Voyage of the Istanbul Tigress Ch. 06byEricCalder©
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."
"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 Tiggress 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.
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 Tiggress, 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 architecuture, 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.