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"By whose authority?" they asked.

"By my own," she said. Her sword was drawn. She was careful not to make any threatening motions, but she was prepared to strike if necessary.

"You are not sanctioned in these waters," they declared.

"We do not recognize your claim," she  said. Wind began to pick up around her.

"Do you see that?" Claire whispered. "Is she one of us?"

"She's not on our list," Lord Raye replied.

"Where did you get that weapon?" demanded Starr. "And where did you learn to do that?"

"You're not the only ones with power around here," she shouted. "But I do not wish to pick a quarrel."

"What are you here for then?" Claire shouted back into the wind.

"Same thing as you, believe it or not. But we will not be doing your bidding."

"What is that supposed to mean?" shouted Raye.

"We're not here to fly in your neat little formations," she said. "We have our own ways of doing things."

"And what way is that?" demanded Raye.

"It's none of your concern. I don't have time to teach you things beyond your grasp."

Starr tensed his stance and grip, but Raye stepped in front of him. "And you mean to violate our waters to carry out whatever mission you think you're on?"

"They are waters, but only yours in your own minds. We are not here to get in your way. If anything, you'll be thankful we're nearby. Eventually."

"We'll be the judge of that," said Starr.

"I think we can wait and see," Claire responded. "What should we call you if we see you again?"

"You may call me McCarthy," she said. "And we probably will meet again, as allies and friends if fate would allow it."

With that, her sword flickered out of existence, the wind carried her back to her ship and filled up their sails as their ragtag armada, if one could even call it that, sped off into the shimmering sea.

"I hope we're not making a big mistake."

"I don't know. She seems like just the type of soldier we could use. Such a shame she seems to have taken a different path."

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