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Following some kind of animal instinct, she did the only thing that made sense at that moment: she bit down. Hard.
The unmistakably metallic taste of blood filled her mouth and he released her with a yell and a curse. She did not waste a moment. Spitting as much of the bitter liquid as she could in his face, she launched herself toward the cabin door. Perhaps if she could get as far as the deck, she could make it over the side. She would rather take her chances with the impetuous sea than with the mutinous mongrels her once-beautiful ship had become home to.
Her hand had just closed over the door latch when she felt his fingers close around her shoulder. “You'll pay for that, you little bitch.” His foot hooked her leg, and she was on the floor – flat on her back – in one painful instant. The breath had fled her lungs, but still she managed to roll away before he could land a solid kick to her ribs.
Once she was certain she had put enough distance between his foot and her ribcage, she scrambled to her feet, searching, searching. He was between her and the door - there was no longer hope for escape that way without having to fight past him. She needed a weapon. There was none in sight. The dagger sheath at her belt hung empty, useless. Even her hidden boot sheath had been emptied when the crew had turned to mutiny. Her cabin had been stripped of everything but the bare essentials. The only things she had to work with were the chair (too heavy to make a feasible weapon), the desk and rack (bolted down or built into the bulkheads themselves), and a length of old rope that hung on a peg just a few paces to her left. A length of rope? It would have to do; she had nothing else. She seized it and wrapped a length around her knuckles, unsure of what good it would do her. Just having something in her hands - useless or not - made her feel fractionally less helpless.
Now to fight.
Tyrus watched her frantic search, eyes hard and teeth bared in a feral grin. When he saw her feeble attempt at arming herself, the grin widened. His hand was covered in blood. It had run down his wrist and stained his shirtsleeve. Now, as his arm tensed low at his side, it dripped quietly on the floor. Ryenne hoped she had rendered the hand mostly useless, but she could not be sure. She prayed it was. She needed all the help she could get now.
"Feeling feisty today, are we, Caelar?" His voice was playful, but his expression was anything but. He took a few paces forward, growling when she skittered backward, away from him. "You're making this harder than it needs to be, you know."
"Good." She twisted the rope in her hands, trying to formulate a plan. Nothing came to mind.
He lunged, and any other plans Ryenne might have made fled her mind in that instant. She was too slow to duck the first blow. His fist connected with her gut, knocking the wind from her and making black spots dance before her eyes. There was no time to shake it off, however. She was already attempting to dance clear of the second blow. It glanced off her shoulder, smearing blood on her already-filthy shirt, and swung past. Tyrus was thrown momentarily off-balance. Panting with exhilaration and fear, she took the opening and slipped behind him. The rope was over his head in a blink. Ryenne grimaced with satisfaction as she tightened it across his windpipe. She could hear his throat rattle, struggling for the air it could no longer take in. He swung blindly at her, blood from his injured hand spattering her face, but she threw all her weight into the task of strangling him. In a moment, he would lose consciousness. She hoped.
That was when she spotted it - the dagger at his hip. If she could just reach it, she could slit his throat and be done with it. His movements were already starting to slow. If she was quick...
She knew her mistake the moment she reached toward his belt: she was not strong enough to strangle him one-handed. But it was too late.
Tyrus sucked in a deep breath and seized the hand that still feebly attempted to kill him. The dagger brushed past Ryenne's fingers - so close, and yet too far - as he slammed her into the bulkhead.
“That's enough play for now, Captain.” He strangled her with his blood-streaked forearm, trapping her between it and the wood of the bulkhead behind her. His other hand was busy with the rope still knotted around her hands, knotting it further still, trussing her up like a pig for the slaughter. “It's time you took what was coming to you.” The leering grin returned. “And, no, I won't be asking for your permission.”