A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! BOOK TWO (Part Ten: Blog Fifty-Four)
By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series
He stands on the fo’c’sle’s starboard side. Very close now is the Spanish galleon Alejandra intends to capture for Olanis. He glances back and towards the bowsprit where Master Jo Anne is shouting directions back to Umi who in turn shouts to Synthia. For him Alejandra and Master Jo Anne are his daughters. They were with him at the beginning of this adventure when the whirlpools sucked them into this other planet. He sees Master Jo Anne grasping the scrying ball she says the Lanira gave her. He smiles wanly as he observers the presently closed cannon windows of the enemy ship. Lanira never gave them her real name. She just let them call her Witch. He blinks away spray and perhaps something else. He mistakenly glances down at his missing finger. Alejandra was so brave that day. The last day he saw his love; the last day he felt whole.
They were sailing on a small sloop with fourteen others aboard. A mix of all the nationalities pulled in by the giant whirlpools. Desperate for fresh water they had entered an inlet under the protection of heavy mist. His job was to do the sounding while Lanira steered with little Master Jo Anne beside her.
He had shifted the satchel full of his tools that he always wore to the side and grabbed a hold of a spool of rope. Next he lowered an ancient cow bell attached to the rope with marked lengths, over the port side. Alejandra, who was standing beside him, whispered out the number of marks that went into the water. The inlet was so deep he didn’t have enough rope to find the bottom. That meant a larger galleon could have traveled this way.
Some of the crew became afraid of the mist and coming night. Their silence became whispers that got louder and more frantic with every passing moment. He heard Alejandra hush them and tell them to be quiet. But she was maybe fourteen by then. A short distance away he heard the familiar splash of a pinnace dropping into the water. Distorted glows from a lantern or torch appeared. The light got larger as the pinnace drew closer. There was no choice but to go forward—without refilling they’re water supply they wouldn’t last more than a few days.
The crew was made up of mostly non-sailors; something he and Lanira lamented after they boarded. Although they quickly took control and the girls showed their adeptness at tying knots and raising sails, most of the crew felt entitled, doing little more than bickering. Exactly what he heard them doing now as they leaned against the starboard gunwale, shouting and pointing out the oncoming lights.
“Is it from one of the Queen of Pirates’ ships?” a woman asked with much hope in her voice.
“Never mind the sounding,” he told Alejandra. “Let’s get to the helm’s wheel and collect mother and little Master Jo Anne.”
“They’re going to get us killed,” Alejandra had said with an adult’s wisdom.
“Yes,” he replied. “We’ll drop the rowboat and flee.”
That’s when he heard the screaming and the near inaudible sound of cross-bows mixed with the loud bang of a cannon.
He had dashed to the helm’s wheel. A cannon ball had destroyed it and it lay across Lanira’s legs. Dumbfounded, it was only his sense of survival that told him the enemy were throwing grappling hooks over the starboard gunwale’s railing.
As he and Alejandra heaved at the wheel to move it he saw Lanira pass something to little Master Jo Anne. “Go she whispered.” Her eyes met his and she cried out, “You promised me your heart!”
He shoved harder at the wheel but the casing it turned in kept it down.
“It’s no use my whole heart,” she whispered towards him. “Take them. You know what they’ll do to them if you don’t,” she said with knowing horror on her face.
Helplessness filled him and he fell to his knees.
“Give me your heart,” she said once again.
With a growing hollow spot in his chest he pulled out a chisel and mallet. He stared at Alejandra hopelessly. She nodded her head and took the mallet.
“Hurry!” his love cried out.
Just as he held the chisel blade below the silver ring of his finger,
Alejandra slammed the mallet down. In excruciating pain, he gasped, “Again.”
This time the finger came off. Alejandra gave him a handkerchief to hold to the wound.
“Poke one of the fishing hooks you keep through it,” he barely heard Lanira say to Alejandra. “And tie a string through and place it over my head.” Finally Lanira said, “Your love will protect me,” or he believes she did.
He was so dizzy with pain and disbelief that he remembers lowering the sloop’s rowboat and nothing more of that night.
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;
Andraya Watt as Assistant-Master-at-Arms, Amelie
With Thanks To:
Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier: http://fireandsteel.ca/
Alex Watt for background pictures
Daiana Duca for background pictures
Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures