Chapter one

Connie Remswood was just coming to the end of her long shift at the Bloodstone tavern. She wiped the sweat off her brow and let out a sigh of relief as the grandfather clock in the corner struck 8 o' clock. She gathered her things and walked around the bar, towards the front door. She could see her loyal wolf-dog mix, a handsome white creature with deep blue eyes waiting for her just outside the tavern. Lance barked a triumphant hello at the sight of his exhausted mistress.

"Great to see you too boy." Connie offered as she reached down to pat the soft warm fur of her beloved friend. Lance returned the affection with a series of wet kisses to Connie's outstretched arm. Connie smiled as her furry friend withdrew his tongue and looked up into her blue eyes with his own. He seemed to be as tired as she was, although it was most likely that he had slept the whole time anyway. Connie patted her thigh for him and then set off towards their seaside home. It had been exactly one year today that she had killed Lord Lucien and avenged her sisters wrongful death. Although Connie still had nightmares about the horrid event, now at last she had some closure. He'll never hurt anyone like that ever again at least, she thought to herself. Her boots clicked and clacked against the coal colored cobblestone streets as she made her way up to her new abode. Along the way, she was propositioned by several prostitutes and thugs alike, although she would always politely decline, they never seemed to get the message. Connie would just tell herself that they were just doing their very best to get through life in this crazy town, and she in some sense felt sorry for them. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, she reached her small home, the first that she had ever bought, her pride and joy at the moment. Connie undid the latch with her small bronze key, and Lance was the first one inside. He quickly made his way to his food bowl and greedily began to inhale the kibble and cheap cuts of jerky that it held. The wolfdog then made his way to a pile of pauper clothes that Connie had set in a pile on the floor to be his bed. Lance turned around three times before plopping down on the makeshift bed with a contented huff. Connie locked the door and sat down in a wooden chair. She picked up a book that she had begun to read the other night, "Introduction to navigation". It was an interesting read, as Connie had always been fascinated with the ocean and the seashore. A memory flooded itself into her mind as she recalled the day that she had told her friend and fellow hero, Hammer that she was moving to Bloodstone. A smile parted upon her peach colored lips as she recalled Hammers reaction.

"Your moving there?! Bloody hell Connie, why not just move right into Howling Halls? I'm sure that even the balverines would make better neighbors than those thugs!" Hammer exclaimed.

"I just like the seashore, that's all." Connie calmly retorted.

"Is that all? Because Oakfield has a lovely seashore, no thugs and plenty of guards. Honestly, sometimes I worry about you."

"I'll be alright Hammer, but thanks for your concern."

Connie still had no idea what Hammer had ment by, "is that all?"

"Why else would I want to live here? This close to thugs, prostitutes and, him..." Connie practically growled the word "him." If there was one person in all of Albion, nay, the world, that she could not stand it was him. Reaver. The heartless pirate that had once tried to sacrifice her to the dark judges of the Shadow Court, and then, as if that hadn't been reason enough to despise him, he had also, that same day, tried to sell her back to Lord Lucien. Connie shut her eyes tightly, trying to push the memory of the Tattered Spire from her mind. She was only 27, but she had seen entirely too much for one so young. But she was also a hero, and it had been her destiny to rid the world of that terrible place, and of Lucien. Lance was now huffing and twitching whilst fast asleep. The sight of the sleeping wolfdog made Connie a bit drowsy herself, and she set the book back down upon a nearby table, stood, and made her way up the wooden stairs to her bedroom. It was dark upstairs,so she lit the oil lamp on her nightstand before making her way to the closet to undress. After redressing into her white silk nightgown and brushing her long auburn hair, Connie sat upon the soft and cushy bed, blew out the lamp, and quickly fell asleep.

She was awakened the next morning shortly before dawn, to the sound of a brawl in progress. Connie lept from her bed and threw her white silk robe around her, before rushing out to her porch to see what was going on. There were two men down below, weilding cutlasses and waving them threateningly around at one another. The men were covered in scars probably from being in this situation one to many times before. Connie continued to watch them, ready to stop the impending fight if necessary. She did not like getting in between people when it did not concern her, especially around here. But she also could not idly sit by and watch two people kill themselves. She waited to see how the fight would play out, but when one of the men sunk his blade into the others right arm, Connie had no choice but to intervene. Quickly, she grabbed for her master clockwork pistol, aimed, and shot both cutlasses out of the mens hands. The two looked around bewildered as their weapons scuttled across the cobblestone and into the grip of the sea. Connie had not been seen, and as quietly as she had come, she closed and locked the door to her porch.

"Now maybe I can get some sleep." She spoke slightly annoyed to herself, before once again, returning to the serene comfort of her warm bed. She awoke two hours later, and when she looked out of her window and saw the sunlight filtering down, she decided it was time to get up. Connie undressed and redressed into her usual forest green dress, and short black boots, brushed her hair and applied a small amount of pink lipstick to her soft lips. She started downstairs to find Lance already awake and ready to go. She filled his bowl with the kibble/jerky mixture and then began to prepare her own breakfast, a large red apple and some water. As Connie ate her meal, she read some more from her book, she was on the third chapter, which talked mainly about how to tell your position at sea from the stars, and the many different constellations. Connie's favorite was Lupus, as it reminded her of her beloved pet. Lance finished his food, and then rushed to the door, whining and pawing at it. Connie set the book back down and opened the front door for Lance. Connie followed him out and started off towards the Bloodstone tavern again. There were a surprising number of people hanging around the outside of the tavern today. Connie stopped one man.

"Excuse me sir, but could you tell me whats going on in there today?" The man looked Connie up and down as if she were some sort of strange abomination before answering gruffly.

"Your not from 'round here are ye?"

"Actually, I have lived here for almost a year now." She snapped back.

"Well than ye would know that everyone's excited because Reavers come back, theres his ship over there in the harbor!" The man pointed a leathery finger out towards the ocean, and to a massive red and gold ship. Along the side read the ships name, "The Reaver II". Connie rolled her eyes. She knew that Reaver was in there, inside the tavern where she worked. It crossed her mind to just skip work that day to avoid seeing the pirate, but Connie needed the money, and so with a heavy sigh, she went inside. Reaver was there, surrounded by several women and a few men, drinking a large glass of wine, and telling some story that had his audience captivated. Connie tried to look invisible as she slinked around the bar towards the back, but Reaver's green eyes looked directly at her as she did so. Connie froze as her blue eyes met his, it was already far too late. Reaver casually excused himself from his brood of fans and waltzed over to the bar where a petrified Connie now stood.

"We meet again little hero. Its been a while." He purred.

"Not long enough if you ask me." Connie looked away from him. Reaver simply chuckled and leaned in closer.

"It's good to know that you missed me while I was away dear, I was beginning to think that you didn't care." He teased. Connie began to rearrange bottles and glasses around the bar.

"I don't."

"Then why are you here my sweet?"

"I happen to work here, you know, work. What honest people do for their gold." She snapped coldly. Reaver knew right away what she was referring too.

"Ah, still sore about the time I tried to sell you back to Lord Lucien I see." Connie looked up and glared into Reaver's eyes. They seemed to be twinkling, clearly he was taking great delight in taunting her like this.

"Leave me alone Reaver." She looked away, and began to polish the counter of the bar. Reaver grinned at her and then turned on his heel.

"It was lovely to see you again dear girl, till we meet again. Tatty-bye!" With that, Reaver left the tavern, with about 20 of his adoring fans screaming and running after him.