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 Five: Blog twenty-five)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part fIve: Blog twenty-five)

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

“At least it’s sandy here,” Oli hears ‘Wheel Turner’ say as they trudge through the water.

“Fresh water is heavier than salt water so it will be fun dragging the bags back,” Oli says. 

As they get closer to the dry sand of the atoll she sniffs; there’s a faint smell of rotting vegetable where partially wet seaweed rots along the shore.  She notices more birds amongst the pine trees and other plants she thinks only exist on this planet. 

“Look!” ‘Wheel Turner’ shouts and points at an area on the shore between two Indian Mulberry trees.  “That colour bird with the long legs and really long tails with markings like a fish’s scales.  I swear that’s a liarbird!”

Oli notices the Indian Mulberry have fruit and her mouth salivates.  She glances at the ground and sees a bird dashing around.  “Lyrebird with a ‘Y’ instead of an ‘A’ or an ‘I’ Oli corrects ‘Wheel Turner’, or at least hopes she does.

“If it doesn’t tell me the truth it’s a liarbird,” ‘Wheel Turner’ snarls back.

Oli’s squints with determination as she replies, “Well let’s capture it and find out what it has to say.”

“Maybe there’s some parrots too,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says. 

On the shore Oli turns to ‘Wheel Turner’.  “You go after the liar and I’ll collect some of them mulberries.”

As ‘Wheel Turner’ tries to capture the lyrebird, Oli shimmies up the Indian Mulberry tree.  She has to climb around because the first berries she sees have silk worms all over the leaves surrounding them.

She cuts off a branch with only a few silkworms on it and lets it drop to the ground.  She tosses the mulberries she plucks off the tree onto the leafy branch.  Before she descends back down she glances around.  Peering through the leaves she sees a screw pine a bit deeper in.  Her eyes alight.  If the weather is good and the Captain allows it she’ll come back with more of the girls.  Even if they don’t find fresh water there’s lots of fruit to eat.

On the ground she sees ‘Wheel Turner’ facing off with the lyrebird.

“Come here you lyingbird!” ‘Wheel Turner’ shouts at it.

“You lyingbird!” the lyrebird shouts back.

“I’ll put you in Barthadrow’s barrel!” ‘Wheel Turner’ screams at the bird before spitting on the ground.

Oli sits back against the trunk of a coconut tree.  She glances up and sees the coconuts are unripe.  Now she can concentrate on the interaction between ‘Wheel Turner’ and the lyrebird.  Leaning forward with eyes wide she scoops in a mouthful of the mulberries.

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 Eighteen)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Four: Blog Eighteen)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

‘Ship Protector’ Umi stares over the starboard side of the Nagua.  The Captain insisted she only have five girls with her, including Zala and Aarini.  Zala and Aarini would have to learn the secrets of the Ama just as the Captain had insisted Umi teach her, ‘One Eye’, ‘Storm Caller’, ‘Wheel Turner’, and ‘Dizzying Blade’.  She knew, as the other leaders did that the Captain planned on obtaining another ship from the monster Barthadrow’s fleet.  That would mean splitting up the crew.  The idea both excited and saddened her.  This crew was her family and she knew the rest felt the same.

The other girls she chose included Chesah from the Philippines.  Chesah is short like Umi and grew up near the sea.  Next she chose Bayu from Indonesia.  She too is short.  Her final choice was Hayami, another girl from Japan.  All the girls are around twelve to fourteen.  Old enough to learn the ways of the Ama.  There were other girls she wanted to bring.  Amelie was born in Southern France.  Tall, lean and fearless but still needs maturity.  Arsema, from Eritrea.  Arsema is also tall and very clever.  Umi didn’t invite her because ‘Dizzying Blade’ has had her eyes on Arsema as an understudy.  ‘Dizzying Blade’ is the only gaijin who reminds her of the samurai that terrified her whenever they entered her village.

“Does it matter if we talk?” Chesah asks in a whisper.

“No.  However, maybe some of you remember when the Captain had a knotted rope attached to a cannon ball lowered towards the orange glow of a Deep Dwellers’ city.  At fifty fathoms the cannon ball went no lower.  Do any of you remember what happened?”  She asks with her eyes wide with mock terror.

“No,” all the sisters reply in unison.

“Something or things pulled on the lowered rope so hard,” Umi spreads her arms wide, “So hard that the ship nearly capsized.  We were in great peril!  That’s when Helmswoman Sadie ran up with an axe and with her great strength chopped through the rope.”  She peeks over the gunwale.  Through the water she can see the bright orange glow of a Deep Dwellers’ city.  “Look!”

The girls scramble to look.

“Let your eyes adjust and you’ll see things moving inside.  We have not been here in years so I could not show anyone before now.”

“There are tiny things moving inside,” Zala says, stretching her long body farther over the gunwale. 

“According to the dolphin tails the fish tails inter—inter-act with the Deep Dwellers, and say they are hugeous,” Umi says struggling with the English but emphasizing every word anyway. 

“Is it the only city of the Deep Dwellers?” Chesah asks peering even farther over the gunwale.

“No but it is the only one we see from the surface so far,” Umi says so all the girls hear her reply.  “The dolphin tails say there are many more but they are so deep their light never reaches surface.”

“Why don’t they come to shore?” Zala asks, as she too leans farther over the gunwale.

“The dolphin tails say the Deep Dwellers cannot survive above a hundred and fifty fathoms because there is not enough water above them to keep them alive.”  Umi sighs.  “Carrying a weighted stone I have never dived beyond ten fathoms.”

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 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.