets scoured groves along the rails and deck. One twanged off a stern chaser three feet from Hamilton. Two men dropped on deck, clutching limbs, while a third fell from the shrouds into the water. Hamilton glanced up and saw the twins with their muskets, both firing away at the packed men on the enemy ship.

And still the barca-longa came on, as if it were trying to break the line. But there was no line of warships, just the Tigress which now fired again, each gun sending out an 18-pound solid round shot behind a spreading wave of musket balls. The destruction on the overcrowded decks of the barca-longa was sudden and horrific.

The Tigress slid past the barca-longa, the distance now increasing. The pirate ship was in chaos, and while a few muskets continued to fire, they made no attempt to alter course for pursuit. The two galleys, however, still churned the water as they made their way north.

"We're going on the other tack!" Hamilton yelled. "Slack off the lee braces. Haul hard on the starboard braces. Quartermaster, send over the wheel! On deck, there! Take hold and heave! Heave!" Hamilton watched the galleys intently as the Tigress turned, the bow now pointing at the northern capes of Kefalonia.

The galleys might overtake the Tigress if they forced their oarsmen to the breaking point, something, he knew, they were not adverse to doing. But instead the two galleys slowed as they approached the barca-longa. Hamilton hoped the galley captains had been promised a swift victory over the Tigress, because the blood draining from the barca-longa's scuppers showed otherwise.

"Deck there! They've hove-to!" Almas cried from aloft.

Ahmar can back on deck. "Congratulations, Captain."

"Fine handling of the guns, Mr. Ahmar." Hamilton clasped his hand to the Yemeni's shoulder. "And you were right, my friend, we should never have entered this Strait."

Ahmar nodded. "Your orders, Captain."

But before Hamilton could answer Almas yelled again, "Sail ho!"

Something else was coming from the south. Hamilton climbed to the mainmast top and clapped the telescope to his eye.

Akouta, who was higher, in the mainmast cross trees, yelled down, "What kind of ship is that master?"

"It's called a polacre-xebec," he said. It was a type of ship that, if well handled, was particularly fast. There were three masts, the fore and mizzen each with a triangular lateen sail, while the mainmast was square-rigged. For a moment he hoped the xebec was another merchant, a harmless ship passing by. But as it surged past the galleys and the drifting barca-longa he could see the xebec's captain hailing the other Corsairs. The galleys, which had been taking men off the stricken vessel, now raised their own masts and set lateen sails. It was going to be a chase.

"We can clear the strait before they reach us," Ahmar said, when Hamilton was back on deck.

"Captain Hamilton!" Van Schoonhoven said quickly. "A xebec, yes? They are fast, very fast!"

"I'm aware of that," Hamilton snapped. He looked up at his own sails, and then judged the current. "We can't go north and keep beating against this wind, they'll overtake us easily. If we go west we can escape the galleys, but not the xebec. We might be able to beat her one-on-one, but that takes us away from Istanbul."

"Mor Cuanaich will still have galliots off Italy."

"Yes. That as well. So, we have no choice, we go around Kefalonia and then back south. Although..." Hamilton tried to envision the possibilities. "If I were that pirate, I would turn the galleys around to meet us on the other side of Kefalonia. Then we'd be trapped between them again."

"Your orders Captain?"

"Take us on the other tack, Mr. Ahmar, I want to get clear of this Strait. Then westerly and around Kefalonia." Hamilton leaned against the taffrail. "And let us hope the pirate doesn't send the galleys back to cut us off."


June 1799, Off the Island of Kefalonia

The Tigress was under a full press of sail with the wind on the aft starboard quarter, her best point, in a moderate following sea and fair weather. The island of Kefalonia, laying off the larboard beam, was a pretty sight, with steep shorelines and numerous small coves with stretches of sandy beach. At any other time it would be a fine cruise.

Hamilton stood by the taffrail, with the best telescope steadied on Zuberi's shoulder, and scanned the ship in their wake; how many men were on deck, how well they worked their sails, the state of her rigging. The enemy was a polacre-xebec, a sleek ship with two masts carrying large, triangular lateen sails and a mainmast that was square rigged with courses, topsails, and topgallants. The bow wave was impressive, he guessed she was making fourteen or fifteen knots. She would close enough to fire her chasers in an hour and within effective range of broadsides perhaps an hour after that. The xebec was more lightly built but carried 24 guns to the Tigress 16. A fight would be settled by the first lucky shot, and that was not the sort of action he wanted to risk.

And yet there was more. The renegade Irish pirate Mor Cuanaich's ambush included a pair of galleys. They had also chased the Tigress in the Strait of Ithaca but, as Hamilton had feared, once the xebec began the pursuit, the galleys had reversed course, no doubt to try and come round the southern capes of Kefalonia to cut him off. So while the xebec was pulling on his stern the Tigress was on course for the galleys.

"Thank you Mr. Zuberi." Hamilton snapped the telescope shut. He went down to his cabin. Hamilton had known officers who needed drink to control the stress of command, far too many of them in fact. It was a noxious habit to fall into. Hamilton stopped in the fore-cabin, looking down over Katherine Abington, the Lady Dunsbrooke, and her servant Rachel Palmer. Both women wore the hip wrap of a slaves, though Katherine had a blanket around her shoulders. There were other ways of relieving stress, other bad habits.

"In here, both of you," he ordered. The two women followed him into his cabin. They knelt on the deck, their legs wide and hands behind her their backs, just as he liked it.

"Strip." They both pulled off their slave wraps. Katherine was a striking blonde, with hair that curled slightly as it fell over her shoulders. Rachel was shorter, with softer features and larger breasts.

"Turn and face each other. Put your hands under your breasts. I want you to press your nipples together."

"Yes, master," they said in unison. The two women obeyed, Rachel holding her larger breasts up as Katherine squeezed her own. They each twisted back and forth just enough for their nipples to rub together.

He really didn't have time for this. But the appeal of controlling these beautiful women, these slaves, was impossible to resist. He pointed to a folded sailcloth. The two women pulled back from each other and then spread the canvas in the center of the cabin. It wasn't much, but it was better than lying on the bare deck.

Hamilton pulled off his shirt as he walked closer. "Lie down Rachel." Rachel lay back, her hair haloed around her head, her legs spread slightly and her arms out. Hamilton crouched down and then laid near her, with his mouth near her right breast. He licked her nipple, round and round, then opened his mouth and began to suck on her breast. "Join in, Katherine."

"Yes, master." Rachel lay back as Hamilton sucked and caressed one breast, and Katherine licked and kissed the other. They both slid their hands down Rachel's body. Hamilton's right hand began to knead one of Rachel's soft pussy lips, while Katherine did the same to the other. They slowly spread Rachel open, as they also kept their attentions on her breasts. Rachel began to moan, she brought her hands up and rested them on the two people using her body.

Dimly, somewhere in his mind he knew he did not have time to waste with slaves. There was only one to break his mind free of their beauty. His cock was hard and it was tempting -- very tempting -- to simply roll onto Rachel and take her. But, if he had learned anything about slaves, it was that for the sake of harmony, or some semblance of it, the attentions of the master should be spread around.

He rolled to his back. "Katherine, suck on my cock. Rachel, sit up and play with her cunt." The slaves obeyed. Katherine leaned over him and began to gently kiss the tip of his cock. He looked down at her, catching her eyes, and smiled. Then he took hold of her head and pushed down. She took the hint and opened her mouth, sucking deeply and sliding his cock over her tongue.

Rachel had slipped behind and put her hands on Katherine's ass, the leaned close and pressed her tongue to the Viscountess' slit. Katherine wiggled with a sudden start but kept her mouth firmly on Hamilton's cock. Katherine began to moan, a muffled moan, as she pulled back to let his cock slip out past her lips though with her tongue still on the shaft, before plunging her head back down and letting his cock go deep into her throat.

As Katherine wiggled her hips to the soft touch of Rachel's tongue, Hamilton began to respond, feeling the pressure rising in his cock. Katherine sucked faster, moving only two inches back and forth as she slid his cock in and out of her mouth. The pressure grew and then engulfed him with the burst of orgasm. Katherine kept sucking, her mouth making a slight smacking noise and she sought every drop of cum. Rachel had never paused in her licking of Katherine's pussy.

Hamilton stood up. "All right, enough." Rachel brought over a soft, damp cloth and wiped his cock, looking up at him and smiling, then Katherine buttoned his trousers.

"Put the sailcloth against the bulkhead and send word for my officers." Hamilton went to his desk. The women both seemed somewhat flushed. "And continue your activities in the fore-cabin, if you wish."

"Thank you, master," Katherine said. She put her arm around Rachel and lead her back out.

The principle officers of the Tigress entered his cabin. First was Qatadah al-Jameel ibn Ta'ullah al-Gizah, known as Ahmar, a Yemeni with years of experience in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Indian Ocean, and who was effectively First Lieutenant. Zuberi was next, from lands on the southern border of Egypt, far from the sea. Hamilton considered Zuberi as Second Lieutenant for sailing, and by far the most adept man he had ever meant for understanding languages.

Ghanashyam, from Andhras in India, put his mathematical skills to work as ship's purser. While not nautical, Ghanashyam had a wide range of knowledge. Pieter Van Schoonhoven, who actually owned the Tigress, remained in his cabin with his slave and bottles of wine. Van Schoonhoven, who had fled the Dutch Republic following the French Invasion of 1795, had been the English representative to the Bey of Tunis. The Dutchman was not nautical either, and rarely had anything useful to contribute towards the sailing of the Tigress. Hamilton did not send for him.

"Now, gentleman," said Hamilton, "we have a bit of a problem astern and ahead."

"We may simply pass the galleys," Ahmar said. "If the winds hold."

"Perhaps, but that would still leave the xebec. We can't outrun her." Hamilton pulled out a chart of the islands of western Greece. He pointed to their position, two miles northeast of the Cape of Atheras. "We have to be careful, if there is an action and so much as a single yard is brought down then we have lost. If we are to have any chance of reaching Istanbul we cannot risk losing even a half knot."

"Captain, I do not wish to appear cowardly," said Ghanashyam as he leaned over the chart, "but if we went into here, into this bay --"

"The Gulf of Mirtos."

"Yes, the Gulf of Mirtos. If we went into there and simply abandoned the Tigress, we could make our way by land to the other side of Kefalonia. We have gold, we could buy a new ship, perhaps here..." he tilted his head to read the chart, "...Argostoli. It seems situated like a port town, we may find what we need and can then continue on to Istanbul."

"We would have to give up our slaves," Ahmar said.

"Yes, but we will lose them as well as our lives if we are taken by the renegades."

"Could we simply sail to the west?" asked Zuberi, "and take a course that swings wide around these galleys."

"I thought of that, Mr. Zuberi," Hamilton said, "but Mor Cuanaich's havens of supply are also to the west, and we might find ourselves in a more serious trap. He clearly has more than galleys and galliots, perhaps he has been given them by the French, so we could meet a squadron of xebecs."

"West takes us away from Istanbul," Ahmar added.

"Indeed." Hamilton took a moment to consider. "Mr. Ghanashyam does has an interesting idea," Hamilton said, doing his best to pronounce the Indian's name. "Mor Cuanaich wants many things: Lady Dunsbrooke, myself, the cargo of slaves. Right now all of these are together. But...if I were to take the cutter and go into the Gulf of Mirtos while the Tigress continued south, that would leave the captain of the xebec in a bit of a quandary."

"He would have to give up the chase for a few hours. He would enter the Gulf to put out his own boats," Ahmar said with a nod.

"Yes. It's not much, but that would give us at least ten leagues on him."

"Perhaps we can pick you up later, Captain?" Zuberi asked.

"Thank you, but that won't be necessary. I'm not actually planning on leaving the ship." Hamilton stood up. "Send for Almas and Akouta."

Fifteen minutes later Almas stood, awkwardly, in Hamilton's undress uniform. She had been chosen to play the part of Captain Hamilton simply because she had entered the cabin slightly ahead her twin sister. Rachel Palmer worked furiously to shorten the sleeves, tighten the waist on the breeches, and pin up her hair under his cocked hat. It was, by necessity, fast work, and the end result would not fool anyone standing next to her. But through a telescope on a rolling deck a mile or two distant, it would work well enough.

"Beach the cutter, don't try to keep it or sell it," Hamilton instructed. "I'll give you more than enough money. Go south and east, then over the ridge, that will make it hardest for them to track you." The twins nodded.

"I have confidence in both of you. Indeed, of anyone aboard, the two of you are the best suited for this." He stuck out his hand. "It has been an honor serving with both of you."

They shook hands and both women blushed. "We will find you in Istanbul," Akouta said.

Hamilton shook his head, "Make your own lives now." Not wanting to risk the ruse unraveling, Hamilton stayed in his cabin as the others went on deck. The contents of his sea chest had been dumped out. He kicked through some of it and laid back on his cot. Above him the men were going through the motions of a tense confrontation between the crew and the "Captain." He hoped they weren't overacting. He could overhear the commands and, even though they were in Turkish and Arabic, he knew the cutter was being lowered. The sea chest, the sort of thing a marooned English Captain would insist on taking, had been filled with power and balls for muskets, a brace of pistols, clothes, and small bags of food. Two men had volunteered to go with the twins. They had, in fact, tearfully begged to go. Hamilton didn't like losing experienced hands, but these men had grown close to the women and it seemed only right. The cutter would soon be away, veering southeast by east for one of the beaches in the Gulf of Mirtos.

Akouta and Almas were slaves, their names meaning the emerald and the diamond. He had fucked them in Tunis and found that, as with everything else, they worked best together. They were not slaves anymore, somewhere along the line they had risen above that. He wished now he had learned their real names. There seemed to be something missing with their departure, perhaps it reminded him of the best parts of his time in Tunis. And Tunis reminded him of Nasira.

"Damn!" Hamilton snapped off his cot. He paced and then burst out and went on deck. He barely noticed the cheer.

"The xebec is following the cutter!" Ahmar said, triumphantly.

"Good. Very good," said Hamilton crisply, "now, less us stand off and bend a course west-sou'west."

"Are we going back to Tunis, Captain?" Zuberi asked.

"No. But while the xebec can still see us let's make them think we are." He relaxed a bit. "After all, once you have thrown me over the side, the rest of you would want to return home."

Zuberi laughed and then translated the orders. The Tigress heeled over as she shifted course.

"When we clear Cape Atheras, Mr. Ahmar, you may put us back on a southerly heading. If we are very lucky the xebec will come out of the Gulf, make for Tunis and trouble us no more."

Van Schoonhoven had arrived on deck to say goodbye to Almas and Akouta. He turned now and hugged Hamilton. "We have escaped, yes? Such cleverness, Captain Hamilton, such guile! An admiral, yes? You will become an admiral in your Britannic Majesty's service."

"That remains to be seen..." said Hamilton as he pried himself loose. "We have delayed the xebec. Now we have to deal with the galleys."

"Oh." Van Schoonhoven nodded gravely, then asked, cautiously, "and you have a cunning plan?" Hamilton nodded.

"Excellent!" Van Schoonhoven went back down to his cabin and his personal slave, Rana

Ahmar walked behind Hamilton and said, quietly, "Your orders, Captain, for this new ruse?"

"I'll let you know when I think of something." Hamilton went to the stern and leaned back on the taffrail.


An half-hour later Hamilton called the crew on deck. They would not encounter the galleys for three hours, at least, and it wasn't good to leave the men in a set of alert for so long. Better to supply them with a diversion, then pipe them to dinner and let them have that to discuss rather than a looming sea battle.

Hamilton stood at the rail, looking down on the crew, flanked by Ahmar and Zuberi. "Bring them up," Hamilton ordered.

Two women were passed up from below, hand-over-hand. Both were naked, with their wrists tied behind their backs. Orhan took hold of them by the arms and brought them before the Captain.

"The slaves on this ship are the property of the officers and crew of the Tigress," Hamilton said in a booming voice as he looked at the women. "You, both of you, through your constant fighting are guilty of damaging that property by injuring other slaves and injuring yourselves. This will no longer be tolerated. You will be punished." Hamilton paused as Zuberi translated into their South Italian dialect, while others in the crew translated into Turkish, Arabic, Gaelic and Spanish. Hamilton waited and then added, "know this slaves, with every further incident the punishment will double."

"What are their names?" asked Hamilton quietly.

"The one to starboard is Irene," said Zuberi, indicating a tall, thin, but muscular woman. "And the other is Claudia." She was shorter, somewhat stouter and with larger breasts, but still a strong woman.

Irene twisted in Orhan's grip and started swearing. Claudia merely looked at Hamilton with contempt. Hamilton raised a hand and the ship's cooper, a barrel-chested man from a mountainous village to the north of Greece, stepped to the mainmast. He pulled back a damp tarpaulin and uncovered a linstock bucket swaddled in damp canvas, from which protruded a metal handspike. The cooper slowly wrapped his hand with layer after layer of heavy cloth, and then checked his grip. He took hold of the handspike and pushed it around the contents of the bucket. A thin swirl of smoke wafted up.

Orhan held tightly to Irene as two more sailors stepped forward and took hold of the struggling Claudia. They pushed her down on a grating where she was tied with ropes above and below her breasts and on her hips and thighs. Her left leg was restrained especially tightly, two loops around her thighs, more above and below her knee, and two at her ankles. The sailors then lifted the grating and set it against the keel of an inverted boat, letting Claudia's head rest on the deck while her feet were lifted up.

The cooper slowly pulled out the handspike. The bucket, which contained coals taken from the brig's stove, were not hot enough to leave the tip of the handspike red hot. The cooper spit and the rapid fizzing showed it was hot enough.

The bound woman pleaded, saying the same things over and over, as the copper stepped closer with the hand spike. To Hamilton's relief the man did not try to toy with her or tease her, he simply placed the hot tip hard against the sole of her left foot. Claudia screamed.

Hamilton enjoyed the struggles of slaves bound and tormented with a cat or short whip. He enjoyed that a great deal. But this was something different, the poor woman was pulling and fighting against her bonds, her back arching as she screamed a pure agony.

"Enough!" he ordered. Claudia was removed from the grating, and the bonds on her wrists cut as well. She was in no condition to resist and collapsed to the deck. A wet cloth was wrapped around her foot, but Hamilton did not allow her to be sent down to a sick bed just yet.

Irene tried to be stoic, but as she was pulled towards the grating she suddenly began to kick and even tried to bite one of the men holding her. It didn't matter. She was quickly bound as Claudia had been, with her left leg restrained by a dozen loops of the line. The cooper had been reheating the handspike. He pulled it out and walked closer. Irene just shook her head back and forth. The cooper was grinning when he pressed the hot metal against the sole of her left foot. Irene screamed.

"Enough!," Hamilton ordered when he thought she had been tortured as much as Claudia. "Take them below and treat their injuries." He turned to Ahmar. "You may send the men to dinner."

Hamilton didn't go to his cabin, although he was sorely tempted. He stood by the taffrail, his hands behind his back. While the clothing was wrong, he could still take the stance and attitude of a proper English naval captain. As the men went below, their laughing and gestures showed that they had been pleased with the spectacle. Hamilton didn't want to have to repeat it.


"The galleys will try to lay athwart our fore," Ahmar said.

"They'll attack from the side. Is that what you mean?" asked Ghanashyam. "But that is good, is it not? It seems men-of-war are always trying to come across the enemy's stern or bow, and so these galleys will be ripe for a raking shot."

"A galley is not the same as a ship. The freeboard is low. There are no masts or rigging in battle. It can be a difficult shot."

"They didn't have more than a few guns at the bow," Zuberi said, as he tapped out the weevils in a hardtack. "The largest was only a 12-pounder. They will move in close, as fast as they can, and try to take us by boarding."

"Well then, gentlemen, it is simple, yes?" said Van Schoonhoven, who had rapidly downed three glasses of French wine, "we simply stay far, far, far away from them."

Hamilton took a small sip of his wine. They sat around the table in his cabin, with plates of the usual indifferent shipboard fare. Rachel Palmer waited in one corner, ready to pour more wine. He had told Katherine to attend to that as well, but she had angrily refused and gone below to stay with Claudia and Irene.

"A catapult," Hamilton said suddenly, the idea forming as he spoke.

The others looked at him and waited. "I want a catapult. There isn't much time, so just set up a jury mast on the fo'c'sle and lash a spar horizontally."

"With respect Captain," Ahmar said. "We could never build anything more effective than our guns."

"It doesn't have to be effective, we'll only be shooting small wine casks. That's not even half a stone. And accuracy doesn't matter, we don't need to hit them."

"Casks, Captain Hamilton?" Van Schoonhoven asked. "Is this like Tunis, yes? Where a cask of powder, just one small cask, was able to stop the war galley of Mor Cuanaich! Oh, it is an excellent plan, Captain Hamilton, an excellent plan!"

"If I understand that encounter," Ahmar said, "the power filled cask did not do much damage the galley."

"No it didn't," Hamilton replied, "but it did put a fright into Mor Cuanaich. These galley captains, the ones out there, were going to give up the chase when they saw what we did to the barca-longa, and they're only going to attack now because they think the xebec is riding our stern. These men want gold, wine and slaves, they have no stomach for a fight."

Ahmar nodded as he considered. "Captain! I think I can be of assistance. Have you perhaps read Yusuf ibn Urunbugha al-Zaradkash?" Ghanashyam asked. "Well, in Bagdad I saw a very clear copy of his Kitab Aniq fi al-Manajaniq and I can remember some of the diagrams."

"What sort of diagrams?"

"It describes the manjaniq!" said Ghanashyam waiting for a reaction. "In Europe they sometimes call it a trebuchet."

"A trebuchet? Very good. Mr. Ghanashyam will assist Mr. Ahmar in collecting the materials we will need." Hamilton finished his wine. "Now gentleman, duty calls."


Two hours later, as the Tigress passed the Cape of Akrotiri on southern Kefalonia, the cry came that two sail had been seen. As Ahmar had predicted, the pirate ships were moving to intercept.

Hamilton inspected the jury-rigged trebuchet, which looked somewhat like a small crane. A topgallant yard had been stepped into a crude hole cut in the deck planking, and a shorter spar lashed near the top. The spar was unbalanced; the short end connected to a pair of halyards that lead to blocks and tackle so that the rope could be pulled from the ship's waist, while the long end had a salted pork cask, splayed out to form a simple bucket. Apparently, Ghanashyam, had said, some early trebuchets were powered by men with ropes. They were about to find out.

Orhan came forward with a small water cask covered in tar. He did not look happy. "Are you sure this is going to work?" Hamilton asked Ghanashyam.

"There is something like this in Hasan al-Rammah. It describes various bombs to use with a manjaniq. We had to make do with what we have on board, of course. Ahmar took an empty canister shell and filled it with powder, then used tar and oakum to hold it fixed to the cask bottom. Orhan will light the fuse and seal the bung hole and then we can hope the powder doesn't spill from the canister before we shoot it."

"You hope?" Hamilton sighed. He turned to the Yemeni, "Mr. Ahmar, if you would see to the guns. We may end up going at them in a straight fight."

Ahmar nodded and went below. Ghanashyam repeated his instructions to Orhan. There were two dozen small wine casks ready, though they only had had time to add power charges to five.

Hamilton watched the approaching galleys with his telescope balanced on Zuberi's shoulder. They were five hundred yards away and closing at a steady rate, side by side, making perhaps eight knots, but that could double, easily, when they sprinted the last two hundred yards.

"Take us three points larboard!" Hamilton ordered, "and tell the quartermaster he must hold us steady." Zuberi gave the orders and the yards were pulled about as the wheel was turned. The Tigress was now turning to intercept the galleys.

"Mr. Ghanashyam! Four empty casks!"

A dozen men in the waist pulled hard and fast on a rope, the force was enough to snap the long end of the yard around and launch the wine cask into a shallow parabolic arc. The cask landed in the water with a wide splash two hundred yards away. The trebuchet was pulled back and fired again and again. Within less than a minute the four casks had been launched.

"A charged one!" There was a huddle near the bow as Orhan lit the fuse and slammed in the wedge.

"Now! Now! Now!" Ghanashyam yelled to the men who had to heave fast on the line.

The cask lifted and flew in the same gentle arc, splashing down two hundred and fifty yards away. They waited. And waited. Then it went off. There was a flash and puff of smoke. It had worked, although result was not nearly as impressive as Hamilton had hoped. He ordered another charged cask and two more empties to be fired.

The galleys were closing, at three hundred yards they opened fire with their chasers and a tear suddenly appeared in the main course ten yards from Hamilton. "Send the other live ones!" Hamilton ordered, "and pass the word to Mr. Ahmar to fire as we bear! Bring us one more point a-larboard."

There were more puffs of smoke in the water and then the massive roar of the broadside; eight jets of flame and a massive clouds of acrid smoke. It was longer range than he would have wanted for the guns, but all Hamilton needed was for the galley captain's to hesitate, for them to fear the casks floating in the water before them.

A mass of debris flew up from the bow of one galley. A hit! That did the trick. The oars on both Corsair vessels stopped suddenly and held horizontally. The galleys began to slow.

"This is actually going to work," Hamilton muttered.

"Captain?" Zuberi asked.

"Keep up the good work, Mr. Zuberi." The Tigress' broadside fired again. Deep splashes landed around the galleys and it seemed as if another shot hit home.

"Put us back, Mr. Zuberi, four points to starboard, and clew-up the main course. On deck, there! Mind the bowlines! Haul round the braces and hard-a lee!" Hamilton watched the men going about their work and then laughed. The distance from the galleys was now increasing. The galleys were showing not the slightest inclination to pursue.

"Congratulations once again, Captain," Ahmar said as he emerged from below decks.

"And to you, sir. Excellent shooting, and excellent work on the trebuchet."

"Victory is easy when the enemy is a fool."

"Indeed. We won't be able to use that trick again. Now, set us south-sou'east, if you would, Mr. Ahmar. Bring in the t'gallants and courses, we'll run on tops'ls alone during the night."


Hamilton was sitting behind his desk when he heard the knock on his cabin door. It was two hours after sunset, and the cabin was lit by a pair of lanterns. "Enter."

Katherine Abington stepped inside. She was wearing a shirt over her light slave wrap, one splattered with blood. "They are both asleep," she said. "I finally gave them laudanum."

Hamilton put his hand on his chin and looked at her. He said nothing. "They will both limp for the rest of their lives. That is going to lower their value. I'm sure that's what concerns you most."

"It will indeed lower their price." She angrily pulled off her blood splattered shirt and threw it at him.

"Those two are slaves," he said. "And lest you forget: so are you."

"You didn't have to do that to them."

"There are some captains I have served under who would prescribe a thirty lashes for this sort of insolence, Lady Dunsbrooke."

"The men on those ships are soldiers."

"Half the men in the King's service were taken by force, either on shore or from passing merchants."

"So that makes it right for you to maim those women?"

"I don't need a justification. They are property. I can do with them what I will."

"They were fighting with the others, that's true, I saw it myself, but you could have locked them up somewhere."

"Or I could have had them shot," said Hamilton as he stood up and walked in front of her. "You once asked me to tell you about sex slaves. Do you remember? Well, now you're seeing it. And what I did to them I could just as easily do to you." He put his hand on her chin, pulling her face up. "I notice you have forgotten how to address me correctly, slave. Should I call the cooper and have him work up another set of hot coals?"

"No. Master."

"I didn't have those two punished for fighting," said Hamilton as he turned away from her. "I had them punished to keep the men from thinking about the battle we were going to have with those galleys. Yes, we made it through with only a hole in one sail, but we were lucky. I was lucky. If those pirate captains had had an ounce of good sense there would be blood on these decks. When the time comes I need men to work quickly, without thinking, without worrying, without hesitation; they must hear their orders and carry them out quickly and effectively. That isn't always going to happen if they spend hours sitting and wondering whether they are going to live or die."

Katherine did not look happy, she tried to respond, but the words wouldn't come out. "Oh, and another thing you seem have forgotten," Hamilton said, "those men are fighting for you, so you can reach Istanbul. I have no doubt that some of them are going to die before this over. I will try everything I know to prevent that, and perhaps our luck will hold, but luck in war is a fickle mistress."

"It was cruel." She looked up, a tear on her cheek. She looked so vulnerable, standing before him, with only a wrap around her hips. She was still beautiful, but somehow smaller, more fragile, so different from the wild woman he had had met in Gibraltar. He wanted to put his arms around her, to reassure her. He wanted to tell her that he was revolted by the extreme torture he had ordered as she was.

"Would you have done that to your Nasira?" Katherine said, practically spitting out her name. Hamilton's eyes flared with rage, he pushed her back, slamming her against the bulkhead, his forearm pressed across her neck.

"What is wrong!" Rachel Palmer cried as she threw open the door. "Oh my God!" Hamilton pulled Katherine from the bulkhead and let her drop to the floor. He staggered back and leaned over his desk. "Send word that this slave is to be lashed to the mainmast."

Rachel bent down and held the terrified Katherine.

"Do it!" Hamilton yelled. Rachel reached under and lifted Katherine, and guided her out of the cabin.


The weather turned that night to a cold drizzle, heavy gusts, and hard seas. He had Katherine brought back in after an hour before the rain struck. He hadn't spoken to her, or even looked at her, and she laid huddled in her cot, with Rachel by her side.

Hamilton stood on the quarter deck as spray mixed with rain flew in his face. It was a rough sea, though nothing like an Atlantic storm. The brig-sloop pitched and rolled. There was no reason for him to remain on deck, Ahmar was handling the watch with his usual calm efficiency. But he didn't want to go back down and have to walk past her in the fore-cabin.

"Mr. Ahmar!" He yelled out. "We should double-reef the tops'ls." Ahmar nodded and went out on deck, giving the orders to the handful of men who had to climb the aloft.

The storm worsened before it got better. The ship was handling well and the crew responded, grudgingly, but in a seamanlike fashion. Still, the foretopgallant mast was lost, snapped off, when lightning hit the ship. Two men were injured, one seriously, but it could have been far worse.

He was still on the quarter deck at dawn. The storm seemed to have passed, though the seas were still moderate, and the wind blowing against the waves kept the deck wet. The Tigress was under tops'ls only, the reefs having been shaken out an hour earlier. The carpenter was aloft the foremast trying to gauge the damage. They were only making three knots, but the storm had given them a reprieve. Galleys, xebecs and other lightly built craft would have to seek shelter. Greece was, nominally at least, under the rule of the Sultan, and if he had been extraordinary luck, more of Mor Cuanaich's fleet would suffer the fate of the careened galley at Straca Marina: burned.

The waters around Greece were crowded with small vessels, any one of which might pass along information for a few coins. Mysterious sails were seen every days which stayed on the horizon for hours, following the same course and speed, and no determination could be made as to whether they were mere merchants or scouts for the Irish pirate. But there were no sightings of the long, low hulls and double-masts with the lateen sails of a war galley. Hamilton had no illusions. Mor Cuanaich would be on their stern soon enough.

Hamilton wanted very much to keep going directly for Istanbul, but a falling barometer and the possibility of another storm made him look for a place to anchor. After considering a few lonely coves, he finally chose the island of Naxos. There was a fine harbor well-protected by Ottoman ships and soldiers. There was also an extensive slave market, which presented an opportunity to lighten the load.


Katherine fell to her knees before Hamilton. "I am sorry, master." Hamilton tossed a scattering of sand across the open logbook to dry the ink. "You were punished. The matter is settled."

"Yes, master." She watched him closely as he blew the sand away. "Master, may I speak?"

That made Hamilton smile. "You never have asked permission before, I see no reason to start now."

"Thank you, master. I... I should not have mentioned... her." She looked up at him, watching his mood carefully.

"Nasira," said Hamilton.

"Yes, master. I have done this before. I think... I think I do it because she is a lucky woman."

"Nasira? Why do you think that?"

"She has you."

"Oh." He shook his head. "Nasira does not have me. She may have someone now, she may not. She may not even be alive for all I know."

"I'm sorry."

Hamilton changed the subject, "Zuberi has asked if I wanted to see one of the slave brothels and auction houses that cater to some of the wealthier nobles. If you would like to see it, we can bring you along. Not dressed like that, of course."

"Yes. I think I would like that."


Forty slaves had been ***********ed for sale. The prices would be higher in Istanbul, but taking them off, and the stores they required, might lighten the Tigress enough for an extra half knot. The first group of ten slaves were made to sit along the quay, bound together by rope and under guard. It would take several trips to make all forty ready for the march to market and Hamilton left those details to Van Schoonhoven and Ghanashyam.

"Naxos is a wondrous place," Zuberi said as they walked up the hill into the town. "I came here many times when I sailed with a Tunisian merchant, an old man named Khalil. He owned no ships himself, he always took them on lease, the only sword he had was rusted in the scabbard, his clothes were worn, but somehow he always managed to acquire the best, the most beautiful women for sale in Istanbul."

"I hope his slaves didn't fight as much as ours did," said Hamilton. He looked back, making sure Katherine was keeping up.

"Sometimes there is nothing that can be done for that." Zuberi shrugged. "Khalil, now, he only choose the choicest slaves in all ways. He was so good, it was said, that he could even bring women to the Sultan Osman."

"He was the only one who supplied the Harem?" Katherine asked, quietly. She wore a light blue dresse, long gloves, and a scarf tightly wound around her head.

"Oh no. Osman himself grew up in the Harem, of course, all the Sultans do, but he came to hate the company of women! He wore iron shoes in the palace so that they would know he was coming and be able to get out of the way." Zuberi laughed. "If I were Sultan I would wear silk shoes to sneak up and catch them!"

They turned into a narrow street with high, windowless walls on either side. Moving from the bright sunlight to the shade was like entering a tunnel. At the far end was a massive gateway, partially open. Two very large men, stripped to the waist, with scimitars prominently displayed their belts watched them closely.

Zuberi raised his hand and walked over to the guards, he said something briefly and handed them each a few copper akche. "I told him that you and Katherine are English tourists. You wouldn't be the first. We may pass without trouble."

Inside the gateway was a courtyard that had been turned into a garden, with paths winding around soft grass and rows and rows of tulips, small ponds, and fig trees. It was a strange setting, in the shadow of high walled buildings, as if a small delicate pond had been transplanted into the center of a small fortress. A pair of young woman were sitting on the stones around one of the ponds. They wore a light wrapping about their hips, their breasts were bare, their faces pretty. They looked over at the visiting trio and smiled, but quickly went back to their gossip.

"There are many more inside," Zuberi said.

They walked across the courtyard to a solid door that was opened by an attractive slave as they approached. The room inside was wide with a low ceiling and miniature paintings of tulips placed everywhere around the walls. A dozen men in the room were clustered in small groups around tables or on pillows, with women who sat with them to act flattered by their attentions and suck suggestively on a hookah. Other women wore deep red wraps around their hips embroidered with tulips. They brought bottles of raki, ouzo, and, for one man, a bottle of French burgundy.

"I like this place," said Katherine. "The slaves seem well treated."

"I'm sure they are, or most of them," Zuberi said. "Let me show you back here." They walked towards another door. Zuberi spoke to another man as massive as the ones guarding the gate. He paid, with a few silver kuruhs.

The next room was not as large, but much more interesting. Against one wall were ten naked women, all bound, tightly and creatively to iron rings set in the ceiling, wall, and floor. All the bound slaves were gagged with cloth festooned in tulips. A man, much smaller than the guards, walked back and forth along a line painted on the floor. To the left of the line were other men, in pairs and individually, standing and admiring the slaves. Some talked, pointing to one and then another of the beautiful women. Only one man was to the right of the line, standing next to the bound slaves. He was pulling on the nipples of a dark haired woman who had her elbows bound tightly and legs spread.

"Is that the Russian?" asked Hamilton indicating the man walking on the line.

"Oh no. He collects the money for those who want to inspect before they choose." The man touching the bound woman stepped back and nodded. Two more women, both tall, suddenly appeared, they untied the ***********ed slave and attached a leash to her collar. With a yank she was led away. Even before she was pulled out of the room another naked, gagged slave was brought in and tied in the same manner to take her place.

"All of these positions have names, you can call out the name to *********** the slave and forgo the inspection price." Zuberi then pressed on Hamilton's arm to turn his attention to a table behind them.

"That is the Russian." The Russian was a big man, with a fierce beard and unruly hair that gave the impression he had a mane. He laughed suddenly, very loudly as he pounded his tankard on the table. Two women were sitting with him, both naked and both running their hands over him. As Hamilton watched one of them slid down and under the table between the Russian's legs. That just made him laugh more.

"The miniatures on the walls, the tulips, the garden," said Katherine. "This was not what I expected for the owner."

"I'm not sure if he owns the place, but he does have a large share. They always say, if there is trouble just ask for Vasya." Vasya now looked over at Hamilton, Katherine, and Zuberi. He smiled and raised his tankard and then laughed again, all the while with one woman on his arm and the other sucking on his cock.

"How did a Russian get here?" Hamilton asked. "The Ottomans just helped Russians with the assault on Corfu, but before that, for centuries, they have been bitter enemies. I think they've been at war since Ivan the Terrible was Czar."

"Yes, I think so." Zuberi shrugged. "But it is very easy to live here in Naxos. There are also Venetians who prosper here, and a fat trader from Genoa. I don't think the Sultan's men care, as long as taxes are paid."

Ahmar suddenly walked up behind them. He clasped his hands on Hamilton's shoulders and laughed. "Good fortune, I take it?" Hamilton asked.

"Much good fortune. The Dutchman is counting the last coins now. He will take it back to the ship."

A young woman came over to them, she bowed low and spoke Greek. "The Russian would like to talk to you, Captain Hamilton," Zuberi translated.

"Really? Well, all right. Katherine, stay with Ahmar." Hamilton and Zuberi approached the Russian's table. The woman underneath seemed to have finished, she crawled out, wiped her mouth, and returned to her place on his arm.

"God damn!" the Russian yelled at Hamilton. Then he laughed.

"Yes. Yes, indeed," Hamilton said with a smile with a small nod. He looked at the confused Zuberi. “The French call the English les goddams. I hope that is what our friend means."

"God damn!" The Russian said over and over.

"Let me see if he knows other words," Zuberi said. The Egyptian spoke a mixture of Turkish and Greek and, after some back and forth with help from the women, he seemed to understand what the Russian wanted.

"He says something about making kasha, but I don't know what that is. He seems to know who you are Captain," said Zuberi, "he calls you 'the Englishman from Tunis with the ship of slaves.' He also says, hmm, I think he is saying that he thought you would be taller."

"Yes, well, please express my compliments on the quality of his slaves and et cetera, et cetera." The Russian grabbed a chunk of bread and stood up. The women at his side scattered and one pulled the table a bit farther out before it fell over. He began to speak loudly, gesturing and then looking at Hamilton with a wild smile.

"Now he is saying... ," Zuberi stopped short. "He needs the milk of a bird?"

"Bird's milk?" said Hamilton as he maintained a pleasant smile. "Well, just tell him that with great regret we are out of bird's milk."

"Ah, I see. It is an expression. I think. Now he wants to shout, no, he wants to pay! Yes, I understand. He wants to pay for you to use two slaves."

"That is most kind." Hamilton looked at the pair next to the Russian. Both were attractive, but both had also been pressing themselves against the large man, who was sweating profusely in the heat. "However, perhaps it would be best if I declined."

"You can choose your slaves, Captain. He says he wants to show you his special cages."

"In that case, who am I to refuse his hospitality." Hamilton nodded and smiled at the Russian but spoke to Zuberi. "Is Katherine going to be all right?"

"Yes. Ahmar and I will take her out into the lounge room." The Russian motioned for them to follow. He lead them downstairs to a long corridor that seemed cut directly from the stone. There were no windows and the air was sticky from the many oil lanterns.

Every hundred feet the corridor opened into a new room, each of which was filled with five or six beautiful slaves. Each woman was given a small bed, and there were communal areas, with food and other necessities. Hamilton had seen people living with far less. The slaves were well treated, it seemed, but none looked happy. Most had small iron shackles on one ankle connected by thin chains to rings. There was an almost constant clinking and scraping of iron of stone in each room.

The Russian had divided his captives according to physical attributes. In the first room with those with rich dark skin, taken from the Upper Egypt or brought north across the desert to Tunis or Tripoli. The next two contained only dark haired women with olive skin, women who had been sold by their families in places like Syria or Cairo, or else taken as tribute from Yemen and other places along the Red Sea. One room had those with large breasts, another with lither bodied sex slaves. There was a room of dark haired women with pale skin, slaves taken from the coasts of Italy and Spain who, for one reason or another, had stayed out of the sun. The Russian was also proud of his six Circassian slaves, all blonde, beautiful and from the Caucasus. Some of the Circassians been taken in raids, while others had been born to families so poor they had no choice but to sell them to slave traders.

"He says that you can have two of these slaves for tonight," Zuberi said.

Hamilton smiled. "Do I have to share with you, Mr. Zuberi?"

"I can take from my share of the auction money from Ahmar. I'd rather see if I can pick out a fresh one from the bondage wall."

"All right, be careful with Katherine. We haven't gone through all this to let her end up here."

"She will be fine, I am sure." Zuberi listened to the Russian. "Now he says he likes you because you are a skull and have many... eggs? I have no idea what the means, but it seems to be a compliment. He has one more room to show you." Zuberi clasped his hand on Hamilton's shoulder. "Enjoy my friend, I am anxious to pick my own little tulip for the evening."

The Russian smiled as Zuberi left, then spoke quietly, relatively speaking, and lead Hamilton to the end of the corridor. There was a final door which opened with a key. Inside were an array of four wooden cages, suspended from the ceiling on silver chains, each holding a single slave. The caged women were frightened as they slowly stood, keeping their hands to their sides.

Hamilton moved closer, each was an exotic beauty from the Far East. Hamilton had seen Chinese women in London, part of a group that was touring the city, although those all had worn elaborate robes and had faces powdered white. These slaves were naked. Each was a petite beauty with soft curves and breasts that would feel very nice in his hand.

"Two?" He held up two fingers. The Russian nodded. Hamilton walked along the cages and then pointed to the first and last. Vasya opened those cages and ordered the women out. They obeyed and, following gestures, stood next to Hamilton, both looking downcast.

Vasya spoke and had everyone follow him back into the corridor to another door, smaller than the rest. The two women seemed to understand. They nodded and went inside. The Russian indicated that Hamilton should follow and, at last, he did. The new room was small, with plain wooden walls, and a simple floor and ceiling. It looked like the inside of a crate more than anything else, but it was large enough for them to stand comfortably. The slaves each went into one corner and put their arms out as if trying to hold onto the walls.

With a sudden rumble the room began to rise. The two women smiled as Hamilton momentarily lost his balance. The wooden room was connected to some sort of hoisting device and now someone, probably Vasya himself, was pulling on ropes to lift them up some sort of well. A minute later the room came to a halt in front of another opening. Both women ran quickly out of the moving room and around a corner. Hamilton went after them.

He found a round room with broad windows, one overlooked the garden in front of the brothel and the other looked out across the harbor. He stood at the second window for a moment. The sun was setting and the sight of the glittering red reflections on the waves, interrupted by the dark shapes of ships, including the Tigress, was a comforting one. With a start he noticed a xebec moored, but they were common, and the one that had chased them around Kefalonia could not possibly have followed so closely. Hamilton didn't want to think about xebecs or pirates. He wanted to fuck some beautiful slaves.

Near the center of the room was a large bed built on an oval frame. Scattered around the walls were a number of small irons rings, and he noticed other rings hanging from ceiling beams. There was a low table with a bottle of raki and next to that a rack with a wide assortment of small whips. An opened chest held an assortment of thin ropes and chains.

The women were lying on the bed as they waited for him. He pointed to one and called her over. She nodded to her friend sullenly, then slowly walked to him. He ran his hands through her long, straight dark hair. The shape of her eyes gave her a wildly exotic look. She seemed to blush at his attentions and she puckered her mouth just a bit, her lips making an almost perfect circle.

"And what is your name, hm?" He said, realizing that she would have no idea what he was saying.


"Is that your name? Lien-Hua?" He pressed his finger between her breasts and she nodded. His hands glided naturally to those breasts, they were small and easily fit into his hands. He squeezed and looked down slowly over the soft curves of her body. The hair on her pussy had been shaved, and he couldn't resist running his hand over her mound. She moaned slightly, although he took that as acting and nothing more.

Hamilton reached down into the chest and brought out a small length of silk rope. He wrapped it around Lien-Hua's wrists and then took the slack and ran it through one of the ceiling rings. With one yank she was standing on her toes with her hands straight above her. He tied the rope off and motioned for the second slave to step forward.

"Bao," she said when he asked her name. She had less of an almond shape to her eyes, and he wondered if she was from some place not quite as exotic as Lien-Hua. It hardly mattered. Both women were very beautiful. Hamilton stood behind Bao and pressed her close, the hard cock under his trousers against her ass. He squeezed her breasts, which were slightly larger than her friend's, and then teased her nipples, pulling on them lightly.

Bao also moaned, and again he took that as the practiced response of a well-trained sex slave. Her body was soft, and he lets his hands move down over her hips. He leaned down and kissed the back of her neck as one hand slipped around and reached for her pussy. Bao had a trimmed pussy, and his fingers glided through the dark hair and then down over her folds.

Lien-Hua whimpered slightly, her legs moving back and forth a bit as she tried, in vain, to find a comfortable way to stand on her toes. Hamilton smiled at her as he reached down and pulled out a second length of silk cord from the wooden chest. He tied Lien-Hua's wrists as he had Bao's and then ran the free end of the cord up through the same ring. Both women were now bound face-to-face. He made a slight adjustment, due to their different heights, to make sure their nipples aligned.

"Oh, I see you cannot touch the ground," he said to Lien-Hua who was slightly shorter. He pulled Bao higher and adjusted Lien-Hua so that neither woman was able to touch the floor. They both tried to move their legs, each bending their knees as they swung lightly in the weak breeze.

Both slaves whimpered more when he pulled out a third silk cord. This went around their waists, holding them together, pressing breast into breast and thigh to thigh. Hamilton began to take off his clothes as he walked around them. Each of the two slaves looked back and forth, they could not look at each other without pulling their heads back. They knew his cock was hard.

"Now, aren't you two a sight," he said as he walked over to the rack of whips. Both slaves stared at him, their eyes widening with growing fear. Hamilton ***********ed a flogger and ran the leather tails through his hand. "I think this should do just nicely."

Bao began to shake her head. Hamilton rubbed her ass lightly, then snapped the flogger on her soft flesh over and over, the leather tails biting into her ass again and again. Bao shrieked and began to plead in some language Hamilton had never heard before. Then it was Lien-Hua's turn. He swung the flogger against her ass, working it down the top of her thighs and then back up. At first she just grunted and tried to stoically take each lash, but then she was crying out too.

He stopped and reached up, setting the flogger's handle so that it rested in front of their mouths like a horse's bit. With their bodies held close together they had to each lean back and look slightly downward in order to take hold of the bit between their mouths. Even then they had to press their heads together to maintain the pressure. It was not comfortable. They didn't need to understand Hamilton's language, the women knew if they dropped the flogger that they would be punished.

Hamilton let his hand slide down Lien-Hua's ass, then down under so that he fingers moved lightly along the softness of her cunt. He felt her slit as he pulled her pussy lips apart, just barely, with one hand. He pressed a finger up, causing the woman to jump. She almost lost her concentration on holding the flogger handle, but that remained in place. He pressed his finger up inside Lien-Hua a bit more and began to move it in and out slowly. A dampness formed at last.

"Now, let's see how you are doing," he said as he pulled his finger free. He trailed a slight dampness from Lien-Hua to Bao as he reached down and squeezed the other woman's pussy. Even before he slid a finger into her, Bao shrieked in protest, and the flogger fell down onto the floor.

Hamilton reached up and let Lien-Hua down from the ring but left her wrists tied. Bao, still hanging from the ceiling ring, kept shaking her head. Hamilton lead Lien-Hua to the wooden chest. He reached in and pulled out a statue of a seven inch cock, made of green marble polished to a high shine.

"Take this and put it into your friend's cunt." Lien-Hua nodded, after he put the stone cock into her hand and pointed. She went over slowly and knelt in front of Bao, looking back to him repeatedly to make sure she was doing the right thing.

"Now, slide into to her, but slowly." Bao was kicking her feet. Hamilton walked around and spanked her hard on the ass until she stopped the worse of it. She would not keep still, but that did not prevent Lien-Hua from placing the tip of the stone cock against her cunt.

"Get it wet, slave, put it in your mouth first," he said, pointing to her mouth. Lien-Hua took the stone cock and pressed the first few inches into her mouth, her eyes on his as she moved it back and forth very slowly. Then she pulled it out and pressed it back on Bao's slit. Lien-Hua seemed to understand that she was to go slow, and she rocked the tip back and forth, letting it move up into Bao's cunt very slowly. One inch, then two and three and then four and five inches of the stone moved up inside the suspended slave. Lien-Hua, holding the stone cock with both hands, her wrists still bound, began to thrust it in and out with more force in Bao's wet cunt.

"Maybe I should flog you more," Hamilton said to Bao as he squeezed her breasts. But he didn't pick up the flogger. He leaned in, letting one leg press against Lien-Hua's back, and began to suck on Bao's breasts. Bao tried to resist, she twisted and shook her head, as Hamilton's lips engulfed a nipple and Lien-Hua moved the stone cock up and down inside her.

"You are not being an obedient slave like your friend, here, are you?" He said to Bao, before turning to Lien-Hua. "Enough with that, take it out... out... yes, take it out and set it over there." Lien-Hua pulled the stone cock free and then moved on her knees to set it down next to the wooden chest. She turned back but kept her face down and waited.

"There, you see?" He said to Bao. "Your friend knows how to behave. She should be rewarded."

Bao looked at him, not understanding his words. She whimpered as the strain in her arms grew worse.

"You, get over here," Hamilton snapped at Lien-Hua. She crawled over and knelt beside him. Hamilton crouched down beside her, and untied her wrists, leaving on her hands and knees, in front of the still hanging Bao. Hamilton moved behind Lien-Hua. He put one hand around her waist and reached around with the other, playing lightly with her pussy. "Mmm... now, don't you feel so very nice, slave."

Lien-Hua said something softly, her voice trembling with fear. "I have no idea what you are saying," Hamilton replied with a friendly voice. "But I do want to fuck you."

Hamilton pressed his cock against Lien-Hua's pussy. She shook, but stayed on her hands and knees as he leaned in and forced his cock into her tight cunt. The slave cried out once, but her body was beginning to respond, and his cock began to slide back and forth more easily.

Bao, hanging in front of them, her arms aching, looked down in fear as he used Lien-Hua. Bao pulled herself up an inch on the rope but then lost her grip and fell back with a grunt. Hamilton looked up at her as he fucked Lien-Hua, "I hope you have learned a lesson, eh? Next time you behave."

He took hold of Lien-Hua's hips, pulled her back and forth to match his hips as he began to fuck her faster. Lien-Hua began to rock on her hands and knees, letting him use her. Hamilton felt his cock, held so tightly inside the slave's pussy, as he pounded against her. He took her with a rhythm that matched her motions and the pure pleasure of fucking the beautiful sex slave swept over him, overwhelming him, as his cum filled her cunt.

Hamilton pushed Lien-Hua away. She fell down but quickly was back to her hands and knees. She looked up, waiting for him to give her the next order.

Someone was yelling out in the garden below, a drunk presumably. It was distracting, though if this was an English brothel there would be a lot more loud drunks.

Hamilton ran his hand through Lien-Hua's hair and said, "clean my cock, slave." Lien-Hua didn't understand the words, but she knew what was expected. She crawled close and put her mouth on his cock. She sucked in deeply, tasting the mixed juices. She kissed along his shaft up and down, and then flicked her tongue around the base of his cock, searching for every trace of cum.

"Enough. On the bed." Hamilton pointed. Lien-Hua said something softly and then crawled to the bed. She lay down on the covers and waited.

Bao, still hanging from the ropes, cried out when she saw him moving back towards her. He reached out and lets his hands slide down her side. He looked down over her carefully and smiled.

"I think you have learned your lesson, slave. I am sure you will think twice before causing trouble next time." Bao stared at him. She hesitated and then nodded slightly. Hamilton reached up and untied her. He slapped her ass and pointed to the bed. She rubbed her wrists and walked over, lying down next to Lien-Hua.

There was more yelling from outside. It was annoying, but there wasn't anything he could do. He went to the bed and pushed himself between the two women, holding them close on each arm, Lien-Hua on the right, Bao on his left. "Oh, yes, this is very nice, two beautiful exotic sex slaves," he said quietly, "If only those bastards outside would shut up."

There was another shout in Greek or Turkish, Hamilton couldn't tell, but this time it was no drunk. It was a cry of alarm. Hamilton sighed and stood up. He walked towards the window overlooking the garden. A dull orange light was flickering from just out of sight, apparently near the door into the main lounge room.

There was a loud crack and a shower of fine dust. Someone had fired a musket at him. Hamilton flattened himself against the wall and looked around the corner. The garden was in chaos. Men were down, swords and pistols drawn. The slave brothel was under attack.

"Englishman! Edward Hamilton!" Whoever was yelling had an Irish accent. "Englishman I have your woman!" Hamilton risked moving to the window to look out, there were men running about the garden, but they were laying low, and it was impossible to see how many were out there. He ducked inside as someone fired a pistol at the window.

"The Janissary woman! You know her Englishman! I am Mor Cuanaich and I have your woman of Tunis!"

"Nasira..." Hamilton said. The bastard had Nasira.

Voyage Of The Istanbul Tigress Ch. 05

July 1799, Island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea

"Englishman! You'll come out, you will! Now or later, it makes no difference to me!" Mor Cuanaich yelled from the courtyard.

Hamilton risked another glance outside. From his position up in the slave brothel's tower he could see a man wearing white breeches, a dark blue jacket covered with rows of lace and buttons, gold epaulets, a white baldric with a brace of pistols, and the metal helmet of a French dragoon. It looked as if he had been taking pieces from uniforms all across Europe. That had to be Mor Cuanaich.

Another musket ball smashed into the plaster above Hamilton's head.

"Jesus!" He ducked back in. From outside he could hear shouting and the thud of an axe pounding into wood. The pirates were trying to break into the slave brothel downstairs.

"I have your woman, Englishman! Your woman from Tunis!"

Hamilton didn't believe him. The Irish renegade was taunting him, knowing that he loved Nasira. It couldn't be true. The bastard was just looking for a weakness, trying to lure him out, but he wouldn't be that stupid.

Though maybe Katherine was right, he realized, maybe he did love Nasira.

"Damn!" Hamilton grabbed his trousers and pulled them on. Whatever else happened he was not going to die naked.

The Chinese women shrieked.

"Quiet! It's all right -- ah, shit!" said Hamilton as he turned and saw what they were screaming about. Outside on the window ledge was the top of a ladder.

Hamilton motioned again for the women to be quiet as he approached the window and flattened himself against the wall. He could hear a few exclamations in Turkish and then someone, or more likely several someone’s, climbing fast. Hamilton waited and crouched down. He could hear the heavy breathing of the first assailant as he reached the window ledge. The faint shadow cast on the ceiling showed that the man was pulling his musket around in its sling and getting ready to jump inside.

Hamilton stepped in front of him, grabbed hold of the musket and pushed back. There was a sudden yell as the attacker was knocked off the ladder, unfortunately taking the musket with him. Hamilton took a fast look over the window ledge. Three more men were on the ladder, at least six others were running through the courtyard. All were dressed with duck trousers and shirts, with belts holding swords, daggers, and pistols.

The next pirate on the ladder slashed up with a saber. Hamilton jumped back inside and looked around quickly. He pulled a chained lantern from the wall. It wasn't very heavy but this wasn't the time to be choosey. Hamilton swung the chain over his head and brought the lantern down with a crack on the man's head. The pirate's saber stabbed out at empty air, but he too fell.

Another musket was fired from the courtyard. Hamilton ignored it as he took hold of the ladder and pushed. It was difficult to move it from the wall, without any leverage he wasn't sure he'd be able to, but in the end it didn't matter. The remaining men panicked and slid down and he was able to knock the ladder away. It fell down against a low brick wall and snapped in two.

"Quick barrelin' around like bleedin' mules" Mor Cuanaich yelled. "Now get back, get back you shitehawks!"

Retreat? It couldn't be that easy. The pirates were running back across the garden, but only to crouch down behind trees and stone walls.

There was a flash, an explosion, and a puff of dark black smoke. They had used a keg of powder to blast open the thick door from the courtyard into the brothel.

"Stay here." He said to the Chinese women before running out into the narrow hall. He opened the door leading to the moving room and caught himself just before he plunged fifty feet down the open well. The moving room had been taken back down to the basement, and now the only other way down was with a narrow set of stairs that wound around the inside wall of the well. Hamilton tried to remind himself that the height was no different from being on the topgallant yard of a seventy-four. That didn't help. Seeing no alternative he plunged down the stairs, moving sideways with both hands pressed against the wall.

He wanted to get to the Arz Odasi, the Audience Chamber, what they called the first room where men drank, smoked, and flirted with pretty sex slaves. Hopefully, he would get there before the pirate's men had taken it. There was a side door that opened ten yards above the basement where Vasya kept his special slaves. The sharp clang of steel on steel and the pop of a pistol told this was the right way. Hamilton stepped through a low door and found himself in a narrow corridor that lead to the Audience Chamber. A guard lay a few feet away, dead, a red smear on the floor beside him. Hamilton picked up the dead man's saber and slowly moved down the hall.

A red haired man with a scar over her left eyes smashed aside an already broken door and broke into the hallway. Hamilton yelled and lunged forward. Point beats edge, it was something he learned as a midshipman on his first boarding action. The scarred man brought his saber around in a wide arc, Hamilton deflected the blade then ignored it as he pressed the point at the pirate's throat, driving in until he felt the point grinding on the wall. Hamilton twisted his blade and pulled it free, only then noticing that his own arm had taken a shallow cut.

The broken door lead out to the Audience Chamber, now with smashed furniture and air thick with powder smoke and plaster dust. Twenty yards away, past the smashed remains of the liquor store, two pirates were closing in on the Russian, who was already fighting off a third with a heavy wooden beam. Vasya had already been wounded, there was blood in his face and along his left arm but he fought with a brutal fury. Two more of the invaders ignored that fight as they dragged off a pair of sex slaves.

Yet another pirate was picking his way through broken furniture towards Ahmar who, Hamilton now saw, was slumped against the wall ten yards away. Hamilton took that pirate at a dead run. The man turned just as Hamilton punched him with his right hand, the saber's hilt crushing his nose. Hamilton took a half step back and swung for the neck, sending the man went down.

"That's enough you bastards!" roared Mor Cuanaich. He was near the front, by the remains of the heavy door, now blackened from the explosion. Five of his men stood behind him. They all leveled their muskets at the Russian. Vasya swung once more and knocked back the only pirate still standing in his path. He swore at Mor Cuanaich, or at least it sounded like that, in some language Hamilton didn't understand. The Russian was breathing hard. He had lost a great deal of blood.

Hamilton could see at least four of the brothel's guards or patrons were crouching behind walls and tables near the back, their muskets leveled at the invaders. Mor Cuanaich had almost twice as many men, but if he ordered them to charge he himself was likely to be one of the first hit.

"You all right?" Hamilton crouched next to Ahmar.

Ahmar winced by moved his left arm up slightly, "No. I'll live."

"Englishman!" the Irishman yelled. "There you are! At last I see you, fresh from a slave's cunt, eh?"

"Where is Katherine?" Hamilton asked Ahmar quickly.

Ahmar shook his head. With a grimace, he shifted his good hand and pushed a pistol towards Hamilton. Hamilton shoved the pistol into the back of his trousers and stood up. He tossed the saber down.

"So you are Lieutenant Edward Hamilton, eh?" The Irishman snorted. "I thought you'd be taller."

"And I thought you'd be smarter."

"Smarter? Ha ha. Oh, that is good, Englishman, good! Show us your cultivated wit, eh?" The Irishman pointed at Hamilton. "Like all of your devil spawned kind you have caused me nothing but trouble. I lost two galleys in Straca Marina because of you. Two! How was I to know those Italians could fight, eh? And my sweet prize the Pride of Bantry, there, you left her a bloody hulk off Ithaca and frightened the balls off those cowards who called themselves galley captains. They've grown fat and lazy plucking virgins from coastal villages, but no more, I hanged 'em, I did. But that's not been the worst of it."

"Off Tunis I left your galley a shambling wreck while I had nothing more than a crew of women and six guns."

"You are a dead man, Englishman," Mor Cuanaich said, very slowly and deliberately, "I'm going to tear off your cock, piece by piece, and sew it up your arse, oh, rest assured that I am. But before you start screaming for your ma, I'll destroy you, I'll show these men, I'll show everyone, that you are nothing but another English gobshite."

Hamilton estimated he was ten yards from the pirate, close enough to risk a shot. It would be the last thing he would do, but at least he stood a chance of taking Mor Cuanaich with him.

Hamilton tensed himself, but there was a scream. A pirate dragged Katherine out from one of the side rooms, she kicked and fought. The man holding her was limping, but he held onto her arm tightly. She was ten yards away in one direction, Mor Cuanaich ten in another, with Hamilton himself forming the third point of the triangle.

"Ho, yes, Englishman! I have your damned Tunisian whore, your Janissary woman, and now I'll ride the grand Lady Dunsbrooke." Mor Cuanaich said with a laugh. "She'll be gagging for it, soon enough, she will, I'll fuck her and then leave her to my crew. They are having so great a skylark with that bitch Nasira's holes."

"Edward, please!" Katherine said. She was struggling against the wounded pirate who was slowly pulling her over to Mor Cuanaich.

"Take her," Hamilton simply said. "I don't care."

The Irish renegade looked around at his men with a wild expression and roared, "he don't care!"

The pirates laughed. Hamilton waited a heartbeat and then jumped over a chair, towards Katherine. He pulled the pistol from behind his back and cocked it all in one motion.

He aimed it at Katherine Abington's head.

"Hold you bastards!" Mor Cuanaich ordered before his men could fire.

"But I do care if you take her alive," Hamilton said calmly. "Kill me if you can but try and she dies too."

"Oh, you're a right cold bastard, Englishman, I'll grant you that." Mor Cuanaich ordered his men to step back, closer to the door back into the garden. "Just pass that grand lady slut over to me and I'll let the others live."

"Go fuck a porpoise you bloody bastard."

Mor Cuanaich just grinned as he stepped back towards the door, his men retreating with him. "Remember that Russian! Send out the Englishman and the woman and the rest can go back to your dandy arsed, trinkled-up slaves."

The pirate who had found Katherine finally let her go and went to join the rest, limping slowly. The Russian screamed and threw the beam he had wielded, sending the man down hard. But after that effort, Vasya groaned and slumped.

Hamilton put the pistol down once the pirates were gone. Zuberi stepped out from behind a wall, a musket in his hand. "He's a wild man," he said indicating the Russian, "I'd hate to see how he fights when he's sober."

"Can you help him, Katherine?" Hamilton asked.

She nodded. Her hand shaking. "Edward. Would you have..."

"If it was the only way to keep you from him, yes."

Katherine walked over to the Russian, she leaned down and pulled strips from her dress.

One of the slaves had tended to Ahmar, and he was now sitting on an undamaged chair. "We're under siege," he said.

"Well where the fuck is the bloody Ottoman Empire?" Hamilton yelled. "Isn't there one Janissary on this pile?"

"I don't know where the soldiers are, bribed perhaps," said Zuberi with a shrug. "But Ahmar is right, Mor Cuanaich had his men make loopholes in the walls all around the courtyard, if we go out there we'll be cut down."

"Damn," Hamilton stepped towards the remains of the massive wooden door. He aimed the pistol into the garden and fired. He was answered by five muskets. "We need to get the hell out of here."

"Captain Hamilton," Zuberi said. He walked closer and looked around, trying to find the words. "Mor Cuanaich told you he has Nasira bint Evranaki as his prisoner?"

"Yes, and he's a fucking liar."

"Captain, I... I am sorry."


"Van Schoonhoven has me translate dispatches and orders that are in Arabic, those from the Vizier in Tunis, from Istanbul at times, from other merchants, and, well, it seems there was, there was one ship, it left Tunis a month ago and --"

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Hamilton demanded.

"He may have her. I'm very sorry. The ship she was on never reached Istanbul. It may have been taken by him. It probably was taken by him."

Hamilton turned around until he found a saber. He brought it up to Zuberi's throat. "You knew this? You knew this and didn't tell me? You knew where she was and didn't fucking think to fucking tell me!"

"Captain, please, I couldn't, he ordered me, Van Schoonhoven, he insisted, he said that I could not speak of it, not to anyone, that you would not think straight, he said he would tell you later, I am sorry.."

"Hamilton!" Ahmar roared. "Put it down."

Hamilton looked back at Ahmar and lowered the saber. He turned and threw the weapon, hard, as hard as he could, against the wall. It dug a chunk out of the wall and clattered to the floor.

"I will organize a defense." Ahmar said. "You will rest."

"I'm your superior officer. Don't push your luck."

"I will organize a defense," insisted Ahmar. "You, my friend, will rest."

"I'm sorry, I really... I'll go talk to the Russian," said Zuberi as he backed up, "there has to be another way out of here."

Hamilton didn't care. He found a half-empty bottle of raki that had somehow survived and took a long, deep drink. If Mor Cuanaich had Nasira, then if she was very lucky she was already dead. And it was her own fucking fault anyway. Off Tunis, when the fucking pirate had chased the Rose it was Nasira who took a goddamned cask of powder, Nasira who lit the fuse, Nasira who used it to damage the bastard's galley. Nasira was the one who damaged the Irishman's pride. If she had just stayed in his cabin like he had ordered...

...if Nasira had stayed in the cabin he would be dead. She was the only reason the Rose had escaped Mor Cuanaich. It wasn't her fault. It was his fault for not taking her back to England.

Hamilton found himself in the inspection room, what he had learned they called the Muduriyeti. There were no slaves tied to the walls, just loops of cut rope, and the man who took the money, dead, on the painted line. Hamilton collapsed in a chair and finished the raki. Then he went looking for more. As he picked up another bottle, he heard a slight sob and stepped around a corner to see a blonde slave huddled in a corner. She looked up at the shirtless man, covered in sweat, blood on his pants and arm, with a bottle of raki in one hand. She went to her knees and bowed her head down until her forehead was touching the ground.

"Stand up." She didn't understand him, he leaned down and tugged on her hair. She stood before him, her arms at her side and head bowed. She was very pretty, with blonde hair and blue eyes, a fine figure and bouncing breasts.

"You must be one of those Circassians."

"Zuly," the woman said.

"Zuly? Is that your name?"


"Well, Zuly, I'm going to fuck you." He took her by the wrist and pulled her into the back rooms. It was a maze with small rooms, some with cots, others with food. One room, larger than the rest, had a great bath. Hamilton realized these rooms were where the slaves were prepared before being sent out to the customers.

Zuly followed along until he passed on door, no different, he thought, from others. She tugged hard. He stopped and yanked her close and opened the door. A pair of metals shackles hung from the wall. There was a strange grillwork on the back wall, a few tables chairs scattered about, and small boards with words written in a half dozen ***********s.

"A punishment chamber?" Zuly kept shaking her head, she tried to pull herself from his grip. He held her tight and finished the raki. "This will do."

He pulled Zuly forward. She resisted but finally gave in and let him raise her arms, one at a time and snap them into the metal cuffs. They were solid, heavy iron, but with a loose padding on the inside, they looked quite snug on the slave. Two more cuffs were lying on the floor, attached to chains that vanished through small holes. He crouched down and snapped those on in place.

Hamilton found a large metal wheel in the wall and turned it, with some effort, and all four chains began to tighten. They were being pulled into floor and ceiling slowly, until she had pulled her off her feet and stretched out like an X. Zuly whimpered.

"You're looking very nice now, Zuly," said Hamilton as he walked in front of her. He ran his hands slowly down her sides and over her hips, tracing the outside of her thighs. Hamilton kissed between her breasts and then let his mouth slide over to one nipple. He teased it erect and put his teeth on it, not biting, but enough to hold it as he stretched it out lightly. Zuly gave an agreeable noise, doing what she had been trained to do. He looked up at her, his hands now on both of her breasts. He squeezed his hands back and forth, letting his fingers press into her soft flesh.

Zuly tried to smile. It was the sort of smile Hamilton had seen in slaves everywhere, even the ones newly taken. It was a desperate smile to try to please the man who had the power to hurt them. Hamilton didn't care. He put his right hand against her pussy, his thumb pressing in on her slit. She moved her hips, or tried to, although whether she was resisting or trying to please he couldn't tell.

"Now, let's see what else is in here," he said, pulling his hand out. He slapped her ass and walked around the room. There were locked cabinets but no keys. A pairs of long spikes were lying against the wall, he took one and pried the cabinet open. Inside were whips. These were not toys either, not the sort of thing one snapped over the ass of a pleasure slave in bed. These were long, braided leather instruments of punishment, some embedded with weights or sharp metal tongs. He pulled one out that looked like a signal whip.

The chains rattled as Zuly shook. Hamilton walked back to her, running his hand on her thighs as he stepped behind her. She kept looking back, trying to plead with him.

"Quiet!" he snapped. She seemed to understand and grew silent.

She was a beautiful woman, long legs, and a soft pussy, all open and exposed. He had thought that Katherine was the most beautiful blonde he had fucked, but, that would change when he took this Circassian beauty.

Hamilton snapped the signal whip on her back. He was a navy man, not a coach driver, so it didn't land very hard, but she screamed all the same. He whipped her again and again. Zuly begged and pulled on the chains as faint red lashes appeared on her back, but he kept at her.

"I don't think this hurts nearly as much as it could," he said as he moved in front of her. He reached up and pinched a nipple. "Let's try the front."

Zuly's eyes were wide with fear as he took a half step back and then snapped the whip against her breasts again and again. Zuly screamed, pleaded, and begged, the chains rattled as she tried to pull her arms and legs from the tight cuffs. Thin, faint red lashes grew on her torso.

"I don't want to damage you now do I. You're valuable... valuable property." He tossed the whip away. Zuly nodded and forced a painful smile as he walked around her, letting his hands trace along the light lash marks. There was just enough there to show, but no blood. His hand moved over her breasts, down to her hips, over her ass and thighs and then back up to her breasts. Zuly flinched when he touched some of the fresh marks. He liked that. He liked seeing her react and respond to him, whether through pleasure or pain.

The desire to control, Nasira had said, that was what he had.

Hamilton noticed again the wooden grating on the far side of the room. He walked over to it. "Ah, look at that, there is a room back there! People pay to see slave's tortured by a professional, is that it?" Zuly simply stared and then nodded again. "Yeah, I thought so." Hamilton laughed.

He looked at her, this blonde, blue-eyed slave, chained open. He could feel his cock ready to burst from his trousers. He walked straight at her and put his hands around her legs, he leaned down, bending his head back so that his tongue was against her slit. His tongue was soon pressing in and out of her cunt, back and forth, and then up, just a small amount, to probe for her clit. It didn't take long for her body to respond and for him to taste this beautiful woman.

He laughed suddenly and slipped, falling down on his ass. "I'm drunk... I'm bloody drunk." He laid there looking up at her, looking at her wet pussy open before him, her legs pulled apart by the chains. "I have no idea how to get you out of the shackles, Zuly."

Slowly he pulled himself to his feet. He leaned against her and laughed again. The he shook the shackle on her right ankle. "I have no idea how to get you out of here, woman," he said, unable to stop laughing.

Zuly began to speak, she indicated as best she could, a small wooden cabinet on one wall. This one wasn't locked. Inside were large metal keys, clearly designed for the shackles. But he didn't take them. He looked down and saw another one of the large metal spikes. They were brands. He picked one up and looked at it, and now saw a small nook in the wall with a brazier. It was still warm. He pushed the brand into the coals.

Zuly saw what he was doing and screamed.

"You're a fucking slave!" He yelled, angrily. Then he stopped and laughed. "That's right, you're a slave for fucking, a fucking slave."

He pulled the brand out of the coals, far too soon for the metal to get red hot. He touched the end. "Ow! Shit!"

Zuly was begging him as he walked closer with the heated brand. He held it up, just a few inches from her face.

"You are property," he said. "You're not my property, not exactly, but you are property. If I want to fucking brand you I can do that. Do you understand me, woman? You have to do everything I say. If I tell you to suck my cock, then you suck my cock. If I tell you to lick another woman's cunt, well, you do that too. And if I tell you not to be caught by pirates, then, slave, you won't get caught by pirates, will you?"

Zuly nodded, slowly, as she listened but didn't understand, as the brand remained close to her face.

"You won't get caught by fucking pirates!" he yelled. He stepped back and slammed the brand down across the wooden grating. It snapped through a half dozen thin slats and got stuck. "Ah shit...just don't get caught..."

Hamilton fell back against the wall and slid down. He sat there, looking at the bound blonde, chained in a tight X, suspended off the ground. Her body open and vulnerable. So beautiful.


Hamilton watched Katherine as she stepped into the room. Her dress was ripped, strips having been pulled off to make bandages.

"Edward are you all right?" She stepped around Zuly and crouched by him.

"Let her go... over there." He pointed to the keys.

Katherine took one of the keys and pressed into each of the shackles. Zuly was soon free, rubbing her wrists. She looked submissive and went to her knees.

"Tell her she can go," Hamilton said.

Katherine said something in Turkish. Zuly nodded and backed out of the room.

"Now you can go."

"Let me help you up, Edward. There is a bath down --"


Katherine sighed and then nodded. "All right, Edward, but I'll check on you later."

"You do that." He felt tired, very tired. There was still blood on his arm, he saw, from one of the two men he had killed. He wondered which one. Then he drifted off to sleep.


Hamilton woke up on a small bed. He was dressed in fresh clothes, and he was clean. There was no trace of blood and his arm was bandaged. He sat up and his head hurt, but it was only the pounding of a hangover and not a return of his head wound.

"Drink this," Katherine was standing next to him. She handed him a tankard of water and he took it all.

"Thank you. How long have I been out?"

"Six hours, I think. It's dark now. Ahmar thought he might be able to sneak a few men out, but that didn't work."

Hamilton had been resting in one of the small back rooms. The others had been gathered in the Muduriyeti, which had been cleaned up. Broken furniture, the remains of slave ropes and the dead man had been taken away. A half dozen men and twice as many women were sitting and standing, the men polishing sabers or cleaning muskets, the women either tending to the wounded or sorting through cartridge boxes looking for the good ones. Hamilton saw only two wounded men, one of the large, shirtless guards and a smaller man who worked elsewhere in the brothel, and two injured slaves, one of whom was Claudia from the Tigress.

Ahmar walked up to him. He had a pair of muskets on his back, and saber strapped to his belt. "Are you feeling better Captain?"

"No. But I'll live," he said with a smile. He took a musket from one of the women, and automatically made sure it was primed and had a good flint. "Katherine said you sent people out there?"

"Yes. I kept the doorway to the courtyard clear so we could sally. Three men went out, good men. Mor Cuanaich waited until they were almost across."

"Waiting to see if we were all going."

"Yes. He has no more than six men out there. Each with a handful of muskets. They are impregnable behind those walls."

"How many do we have?"

"There are eleven men. Three other men are here. I sent them to the back. They are too frightened to fight."

"It's better to keep them out of the way."

"Yes. There are fourteen women. Katherine and slaves from the brothel."

"Fourteen? There must have been a lot more in this place. Did he manage to steal them all?"

"Yes, Captain," said Zuberi. "I've been talking with the Russian. His name is Vasily Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky, but we can call him Vasya. We can thank him for not even considering the pirate's offer. One man suggested throwing you and Katherine out there and Vasya almost ripped his ear off."

"He is a good man," Ahmar added.

"Vasya said there were eighty three slaves here, both on this floor and down in his special cages. Most of them, along with most of the brothel workers, escaped through a back tunnel that opens closer to the town. Mor Cuanaich's men knew all about it and were waiting. Only one of the brothel workers and two of the slaves made it back in, and a good thing too, because they barred that gate."

"There must be another way out of here."

Zuberi brought them over to a table. Vasya was lying next to it, snoring, but looking pale, with one of the slaves sitting next to him. There were crude diagrams sketched out on a few pieces of paper.

"This place was built with four guarded entrances," Zuberi said as he pointed to the sketch. "Out front, that is the north gate. The one in the back where the slaves were taken is the east gate."


"The other two aren't open. The west gate must have collapsed ten years ago, probably during an earthquake, that tunnel just goes to a pile of rock. The south gate is there but it opens to a wall."

"Walls can be broken."

"Yes," said Ahmar. "I sent three men. Including one of the large ones like --" Ahmar indicated the massive, wounded guard -- "and two others. The only means to dig are with bare spikes. It is slow and the wall is stone."

"Mor Cuanaich can't have too many men or he would have sent them by now," Hamilton said, almost to himself. "And he must want me and Katherine very badly, or else he could have rolled in powder and left us trapped. But, Jesus, where are the Turks?"

"Ah," Zuberi replied. "There were few soldiers on Naxos, but it seems they were sent to the island of Mykonos soon after we arrived."


Zuberi shrugged. "No one here has any idea."

"All right then, if we're going to get out, we have to do it ourselves." Hamilton looked at one of the sketches that showed the slave brothel, the harbor, and a few other landmarks.

Hamilton's eye strayed to some of the women, all slaves. Zuly was talking with another blonde Circassian woman, she eyed Hamilton fearfully. Claudia had a saber cut on her thigh, but it was well bandaged. Lien-Hua and Bao huddled together, each sorting musket cartridges into small bags.

Hamilton pointed to the two Far Eastern slaves. "I left those two in the tower."

"That is where they were found," said Ahmar. "I sent men to search the rooms."

"When the pirates first attacked they made to scale the wall into the tower. If those two slaves were found there, then they didn't try a second escalade."

"The window overlooks the courtyard," Ahmar said. "That would do us little good."

"There is a second window that overlooks the harbor, it must drop down outside the courtyard. The moon will set in an hour or so, we get some ropes and send six or seven men out that window. We can move around and come at Mor Cuanaich from behind."

"I could not find any spades or mining picks," said Zuberi with a laugh, "but there is a lot of rope in this place."

"Good, let's get ready. Don't kill Mor Cuanaich. Shoot the bastard, but don't kill him. I want Nasira. Is that clear?"

They nodded.


Mor Cuanaich's men were not even watching the courtyard, let alone the other side of their position, when Hamilton and Ahmar lead the attack, instead lying about either passed out drunk or fucking some of the slaves taken from the brothel. Five of the seven pirates around the courtyard were killed, and two of the three at the east gate. Ten of Vasya's slave were recaptured. Much to the frustration of all, Mor Cuanaich was not found.

"I'm surprised more of the women aren't trying to escape," Hamilton said, back in the courtyard. They were organizing the carrying of the wounded as well as two chests for the Russian. Not counting Katherine, there were twenty three sex slaves, all of whom were given something to carry down to the quay. Vasya had told Zuberi about other places he owned in Naxos, and presumably his property would be going there.

"They treated them well," said Katherine. Like the rest of the women, she now wore a slave wrap around her hip and a very short jacket against the night chill. "Or as well as might be possible for a slave. But if they harmed a customer or tried to escape... that was different."

Hamilton nodded, thinking about the room with the chains and deadly whips.

It was a lonely night, as they marched through the town, every door and shutter locked shut around them. Vasily Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky had recovered enough to walk down to the quay unaided, but it was with a much more muted man than the one who had been laughing so heartily in the Muduriyeti, with a slave at side and another between his legs. With tears in his eyes Vasya thanked Hamilton, Ahmar, Zuberi and Katherine. He did not seem to blame them in the least for having brought the wrath of the pirates down on his establishment. Before he lead his band off he insisted that they take as a gift the three Circassian slaves: Zuly, Deena, and Tamara.

A boat from the Tigress bumped against the quay twenty minutes later.

"Ah, Captain Hamilton!" Van Schoonhoven said as he stepped out. "You are alive! And you Zuberi, and you, Ahmar! Yes, such great good fortune that you are well Lady Dunsbrooke ---"

Hamilton had his saber out and at the Dutchman's throat. He walked him back, until Van Schoonhoven was at the water's edge.

"Captain Hamilton! Please, sir, this is most unkind, ah, yes?"

"You knew about Nasira."

"Nasira? Oh... ahh... my dear Captain Hamilton, I wish I could --"

"You knew about Nasira!"

"I told him he couldn't tell you, Edward," Katherine said.

Hamilton, the saber point still poised at Van Schoonhoven, turned his head slowly.

"I learned of her capture when I was sending letters back and forth to arrange my passage to Istanbul."

"Please, Captain Hamilton," Van Schoonhoven tried to step to his left. Hamilton blocked him.

"This is precisely why it needed to be secret, Edward. I am sorry she was taken, but when she is mentioned you lose your wits."

Hamilton turned slowly to Ahmar. The Yemeni nodded.

Hamilton drew the saber back and sheathed it. He stood toe-to-toe with the Dutchman and growled, "I want the ship."

"Yes, yes, thank you Captain Hamilton." Van Schoonhoven tried to step back, but found he was at the edge of the quay. He tried to smile as he felt the knick of blood on his neck.

"I want the fucking ship! The Tigress! You lied to me, you both lied to me, the whole bloody Admiralty and the entire fucking Ottoman Empire lied to me!" Hamilton pulled a cartridge from his pocket, he tore of the end with his teeth and pried out the musket ball. "I'll give you this for the ship, Van Schoonhoven. One musket ball. This is your payment. Now how do you want me to deliver it?"

"Oh, yes. I see, yes," Van Schoonhoven put his hand out and took the musket ball. "The Tigress is yours, Captain Hamilton. I am happy and pleased, yes, I am, and proud to give this brig-sloop to you."


Hamilton sat in his cabin, alone. It was still night. They would not be able to sail until the following afternoon, at the earliest, if they wanted to complete the repairs to the foremast. He did.

With the sale of forty slaves there was plenty of room for the three Circassians. Ahmar had suggested keeping them separate from the others, as Circassian women were especially prized and there was no point in risking a fight and damage. Hamilton left the details to him.

Katherine knocked. He didn't say anything, but she opened the anyway. In the dim light of the lamps he could see that she had taken off the jacket. She wore only a slave wrap around her hips.

"Edward, I am sorry about your friend. I really had no idea, when, back in Gibraltar, when all this was being planned..." her voice trailed off as she noticed him simply staring at her.

He didn't respond at first, he simply stared, and then, at last spoke, very quietly. "Mr. Ghanashyam informs me that Bonaparte has retreated back to Egypt and that the French invasion of the Holy Land has failed utterly. And it would appear that an Ottoman army is planning to go to Egypt and destroy him."

"Yes, he told me the same things."

"You are being sent to make sure the Sultan doesn't side with the French. I don't see how your presence matters any more, I expect that Sultan is rather disinclined to make a treaty with Bonaparte since he is sending men to kill him."

"I understand, Edward...master... but, this has been planned, this arrangement with myself, and if we stopped, if I do not enter the Harem, the Sultan would take it as a great insult. The French may beat his army. We don't know what is going to happen. I still must go."

"We are continuing, as planned, to Istanbul, Lady Dunsbrooke," he snarled.

"Thank you, master."

"What else can I do?" He paused, trying to control his anger. "I have no idea if Nasira is still alive. I could chase that Irishman around the Mediterranean for fifty years and never find her. No, I won't do that. We continue to Istanbul and you spend the rest of your life as a slave."

"Yes. Yes, master."


Katherine hesitated and then pulled off the wrap. She went to her knees.

"Rachel!" he yelled as he stood up.

"Yes, master?" Rachel said as she stepped inside. She also had on only a slave wrap.

"Take that off and find some rope. I want a slave to punish this slave." He pointed to the kneeling Katherine.

"Yes, master." Rachel pulled off the wrap and went to his sea chest, pulling out lengths of silken cord.

"Bind her arms behind her back."

Rachel knelt down behind Katherine and brought her arms behind her back. Katherine didn't resist as her wrists were tied.

"Pull it tighter, make her elbows touch."

"Edward, please!" Katherine begged.

"You will call me master or you will be gagged and dropped in the bilge for the rest of the voyage."

Rachel nodded, muttering a quiet apology before pulling Katherine's elbows together, pulling her arms back on her shoulders, and looping the rope again and again, higher up along her forearm.

"Pull her to her feet."

Katherine was standing in front of him. She looked at him with genuine fear.

He ran his hand over her cheeks, and then touched her left nipple. He squeezed, harder, and then harder. Katherine cried out. He released his grip only to do the same to the other.

"Please, master," Katherine pleaded.

"Master," said Rachel, quietly. "You may punish me, if that would please you."

"Oh, that is very kind of you to offer, Rachel," he said sarcastically. "I'll use you when the mood strikes. Now, take another rope, and lash her arms to that ring," he pointed to a ring in a beam above.

Rachel threaded a second rope through the loops binding Katherine's arms and then ran them through the ring. Katherine stood on her toes, bent forward, her arms pulled painfully behind her. She cried out.

Hamilton bent down over his sea chest and sorted through things. He found a pair of thin strands, part of an old halyard that had come apart. He ***********ed two strands, each a yard long. "Rachel, lick her nipples, I want them erect."

"Yes, master," said Rachel as she leaned down in front of the bound woman, her tongue sliding back and forth around one nipple. She sucked lightly, and then teased it with her hand, before moving to do the same to the second.

Hamilton gently pressed Rachel aside. He ran his fingertip over Katherine's left nipple, now fully erect, and then twisted the thin strand around it. He had to make a slip knot and close the loop, but it worked, he had her nipple bound and on its own little leash. The second nipple was tied as well.

He pulled the chair out from behind his desk and set it before her. Sitting down, with both threads in his hand he motioned for Rachel. The servant understood. She went to her knees and began to undo the buttons of his trousers. His cock was hard and ready as she gripped the shaft with one hand and licked along the tip.

"They are not going to use you like this in the Harem," he said. He tugged lightly one of the threads. Katherine flinched as the small motion pulled her nipple. "They will treat you like the prize possession that are. But I don't have to be so kind."

"No, master... please..." Katherine pleaded. "It was for the best....please..."

Hamilton looked down at Rachel and then to the bound Viscountess, a slight smile formed on his face, for the first time since they had returned from the slave brothel on Naxos.

He yanked hard on the threads.

Katherine screamed. She kicked her legs and twisted, all of which only added to the stress in her arms. Rachel pulled her mouth from his cock for a moment, then took a deep breath and leaned down, slipping him deep inside her throat, as she sucked, her cheeked pulled in. Hamilton tossed the threads away. He put both hands on Rachel's head, holding her by the hair. He took control of her motions, pulling her head back and forth on his cock. She didn't resist, she let him use her, and kept her tongue sliding along his shaft. Hamilton pushed her in and held her close as he peaked, with cum deep in Rachel's mouth. She sucked back and forth, swallowing and licking, and taking it all.

Hamilton slowly pulled her mouth from his cock. "Take her."

"Yes, master." Rachel stood up quickly and untied the ropes, her hands shaking. Katherine fell to the decks. Rachel slowly removed the threads from her nipples and helped her back outside.


"Send for the Captain!"

Hamilton woke up. It was dawn. He was sitting in his chair.

"Captain Hamilton!" Ghanashyam cried from outside.

Hamilton stepped out on deck and saw a pair of slaves on the gangway. He recognized them as two they had sold the day before.

"These slaves came out in a boat," Ahmar said. "We thought they had escaped from the pirates."

"They had this," said Zuberi. He held up a piece of paper, with Arabic writing.

"And what is it?"

"It's from Mor Cuanaich. He says he wants to meet us in a cove on another island. He wants to trade Nasira for Lady Dunsbrooke."

"What?" Hamilton felt the paper crumple in his hand, almost as if someone else were directing his muscles. He looked at Zuberi, at Ahmar, but all he could say was, "damn."

Voyage Of The Istanbul Tigress Ch. 06

July 1799, Island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea

Hamilton held the paper carefully as it fluttered in the breeze. It was written in Arabic, maddeningly so, as there was a meaning to it which he couldn't begin to understand. He handed it back to Zuberi.

"I will ask the slaves what they know," Zuberi said, pointing to the two women, naked and standing on the gangway, who had been sent in a small boat to deliver the message. "Perhaps they saw Mor Cuanaich or... uh... I'll go ask them now."

"Mr. Ahmar, if you would oblige," Hamilton said as he went below. Ahmar followed, as did Ghanashyam. Hamilton spread open a chart of the islands of the Cyclades south of Naxos.

"Show me where it is."

Ahmar pointed to a tiny speck. The one they wanted, the one where Mor Cuanaich said he would trade Nasira for Katherine Abington, was midway between Amorgos and the small island of Anydros. "This is Teleoussa."

"Teleoussa? Teleoussa...ah, yes!" shouted Ghanashyam. "My apologies. If I may, I have read about this island in a Persian translation of Villehardouin. After the Franks sacked Constantinople in 1204, of course, the Aegean fragmented into many little kingdoms of Byzantine exiles of Franks of Venetians of, well, there were many different kingdoms and one of them was Naxos. That was the main island of the Duchy, well, Naxos and Paros. The first Duke was the a relative to the Doge, in fact, from the Sanudo family --"

"Mr. Ghanashyam," Hamilton said, patiently, "what does this have to do with Teleoussa?"

"Ah! A curious anecdote, a long explanation, a justification really, for why they were unable to maintain a fortress on Teleoussa. It seems one was built in the first years of the Duchy of Naxos, but it failed. The tried again, it failed, and then again. Each time everyone died or left, deserted I imagine. It was an island of the devil, they claimed, then again, they said Teleoussa is too barren for more than scraps of grass, there is no fresh water and the cliffs make it difficult to land supplies.

"Cliffs? That is something worth knowing."

"I may have passed this island once," Ahmar said. "I have seen a small one. Very small. It is as if a mountain were dropped in the sea, and then a sea creature took a bite. There is a circular bay, with steep cliffs on all sides. Not as high as at Santorini, but very steep. If the island I recall is Teleoussa it is an adequate anchorage. Though not a useful one."

"Edward!" Katherine Abington, the Lady Dunsbrooke, burst into the cabin. "What are you doing, Edward? You can't possibly go through with this!"

"This is not the time."

"You can't give me to this pirate, Edward!"

"Katherine, this is not the time."

"It is! You can't trade me for Nasira! Edward, you can't! I say that not out of my own fears, but because of the importance of this mission. I must get to Istanbul."

"Show her out, Mr. Ahmar."

"Edward! “Katherine screamed, "Edward!"

Ahmar, took her by the shoulder, gently, and lead her back to the fore-cabin, just as Zuberi came down.

"I talked to those slaves," Zuberi said. "I had used one of them before we sold her. I think she trusts me enough to tell the truth."

"Did they see Nasira?"

"I don't know. There was a woman that was kept apart from the other slaves, she wore clothes like a man, and had dark hair but also red hair, according to one of them. I've never met Nasira myself, Captain, but I understand she has red streaks in her hair."

Hamilton nodded. "It might be her."

"These two slaves were with Mor Cuanaich's men, there is little doubt of that. He must have sent this message, I think, although..." his voice trailed off.

"Yes?" asked Hamilton.

"Well, Captain. I... with no disrespect..."

"Speak plainly, my friend."

"Yes. Thank you. I... I don't think it matters whether or not it is a real offer. We should go to Istanbul. I know you worry about this woman, Nasira, but... well... perhaps after Katherine is delivered we can return."

"It would be impossible to conceal the fact that Katherine Abington was delivered to the Harem," Ahmar said.

"We could... we could rush back from Istanbul, quickly, before he could know we had been there, take one of the blonde Circassians and say she is Katherine."

"That would never work," said Hamilton. "I've thought about that. First, he has been following us closely, somehow, and he will know whether or not we make Istanbul. And secondly, the Circassians don't speak English. Mor Cuanaich is not a fool. Katherine is the only blonde we have who speaks like an English woman."

"There is Rana." Ghanashyam pointed out, referring to the Danish blonde.

"Yes, she speaks English, but she has a strong accent. That won't work either."

"Ah, yes... I am sorry, Captain."

Hamilton looked at Ghanashyam. "What would you advise? And again, please speak plainly."

"Ah, um, I am also very sorry," said Ghanashyam. "I think... I think Zuberi is right. We are supposed to take Katherine to the Sultan. We can't give her to the pirate. We must go to Istanbul."

"And you Mr. Ahmar," Hamilton said, turning to the Yemeni.

"We should kill him."

"Mor Cuanaich?"

"Yes. He has shown he can bribe the Turks. He has shown he can follow us with ease. His men do not fight well. But he has many of them."

"We can't give him Lady Dunsbrooke," Zuberi said.

"Then we don't. But we do kill him."

Hamilton stood up and looked out the stern window. "How are the foremast repairs coming along?"

"There have been problems obtaining a good timber," Ghanashyam said. "I found suitable masts in a ship yard, but none of it is seasoned wood. They must have some, but they will not show it, so I am trying to find a ship that will sell us a spar."

"We sail tomorrow, at dawn, with the land breeze. If the foremast can be repaired by then that is all well and good, but I won't delay longer."

"Is our course to be north east or southerly, Captain?" Ahmar asked.

"South. We are going to kill him."

"Very good. I will review the charts for a course to Teleoussa."

"Thank you, Mr. Ahmar. And one more thing, take Katherine below. Put her with the Circassians, put her somewhere, but I don't want her outside my cabin."

"As you wish."

Hamilton was left alone, looking out at the bright blue Aegean.


Hamilton had himself rowed back to the town. Against the advice of everyone he went alone, not even allowing Zuberi to accompany him as a translator. He had one pistol, unloaded to avoid accidents, and a saber. If Mor Cuanaich's men were still about, and if they still wanted to kill him, so be it. In some ways it would be a relief.

He walked in the direction that Vasya had taken his slaves, passing by the usual small houses and shops, small groups of people walking or pulling mules back and forth. The locals were standoffish. He couldn't blame them for that, not after there had been a sharp battle just outside their town, but they were not hostile. He was able to get a mug of kitron, the local wine, for only twice the price charged to locals.

Hamilton leaned against the wall outside the taverna. A little kitron was fine, he didn't want to get drunk. He just wanted to be alone, to be away from the decisions he had made. Was it right? What was he to choose: his heart or his duty? The answer seemed oblivious: he would do his duty. Although the Tigress was not a proper English man-of-war; he had taken slaves, for God's sakes, and where was his duty as an officer and a gentleman when he had dragged those women from their homes? Yet still, taking Katherine to the Sultan was for England, although it seemed now, with the Ottomans openly attacking the French, to be of no value politically. At least as far as his knew. How badly an insult would it be for him not to deliver her to the Sultan?

Around and around it went in his mind. The more he tried not to think about it, the more he did.

Someone screamed.

Hamilton tensed. His hand went to the saber hilt. But it was not a scream so much as a yell. An angry old woman was shrieking down from the second story of a house towards a rather shabby looking man standing in the road. Her husband no doubt. She was yelling and tossing out oranges, for some reason. The husband kept whimpering, although only a couple hit him and they were, after all, merely oranges. The poor man was begging his wife to be let back inside. The husband should attack or withdraw, Hamilton thought, there was nothing to be gained by taking plunging fire.

Plunging fire. Plunging fire? Hamilton stepped away from the taverna's wall. A possibility came to mind. Just a possibility, but one worth considering.

He stepped back down towards the harbor, fully intending to return to the Tigress, when he noticed, down a side street, a man pulling a blonde woman on a leash. She was dressed in sandals, a hip wrap, and a short jacket. The woman, very attractive, and very obviously a Circassian sex slave, didn't resist and tried to keep up as best she could. They had emerged from a low building surrounded by a colonnade and decorated with geometric tiles. The architecture, which was out of place on Naxos, reminded him of slave auction houses in Tunis.

Hamilton went to the auction house. A wiry attendant, leaning against the wall, accepted a few silver kurus and Hamilton stepped inside. He had seen auctions where slaves were dragged onto a raised platform, tied between a pair of poles and stripped. Often the proprietors claimed that these women were freshly captured, that they had not been touched by the men of the raiding galleys, and that they expected to be ransomed back to their families. Only when their clothes were being torn from their bodies in front of an eager crowd of men, so it was promised, did these slaves realize, with a shock, that they were to be sold. Hamilton didn't believe that, at least not in all cases, but it was true that the women dragged before the raucous crowds at such places put on a good show.

This was not like that at all. Inside was a small courtyard open to the sky. It was quiet with only a few birds, and the muted sounds of the town outside. Large stalls, each covered by an ornate silk, lined three sides. There were perhaps twenty stalls, all of which, he presumed, contained one exceptionally beautiful sex slave.

An elderly man in an elaborately embroidered robe stepped forward. He began to speak Turkish. Then Arabic. Then Persian.

"I'm looking for a blonde slave," Hamilton said. "Blonde, uh, blanco? No, wait, rubia. Rubia? Rossa?"

A dark haired woman, not dressed as a slave, walked out, and whispered in the man's ear. He nodded and gestured for Hamilton to follow him to one of the stalls. He slowly pulled back the curtain. The woman inside was another Circassian sex slave, blonde and blue eyed. She had been lying on small cot, and now stood up and presented her body. Hamilton looked her over. She was beautiful, as beautiful as Zuly. He smiled at her, which only caused her to look down. But her hair was straight.

"No. Another one."

The elderly man closed the curtain. They went to a second stall, another blonde slave stood. She had larger breasts than the first, and a slight belly. The elderly man began to pat her stomach and talked. It seemed that he was offering to slim the slave down him, or perhaps to fatten her up, if he chose to buy her. But it didn't matter, her hair was also straight.

"You don't happen to speak English do you?" Hamilton asked. There was no response.

Hamilton stepped into the middle of the room. "Are their slaves here who speak English?"

The elderly man looked extremely unhappy with the outburst. The woman who had whispered to him stepped back out and bowed to him.

"Do you speak English?" Hamilton asked her.

She looked at the elderly man and, with some reluctance, she nodded. "A little," she said with a strong accent.

"I'm looking for a slave with blonde hair, but slightly curly. Just a small amount."

She lead him to another stall. Inside was a Circassian beauty who had that was hair identical with Katherine Abington. The slave's hair was longer, and otherwise she didn't have the same features, but her hair had the very same slight curl. Hamilton bought her, not bothering to haggle very hard, and paying the equivalent of 5000 kurus.

The slave had been taken away during the negotiations. Now she was brought out, dressed in a hip wrap and short jacket, sandals, and a leather collar with a thin metal leash. With a broad smile, the elderly man, accepted the leash from an attendant and placed it in Hamilton's hand.

"Thank you," said Hamilton. He pulled the slave towards the exit.

The elderly man was speaking urgently and pointing in the opposite direction, to a hallway that lead deeper into the building.

"It is custom," said the young woman who translated, "to use slaves. After they are bought."

Hamilton looked at the very beautiful woman, whose name, the translator had told him, was Bira. "Well, if it's the custom how can I possibly refuse?"

Hamilton went with the translator down a short hallway, with Bira following on the leash. They passed an open door and he stopped. Inside were six naked women, some light and some dark skinned, bound tightly to stakes with leather and metal. There was no chain on the metal shackle that bound their ankles, it was bolted to the wood. Their wrists were tied behind the stake, and a leather strap was placed high around their necks, forcing them to keep their heads up. Bound like this they could breathe but do nothing else.

"Punishment," the translator said. "The slaves are not damaged. No whip is used."

"How long are they kept this way?"

"Dawn to dusk."

"What is your name?" Hamilton asked.

"I am Dulcina, master."

Hamilton nodded. Despite her clothes she was a slave, just one used for her linguistic skills.

They walked on. At the end of the hall were two doors, one on either side, he didn't wait for an explanation, he picked one and went inside with Bira. The room was luxurious without being lavish, there were tapestries and geometric tiles along the walls, a skylight, and a large bed. Hamilton dropped the leash and went to a small table in the corner with a pitcher filled with a sweet wine. He poured some into a metal cup.

Bira looked down, her expression grim, her hands at her sides. The collar around her neck was a simple one of leather, she could have pried it off herself in a few minutes, and her sullen mood showed she would have liked nothing better. But he doubted she would ever dare. The leash was a fine chain which did not look as if it would take much strain. The leash now fell down between her breasts and down her body, with the handle at her knees.

Hamilton drank more of the wine and then held the cup out. Bira looked at him but did not take it. He pressed it closer and she opened her mouth. Her eyes were locked on his as she took a sip. A thin trail of liquid went down her chin, but she made no move to wipe her face.

"You are a pretty one, Bira." He reached out with one hand and opened her short jacket, first on her left then on her right. "Take it off."

She seemed to understand and removed the jacket and letting it fall to the floor. She stood there as he ran the back of his hand over her breasts. She had larger breasts that Zuly, and they felt so very soft against his skin. He put his hands on her wrap and looked down. She removed it and let it fall to the floor. Without being told she kicked off the sandals as well.

Hamilton gently brought her into the center of the room, where a shaft of light from the skylight seemed to make her hair glow. He put his hand on her chin and tilted her face left and right, just a bit. By God this was a pretty woman. "They said you were taken less than a year ago and trained in Istanbul. I don't know how you ended up on Naxos, and I suppose you're not going to tell me."

Bira looked at him, for a moment, and then kept her eyes on the ceiling. He dropped his hand from her chin and slapped it between her legs. She let out a brief cry but remained standing as he moved his fingers over her soft folds. Then he took hold of the leash. Bira moved her hands to his trouser buttons.

"Not yet," he said, shaking his head. She spoke, very quietly, and put her hands back.

Hamilton let the fingers of his left hand run through her hair. He stepped to the side and around, taking the leash and sliding the thin metal between her legs. Bira looked at him, her eyes a bit wider, with a trace of concern and fear. He reached down to make sure the leash fell along her slit as he pulled the handle up to the small of her back.

He was standing behind her, with his left hand around to the front and squeezing one of her very ample breasts, while he moved the leash handle up and down, just very slightly, with his right. The chain slid along her slit, back and forth, very slowly. She glanced back, just for a moment.

"I think you were indeed taken recently. You don't have that fake smile and desperate need to please." Hamilton spoke calmly. She nodded, once, almost at random. "I don't mind. There is a very powerful appeal to forcing you to do what I want. And you will do what I want."

He dropped the leash and reached down to feel her slit. She was not wet. He pulled her towards the bed and pushed her down, bending her over the bed. He pulled her legs wide. Hamilton walked back to the table and drank more wine. He tossed his shirt on the floor. She remained in position and looked at him, and he realized she was staring at the bandage on his upper arm, where he had been slashed by a pirate's saber. Hamilton pulled off his boots and then took off his trousers. Bira's eyes fell to his erect cock and then she looked down, preparing to endure what she had no doubt endured many times before with previous owners.

Hamilton stepped behind her. Bira tensed as he put his hands on her ass and crouched down. He leaned in and let his tongue slide along her slit, pressing her soft lips apart. Bira said something, quietly as always. Hamilton leaned back. He slapped her ass hard. "Is there a problem, slave?"

Bira looked down under her legs, her hair spilling across the bed and shook her head.

Hamilton put his hand on her pussy, letting one finger slide back and forth along her slit. He leaned in and licked again, as he slowly pressed the finger up inside her. The slave's body began to respond. Her cunt was wet.

He stood up and caressed her ass. This was a beautiful woman, and he was tempted to fuck her right then. But as he caressed her ass, he stepped to one side. He spanked her. Bira cried out. He spanked her again and again. She made a low whimper with each impact, her arms were shaking, but she maintained her position leaning over the bed.

With a sob, Bira fell forward. Hamilton reached for her hair and yanked her to her feet. He stood behind her, with his cock pressed against her ass. Bira looked at him, her eyes pleading. He took hold of her arms and pulled them behind her back where her hands found his cock. She took hold of his cock and squeezed, not too hard, adjusting her grip and sliding back and forth, just a bit. "That's good... do that, slave... someone has trained you well."

Hamilton reached around and cupped her breasts as she worked his cock. He played with her soft flesh, his fingers going everywhere as he squeezed. He played with her nipples, his fingers sliding over them. They were hard an erect. He took hold of each of her nipples with two fingers. He began to squeeze. Bira opened her mouth, but said nothing, she kept her hands moving on his cock. Hamilton began to squeeze her nipples harder. Harder. At last Bira let out a slight cry and her knees buckled. She tried to fall forward but he held her tightly.

"I like playing with you, slave." He pushed her down on the bed. She lay there, on her stomach, watching him. He gestured for her to roll to her back. She did. He walked to one side of the bed and reached over for her hair. She moved herself to the edge of the bed, hesitated, and the let her head rest right on the corner, tilted back forty five degrees. Hamilton leaned over and pressed his cock to her mouth. She opened it and let him slide into her throat. Positioned over her as she was on her back, he was able to slide his cock back and forth faster and faster, each time pressing it deep inside her. Bira's legs jerked back and forth, her hands gripped the blanket and then, almost, reached up. She desperately wanted to push him off, but she knew she couldn't.

Hamilton leaned in, pressing his cock into her throat. He held himself in that position. Bira gagged. She waved her arms around in growing panic. He waited. She began to plead as best she could, a muffled cry with her mouth stuffed. At last he pulled back. She breathed rapidly, her face red. He pressed his cock in again and fucked her mouth.

He pulled out and sat on the edge of the bed next to her. He ran his hands down her breasts as she watched him closely. His hand moved over her mound and he squeezed and played with her soft folds. Bira moved her hips, the very first time he saw her trying to fake a response just to please him. He leaned over and let his tongue probe for her clit, sliding back and forth. He slipped his tongue lower and tasted her again, pressing his tongue into her as far as he could. Then it was back to the clit. She was starting to respond now, her cunt was becoming wet as he teased her body to response.

Bira tried to look over at him. She had slid along the bed when he had forced his cock in her mouth, and now her head was hanging back. Her right hand pressed against his cock and she took hold. Gripping his shaft as he licked her clit.

Hamilton rolled off her. He stood up. "On your feet." Bira hesitantly stood before him. He moved close to her but didn't put his arms around her. His lips brushed her cheek with his lips as the tip of his cock brushed her mound. Then he stepped back, whirled her around, and again had her bend over the bed.

He placed the tip of his cock against her slit and took a firm grip on to her hips. She was breathing faster, her arms shaking slightly as he maintained her position. He pushed himself forward and took her, his cock sliding into her very tight cunt. He began to fuck her slowly, wanting to savor the moment, but the pressure on his cock, and her soft whimpers as he used her, quickly lead to faster thrusts. He fucked her hard, his fingers pressing into her soft ass. He spanked her once, generating a short cry, and more pleasure. He fucked her faster, pressing in deeply with each thrust and then let go. His cum filled her pussy.

Hamilton slapped her again and pulled back. Bira was well trained. When Hamilton sat down on the edge of the bed she went to her knees. She leaned forward, using only her mouth and began to suck and clean his cock. He held the leash in one hand as she flicked her tongue along his shaft, glancing up, once or twice, to see if he was pleased. He was. He dropped the leash and picked up his clothes slowly getting dressed. Bira discretely wiped her mouth once, but otherwise remained on her knees.

"All right, time to go. You can get dressed slave." Hamilton pointed to her clothes. She tied the wrap back on, stepped into the sandals and put on the short jacket.

Hamilton yanked on the leash and opened the door. The translator was standing there, waiting patiently. She handed him a piece of paper covered in Arabic ***********, presumably the receipt for Bira. He nodded and slipped it into his pocket.


Hamilton invited Ahmar, Zuberi and Ghanashyam to his cabin for dinner. Van Schoonhoven did not seem to be taking offense at being excluded, although, outwardly at least, the man did not seem to take offense at anything. He had given Hamilton the papers formally transferring ownership of the Tigress with all the good cheer of a man who had sold it for a good price. And perhaps he had, Hamilton thought wryly. Without the ship the Dutchman was simply a passenger, with few, if any, responsibilities towards the mission, and able to spend his time with his personal slave Rana.

"I have made inquiries," Ahmar said. "Teleoussa is not as useless as I first thought."

"And why is that?"

"The anchorage was used to transfer goods from a ship to caiques. Those boats are common in these waters. Small. Easily sailed or rowed. It has been a very useful exchange for local pirates and smugglers."

"And it isn't any more?"

"If I may, Captain," said Ghanashyam, "the island of Ios was the main base for pirates for much of the Aegean until recently. That business became much more dangerous once war broke out in Europe."

"The seas teem with English ships," Ahmar added.

"Yes. This is likely why Mor Cuanaich's men are of such poor quality," Hamilton mused. "The better ones have gone on to other pursuits. None of them good, I am sure."

"At least one of them has done well," said Zuberi. "Rozhdestvensky, the Russian, was one of the main pirates twenty or thirty years ago. He has turned to trading in expensive tulips, various fine works of arts, mainly paintings and, of course, slaves."

"Did Roz... that is, did Vasya operate from Ios?"

"I believe so Captain."

Hamilton sat back. "He may be even more useful than I first thought. Mr. Zuberi, I would like you to go into the town, take one or two men and find the Russian. Let him know that we are going to attack Mor Cuanaich and that we sail at dawn. Invite him and a few of his men to join us."

"Yes, Captain."

"Mr. Ahmar, I would like to amend the course you have plotted. In the Ios channel we will sail just off the shore of that island. Perhaps a half-mile out, close, but not close enough that would need to get a local pilot. Then we continue around the island of Anydros and approach Teleoussa from the southwest."

"As you wish, Captain."


Vasily Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky did not bring men. He brought two slaves, and Dulcina, the translator from the slave auction house. The Russian also insisted on bringing out six of his favorite tulips, and small bags of bulbs, each packed with fine dunnage and carefully marked in Russian ***********. After some discussion, and a few shouted words, the boxes with tulips were fixed to the deck abaft the mainmast.

The foretopgallant mast had been repaired, although they had to pay far more than it was worth to acquire the spar quickly. A pair of slaves had to be brought up from the hold and given to the ship's owner to close the deal. The two women, who so recently had lived free in their Italian village, fought when it came time to put them over the side. Ahmar had taken a cat to each one, flogging them a few times, before they relented. On shore no chances were taken, both slaves were stripped, gagged, their wrists bound behind their backs, and a rope put around their necks as a collar and leashes. The women were then taken across the quay, to the great amusement of passing sailors, and held in front of the other ship until the spar was towed to the Tigress.

But none of that mattered now. The men worked the capstan, the anchor was brought home, and the Tigress, at last, left the harbor. Hamilton remained on deck as they passed south between the islands of Naxos and Paros. There were too many small anchorages all over the Greek Islands, and he did not want to blunder into another ambush.

Three hours later Hamilton was in his cabin, when the door knocked. Rachel Palmer stepped inside.

"Yes, Rachel, what can I do for you?"

"Well, sir. I was hoping --"

"I am not bringing Katherine back up."

"Yes, sir, I mean, master. Yes, master. I have seen her, in that small cage, and, if, if you could see her too, sir, I am sure you --"

Hamilton slammed his hand on the table. "If she behaves she can move to a cabin, but that is all. I am not bringing her above the gun deck."

Rachel was startled. "Yes, master." Rachel looked down at the deck and then said, very quietly, "She is so worried, you see --"

"I know what she is worried about. I don't care. She is a slave. She will go where I tell her to go."

"Yes, master. You see --"

"Damn your eyes, woman! Are you looking to be punished?"

"No, master."

Hamilton stood up and moved in front of Rachel. She was wearing only a slave wrap on her hips. He idly brushed his fingers against her breasts. "And what has Katherine said is to happen to you in Istanbul."

"I... I had hoped to stay with her, master."

"You are pretty, Rachel, are you pretty enough to become one of the Sultan's sex slaves?"

"I don't know, master. I wish to stay with my mistress as her girl. She bought me."

Hamilton reached down and yanked on the slave wrap. It fell to Rachel's feet. "Yes she did. In these parts of the world that made you her slave. But... Katherine is my slave now, and so are you."

She nodded, and kept her gaze directed downward. Hamilton put his hand under her chin and lifted her eyes to him. "If you continue to argue I will do more than punish you. I will sell you in Istanbul. We have slaves in the hold who are going to be sold, adding one more to the chain will be simple. I'm sure you would bring a fair price."

"Master..." her words died out as she again merely nodded.

"Did you see the slave I brought aboard?"

"Yes, master. Bira."

"Go bring her to me."

"Yes, master."

A minute later Bira, dressed in her slave wrap, stood before him, her hands rigidly at her side. Rachel stepped back for the door.

"Stay, slave," he said to Rachel. "I want you to strip. Then, pull the wrap off Bira."

Rachel was soon naked. She stood before the Circassian and undid her wrap. Bira watched her closely but did nothing to resist. Rachel then placed all the clothing, what little there was of it, out of the way. She stood next to the blonde woman.

Hamilton walked around them. Touching Bira's ass and Rachel's hair, then Rachel's nipple and Bira's pussy. "Look at her Rachel, this woman I purchased for a few tokens of gold. I can do anything to her I want. Anything."

Bira locked her gaze on Hamilton, her eyes widening at his tone. Hamilton smiled, just slightly, and ran the back of his hand over Bira's cheek. "This woman is going to be sold again. In Istanbul. Although it is certainly tempting to keep her, at least for a while."

"Yes, master." Rachel said, quietly.

He stepped in front of the servant. "Now... perhaps you will go with Katherine. Or perhaps back to England. Or... perhaps something else. But, as I own you it is my decision. Is that clear to you, slave?"

"Yes, master. Very clear."

"Good. Pull over the sail cloth."

Hamilton pulled off his shirt and then the rest of his clothes after Rachel, with some belated help from Bira, pulled the folded sailcloth to the middle of the cabin. His cock was very hard in the presence of the two beautiful, naked slaves. Hamilton took hold of Rachel and guided her down to the deck.

"I want to taste you, slave." He laid on his back and pulled her up so that she was straddling him, kneeling with her pussy in front of his mouth. He leaned up and licked, his eyes locked on hers. His hands pressed along Rachel's thighs and ass, as she began to breath faster and as her cunt became wet.

"Find something to do Bira." He pointed at her and then his cock. The blonde woman was on her knees. She pushed back her hair and leaned down, kissing the top of his cock. She slowly took the tip into her mouth and then, pressed herself down, taking him deep into her throat. She pulled out and kissed along his shaft, slowly, and then took him into her mouth again.

"Mmm... Bira is well trained." Hamilton said, looking up at Rachel. His tongue was inside her, pushing back and forth, feeling the wetness, tasting her body. Rachel just nodded, her hips were responding, though she forced herself to keep her pussy within range of his tongue. Bira kept his cock in her mouth as she bobbed up and down, slowly, and then quickly, varying the pace. Her tongue slid over his shaft as she sucked on his shaft. Hamilton's hips were moving, the pleasure of the Circassian's technique exceedingly powerful. He held tightly to Rachel's thighs, his lips around her clit, sucking lightly.

Hamilton felt the pure joy of owning these beautiful slaves, one kneeling and sucking on his cock, the other kneeling so that he could lick her pussy. He looked up at Rachel, as he felt the pleasure engulf him, as Bira tasted his cum. Rachel was watching him, her eyes locked on his, her breathing hard, as he began to buck his hips up to meet Bira's mouth.

"Very good," he said a moment later. "Slide off Rachel."

Rachel crawled off of his face, but stayed at her knees, as did Bira. He didn't give them orders, at least not right away. Instead he got dressed and looked out the stern window, watching the rich blue Mediterranean, with the islands of Naxos and Paros still visible on the horizon.


Hamilton was on deck when a cry came from the lookout.

"He says he sees land, Captain, off the starboard bow." Zuberi said.

Ahmar, who had the telescope fixed astern, simply said, "Ios."

"Do you think you have her, Ahmar?"

"Yes. A xebec." Ahmar handed the telescope to Hamilton. "A most unusual xebec."

He balanced the telescope on Ahmar's shoulder and said, "strange indeed, they're running with their lateens, the main mast is bare, but hands are aloft, I dare say they are watching us...and... oars? They have their sweeps out! All very strange... unless, of course, they desire to stay low on the horizon." Hamilton stood up. "Thank you, Mr. Ahmar, this is definitely the one who has been following us. Mr. Zuberi, send my compliments to Mr. Roz... uh, to Vasya, and ask if he might join us on deck."

Vasya had taken to the ship better than Hamilton had feared. Dulcina stood behind him as Hamilton pointed to the xebec five miles distant."

"They may have been following us from Italy," Hamilton said. "Or at least from Kefalonia. Damn, and they were anchored in the Naxos harbor all this time, just waiting for us to make sail."

Vasya said something in Russian then he grinned and nodded.

"My people are now old," Dulcina translated. "But they are strong."

"I'm sure they are," he turned to Ahmar. "You may run up the colors."

A crewman took out a flag and ran it up a halyard. The Tigress was soon flying the colors of Vasya's old pirate fleet, white with a blue cross and a red tulip. The Russian looked up and nodded. Hamilton saw the gleam of a tear in his eye and politely looked elsewhere.

An hour later little had changed. Ios was off the starboard beam and the xebec remained in their wake.

Ghanashyam was watching the island. "There was a Dutch count, I can't recall his name, but thirty years ago he said he found the tomb of Homer on Ios."

"Homer?" Zuberi asked. "Really? Homer?"

"Yes, indeed! This count said he lifted open the tomb and gazed upon the poet's body, uncorrupted, unblemished, unchanged in all the centuries. And then, alas, it crumbled to dust." The Indian laughed. "Our large friend may have arrived in the Aegean with this count, at the time he was serving as an admiral for the Czar."

"I see them!" Ahmar said, suddenly. "Two. Four."

Hamilton didn't need the telescope. He could see the small vessels, almost like galliots, each with twenty oars, pulling out of a cove on the island of Ios. The night before, after Vasya had come aboard, they had dispatched a note to his old mates, by caique. It may not have arrived more than a few hours before the Tigress, but still, the old pirates responded to their former captain.

Five galliots pulled off the coast at last, each with the white, blue, and red flag of Vasya. They were pulling from the coast, all prepared to intercept the pursuing xebec. It wasn't clear they would catch it, the xebec would almost certain see them before they closed. But whether the old pirates captured it or not, that xebec would be pushed off their wake. If Hamilton was right, and Mor Cuanaich's hold over his men was weak, then every sign of strength he could muster would weaken the pirates hold more.

"Tell Mr. Roz.. Rozhdestvensky." Hamilton paused, finally having pronounced his name. "Please give him my thanks."

Dulcina nodded and did so.


The world was made of bright, bold colors as they sailed into the bay under the steep cliffs of Teleoussa. The water was a blue-green, the cliffs a gleaming white, and the sky a lighter blue with only a scattering of clouds. The sun had peaked in the sky, and still beat down a powerful heat. The cooling breeze over the open water was blocked by the cliffs and the Tigress' progress slowed.

Hamilton had changed into his naval uniform, which did nothing to alleviate the heat. He stood at fo'c'sle, watching the vanishing bow wave, and listening to the leadsman.

"By the mark ten!" the leadsman cried.

Mor Cuanaich's war galley was already at anchor six hundred yards away. The bay itself was little of a quarter-mile wide semi-circle which looked as if some ancient sea god had reached up and pulled a great plug of land down into the sea. There were only a few spots of green on the cliffs, small ledges where plants would take hold. Only near the very top, along the rim, could they see a small layer of green scrub.

"By the deep and a half eleven!"

Ahmar stepped towards the bow. "We should anchor, Captain."

"Very good, Mr. Ahmar, let her go, and then you may call away the launch."

The Tigress dropped anchor in the clear water, scattering a pair of turtles.

Hamilton took his telescope and slowly scanned across the horizon outside the bay, there were no other vessels, large or small, but that did not mean ships were not out there, somewhere. As long as the Tigress could get out of the bay, the winds were such that he was confident he could outrun the galley, but that would be much harder if other pirates tried to intercept them. But, whether or not they were out there wait, speed in making sail out of the bay was essential.

"The boat is ready, Captain," Ahmar said.

Hamilton closed of his telescope and handed it to him. "Good luck to you, Mr. Ahmar."

"And to you, Captain."

By custom of his rank, Hamilton was last over the side into the boat. There were six crewman at the oars, ***********ed for their strength, and Zuberi who acted as a coxswain. Hamilton sat in the bow, while Zuberi was in the stern sheets, with one hand on the gunwale and the other around a silently weeping Viscountess in an elegant white dress, gloves, and scarf.

"Quiet down Katherine!" Hamilton yelled.

"They're away Captain," Ahmar yelled down.

Mor Cuanaich had stepped into his own boat. Hamilton could see that the Irish pirate also had six hands on the oars, a coxswain, and a woman.

"Shove off, Mr. Zuberi."

The Tigress' boat made slow but steady progress to the center of the bay, matching the progress of the other boat that was moving towards them.

"Damn you woman, be quiet!" Hamilton yelled at another sob. He could see the person in the stern sheets, next to Mor Cuanaich.


The two boats both rested on their oars while a mere five yards apart.

"Englishman, I keep my word, you see!"

Nasira was wearing a shirt and trousers, she was, as the slaves had said, dressed in the clothes of a man, and her hair had been pulled up tightly. She saw Edward and smiled. A broad smile, a happy smile.

"Now, Englishman, have you kept your word?"

"This is the Lady Dunsbrooke."

"Is she now? And how be you lady?"

"Does it matter?"

"Speak up, slave!" the pirate roared.

"I am Katherine Abington, the Lady Dunsbrooke, and you are a dead man, pirate."

Mor Cuanaich laughed. "In my time, I will be, like everyone else, but my time and not yours. Ha ha ha. Very well, Englishman."

Slowly the two boats came together, the respective crews eyed each other warily. Hamilton had deliberately ***********ed the physically largest hands, and that intimidation did seem to be having an effect on the pirates, few of whom matched the stares he had ordered his men to lay on.

The two women were lifted up, the men holding tight on their clothes to make sure the other side did not reach over too soon to drag them off. Nasira looked at Hamilton, her smile taking on more of the subtle sardonic look he had come to know in Tunis. Hamilton didn't even try to maintain that level of control. He suddenly felt as if he were going to be sick. He was so close. But she was not safe yet.

"Your woman is unharmed, she is," Mor Cuanaich said. "Does that surprise you Englishman? You think I am uncultured and without honor?"

"Give me Nasira," Hamilton said, after a pause.

"By all means, Englishman," he turned. "And you will give me the grand Lady Viscountess."

Nasira stepped across the gunwale at the same time the Viscountess was passed across.

Nasira fell into Hamilton's arms. Hamilton couldn't talk. He just held her. Mor Cuanaich was saying something, taunts, and insults, but Edward Hamilton could not hear them.

"Back oars!" Zuberi yelled. The Tigress' crew pushed their oars against the other boat and then began to row, with much more urgency, back to their brig.

Nasira pulled back slightly, her face was streamed with tears. "Oh, Edward, you idiot, what have you done?"

"I saved you." Hamilton looked at his Nasira. She looked tired. Her clothes, some of which he saw now were the remains of her Janissary uniform, were ripped in places. But he had been expecting worse.

"You are weak, Englishman!" Mor Cuanaich yelled from his boat. "That slave has taken your balls, she has!"

Hamilton held tightly to Nasira, "I missed you so very much."

"Edward, I know what they wanted. That stupid man never shuts you. You should not have done this! You should not have given him that woman, she is for the Sultan!"

"Nasira, please." He added quietly, "I haven't given him Lady Dunsbrooke. I gave him her servant, I had her hair cut short and that from a blonde slave wove into it."

"He'll know!"

"Soon, yes, but I have you."

"I have shown you as a weak fool, Englishman and now I will kill you!" Mor Cuanaich yelled. The boats were now a hundred yards apart and he voice echoed off the cliffs. He was standing in his boat with his saber in hand. He swung the sword down, and yelled, "Tirez!"

Nothing happened.

Mor Cuanaich yelled again, "Tirez! Tirez! Fire, you stupid crapauds!"

There was a sudden puff of black smoke from the cliff top, then another, with the sharp boom of a pair of twelve pounder cannon. Two splashes landed in the water, bracketing the galley.

"No!" the pirate yelled. "Them! Shoot them you bastards!"

The men were rowing hard in each boat. Two more shots landed, each splashing the galley's deck.

At last they came alongside the Tigress. "Up, Nasira, quickly. Mr. Zuberi, take the kedge."

"Yes, Captain."

Hamilton climbed up after Nasira, while Zuberi and the other remained in the boat. They quickly rowed to the stern, where a port was already open. A sailor stuck his head out. He pulled back in and soon the small kedge anchor was being passed out to the boat.

"Mr. Ahmar! Cut the cable!"

"That has been done," Ahmar said.

"Very good," Hamilton stood on the quarter deck. The main anchor was gone, and in the weak breeze they would have to warp out by dropping the smaller kedge anchor and using the capstan to pull the cable tight and drag the Tigress towards the open water.

"There are no slaves at the oars, Edward, only his soldiers. He will overwhelm you."

"Not if the men won't work row." Hamilton looked back. "Mr. Ahmar, fire when she bears."

Ahmar shouted a command and the larboard guns fired. The galley was too far to expect any of the shots to hit, but the loud report, magnified by the cliffs, the sight of the dark smoke, it all added to the chaos which was growing on Mor Cuanaich's vessel.

The two cannon on top of the cliffs fired again, there was one splash and a loud crack as the second ball plunged down through the deck and out the hull. That galley had its oars out, but they were not moving. A few pirates were jumping overboard, not that there was anywhere for them to go.

"The crusaders built a fortress on the cliff top," Hamilton said. "I had a feeling that Irishman might have put a gun or two up there to direct plunging fire down on us. I set the Russian ashore this morning with a handful of our best gunners and... there he is!"

Vasily Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky was standing on one of the cannon barrels, a saber in one hand, and a French artillery officer's jacket in the other.

The men at the capstan were pulling hard, working the brig outwards. Zuberi's boat had already taken the second kedge. They dropped it a hundred yards further out. That might be enough.

The two cannon fired again and this time the both shots plunged through the galley's deck to smash down through the hull, far below the waterline.

"You're a clever man, Mr. Hamilton," Nasira said.

"Thank you, Miss Nasira." Hamilton smiled and said, quietly, to Ahmar, "My compliments to Mr. Zuberi, he may come back aboard. And, if you would be so kind as to set the courses and tops'ls, I think she'll take the breeze."

Ahmar nodded and gave the orders.

Nasira went below to his cabin, she was desperately thirsty. Hamilton leaned against the taffrail. The galley was listing. There was no chance of pursuit. Whatever allies Mor Cuanaich had left were not going to avenge him. The Tigress' sails snapped as brig cleared the lee and met the wind. He was watching the sails, the rigging, he had ordered the t'gallants set as well and the wind was at the starboard quarter. He wondered if they could make ten knots.

Katherine slapped him. "You fucking bastard!" she shouted. "My Rachel, she was worth nothing to you! Nothing! May the devil take you! May you rot in hell you soulless bastard. She was nineteen! Nineteen and you killed her!"

Ahmar rushed over and pulled her back.

"You cannot do that!" Ahmar said as he held her. "You cannot hit the Captain!"

"How can you live with yourself you fucking bastard?" Katherine spit at Hamilton, then she turned and rushed below decks.

"I will punish her." Ahmar said, angrily. "A foolish woman."

"No. Leave her be."


August 1799, Istanbul

Hamilton rolled out of the bed and went to the window. Minarets loomed over the trees, and a few courtiers were walking across a path in the garden, each dressed in more elaborate robes than the last. The apartment given to Hamilton was small, but they were, after all, right outside Topaki Palace. The palace of the Sultan. Still, Hamilton wished the window looked down at the ships at anchor in the Golden Horn.

Nasira sat up in bed. The sheet had fallen down revealing her breasts. She frowned, slightly.

"You have to stop thinking about it, Edward."

He didn't answer. She slipped out of bed and padded over to him. She put her arm around his waist and kissed his shoulder.

"Trying to tell me what to do now, slave?" he said with a forced smile.

"You are a soldier," Nasira whispered to him. "Killing that pirate would have been worth my death or your death. It would have be worth the death of half your crew if you had fought him at sea. It was worth the loss of that servant."

"I didn't go into that bay to destroy Mor Cuanaich. I went into there to save you."

"I know. I owe you my life, Edward."

Hamilton smiled as he watched a pair of birds, so colorful, twist over and down behind the Palace walls. "So we're even."

She shook her head. "No. Never."

Hamilton turned around and kissed her. There was a burst of singing, in Russian, he realized. Just outside the window Vasily Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky was walking, or at least trying to, with a bottle in one hand and a leash in the other. He had taken to wearing the French artillery jacket he had pulled from one of the pirates, even though it was too small. Vasya turned back and yanked on the leash, the slave behind him, who was carrying a potted tulip, hurried to catch up. Vasya looked up and saw Hamilton and Nasira. He shouted something to them neither could understand. Nasira waved back.

"He looks happy, master. I wish you were."

"I am happy, Nasira. Oh, I can't tell you how happy I am."

She looked coy and backed up towards the bed. Her body was lean, with long legs and a curve along her hips and ass that was as close to perfection as anything he had ever seen. She had large breasts, and he enjoyed playing with them, one at a time, with both hands. Her dark hair was tinged with red. Since they had reached Istanbul she had trimmed her pussy, leaving only a small patch of hair between her legs.

He pushed her down, pinning her to the bed, his legs straddling her and his cock pressing up against her slit. "In Tunis you were a slave," he said playfully.

"Yes, master. One of the soldiers of the Sultan. I was owned by him."

"And there were so many rules."

"Oh yes," she pressed her head up and kissed him quickly. "I was not allowed to have a cock inside my body." She laughed. "I could touch and kiss but not suck."

"I did notice that." He kissed her neck, feeling her breasts against his chest. "I notice you are not a soldier of the Sultan anymore."

"No, master, I am not," she moaned softly. "They have dismissed my corps."

"You are mine. My slave. You are a prize of war."

"Yes, master." She pressed her hips up against him. Her arms were tight around his neck as he kissed her.

"I don't think I'll have that rule," he whispered. His cock slid back and forth slightly along her slit, not yet dipping inside. "Put my cock inside you, slave."

"Yes, master." Nasira reached down, she felt his cock and maneuvered him as she shifted her hips, until the tip of his cock was between her wet folds. Then she pulled her hands up and put them above her head.

"You are my slave, my love, you are my everything." He watched her face as he pressed his cock into her.

"Oh, yes, master... oh yes, I want you."

Hamilton felt the world seem to drift away as he slowly began to fuck her, feeling nothing other than his cock inside her very wet and very tight cunt. Nasira was what he wanted. In all the world he would give anything and do anything to have her. And now, at last, he did. He owned her. A companion, a friend, a lover. Nasira was all that. He was fucking her harder now, he could feel it, the physical pleasure so strong, but nothing compared with the pure ecstasy of owning this woman.

Dimly he heard her moaning as he began to fuck her faster and as he came inside her. A few minutes later, Hamilton, said to her, "do you remember, slave, when I stood next to you on the walls of Massih Bey's fortress and asked you to come back to England?"

"Yes, master, I do. And I remember saying that you could come to Istanbul."

"I remember. Well, now that I'm here, I think I'll stay for a while."
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