Authors: W. A. Hoffman
This book is a work of fiction written for the purposes of entertainment. Though some personages mentioned herein were actual people, their personification in this story is purely of the author’s fabrication and not meant to reflect in any way upon the original individuals. Readers interested in separating relative truth from fiction in regard to the historical people, events, or social structures portrayed in this novel are invited to read the resource material listed in the bibliography and make their own determinations.
Wolves:Raised ByWolves, Volume Four First Trade Edition- Published 2010
Printed inthe United States and United Kingdom byLightningSource
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the express permission of the copyright holder, except for brief excerpts used solely for the purposes ofpublicityor review.
ISBN10 - 0-9721098-5-4
ISBN13 - 978-0-9721098-5-7
Barb, my editor and bestest writing buddy ever, for her unflagging optimismand encouragement, loving critiques, and eagle eye. Thank youfor helpingme look good.
Mymother, for teachingme how to dreamand always reach for what I want. My brother, for being my biggest fan. My sister, for her love and support. My father, for teaching me to think and judge for myself. I am very grateful I was not raised by, or with, wolves or sheep.
“It is wholly within the fickle nature of the Gods that we will arrive and find nothing untoward has occurred in our absence, and my father has sent a letter of apology,” I said with some amusement as we raced the sun to reach Port Royal. I reckoned the date to be somewhere in the last week of May, 1669. We had beengone nearlysixmonths.
“Our people will not be happy with what we have learned or planned, even if nothing has occurred,” Gaston said and rolled onto his back.
As I was on my belly, watching what I could see of our wake beyond the cabinwindows, his movement pulled me closer to him in our hammock and twisted my spine, compelling me to move. I turned toward him and found a more comfortable position, bracing my knee against his hip to keep from slowly rollingatop him.
Despite its sagging, and its often inconvenient proximity to the ceiling, I was pleased we still had Pete and Striker’s hammock. Even though Striker had long since healed and could once again use what was now our nest, they had chosen to remain on our old mattress on the cabin floor. I had not wished to question them on it, as discussion of the matter might induce to question them on it, as discussion of the matter might induce them to change their minds. For all its faults, no one stepped on this bed, and with a blanket stretched across the netting, it afforded us a great deal of privacy. Of course, upon waking, we always had to peer over the edge to see who else occupied the cabinbefore we beganto speak or tryst.
I realized with dismay that in light ofour plans, we would not have this cozy nest for the next leg of our travels: the women and children would need to be housed somewhere for the voyage to Tortuga, and it would likely be this cabin: there was none other onthe
Though I had spent nights worrying about their safety in our absence, and knew for the good of all they must leave Port Royal, I was not anticipating their joining us with any relish. These last months roving against the Spanish had been peaceful —in a manner of speaking—in comparison to our last weeks in our home port amongst women, children, and the trappings of civilization. That had ever been the way of it for us in these West Indies. Goingto war against and amongst men, thoughit involved much violence and peril, was far safer in regards to the comfort and well-being of our hearts and souls than living within the bounds ofsocietywithallits rules and expectations.
At least we were alone for this moment in the final hour ofour approach. I savored it. Allothers were ondeck peeringat the coastline of Jamaica as it drifted by to starboard. We had already reached the peninsula known as the Palisadoes—where Port Royal squatted on the tip—and, according to the Bard, our Master ofSail, we would make port by nightfall. After roving for halfthe year, most ofour men foolishly wished to disembark and halfthe year, most ofour men foolishly wished to disembark and spend some, if not all, of the hefty sum we had stolen from the Spanish at Maracaibo and Gibraltar. To them, Port Royal was home, and they feared nothing awaiting them there but the occasional lurking unpaid debt and the ever-present specter of drunkenboredomhauntingthemuntiltheycould rove again.
Our cabal had far larger concerns. We were sailing into a port fullof enemies, where we had left a number of loved ones and cherished friends. That our roving had proven necessary to flush out our assassins, or that we had not known the full extent of the intrigues marshaled against us until after we sailed, would do little to assuage our guilt if any ill had befallen our people. It had weighed heavy on us these last weeks, as we repaired the stormdamage to our ship and sailed home.
I could see it wearing on my matelot even now, as he lay staring at the ceiling with a concerned frown. I ran a finger down his high, intelligent forehead, finely-wrought brow, straight nose, lips that were neither too full nor too thin, and strong, handsome chin. He turned his head to face me, and emerald eyes met my
His red hair was over a finger’s-widthlongas well; and it stood on end, pointing every which way, as it was ever wont to do. And three or four days—I could not remember whenlast we shaved—of stubble adorned our jaws: his as red as that on his head, mine goldenbrown.
He sighed and returned his gaze to the ceiling boards. “Death. Even if your father and the governor have done nothing, little Jamaica could stillhave died.”
I suppressed a sigh as I considered the possible death of our poor pickled child:the sicklyinfant I had claimed, thoughshe held no relation to either of us. She was the get of her drunken mother, mywife, bywayofsome unknownbuccaneer.
“I wonder if Vivian has returned to the rum, or whether she has remained sober under Mistress Theodore’s watchful eye,”I sighed.
So much could have occurred in our absence, even without the tribulations unearthed and stirred to life during our most recent stay there. Despite our loved ones being seasoned to the tropics and practicing measures purported—by my matelot and not some damn-fool English physician—to increase their health, they could still have contracted any number of ailments and died. And if not some tropical malaise, the Spanish might have swept in, raided our port and hauled them off to the dungeons of the Inquisition on Cuba, as they had once done to the families of Tortuga’s buccaneers. But I doubted such events had befallen our people:ifthe Gods wished to ladle trouble upon people unfortunate enough to be connected with us in the skeins ofthe Fates, there were more thanenoughtrials available without the Gods stooping to pedestrian forms of calamity such as war and pestilence.
The last six weeks we spent in Port Royal had been quite tumultuous. It was the longest I had spent inthe place inthe two and a half years I had been in the West Indies; I had likely spent longer in the assorted Spanish towns we had raided. Our brief stays in our purported home port were always rife with excitement and stirred up changes in the lives of those we knew. Whenever we arrived, they usually seemed to be fairly calm; and then the stormthat seemed to be ever in our wake would strike, and all would be forced to scurry about and make the best of it until we left again. I fancied they settled back into their usual calm, dailyregimens inthe peace ofour absence.
Yet was that hubris born from my only seeing what was before me and not knowing truly what occurred when we were not present? I should not be such a fool as to think their lives revolved around us, as if we and our problems were the sun. Or was it hubris because we were not the true cause of the turmoil? Was not my father responsible? Had he not ever been the catalyst for our change? The roiling clamor of our visits was always predicated bysome announcement ofhis:himsendingme to Jamaica: his demand that I marry: his sending a bride: and in this last visit, our discovering that he had put a price on Gaston’s and Striker’s heads and colluded with the governor to see that I did his biddingand put the drunkenwife out.
Gaston was regarding me with curiosity, and I gathered mythoughts were apparent.
“I amwondering ifthey would be better offwithout us— me,” I said and shrugged. “This is surely not your fault. I weave your being with mine in every thought, because I so truly feel we are one now, but…”
He grinned and rolled to face me. “We are one.”
I did not seek to gainsayhim, eveninmyheart. We were so truly entwined now that all arguments concerning our being separate entities in the face of the matters at hand were moot. The Gods knew I would not exist without him. And I knew— though it made my heart yet swellwith emotion I was at a loss to express—that he believed the same ofme.
I found myself frowning with a new thought. “We are better menfor havingtroubled one another, are we not?”
He frowned and nodded. “Do youdoubt it?”
“Non, non, I amprofoundly moved by how little I doubt it. Non, I amthinkingofthe others:the lives we have troubled for which we do not have… perhaps, the balmof love—such as we share—to ease the rub and irritationofour presence.”
He chuckled. “Youwonder whytheytolerate us?”
I grinned. “Oui.”
“Perhaps we do share the balm of love with them,” he said thoughtfully. “I too, find it difficult to believe, yet… How oftenhave youtold me I amworthyoflove? And are younot the same? They choose to stand by us. Perhaps we should not questionsuchbeneficence onthe part ofanypersonor divinity.”
“It is my nature to question,” I sighed. It would likely be my undoing. I imagined that if I could have learned to just sit in the cave and be happy with the shadows of truth upon the wall like everyone was supposed to do, I would be a happier man; but nay, I was ever yearning to turn my head and see the light at the cave mouth, even when I was too young to know of Plato or his allegories.
Gaston nodded as if I had made some sage pronouncement. “You would not be you if you did not.” He frowned. “Do you worry that they will have a change of heart? Or do youworrythat we have doomed them?”
I frowned at his choice of the word
. “Is that what youworrywe have done?”
He sighed. “Sometimes.”
“Do youfeelthis willend inruinfor all?”I asked.
He shook his head quickly. “Not for all. Some will escape unscathed, but… Surely there will be tragedy.” He sighed and looked away. “There has alreadybeentragedy.”
I knew he meant Christine. We did not speak ofher, but I knew he stillcarried the guilt deep inhis heart.
Despite his once saying that he could have escaped her attempts at seductionand not succumb to his madness and raped her, I did not blame him. Nor had I ever blamed him for his sister’s death; or would I ever blame him for any act he committed while mad. Whether he had knowingly willed himself into, or allowed himself to succumb to, that madness was immaterialto me:his doing such things, his seeking it, was merely another formhis madness took, was it not? Or, as I had decided when last we were in Port Royal and insanity seemed on the breath of everyone we met, were we the sane ones and all the rest of the world mad? In which case, the supposedly horrible things he had done under the auspices ofhis madness—lovinghis sister and then ending her suffering by her request; and doing as Christine had bid, though poorly and cruelly—were actions of truth shorn of all the pretty lies and shadows of the cave. His sister had ceased to suffer. Christine had undoubtedly been cured of her sudden resolve to abandon her dreams and settle
I truly doubted she would ever thank him for this, though.
“Is not a good tragedy one in which all the characters suffer for their sins?”I asked.
He snorted. “Who says this is a good tragedy? It could be a poor one, suitable only for street players and the common mob.”
I laughed. “I pray the Gods do not trouble us so only to cast us as pearls before swine.”
Gaston grinned and kissed me, showing me with his tongue and hands, and eventually his cock, how very beautiful a pearl he thought me to be. Except for a brief glimpse to show myself what I knew I should not think of, I cast all thoughts of women and babes and my father aside, and twined and strained withmylove instorming the gates ofHeaven in what were surely our finalmoments of privacy. I soon did not have to try to forget all else, as he wrung every other thought from my mind, casting me into a cistern of pleasure to fill myself with him and love so that he could wring even that from me and leave me lying like a well-washed rag upon the hammock: thoughtless, warm, and sated beyond measure.
Our post-coital cuddling was ended by Striker and Pete entering the cabin, tussling as they often did before they trysted. They were followed by guffaws from some of the men and a comment or two about them getting theirs before going back to the missus.
Dickey dove into the room behind them with a shouted,