By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series
The Captain and the rest of the shore crew, along with what’s left of the Surprise, stagger back to the pinnace. Master Jo Anne notices that the ‘Harlot’ and Humphrey are missing, and so is ‘Dizzying Blade’. She looks quizzically at the Captain.
The Captain gives her an archaic smile and staggers up to her. “We can’t call her ‘Harlot’ anymore. The Horse People are letting her and Humphrey stay together in one of their strange stalk huts made from a plant similar to sugarcane.” The Captain shrugs and sighs so that Master Jo Anne can smell the heavy sent of brandy on her breath. “And…after much drinking, ‘Dizzying Blade’, sparred with one of the Horse Woman and won; though I told her to lose. Now she has to stay with them until the Surprise is ready to sail and teach them her fighting skills. Silly girl, it’s her fault, she refuses to lose to anyone. However, she told me Arsema and Amelie can replace her. So we’ll have two Master-at-arms now. At least until the Surprise drops her and the ‘Harl—.” The Captain slaps the side of her own head with the palm of her hand, “Thelma.”
“We could caller her Sewer, Stitcher, or even Flag Weaver from now on,” Master Jo Anne suggests.
“’Flag Weaver’,” the Captain says thoughtfully. “That would do. Two days from now we’re going to use our pinnace and the other one that’s amongst the Aloe Vera, if it still floats, to get the Surprise free. ‘Ship Builder’ says we need to do it during the end of high tide.”
“So we’re staying?” Everyone knows time is precious to attack Barthadrow and take over another ship before heading towards the Pregnancy Ship. She spits and can see the Captain knows who she was thinking of.
She and the Captain both stop talking. Baffled at the sight of the Cannibal woman Melinda sauntering up to Captain Peg leg.
“Get your rapier ready,” the Captain tells her as she starts to draw her own out.
Dumbfounded she watches Melinda kneel before Captain Peg leg and take his wrapped hand or what’s left of it in her owns hands.
“You could have tried to eat me,” the Cannibal woman says in a soothing voice.
Captain Peg leg’s eyes grow wide as the Cannibal girl stands back up, with his wrapped hand still in hers. “I wanted to feast on the one who stole some of my crew. You know what happened to them, when they were put in that barrel.”
“I do,” Captain Peg leg says before gulping.
“Listen,” the Captain says. “Take our pinnace with ‘Wheel Turner’ and return to the Nague now. We’ll be here a few days, so I want you to go back to the ship and tell ‘One Eye’,” the Captain continues, while still watching the surreal scene between Captain Peg leg and the Cannibal, “that we need to drop the nets and catch some fish. And let Amelie know she’s Master-at-Arms until ‘Dizzying Blade’ returns. However, our guest,” and the Captain nods towards the Cannibal, “will stay in ‘Dizzying Blade’s’ room sans the weapons.”
“Not Arsema?” To her Arsema always came across as closest to ‘Dizzying Blade’.
“Arsema is going to train with ‘Ship Protector’ as Master-at-Arms of the Sea,” the Captain replies in a drunken, but thoughtful tone. “I want Arsema along with ‘Ship Protector’ to dive down and investigate the damage to the Surprise. We’ll also need them to help the ‘Ship Builder’ get the ropes in place to release the Surprise from that rock. I want this done as soon-as-possible. We need to prepare to attack—you know who.”
She and the Captain both spit on the ground.
Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD
Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kitchener-Waterloo)
With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com
Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;
Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier: http://fireandsteel.ca/
Alex Watt for background pictures
Daiana Duca for background pictures
Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures