Fire And Ice
By Stein Willard
Summary: Kris Ingersson thought she had everything she could ever want. Fearless and respected, the blonde Viking single-mindedly crisscrossed the oceans in search of fame and fortune. That was until the day she laid eyes on a fiery Spanish pirate. It was only then that she realized that no fortune would ever be complete unless the golden-eyed pirate was part of it.
From noble descent and reluctant to be part of the superficial, backstabbing women vying for attention at the Spanish Court, Morgana craved the adventure the wide open sea offered. Freedom and the dangerous swells of the great seas was all she thought she needed to feel alive. But destiny had more in store for her. It came in the form of the most beautiful and the most unattainable of the female specie.
The din faded abruptly the moment the tall frame filled the door. Icy blue eyes scanned the inside of the room before the newcomer slowly moved into the centre of the room. The tavern was crowded, considering that it was a Friday evening, it was expected.
The tavern owner walked over to the newcomer, her dark exotic features a mask of pure pleasure at seeing the newcomer. She came to stand in front of the tall visitor, leisurely looking her up and down. She was a woman of very small stature. She didn’t even reach the shoulder of the visitor.
“Kris,” the name silkily rolled off her tongue. “It’s good to see you again,” Drusilla grinned up into the cool blue eyes. “Come through to the private dining room.”
The newcomer nodded and followed the gypsy woman out of the main room, the ice blue eyes firmly fixed on the swaying hips and round bottom of the tavern proprietor. Once in the dining room and with the doors closed behind them, the gypsy pulled the newcomer close for a deep, passionate kiss.
“I didn’t expect to see you back here. It’s been quite a while.”
“I was feeling cooped up and decided to come pay you a visit.” The deep voice was soft and gentle, as were the blue eyes.
Kris or Krista Ingersson – to her parents – was more than glad to see Drusilla. The gypsy woman was a good friend and a great bedmate. They’d met five years ago, when Kris saved her from the clutches of slave traders with Drusilla destined for the Eastern market as a concubine to a rich Arab prince. Kris’ ship, The Lilac Crest, had chased down the slave schooner near the Caribbean islands, intent on plundering the cargo ship. She still remembered her rage when she realized the ship’s haul was filled with women, beautiful women, of all ages, shapes, and coloring. She immediately guessed the destination of the cargo. The unquenched lust of filthy rich princes in the Far East for beautiful women was a growing problem. All across Europe young women kept on disappearing never to be seen or heard from again.
She was lucky never to find herself in such a situation. Her father, Thor, was a Viking clan chief in the Far North and she was always well guarded against the threat these flesh traders posed. What also counted in her favour was her size. She was a towering six foot three and leanly muscled, thanks to the vigorous axe throwing games she regularly engaged in with her two brothers. That made her bigger and stronger than the average man and more than capable of taking care of herself.
A soft hand stroked her face and she quickly looked down into Drusilla’s eyes.
“You need to get out of these wet clothes. Your room is ready and I will send one of the girls to light the hearth for you.” Drusilla’s black eyes ran over the blonde’s body. “If the fire doesn’t do the trick, I will be more than happy to give it a try myself … later.”
Ever since this tall, quiet woman rescued her, Drusilla and the other women collectively decided to make a home on an island near to where they were rescued. Everyone felt that returning home would be too difficult, what with most of them being from noble heritage, the gossip that would ensue upon their return would not only make life unbearable for them, but they would never be able to find suitors – thus be condemned to a life of spinsterhood.
After extensive exploration of the island, it was found to be reasonably habitable with wild life, fresh water, and fertile land, assuring that they could indeed survive on this tropical haven. With the help of Kris and her ship’s crew, they had managed to erect a few wooden structures.
Kris had worked tirelessly alongside her men and Drusilla’s gratitude towards the beautiful Nordic captain turned to admiration, later a deep affection, and in the end a fiery attraction. The full year it took to build up Sun Paradise, was the most wonderful time of her life. During the day, they all worked hard carving out a life on the wild island and at night she would slip into the bed of the Captain and give into the mindless pleasure the Captain brought her by wringing orgasm after orgasm from her body. The Captain’s strong arms were where she knew she wanted to stay, but she was well aware of the elusive nature of the woman too.
Kris came and went as she pleased and Drusilla had known very early on that the Captain was not looking for any commitment. So many times she’d looked into the ice blue eyes and saw the truth there. This was just what it was – sex. But still, she allowed the unthinkable to happen.
She fell in love with her.
Kris never knew because she had kept it a secret. After a while she’d realized that this magnificent woman belonged to too many and that it would stay that way for as long as she lived. She still loved her, but as a friend – a very dear friend – one she still couldn’t resist even if she’d wanted to.
Kris smiled at Drusilla and winked. She desperately needed a warm bath and food, before she could prepare herself for the night’s entertainment. She hadn’t had a woman in quite a while and Drusilla was always eager to help her in refreshing her memory of just how wonderful it was to bed a woman. She bent down slightly and gently hoisted Drusilla up against her tall frame, planting a hungry kiss on the soft lips.
“I accept your offer, but I need a bath and food first.”
“I will send up water for the bath and ask the girls to prepare something nice for you for dinner.” That said, Drusilla left the room and walked into the direction of the kitchen. She returned almost immediately with a tankard of ale while the bath and the water were chartered up to her room.
The moment she entered the room, Kris sighed. She always stayed in the same room when she was here. The ambiance of the room reminded her vaguely of her room back home at her parents’ longhouse. It was big and airy with a great view of the docks. After a nice relaxing bath, she tied her long ash blonde hair back with a leather throng and dressed in black fitted pants and a white loose-fitting shirt, she made her way down to the dinning room.
Drusilla was chatting to some of the women in the main room, but turned when she heard the heavy footsteps on the stairs. Her black eyes slowly raked over her again and Kris smiled back wickedly when the black eyes began to darken upon taking in her appearance. The proprietor rushed over to her and quickly ushered Kris into the private dining room.
With the door closed behind them, Drusilla pushed her hands under the loose-fitting shirt and moved then up until they cradled Kris’ breasts – one in each hand.
“You’ve stayed away too long this time,” she murmured against her lips. “Just looking at you makes me weak in the knees.” The kiss was hot and fiery and they only stopped when they both had to come up for air. They stared at each other for a few seconds, both dazed by the intense hunger they felt and which was reflected in their eyes. Tonight … the promise echoed through their minds and they stepped away from each other.
Everyone on the island knew that they slept together, but Kris respected Drusilla’s wish never to look and act unprofessional when she was in her capacity as proprietress. The black eyes closed and when they opened, the hungry look was gone. She looked cool, calm, and collected again. She quickly slipped into the main room and returned with a tankard, which she placed on the table in front of Kris. She gestured for her to take a seat.
“I hope you’re hungry, because Rebecca made cottage pie.”
“I could eat a horse.” When Drusilla was about to move away, Kris called her back. “Drusilla, what happened in my absence?”
Raising pitch-black eyebrows, Drusilla turned back to Kris. “What do you want to know, Kris?”
“I saw a number of pirate ships moored on the other side of the island. What are they doing there?” She took a long sip of the cool brew. She had nothing against pirates. She was one too, but these men were not always to be trusted, especially on an island populated by gorgeous women. Fights are bound to break out over the women and they will be caught in the middle. She’d hate for the girls to get hurt again after all the hardships they’ve already endured.
“Oh.” Understanding dawned in Drusilla’s eyes. “After your last visit, some of the women felt that they missed the companionship of men and decided to set up a small settlement nearby. Some even got married and we even have a few children running around on the island now.” Kris could see the longing in Drusilla’s eyes. She has never made a secret of her longing for children. “Gladys and Irma are getting married at the end of the week and they have asked if they could hold the reception here at the Lilac Moon.” As a sign of her gratitude to Kris, Drusilla had named her tavern partly after The Lilac Crest, her ship.
“I’m happy for them, but how does a woman go back to a man after what she’s been through.” The ice blue eyes were studying Drusilla intently. “They were raped and beaten by the slave handlers and still they choose to get married and have babies.”
“Peter and Valiant are good men. They always come over here to check if there are any repairs that need to be done. They look after both settlements. Quite recently, a Spanish female pirate also started stopping over at Sun Paradise and some of her men have decided to stay and find themselves wives.” A slight flash of guilt crossed the exquisite features of Drusilla and Kris frowned. “Sun Paradise is growing fast, but until now we have managed to keep the scum away.” She quickly grabbed one of the servant girls walking past and asked her to bring food for Kris.
“How do you maintain peace with all these pirates around?”
“Morgana …” There was that guilty flush again, Kris thought. “… has formed a policing force a few months back. It consists of well-armed men from the island who were trained by her crewmembers. They are quite good and take no nonsense.”
“This … Morgana … Where can I find her?” She was really curious about the woman now. Not only because Drusilla reacted strangely every time she mentioned the name, but because she was stunned to have found out about the existence of yet another female pirate! There were only three other female pirates besides herself that she knows of. There was Bertha, who was Dutch, Lillian, the English woman, and Monica, the Portuguese.
A plate of food was placed in front of her, the wonderful aroma making her mouth water. She picked up the wooden spoon and started shoveling food into her mouth.
“Morgana is out at sea. I don’t know when she will stop over here again.”
Kris stopped eating and looked up into Drusilla’s eyes. There it was again – the guilty look.
“Are you two sleeping together, Drusilla?” A fierce blush broke out on Drusilla’s cheeks and her black eyes avoiding eye contact. After a few tense seconds Drusilla nodded slowly. “So, I have a rival for your attentions now? Interesting.” Her appetite suddenly gone, she pushed her plate away. “Do you love her?” She’d never expected Drusilla to stay faithful to her, because she for sure wasn’t faithful to her either.
Their liaison was simply driven by lust – no love and no promises. But she did feel a jealous pang, knowing that some other woman was sleeping with the dark beauty. Drusilla had never said anything, but she was aware that Drusilla had been in love with her. It was in her eyes and evident in the gentle way she touched her when they lay together on her bed after a vigorous session. Yes, she’d known all along and even though she never wanted to acknowledge the love, she was flattered by it and in a way always thought that made Drusilla stand out amongst all the other faceless woman she bedded on her travels. Never had she thought that another woman would one day take her place in Drusilla’s bed – and in her heart.
Drusilla looked uncomfortable for a while and then her black eyes shifted to focus on a spot behind her. They widened in surprise. Kris followed the proprietress’ gaze and felt her heart screech to a halt.
There in the dining room door, she was standing, a vision of long ink-black curls and golden eyes. She was tall. Not as tall as herself, but tall enough to dwarf at least a few men. She was simply spectacular. Her full lips were pressed together as she stared straight at her.
Kris slowly came to her feet and noticed with mild satisfaction the look of surprise that crossed the woman’s face. Her height always stunned people at first glance. Almost immediately the surprised look in her eyes was gone and the woman stepped closer, softly closing the door behind her.
“You must be Kris.” She reached out her hand and a jolt went through Kris when the woman’s hand closed over hers. The handshake was strong and sure – a perfect fit.
“Morgana, I presume.”
In silence they measured each other up.
Morgana was completely taken aback by the appearance of the other woman. She’s heard so much about Kris that it felt as if she knew her already. But nothing prepared her for the woman standing before her. She knew being a Viking, Kris would be tall, but not this tall. Men at other ports had whispered about the female Nordic pirate who was respected for her prowess with a broad sword, but never, ever had she expected the woman to be so beautiful.
Icy blue eyes were set in a strong, yet feminine looking face, which was in total contrast to her tall and leanly muscled frame and the rumors she’d heard. She’d expected someone who’d looked like a man and perhaps acted like one too, but nothing prepared her for this beautiful, golden angel.
She felt a slight dampness between her legs and grimaced inwardly. It was lust at first sight. Remembering that they were still holding hands; she pulled away and looked across at Drusilla . The Gypsy was staring at them with open amusement, a strange look in her black eyes.
“Have a seat, Morgana. I’ll ask Rebecca to bring you some food. Joslin will have your room ready in minute.” Drusilla left the room on slightly shaky legs, Morgana moved to a table next to Kris. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the Viking slowly retaking her seat and reaching for her tankard. She also saw the beautiful lips clutching the rim of the tankard, taking a long gulp from the ale.
Rebecca came in with a plate heaped high with food. She smiled up at the woman.
“Nice to see you again, Rebecca. Are you still trying to fatten me up?” Rebecca was a beautiful Irish brunette with lively green eyes. The cook’s full lips were curved into a broad smile.
“You need some meat on those bones, my dear. Otherwise you would scare off the ladies. Who would want to bed a bag of bones, now?” Her green eyes came to rest on Kris and she smiled warmly.
“Kris. Welcome back. You haven’t been here for a while.”
Kris smiled at Rebecca; her blue eyes tender. Morgana knew of the history of each and every woman on Sun Paradise with Kris. She was their saviour . Something she could never compete with. Rebecca walked over to Kris and they talked together softly, with Rebecca touching the quiet Norse woman hands now and then, making Morgana frown – inexplicably irritated by the cook’s familiarity with the Viking. She quickly finished her meal, leaving the two women still deep in conversation and went to her room.
A penetrating blue gaze followed her as she exited the dining room.
Kris was struggling to sleep. The room was nice and warm, but still she found it difficult to surrender her tired body into the arms of Morpheus. Whenever she closed her eyes, flashing golden eyes haunted her dreams, making her snap her eyes open and staring up at the ceiling instead. A slight shuffling sound in the room had her sit up straight, pistol in the hand. She always slept with a pistol under her pillow – a precautionary habit.
A figure materialized from the shadows in the corner of the room. With a sheet wrapped around her, Morgana came into view. Her hair was loose and bounced with every step as she came to stand at the foot of the bed. They stared at each other for a few minutes before Kris threw back the covers and slid over to the other side of the wide bed. The invitation was obvious, but still Morgana hesitated.
”I promise I won’t bite, Captain. Unless you want me to, of course.”
Morgana slowly moved around the bed and came to stand next to it. “You’re a pirate. If you give me your word as a pirate, I might just believe you.”
She dropped the sheet and the bright moonlight from the open window fell on her beautiful body. Kris’ eyes leisurely traveled over the Spaniard’s body and came to rest on the dark hair at the apex where her long legs met.
“I would lie if I told you that I will keep my hands to myself.” She swung her legs off the bed and with one long stride stood in front of Morgana; her fingertips lightly brushing over Morgana’s cheek. “I promise to make this one of the most memorable nights for you.” Kris leaned closer her movements slow to give Morgana the opportunity to move away if she wanted to.
Morgana didn’t move away, instead she pulled Kris closer.
When their lips met, they both groaned and pulled away simultaneously. They looked into each other’s eyes, confusion and panic flashing over both their faces.
Morgana felt her whole body trembling. Nobody ever had this effect on her. She was staring into the blue eyes above her. After her bath she’d slid under the covers hoping to have an early night, but she was mistaken. Sleep had eluded her and after an hour of tossing and turning, the knowledge that the reason for her restlessness was sleeping in the room next to hers, had forced her to walk to the door which linked the two rooms. She’d noiselessly pushed the door open.
From her hiding place amongst the shadows, she could see that Kris wasn’t sleeping either. Clad in only a sheet, she’d hoped for just a quick peek of the Nordic beauty again – just to confirm that their meeting had in fact taken place and that she hadn’t just dreamt meeting the flint-eyed pirate. Her legs had turned to jelly the minute Kris sat up with the pistol in her hands and it was definitely not because she felt threatened by having a pistol trained on her.
No. Never ever had she been affected by anyone the way this tall woman affected her. She’d dropped the sheet to disarm Kris and was pleasantly surprised when she’d succeeded. Kris was looking at her with raw desire in her blue eyes and she shivered slightly when the Viking stroked her cheek. Seeing how Kris wanted to give her a chance to back out, she’d decided to take matters into her own hands. The kiss was devastating. Like lightning. She’d felt the jolt running down her body.
After the initial shock of the first kiss, they kissed again. This time their tongues mated furiously. Anyone could see that Kris was strong, but she’d never expected the woman to pick her up as if she weighed almost nothing. She was gently placed on the bed and moving downwards Kris found and sucked a nipple in her mouth making Morgana moan out loud at the sensation.
Earlier in the dining room, she couldn’t help but noticing Kris’ lips, but she never had any idea how wicked that mouth could be. She felt the hot tongue circling her hardened nipple and desire burned a long journey from her ravished nipple to the core of her womanhood. Her sex was getting wet just thinking about how that tongue would feel on her clitoris.
As if reading her mind, Kris large hand moved down slowly, over her flat stomach to her warm centre. Gently, she parted the lips, brushing the hardened nub lightly before expertly inserting a finger. She groaned when she found an easy passage. Morgana moaned and jerked her hips upwards allowing Kris’ finger to delve deeper.
“Give me more. I need you to give me more,” she moaned and sighed in satisfaction, when her request brought a wicked smile to Kris’ lips.
Showing her strength again, Kris flipped her over on all fours and entered her from behind with her fingers, her other hand pulling her head back so that they could maintain eye contact. A while later she was flopped back on her back and the Viking pressed up against her until their mounds were rubbing against each other, bringing a delicious sensation to the pit of her stomach.
Kris had difficulty breathing.
Morgana was slowly rubbing her long frame over her; her wicked amber eyes dark with desire. She’d made Morgana come twice before they’d exchanged roles.
Now finding herself on her back and her long muscled legs spread wide, the Spaniard was making her way downwards toward the blonde triangle. Once there, Morgana latched onto her clitoris.
The sensation of the warm wet mouth sucking down there made her hips buck wildly. Heaves of that magnitude have unseated even her bulky seven-foot tall brothers, but the smaller Spaniard stuck like glue. When Morgana added three fingers to the sexual onslaught, Kris lost control.
She only came back to life when she felt small butterfly kisses moving down her chin to her neck. A naked Morgana was sprawled on top of her and she automatically placed her hand on the beautiful naked bottom. The skin was soft like silk.
“If I ever find you in bed with Drusilla again, I’ll have her beheaded,” Morgana murmured softly in her ear, catching the lobe between her teeth. Kris slapped the round bottom under her hand hard and smiled when Morgana yelped and rolled over onto the bed.
“You will do no such thing.”
Morgana sat up and with a sexy toss swung her black tresses over her shoulder. Her beautiful breasts were bared to Kris’ eyes and she reached for them, only to have Morgana slapped her on the hand.
“Concentrate, Viking,” her liquid brown gaze was serious. “We have to talk.”
Kris groaned. Talk. While in bed and with a gorgeous naked woman? “Can’t we talk later? It’s going to be daybreak soon.”
“No, I have something important to say.”
Morgana looked down at the beautiful Nordic woman. Her blonde hair was loose and lay strewn on the pillow, making her look so wild and dangerous and she felt her passion slowly beginning to simmer back to life. But first things first. There was something they needed to clear up. The ice blue eyes looked pale in the moonlight, which fell over the bed
“I don’t want you to sleep with any other women ever again , ” she said quickly before she lost her nerve. She saw a frown form on the beautiful face and added quickly, “Not even Drusilla.”
When the Viking sat up, her big frame dwarfing hers, Morgana saw a steely look in the blue eyes.
“If you explain to me why the hell not, then maybe I’ll try to understand your reasoning,” Kris said, tight-lipped.
The Spaniard calmly stared back, unfazed by Kris anger . It was obvious from the woman’s expertise in bed that she was highly sexed and must have numerous lovers strewn everywhere. And why not? She was beautiful and strong. Any woman of hers would be well protected. She however didn’t need her protection, but she did need her fidelity.
She wasn’t prepared to share this woman – not after what she’d experienced in her arms tonight. There was something there, between them. Something she couldn’t call love yet, but definitely something with the promise of growing into a deep, permanent emotion. Kris was hers, even though she wasn’t aware of it. The old hag had been telling the truth all a long.
About three years ago Morgana had been to Madrid , looking for a merchant willing to buy the silks and spices she’d brought with her from the East. With half the town at the fair, she couldn’t find her usual buyer and had decided to try and find another one. With a crate containing some samples and two of her crewmembers, she’d ducked into a tent, hoping to corner a trader willing to look at her merchandise. Instead she’d come face to face with an old Gypsy fortuneteller. She’d immediately turned to leave, but the woman’s voice kept her from leaving.
“Silks and spice, I’m afraid I can’t buy from you, but I believe we can still make a fair trade.” The woman had said in a soft husky whisper. She turned to look at the woman and back again to duck out of the tent, the woman’s voice stopped her again. “One gold piece for a quick peek into your future.”
Frowning, she’d turned back to the woman and smiled sarcastically.
“I can find a more worthy purpose for a piece of gold, madam. If what you are offering is in my future and yet to come, then I’d save a gold piece and wait until I encounter this great secret you want to share with me.”
The woman had chuckled softly and had turned her veiled head to look at her. She couldn’t see her face, but she was aware of the woman’s eyes on her.
“You need to know what it is so that it doesn’t slip through your fingers because of your pride and ignorance, Captain Reyes.” The woman had gestured to the chair opposite her and a little unnerved that the woman knew her name; she had turned to the two men with her.
“We’ll wait outside for you.”
Once she was seated, the woman took her hand in hers and with a gnarled hand and rough thumb pads had stroked the inside of her palm. The silence in the warm tent was just about to become uncomfortable when the woman spoke.
“A great love is awaiting you. I fear the sea will not be your only mistress for long.”
Then the silence again.
This time she’d closed her eyes, absorbing the almost hypnotic touch of the woman’s hand on hers. This time she was rubbing her palm over hers.
“A simple kiss will expose her to you. Your fire will melt her icy resolve.”
She’d always known she was attracted to both men and woman, but had never thought of settling down with a woman before. She’d looked at the woman with a frown. The old hag was surely just leading her on. She’d snatched her hand away from the woman and had come to her feet.
“I have indulged you long enough.” She reached into the pocket of her black jacket and tossed a gold piece on the table. “I’ve learnt nothing new,” she’d lied and stomped towards the tent opening.
“You will have to claim her then and there, claim her heart; otherwise she will be lost to you forever.”
She’d turned and left the tent, never making any reference to the woman again, not even to her mother and sister.
But it had happened tonight. The kiss they shared earlier was earth shattering. Her wild and fiery passion had been counteracted by the cool and calm desire of the Viking. Fire and Ice – just as the Gypsy had said. The bed dipped and she snapped back to the present.
“I want you to only sleep with me. I want the both of us to only be committed to each other.” Her voice was calm, but firm.
She saw the other woman’s jaw dropped.
“You want me to give up other woman and only sleep with you? Are you crazy? We’ll only see each other once or twice a year and you want me to hold out until then?” The expression in the ice blue eyes was one of total disbelief.
Morgana wasn’t only known for her beauty and excellent fighting skills. Her stubbornness had caused many alterations on the high seas and back home at the Spanish court.
“Yes, because I will be doing the same. Why can’t you too,” she said coolly.
“But why? Odin, we’ve only had sex once. It’s not as if we are in love.”
Morgana felt the urge to clobber the thick Viking skull, but this unpredictable woman might just throw her out of the window– naked, if she tried. She quickly suppressed the urge and instead sucked in a deep, calming breath.
“Why should we wait until we fall in love? We both know we are good together. We are destined for each other.” She touched Kris’ cheek. “We can one day build a beautiful house here on Sun Paradise and make appointments to meet each other here at prearranged times.”
She saw the doubt in Kris’ eyes and even before she opened her mouth, Morgana knew what was coming.
“No. I can’t do that.” Kris got off the bed and walked over to where Morgana had dropped her sheet. Handing it to her, she shook her head. “I’m not the domestic type, Morgana. I love many women and I like it that way. I don’t want to be tied down to only one woman.” The blue eyes flashed. “It’s my nature and nobody can change that. Not even you, Morgana.”
Numbed inside, Morgana grabbed the sheet from Kris and headed for the door linking their rooms. She’d expected as much, but not that the words would hurt so much. Maybe the fortuneteller was wrong or maybe she was just overhasty in claiming Kris as the One.
But the kiss said it all. She literally saw stars.
She turned back to the bed. Kris was sitting on the edge, her blonde head in her hands, the strong shoulders bent over.
“One day you will realize what you’ve let slip through your fingers.” With that, she closed the door behind her.
She was exhausted beyond words. Yesterday afternoon, they’d sailed into a storm and after having spent the whole night at the wheel with her first mate, Soren, Kris was stretched out on her bed in her cabin. If they hadn’t been thrown too far off course by the storm, they should reach the Nordic port of Vellagrun by nightfall. After two years away from home she’d missed her family dreadfully and couldn’t wait to see them again.
When she’d set sail from Sun Paradise she’d left for the Far East in the hope of trading some of the exotic pets she had on board for spices and silk. A storm had crippled The Lilac Crest, stranding them for almost two months with repair work. The lifestyle and the beautiful woman of the Far East fascinated her. The obscene wealth of the princes and the many beautiful women at their disposal was too much to comprehend at times.
The women were dark, sultry beings, but with no minds of their own. Men did the thinking for them, forcing their will and desires upon them, turning the women into helpless sexual objects in the process. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to take any of them to bed. She was offered their services on many occasions. But just the thought that she’d saved Drusilla and sixty other woman from this fate and to do the opposite and use them for sex, didn’t sit well with her. And then there was Morgana. The Spanish pirate was never far from her mind.
After the sultry beauty had walked out the door after she’d turn her down, she had never seen her again. That was almost a year ago. Upon enquiry, Drusilla had told her that the Esperanca had set sail that same morning. She could also see that the Gypsy knew something had happened between the two of them, but Drusilla didn’t pry. Instead she’d ordered breakfast for her guest and left it at that.
The night before her departure, she had gone to Drusilla’s room. They had kissed and gently touched each other, but halfway through, she couldn’t follow through with her seduction. In the end she’d brought Drusilla to a thundering climax, but her own body remained cold and unresponsive. She’d spent the night with Drusilla, allowing the woman to cradle her until she’d fallen asleep.
A big swell threw her from her bed and cursing she dragged herself up from the floor. It was almost daybreak and she got dressed to go check up on the precious cargo she’d brought home from the Far East . Her mother will love the silk and fragrant oils she’d brought for her. For the rest of the family she’d brought weapons and exotic pets.
By nightfall they were moored at Vellagrun and after supervising the offloading of the cargo, she bid her crew farewell and went to a nearby tavern and ordered a tankard of Nordic ale. After a long pull, she sighed. Oh, how she’d missed the familiar taste. Her mother usually had fits when she went out with her brothers and came back smelling of ale.
“A woman drinks spiced wine, not ale.” She was always chastised by her mother. She brought the tankard to her lips again and downed the contents in one big swallow.
“You seemed to be very thirsty. Want another one?” She glanced over at the speaker and smiled. It was Olaf, her younger brother. The seven-foot giant was three summers younger than her twenty-six summers. The smiling blue eyes were so much like hers.
Thor and Mira Ingersson only had three children. Sven, the eldest was followed by Krista, and to Thor’s relief another son. When they were growing up, Kris knew she was different. She would play with swords as opposed to the red-cheeked dolls her peers were playing with.
She was eighteen summers when she stumbled upon Agnetha Mattyson, the daughter of a neighboring clan chief. It was a social call since Agnetha’s father and her father grew up together and still stayed good friends until the day Verge Mattyson died in a battle a few years ago. At twenty summers, Agnetha was already well versed in the art of lovemaking and finding Krista at a pool in the woods, Agnetha had seduce the innocent Kris and since then they had kept their affair secret, meeting in the woods. Just thinking about those lazy summers in the woods always brought a smile to her face.
“If you smile like that then I’m sure your exploits amongst the fair ladies of wherever you were, must have been a success,” Olaf said with a grin.
She had confided in him after he’d surprised Agnetha and her whilst sharing an intimate embrace in the woods. Since then he’d known everything until one day with a slip of a tongue he told their mother. Mira immediately confronted her and she had to tell her the truth. Her mother told her father and then all hell broke loose. Her father was so angry he didn’t speak to her for a whole month. To this date he still refused to accept her ‘affliction’, but kept it to himself. The alliance he’d hoped to gain through marriage with one of the neighboring clan chief’s son fell through because of her sexual preference, but he still loved her even though he never brought up the subject again.
“Yes and no, baby brother,” she said and saw the twinkle in his eyes.
“Tell me about the ‘yes’ part first.”
“Well, I met a gorgeous Spanish pirate.” She kept it short.
“And Drusilla? I always thought that one day you might turn up here with her and introduce her to the family.” Olaf had met Drusilla before and was immediately smitten with her until he found out that she was in fact his sister’s lover. He’d returned home with a broken heart.
She shook her head and grinned. “Drusilla pales in comparison to this one. Morgana is beautiful and strong.” She felt a pang where her heart was supposed to be just thinking about the Spanish hellion. She still woke up nights, feeling the woman’s touch and smelling her scent on her body.
“Do you mean Morgana, the Captain of the Esperanca ?” Olaf’s eyes were wide with shock. He’d heard of the Spanish beauty. Some men thought she was a vision or a ghost haunting the seas. Her beauty was unrivaled by any woman alive, they said. He was surprised that his sister didn’t know about her –even more that she hadn’t seduced her already.
“Yes.” Kris was shocked that Olaf had known about Morgana and she didn’t. “You have heard of her? Where?”
A servant girl placed two tankards of ale in front of them and after a sip and Olaf smiled back at her.
“Morgana is known for her beauty and skill with a cutlass. Ragnor just returned and he told of how Morgana ambushed them and lifted a whole cargo from him.” He chuckled merrily. “Having been bested by a woman still doesn’t sit right with him. He swore revenge when they meet again.”
Kris laughed out loud. Ragnor is one of the most competitive men she knew. They are the same age, but during their play fights he’d hated being bested by her. She took a sip from her ale.
“She’s here in Vellagrun, you know.” Olaf added and watched his sister’s reaction closely. He wasn’t disappointed when she spat out her drink and stared at him, small rivulets of ale running down her chin.
“She’s here? Now?
Olaf nodded and smiled. “The Esperanca moored a few days ago. Father invited her once he heard about her, he wanted to meet her and sent for her.”
Kris stood up. Her father? What would he want with Morgana? “Where is she staying?”
Olaf sipped his ale and almost choked when his sister pulled him out of his chair. Kris was staring at him frostily. He thought of toying with her a while longer, but knew she would beat the information out of him. All the patrons in the tavern were staring at them now.
“At Petr and Viola’s place.” He choked out between loud guffaws.
“You will have to settle my bill,” Kris said and ran out of the tavern pushing a few men out of her way on her way to the door.
Morgana was in the process of climbing out of her hot bath when the door to her room burst open. Her heart almost stopped beating when she saw Kris standing in the doorway. Behind her, Petr, the proprietor was trying very hard to look apologetic, but with her naked, it was difficult. He stared at her open-mouthed.
Turning to close the door, Kris pushed him back violently and slammed the door shut. They just stared at each other for a while with nobody saying anything. Morgana broke the silence; her tone was hard and cold.
“What do you want, Kris?” She stepped over to the bed and wrapped herself in a sheet. All Kris did was stare at her. “If you don’t have anything to say, then I think you should leave.”
The Viking pirate came closer and reached out her hand.
“My brother told me you were here.”
“Now you‘ve seen it for yourself. What else did you want?” The whisky colored eyes were ice cold.
“He also said that my father summoned you.”
Dropping the sheet, Morgana started dressing as if Kris wasn’t in the room. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Kris was staring at her naked body. Good, she thought, let her see what she refused to claim.
After she’d left Kris, she’d gone home to Spain , only to find that her father was still trying to marry her off to some fat rich Spanish Don. She’d only stayed long enough to visit with her mother and sister before setting sail again.
She was sailing towards Sun Paradise when she came across the Viking ship coming from the Americas . They overpowered the crew of the Nordic Star quickly and lifted the pelts and gold from the ship before sailing further to Sun Paradise. There she was trying to fish for any information on the whereabouts of The Lilac Crest when word came that a Viking clan chief was hoping to meet her. She had dallied long enough to let the man know that she was not the kind of woman who was ordered around by men. In the end her curiosity got the better of her and she had set sail for the Nordic sea.
Finally dressed, she could see that her silence was irritating Kris.
“I wasn’t summoned. I was invited.” She grabbed a bundle of clothing and walked over to where Kris stood with her trademark sexy walk. “I have an appointment and I hate to be late.” She pushed passed a stunned Kris and left the room.
It was a wonder how she could stay on her horse, after her confrontation with Morgana. She was still shaken by their meeting and soon after Morgana had left she’d returned to the tavern and joined her brother in a drinking game until her mother had send word that she was expecting them home for the evening.
Luckily Frodo knew the way home and all she had to do was try and stay upright in the saddle. Olaf was riding beside her, but he was already more than tipsy and he too was trying his best not to fall from his horse.
They were a few meters from their village, when they heard the music and laughter. Was her father throwing her a welcoming party? Excited, she smiled and kicked Frodo into a trot and swung off her horse in front of her father’s long house. The servants greeted her as she made her way to the hall from where the music was coming from. When she threw open the doors, she came to an abrupt halt, feeling an out of breath Olaf run straight into her back.
The scene that greeted her eyes was so surreal.
The hall was filled with warriors drinking and eating. Her mother and father were sitting in their highchairs at the front of the room. In the centre of the room was Morgana. She was dressed in a blood red robe, dancing robustly; snapping her fingers as she swung her arms high above her head. Her long wavy black hair was swinging with every dance step she took.
Kris was enthralled.
Her mother saw her first and gestured for her to come closer. She stumbled across the wide expanse of the room over to where her mother was, not seeing anybody else but the woman in the centre of the room dancing suggestively to a rich melody. She was almost upon her mother when the tiny dark-haired woman pushed out her hands and Kris walked right into them. Seeing the knowing look in her mother’s eyes, Kris smiled – embarrassed.
Mira stood on tiptoes to look her tall daughter in the eyes and Kris bend down so that her mother could throw her arms around her neck and place a warm kiss on her cheek. She in turn threw hers around her mother’s tiny waist and lifted her off her feet. Her icy blue eyes stared warmly in to the loving green ones of her mother.
On one of his raids to the English shore, her father found her mother, the daughter of a rich noble man at a convent. He noticed the spunk in the tiny woman and realized that convent life would have killed her spirit. Against her will he’d abducted her, but being a Christian, she had refused to accept his love and his god, Odin, unless she was married by a priest in a church in England .
To make sure he didn’t lose her nor risk an attack on his life, he’d packed 10 ships with his best warriors and went to confront her mother’s father. Thoroughly intimidated, her grandfather had reluctantly allowed the wedding to take place. With the birth of Sven, her grandfather, the Duke of Salisbury, came to the Nordic shore to be by his daughter’s side. It was only then that her father and the Duke realized that they had too much in common not to want to try and work on their relationship.
“How was your journey, love?” Her mother gently stroked her cheek before Kris placed her down gently. She glanced pass Kris and scowled. “I sent Olaf to meet you at the docks, but the fool seems to have spent his time at the tavern again.” She beckoned her son closer and Kris smiled when she saw her brother’s pained expression.
“What are we celebrating?” Her attention was once again fully focused on Morgana.
“Oh, nothing really. Your father heard of the female Spanish pirate’s exploits and out of admiration and respect for her, decided to invite her.” She reached up and pulled her daughter’s face down to her. “Do you know her?” The green eyes were serious.
Kris nodded. “I met her about a year ago in Sun Paradise.”
“What do you think of her? Your father seems to think that she is a great warrior.”
There was something in her mother’s voice which she couldn’t phantom.
“She is a great fighter I’ve heard, but I’ve never had a confrontation at sea with her.”
Mira nodded and as Olaf joined them, his blue eyes worried. Without a word Mira dragged him into her arms, being totally dwarfed by her youngest. “One day you will fall off that horse of yours and break your neck, son,” she scolded him gently, her green eyes tender as they stared into Olaf’s eyes. “Come; let’s go find you something for you to eat.” Hand in hand the two of them disappeared amongst the guests, leaving Kris there, staring at Morgana.
Kris became aware of an intense gaze on her and scanned the room. Familiar blue eyes so much like hers were staring straight at her. She grinned back at her father and laughed when he blew her a kiss. She grabbed the imaginary kiss and pressed it against her heart.
A servant came by and pressed a goblet of wine in her hand and taking a sip, she went to sit at one of the tables reserved for the chief’s family members. She leaned over and gave her older brother a quick kiss and exchanged a warm greeting.
When she looked up again, it was to find Morgana’s tawny eyes resting on her. Silently, she lifted her goblet in a salute. With a barely noticeable nod, Morgana acknowledged the salute.
Morgana was completely drained when she closed the bedroom door behind her. She’d enjoyed herself, because besides women her other big love was dancing. The only bleak spots to an otherwise wonderful evening were when she had to meet that arrogant Ragnor. Still smarting because she’d raided his ship, Ragnor was very spiteful, but the Chief quickly put him in his place.
The other was seeing Kris again. The minute she’d met the Chief, she’d known he was Kris’ father. His eyes were a dead give-away. She would know those eyes anywhere since Kris still haunted her dreams after all these months. There was a knock on her door and when she opened it, she found a servant girl holding a serving tray with wine, cheese and bread.
“The Chief wishes you a wonderful night rest, Captain.” Morgana smiled back at the woman and was shocked when the timid looking servant girl pushed into the room. Once she had deposited the tray on the bedside table, she turned and looked back at Morgana. She was a pretty little thing with dark hair and pale blue eyes , Morgana thought fleetingly.
“He insisted I see to all your other needs too,” she said with a lusty smile and started to open the buttons on her dress. Morgana just stared at the girl, dumbfounded. These Vikings are really taking hospitality to a new level , she thought before she quickly stepped forward and stilled the girl’s hands.
“Please thank the Chief for me, but for now, I would only accept the food.”
Bobbing quickly, the girl gave her a radiant smile and left the room. Perplexed by the girl’s strange behavior, Morgana shrugged and poured herself a glass of wine. If only more women were as amiable when turned down , she thought hazily.
In a darkened part of the hallway blue eyes met green ones and both twinkled mischievously. Time for Plan B. Mira yelped when her husband playfully pinched her bottom and pulled him behind her as they stealthily crept down the hallway. They found their target in the hall sipping wine.
Kris had been strangely subdued the whole night. She was tempted to follow Morgana when she’d bid everyone goodnight, but she and her father’s non-verbal truce on her sexuality still stood. They had never spoken about it again, but she knew he might not appreciate her harassing his guest. Instead she decided to see how drunk she could get before she went to bed.
She saw both her parents making their way over to where she was sitting. Her father grabbed a tankard of ale and a goblet of wine from a tray on their way to her table. Thor lifted his daughter out of her chair and into a bone-crushing hug.
“Good to see you again, Krista. You were gone longer than usual this time,” his deep voice reverberated through her. At seven foot five her father was a giant and a fierce warrior. Where others feared him, she remembered only his gentle playful side. As a child he used to teasingly pulled her pigtails and hide her toys. When her mother told him about her true sexuality she knew he was very disappointed, but his love for her in a way soften his resolve.
“It was a fruitful journey, Father. Tomorrow we will transport the cargo to the village.”
A servant girl walked by and Mira called her closer. “Astrid, do you know where Ingrid is?”
“She still hasn’t retuned from the Spanish Captain’s room. She left ages ago.”
Overhearing those words, Kris slammed her goblet down on the table and surged to her feet.
“It was an exhausting day and I’m quite tired,” she gritted the words through her clenched teeth. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” She was across the room in a flash not noticing the sly smiles that passed between her parents and Astrid.
The silence coming from Morgana’s room almost drove her crazy. Ingrid was a lusty wench and she can attest to that. Many a times she had taken the buxom wench to her bed only to be wrung dry by the angelic looking girl. But Morgana was off limits to Ingrid or anybody else for that matter.
She hammered against the door and it swung open almost immediately. Morgana had her pistol trained at her chest. Dressed in only a shift, Kris looked behind her into the room and let out an inward sigh of relief when she saw that the pirate was alone.
“Where’s the fire?” Morgana snapped sarcastically.
“May I come in? I need to talk to you.” Kris started gently. She knew it wouldn’t be easy to convince Morgana to listen to her, but she had to try. After their encounter, she couldn’t stop thinking about the woman.
“It’s rather late and I am very tired. I would suggest we talk about this tomorrow before I set sail.”
Kris felt her heart clench. “You’re leaving tomorrow?”
“Yes. I’ve stayed much longer than I have planned and need to set sail for Sun Paradise.”
“I promise not to take too long. May I come in, please?” Kris realized the importance of speaking to this woman tonight then. She needed to convince her to give her another chance at a lifetime of happiness with her.
Morgana stepped back into the room, allowing her to enter. With the door closed behind them, Morgana placed her pistol under the pillow her pistol and went to sit on the bed.
“I’m listening.” She sounded impatient. Kris quickly went to sit next to her on the bed.
“I’ve been thinking of what happened at Sun Paradise between us and I wanted to apologize. I was really stupid to let you go without trying to give us a chance. Could you find it in your heart to forgive me?’
Morgana was staring at her coolly, a sarcastic smile on her lips. “What’s this, Kris? Are you so desperate to sample my wares again that you will resort to begging?” She shook her head. “If you want to sleep with me again, you should just say so instead of trying to sweet talk me. You are great in bed and I won’t mind a quick tumble with you again.”
Kris frowned. A quick tumble and then what? She wanted something solid – like a commitment. Not a few moments of energetic coupling.
“You misunderstood me, Morgana.” She said quietly. “I want a commitment.” She saw Morgana’s eyes widen in surprise.
“Why the sudden change of heart? If I recall correctly …”
Kris interrupted her. “I know I was stupid to have said ‘no’ to you, but I have realized a lot of things while I was apart from you.”
Morgana fidgeted with her night shift. “What things?”
Kris looked at the floor for a few moments. When she looked up, her eyes held a fearful expression in them. “I love you. I found out soon after we parted ways”
Morgana laughed; an ugly cold sound.
“What happened to the many women you loved?” she asked sarcastically. “Do you expect me to believe you’ve decided to let them all go?”
When Kris was silent and just looked at her with her heart in her eyes, Morgana’s eyes widened again. They stared at each other for a while. She knew it was a do or die moment. If Morgana pushed her away, she wasn’t sure if she would survive it.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of touching another woman knowing how I felt about you. I’ve tried with Drusilla, but … I … couldn’t … she …” Snapping her mouth shut, she shook her head. “I love you, Morgana.”
Morgana got up from the bed and walked over to the window. It was a beautiful night. The Nordic night was streaked with ribbons of purple and pink hues. This was all so unexpected. Her coming here, meeting Kris’ family, Kris wanting her back and her feeling like she was tethering on the brink of a cliff.
“What do you want me to say?” Her voice sounded tired to her ears. She turned and focused her gaze on Kris.
Kris came to stand next to her. She intentionally brushed against Morgana and saw the other woman stiffen at the touch. “It is your choice, my heart. I would prefer for you to say you would give me another chance, but I want you to make the choice.” She smiled sadly. “But you should also know that I will not stop pursuing you.”
Morgana turned to look up at the blue eyes. “Do you call that having a choice?” Her golden eyes were twinkling.
Kris smiled at her. “You will leave here tomorrow and I just wanted to make sure that you know I will follow you across the oceans and until the ends of the world. You will not get rid of me so easily, woman.”
Tired of having to fight against her heart, Morgana leaned against the hard body of Kris and she felt the Viking’s heartbeat speed up almost immediately. When she looked up she saw a look of such tenderness in the blue eyes.
“If you give me another chance, I promise to never make you regret it. I will live only for you and I will make sure that everyone knows that you are the one my heart calls for – now and after death.” She heard Kris choking up and she pulled her in a gentle embrace.
“I fell in love with you the moment I saw you standing in the dining room at The Lilac Moon and I couldn’t stop loving you not even after you told me no.” She gently pulled the blonde head down for a deep kiss. “I am willing to give us another try and many more afterwards.”
Kris just stood there, humbled. She didn’t think she could love this woman anymore than she did already. Tonight she didn’t want to make love. Tonight she simply wanted to hold her woman and just talk. She had so much to learn about this beautiful, courageous woman, before they joined their spirits for eternity.
Somewhere in the longhouse, cradled in the arms of her husband, Mira smiled and stroked the strong chiseled jaw. She instinctively knew that her daughter’s life took on a deeper meaning tonight. Thor turned in her sleep and she gave him a soft kiss.
She loved him more than ever. It was his plan from the beginning. He’d told her that if he could not choose the right man for his daughter, he would choose the right woman for her. He wanted a strong and compassionate woman who would love his precious daughter for all eternity.
He’d found her. At last.
To be continued in Fire and Ice: New Beginnings