A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Eight: Blog Fifty-One)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Eight: Blog Fifty-One)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“I was too busy to hear tales,” “Dizzying Blade” says with shake of her mane.  “After demonstrating and defeating many of the girls and some of the boy horsies in sparring matches with different weapons I said I should win a prize each time I win.  They are a very competitive bunch so they agreed.  I told them for each match I win they must give me a bow and quiver and some of their spears.  Unfortunately, most of the girls would not be able to pull the horsies’ bowstrings, nor hold the thick shafts of their spears.  So, I said we would take their children’s.  A lot of little ones broke out in tears as I was given their play weapons.”  “Dizzying Blade” laughs and out of habit everyone including Olanis follow suite.

“Haven’t seen the “Harlot””, Olanis says glancing about.

“We’re to call her “Flag Weaver” now that she’s a proper woman with a single man,” “Wheel Turner” says.  “She and her lover are staying indefinitely with the Horse People.  She’s an ambassador now.  I’m going to miss her little sarcastic replies.”                       

“And where is the “Ship Builder”?” Olanis asks.

“Down below,” “Wheel Turner” replies.  “We’re going to get you your own ship as soon as the anchors are aboard,” she continues with a grin.

Standing beside the Captain on the fo’c’sle without her eyepatch Olanis sings loudly, “Grab the handles of the capstan ladies

Get the anchor to its place at the stern

Heave the ropes to raise the sails

We’re off

We’re off to the sea

Early in the day the Captain asked her to sing a song to rouse the crew.  She changed a few words to bows and arrows because they rarely used cannons now.

Prepare the bows and arrows

Sharpen whatever blades you carry

And drink up your share of rum

We’re off

We’re off to war!

As she sings Olanis sees “Unibrow”, Janice, and the Cannibal fill up the pewter mugs that the crew has attached to their capris with leather string.

“I’m on first watch,” the Captain tells her.  “Dizzying Blade”, “Wheel Turner”, “Storm Bringer”, “Ship Protector” Umi are with me.  You’ll have Zala as First Mate, Aarini as Helmswoman, Janice as Navigator, Arsema as “Ship Protector”, and Amelie as Master-of-Arms.”

“Aye,” Captain Olanis says with a grin.  “And Mesi and Althea?”

“Best let them sleep through it all,” the Captain says with a wink.

“Aye again,” Olanis says with a gleam in her eyes.  She tingles all over at the idea of playing captain.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Eight: Blog Fifty)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Eight: Blog Fifty)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Olanis wakes to the tinging sound of a cowbell Nippi keeps in the Galley.  It’s the single the Captain and the others have returned.  She groans as she pulls off her covers and dresses.  The first thing she sees is the Captain with “Storm Caller” heading down below deck.  She knows Alejandra will congratulate all the girls who battled last night and check on Gazala.  “Dizzying Blade” is already giving Arsema instructions.  She saunters over to greet those who returned.

“I want the Cannibal and Janet out of my room,” “Dizzying Blade” is saying in a tone that will tolerate no retorts.  “And I want all of my weapons placed back where they were but–,” she says as she rubs her chin in thought, “first get Amelie so she can be congratulated.”

“Aye, Master-at-arms,” Arsema says and dashes off.

“Greetings Master-at-arms,” Olanis says with a tired grin.  “And to you Helmswoman, and you Umi.” 

“Greetings,” each officer replies in turn.

As a completely exhausted looking Amelie steps up to the group, Olanis sees Arsema head towards “Dizzying Blade’s” room.

“You did a valiant job of defending our ship, Amelie,” “Dizzying Blade” says with pride until her eyes squint with suspicion.  “That dagger you have looks very familiar.”

Olanis watches with intrigue as Amelie very humbly holds out the dagger, with both hands palms up.

“You were exceptional, I heard,” “Dizzying Blade” says biting her lower lip.  “I have taught you well.  Hold onto it for now for soon we will be fighting a much bigger battle.”

Amelie’s eyes sparkle as she nods, flips the dagger so the handle is in her hand and disappears down the hatch, Olanis assumes to her hammock.

Following Arsema out of “Dizzying Blade’s” room is a disheveled Cannibal. 

“What happened to your neck?” Olanis asks Melinda.  There’s a thin red line in the centre and side of the Cannibal’s neck.

“Janet put her hammock too close to my bed,” Melinda says touching her wound.  “I got up to use the pottie and my head hit the rope of her hammock.  In a flash she cut me with a tiny blade.  I put one hand to keep the wound closed and the other up so she knew I meant no harm.  She never apologized but she did give me a cloth to cover the wound.  She’s a strange and deadly one.”

“That’s our Janet,” Olanis says with a grin.

“The Horse People have cannibals too,” “Wheel Turner” says.  “In some of their tribes they tie captured enemy male warriors between two trees.  The women bite off and eat their manly parts to improve fertility, and the men cut out their still beating hearts and devour them to gain their power.”

“That’s horrible,” Melinda says, and from the horrified expression on her face, Olanis believes she means it.

“The Horse People told you this?” “Dizzying Blade” asks.  “I heard nothing of it and I was there with you.”

“No.  Peg-leg told me,” “Wheel Turner” says knowingly.   “He also told me in some tribes the women cut off whichever breast is on the side they aim their bows with.”

“Perhaps,” Olanis says thoughtfully, “he is imposing other stories he’s heard on the Horse People.”

“Maybe,” “Wheel Turner” says with consternation.  “But it sure sounded real.”  Olanis sees “Wheel Turner” turn towards Melinda.  “He’s got a hooked hand where you ate most of his hand now.  And he’s called it Melinda in honour of you.”

The Cannibals face goes beat red.  “That’s so kind of him,” she says shyly.

“Peg-leg told me something as well,” The “Ship Protector” pipes in.  “as he looked at me with a sad ‘look at poor me’ expression and shuffled closer to me.”

“Come to think of it, he tried the same thing with me,” “Wheel Turner” interrupts.

“That’s when I pulled out my dagger and pretended to clean my nails with it,” The “Ship Protector” says.  “He told me when some of the Horse Peoples tribes capture enemy tribe women the women are given a choice.  They can become wives or be placed in a giant wicker like structure and burnt alive.  That their ashes are poured over the ground to make it more futile.”

“Fertile,” Olanis corrects her.

Where most of the weapons come from “Interview with Laura Suen, CEO of Fire and Steel”

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Seven)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Seven)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Amelie feels a hand gently pushing her shoulder.  She grabs the wrist of the hand.  Unlike “Dizzying Blade” she isn’t inclined to stab anyone who awakes her.  “Get up Amelie,” “One Eye” is whispering in her ear.

“Dixopus is here now?” she asks groggily.  She can see light through her eyelids.

“No, but a Dolphin Tail just threw some stones up onto deck.”

“A warning?” she asks.

“It’s night now lass, and the mist is dense,” continues in a whisper.  ““Storm Caller” isn’t here to look, so Janet is, and she thinks she sees a pinnace heading our way starboard side.”

“Why would the Captain be returning that way?” she asks.

“With men aboard,” “One Eye” says with a hiss.

“Barthadrow!” Amelie exclaims.  She makes a spitting sound, as does “One Eye”.  She gets dressed as quickly as she can in the light from the lantern “One Eye” is holding.  “Are you going to wake the others?” she asks glancing at the other occupied hammocks below deck?”

“Not yet.  Too much chaos will let the enemy we know we know they are coming.  We’ll wake only those who know how to use a bow and arrow for now.  Especially Nippi, for distance she’s strongest after “Wheel Turner”.  I’ll wake Canneta and Areso.  If any girls get wounded I want them attended to immediately.”

Amelie walks with stealth past all the hammocks.  She only gently nudges awake the girls who can use a bow and arrow.  She realizes there are not many with the strength or knowledge to shoot the needed distance.

Up on deck she glances at the few gathered and let’s out a long sigh. 

Amelie notices that “One Eye” keeps the lantern hooded and at hip level with just enough light for the others to see each other.  “We want the pinnace to get as close as possible,” “One Eye says with a stern voice uncommon for her.  “All the men aboard are to be killed silently.  We want that pinnace intact.”  With a glimmer in her unpatched eye “One Eye” says with great want, “And we want to capture the ship she came from.”  She sees “One Eye” glance her way.  “Amelie.”

“Aim for the chest, and if you hit the neck all the better,” she whispers with urgency to the others.  She has killed before but most of the girls on deck have never had to fight.  “You do this to protect yourself.”  She knows the pirate code is generally about self-preservation.  “And your sisters.  Each of you shall set five arrows within hand reach.  Shoot until you have no more arrows left.  And if you shoot with a killer shot into the same man more than once—good.”  Accuracy and thoroughness wins ranged battles “Dizzying Blade” had explained to her and Arsema numerous time until it became a mantra. 

“Nippi,” she says to “Unibrow”, “you will be shooting the flaming arrows.  Janet will give you direction.”  Turning to the other girls she says, “Wait for the arrow’s light to guide you to a target.”

Amelie stands silently as she watches with racked nerves as “Unibrow” crouches low before ascending the steps to the fo’c’sle where Janet is peering over the railing.  They can’t afford to use a telescope.  The glass of the lens might reflect off the light of the stars and two moons.  All the lessons the Captain, “Dizzying Blade”, “Wheel Turner”, and “One Eye” taught her are coming to use in this one desperate moment.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Two)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Seven: Blog Forty-Two)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

While the rest of the remaining crew pull in the nets, under the instruction of Aarini, Amelie is trying to teach Mesi and Althea how to fight with wooden swords.  In between words of encouragement and curses under her breath, she glances under the fo’c’sle at ‘Dizzying Blade’s’ room; where the Cannibal women, Melinda, now resides.

“Don’t worry about flicking your hair,” Amelie tells Althea as she attempts again to demonstrate the proper combination of footwork and arm movement when using a sword. 

“But I want her to know who the better fighter is by showing my superior confidence,” Althea replies in her determined Egyptian accent. 

“She knows I’m a better fighter, and much more beautiful,” Mesi says in her soft Pilipino accent, flicking her own hair back.

Amelie bunches up her shoulders and is about go snarl at the two girls when she hears Aarini shout out, “Pakad! Hold!”  Amelie instantly draws out her two tiny throwing knives, that she keeps secreted in her bandana, as she spins around towards Aarini.

Stuck within the interlocking ropes of the net, are two Dolphin Tails, seemingly stuck together.  “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” Amelie says to herself.

“Get the First Mate,” Aarini tells one of the girls, who was pulling in the rope.  The gaped mouthed girl stares for a moment longer, before rushing off to wake up ‘One Eye’.

“Alive?” Amelie asks as she slides the knives back into her bandana, and draws her Ninjato out.

The tails of the two Dolphin Tails slap, and with a loud cry they try to separate within the ropes.  The one underneath has breasts, and well, the one on top does not try to roll over, but slides off.

“Get them out!” she hears a groggy, First Mate Oli, shout out.  She sees “One Eye” hurry towards the captured Dolphin Tails.  “Loosen the bridles!”

As Aarini loosens the bridles Amelie steps closer.  It’s up to her to protect her shipmates.  She has seen Dolphin Tails occasionally; either their heads peaking above the sea’s surface, or their flukes slapping the water as they dive, but never this close.

The upper body of both the female and male Dolphin Tails is humanish.  Only the fluked tails and thick rubbery skin that runs from the back of their head to a blowhole near the bottom of their neck, gives them a mammalian appearance.  She peers closer; and sees thick webbing between their unusually long fingers.  She leans even closer, to get a better look at why the male has rolled onto his back.

As the nets are pulled off, both the Dolphin Tails walk rapidly on their hands, hurrying towards the rail of the port gunwale.

“Help them over!” First Mate Oli shouts as she gets under the female Dolphin Tails’ one arm.  Aarini gets under the other.  Amelie sees the female try to fight them off at first, but as ‘One Eye’ talks to her in her sing-song voice, the female lets them help her onto, and over the gunwale.  The male, with his bulging arms and back muscles, refuses any help as he pulls himself over.  A number of the girls run to the port side.  ‘One Eye’ yells for the others to go starboard as the Nagua starts to list.  

Amelie shrugs, ignoring ‘One Eye’s’ warning, and looks over the port side.  She’s the current Master-at-Arms, so she can do almost anything she wants—because whatever she does is important.  The male Dolphin Tail is slapping the water with his fists.  He points a webbed finger at the rigging.  Amelie sees ‘One Eye’ pull a section of netting to the port side.  The male Dolphin Tail makes a fist again and shakes it at the net.

“I understand,” ‘One Eye’ shouts to him before turning to the rest of the crew on the deck, and telling them, “I have no idea if he understands what I’m saying, “but we’ll have to figure out another way to catch fish.  Now everyone, knock out the fish, so they don’t suffer, and throw anything we can’t eat overboard, so it can live a long and cheery life.”

“Like we did with the amorphous Dolphin Tails?” Aarini asks, with a mischievous grin.

“Just so,” ‘One Eye’ says.  “Thank you for not killing them,” she says to Amelie.

“De rien–you’re welcome,” Amelie replies adding the English translation.  With a beaming smile she sweeps down into a low, flamboyant bow.

Amelie modeled by Andraya Watt
Throwing Knives and Ninjato by Fire and Steel
Gemstone necklace by Street Colours

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Forty)

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:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“What was the plan,” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks passing over a biscuit and a wooden cup full of diluted rum.

Master Jo Anne watches in utter surprise as Melinda’s expression blossoms into hate and rage as she replies, “To feast on Barthadrow and his crew.”

Everyone, including Melinda spits.

“Worthy task,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a nod.  “Well our Captain is impatient so the ‘Ship Builder’ and I will just lug this casket of liquid gold to the talk.” 

Master Jo Anne sees the ‘Ship Builder’ glance her way with concern.

‘I’ll be fine,’ she mouths back to him.

“I think the Navigator will agree with me when I say we are a Sisterhood,” Zala says.

“Aye,” she replies turning away from the ‘Ship Builder’.

“What sort of religion do you follow?” Zala asks the Cannibal.

“I follow the most righteous religion,” Melinda replies.  “Drebee is my goddess.  All other religions are backwards and despicable.”  Leaning forward the Cannibal adds conspiratorially, “They eat their own children.”

“But you said your world is overpopulated,” Zala says. 

Master Jo Anne smiles.  A real thinker is Zala.

Melinda’s mouth opens and she stares off with a confused expression on her face.  “Well, that’s what our priests tale us,” she starts to explain but then hesitates again.  Then she perks up and says enthusiastically, “They don’t take care of themselves and die of disease.  And the couples hate each other.”

“Should you be eating them then?” Zala asks.

“Let us talk about something else,” Melinda says and her smile is charming and persuasive although her mauve irises grow darker and the red specks increase in size.

“Yes,” she hears Zala agree.  She sees Zala move slightly farther away from Melinda.

“The one with the lost gaze and strangely misplaced missing finger seems handsome in a pitiful kind of way,” Melinda says with a smile that causes her canine shaped fangs to glint in the light of the two moons.  “Is he spoken for?”

“Yes,” Master Jo Anne replies curtly and before Zala can say anything.

“Here?” Melinda asks looking back at the Nagua.

Master Jo Anne slides her hand over the pommel of her rapier and partially withdraws it.  “It’s not to be discussed,” she warns through gritted teeth. 

“Well, no matter,” Melinda replies.  The look in Melinda’s eyes cause Master Jo Anne to think of a painting of the Greek or is it Roman deity, Apollo.  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“So,” Melinda continues without any show of fear.  “Have you ever been in a place where one day it stops raining and the surrounding villages won’t let you in?”

“No,” Master Jo Anne hears Zala reply in a very inquisitive like tone.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“What was the plan,” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks passing over a biscuit and a wooden cup full of diluted rum.

Master Jo Anne watches in utter surprise as Melinda’s expression blossoms into hate and rage as she replies, “To feast on Barthadrow and his crew.”

Everyone, including Melinda spits.

“Worthy task,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a nod.  “Well our Captain is impatient so the ‘Ship Builder’ and I will just lug this casket of liquid gold to the talk.” 

Master Jo Anne sees the ‘Ship Builder’ glance her way with concern.

‘I’ll be fine,’ she mouths back to him.

“I think the Navigator will agree with me when I say we are a Sisterhood,” Zala says.

“Aye,” she replies turning away from the ‘Ship Builder’.

“What sort of religion do you follow?” Zala asks the Cannibal.

“I follow the most righteous religion,” Melinda replies.  “Drebee is my goddess.  All other religions are backwards and despicable.”  Leaning forward the Cannibal adds conspiratorially, “They eat their own children.”

“But you said your world is overpopulated,” Zala says. 

Master Jo Anne smiles.  A real thinker is Zala.

Melinda’s mouth opens and she stares off with a confused expression on her face.  “Well, that’s what our priests tale us,” she starts to explain but then hesitates again.  Then she perks up and says enthusiastically, “They don’t take care of themselves and die of disease.  And the couples hate each other.”

“Should you be eating them then?” Zala asks.

“Let us talk about something else,” Melinda says and her smile is charming and persuasive although her mauve irises grow darker and the red specks increase in size.

“Yes,” she hears Zala agree.  She sees Zala move slightly farther away from Melinda.

“The one with the lost gaze and strangely misplaced missing finger seems handsome in a pitiful kind of way,” Melinda says with a smile that causes her canine shaped fangs to glint in the light of the two moons.  “Is he spoken for?”

“Yes,” Master Jo Anne replies curtly and before Zala can say anything.

“Here?” Melinda asks looking back at the Nagua.

Master Jo Anne slides her hand over the pommel of her rapier and partially withdraws it.  “It’s not to be discussed,” she warns through gritted teeth. 

“Well, no matter,” Melinda replies.  The look in Melinda’s eyes cause Master Jo Anne to think of a painting of the Greek or is it Roman deity, Apollo.  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts.

“So,” Melinda continues without any show of fear.  “Have you ever been in a place where one day it stops raining and the surrounding villages won’t let you in?”

“No,” Master Jo Anne hears Zala reply in a very inquisitive like tone.

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-three)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-three)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Master Jo Anne clenches the scrying ball in her left hand as she sits on the bowsprit with her chin jutting out as she peers through the wet wind.  Raven had called out that a ship was stuck and listing near the shore of an island called Nasty To Get Off.  

She can now see that the mainmast was broken off just below the crow’s nest.  She wonders if Peg leg’s Surprise had cannon shot or did the Cannibals?  As the Nagua gets closer she knows it isn’t the Cannibal ship but the Surprise.  She turns to the ‘Harlot’ and sees the red rimmed eyes under her hand that she uses as a visor.  The ‘Harlot’s’ lips are also cracked.

“Is that the Surprise?” the ‘Harlot’ asks in a raspy voice full of worry.

“It is,” Master Jo Anne replies.  “But there’s no pinnace aboard and they had two.”

“I want to go ashore,” the ‘Harlot’ says and there’s no room for argument.

“We need to get to the Surprise first, see what’s usable before we check the shore.”  Master Jo Anne reaches back and pats the ‘Harlot’s’ shoulder.  “The Surprise is listing Northeast!” she shouts.

Surprise Northeast!” she hears Umi shout from the fo’c’sle, “Wake Captain!  Surprise listing!”

Faintly from a distance she hears Aarini’s ragged voice reply, “Aye, aye, ‘Ship Protector’!”

“I’m going to get the Master-at-Arms to teach me how to kill if they ate my Humphrey,” the ‘Harlot’ croaks out.  “If they did, by Crazy Bumbee’s hairy arse, I’ll kill them all!”

“You’ll need to eat first and no more rum!” Master Jo Anne tells her with true concern in her voice.  Never has she seen the ‘Harlot’ appear so distraught. 

As the Nagua nears the Surprise Master Jo Anne hears Aarini shout out the Captain’s orders.  “Lower the sails and prepare to drop anchor!”  ‘One Eye’ and Zala must still be sleeping if Aarini is repeating the Captian.  “Roll call for the pinnace is–,” Aarini continues to shout when the ‘Harlot’ takes off down the fo’c’sle’s steps.

“Me!” Master Jo Anne hears the ‘Harlot’ cries out.

There’s silence for a moment.  A moment later Aarini shouts out: “Thelma is chosen!  Navigator wake the Master-at-Arms, and if you live wake Zala.”  Drunken laughter erupts through the ship.  “First Mate Olanis will be in charge of the ship,” Aarini continues, “with me as her First Mate.  Our most esteemed Captain will be joining the others on the pinnace.  The Captain says, and I quote, ‘A final rule me lovely crew of Mary Reads, if you see any horsemen cantering on the shore, especially if they’re starkers, no catcalls!’”

Dan Watt is the author of BARD an epic fantasy story

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com

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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Four)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Dan Watt is the author of BARD an epic fantasy story

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com

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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Five: Blog Thirty)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Five: Blog Thirty)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

“You’re a genius First Mate Olanis,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says and slaps her on the shoulder.  “Up you go while I pass the skin sacks to you.”

Oli grunts as ‘Wheel Turner’ gives her the sacks.  “If we really wanted to get fresh water we would need to hook up a pulley and use buckets,” she says through gritting teeth.

“There’s a wind coming up and dark clouds in the sky that says are time here is up,” ‘Wheel Turner’ replies with her own grunt.

“I’m thinking we tie a string to the sacks and place them on some of the broad leaves so we can slide them down,” Oli says wiping perspiration from her forehead.  You might be able to carry them but they’re too heavy for me to lug down.”

“Aye,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says. 

Oli sees ‘Wheel Turner’ hack off a couple of leaves from unfamiliar plant.  The leaves are as long and wide as she is. 

Once they get to the water Oli makes one of Umi’s Ama whistles.  In a short time she sees the pinnace being rowed their way.

The growing waves rock the pinnace as it makes it back to the Nagua.  Once the two water sacks, seaweed, and dogweed are loaded Oli goes with ‘Wheel Turner’ to see the Captain on the Fo’c’sle.

“Captain and Navigator,” she and ‘Wheel Turner’ say in unison.

“There’s fruit and fresh water and we found a new people,” Oli tells the Captain.

“Taller than the Real Talls and with a dorsal fin along their backs,” ‘Wheel Turner’ adds.

“Well,” the Captain says as she pinches her chin in thought.  “All we saw was Peg leg’s Surprise pass us with the Cannibals’ ship close behind.”

“And there are full moons crossing,” ‘Storm Caller’ says ominously.

“Ah!” Oli cries out.  “All of us women will be howling at the moon.  It will be a crazy ship for the next while.  Poor, poor ‘Ship Builder’.  He’ll be hiding more than normal.”  She laughs.

“And Janet will be singing her lamenting songs,” ‘Wheel Turner’ adds with a groan.

“Two full moons crossing one another,” ‘Storm Caller’ says again.

Everyone goes silent.

“The Cannibals will be wanting to feed,” the Captain says in a wearisome tone.

Dan Watt is the author of BARD an epic fantasy story

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com

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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Five: Blog Twenty-Nine)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Five: Blog Twenty-Nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

‘Wheel Turner’ pops her knife out of her mouth and with a shake of her head whispers, “The ‘Harlot’ would be hypnotized by the pendulum swing of the one fellow down there.”

Oli almost spits out her knife as she holds back a laugh.  She takes her own knife out of her mouth.  “How many leagues do you think we climbed to get to the pond?”

“About ten at least,” ‘Wheel Turner’ replies.

“Then how tall do you figure them peoples down there are?”

She sees a mind churning expression on ‘Wheel Turner’s’ face.

“Maybe three, three-and-a-half for some.  They’re all different heights.”

“How tall would you say the Real Talls are?”  Oli asks, desperate for another peek but knowing its best she doesn’t.

“Two, two-and-a-half tops.”

“The Real Talls don’t have dorsal fins on their back, or wide hands with webbing between though, do they?” Oli asks conspiratorially.

“They don’t have feathery things for hair or wide splayed feet, or walk around nude either,” ‘Wheel Turner’ adds.  “Thought I saw an opening at the far end of the lagoon but couldn’t be sure with all the foliage.  Do you think they’re newbies and still haven’t found their way around?”

“There was some poorly made huts,” Oli replies thoughtfully.  Could be their ship was dashed to pieces and they’re all that’s left.”

“Really want to take another look,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says while she clasps her hands into fists.

Oli glances up into the sky.  “Best we get some water and relate all this to the Captain,” she says with a finger to her lips.

She and ‘Wheel Turner’ take turns filling their water sacks.  While one fills the other keeps an eye on the far side of the pond.

“Would have liked to lay nude and all and let the sun dry me but we best get back,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says with a sigh.  “Do you think we’ll ever be safe to do what we want?”

“What fun is it to do what we want and be safe,” Oli says with her head tilted to the side and a wide grin on her face.

Dan Watt is the author of BARD an epic fantasy story

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com

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

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Five: Blog Twenty-Eight)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series

Oli sees that Eau-de-vie is not far from Cachaça.  She helps ‘Wheel Turner’ climb down then without waiting drops down herself.  The pond is only a few steps away.  She glances around as she waits for ‘Wheel Turner’ to taste the water.  There’s plants growing in the water but no fish, a good sign its fresh water.  At the far end there’s a V-shaped gap where she guesses any overflow of water from rain flows down to whatever is below.

“It’s fresh,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says.

Oli glances up at the sky then strips off her clothes.  “Who knows when we’ll be able to bathe in fresh water again,” she says.

“Aye,” ‘Wheel Turner’ agrees pulling off her own clothes.

Oli notices the pool is only a league deep near the shore where she and ‘Wheel Turner’ frolic for a moment, splashing water at each other.

“Let’s see what’s over the other ridge,” Oli suggests.  She dunks her head in the water.  When she surfaces she shakes her hair.  “This water feels so good,” she laments.

“Off to the edge of the world,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says with a whiny voice followed by a laugh.

Oli grabs her knife.  She sees ‘Wheel Turner’ follow suit.  Never good to be weaponless, as ‘Dizzying Blade’ has reminded her many times. 

With her knife blade in her mouth Oli pulls aside some fern leaves.  Her eyes widen as she stares down a precipice.  On the far side she sees a waterfall pour into a pool.  Around the pool are very peculiar looking people.  With much diligence she lets the leaves of the fern fall back into place.  She glances at ‘Wheel Turner’ whose bulging eyes she imagines are a reflection of her own.

Dan Watt is the author of BARD an epic fantasy story

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com

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