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That bitch was going to pay.

It was one thing to hold a grudge for so long but it was another thing entirely to ruin what was supposed to be the happiest day in a woman’s life. Among women, a wedding was a sacred day and to ruin it was worse than blasphemy before the Pope.

Gisele had planned it down to the very last detail and her father spared no expense. As a wealthy merchant, he could afford a wedding as spectacular as any Royal Wedding. To be assured she wouldn’t offer offense, Gisele kept it far below that.

The ceremony was to take place on a beautiful ship that her father built and was gifting to her fiancé. She would not live in squalor after all and a good ship would help in the start of a new business.

To make sure everything went according to plan, she even broke a few of the rules of the coven. Using magic to control people was risky but dream hopping was even riskier. Most wouldn’t attempt it without the assistance of the coven but Gisele had far too much to do and too little time to do it in.

So she used dreams to turn some people into puppets that would work while she got the much needed beauty rest. And when the final day rolled around, everything was perfect.

At least, it was perfect until she showed up. Gisele made one little mistake and it came back to haunt her in ways she had never imagined.

Her father had made her invite a couple old family friends. One of which was the Belikov family, another rich merchant family. If they lived closer, they would have traveled similar social circles. To stop his nagging, she had done as he asked and eventually became intrigued to find out that the Belikov’s had a daughter around the same age who had been kidnapped by pirates at one point.

After her run in with pirates, she was curious to see how this other girl managed to escape and return to her family. On the return letter, only the daughter could make the wedding but would bear gifts from the entire family.

That curiosity waned considerably when she finally laid eyes upon Fayette Ilia Belikov. Unfortunately, that moment was just as she was walking down the aisle that had been created on the deck of the ship. The beautiful dress and intricate way that Fayette’s hair was done up was a far cry from the way that she had last seen the woman.

Last time she and Fayette had locked gazes was as her summoned Kraken was destroying the pirate ship that Gisele was captive on. Only then, the woman was known as the Shadow Dancing Ilia and Gisele had allowed that woman and some of the crew to escape on a single boat. They were the only survivors, left to tell a tale of caution to others of what would happen when they crossed a witch.

That mistake was now staring her in the face. Fayette’s eyes were dark and hard, more so then the last time, and promised that nothing this day would go as Gisele wanted it to. Even dressed as a proper lady, she could see the reasons why Fayette was feared as a pirate.

But last time, she had the element of surprise on her side and the time needed to prepare. There was no time now and the pirate had the upper hand. She could not cast spells without time to gather magic and she did not have any ingredients for a summoning. Even if she managed anything, she could not openly do so before her family and the guests. Not even her husband knew that she was a witch.

While she wracked her brains for something to do, there was the barest of whispers upon the ocean wind that blew past her. Most days, she would ignore such nonsense but with a known pirate sitting at her wedding she couldn’t take any chances.

One glance over her shoulder told her all she needed to know.

Fayette’s eyes, though hard, shined with what she could only call glee. The woman’s lips barely moved but that wasn’t what held her attention. It was the earrings that the pirate was wearing. Though they sparkled well enough, the spells disguising them flickered enough that Gisele could see them for what they truly were.

She was very familiar with those particular shapes. In fact, she had painted the same ones onto the floor of her cabin when she had summoned the Kraken to destroy the ship.

Somehow, somewhere, Fayette had learned magic. Not only that, but in the four years since that day, she had somehow become powerful enough to work one of the hardest spells.

Dark eyes flickered up towards the front of the aisle and Gisele’s followed, landing on her wonderful love that was waiting there for her. Understanding dawned at the same time that absolute horror tied her stomach into knots.

Ripping her arm from her father’s, she dashed up the aisle in a blind panic. If she could reach him, maybe there was time to stop whatever revenge scheme that Fayette had been cooking for four years. Whatever she was summoning, Gisele needed to figure out how to stop it.

Murmurs of worry rose up but none more than the blood curdling scream of the child that had turned around at the wrong moment. Fear swept over her guests as dragon like heads rose from the water with long scaly bodies following behind. Sea Serpents, that wretch managed to summon not one, but six full grown sea serpents.

Clinging to her fiancé, she could barely find her voice as she watched those heads dart in and snatch up the guests one by one. As the serpents showered the deck with blood, they systematically destroyed the ship that was to represent her new life. It was very familiar to the scene that had played out on the pirate ship so long ago.

If there was one thing that Gisele could admire, it was the thorough planning that went into this scheme.

Fayette had managed to find her revenge and had taken this chance beautifully. Escape was her only option now. Her magic might be able to kill one, maybe two, of the serpents before they finished off everyone but not six. No single witch could effectively kill six of these creatures when they were summoned for two purposes; death and destruction.

The spare boats had been just beyond her fingertips, just one more push and she and her love would have been safe. Yes, they would have lost their families and friends but they would have survived. Instead, her throat was raw from screeching as he was wrenched from her grip and two serpents fought over who got to eat what parts.

“I will kill you,” she promised, ignoring the pain in her chest and the tears still rolling down her face as she made her way over the pirate witch. Fayette hadn’t even bothered to get up from her seat and the serpents hadn’t harmed a single hair on her head. But she didn’t have anything to lose anymore and like she said; the bitch was going to pay. “By the goddesses, I will have your head on a spike.”

Fayette looked up, her attitude dropping the pretenses of a civilized lady and suddenly looking very much the pirate Ilia. “I thought you’d enjoy this. I took a page from your resume for this wonderful event,” the bitch even had the gall to laugh as another of her family members was toyed with like a dog’s bone; “You destroyed the Lady Fair, my home, and killed my family. This isn’t even close to what I want to do with you.”

Gisele’s eyes glistened as she gathered her magic but this situation was hopeless. If Fayette was still only a pirate without magic, then she’d have the chance. But with magic on both sides, she could only mourn at how terribly outmatched they were. She didn’t make a living being a professional killer before this moment.

Slowly, the pirate stood. The layers of dress fell away with a slow ripping noise and suddenly, it was no longer Fayette Belikov before her but the Shadow Dancer. Dressed as the pirate she was, Fayette strolled forward leisurely.

Throat bobbing with her attempt to swallow her fear, Gisele’s mouth ran dry as she stood nearly face to face with the woman. Shorter by a good four inches, she was reminded of why she had requested that her attendant back on the Lady Fair had been a boy instead of the only other woman.

Fayette, Ilia, whatever she wished to be called, was a truly terrifying woman.

“You are going to watch as I did as everyone you care about is killed.” Fayette’s voice was soft, almost kind if not for the cruel amusement that leaked from the undertone. “There will be no retaliation after this night because you shall not live to see the dawn.”

Though she steeled herself for the fight of her life, a small dark part of her knew that this woman would make good on her promise.

And that she would enjoy every single minute of it.

_________________

Inspiration came for this as I reread Kraken. This is the companion piece to that one so if you haven’t read it, I’d scamper over there real quick. They’re written in different styles but I love them both. I hope you all do as well.

On another note….I’M FINALLY DONE!!!!!! I am way past what the projected ending date was supposed to be but you know what, I’m not even upset anymore. This was my first writing challenge and though it didn’t go as planned, I know how to plan better for my next one. My next post will be a reflection piece on my 100 creatures and my plans from there.

Thank you to everyone who stuck with me (despite weeks of inactivity) and have continued to read/like/and comment. You guys have made my year.

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