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 Meditation on Place

If you want to look through a window, a doorway, or as you stand nearby at non-fiction scenes described in vivid verse, follow the poetry of Shayleene MacReynolds.

The Wild Heart of Life

Stop
Take a breath
What do you see?
A teardrop stain, like dripping condensation on a window
It smears against the pad of my right thumb.
Green fingers of an aloe reaching out and to the light
Rotting soil
A black gnat sitting on a spore.
My hair is everywhere
Coming out in clumps it hangs like Spanish moss from the branches of an armchair
Wrapped around my son’s big toe
Be still
I whisper and unwind.
Cold coffee congealing in a mug
A daydream hovers near
The dog pees on the carpet
A clock lies dripping on the floor—
Nonsense
Where has all my time gone?
Dollar store dinosaurs and perfect penmanship
A gauze mask bent along the bridge
Sky blue
I sit in search of words
But words are everywhere.
With the fine strands of my braided hair I tether myself back to earth
Stay, she says,

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

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

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

(Part Seven) Amelie stands beside Arsema on the Fo’c’sle before the First Mate and the Navigator.  Amelie glances at an oil lamp hanging from an eyehook on the foremast.  The lamp cast shadows as it swings in the strengthening wind.  The ‘Ship Builder’ and ‘Navigator’ readapted an oil lamp that would have used whale oil or kerosene with one that now uses a plant oil.  They called the plant hairy olive balls because it tastes and looks like olives but is about the size of a teacup and has fibrous hairs growing out of the skin.  According to the ‘Navigator’ the ‘Ship Builder’ says it burns longer then whale, kerosene, and olive oil from Earth would.

“Arsema,” the First Mate says with a mischievous grin, “you will now be assistant Ship Protector.” 

Amelie sees Arsema’s eyes drop.

“You will be known as Master-at-arms of the sea, until our own ‘Dizzying Blade’ returns.”  Arsema looks up and smiles.

“Amelie, you are assistant Master-at-arms.   However, you will remain in your own hammock within the hold but moved closer to the hatch.  All the weapons must be moved out of the Master-at-arms’ room while our guest stays there.”

“Who is our guest?” Amelie asks in her uppity but enchanting French accent.

“A Cannibal named Melinda,” the ‘One Eye’ replies with a sardonic grin.

“Can we feed Mesi and Althea to her?” Arsema asks in her sarcastic but lovely Eritrea accent.  They all laugh.

“They’re still at each other?” ‘One Eye’ asks.

“Still, as always, sir,” Amelie says.

“Now that they’re bodies are more like a woman’s,” Arsema says as she looks around to make sure no one else is listening, “they compare their physiques.  Mesi presses out her big boobs as she glares up at Althea, and Althea measures her own with her hands and while glaring down at Mesi, says hers are actually much bigger.”

“Thank the two moons that they’re not men comparing something else,” ‘One Eye’ says with a grin.  “Arsema,” she continues in a more serious note.  “You and ‘Ship Protector’ are to return with ‘Storm Caller’ and help the Captain and the ‘Ship Builder’ release the Surprise from its current perch upon a jagged boulder.  That will mean diving underneath to check the damage.”  She turns to Amelie.  “Have Althea and Mesi practice sword fighting while the others pull in the nets to see what we’ve caught to eat.”

Amelie groans and nods her head.  Taking in a deep breath she says in Arsema’s direction, “Oh to be a mermaid at this 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, Ninjato with Throwing Knives:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Street Colours for gemstone worn by Amelie: Streetcolours.com

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

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and the importance of Communication, Teamwork, Praise, and Leadership that Earns Respect

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and the importance of

Communication, Teamwork, Praise, and Leadership that Earns Respect

By Dan Watt, Fitness Trainer and Author

For years I had heard about Hell’s Kitchen and seen Gordon Ramsay on talk shows.  I didn’t really pay attention until became available on Prime Video.  I decided to see what it was all about. 

As I started watching Season One of Hell’s Kitchen my impression was that Chef Ramsay, who once played professional soccer, is one of those male soccer players who crumble to the ground, fakes being hurt and cries as he points an accusing finger at the other team.  I noticed he was allowed to swear at the contestants but if they swore back they were chastised.  It didn’t seem he understood if you dish it out you have to be able to take it. 

His attitude was also similar to how I imagine a captain of an ancient galleon would behave: terrible and all powerful.   As I continued to watch Season One and other seasons I realized the bathrooms must have a lot of liquid soap for Chef Ramsay and the contestants.  If I owned a swear jar on the show I would be very rich right now.  However, it’s better to relieve tension by getting it out by swearing than holding it in and exploding in violence.  The contestants get to express their true thoughts and feeling in separate interviews, suggesting Chef Ramsay isn’t afraid to be criticized outside of the kitchen.

The winning teams are always rewarded with amazing prizes that include visiting restaurants, helicopter and plane rides, and numerous activities, such as surfing.  Chef Ramsay becomes Gordon outside of Hell’s Kitchen and a much more enjoyable person to be around.  The prizes have at least two important purposes.  See what fun you can have if you work hard and succeed, and an introduction to fine dining with the introduction of wine and food tasting.  A good palate is extremely important to Chef Ramsay when he’s looking for a chef to run a restaurant.

Chef Ramsay also educates the contestants (and the viewer if they pay attention) by demonstrating how to make different dishes, such as crêpes.  He also shows his love and respect of the cooking industry by bringing in guest chefs to judge the food, and food critics to be included during dinner services.  Fire fighters, military personnel, kids and others are invited to breakfast or lunch, and in some of the shows, food trucks are used to serve construction workers.  There’s an interesting point made about what foods to serve; knowing your customers preferences leads to better sales and customer returns.  Type of work, what city, and time of day all can have a bearing on a customer’s food preferences.

For those who choose to look beyond the drama there is a great deal to learn watching Hell’s Kitchen.  As Chef Ramsay says in one episode, great chefs are imaginative, think on their feet, and understand the importance of combination, execution, and marriage of foods.  Using that knowledge they are also willing to take chances.

The importance of having a good palate and tasting food to make sure it’s the right food being served is drilled in constantly. 

Chef Ramsay has contestants wear blindfolds and headphones than gives them a variety of foods to taste in a competition between teams.  The point is a chef must have a great palate and be able to taste the differences between foods such as beef and chicken, and distinguish one cheese from another.

The contestants need to work as a team to prepare a plate of food properly.  That means calling out cooking times constantly to each other.  The contestants need to know how long it takes to cook chicken, beef, and pork to perfection compared to how long it takes to cook potatoes, broccoli, and garnishes properly so all of it can be served at the same time.

As a dreaded vegetarian I greatly appreciate that Chef Ramsay demands certain foods are not cooked together.  He also makes it clear mixing foods can be a health issue because of potential food allergies.  If food isn’t cooked correctly he’ll call the contestants up and tell them in the most colourful language why it isn’t.  If the contestants can ignore the yelling and name calling they’ll learn a tremendous amount about proper food preparation.

I also appreciate that he has contestants who lose a competition sort out recyclable food waste from non-recyclable and makes them aware of how much food is wasted when it can’t be served because it’s under or over cooked.

His decisions don’t seem to be based on who is the most experienced but on other qualities.  I second guessed whose jacket he would take and tell to leave Hell’s Kitchen until I started to notice a pattern.  He’s looking for who improves the most, who has the best palate, who works the best with others, who shows the greatest leadership qualities, and who shows the most passion to succeed.

The show is a reminder that during busy times there isn’t always time for niceties.  Minds are racing to remember orders, and how long to cook food at what temperature in unison with the other cooks’ preparations.  Hearts are pounding with exertion to get the orders delivered on time.  However, it’s also imperative to commend those who do a good job, show improvement, and to let go of anger and frustration once the orders are done.  The swearing is for effect on the TV Show.  Swear words will escape out of frustration or exhilaration but should be avoided using towards another individual.  However, it’s better than bottling up to let out as violence towards someone else, especially an innocent bystander.

The four vital factors I’ve been reminded of by Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen are: communication, teamwork, praise when deserved, and a leadership quality that earns respect.

Stay Strong and Stay Safe!

D.W.

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

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

“I asked her,” Oli says with frustration, “I swear that one is the child of Lust.  She got drunk on rum and admits she may have opened herself willingly to Captain Peg leg’s crew.  It’s Janice I worry about.  One of Captain Peg leg’s younger men decided she was willing when she was not.  “Wheel Turn” Sylvia stopped him before he could get on top of her.”  As she worried would happen the Captain once again spits into the water.

“Master Navigator Jo Anne,” she hears the Captain call out with a voice full of icy decision.  Their Navigator ties back her long brunette hair with a blue ribbon as she saunters towards them.  Oli notices how the Navigator already has her hand wrapped around the hilt of her rapier.  The hand guard is a marvel of coiled metal.

“She sleeps with that rapier,” Oli says, hoping it will dwindle down the deathly coldness she feels emitting from the Captain.  “I asked her if I could try it to see how smoothly it wields.  She took a step back and partially withdrew it.  I won’t ask her again after that.”

“It was her father’s,” the Captain says, “the last reminder of him from Earth.  We’re off to see Captain Peg leg,” the Captain says to both her and the Navigator.  “Our dear Helmswoman, “Wheel Turn” Synthia, will be in command.”  Oli follows the gaze of the Captain as she peers over the railing of the fo’c’sle where a female figure is slouched against the base of the foremast with her right hand still holding a bottle of rum.  “Or our Master-at-Arms “Dizzying Blade” Sadie.”  Oli once again follows the Captain’s gaze.  This time towards the centre of the deck, where their Master-at-Arms is sprawled against the capstan.    In her right hand she is grasping the hilt of her rapier and in the other a jug of rum.

“Thelma,” the Captain calls to the girl sewing the battens into the extra mainsail.

Oli is always amazed how Thelma’s skin constantly glows with sensuality now that’s she’s a young woman.

“Yes, Oh Captain my Captain,” Thelma replies while continuing to sew.

“Your encounter with Captain Peg leg and his crew, was it consensual?” 

“Aye Captain, it was.  Not all seeds sown grow.  So I can’t rely on a single sower can I?”

Oli is as surprised as the Captain by Thelma’s nonchalant words.

“You want to get pregnant?” the Captain asks.

“What about the Ship Builder,” Oli blurts out.  She wishes she hadn’t as the Captain is now giving her a dark look.

“You wouldn’t know this because you moved out of the hold years ago,” Thelma says to her.  “But he’s like an absent father, the kind who is always around.  We’ve known him since we were children and never has he abused any of us.  I thought he was just arrogant, only ever speaking to the Navigator and Captain.”  Oli didn’t miss the sarcasm.  “However,” Thelma continues, “when the Captain told me to sew up a torn sail with poor instruction–.”

“I was never good at it,” the Captain interrupts.

“The Ship Builder came over to me, and in his deep, hesitant voice, kindly showed me how.  I’ve been excellent ever since.  Also, where he’s missing a finger is creepy.  How do you only lose that finger—it makes no sense.”

Oli gasps at the sudden paleness on the Captain’s face.

“So you want to get pregnant?” the Captain asks regaining her composure.

“I do.  I want to sail with the Pirate Queen again.”

“You don’t like it with us?”  Oli can hear the hurt in the Captain’s voice.

“It’s more I don’t just want to have a baby I also want to be around them.”

“Well, by the time we reach the Pregnancy Ship we’ll know if that’s to be or not,” the Captain says.  It’s the first time Oli has seen the Captain flustered.  “By the way, until the Helmswoman or Master-at-arms wakes, you’re in charge.”

“Lovely,” Thelma replies.