Please note I've changed Kira's name to Aviva. I will go back and fix it in earlier chapters. I know that this is short, but I hadn't updated in so long, that I just wanted to get something up for this story. jlr

The wind was whipping the pages as I reached up to grab a strand of my hair. It was a new book, Ingrid, a present from Blueth. To my surprise, it was quite good, and I had been reading it all morning.

"My Lady, you should come in for lunch."

I sighed, not wanting to be parted from my book.

"One more chapter Alyssia, then I'll go." Alyssia had been following me around of late, on Jerome's orders, I was sure. She didn't really bother me unless she thought I wasn't taking care of myself.

"You said that two chapters ago, my Lady," she admonished. "Besides, the sailors will get jealous if they know you missed lunch over Blueth's present and not over any of theirs."

I sighed and closed the book. She was right. I had gotten a present not only from Blueth, but from every pirate and servant on the island. I had been informed in no uncertain terms that the presents were not to be shared with Jerome, that they were strictly my own. There was a room in the house to keep all the presents, and it was a veritable library, people had given me everything from maps to encyclopedias to works of fiction. There was a dresser in the room dedicated to the less common presents, including Jewelry and clothing.

Jerome had filled my own wardrobe with beautiful gowns, but the pirates' wives had made me sets of breeches and tunics. These were not men's clothes, by any means, they were embroidered and light and of the softest fabric I ever felt. They even made me kid skin shoes, two pairs, so I would not go wandering barefooted.

Alyssia helped me to my feet. While my foot no longer pained me, I was treated as though it did. Jerome – my new husband – was careful to make sure I was safe. I wasn't sure if I should think it is endearing or be annoyed with him. I was leaning towards annoyed.

We walked back to the house in silence, Alyssia walked half a step behind me, but close enough that I couldn't say anything. I wasn't sure why she fell into the role of my servant so easily, but I didn't like it very much. I wanted Alyssia to be my friend, not my maid.

"Will I be able to eat the Lunch?"

"Only if you ask for something that you'll eat," Alyssia replied patiently. We did have this conversation every day, after all.

"Stubborn man," I grumbled. He made me ask the servants to make something for me that wasn't meat at every meal. It was either that or eat the damned meat he was offering me. He knew how much I hated a scene and hoped it would eventually break me down. He had no idea why I wouldn't eat meat, so he was never going to win this battle. Still, it was annoying.

"There you are," the master of the Island itself had decided to grace us with his presence, probably because I was late to lunch again. "Reading, again?"

"Yes," I said shortly.

"Come on," he tugged my hand, "we are having a picnic with the children." It was either follow, or be dragged. I shot Alyssia an apologetic look, but she waved me off, smiling. That was another issue, the crew members, and even the rest of the Island, thought that we were the sweetest couple.

"Can you slow down a little? You are hurting my arm." Jerome immediately slowed, though he still pulled me along at a steady rate. "If I am going to have to ask for the servants to send back for food I can eat, maybe we should just skip that step and have me do it now."

"There will be food for you Aviva. I am not trying to starve you."

"Food I will eat?" That might have been a little excessive, but I really hated causing a scene. Besides, his motives were so unclear that I reasonably felt I could suspect him of anything.

I stunted that line of thinking, hadn't Pesh told me not to be afraid? I had to believe the man I had known since childhood, to trust him. If only because I needed to trust someone.

"Yes, food you will eat."

See, trust Pesh, even if you can't trust the Captain.

"Thank you."

"Momma!" Layla's small body catapulted into my legs so forcefully, I would have fallen, if Jerome hadn't been holding me. As it was, I laughed, and shook my hand free of him and reached down to pick her up.

"I'm sorry, my Lady, my Lord," Elanu rushed over, tugging Robert by the hand. "She had been waiting to see you all morning, and she ran off before I knew what was happening."

"No worries," I settled Layla so her weight was largely on my right hip. She nodded happily and gave me as much of a hug as her tiny arms could manage. If there were any unmixed blessings, they were the children.

It was almost no surprise that just as Robert started greeting his father that I got a feeling.

Quickly, I put down Layla, and took a deep breath.

"Momma?" Layla looked up at me curiously. "What's wrong, Momma?"

But I was paralyzed, panicked and floundering.

"Aviva!" Jerome stood in front of me, holding my face in his hands. "What's wrong?"

"The children –" I wasn't even able to say it. "Get the children back to the house." He stood there, waiting. "Now."

"Shhh," Jerome said. Not moving. "What is the danger? What are you worried about? Where is it coming from?"

"The town – the children need to get away from us. They need to be safe." I was poison, everything around me died. But I wouldn't let these children be among those multitudes.

"They'll be fine. They'll come with us as we go to safety. The danger is coming from the town?"

"Yes," If he wasn't supporting me, I would have fallen down and curled up. It was so terrible.

"Okay, Elanu is going to go back to the house and tell some people where we are going. I need you to get Laylers and Ray to that boat over there," he pointed to a sailboat not far away. "I'm going to go ahead and pack up the food. I'll meet you there. Okay?"

I nodded.

"Stay with Momma," he told his children. "We decided to have our picnic on a boat!" The children went wild for that. Jerome signaled that Elanu should go back to the house. I was distracted then by Robert tugging on my clothes.

"Can we go to the boat, Momma?"

"Oh yes, Ray – ray, we can." I scooped Layla up and took Robert's hand as we made our way over to the boat. The adrenaline pumping through me made even the fast pace that Robert set seem like a snail had commissioned our walk.

When we finally reached the boat, Jerome had already packed the picnic food away and was setting up the sail. It was not such a small boat, and because of its size, he had to prepare both the mainsail and the jib. I helped the children into the boat and quickly followed them in. The feeling of danger had not gotten worse since the first shock, but it had not abated either. I moved to help Jerome with the jib sail so we could cast off more quickly.

Jerome paid me no more attention than to shoot me a quick smile. It should have been reassuring, but I drew no comfort from it. Finally, we were ready to cast off, and I sat down with relief. When we were twenty feet out to sea, the panic started to recede, and I knew that the worst of the danger had passed.

"I'm hungry, Momma." Layla crawled up on my lap. I smiled wearily down at her.

"Are you now? I think that we can remedy that."

I started pulling out lunch foods for her from the basket Jerome had dropped on the floor of the boat. My hands shook as I got a sandwiches out for Layla and Robert. Robert grabbed his from me before I could even unwrap it, old enough to do the honors himself. Layla waited until I handed her half of the neatly cut sandwich before she started eating happily. When she was set with her food, I gently moved her off my lap and onto the bench next to her brother.

Still shaking, I reached back into the basket and got another sandwich for Jerome. Moving carefully, I brought the food over to him. He took half of it, absently, and ate as he manipulated the boat. The tiller was lashed, so I figured that we had a known destination, but I was afraid to distract him by asking what it was. Instead, I made my way back to the children and gave them something to drink, before returning to Jerome with the other half of his sandwich.

To my surprise, the children, who normally behaved like balls of energy, sat quietly on the bench even once they were finished. I asked Robert what was wrong.

"Nothing," he replied happily. "Papa says that if we want to come on the boat we have to be good."

I should have known. It was the best way to get fisherman's children to behave, why wouldn't it work for these children.

"Are we still in danger?" Jerome's sudden presence at my side surprised me. I shook my head, not really trusting my voice. It was several moments before I was able to collect myself.

"Not anymore." He nodded understanding, his blue eyes unreadable.

"That's good news." He wasn't paying attention to his words, though, all of his attention was on me. I looked away.

"Where are we going?"

"There is an island not too far from here, we'll meet the ship there."

"Okay," I replied, still shaking.

"Aviva, please, you said yourself we are out of danger." I winced at his harsh words.

"I know, I know, I'm just shaken. I did not want Layla or Robert to be hurt." I was lying, and he knew it, but he just nodded.

"Well, I'm going to send them back with one of the crew when we get to the Island; I just wanted Elanu to be able to get help as quickly as possible."

"It would be nice for the crew member to get a few weeks off, until you visit home again." He nodded back, not really listening to my words. He was still watching me, half harshly, and I wasn't sure why.

I watched the children to avoid his gaze and seeing them talking quietly I thought of my sister. Since Pesh had mentioned her, I often thought about her and why he had told me to think of her.

The only puzzling thing about my sister was that Mama had let her give up her nobility while making me keep my own. Why had she done that? Why was my mother so intent on keeping her noble lineage alive in me? That couldn't be what Pesh meant, when he said it, though, he hadn't known that Sari had given up her nobility. He couldn't have known my mother was noble. My parents had kept that from the villagers.

Still shaky from the feeling of impending doom, I realized that Sari hadn't ever gotten a similar feeling. This was something I had to deal with alone. That panicky and intense drive to keep myself from danger had forced me to save my life against my will and stopped any budding thoughts of suicide.

Had father realized that? Had he understood that no matter what he did to me, I would stay in his trap? It occurred to me that the reason he had never attacked Sari was that she hadn't had these feelings. If she had gotten desperate she would have killed herself. I saw that clearly now. She had always been audacious and impulsive, she would have gotten away from him, one way or another.

"Aviva," Jerome kneeled in front of me, holding my arms to stop my shaking. "Calm down. The danger has passed, everything is going to be alright. You're scaring Layla." I tried to shrug free of him, but he held firmly.

"Let me go," I hissed, irrational panic rising.

"This always happens," Jerome said quietly. He let go of me and took the seat on my left. "After one of your warnings you stay just as wound up as before. No. You get even more jittery. Panicky. You need to relax. Go sit with the children. I'm going to dock the boat."

I followed his instructions, realizing that I had worked myself up. Layla crawled onto my lap again as Jerome brought us up to his ship. This time, two of the men came down the ladder, and took control of the boat. I vaguely remember saying goodbye to Layla and Robert or climbing up the ladder into the ship. But after that, everything is blank.