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-Five)

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

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

The Surprise rests against an outcropping of rocks with minimal damage to her port side.  Master Jo Anne agrees with the Captain and ‘Ship Builder’ that the ship can be salvaged with enough help.  From the hold she hears the ‘Ship Builder’ call up that the crew’s personal chests are locked.  A short time later she hears him shout up that the barrels in the cargo hold are all tied and untouched.

Once on deck she hears him say in his deep, solemn voice, “The Cannibals just wanted meat it seems.”

She notices that there’s no other sign of death but for the chipped beams from obvious sword and knife fighting.  She thought there would be blood.  It was so long ago but she remembers now that when the Cannibals killed and ate all of Barthadrow’s men on the Nagua, there were few signs except for a few pieces of flesh and a tooth here and there.

As they head towards the island she realizes the pinnace is loaded with a motley crew.  The Captain and Zala sit on the front seat facing towards the rocky beach they head towards.  On the middle seat are ‘Wheel Turner’ and the ‘Ship Builder’.  She wonders if his finger makes rowing harder.  With her, seated at the very back, is ‘Dizzying Blade’ with the ‘Harlot’ between them.  Watching ‘Dizzying Blade’ slide a flint stone along the blade of one of her throwing knives is very intimidating.  The ‘Harlot’ is sitting forward with an intent stare. 

In the centre of the pinnace is the metal fire pit for the ‘Ship Protector’, two sacks, and a barrel of sustenance very dear to the Captain.  One of the sacks is full of biscuits and dried fish.  The other contains a few of the bows and arrows the Captain asked to be made.  The arrow heads are coated in a resin Nippi made from a plant called Bell Iron.  The husk of the plant is thick and hairy like a coconut but bell shaped.  Inside is an inedible and viscous liquid that smells horrible but hardens the tips to the strength of iron.  She remembers looking inside an open fruit and seeing fibers that hold the large seed inside.  The fibres are soft like silver but extremely strong.  The ‘Harlot’ made some jewellery from the fibres.

A light drizzle makes everything glisten.  But the wind is a zephyr and warm.  As always the water has a stench from the rotting vegetation left by low tide.

Partially hidden amongst some giant Aloe Vera growing near the shore is another pinnace. 

“We’ll land between those two boulders,” she hears the Captain call in a soft voice. 

‘Dizzying Blade’ puts away her sharpening stone.  Zala takes out a bow and a quiver with six arrows from the one sack.  She tosses the ‘Harlot’ another bow and quiver.  Everyone else but the rowers draws out whatever type of rapier or sword they have. 

Once the pinnace slides into the pebbled shore the Captain and Zala leap out first.  ‘Dizzying Blade’, herself, and the ‘Harlot’ leap into the shallow water next.  As they all head towards shore ‘Wheel Turner’ and the ‘Ship Builder’ pull the pinnace farther onto shore and spike its rope into the ground.  They won’t be coming with them.

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 Five: Blog Thirty-Two)

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

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

“I’ll take me kip now,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says with a glance up at the sky where the much closer Eau-de-vie blocks the milky white of the much farther away Cachaça.

Oli sees Aarini gulp.  “Steady lass,” Oli says reassuringly.  “We see this once a year.”

“I saw what they did to Barthadrow’s crew on the Nagua—before we took it–and the Queen of Pirates gave it to the Captain,” Aarini says shivering as she stares up into the sky now the colour of brandy.  “The only thing left was the blood stains mixed with bits of skin and slivers of bone.  Is that what happened to the ‘Ship Builder’s’ finger?  He had to fight off the Cannibals when Eau-de-vie covered Cachaça?”

“Best forget that,” Oli hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say in a stern tone.  “Captain and Navigator don’t like talk of what happened to the ‘Ship Builder’s’ finger.  Besides, I don’t need nightmares before a potential battle.”

“Ah!  The girls Zala has chosen have arrived,” Oli says with a sigh, glad to change the subject.  “Off to bed for you Zala,” Oli says to the girl she is sure will be a captain someday.”

“Aye, aye, First Mate,” Zala replies.

As ‘Wheel Turner’ and Zala leave Oli turns to the waiting girls.  The younger ones already look woozy from the rum.

“Four of you older and bigger girls get on the spokes of the capstan and help Cook Nippie and Janet get that anchor aboard,” she shouts out.  “Ye others get pulling the ropes to raise the sails and be prepared to pull on the sheets.  Except you Kitkun,” she says to a tall, lean girl who is deep into her child bearing years. 

Her nickname is Raven, both because of the meaning of her name and her and keen eyesight.  “We need you in the Crows ‘Nest.” 

Kitkun once told her she came from a giant Island off the shore of an even larger island.  Where her people made totems poles and warred with the tribes from the other island.  She had also told Oli her parents gave her the name Kitkun because ravens circled over her mother as she gave birth to her. 

“You’ve got the eyes of the raven lass,” Oli reminds Kitkun.

“Aye, aye, First Mate” Kitkun replies as she clambers up the rope ladder of the main mast.

Oli plucks the strings of her mandolin and sings:  “Have you heard the tale of Whimpering Isaac?”

“We have,” the girls sing back, “but tell us again First Mate Olanis.”

Oli swings her mandolin behind her and climbs the steps to the fo’c’sle.  On the bowsprit sits The Navigator, Master Jo Ann, and beside her huddled in a canvas sheet is the ‘Harlot’.

“He was the first pirate to survive the Cannibals.  Well most of him.”  She sings.  She pauses, entranced as the ‘Harlot’ glances her way; with a stare so familiar.  Oh, she thinks, I know whose eyes the ‘Harlot’s reflect.  That look of devotion, and of determination, of desperation, and fear of never seeing her lover again.  The ‘Harlot’ might lose her nickname if this is true.  I think she’s smitten with Humphrey.  That pained face the ‘Harlot’ wears as the growing wind whips her hair into her face, is the spitting image of the one she so often sees, on ‘The Shipbuilder’s’.

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-Two)

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

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

“I’ll take me kip now,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says with a glance up at the sky where the much closer Eau-de-vie blocks the milky white of the much farther away Cachaça.

Oli sees Aarini gulp.  “Steady lass,” Oli says reassuringly.  “We see this once a year.”

“I saw what they did to Barthadrow’s crew on the Nagua—before we took it–and the Queen of Pirates gave it to the Captain,” Aarini says shivering as she stares up into the sky now the colour of brandy.  “The only thing left was the blood stains mixed with bits of skin and slivers of bone.  Is that what happened to the ‘Ship Builder’s’ finger?  He had to fight off the Cannibals when Eau-de-vie covered Cachaça?”

“Best forget that,” Oli hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say in a stern tone.  “Captain and Navigator don’t like talk of what happened to the ‘Ship Builder’s’ finger.  Besides, I don’t need nightmares before a potential battle.”

“Ah!  The girls Zala has chosen have arrived,” Oli says with a sigh, glad to change the subject.  “Off to bed for you Zala,” Oli says to the girl she is sure will be a captain someday.”

“Aye, aye, First Mate,” Zala replies.

As ‘Wheel Turner’ and Zala leave Oli turns to the waiting girls.  The younger ones already look woozy from the rum.

“Four of you older and bigger girls get on the spokes of the capstan and help Cook Nippie and Janet get that anchor aboard,” she shouts out.  “Ye others get pulling the ropes to raise the sails and be prepared to pull on the sheets.  Except you Kitkun,” she says to a tall, lean girl who is deep into her child bearing years. 

Her nickname is Raven, both because of the meaning of her name and her and keen eyesight.  “We need you in the Crows ‘Nest.” 

Kitkun once told her she came from a giant Island off the shore of an even larger island.  Where her people made totems poles and warred with the tribes from the other island.  She had also told Oli her parents gave her the name Kitkun because ravens circled over her mother as she gave birth to her. 

“You’ve got the eyes of the raven lass,” Oli reminds Kitkun.

“Aye, aye, First Mate” Kitkun replies as she clambers up the rope ladder of the main mast.

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

The Reason I Wrote:  Healing the Temple of the Soul (a story about body image and eating disorders)

The Reason I Wrote:  Healing the Temple of the Soul

(A story about body image and eating disorders)

By D. Watt, B.A., PT

I remember volunteering at a YMCA when a very thin girl came up to me.  She grabbed the skin of her arm and asked me how she could lose fat.  I could see her bone through her skin.  I knew very little about eating disorders then so I told her she didn’t need to lose fat but needed to add muscle.

On TV there would be fashion shows.  I expected to see eye appealing curves and femininity.  What I saw instead was skin and bone; androgynous wraiths wearing clothing that hung on their emaciated bodies.   

Initially I didn’t find many books about girls with eating disorders so I wrote a book about a girl struggling with an eating disorder and body image.  Knowing, that as a male, I could only take what I had heard, seen, and read and bounce it back to create the main character Cynthia, I decided to ask women I knew to read it.  It was strange to have women who had and were dealing with an eating disorder tell me I was on track while professionals who worked with individuals with eating disorders told me I was far off track.

Over the years I did find some books on eating disorders.  The one that stayed with me is Joan Ryan’s Little Girls In Pretty Boxes.  Ryan did research on female gymnasts and figure skaters and interviewed some of the athletes.  After mentioning the book to women I knew or trained my view of what causes eating disorders and body image struggles altered greatly.  Up to that point I had thought eating disorders were only a symptom of trying to control body weight and appearance.  I was shocked when I was told that much of it is caused because of physical, psychological, or/and sexual abuse at a young age.  Healing the Temple of the Soul deals more with the need to belong, attention, and sports.       

A client told me about a model friend of hers who was giving a seminar on modeling.  This was another eye opener.  Programs like Photoshop allow editors to completely change the physical attributes of a model.  A size three can become a size zero, facial features like freckles can be removed, bosoms can be enlarged or shrunk, and the neck and waist can be made thinner.  I am not a fan of what I would call the “mannequin” look. 

I wanted the cover to represent a scene in the book so I asked my Goddaughter to model for the cover of Healing the Temple of the Soul.  She looked healthy and vibrant in the picture so Stephanie McColl did an amazing pointillism portrait of her looking gaunt.

There’s a song I include in the book by Alanis Morissette called Mary Jane.  A verse in the song says what so many people who care are:

I hear you’re losing weight again Mary Jane
Do you ever wonder who you’re losing it for

Arcade Fire’s Creature Comfort points out the need for attention:

Some girls hate their bodies
Stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback

Now there’s a new song/message from Billie Eilish called Not My Responsibility in which she deals directly with body image and weight:

Is my value based only on your perception?

Or is your opinion of me?

Not my responsibility

Body shaming can come in many forms: too heavy, too light, showing too much skin, or not enough.  Sexual attraction is natural but it needs to be surrounded by respect.  The movie The Fifth Element comes to mind when discussing sexuality and respect.  Bruce Willis’s character Korben reaches out to touch a mostly naked Leeloo played by Milla Jorovich.  Leeloo grabs Korben in a strangle hold and tells him, “Never without my permission.”

The goal of Healing the Garden of the Body is to encourage anyone with an eating disorder or body image struggle that they can overcome their fears.                                                                                                                                                                                                I also wanted to point out that everyone has struggles and the importance of support.  Mostly though, I want people who are struggling to understand that there are others who care about them, including men.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog two)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog two)

“Aye, and when Barthadrow tried to put him into the evil barrel he escaped with some of the other boys.  After telling us his story he talked of consent and that as he built up his crew any of the original boys who prefer the opposite sex were allowed to join other ships.”

 “Tristan is a good man,” the Captain says.  “We would have been captured or killed by Barthadrow’s crew a number of times without him.”

“He is,” Oli says with a smirk.  “Probably because our surgeons Canneta and Areso are mated his crew thinks ours is like theirs and we prefer to partner with other females.  The exception being the Ship Builder of course, the only male you let live on the Nagua.  I know you and he are close, as is our Navigator is to both of you, but he doesn’t seem to fit our motley crew and I sense he would not be a fit on the Unbroken

“You and the Pirate Queen saved me when I was ten and I would guess at least ten years have passed since then.  I was so busy trying to prove myself all that time that I never bothered to ask about him before.  Yours and the Navigator’s relationship to him, is hard to grasp.  Not a lover, not a father figure, nor an older brother but I’ve always sensed a deep comradery between the three of you.  And it’s an interesting finger he is missing.”

Oli sees an anguished look cross the Captain’s face.  “You are like my sister,” the Captain says in a faraway voice, “You and the Navigator, but I think it’s best to keep that story hidden for now First Mate.”

“I don’t understand the desire to be with the same sex,” Oli continues.  She realizes drinking so much brandy the other night has loosened her tongue.  “So many of them are good looking and intelligent and we are not a large population yet.  However, at least they have their mates with them.”  Oli hears the lament in her own voice.  “Yours and mine are currently captaining ships hardly larger than sloops.  Not favourable odds when you consider they’re guarding the Pregnancy Ship against Barthadrow’s fleet.”

“We’ll be departing tomorrow.”  The Captain reassures her.  “As for your other point, I think as long as there are enough children on the Pregnancy Boat, it won’t matter.  They could always begrudgingly mate for the sake of continuance.  What’s important is Tristan considers children sacred while Barthadrow treats them the same as adults.”  The Captain spits into the water and changes the subject.  “We have quite the variety of ship crews in the cove.”  The Captain points at the farthest ship to their left.  “The Cannibals, vegan until they go mad during the crossover of the two moons.  We want to stay far away from them.”

“From a distance we saw a few of the other crews trading for flour and other goods with the Cannibals,” Oli says.  “I used the spyglass you gave me and all the Cannibals look anemic.  It’s too bad we can’t get them to attack the island Barthadrow has captured and made into a home base.”

“Perhaps the crossing of the two moons tells them they are missing something in their diet.”  The Captain points at the next galleon.  The Sames have the complete range of human skin colours.  Midnight blue to almost translucent skin, some even have patches of different colours.”

“But they all have the curly blonde hair of the poodles from Earth, or like some of us have below,” Oli adds with mischief in her voice.

They both laugh.

She sees the Captain gaze far to the right.  A ship so huge it seems unreal bobs up and down there.  “The Real Talls should make it to the Pregnancy Ship first.  I know we and others were sucked into the whirlpool during the giant shooting star that caused Luna to turn a cobalt blue colour.  I think though, the Real Talls, Sames, and Cannibals are from somewhere else.  Did you get caulking along with the other supplies?”  Oli follows the Captain’s gaze as it wanders to a nearby galleon, one just a bit larger than the Nagua.  Captain Nathan Peg leg’s Surprise.

“I bartered some of the excess spiked orange we had in the barrels from trading with the Horse People with Captain Peg leg for caulking,” she says.  “Most of our supplies we bartered with Tristan.” 

“Any problems?” the Captain asks.

This is the part of the conversation Oli is dreading.  “Yes,” she replies with a tremble in her voice.

“Someone has wronged one of our crew?  Our Harlot, Thelma?”

They both look down at the deck where a buxom girl with her blouse partially undone sits needling battens into a spare mainsail while a lit lantern swings from an overhead rope. 

Rita Walker (Blog Fourteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Fourteen):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

In 1974 Spanish pilot and marine officer Juan Pérez was the first European to discover the Haida Gwaii but bad weather stopped him from landing and claiming it for Spain.   James Cook, Captain of the Royal navy was the first European known to visit the Haida Nation.  Archaeology digs have determined the Haida have been living on the Haida Gwaii islands from 6000 to 8000 years ago.

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/haida-gwaii

https://www.raconteur.net/business-innovation/cobalt-mining-human-rights

https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/giants/aegir-and-ran/

https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/haida/havwa01e.html

As she drives home from the college the sky is dark and clear.  A song she hasn’t heard in a long time comes on.  Chalk Circle’s “This Mourning” gets her tapping her hands against the steering wheel.  It reminds her why Kaneki needs to go back to Centre Earth.

The weeping willow string she planted is growing little nubs that she hopes will grow into tiny branches.  It was wonderful that Kaylee asked her to teach a Haida language course three times a week along with her once a week Environmental Technology class.  She knows she’ll be financially stable for the next three years.  Her real focus though is on what she does at night.  So with a cup of licorice tea she sits in front of her window in her kitchenette and concentrates on the tiny willow sapling.  A quarter moon shines through her window awakening the elemental inside her.  She could control its pull for her to change but tonight she wants to transform.  Her eyes remain open but become unfocused.

She finds herself at Soper Park.  Before her Oya is dressed ready for action.

“What do you want child?” Oya asks in an exasperated voice.

“To visit Rán.”

“This is a bad time for me child of Ailbe Rose.  I must deal with Kaneki’s influence on mining for cobalt in the Congo.   Think of Island and go!”

To Icelanders their home is known as Island.  It’s where her grandfather wanted to return to.

When Rita was five her father took the family to Kiusta at the northern tip of Haida Gwaii.  Taking her hand he led her to the shore where the ruins of a long boat rested near a group of ancient totem poles.  “My father, your grandfather arrived on this boat.  He was nearly dead when they brought him to a sweat lodge and your grandmother nursed him to health.  He came from far far away.  You and I have his eyes whereas your brother has pure Haida eyes like your mother.  I would find him staring at this ruin as we worked on his new boat.  I think he would have stayed if your grandmother had not died during the Tsimshian raid.”

Rita only remembers her father’s father vaguely.  Tall and strong, with long brown hair and a red beard that flowed to his chest.  His voice was loud sometimes but more often hushed as though his soul were broken.  By the fire pit he would stare at her but with his chin turned slightly away.  It made her feel as if he was watching her wearily.  His Haida Gwaii words were clipped and often he added words she had never heard before.  He always kept his distance from her.  “There is something else in this child,” she would hear him say to both her mother and father at different times.  He would shake his shaggy head afterwards and stare at her out of the corner of his eyes.

When she was four her father’s father had taken dry fish and fresh water onto his new boat with its many ribs.  “Someday others like me will come,” he warned before he paddled north towards the Bering Sea.  In the distance Rita remembered seeing him unfurl the strange red and white curving sail his mother had helped him sew.  He was right others like him would arrive at Haida Gwaii but Rita wouldn’t learn about that until later.

Her vision becomes cloudy.  As the cloud dissipates she can see Rán walking in modern clothes by a river.    Rán stops and turns to her with a beaming smile.  Rita realizes Kaneki has not made his presence known as much on Iceland—yet.

Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 by Freyr Holldorsson
Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 by Freyr Holldorsson

“What can I do for you Rita?” Rán asks in her boisterous voice.

Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 3 by Freyr Holldorsson
Gunnhildur as Rán for Rita Walker November 9 2019 3 by Freyr Holldorsson

“Do you have student named Marlo?”

“I do.  When you change you can watch him by the lake near where you live.  He is with you Rita that I can assure you.”

“Thank you, Rán,” Rita says as Rán fades away and she feels herself changing.

Rita Walker (Blog Six):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Six):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

An interesting twist.  The Haida believe that animals are more intelligent than humans and can transform into human form.  If you are from the Haida it would be good to hear from you.   Why have we included Indio’s (Gordon Peterson) song Hard Sun?  We’ll leave that up to you to figure out.

Andraya as Vilas for Rita Walker (2)

https://prezi.com/vy0c2vx1kudj/the-haida-tribe-spiritual-beliefs/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1tVvQUAcf4

Lying in her bed Rita stares at the black cloth of the curtain that blocks the view of the night sky.  Soon she will pull the curtain back but not yet.  She turns off the lamp beside her bed and stares up into the darkness of the room.  She thinks of the Indio song Hard Sun, and the verse:  When I look to leave her I always stagger back again.  The song reminds her of the first time her world changed.

She was born in Haida Gwaii to parents with ancestry in both Haida and the Vikings, and something else that her parents never discussed with her.   She was a little girl when she learned of her difference.  What she thought was unique she later discovered to be very rare.  Lying in a four person tent with her parents and older brother in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, with the rain pitter-pattering against the tent’s canvas, she dreamt.

She crawled along one of the nearby trails on her hands and knees with her blanket over her back.  In the dream she needed to move like this during the night in order to sleep.  Occasionally she would nap on her blanket then continue crawling.

The dawn light awoke her but she was not sleeping in the tent.  She grabbed her blanket and stood up.  Looking back at the trail she had crawled along she saw the imprint of a cat’s paws as far back as she could see.  She ran back to her parent’s tent.  Peering into the tent she saw they were all asleep.  She did not want to disturb their slumber so rolled into her blanket near the fire pit her father had made.  The second dream that night was the one that changed her forever.

She stood in a field of deciduous and coniferous trees.  Near her a young woman in a blue cloak stood.  Rita just knew she was one of two sisters.  This sister was a Vilas who answers to the Ailbe Rose, an ancient being who resides in Ireland.  Rita had stared wide eyed as the Vilas picked up soil from the ground with one hand and took one of Rita’s with the other.  The Vilas turned her hand with the soil over and let it pour into Rita’s.  When Rita’s hand was full so that the extra soil flowed off her hand back to the ground the Vilas closed Rita’s hand over the soil remaining.  When Rita opened her hand with the soil there was nothing there and the dream ended.

Rita Walker (Blog Two):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker (Blog Two):  By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

I listen to Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” often.  He is a member of a group called the Elders, founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela.

https://www.theelders.org/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDaLEGb_mo8

Cloverdale’s Horizon Ultra Low VOC paint  , Bioshield paint, and others are making environmentally friendly paints.

 

A woman in her mid-forties wearing a blue blouse and blue jeans walks towards Rita with a beaming smile.  Her raven hair is tied back and hangs half way down her back.  Her wide brown eyes glint with mischief.  It’s the tattoo of the wolf on her left arm that makes Rita feel instantly at home at the college.  The human species has a variety of races.  Some are considered more pure though she isn’t sure that the word pure is the best choice if it’s considered better than.   Rita herself is Haida from the British Columbian coast but she also has Celtic roots.  What links her to Kaydee, the woman now in front of her, is that they share a separate race all together.

“Sister,” Kaydee cries out with joy hugging Rita to her.

“Sister,” Rita replies.

“I am so glad the college agreed to give you one of the newly built rooms to teach your course on Environmental Technology.  We already have you filled up with local and International students.  And yes there is a gym on the grounds.”

As Kaydee talks and they walk towards the new room Rita will be teaching in Rita peeks through some of the doors to the other lecture rooms.  Between two large, erasable ink boards is a screen that the professor can use a pointer stick with in one hand while clicking a remote with the other.  Students sit at desks on a sloping floor.  Kaydee takes her down a new corridor painted eggshell white with a red band down the centre.

“The painters used Cloverdale’s Horizon line paints because they’re non-toxic,” Kaydee tells her as they stop at door with a small square window at the top.

She sighs deeply.  Many years ago Peter Gabriel sang Biko with an orchestra at the Ed Sullivan theatre on the David Letterman Show.   The music plays in Rita’s head as she remembers what Peter Gabriel said as he thrust his hand in the air.  But she isn’t here to tell the next generation it’s up to them.  She’s here to say, “ It’s up to all of us now.”