It seems as though I never have time to write any more…

Jared's question caught Corrin off guard. They had been talking about Emily, a neutral topic at best, and now the difficult question emerged.

Corrin groaned softly, and thumped his head back on the railing. Turning slightly to look at Jared, Corrin started to explain.

"You know how I never wanted to talk about my family with you?"

Jared nodded, recalling Corrin's stormy expression when he had asked about Corrin's family at one meeting.

"The men who tried to kidnap Emily, they work for my brother, half-brother, actually. He is why I don't like coming home very often. See, my father had a thriving company, a fleet of three ships and a trading business on land. It was very successful, because if you can trade with yourself, you can get the best prices on goods."

Jared nodded again, motioning Corrin to move on with his tale.

"When my father died several years ago, my mother was swamped with the business, she had no idea what to do with it, and I was too young to go to sea, or take over. So she married my father's business manager, a man with a son a year older than me."

Corrin's voice grew bitter as he was talking

"This man ruined the business. He was a good manager, yes, but only because my father kept him under strict rules and regulations. When my father died, the man grew slovenly with his practices, turned to drink. I wasn't very surprised, just angry, when he married my mother. When my father was traveling my mother was a terrible flirt. I've always wanted to know why she was unfaithful but never had the chance. She died last year, leaving the land business to her husband."

Jared broke in, "But you own the ships! If she left him the business, why do you own the ships?"

Corrin chuckled. "Because my father, smart old man, left them to me in his will. He left me the ships and estate, and my mother the business. That way my inheritance couldn't be stolen by anyone my mother married after my father's death!"

Jared shuddered, imagining growing up with the mistrust between his parents.

Then he remembered the son. "What about the manager's boy, the one who was older then you?"

Corrin laughed cynically. "Ah yes, now we come to Philip. He made my life a living Hell from the moment he stepped through the door of my home. Anything I had, he had to have something better, and since he didn't have a mother, mine would have to do for him. The neighbor boys and I got to calling him 'Flippsy' as he was always flipping sides, or the circumstances to fit what he wanted. And what he wanted was always what I wanted, except he usually got it, and I was left with the tainted ruins of whatever it was when he was done with it."

Jared frowned. "So why did he take Emily? She had no connection with you when they tried to snatch her."

Corrin snarled his anger clear on his face. "I'm getting to that part! Be patient. You wanted to hear the story; you have to wait for the entire story. Stop trying to skip around!"

Startled by Corrin's outburst, Jared stepped back a foot. Corrin slumped forward onto the railing again, dropping his head into his arms, frustrated.

"I'm sorry," Corrin mumbled "I didn't mean to rage at you, I just get… upset… when I talk about him. He's done his best to ruin everything my father worked for in his life, and everything I've set out to do in mine."

Jared went back to the railing beside the angry young man. "I'm sorry for interrupting; go on with your story."

Corrin looked up at Jared's serious expression. "I suppose I have to." He sighed, stretching his back by pushing on the railing, "After all, he did try to kidnap your sister."

"Word must have gotten around that I was fitting up the cabins for guests. I don't like that solution, because that means someone has been spying on me. I hate that! I had enough of it from Flippsy, and I won't take it anymore!" Corrin's eyes stormed as his emotions boiled to the top.

Grinding his palms into the railing he said, "That's why this voyage is so long. Flippsy can't spy on me unless he has a magical communications device hidden somewhere, and it's not likely. The only magical items aboard are the lightning containers, anything hidden in them would be fried to a crisp."

Jared looked at his friend, astonished. "You have nothing magical aboard? In the land of magic, you have none? That's surprising."

Corrin laughed cynically. "Not really, seeing as magic is just a means of deceiving other people and spying on them. I've had enough of that in my live, I won't have it now."

Jared laughed too, but his laughter was a chortle of glee. "Won't Emily be mad! She probably expected all sorts of magical adventures on this trip. I want to see her face when she finds out we're just going on a business and collection cruise!"

Corrin laughed too, the cynical note almost gone. "She'll get her magical adventures, don't worry. We have to stop on some islands that are chock full with magic. This magic is wild though, humans can't influence it. It's probably why my father kept to his ships, away from cities. No corruption."

"Well, Emily will be happy with that. Anything wild is more appealing then the tame version." Jared laughed again. "And what could be more wild than the sea and lightning?"

"Perhaps an island full of magic and men." Corrin said, laughing along with his friend.