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

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

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

“You look like a sick peacock!” ‘Wheel Turner’ shouts at the bird as she runs after it.

“Barthadrow’s barrel!” the bird screams back at her and makes a spitting sound.

“I give up,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says turning her back to the bird and taking a seat beside Oli.

Oli passes her some mulberries.  “Best we keep going,” she says getting up and dusting herself off.

“Aye,” ‘Wheel Turner’ replies with a sigh.  “Work, work, work, is all we do.”

“It’s a sad world,” Oli sings as she playfully nudges ‘Wheel Turner’ with her shoulder.  “Crazy Bumbee had it right,” she continues to sing as they trudge deeper into the forested area of the atoll.

Captain Crazy Bumbee he was

Flirted with our Captain

Tried touching without her consent

And our Captain in her wisdom

Gave him a permanent grin

Oh, Crazy Bumbee

We miss your cackle

We miss your wild tales

We miss even the madness in your eyes

Captain Crazy Bumbee he was

Smiling all the while

As he and his insane crew

Shot through the rapids

In sealed barrels

Right over the watery precipice

Of the Endless Waterfalls

“Lovely song First Mate,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says as they work their way to the top of the ridge that surrounds the atoll.

“Been working on it, silently, inside my head,” Oli replies with a prideful grin.

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 four: Blog twenty-Two)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part four: Blog twenty-Two)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Oli sees Zala and Chesah pull harder than they should have to.  Because Zala is stronger the pinnace turns east.

“It’s dragging,” Zala says.  Oli sees her stop pulling so hard.

“Well my sea dwelling sisters we haven’t sprung a leak,” Oli says with a shrug, “so struggle on, we’re nearly up to our ship.”

“So hard,” Chesah gasps, heaving on the handle of her oar.  As she does the boat suddenly spins in a circle. 

Oli grabs onto the bottom of her seat as the girls raise the paddles of their oars out of the water.  ‘Ship Protector’ Umi also has a hold onto the bottom of her seat.

“Whatever was causing the boat to drag seems to be gone,” she says taking in deep breaths. 

Taking a calming breath herself Oli tells Zala and Chesah, “Let’s try rowing again.”

As they get near the Nagua Oli shouts out, “Ahoy you sleeping sea pixies!” 

From the gunwale of the Nagua she sees ‘Harlot’ Thelma peer down.

“All hand hoy!” The ‘Harlot’ shouts out.  “First Mate Olanis and her crew of misfit and naughty nymphs are returned!”

 Oli drops cork bricks held on by short ropes over the side of the pinnace closest to the ship’s hull.  Thick ropes with hooks are lowered using pulleys.  Oli wraps the ropes around the bundles of dogweed and seaweed as Umi, Zala, and Chesah stable the pinnace by holding other lowered ropes.

“Captain wants to talk to you,” Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia tells Oli once she’s on deck.  “Many biters?”

Oli skips and claps her hands as she replies, “No, but its shallow a long way from the atoll.”

“I could use a swim,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says.

“Maybe if Umi and Zala get enough dogweed and seaweed tomorrow we can go back before it gets dark.”  Oli says patting the muscular shoulder of ‘Wheel Turner’.

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 four: Blog twenty-One)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part four: Blog twenty-One)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Once she has cut through three stems of dogweed she swims up with them.  On the surface she uses the isobue technique of the Ama.  She blows out whatever air she has left making a high pitched whistling sound.  She passes the dogweed to ‘One Eye’.  Taking in another deep breath she dives back down.   

Ten more times she returns to the surface with three long stems; each time making the high squealing sound.  There is no more dogweed nearby so she cuts off the stems of some seaweed instead.  The fiber of the seaweed will be made to make strings for the bows and repair rope for the sails and anchors.  The leaves will be used as salty herbs for ‘Unibrows’ soup to ward off scurvy.

On her twentieth time returning to the surface ‘One Eye’ shouts to her, “Full!”  ‘One Eye’ helps her on board as Zala and Chesah lean to the other side as counter balance.

Umi sits between Zala and Chesah to use their body heat to get warm as ‘One Eye’ puts more wood on the embers.

“Tomorrow, if weather is good, I teach Zala and Chesah,” Umi says as she helps the girls tie the stacks of dogweed and seaweed.

“When you’re ready ‘Ship Protector’,” ‘One Eye’ says as she passes around battered salted fish between sliced Hardtack biscuits.  She uncorks and hands Umi a clay jug full of beer to drink from first.

 “We try sushi tomorrow!” Umi says with a devilish laugh as she puts her kimono robe back on and ties it tight with the sash.   

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/

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part four: Blog nineteen)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part four: Blog nineteen)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

As the Nagua moves beyond the visibility of the city Umi’s thoughts turn to the next day when she will dive for the wooded plants ‘Dizzying Blade’ wants for the bow and arrows.  “You will come on the boat with us tomorrow Zala and Chesah.”  She smiles at the others.  “The rest of you, we try next time.”

She hears the other girls grumble that they won’t be going.  Umi smiles at the sight of Zala putting her arm around Chesah and asking her if she’s excited about the coming morning.  Only a few of the girls are willing to swim.  Most are terrified of putting their head below the surface.  She chuckles under her breath at the memory of the ‘Harlot’ telling her, she would rather eat ‘Unibrow’s’ wormy fish meal, like they were forced to years ago, than learn to be an Ama.

The Nagua is anchored about a mile from the shore of an atoll.  Umi is wearing a kimono robe with images of the leaves from a sakaki tree stitched on.   She closes her eyes and takes in deep, even breaths of the salty air. 

She opens her eyes and sees ‘One Eye’ who isn’t currently wearing her eyepatch looking back at her from the bow of the pinnace with a lopsided grin.  “We’ll keep the embers going while you dive,” ‘One Eye’ says with as she swipes away one of the flying insects that live near the shore. 

Umi stares into the yellow sky.  Pelicans with their long thick beaks swoop nearby.  She can also see frigatebirds with their thin pointed beaks and long tails.  Nearby a yellow beaked masked booby, with its wings drawn in, dives into the water.  Most of the other birds she has seen on this world keep closer to shore.  She remembers the Captain saying she wonders if they’re originally from Earth and were resting on the ships when the whirlpools pulled them to this planet.

Before her, in a cast iron box made from one of the unused cannons, are the embers of a fire.  She’ll need the warmth when she leaves the water.  She undoes her sash and lets the sun shine on her mostly bare skin.  She ties a tenugui over her head to keep her hair out of her eyes.  She is already wearing a fundoshi below.  Over the side she can see the sunlight piercing the water.  About two fathoms down the tops of seaweed flow back and forth in the current.   Growing in-between the seaweed are the hard and straight stands of what the Queen of Pirates named dogweed.

To the stern of the pinnace sit Zala and Chesah rowing.  ‘One Eye’ is navigator.  Zala’s eyes are bright and observant.  Chesah appears a bit squeamish. 

“First Mate Olanis knows that if I tug the rope once, I’m coming up, but if I tug twice I’m to be pulled up,” she tells the girls.

“And if we see danger we tug twice, wait for a tug back from Umi, then pull her back to the surface like Crazy Bumbee would,” ‘One Eye’ adds.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part three Blog fourteen)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part three Blog fourteen)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Master-at-arms ‘Dizzying Speed’ Sadie stands beside Zala on the foc’s’cle with her mouth wide open in awe.  She’s completely engrossed in the fight between the tiny, busty Filipino girl Althea, and the tall wide hipped Egyptian girl Mesi.  The two girls are screaming at each other in a mixture of English and their ancestral language.  Suddenly Althea trips over a bucket.  Mesi grabs Althea’s hair and yanks Althea back to her feet.  Althea jumps to her feet smashing the crown of her head under Mesi’s chin.  Althea starts crying while holding the top of her head while she points an accusatory finger at Althea.  At the same moment Althea is rubbing her chin with one hand while pointing the finger of her free hand at Mesi. 

“Sir?” Sadie hears Zala says but waves her off.

Mesi is staggering and shifting her lower jaw side-to-side while Althea is pointing at the top of her head and crying while she shouts at Mesi.  Mesi punches Althea in the stomach with her thumb wrapped under her fingers.  Both girls cry out.  Althea is now holding her stomach and Mesi is rubbing her thumb.

“Shouldn’t you be breaking this up, sir?” Zala says, her voice a bit louder this time.

“But…,” Sadie says.

“They might hurt each other sir,” Zala warns her.

Mesi charges Althea with her head just as Althea slips on the wet deck.  They both crash into a very angry looking ‘Unibrow’ Nippie whose wielding a ladle.

“I’ve never seen such a horribly bad fight,” Sadie says in awe.  “Not even a pretend fight,” she continues as she climbs down to the deck.

“Great fight,” she hears ‘One Eye’ cackle across the ship from the Helm.

“Absolutely amazing,” Sadie agrees absent mindedly.  Her very concise mind is still pondering how two people could fight with such imprecision.  She knows some of the other girls are Egyptian and Filipino but none of them fight as horribly as these two.

“Mesi!  Althea!” she shouts out at them then after a moment of thought continues, “And Nippie!  Stand down!”  She walks briskly towards them.

‘Unibrow’ is snarling at the girls as she taps the spoon of the ladle against her palm.

“We wish to duel sir,” Mesi says with her chin held high.

“To the death,” Althea adds.

“The problem with that,” Sadie says in a quiet, mocking tone, “Is that you would probably kill yourselves instead of each other.  Mesi, you’re to go with ‘Cook’ Nippie and work with her and Janet in the Galley.  Althea, you’ll find ‘Harlot’ Thelma and help her make strings.  Now!”

She hears ‘One-Eye’ laughing from the helm.  “We could send them to Barthodrow if he wasn’t such a bilge-sucking rapescillion,” ‘One-Eye’ shouts.

“That would make it too easy to defeat him,” Sadie shouts back.  “Everyone’s got a talent.  Well met sailing sister, got to go and carve bows so they shoot arrows that sing like banshees.”

“Keep sturdy on your feet,” ‘One-Eye’ says as she turns the wheel counter clock-wise.

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne

And Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor

Fire & Steel (medieval rapier): https://fireandsteel.ca/

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part three Blog twelve)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part three Blog twelve)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

PART THREE

Master-at-arms ‘Dizzying Blade’ Sadie yawns as she buckles on her rapier and slips throwing knives into each of her boots.  Next she clasps a thick silver necklace with a detachable letter opener over her neck.  As she clips a corkscrew into her hair she sighs.  She feels sorry about almost killing the Navigator but ‘Storm Caller’ should know better.  In her pierced ears she puts in jewellery that can easily bend into lock picks.  However, if she did accidentally kill—well not kill but maim—maybe just permanently damage ‘Storm Caller’s’ fighting hand, she could have that marvelous rapier her father gave her.  She sighs again.  ‘Storm Caller’ is her friend, her sister in their common quest to kill Barthadrow.  Sadie’s glad she didn’t kill or maim her.

Barthadrow.  The foul name that touches everyday of their lives.  She was eight, maybe nine when the Queen of Pirates rescued her from the criminal ship both she and Alejandra were imprisoned on.  She grimaces at the memory of her drunken father using most of the meager funds made from the small farm they rented in Wales to buy cheap mead.  Her mother was another story: strong, fierce, and determined.  She made that farm work as best she could.  Still there was never enough food so Sadie took to stealing.  A mistake when the British Empire decided they wanted to increase the Celtic population in Australia.

As drunk as he got her father was still a skilled swordsman and light infantry.  Now that she’s much older she realizes the wounds he took as a soldier in the War of the Spanish Succession led him to his drinking problems.  Since she was the only child he and her mother begot, he taught her from a young age how to use a sword—more of a dowel of wood at the time.  He also taught her how use a bow, and how to load a rifle.  She was too young to actually fire the rifle.  It was the Queen of Pirates that made her the weapons expert she is now.

“Mornin,” First Mate Oli,” she calls to ‘One Eye’ who isn’t currently wearing an eyepatch.

“Mornin,” Master-at-arms Sadie ‘One Eye’ shouts back with a tired grin as she stands on the Poop Deck with her hands on two of the wheels spokes.

“Zala,” she says as she climbs up to the fo’c’sle and heads towards the bowsprit where the captain watches the water with a spyglass.

“Mornin’ Master-at-arms,” Zala replies.  She looks terribly bored.

“Not much to call out?” she asks.

“Pretty still.  Only excitement is watching the Sames trying to keep ahead of the Canibals.”

“Tristan’s ship and the Real Talls are out of sight?”

“Aye sir, heard that’s to be expected.”

“Well, keep alert Zala, our lives depend on it.”

“Looking forward to the glow of the Deep Dwellers sir.”  That, Sadie notices, Zala says with some excitement in her voice.

“Comforting glow of colours that is,” Sadie says as she heads over to the Captain.

“Captain,” she says staring off into the clear horizon.  She can see the Cannibals hurrying towards the Sames as Zala pointed out.  With a glance back she can see Captain Peg legs’ Surprise trying to catch up.

“We’re almost out of gunpowder Master-at-arms,” the Captain says, as she continues to look through the spyglass.  “And we need a ranged alternative so ‘Harlot’ Thelma is making string.  What we need to do is find a shoreline that has wood we can turn into bows and maybe even crossbows.”

Sadie glances at the size of the deck and the length of the Nagua.  “We could also make catapults and ballista.  Or try to.”

“Talk to the Ship Builder and Navigator Master Jo Ann and see if between the three of you that’s worth doing but I want the bows made priority.”

“Aye, aye Captain.”

  “We need them before we get close to Dread Island,” the Captain says in a whisper that she would have missed if there had been a stronger wind.

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor

Fire & Steel (medieval rapier): https://fireandsteel.ca/

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

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

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

As she and ‘Wheel Turner’ head towards the stern Master Jo Anne grabs a mop from a chest fixed under the main mast.

“I saw her take out three of Barthadrow’s men when we stole the pregnancy ship for the Queen of Pirates,” She hears ‘Wheel Turner’ warn.

“I’m pretty fast myself,” she says patting the pommel of her rapier.

“Aye, but I can see your movements.  Take my word.  Poke her gently and hop back.”  

“You tackle her if she comes at me.”  They’re almost to the stern of the boat and she can see the door to the cabin the Master-at-arms sleeps in.  ‘Dizzying Blade’ is curled up in a ball with just a powder blue sheet over her egg white night gown.

“Most likely I’ll drag you back and shut the door closed,”  ‘Wheel Turner’ says.

She glances back and sees no humour in ‘Wheel Turner’s’ face.  She lifts the latch and opens the door.  Inside there are no window, just all sorts of weapons latched or tied firmly to the wall.  She looks back to make sure ‘Wheel Turner’ is holding the door open for her to escape through. 

‘Wheel Turner’ nods at her.

“’Dizzying Blade’,” she calls softly.  The Master-at-arms turns onto her back and mumbles.  She spreads her feet with her knees slightly ready to dash and pokes the Master-at-arms.

She is almost through the door when a hand grabs the back of her shirt and pulls her to the floor.  She hears a gasp of disbelief from ‘Wheel Turner’ as she feels the edge of a knife pressing against her throat.

“The Captain wants to see you,” she gasps as she turns her head and stares with bulging eyes up into the crazy glare in the Master-at-arms’ eyes.

“Oh, that’s okay than,” the Master-at-arms says helping her back onto her feet.

“I’m just going to my cabin now and sleep,” she says dusting herself off before hurrying out the door.

“What does the Captain want me for?” the Master-at-arms asks.

“Don’t know but the ‘Harlot’ is making strings for bows and cross-bows,” she says.

“Warned you,” ‘Wheel Turner’ whispers to her.  “Mornin’ Master-at-arms Sadie,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says jovially to ‘Dizzying blade’.

“Mornin’ ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia,” the Master-at-arm replies.

She walks with ‘Wheel Turner’ to her cabin when she hears a sad song emit up from the hull:

If you didn’t like what was done to you

Why would you do it to another?

Shouldn’t you be protecting others from that fate?

All the people who try to escape what they hate

All the people who embrace what destroyed their childhood

You’re a foul thing Barhadrow

Using others’ hurt to get what you want…

“Janet’s up,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says in a dour tone.

“Aye, and if she keeps that up so will we be,” she says feeling her heart sink at the song’s words.  “Good-night ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia, and thanks for almost saving me life.”

“It was well worth the try,” she hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say with a chuckle.  And as ‘Wheel Turner’ walks away she suggests, “Maybe just throw a bucket at her next time so you make through the door.”

As she covers her head with her pillow to block out Janet’s song Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Jo Ann thinks, some of us evolve Barthadrow and we protect those you abuse.  Eventually we’ll bring a storm to wash away your monstrous ways.

With thanks to:

Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne

Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor

Fire & Steel (medieval rapier): https://fireandsteel.ca/

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

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

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

As the horizon grows redder Master Jo Anne is shocked to see Captain Peg leg’s Surprise less than ten fathoms away. 

“Mornin’ Kyaputen, Zala,” she hears Umi say.

“Morning Umi,” the Captain replies groggily.

She hears the Captain walk up to her. 

“Bastards are trying to take our wind now that we’re in the open,” the Captain says.  “You are officially relieved to sleep Master Jo Anne.”

“I thanks you Captain Alejandra,” she replies passing the Captain the telescope.  “Zala will call for you?”

“Aye,” the Captain replies rubbing sleep from her eyes.  “Could you send our ‘Master-at-arms’ to me?”

“Aye Captain Alejandra, that I will.”  She and the Captain consider each other sisters.  In front of the crew she will only say ‘Captain’ but alone they refer to each other by title and true name.  A reminder that they are no different than any of the other girls. 

As she walks towards the stairs she says, “Morning Zala.”

“Mornin’ ‘Navigator’,” Zala replies wavering on her feet.

On the deck she sees ‘One Eye’ talking to ‘Wheel Turner’ and the ‘Harlot’.  ‘One Eye’ has her mandolin strapped around her shoulders.

“Looks like Humphrey peeing over the gunwale,” She hears ‘One Eye’ say mischievously.

“That’s who I want,” the ‘Harlot’ says followed by a cooing sound.  The ‘Harlot’ steps up to the deck’s starboard gunwale, and making a funnel with her hands shouts out.  “Looks more like a mushroom than a carrot.”

“I’ll carrot you, you flat chested harpy.”  She can just hear Humphrey shout back at the ‘Harlot’.

The ‘Harlot’ undoes her blouse and shakes her chest in reply.

“What are you doing?” ‘One Eye’ asks as she bends over laughing.

“He’s seen it a few years ago,” the ‘Harlot’ replies with a shrug.

“Did you try to get pregnant than?” ‘One Eye’ asks.

“Nay, was too young, made him pull out.  Kinda regret that now.  But I’d want to keep him with me and that’s not allowed.  Well my mischievous sisterlies, I’m off to make strings for bows and crossbows.”  The ‘Harlot’ nonchalantly sways her hips as she walks away.

“Why would she be making strings for bows and crossbows?”  ‘Wheel Turner’ asks.  “And a bit of regret in that last statement.  Wonder if we ever get a permanent place on the mainland if she’ll surrender her sea feet to have a land bound family.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” ‘One Eye’ says.

“Her last statement reminds me.  I’ve got to wake the ‘Master-at-arms’ before I can sleep,” Master Jo Anne says as she wonders what the Captain has in store for the crew.

“I’ll go with you,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says.

“Both of you be careful,” ‘One Eye’ warns them.  “She sleeps with a knife.”

“I’ll poke her with a mop handle,” Master Jo Anne tells ‘One Eye’ with a grin.

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

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

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The water in the channel to the sea has white caps now.  She bites her lower lip in concentration.  In the light of the two moons she can see boulders to the port and starboard.  “Stay be forward ye cranky dawdler!” she shouts out. 

“Keep ye straight ye long haired nilly!” she hears Umi shout out in her Japanese accented English and nearly chokes with laughter.

“I’m be straight ahead ye incompetent lassies!” she can just make out ‘Wheel Turner’ shout back.

She finds it hilarious hearing the girls argue in a variety of accents mostly in English.  But often as not the girls will incorporate a few words of their native tongue.  A boulder comes into sight right in line with the Nagua’s bow.  “Turn ye port like a banshee!”

“Port ye Yōsei!” she hears Yumi scream out.

She stops breathing, clenches onto the scrying ball, and stares eyes wide as the boulder looms ever closer.  Then the ship turns and she exhales.  She closes her eyes and thanks the two moons that ‘Wheel Turner’ is so fit and strong.  “Thank ye Eau-de-vie,” she says to the smaller cognac coloured moon, “And ye Cachaça,” to the larger whitish coloured moon.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part Two Blog eight)

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

She laments how a single moment can damage someone so badly.  Until they’re ready to fight Barthadrow the Ship Builder will have no closure.  She on the other hand keeps memories close, to give her strength.

Her father was coerced into sailing to Australia on a ship of criminals.  For her it was an adventure.  She had lost her mother to Scarlet Fever when she was four.  So her father brought her up in his blacksmith shop.  As they sailed her father told her that a lot of the ‘criminals’ were people who were caught stealing food in order to survive.   

Somewhere on the Indian Ocean their galleon, the New World, was attacked by a pirate galleon.  Sailing nearby by though, was Captain Barthadrow’s dreaded Corrupta; a hundred canon galleon.  There were also five more, smaller galleons in his fleet.  So the Ship Builder told her when she was older. 

It was a desperate fight for the pirates, whose ship was rotting.  They used grapples to attack the ship.  As they fought the Spanish soldiers and British mercenaries aboard, the chained criminals cheered and cried out to them.  She remembers her young eyes widening with wonder when a woman with flowing brunette hair and icy blue eyes dressed in a shimmering robin egg robe climbed aboard the ship.  The fascinating woman stole a ring of keys from the main jailor as he was fighting the Ship Builder and started unlocking the criminals.  Meanwhile, her father was stabbed in the chest.  He managed to defeat the soldier he was fighting and unbuckle the belt that held the sheath of his rapier.  He tossed the belt and his rapier to her and in a fading voice yelled, “Hide!”

That’s when a shooting star flew overhead, alighting the sky in a cobalt blue glow.  At the same time a funnel as wide as the eye could see appeared over the sea.  She watched, mesmerized, as it pushed into the water until there was only a massive whirlpool.  That’s all she remembers until the Ship Builder and the Witch saved her and Alejandra at the other end of the Milky Way.   

They told her they had found an abandoned bilander and swam to it.  Three other men, all former prisoners on the New World joined them: Jandamarra, who was captured from Western Australia; Drissa from the Ivory Coast; and Esadowa from somewhere between the Northeast of the Thirteen Colonies and Southeast of Canada.

She remembers gazing over the gunwale at the wreckage of ships.  Later the Witch would tell her they may have come from different time periods; perhaps different worlds.  She wondered if the shooting star kept the earlier ships and people swirling in the whirlwinds before letting them all go at once into the sea of this world. 

Jandamarra, Drissa, and Esadowa now live among the horsepeople.  All three men warned the horsepeople about Barthadrow and the European idea that if they disembark on your land they can claim it.  It made finding a land base difficult but it also stopped Barthadrow from taking over anything on the mainland.  So far Barthadrow only controlls a single island, she and the other pirates call Dread Island.  The Ship Builder told her that peaceful giants with long arms and big bellies let Barthadrow and his crew land on their shores to trade.  But Barthadrow struck a Spanish flag and a smaller British flag for the mercenaries into the land and claimed it for Spain.  The giants were butchered until they submitted and became slaves.

The only good outcome of the battle was that Barthadrow used up most of his cannon shot and so far no alternative to gunpowder has been discovered on this world.  Oh well, there’s always trouble on whatever planet your on she supposes.