Voyage of the Istanbul Tigress Ch. 05byEricCalder©
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 someones, 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 scripts.
"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 was 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 and 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.