Kaylee In the Caribbean
Unbelievable. She was trembling, actually weak in the knees, all because of a man.
Or rather because she was going to see a man…
For the first time in two years…
And introduce him to his daughter…
Oh who was she kidding? He wasn’t just any man, he was Captain Jack Sparrow.
As she threw the crystal that would transport her and her daughter to his world, she was still trembling.
He was lithe and graceful in the water to an inhuman degree. Between that and the fact that he could hold his breath about twice as long as a normal human, she had long since been convinced he had selkie blood.
Then they’d had a daughter.
“She’s worse than you are,” Kaylee teased.
“Nonsense,” Jack countered. “She must get it from you.”
“And how do you figure that? My family may enjoy swimming, but the sea isn’t in our blood.”
“Oh, she may be able to stay under longer thanks to me, but it’s your side that produced those wing things she’s maneuvering with.”
Kaylee had to concede the argument. “I can’t believe I never thought of using them underwater,” she said, disbelief coloring her tone as she watched her daughter dance about under the waves much as she would one day dance through the air.
It had started with a small idea, a silly little what if. For the hell of it, she had done the research to find the necessary spells to pull it off. But she’d never intended to actually do it.
Until the perfect opportunity arose.
“You’re reputation will never be the same,” she assured Captain Sparrow as she spread her wings in the Caribbean sun and rose above the deck. She had carefully wrapped herself in the illusion of a white winged angel in gossamer white robes, and so that is what the navel vessel saw hovering over their deck.
She really got their attention when she started to sing. It was the song for calling thunder she’s learned on Samaria, with a sonorus spell to make sure it was loud enough to be heard over the cannon fire. To make the image complete, she cast silently as she sang, letting loose a bolt of lightning with the crescendo of the song, shattering the navy frigate’s topmast.
She then stood atop the Pearl’s topmast as the pirate ship sailed away from the now foundering navy vessel. No, Captain Sparrow’s reputation would never be the same.
Prompt: A fractal image
“What is that?” Jack asked.
“The dwarves that make them call them phoenix eggs,” Kaylee explained, setting the egg shaped stone in his hand.
“Someone made this?”
“They use a complex spell to grow the crystals that make the pattern.”
Jack held the stone close to his face, studying the glowing crystal pattern. “It repeats, branching again and again,” he said in awe.
“Its called a fractal, a pattern that repeats with mathematical precision down to the microscopic level. I’ve been to worlds that make them with computers. The dwarves of the underground do it with crystals.”
“It’s beautiful,” he said, his glare making it clear that the explanation went over his head but he didn’t want to discuss it further.
Kaylee grinned. “Yes, it is. The Prince of the Dwarven Mountain Kingdom gave me that with the hopes that it might become a bride price.”
Jack observed her curiously. “And what did you say to that?”
“Thank you kindly and please let me know when you have any more up for sale,” she said with a laugh.
Prompt: Liver, Character: Greek, Action: Rip
“I tell you, she’s going to rip out our livers and feast on them.”
Kaylee cocked an eyebrow when she over heard that coming from the cargo hold. She peered over the edge of the deck and identified Christos, a new sailor fresh over from Greece, talking to several other sailors she didn’t recognize.
“These creatures are dangerous. The Captain is mad to allow it access to the ship. We must stand together to drive it away or kill it immediately.”
Goodness, he had to be talking about here. Sure her entrance had been a bit dramatic and it had been a bit since she was last on the Pearl, but surely the crew hadn’t forgotten her that completely.
“Really, gentlemen, I’m not all that bad,” she called down to them, a broad grin on her lips. “I don’t care for the taste of liver at all.”
“And where did you get this?” Kaylee asked, running her fingers down the necklace Jack had clasped about her neck earlier.
“India,” he said, sniffing the rich smell of sandalwood that radiated from the carved beads as they warmed against her skin. “Thought it might suit you.”
“You’re too kind,” she said with a chuckle. “It’s not a hint of any kind? I’m not even sure that’s physically possible,” she added, referring to the contorted deities that made up the pendant.
“I need to resort to hints?” he asked, running his fingers along her bare skin.
“Not in the slightest,” she said, leaning in for a kiss.
Kaylee meets Zorro
Prompt: Blasphemy, Character: Saint, Action: Bleed
“God damn you, Zorro,” snapped the capitan from where he’d fallen, his hand clasped over his bleeding cheek.
“Really, Capitan, blasphemy before the church?” the outlaw teased as he clambered aboard Toranado.
“And you’re such a saint?” the angry soldier snarled as his opponent rode away before the rest of the garrison could pull themselves together to follow.
Kaylee resisted the urge to giggle from her position before the church doors beside the padre. Really, Diego was having too much fun with this one. But after leaving the man with a bleeding z on his cheek the next meeting would have to be more serious.
Kaylee enjoyed an afternoon full of conversation with the good padre. It had a lovely ending as well. Before she rode back to the De La Vega hacienda, she had the joy of watching Sergeant Garcia muster out the garrison for another night spent hunting Zorro.
Kaylee had to resist the urge to snicker as she made her goodbyes and clambered aboard her horse. She knew exactly where Zorro would be tonight, and it was unlikely the soldiers would see him. Unless…
“Buonas noches, Sergeant,” she called as she rode up to the troop. “I don’t suppose you are heading my way?”
Garcia’s face lit up with a grin. “Do you need an escort back to the De La Vega hacienda, Senora Escalante?”
“If it does not interfere with your duties, I would appreciate an escort.”
“We are heading that way to look for Zorro. I can’t see how the Capitan would see anything wrong with your presence.”
“Thank you, Sergeant,” she said with a smile. Well, now he would see Zorro, even if he didn’t know it.
“My pleasure, Senora,” he replied, his grin clearly showing he was hoping Diego would invite him in for a glass of wine.
Prompt: Corpse, Character: Rebel, Action: Discount
Kaylee rode pillion behind Zorro, herself wrapped in a mask and matching costume, and a stack of illusions that made them appear identical. He was going to need help tonight.
That morning, in the middle of the plaza, the garrison guards had found a corpse, his heart run through with a sword and a fresh z carved in his left cheek. It was the mark of Zorro, but he had not made it.
The man was a known bandit, but the Capitan was making a fuss as though he’d been a caballero. It was going to take a fair amount of maneuvering to identify the real killer and keep the Capitan at bay.
“Do not discount his hatred for you,” she had told him earlier as part of a painfully slow process of convincing the stubborn man that he needed help. Specifically, he needed her help. With her ability to mimic others and vanish from sight, she could keep the Capitan distracted while Zorro sought the true killer.
Now if only the plan worked.
The de la Vegas had many fine horses, but none compared to Toranado.
Riding was not her forte before, but now thanks to Diegos’s memories and his coaching she could stick to the back of any creature shy of a krayt dragon.
That was a useful trick about now. Wrapped in an illusion to look like Zorro, Toranado took advantage of her lighter weight to put on an extra burst of speed. She clung tight to his back with everything shy of magic as he took the last turn and flew over the gorge. On the other side, she reined Toranado in sharply into a rear, posing in the moonlight for the soldiers that came quickly to a stop, unable or unwilling to make the jump.
“Sergeant, please, you must join me for a glass of wine,” Kaylee called, already signaling the innkeeper for another glass.
“Senora, are you sure that’s appropriate?” the gentle sergeant bumbled even as he quickly came over to her table, his eyes glowing as they took in the vintage before her.
“Please, save me from a lonely evening,” she assured, gesturing at the seat before her.
“Well, just one glass, then I must muster the men,” he said, sitting and eagerly gulping half of the glass she poured.
“I thought things had been quiet of late on the Zorro front.”
“Oh, yes, but the Capitan wants to keep the pressure on him. But what are you doing here alone. Will you be needing an escort back to the hacienda?”
“Not tonight, I fear. Senor de la Vega and I had a bit of an argument…”
“No, Diego is in San Pedro. But Alejandro and I had some words regarding my luck playing matchmaker for his son.” Kaylee sighed. “I fear I made some disparaging remarks about Diego and so will be remaining at the inn for a time.”
“Ah, Senora, Alejandro is very fond of his son.”
She had been watching the gambling in the corner for some hours. She did not dare take part, that would ruin her reputation irreparably, even for her, but watching was acceptable and she was bored. She should have raided the de la Vega library before she vacated the premises.
However, once she caught on to his cheating she could not resist a comment.
“You are nothing but a two bit crook,” she said. Both the gambler and his crowd of caballeros turned to her, her words having fallen in a silence between bouts of cheering and laughter.
“What did you say, senorita?” the gambler asked.
One of his new friends elbowed him in the ribs and said softly, “That is Senora Escalante. She has been ‘visiting’ with the de la Vega’s for years.”
“I said you are nothing but a two bit crook,” Kaylee repeated. “A child could identify your cheating tricks.”
“And what does a greenhouse flower like yourself know about cheating?”
“Enough to catch your every trick and win against your best efforts,” she challenged. Thanks to Jack she could recognize every trick in the book, and use the rest. To hell with her reputation.
Prompt: Bondage, Character: Crook, Action: Enter
“I never took you for the sort, Senora Escalante,” Diego commented when he came into the inn early the next morning. It was quite a sight. Kaylee was standing in the center of a shrinking ring of men, their lost comrades lying at their feet. Behind her, bound and gagged was the gambler that rode into town a few nights before.
“What sort would that be, Senor de la Vega?” Kaylee asked, using the distraction of Diego’s entrance to club another man with the hilt of the sword she had stolen from someone earlier.
“Bondage and violence,” he said lightly, settling at one of the only tables that had not been overturned.
“He started it,” she said, pointing at the gambler. A quick snap kick, even through voluminous skirts, dropped the man who thought her distracted. His groans made every other man present wince.
“A glass of wine for any man still standing,” Diego called to the innkeeper peering into the room. The few remaining men scattered for the bar and Kaylee soon dropped into the seat across from Diego.
“Thanks for the rescue.”
“Do I want to know how you got into such a situation?”
Perhaps it was an odd life for a princess, a priestess, or whatever else she might be called, but her time with the jedi had taught her to appreciate a little normality, and her family had taught her to enjoy her normality somewhere other than home whenever possible. So here she was, mother of three boys, married to the local folk hero, sweeping out his horse’s stall.
“Hey there, Toranado,” she said, nudging his head over so she could reach a foul bit of straw with the broom. “I’ll get you a treat as soon as I’m done,” she promised when he countered by nosing her pockets.
“You spoil him,” Diego said from the door of the stall.
Kaylee grinned at her husband. “He deserves a bit of spoiling after what you put him through at night.”
Prompt: King Lear
“Are you mad?” Alejandro snapped at his son. “She is not even human.”
“That has not prevented you from welcoming her into our hacienda,” Diego snapped back, showing he had inherited his father’s temper. “Why should that prevent us from marrying?”
“She is not Catholic.”
“You do not throw out Lucia for retaining her pagan roots. Or is it fine only for servants?
“What will people say?”
“They will approve that we make acceptable a relationship rumored in every corner of Alta California for two years.”
Kaylee, who had been half hiding behind Diego, spoke up. “If you fear the words of the padre, do not. I spoke with him at length before accepting Diego’s proposal. We agree that perhaps this was why I was drawn here. Should we fight God’s will?”
“God’s will is a poor foundation for marriage.”
“It is more than many have, and besides, I love you son.”
Alejandro looked almost ashamed as he took in her sincere emotions. “You must bear with me: Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.”
Kaylee smiled and kissed Alejandro’s cheek. “There is nothing to forgive. And you cannot be old, for your memory is fine.”
Prompt: Key, Action: Solve
“So Kaylee will work herself into a snit about abandoning her child, yet she loves you and doesn’t want to leave before she must, but she feels guilty about loving you when to stay she must abandon her child, but to have her child she must abandon you. You need a solution to her cycle of guilt, and it just so happens I have the key.”
Diego leaned towards the pirate captain. “And what do I have to give you in exchange for this key?”
“As a proper pirate I should charge you an arm and a leg for the happiness of the woman you love,” Jack taunted. “But I know better than to get between Kaylee and someone she loves. Therefore the deal is simple. You take good care of Kaylee for as long as you can, and you raise our daughter well.”
Diego looked blankly at him, waiting for the rest of the deal, before the words percolated though his mind. “You’d lose decades from her life.”
“But she’d be raised by a good man. That’s more than you can say if I did it.”
“That’s not what Kaylee says,” Diego countered with a smile.
Character: Cup bearer
She had never had communion. Oh, she had attended service many times, and at least gave the impression of attending confession. The good padre knew her background, he had in fact been instrumental in helping the de la Vegas accept her in their household at first, so he was willing to cover for her. They’d had many wonderful conversations these last years, debating everything from religion to art. But she’d never had communion.
As the young padre approached, the cup in hand, the moment had arrived. She knew the power of a deity scorned, and if she had not interpreted this situation correctly she could be in very big trouble.
The wafer touched her tongue and the wine passed her lips, all without problem. All the same, she waited on pins and needles until they were escorted from the chapel. Once she was safely in the carriage on their way back to the hacienda for breakfast, only then could she turn to the man beside her and savor the new truths.
She was now Senora de la Vega, Diego’s chosen bride, and no deity sought to punish them.
Picture Prompt: The water glass
Kaylee swirled the glass of white wine before her, enjoying the momentary silence and letting her eyes be drawn into the vortex that formed. There were memories lurking there, memories of her own and memories of others. She did not let her barriers drop often, for when she did she could be drawn into the vortex of memories she kept behind them, hundreds of years of other people’s memories and experiences, and little of it pretty.
The door to the library slammed. Startled, Kaylee dropped the glass, only her jedi trained reflexes letting her catch it before it shattered on the hardwood floors.
“The Capitan has sentenced Pablo Gutieres to hang at dawn,” Diego cried as he rushed through the room to the secret doorway behind the bookshelf.
“Why?” she cried, following him into the secret passage and down to the cave.
“Why does he do anything? It matters not. Zorro must stop him.”
“And where did you get this?” asked Diego, having just poked through her travel chest.
“Where did I get what?” Kaylee asked, turning then laughing. “Jack picked that necklace up in India.”
“Really? Seems I can never compare.”
“Are you jealous?”
“Should I be?”
“Diego …” She sighed. “Jack’s a wild man, responsible for nothing but his crew and his ship. It’s an appealing life to someone who was wrapped in responsibility from the day I was conceived and it’s a trait missing in my family. That’s why I chose him to father Jackie. I’d love to tuck him away for the days when I can savor him, but if he let me do that he wouldn’t be himself.
“You, however, are a man who understands responsibility, to king and country, to the people of the area, to your family. You also know wildness, or you wouldn’t be wearing a mask and riding the wind. Jack’s a man to fascinate; you are a man to love.
“Can you accept that?”
“I suppose …” He grinned. “So you ever tried this?” He held up the pendant again.
“Well,” she said with a smirk, “I didn’t think it was physically possible …”
When she huddled under the bath water with her eyes closed, she could almost imagine she was back on the Pearl, bathing in the great cabin with the deck dancing below her on the waves.
Oddly enough, it was always the two people who made this place worthwhile that found her when she was in that mood. Jackie would reach in her little hands and try to tickle her mother, who for once couldn’t see the attack coming. But Diego, dear Diego, would coax her up with gentle hands and carefully remind her why she’d chosen to stay here, why she’d permitted her daughter to walk the Lady’s path to keep her close.
He was an excellent reason.
All the same, when she did retire, it would be to a place where there was room to swim underwater.
Prompt: That fractal egg
“Padre?” called little Joaquin, “What’s this?”
Diego looked over and saw his son had been digging in their room again. “And where did you get that, little man?” he asked, pulling his son into his lap.
“Madre’s dresser,” he admitted. “But what is it?”
“You know you aren’t supposed to dig through there,” Diego chastised his youngest son, once again grateful that Kaylee kept the more dangerous items in Toranado’s cave.
“Yes, Padre,” said the boy, looking unrepentant. “But what is it?”
Diego gave in. His youngest son took after his namesake far to well. “Your madre calls it a phoenix egg. She says a dwarven lord gave it to her years ago.”
“A dwarf like the ones in Madre’s stories? Or like Lucia in town?”
“Like in your madre’s stories. Now I think you’d better put that back before your madre sees it’s missing.”
“What God has joined, let no man put asunder.”
She remembered the padre’s words often now. No man had put them asunder, a miracle given his line of work. But parted they had been still, and now more partings must be had.
“Take care of your brother,” she told Alejandro, kissing his high forehead as she did when he was a boy.
“And you,” she said, turning to her youngest son, “you behave yourself.” Joaquin she rapped upside the head with her knuckles, as she had often done since he was born. No matter what she did, he insisted in taking after his name sake, a man he had never met.
Taking her daughter’s hand, her only child who might outlive her, she told her sons, “Call me if you need me,” and walked out into the desert.
She did not know if she would ever see them again, those living remnants of her of the husband she had so recently lost, but her duty here was done. Better to sunder herself from this world, and her sons, now while the loss was fresh, then wait for the Lady’s call and risk reopening the wounds.
Prompt: Silk, Character: Slave
“Jack Daw, what have you got yourself into?” Yvette asked after peering into his room upon returning home with Robyn. “Silk? My, my, at least she has good taste. Or is it a he?” she commented, stroking the silk tie that secured his bare ankle to the bed footboard, smirking at his lack of response due to the gag.
An odd squeak from the living room turned her attention from the trapped Jack to her daughter. There she found her daughter staring at a tall, voluptuous, and very naked woman.
“Come along, little songbird,” Yvette called, holding out her arms for her daughter. “I think Jack need some more alone time.”
Prompt: Liver, Character: Greek
“Hello, Mr. Portocalus,” Victor called upon entering his favorite butcher shop. “What looks good today?”
“You cooking for your lovely lady again?” asked the older Greek gentleman behind the counter.
Victor flushed a bit. “She’s not my lady,” he insisted.
“Perhaps not yet, Victor. But after a fine dinner things may change,” Mr. Prtocalus teased. “Come here and look at this fine liver. Fresh out of the cow this morning.”
Character: Loaner, Action: Hose
Zoe frowned and stopped Mal at the foot of the ramp. “Now I know you ain’t the friendliest of men, Captain, prone to running solo much of the time. We can live with that for the most part, even with the trouble it brings from time to time.”
“Only from time to time?” chimed in Wash.
“Maybe a bit more often,” she acceded. “But we can live with that. What we can’t live with is this. You ain’t setting foot on this ship smelling like you been rolling in horse dung.”
“You denying me access to my own ship,” Mal snapped at his first officer, giving the gathered members of his crew the eyeball.
“Nah,” said Kaylee. “We wouldn’t do that. But we don’t want stinkin’ the place up neither.”
“Ready, Kaylee? Jayne?” asked Zoe.
“Locked and loaded,” said Jayne, appearing from the cargo bay with a power wash hose held tight in his arms. Kaylee flipped the switch and Mal was quickly drenched in the powerful spray.
“It’s a guild matter,” Inara said flatly as she paused her communication screen.
“It’s my matter if it drags in my ship,” Mal countered from the doorway. “Now you gonna explain before the matter gets us all killed unknowing like.”
“We are going to Belphone,” said Inara with a toss of her head. “There I will take care of my guild matter while you and the others finish your thieving try and pick up a new job. There will be no impact on your crew.”
“I hope you’re right, Ambassador. If anything does happen to my crew, you are going to be in for a world of hurt.”
“Don’t go threatening me, Mal.”
“Not a threat, just a warning. We bring enough of our own trouble without yours.”
River was fond of the minds on Serenity. Smooth or jagged, they were familiar, comfortable.
Kaylee was bubbling yellows and oranges. These days they flowed on Simon’s blue and green rivers. She liked watching them dance together, but not too close. Wasn’t polite.
Zoe was sharp browns, still wrapped in Wash’s green and gold, floating on the wind. She always knew if Zoe was having a bad day. The green would fade and the brown got darker and sharper.
She missed Book’s dark blues with hidden jagged edges. He’d scared her sometimes, and she’d never understood those hidden bits. Didn’t want to. But she missed him. Jayne’s sharp, vibrant red didn’t make up for the loss.
Her favorite, though, was Mal, the Captain with his rich red and deep browns tossing between sharp, jagged edges and rolling rivers. When he was Captaining, it was so sharp, sometimes it hurt and she’d wince away. But when they were together on the bridge, him showing her how to fly Serenity, both listening to the call of the black, then he was smooth and rolling, wrapping around her like a parent’s arms, more a father than the man who conceived her ever was.