The Adventures of Morgana Ravenblack
Morgana was thrown hard against the bars of her cage, the door behind her slamming shut. She carefully turned around, well aware of how deadly this cell was compared to most prisons. After trekking through the thick jungle of the large island for several hours, their wrists bound, Flint and several other members of his crew had brought Morgana, Liliana and Richard to this abandoned military fort. All found it ominous that there were no visible signs of why the place was left empty, though none voiced their concerns.
It took Flint mere minutes to find cages that suited his purpose; one of the first rooms they explored was full of them. Flint's prisoners now found themselves in small, personal cells that clearly doubled as interrogation tools: each cage was small and cylindrical, only big enough to fit a single person. On the front half of the cage, at each intersection of the iron bars, was a long, pointed spike that, when twisted, would move either closer to or farther away from the prisoner.
Flint ordered one crew member to each of the three torture cages, and Morgana watched a brute of a man approach her. “All right, Morgana, let's make this simple for all of us,” Flint said, nodding to the man, who spun a spike in her cage slightly closer to her navel.
“What did your map say about what awaits us on this island?”
Morgana couldn't help but smirk a little, taking satisfaction in the fact that Flint, in his anger and eagerness to take her down, ended up destroying the map that told of the jewel's location and the dangers that guarded it when he assaulted her ship. Not even Liliana had seen much of it, which meant that all of its knowledge was in Morgana's head alone.
“You want to know, you're going to have to bring me with you.” The crew member interrogating her didn't even bother waiting for the order this time, and he gave the spike several twists closer, forcing Morgana to pull her stomach in and away from the rusted point.
“I'm going to bring you with me anyway, my dear. I want you to see me claim the jewel, and I want you to know that I win while you lose.”
“Is that supposed to give me incentive to tell you much of anything?”
Flint shrugged. “Perhaps not, but this might.” He nodded again, and the spike crept closer, until Morgana could pull her stomach in no farther, and still moved closer, finally coming to a stop as it just touched the inside of her belly button in her concave tummy.
“And what happens when you kill me, the only one that knows what the map says?” Morgana could hear the strain in her voice as she struggled to hold her belly in, keeping her eyes on the spike.
Flint laughed and shook his head. “Well, you've called my bluff, little raven. I hoped it wouldn't have to come to this, but I'm running out of options.” He gestured to another crew member, a rough looking woman, who moved to Liliana's cage and drilled a spike toward her shallow innie. Liliana gasped loudly while Richard yelled, “No!” Morgana spared a moment of fearful attention to her sister, and in the process let her stomach out a little, causing her navel to be lightly pricked by the tip of her own spike, and she quickly sucked it in again.
The metal spear hovered less than an inch from Liliana's belly button, and even from a distance and in the low light, Morgana could see beads of sweat appear on her sister's bare midriff. “You see, you may play the part of the uncaring pirate captain that just looks out for herself,” Flint said next to Morgana's cage, “but you and I both know that's not entirely true, is it? You know as well as I do that you wouldn't let anything bad really happen to your crew, especially not your dear baby sister.” At these words, the spike drifted closer to Liliana's concave belly and slowly pressed into her shallow navel, and she began to moan in pain as it threatened to pierce her skin.
“STOP!” Morgana yelled, momentarily silencing Richard's cries of anger. The spike stopped, but it did not retract from her sister's belly button. “Let them both go and I'll tell you what you want.”
Flint smiled smugly. “It's a start, but you can't expect me to remove my only bargainingship this early in the game, Morgana.”
Morgana opened her mouth to say something foul, but she was cut off by a soft, wailing sound that echoed through the fort. It was not a sorrowful or painful sound, but an ethereal note of beauty. It gradually grew in volume, and it took several moments for Morgana to realize that it was, indeed, a woman's voice, singing.
Looking around, it seemed that all of Flint's crew, save for the woman at Liliana's cage, were in a sort of trance. “Have you ever heard anything so beautiful in your life?” one man said, and Flint himself shook his head, dazed. Even Richard seemed to be affected by the mysterious song.
“Hey, where the hell are all you goin'? Captain!” the woman yelled as Flint as the rest of his crew filed out of the room and down the hall. She started to follow them, but Morgana's voice stopped her in her tracks.
“Hey! I know what's going on, and I can help, let us out of these cages.” The woman hesitated for a moment, weighing her options. “If you don't hurry up and let us out, they could all be dead soon and the jewel will be lost. Is now really the time to hold on to petty grudges.” Flint's pirate conceded, though she looked thoroughly unhappy about it. She swung open Morgana's cage, followed by Liliana's. Morgana rushed to her sister as Richard was set free, checking her navel for damage.
“All right, Ravenblack, what the hell is going on?” the woman demanded, even as Richard started shuffling after Flint's crew.
“Mermaids. Follow him.”
The three women followed Richard for over an hour through the jungle toward the center of the island, Liliana's expression darkening with each minute, clearly upset at Richard for falling under the mermaids' spell. By mid-afternoon, they had caught up with Flint and the rest of his men, standing at the edge of a large lagoon. They all simply stood on the shore, swaying slightly but otherwise unmoving. The deep blue water of the lagoon was still and undisturbed, showing no signs of any mermaids, and the song suddenly faded into silence.
Everything was quiet for several minutes, even the birds in the trees stopped squawking and chirping. Then the sound of tiny splashes could be heard, and a fair-haired young woman emerged from the water a few feet from the crew. Soon, several other almost inhumanly gorgeous women surfaced, the last of which was the only one with fiery red hair.
The men were clearly enraptured by the sight of so many beautiful women. The song once again began to fill the air, and Richard was the first one to make a move. He slowly began to wade out into the lagoon toward the blonde mermaid that first appeared, and was almost waist deep in the water when she reached out her hand to him.
The other men started to follow him into the pool, but Liliana suddenly grabbed Flint's woman's sword from its scabbard and ran through the crowd, yelling, “Not on my watch!” Just as Richard reached out to take the mermaid's hand, Liliana grabbed hold of him with one hand and slashed at the mermaid with the sword, pulling him back.
The women in the water very suddenly changed then, their serene, lustful expressions replaced with murderous glares, their perfect teeth growing into razor sharp fangs. Their song died then, and the men were abruptly pulled from their trance. Before any could realize what had happened, several of Flint's crew were dragged into the deep and did not surface.
“Son of a bitch, get out of the water! Get back on land!” Flint started screaming, even as more of his crew were taken by the monstrosities. Through the chaos, Morgana saw the red-headed mermaid climb atop a large rock, a spear made of coral gripped in one hand, and saw something glint in the sunlight at the center of her stomach.
The jewel! Just as the map said, this mermaid must be their queen or leader, and the jewel that would grant its owner limitless wealth was nestled inside her navel. All Morgana had to do was manage to get the thing on land, where it would lose its advantage, and the treasure would be hers!
She retrieved a sword the floated nearby, its owner no doubt pulled to the depths, and made her way through Flint's retreating forces, avoiding and slashing aside any pirate or mermaid that tried to stop her. She had almost reached the mermaid leader when a muscular arm wrapped around her bare waist and threw her into the water. For a moment, Morgana thought she had been ambushed by one of the mermaids, but turned to find Flint trying to keep her down.
“No, Morgana! Not again, you will not escape me a second time!” He grabbed her head and forced it underwater, and just as she was beginning to think he'd successfully drown her, the pressure was suddenly lifted and a splash sounded next to her. Liliana and thrown her full weight at Flint and was now wrestling with him.
“Go!” she shouted, sucking her stomach away from Flint's slashing dagger. “Go after the jewel!” Giving Flint a swift kick in the ribs, Morgana retrieved her weapon and leaped over them, diving at the mermaid's queen.
She quickly realized that she probably should have thought through her strategy more, as the mermaid swung her spear like a club, batting Morgana away and into the water. Before she could swim back to the surface, the queen dove in after her, taking her deeper into the dark waters. Morgana managed to retain a death grip on her sword, shoving the mermaid off of her and treading water as the two faced off.
Morgana did not like her chances. She had a very limited supply of breath and could not move quickly underwater, neither of which was a disadvantage this mermaid had. Still, she managed to dodge the queen's thrust with the spear by pulling her stomach in, and grabbed the weapon's shaft with her free hand, pulling the mermaid closer and kicking her boot into its face. It was just enough of a distraction to give Morgana a chance to head for the surface.
She took a deep breath as she returned to the battle above, and quickly headed for the shore. By now, almost all of Flint's crew had fallen to the mermaids, though a lucky few remained alive.
Richard and Flint were engaged in a sword duel while Liliana managed to fend off several mermaids from her perch on a rock above the water. The queen suddenly breached the lagoon and flung herself at Morgana, who caught the creature and managed to roll them both onto the beach. The mermaid dropped her spear in the process, her fish tail trashing around in the sand. She slashed her claws at Morgana's exposed, soft belly, forcing her to suck it in once again. Over the queen's shoulder, Morgana caught the sight of Richard slamming his fist into the scarred section of Flint's face, causing the latter to scream in pain and fall into the lagoon.
“Richard!” she called, and he immediately leaped onto the mermaid queen's back, one arm around her neck, and attempting to pull her off of his captain. She was incredibly strong, but he managed to lift her enough for Morgana to roll out from under her and drive a knee into her unprepared midsection. Richard fell onto the sand, then grabbed the queen's wrists and held them down while Morgana pinned the tail with her legs.
“You'll have to kill me for this jewel, pirate bitch, and none have ever succeeded in the centuries I've guarded it!” the creature hissed. Morgana nodded and raised her sword for the killing blow, but suddenly stopped, and idea creeping into her mind.
“Captain, what are you doing?” Richard asked, but Morgana ignored him. She dropped her weapon and began to reach for the jewel, making the mermaid pull her own stomach in and making it extremely concave. Morgana's fingers hovered a mere inch above her jeweled belly button.
“How about a trade instead?”
The mermaid narrowed her eyes. “A trade? No one's ever offered that before... What kind of trade?”
Before Morgana answered, a harsh, ragged voice yelled out her name. All three turned to see Flint, beaten and bloodied, holding a disarmed Liliana with one hand, the other pressing the point of a dagger into her navel. “You take that jewel and toss it to me, if you don't want your baby sister gutted!”
Morgana looked back at her captive. “Him, and the rest of his crew. They're holding my crew prisoner just offshore of the island, there's plenty for you and your mermaids to feast on. You allow me to take this jewel, and leave me and my crew alive, and you can have Flint and his lot.”
The mermaid queen considered this for a moment, looking at Flint with lustful, emerald eyes, then looking down at Morgana's hand just above her concave stomach before meeting her eyes.
Morgana dug her fingers into the sides of the large, blood red gemstone, causing the mermaid's belly to twitch slightly, and pried it out from her deep navel. “Wait, what?” The words had barely left Flint's lips when Liliana threw her head back, slamming her skull into his nose and making him let go. She ran for the beach as he stumbled back, and Morgana and Richard let the queen go. A dozen angry, hungry mermaids burst from the lagoon, taking hold of a protesting Flint and pulling him into the darkness below, their queen taking her coral spear and diving in after him.
The three survivors collapsed on the sand, breathless but victorious. Richard and Liliana share a moment of triumphant love as they embrace each other passionately. Richard stroking her exposed waist as he kisses her. The make it back to the ship and all is well
“Well? We have it. Should we see if it works?” says Liliana
Morgana flashed her sister a wide grin and got to her feet. Holding the jewel with both hands, taking a deep breath, she slowly wedged it into her deep belly button, where it fit perfectly. It gleamed bright red for a short moment, sparkling in the center of her perfect belly.
“Did it work?” Liliana asked.
“I don’t know.” Said Morgana . Suddenly the jewel began to shine brightly from the inside, an almost blinding shine, then a streak of pure light shot out from the jewel in her navel and pointed to somewhere on the horizon. Morgana is stunned as is everyone else, then she grins as she begins to climb the main mast, up to the crow’s nest. Once she reaches it she stands atop, her perfect belly out and the jewel shooting out a streak of light toward the horizon. The light reaches it’s destination and then another beam of light can be seen shooting up to the sky. It’s a way point. A way point to riches. Morgana’s eyes widen and she looks down at her sister.
“Liliana set a course for that light on the horizon” Liliana springs into action also smiling. She reaches the helm as her monkey climbs up on to her waist and gives her navel a little tickle, she sucks in and giggles.
“You heard the Captain. Let’s set sail you worthless Sea Dogs” Richard gives her a quick kiss and a navel poke and rushes to his station. The crew springs into action.
Morgana looks down at the jewel in her navel and smiles and sighs.
In the years to come, Morgana and her crew managed to find great amounts of treasure wherever they went, no matter what.