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The Adventures of Isabelle Book II: Journey To Orphalese

Written By Nicole Cutts
Cover Art by


Join Princess Isabelle of Xamayca as she answers her first call to adventure on the high seas to free the people of Orphalese from the sinister Captain Flint and his fleet of greedy pirates.

Editors’ Note

Calling Heroines of All Ages!

Are you ready to heed the call to adventure?

Join Princess Isabelle of Xamayca as she answers her first call to adventure on the high seas to free the people of Orphalese from the sinister Captain Flint and his fleet of greedy pirates. Along the way, not only does she find love in magically unexpected places, but Isabelle finds strength in forming and commanding her own crew of powerful warriors to fight the demons—both real and imagined—that threaten to take away her crown and test her will to survive.

Journey to Orphalese is book two in the chronicles of Princess Isabelle. Book I: The Embryo Goddess and the Morpho took you inside the formative years of this fearless demigoddess, daughter of the powerful Sun King, Vata Helios and the imperious, yet stunning Ice Queen, Cythona. As readers witness Isabelle’s harrowing story unfold, we learn valuable lessons on how to become the heroine of our own life story.

Join Princess Isabelle, her faithful companion, Xerxes, and an eclectically beautiful crew of sailors on this exciting, sometimes perilous, journey—and discover yourself along the way! 

Author, Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and success coach, continues to blend the rich elements of diverse female archetypes with the universal mythology of the heroine’s quest in book two of the story of Isabelle, The Princess Royal of Xamayca.

The Journey Begins 

Thoughts of her father came as Princess Isabelle of Xamayca stood gazing out across the sea from the prow of her flagship, Erzulie. The frigid salt air whipped her leather  coat about her and rattled the ship’s cables though she scarcely heard them, captive to  a sudden storm of thought. The ship was traveling at a steady ten knots, and her sister  ships, Iemanjá and Santa Marta la Dominadora cut easily through the churning waves.  Barring bad weather or the possibility of a pirate attack on this small armada, they  should make good time and arrive on the coast of Orphalese, Xamayca’s island  colony, in two months. So much was at stake. 

Many weeks of planning and preparation had gone into this campaign. There were  four fighting galleons escorting the small squadron of three merchant ships carrying  precious cargo of food, medicine, and other supplies to relieve Xamayca’s embattled  colony. The people of Orphalese had endured far too much, and the armada’s mission  was to provide protection and sorely needed supplies to the inhabitants of Xamayca’s  most valuable colony. No matter that she’d never stepped foot on Orphalese, her  father had loved it and it was a part of Xamayca, her home, her heartbeat. She was  here to avenge her embattled, beloved country. I am here, Father, she thought, as she  stood firm on the prow in the freezing salt air. I am here to fight.

The night before Princess Isabelle sailed from Aboukir, she had a dream about a  coming engagement with the enemy fleet of the pirate, Captain Flint. It was a troubling vision, and when she awoke, she felt drained. There had been a raging battle  at sea and on land, but she rallied her fighters, and despite their losses, they were  decisively victorious. But it had only been a dream. She’d grappled her way out of  sleep into disappointed wakefulness. Isabelle uneasily waited to catch sight of a single  fluttering sail from any of Captain Flint’s pirate raiders. She knew it was just a matter  of time. She trusted her dreams. She’d learned that her dreams, her visions were often  portentous. Now she daydreamed of fighting this battle alongside her father:, the Sun  King, Vata Helios. 

The reverie crested with the waves and when the ship crashed down in its trough  the cold sea spray on her face washed it from her mind. Isabelle was impatient,  jumping with nerves, ready to catch Captain Flint in her sights. She needed to affix  her anger, her frustration, on a worthy target. She had experienced great heartbreak at  the hands of the iniquitous cad, Prince Charmant, who had lied to her, toyed with her,  and almost plucked the blossoming virgin flower of her love. Her protector, her  champion, her father had also been taken from her too soon. She was considerably  hardened now and had no use for romance, nor for being taken in by the fool’s gold  of false love ever again. A portion of her anger was uncomfortably directed at herself.  How had she not recognized the hollowness of his gestures of affection? How could her intelligence not have lit the way toward the truth of his motives? Isabelle struggled  to shake off the reverberations of her heartbreak. She was primed now to fight, to  funnel her anger toward Charmant and Captain Flint, whose offenses were grievous. 

Before setting off for Orphalese with her fleet, the princess traveled to the port  city of Aboukir with her trusty companions: Philippides, a beautiful black Arabian  stallion; Almitra, a red-tailed hawk and mysterious new friend; and Xerxes, her faithful  hound. 

Her first task at Aboukir had been to assemble marine troops to man the fighting  galleons and sailors to crew her fleet of cargo ships. Her second task was to stock  both the cargo and military vessels with supplies; and her third task: to successfully  barter for the badly needed supplies the fleet would convey to the embattled colony of  Orphalese. The people of Xamayca’s once splendid island colony had suffered many  months of relentless attacks by the pirate Flint’s murderous band. At first, this had all  been rumored. Then a swift corvette eluded Flint’s blockade and made its way to  Aboukir where the captain reported that all supply lines had been completely cut off  and that the inhabitants of the island were desperate. Isabelle went cold with fury  when she learned the extent of this crime against her people, her homeland, her  father’s sanctuary. 

Thus far, the brave people at the colony managed to deny Flint his ultimate  victory, which was to take complete control of Orphalese. But it was uncertain how much longer they could hold out, and Flint was relentless in his intention to capture  Orphalese, the most precious jewel in the imperial crown of Xamayca. If Flint  achieved this goal, Isabelle knew the fate of the inhabitants would be forced labor in  the gold and silver mines and on plantations as slaves, just as he had done with  inhabitants from smaller territories his pirate fleet attacked. Clearly, the dreaded pirate  was working his way up the food chain. Isabelle had no doubt that, after conquering  Orphalese and taking control of the extraordinary wealth of her mines, the bold pirate  would set his eyes on the penultimate prize: Xamayca. 

There were legends about this man, who was the disgraced and cast out son of a  warlord in the southern hemisphere. Flint, they said, was set on avenging himself  against his family by creating an armada of pirate ships, capturing lands and amassing  ill-gained wealth and goods in order to establish his own kingdom—a kingdom whose  nativity would be midwifed by piracy.  

After he and his crew had captured a place, they forced the people into slavery to  farm the plantation lands he’d distributed as booty to his cronies, setting these former  pirates and murderers up as governors. Then, like a plague of locusts, Flint’s pirate  fleet would move on to the next conquest. Isabelle knew that this man must be  stopped. Her vision was clear, she was ready, and she intended to do everything in her  power to stop him.


When she arrived at the port of Aboukir, Isabelle, and her tiny cohort of guardsmen  took rooms above an empty port warehouse belonging to Lord Ewart Russell. This  warehouse would serve as her headquarters, the place to assemble her crew and store  their supplies until they were ready to set sail for Orphalese. The two private rooms  she occupied with Xerxes and Almitra were as dingy as you might expect of such a  place, and a far cry from the life she had grown accustomed to at the palace. But she  didn’t give a wit about that. She was free of her past life, and although she was unsure  of what lay ahead, she was excited and honored to be leading the mission to bring  relief to the people of Orphalese. 

There was an inn down by the waterfront: The Inn of the Three Witches. And she  would take dinner there after settling in. One of her guardsmen, no more than a boy,  but a seasoned fighter, built a fire in the fireplace, after which she sent him off to find  food for Xerxes and Almitra. Isabelle made a bed of an old, soft blanket for Xerxes and set up a perch for Almitra. The two didn’t know each other well, having only  recently made one another’s acquaintance, and Xerxes was displaying a bit of sibling  rivalry, vying for her affections, but Isabelle trusted that they would befriend one  another and bond during their time in Aboukir. After admonishing the two to behave  themselves, she dispatched two of her six Xamaycan bodyguards to the flagship Erzulie to request that the commanding officer of her flotilla, Commodore Déjois,  join her at the inn. Then she set out with the remaining guardsmen to explore the  boisterous streets of the port as they headed for The Inn of the Three Witches.  

It was nine o’clock in the evening, and Commodore Déjois would be meeting her  at the inn by eleven o’clock. She wanted to get to the inn early to soak up as much  intelligence as she could without drawing attention to herself. This meant her  bodyguards had to change from their resplendent uniforms to rags more befitting the  rough sorts you’d expect to find along the docks of any port city. The princess would  also have to disguise herself, but this was not a mere task for Isabelle, an errand. It  was a chance to taste freedom from her people’s expectations. She felt a mixture of  excitement and trepidation as she explored Aboukir’s dark, cobblestoned streets  cloaked and anonymous. She was unaccustomed to the odd sights and sounds of the  city, but took some comfort in the cleverness of her disguise which consisted of a  heavy woolen coat, a pair of worn knee-high boots of leather, and a gray cap, also of  wool, that she kept pulled down over her ears. She tried to move through the streets  as just any other sailor or stevedore of the town.  

Isabelle figured that a place called The Inn of the Three Witches would be the  ideal place to begin recruiting crew members for the coming expedition to rescue  Orphalese. They would certainly need help. The word was that the inn was always  crowded with out-of-work seamen seeking new berths. 

When Isabelle finally arrived at the Inn of the Three Witches, she was nearly  knocked to the ground by a drunken sailor who was being unceremoniously ejected,  nearly airborne, from the pub at the moment she entered the establishment. She had  to signal her offended guardsmen to stand down.  

Several patrons in this dimly lit establishment looked up and searched her face,  curious at the fealty her phalanx of guardsmen had displayed in unison, but all they  saw now was another rough-looking character, just another stranger among a group  of friends most likely looking for work, face dirtied with ash, garments rough and  worn, just like theirs, and the moment of their interest in this newcomer dissipated. 

When her eyes grew accustomed to the gloom, Isabelle surveyed the pub. The  usual assortment of seafaring ruffians populated the place. She made her way through  clouds of tobacco smoke and noisy clatter of gaming to a table in a dark corner of the  pub to await Commodore Déjois. 

When she sat down with one of her guardsmen (the other three had been  admonished to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible following their  inauspicious entrance), a voluptuous barmaid approached her table. “What can I get  for you, dearies?” 

The soldier declined, which raised an eyebrow, but Isabelle ordered a glass of  claret and was surprised when the girl brought it back, sat down and immediately struck up a conversation. “I’ve never seen you in here before, handsome. Where are  you from?” Isabelle felt a wave of exultation. Her disguise was obviously perfect because the  girl thought that she was a man! Not wanting to appear rude or draw attention to  herself (lest her true identity be discovered), Isabelle lowered her voice as much as  possible and answered the girl’s question. “I come from the countryside,” she said. 

She hoped this would satisfy the brazen girl’s curiosity and that she would go away,  but luck was not in her favor. The girl continued to ply her with questions. Isabelle  was perplexed until she realized the girl, thinking she was a man, had been flirting  with her. Feeling somewhat flustered by this realization, the princess carried her end  of the conversation as best she could. She found herself even enjoying carrying on  this thread of talk with the barmaid whose skin gleamed in the low light of the bar. 

A clock in the bell tower struck eleven and Isabelle was relieved when after only a  few moments she saw Commodore Déjois come through the front door of The Three  Witches. His stride was unmistakable. She waved him over, relieved to see him, to be  in close proximity with the man she loved as an uncle, who she knew had the implicit  trust of her father. 

Déjois saw her and stared at her but ignored her. 

He doesn’t recognize me! Isabelle realized. He’d been summoned by his princess, but  she was nowhere to be found. Isabelle waved him over again, and finally it dawned on  him that this young man continuing to gesture at him must be one of Princess  Isabelle’s guardsmen. 

As the captain approached the table the barmaid, intimidated by the energy of his  authority, stood up to offer him her seat. “Excuse me. May I get ye something to eat  or drink, good sir?” 

Déjois ordered tea and the girl went on her way. 

Isabelle addressed him in her usual gracious manner, casting aside the baritone  she’d been using with the barmaid, even as she was careful to remain sotto voce so as  not to be overheard. “Commodore Déjois, it’s good to see you again! Welcome to the  Inn of the Three Witches.” 

It was then that he recognized her. “Oh, Your Highness.” He suddenly stood up  knocking over the stool upon which he sat. “I beg your pardon!” 

Isabelle couldn’t remember if she’d ever seen Déjois flustered as he was now. She  drew joy, even strength, from this evidence that she could shape shift to the extent of  unseating a man she’d heretofore known to be unflappable. 

With a gesture of her hand, Isabelle gently bade him sit down.

Righting the stool and regaining his seat, he looked at Isabelle, tilting his head to  penetrate the covering of soot smeared all over her face. “Well! You are the clever  one, aren’t you, Your Majesty! What a perfect disguise,” he said, speaking just a little  above a whisper. 

Déjois looked around, sneering and wrinkling his nose. Isabelle was amused by his  reaction. “Be at ease, Commodore Déjois. It’s quite alright. This is the perfect place to  scout crewmen for our ships. And please excuse my unkempt appearance, but I  thought it wise not to stick out in this rough environment in the robes of a princess.” 

Déjois smiled and ever so slightly bowed his head. “You were quite correct to do  so, Your Majesty,” he said.  

Isabelle leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, “So? What news do you have for  me, Commodore?” 

Déjois had the bearing of an admiral. In fact, before her father’s death, the king  had recommended Déjois for promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral of the Royal  Navy. The king’s untimely death and the emergency at Orphalese had delayed that  decision but did not keep the man from performing his duty. He not only performed  

his duty; he embodied it. A handsome older man, Commodore Déjois was tall and  stood with an elegant, forceful air. His olive-colored skin was tanned from many years  on the high seas. His strong aquiline nose had been broken, but the bump this left  only increased the sense anyone had when looking at him that he was a formidable  individual. His dark hair was graying at the temples and covered his head in a  generous coiffure of soft brown curls threaded through with silver. His tone was deep  and commanding, and he spoke with the slight lilting accent common to those from  northern Xamayca.  

Déjois had been a close and trusted friend of King Vata Helios, Isabelle’s father,  and had known this child (as he thought of her) practically her whole life. Looking at  her now, he found it hard to reconcile memories of the wild and adventurous little  girl, a tomboy who loved riding her night-dark horse, Philippides, over Xamayca’s  hills, or the studious girl who traipsed through lush forests chasing butterflies across  sunny glens. It was odd to see that wild girl, a perfect mix of her haughty but beautiful  mother and gentle but powerful father, now grown into the serious young woman  before him.  

Looking closely at her face, he now saw that she favored the king in more ways  than she did her mother; and the fact was not lost on him that she had the determined  bearing of authority he’d admired so much in his late friend and illustrious lord. And  now Isabelle was his commander in chief. He smiled quietly at her ability to fool even  him, to throw him off center with her ability to disguise herself amongst this rough  crowd who didn’t seem to suspect a whit the radiance of lineage now in their midst.

“We’ve made inquiries, Princess. Regarding the situation in Orphalese, the people  are close to starvation, and there is much sickness, but our agents tell us they continue  to hold on.” 

“Do you think we have any real chance of breaking through Flint’s flotilla to  recapture the port fortress and free the colonists? I made a vow to the spirit of my  father that I would return Orphalese to the Xamaycan crown and rescue our people  there.” 

“Although Flint’s pirates control all the waters around the island, our chances are  fair, Princess. While our forces have been diminished, we have better tactics, better  trained cannoneers, and our Marines are eager to meet Flint’s men in battle. My  concern is that we currently lack enough trusty crew to man the galleons and cargo  ships. Above all, we must be careful not to tip our hand, to let Flint know we are  coming. His spies are everywhere, and they are very well paid…” 

“Perhaps we can turn some of those spies, Commodore. We need stronger  intelligence about Flint’s deployments, the number of ships and their armaments.”  

Rumors swirled about Aboukir and other places in the Xamaycan world that men,  women, and children in the outlying territories of the island of Orphalese were already  being forced to work the plantations and rich mines in the mountains. The greatest  prize, the capital city and primary port, Ominira, was occupied by Flint but her inhabitants still defied him while bombardments from his flotilla diminished the  number of colonists there. So, save for a small band of rebels holed up in Cave Valley  and a few in Ominira, Flint’s hold on the island was almost complete. 

Déjois continued, “The only good thing about Flint’s determined attention is that  his attacks on other merchant fleets have decreased but have not been eliminated. His  men are becoming disenchanted with the blockade; there is no booty in that.” 

“It would be something of a boon for us to see his pirates’ mutiny against Captain  Flint, perhaps even kill him or cast him adrift.” 

“Ah, yes. That would be a stroke of good fortune, but Flint is crafty and quite  vicious. His men have ample reason to know that any mutineer would suffer torture  before he tired of that sport and mercifully ended their sufferings.” 

The princess sat for a moment in silence. She wondered what would motivate one  to risk his own suffering. Flint was offering them rulership of land that already  belonged to others. Xamayca would not do this. They’d need to find a way not only to  identify Flint’s mercenaries but to appeal to their suppressed humanity, to draw out  any innate righteousness they possessed. 

“What do we know about the potential crew members who have come here to  Aboukir seeking work? It is among this lot that we will need to find people to man the  cargo ships.”

Here again, Déjois’s news was bleak. “Many of the people here were turned away  from enlistment in the Royal Navy in the past, but that was before increased attacks  from the likes of Flint and others had made many fearful of going to sea. We have  been left with the dregs, and they are a notoriously ignorant and superstitious lot.” 

Many men and women of the sea were superstitious. Some believed the seas were  cursed and were full of demonic creatures. Isabelle didn’t know that she disbelieved  the legends, but she felt strongly that a man like Flint was more malevolent than any  sea beast.  

In Aboukir there languished many lost souls who were desperate for any  opportunity for paid work, despite their fears about what monstrous things they  believed were lurking in the deep. Many of this kind, thieves and privateers, had found  it near impossible to find work, with their nefarious reputations preceding them. Still,  the sea was the greatest seducer, and any prospect of making money and having a bit  of adventure in the process was an enticement as irresistible as a hunk of aromatic  cheese on a mouse trap; you took your chances. 

There were also segments of Aboukir’s population Déjois thought deranged.  These individuals were willing to take big risks for little pay merely to take part in any  adventure. These types could be useful fighters but were often unworthy of trust,  unable as they were to be wedded to principle for its own sake.

Isabelle listened patiently to Déjois’s grim report. She had many questions  concerning strategy and posed the most obvious of those to Déjois. “So, Captain, you  say we have a fair chance of chasing Flint away with ship-to-ship warfare, and possibly  defeating him with the help of the colonists manning the fortress in the port of  Ominira. What odds do we have in our favor? What of the men and women you’ve  already enlisted? Who are your choices to take the helms of our escort ships?” 

Déjois pinched the tip of his aquiline nose before offering a reply. “Well, Your  Highness,” Déjois began, “as you know we lost a few of our strongest commanders in  Flint’s audacious attack off the coast of Orphalese, in the battle in which Admiral  Gravely was killed.” 

“Was that attack led by the pirate Flint?” 

“Yes, Your Highness, it was.” 

“I know you also lost your brother in that attack. The queen and I deeply regret his  loss, as well as that of the good Admiral Gravely.” 

Déjois’s response was terse. “My singular regret was that I was away on another  mission. I have my own score to settle with Flint.” 

“Yes, I was aware that your squadron was deployed elsewhere. But we shall have  our chance to even the score, maybe even do better than that! We will avenge our  losses, I promise you this.”

“There are other concerns, Princess,” he added. “Although we still have many  good men and women in my squadron of galleons, they are not as experienced in  battle as our Marines of the past.” 

“Yes, Commodore Déjois, we must change that perception if our mission is to  succeed. You are speaking of the past; we must be prepared for the future.  Henceforth we are writing a new story. You are a wise and experienced captain, the  master of our lead fighting ship, Dieu-Le-Veut. I have every confidence that the  competent sailors and Marines in our squadron will do their duty and perform well.  We still have a bit of time to practice maneuvers and prepare for what lies ahead.”

Isabelle felt driven to comfort him with what she knew: they would succeed. Even  as she knew she did not at the moment have logic to back up her premonition, she  was compelled to imbue him with the confidence she felt. She owed it to her father,  to all of her beloved Xamayca. 

Déjois seemed on the verge of offering a counter-response but thought better of  it. He felt the steel under Isabelle’s words. Instead, he informed her of the choices  he’d made to strengthen the leadership aboard the other three galleons. “I have great confidence in the two women and the man I’ve selected to captain the other warships,  Princess. I’ve given command rank to Lieutenants Ayizan, Mazu, and Ogoun. They  are tough and quick-witted and want nothing more than to see Flint and his pirate  horde hanging from the yardarms. Commander Ayizan hails from the southern hemisphere. She was a priestess at one time and then a wealthy privateer before  joining the Navy. None know why she forsook priesthood for life on the high seas.  But I am grateful to have her superior knowledge of the supernatural, and I’ve seen  her do things, some very strange things, that helped us in the thick of battle.” 

Many sailors in Déjois’s naval forces claimed Ayizan was a witch and that her  refusal to drink alcohol was evidence of the purity she must maintain to command  those entities in the supernatural realm. Isabelle respected Ayizan’s refusal regardless  of her reason. Alcohol was the enemy of reason, of clarity of thought, things Xamayca  sorely needed now to fight itself back to its former free and glorious collective  identity. 

Déjois continued, “Commander Mazu hails from the east. Her true name is Lin Moniang, and she was the daughter of a wealthy man who owned a large fishing fleetMazu knows the workings of a ship the way you know Philippides. She began sailing  

as a girl, commanding fishing ships when she became a young woman. Her ship was  the only one in Admiral Gravely’s squadron to outmaneuver Flint in that battle. She  sank one of his galleons and survived the attack fairly unscathed. After this  engagement, her crew was certain she had special protections from the gods of the  sea. She is understandably very popular with her crew.”  

Déjois went on to explain that Commander Ogoun was native to Xamayca’s  Western territories and was a fearsome warrior. He had the reputation of being arrogantly domineering and was known to be quite violent, brandishing his  conspicuous gold machete when under the influence of rum. None could remember  ever seeing him without a smoldering cigar hanging from his mouth. 

“Commander Ogoun also has the reputation of being a notorious womanizer.  Despite all these personal shortcomings, there is no one else in the fleet who is more  respected as a killer of enemy ships. In his youth, Ogoun proved himself a capable  leader in the West, bringing warring tribal chiefs together,” Déjois explained. 

He concluded, Déjois would be at the helm of Dieu-Le-Veut; the largest warship in  the convoy, taking the lead position. “Ogoun, aboard Amandla, will take the left flank,  Mazu, aboard the Tortuga, will take the right flank. Commander Ayizan aboard Obeah will be in the rear. For now, you will be on the cargo ship Erzulie as it is a more  comfortably appointed vessel, but if fighting looks imminent, you will be transferred  to Dieu-Le-Veut immediately. I have chosen Captain Durgalindo to assist you in sailing  the Erzulie. She is a stalwart figure in our Royal Navy. She is a few years my junior, but we took our training together, and she was a favorite of your father.” 

Isabelle nodded approvingly. 

The princess was impressed by Déjois’s report and was about to respond when the  front door of the pub suddenly opened. A strong cold gust of wind rushed into the  pub, followed by an unusually tall woman dressed in sailor’s togs. Her beauty was arresting. Isabelle wondered who she was. She appeared to stand about six feet, six  inches and had long almost-white, blond hair and piercing ice-blue eyes that Isabelle  could make out from clear across the room. A boisterous all-female band of sailors  followed in her wake. Close on her heels was another woman not quite as tall, orange red hair pulled back in a ponytail. 

The woman seemed to be a walking beehive of anger, speaking loudly in  threatening tones to a man Isabelle had noticed drinking at the bar since her arrival. It  seemed the fellow owed her quite a bit of money for some work she and her crew had  performed. Isabelle had the impression that, whatever that work was, it didn’t have  anything to do with meal preparation, sewing or any other women’s work

The man was well in his cups and straightening his back, told the giant woman that  neither she nor any member her crew were owed “even a fleck of Xamaycan gold,”  and that she knew what she could do with her demands. 

The pub fell silent. Danger sifted into the air. Every eye turned toward the woman,  anticipating some reaction the poor fellow at the bar was too drunk to see coming.  Then all hell broke loose. The woman took the man by the collar and flung him to the  floor with a sickening thud. Several men at the bar jumped to his rescue, which  prompted the blond woman’s crew to step forward threateningly, pulling cutlasses  and daggers. Predictably, these loggerheads erupted in a full out brawl that spilled out of the pub into the cobblestoned streets. A waiter slammed the pub’s door, but the  noise of the street fight still filtered into the room. 

Commodore Déjois saw the confused, wide-eyed look on Isabelle’s face as she  turned to him for an explanation. He leaned in close and whispered. “That, Your  Highness, was the privateer Freya, and her Amazonian crew, which includes her  partner, Pirate Jenny.” 

“Freya’s story is typical of these types, Your Majesty. She came from humble  beginnings; she has not always been a pirate. She was a peasant girl, born in the harsh  countryside in our frigid coastal provinces to the northeast. But Freya was lucky,  because she was both beautiful and quick-witted. She was chosen for marriage by a  wealthy, minor nobleman by the name of Odur. Freya gave birth to two beautiful  daughters, Hross and Gersemi. They lived happily for a time, but Odur was unfaithful  and ran off with another woman, leaving Freya and her daughters with nothing. The  only treasured possession she retained is an ornate gold necklace she never takes off. I  think she considers it a good luck charm…” 

Déjois told Isabelle how Freya took her children back to the seaside village of her  kinspeople in the northeast, leaving them in the care of her mother. Then she set out  to make some kind of living. The only skill she possessed was an ability to sail, but as  she was a woman, no one would hire her; so she disguised herself as a man and found work. She took any work she could find, including hard work on the docks and  aboard any ship that would hire her on.  

“Freya sailed the world, sending most of the money she made back to her mother  and daughters, but eventually, she fell in with Captain Flint and turned to piracy.” 

She became Flint’s second mate, and some believed she had also become his lover.  It was aboard Flint’s flagship, the Sleeping Dragon, that she befriended Jenny, a tall,  alluring red-headed beauty who was a deadly knife thrower. It was said Jenny could  clip the wings from a fly in mid flight!  

Orphaned at an early age, Jenny was an urchin of the streets, surviving on nothing  but her wits and her trusty knife-throwing skills, until that talent was noticed by a  group of rapscallions in a gang primarily made up of street children. She found family  and security in this group until she was raped at age thirteen by the gang leader and  three of his lieutenants, all of whom, until that moment, she’d considered her  brothers. Heartbroken and bewildered, Jenny moved on, leaving the gang, her soul  broken. 

She descended into an abyss. She took to spirits and was often found passed out in  an alley or on the streets from her herculean bouts of drinking. To support her habit,  Jenny went even lower. She began to sell herself to the lecherous sailors that hung around the pubs she frequented. All they had to do was give her a few coppers or buy  her pints.  

One night she met a man who seemed different from the others. His name was  Nikolas, and he took her under his wing, moving her into his small quarters. She  cleaned herself up and gave up drink. She had been barely more than skin and bone  when Nikolas found her sleeping in a doorway, but then her appetite returned, and  she began to fill out, returning to reasonably good health!  

Nikolas was the custodian of a church and worked during the day. He never asked  Jenny for sexual favors and was like the father she never had, buying her food and  sweets, and new clothes. On weekends he visited with his mother and attended  church but never included her in either of these activities. She, on the other hand, was  content to keep house for him and perform other domestic duties, like shopping at  the marketplace; but mainly she preferred to stay indoors. She felt cocooned in a new  chrysalis of safety and was loath to step outside into the world beyond her control. 

Although they barely shared conversation, Jenny discovered that she was in love  with Nikolas, who was at least thirty years her senior. She never attempted to suppress  this wave of feeling, as she imagined that it led to the peaceful shores of a safe harbor.  He tried to ignore the mild flirtations of this sixteen-year-old girl, who was now  blossoming. In fact, Jenny was growing into a tall, striking woman.

She had been living with him for about ten months when he informed Jenny of his  intention to take her to meet someone who could help her more fully recover her life.  As they never went anywhere together, Jenny was quite excited by the prospect.  Secretly, she suspected that he was going to take her to meet his mother, a prelude she  imagined to him asking her to be his wife!  

She bathed and dressed carefully that evening, frequently checking her appearance  in a mirror, appreciating the person she saw there, even practicing facial expressions  that made her look as demure as she thought she should be; after all, she was going to  meet the mother of her future husband! 

But instead of meeting his mother, this would be the night he introduced her to Myra. Her house was on a street that seemed respectable at first glance. Jenny was  confused but felt relaxed when she was ushered into a lavish parlor where she sat  quietly while Nikolas and Myra talked.  

Myra was a woman of about fifty, lovely and stately. There was an air of mystery  and feminine power swirling around her. Jenny sipped the tea Myra offered and  studied the art and furnishings in the parlor while Nikolas and Myra continued to  engage in whispery conversation. After a few moments, Myra came over to Jenny and  directed a few questions to her about her life and interests, listening with great  attention as the girl spoke her carefully chosen words, mindful to say nothing that  would reveal anything of her sordid past to this dignified and refined woman, though 

Jenny had the sense Myra wasn’t listening with an ear for her particular answers, but  for something more ineffable: her manner, the degree of her poise regardless of her  replies. She wasn’t wrong. Of course, Nikolas had already told Myra everything before  she’d set eyes upon Jenny.

About The Author

Dr. Nicole Cutts licensed Clinical Psychologist, Success Coach, TEDx Speaker, Artist and Organizational Consultant inspires and empowers people to achieve a more balanced and successful lifestyle. Nicole has consulted with and trained executives, managers, and teams at Fortune 500 Companies, Federal Government Agencies, and Non-Profit Organizations. As a Master Facilitator, Speaker and Success Coach, she helps people create an exceptional life by honoring their mind, body, and spirit so they can experience joy, passion, meaning, and ultimate success in their work. An entrepreneur, Nicole founded Cutts Consulting, LLC in 2002. She created Vision Quest Retreats in 2009 to help women discover their passion and purpose and bring this to life through their work.

Dr. Cutts, received her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology-LA, where her emphasis of study was Multicultural Community Clinical Psychology. She received her Executive Coach certification from The Center for Executive Coaching. She also holds a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University.

About The Author

Dr. Nicole Cutts licensed Clinical Psychologist, Success Coach, TEDx Speaker, Artist and Organizational Consultant inspires and empowers people to achieve a more balanced and successful lifestyle. Nicole has consulted with and trained executives, managers, and teams at Fortune 500 Companies, Federal Government Agencies, and Non-Profit Organizations. As a Master Facilitator, Speaker and Success Coach, she helps people create an exceptional life by honoring their mind, body, and spirit so they can experience joy, passion, meaning, and ultimate success in their work. An entrepreneur, Nicole founded Cutts Consulting, LLC in 2002. She created Vision Quest Retreats in 2009 to help women discover their passion and purpose and bring this to life through their work. Dr. Cutts, received her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology-LA, where her emphasis of study was Multicultural Community Clinical Psychology. She received her Executive Coach certification from The Center for Executive Coaching. She also holds a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University.