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    Escape and Connection

    It reminded her of a time long ago when she and Shane used grappling hooks to scale the wall of a rival castle, less than ten men climbing up and over the stone, their sounds muffled by almost torrential rain, the drawbridge raised before anyone even knew they were there. No blood was shed that night, the castle rich with treasure, funding her exploits for the rest of the year.

    It was an exploit to sing about and it made her famous, the story legendary. Some stories told of her doing the deed herself with only a dagger between her teeth. Alone. But she knew better. She had Shane.

    They chose their night carefully, waiting for a moonless night, a storm brewing, clouds heavy in the sky. A night just… Oh Fuck. Just like tonight… just like fucking tonight.

    Fuck. Me. Dry.

    Fighting to calm her racing heart, she steeled herself to wait, watch, formulate a plan. The clouds were low, too low to tell if the warning fire in the watch tower on the other end of the island was ablaze, a signal that would indicate an attack or a docked ship that looked out of place. Wait… wait… wait for it she cautioned herself, while inside her gut was churning.

    There.

    She was rewarded, the clouds moving in the wind just a fraction, moving achingly slowly as she waited for a better view. There it was… a flicker of orange, then it was gone. Something was indeed amiss… that there were no bells ringing told her this was a cunning foe, a snake slithering in the grass, a rat, a spider.

    Her hand on Tina’s cheek was warm, pausing, gentle, before moving slowly down to caress the blonde’s throat, her fingers now laying across a bare chest. God, Tina was beautiful. Regretting that it was time to end the sweet dreams of her Beloved, Bette sighed.

    When would the fighting end? Would it ever end? Would she ever be free of her pursuers?

    Bending down to breathe in Tina’s sleepy, cuddly scent, her entire world here under her nose, her hand, her lips… Bette took just a small moment, a deep breath, a sigh.

    Whispering quietly in Tina’s ear…. Wake up, wake up my Love, Tina, wake up. Honey….Gradually hazel eyes opened, foggy with sleep, meeting chocolate, trying to make sense of a fully dressed Bette, her hair tied back, the pommel of her sword showing from where it was strapped to her back. Lean and black was her Captain, and tonight fierce as well.

    Comments

    1. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Have to grab my hot tea. Settle in and…. Oh boy. I’m not even skipping to the last page. And I’m missing NCIS reruns. But….oh boy!!

    2. I was hoping for a Tibette story tonight and how awesome that it was one of yours. Definitely action packed. It will be interesting to see what choices they make for their future and family.

    3. It is no surprise to me that Tina is not ready to continue this life of fighting and danger. Bette escapes death once again… but not without the chain mail. I hope that these two heal quickly and that they get to their stronghold. I hope they do not find any more attackers on the high seas. They have children now… time to hide away and raise their family.

      A lot of high drama in this chapter. I’m not sure that Andrew Bates has it in him to resume the revenge for his family name. But, foolishness seems to run in the Bates family….Thanks for the chapter… love to see where this goes…

      Look forward to another chapter…

      • I hope they heal quickly too. Andrew Bates does seem to be the less adventurous of the three Bates boys but he also has the King’s support and, like you said, foolishness runs high in his family. Thank you for your comment.

    4. “All her life Tina Kennard pursued one thing. Healing. Had she been alive today she would have been a renowned surgeon, on the cutting edge of new techniques and medicine. Putting people back together, stopping sickness where she could, treating symptoms where she was able was a calling bordering on obsession. In her younger years, even the broken wing of a sparrow would send her into tears.” But…

      Life is also comprised of moments. Little moments. Big moments. Moments that test our love. Our commitment. Our courage. Will we step up if and when we have to? What are we prepared to you when our time comes? I’m sure each of us has asked ourselves these questions and more. Bette has lived this life. Over time her trusted crew, her friends, her family have learned to do the same. And now? Sadly so has Tina. Trial by fire. Yes, Tina has been through a lot since the Bates clan entered her life. And yes, Tina now has responsibilities that necessitate extreme measures. The result? “Baby? You had to kill him, Tee. I’m sorry I couldn’t get there in time, but you had to kill him. You know that, right? You. Had. No. Choice. You saved Gracie. You saved us all.”

      And Tina did. She saved them all. And in her way so did Kit. Yet another unsung hero. Doing what needed to be done. Without question. And James. And Dana. And Alice. And Tasha. And Shane. All doing what needed to be done. Following the plan. The plan? Save the children. Tina did her job did what had to be done in the moment and now she is somewhat broken, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry Bette. You never would have injured your hand, broken your ribs, bruised your shoulder… and now… these new wounds… it’s all because of me. Don’t you see? Eric… Andrew… now William and soon the King himself. All because of me…” Tina is in shock. She saved Gracie’s life. Hopefully, with time and seeing Gracie and the other children thrive, she will find some acceptance of her action. She has Bette’s love and support and that is beyond enough. And she has the children. Their children. Their family. She is still The Healer. She will always be The Healer.

      And Bette? Bette never wanted this for Tina. Tried to get back before Tina had to act. And is now helpless to know what to do. Tend to Tina’s shoulder as carefully as she can. Reassuring her of her love. Her devotion. “My Love, Tee. Honey. Please don’t think that way. These are… are… minor inconveniences… nothing I have is worth a second of my time with you. Not my ships… not my wealth… not my lands…Baby, none of it means anything without you…”

      We know Bette means every word. We know Tina and the children are her world. And we know that Bette unlike Tina knows the reality that is life in this world. “See the dagger in the night before it is unsheathed, watch the shadows, listen for the whispers.” But Bette also wants a different life. Craves a different life. “Wait until we get to the stronghold. Wait until then. Wait for healing, for strength, for clarity. Then I will do whatever you want… throw my sword in the ocean, ride off in the sunset… anything. As long as we do whatever together.” That Bette had to helplessly witness Tina’s action can only make Bette want this even more: “No, Tina…no…” she whispered, a shadow on the wall telling Bette that Tina had her dagger in hand, knowing there was nothing she could do, that Tina was about to risk everything to save Gracie. That her girlfriend was about to do something that went against everything the blonde believed in, everything she honored.” And now all Bette craves is to keep her loved ones safe and healthy and out of harms way. Heavy lies the crown.

      I could write on and on and on. Your writing seems to flow so effortlessly. Seamlessly. I admire that so very much. Not an easy task. A long chapter but action packed and ends too quickly. Your use of cross cutting to heighten the suspense during their escape works beautifully. I love that Red Rascal still had to answer for Jodi. “Make no mistake, you devious little snake. You are now under the control of my crew. Your destination over the next year is for me to dictate and your ship will sail only where and when I say. This is Captain Henley …” she motioned for Jonathon to step forward. “You will obey his command or I will hunt you down like the red rat that you are. In exchange for your cooperation, you will reap the rewards of any plunder that your ship acquires and you will get the repairs this vessel needs. I can’t have your ship look beat up under my command.” There are rules. As always, Bette can afford to show no weakness.

      My favorite part of this chapter? The chain mail of course. Such symbolism. Almost a preordained gift from Tina to engulf and protect Bette from harm when she could not be present. And protect it did. “Come here. Taking the few steps that separated them, Bette gently moved blonde hair away from Tina’s eyes, the top of the blonde’s head even with her ribcage. With her good arm, Tina reached to carefully touch each bruise on Bette’s stomach and torso with her fingers, tracing the outlines then examining the cuts on her leg, her hip, her arms, the blood smeared on her inner thigh. Each one of these bruises … Bette. You would have been killed without the chain mail. It wasn’t a question and Bette knew Tina spoke the truth, that no answer was needed or expected. Each blow would have been deadly, their rescue hard fought, and they both paid a heavy price. The bruises were raised, red knots, edged with black and purple, her hip bleeding again. Tina looked at them all. There was nowhere for Bette to hide, every scrape, scratch and bug bite noticed. This one… she said, covering the one Bette acquired from the man in the hallway in front of the library, this one would have reached your intestines…gutted you… you would have bled to death. It would have taken a long time but you would have died just the same. And this one… would have reached your heart… your giant lion heart…” How you manage to describe life threatening, life ending injuries in such a lyrical manner is astonishing to me.

      Oh, see additional comment. Bette riding onto the ship using her last ounce of strength to reach her Tina? I can visualize this happening. Bravo!!!

      This is a magnificent chapter. Even without any sex. Just kidding.

        • I read the scene of Bette riding her horse on to the ship four times. The culmination of her quest to see Tina. I love this story!

          “Only the burning desire to see Tina kept Bette on her horse as she fought dizziness and pain to stay upright. Seeing the ship gave her a burst of adrenaline but she was too tired to dismount, urging her horse to take the gangplank, the hooves landing hard as it jumped over the rail, the creaking of the ship scaring the proud beast as it pranced on the wet deck, hooves high.”

          Yes!!!!!!!

      • Hmmmmm, NO sex U say this chapter??? The chain mail definitely has intimate overtures as far as I’m concerned.
        1. Apparently, Bette agreed to the protection without resistance
        2. The unseen protection was well-fitted just for The Captain
        3. Bette received challenges to the strength of the chain mail in the form of bruises but no penetration

        I cant even form a thought of what would have happened to this sweet family had they seen their fearless warrior killed right b4 their eyes.

      • Billy
        YES YES a thousand yeses to every word in your delicious comment. I loved this part –
        “Life is also comprised of moments. Little moments. Big moments. Moments that test our love. Our commitment. Our courage. Will we step up if and when we have to? What are we prepared to you when our time comes? I’m sure each of us has asked ourselves these questions and more. Bette has lived this life. Over time her trusted crew, her friends, her family have learned to do the same. And now? Sadly so has Tina. Trial by fire. Yes, Tina has been through a lot since the Bates clan entered her life. And yes, Tina now has responsibilities that necessitate extreme measures.”

        I love the trial by fire comment. It was coming, we all saw it. Like a train barreling down the tracks, the moment (life is comprised of moments) she strapped that knife to her hip it was a fore gone conclusion.
        As you point out, this was a group effort – without Alice and Tasha to prepare the ships there would have been no rescue at sea, without Kit (imagine the courage that took!) the Bates brothers would have overrun the castle, without Shane and Carmen to help the group escape and James in the tunnels… all would have been lost. And Tina… without her resourcefulness, her need to protect and, yes, heal there would have been no chain mail. For which Bette would have paid a the ultimate price.
        Heavy lies the crown indeed.
        The chain mail is SO symbolic of so much that has transpired between them with so much more to come. What a pivotal role that idea played in the overall arc of the story.
        The sex is coming. Just you wait. You might want to skip ahead to the end for that next time. LOL
        Thank you. For all the moments you have written beautiful, insightful, detailed comments on this story and on the the other ones I write. I look forward to your thoughts each time.

    5. Hey BK,

      I’ve been looking forward to this update with dread and trembling because we knew this could be a life and death battle. And it was also a battle of life and death and how I feel for Tina, a healer to the bone, a healer who had to kill someone to save Gracie and now feels the emotional burden of that. Bette had prepared her for this but how can you prepare emotionally for taking a life, you can’t, time will heal all wounds and she has Bette’s absolute love and dedication to handle this.

      And Bette, oh my god, if Tina hadn’t made the chain mail this would have been Bette’s last fight, a fight to save her family. Luckily she survived and I’m glad she was able to go go her family thanks to her faithful four-legged friend, her beautiful horse.

      All her friends knew what to do to reach the ship safely, prepared a plan down to the last detail and despite setbacks they made it to safety.

      Kit, what an amazing woman, how she could give Bette more time to escape. Applause for her.

      Are we finally rid of the Bates family or is Andrew stupid enough to try again? But then again, the king can also throw a spanner in the works by chasing after Bette.

      Tina is done with it and also feels guilty that it is because of her that Bette has suffered so much physically since Bette met her on that ship. Bette doesn’t see it that way, for her, Tina is the woman for life and worth everything, including leaving this violent life behind. Ready to live a peaceful life with her family.

      I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the great stories you write for us. Thank you!!!!

    6. Gosh what an intense chapter with the enemy attacking and the family escaping. Whoooo Doggie!!! But I’m feeling so sorry for Tina. That she HAD to kill the ghastly, ghoulish Bates else bye,bye LiL Gracie for sure but also probably the rest of the children b4 Bette could have sliced him up.

      Tina will really have to work thru that trauma and any that arises if the children start to have nightmares and lots of questions. Just hope she turns to Bette to help her and not try to swallow the guilt and angst that will arise.

      Here’s hoping the family and crew get an extended time to heal and recover when they reach their new home.

      Three cheers to Kit for being the regal princess that stalled the dastardly vermin just long enough. Too bad the escape door in the library didn’t/couldn’t close completely to obscure the escape tunnel.

    7. A FANTASTIC chapter! It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I felt like I was part of the action, not like I was just reading it. I love your writing style, I could so clearly visualize the action and the characters. The chapter was both exciting and emotional for me. Bravo, BK.
      A few of my favorite moments – “A born singer, her voice boomed, echoing from wall to wall given the high ceilings.” Kit fucking Porter

      “Peter stood, shaky, looking so tiny in the midst of the large horses but he faced the castle just the same, faced the men chasing them. Without so much as a lost beat, he drew his wooden sword and held it in both hands, ready to defend the others” In all of Peter’s moments you can see it. LOVE Peter.

      Tina, the Healer. Loved reading how she would be a renowned surgeon today. But Tina did what she had to do to save them. Now she will need to come to terms with doing what was needed, though it went against all she believed.

      Bette. She was heroic in every way. Her best line – “But I will take you with me…” she promised, if this is where it all ended, at least her family was free.” Breathtaking.

      And the special Bette & Tina moments – “Bette cleared Tina’s hair away from her forehead, gentle as she smiled. She spared a long moment to just look at Tina, to touch her. The kiss she gave was tender, soft, intimate then more urgent, needy. It would stay with both of them over the long days to come, fortifying them, anchoring them”

      “An intimate bathing of love that neither had ever experienced before, a patience, a desire to understand, to soothe. To connect.” And – “and in this position they both felt the comfort that sleeping next to the one person they loved more than anyone else.”

      Great action, but an even greater love story.

      • WESTY west
        A fantastic comment! Kit fucking Porter – she showed up BIG didn’t she? Quiet the whole story then wham – not in my house, no sir, not today – she got it DONE.
        I love little Peter too. A heart of steel and ice in his little veins. He would have taken on the world for his family!
        And this parting line from your comment got me in all the feels for it sums up this story in eight words –

        Great action, but an even greater love story.

        Just wow. Thank you!

    8. Oh! Wow!
      Ditto, ditto, ditto to all the above Comments!
      38 pages of sheer bliss,
      I had to remind myself to breathe.
      I absolutely loved it !
      Thank you so much for this great story generally and for this Chapter in particular.
      Looking forward to more
      SG

    9. BK…what a world you have created here! I know you said this was action packed and, boy, was it ever! but you never lose sight of the love story that is the thread that holds bette & tina together. the love that drives them to action…doing things they never thought they could do but had to for this love they have created (that includes this little family). I cheered when it was tina that took out william…but then realized in doing that, tina lost a piece of herself and I hope she finds peace in her decision. it was necessary. I also loved bette taking care of tina…not really knowing what to do but getting it done as best she could. I am at the edge of my seat at what is to come. this stronghold? another part of this amazing world I cannot wait to check out through your incredibly creative writing.

      I cannot wait for the next chapter! I say this like Inigo from “The Princess Bride”….”I do not suppose you could a speed things up?” (kidding…I know greatness…like the love story of bette & tina…takes time).

      thank you for this story! you don’t know how much I look forward to it.
      x
      BnTHoSF

      • BnTStirFry – thank you! Love your line about the thread that holds them together, it is stretched thin in this chapter fo sho! Tina has lost a piece of herself, the reality of the world they live in has arrived with a bang. Also your quote from Inigo – one of my favorites! Honestly, I got stuck this chapter. So many moving parts, and needed help from a friend to sort it all out. But the next chapter should be smooth sailing – who am I kidding? The sailing may not be smooth but it will get them to the stronghold and from there some decisions await – to the King? To Bette’s mom’s? Will Tina go with? Are they done sailing?
        I need a crystal ball lol. Appreciate your comments and glad the posting glitch has been solved!
        Thanks
        BK

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