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 twenty)

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

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Umi sees ‘One Eye’ drops an anchor on the port side and another on the starboard.  Once the boat is gently bobbing more-or-less in place Umi slips her awabi-okoshi through her fundoshi or as ‘One Eye’ calls it, a chastity belt in case a dolphin tail male seeks her out.  The long handle of the awabi-okoshi was originally used by Ama to scrape abalone off surfaces.  She keeps it to scrape off whatever grows on the outside of the hull.  Next she slips a Nihonto Tanto knife through the fundoshi; a gift from her dying father after he fought off three of Barthadrow’s men.  She grimaces at the memory of him thrusting it hilt first towards her as blood poured out of his numerous wounds.  Memories of all the horrible things Barthadrow has done and caused makes her blood boil.  She spits into the water. 

Lastly she ties a thin but strong rope around her waist.  Next she ties the other end onto the handle of a wooden basket caulked so it floats.  At the bow of the pinnace ‘One Eye’ ties another rope through an eyehook a top the gunwale to the basket then places it onto the surface.

“One pull I’m coming up, two pull me up,” Umi reminds Zala and Chesah.

 She rolls her shoulders back and lifts her heels alternately off the bottom of the boat while taking in controlled breaths.  When it feels right she takes in a deep breath and dives into the water.

It’s cold but also refreshing as it covers her mostly naked body.  She doesn’t wear clothing because it absorbs water and captures air.  It also keeps the coldness in when she exits the water.

She’ll cut off long lengths of the dogweed first.  The hope is that the weed will keep both its strength and flexibility for the bows and arrows the Captain wants made.  The rope to the portside anchor is taught and near her.  As she cuts near the bottom of a dogweed stem with her Nihonto Tanto she feels a gush of water against her back.  She glances back but doesn’t see anything.

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 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 Sixteen)

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

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

She inhales the mixed scent of fish guts and baking bread once more than turns to one of the long tables where the ‘Harlot’ is chatting to Althea.  They’re making string from the kelp that ‘Ship Protector’ Umi brought out of the sea. 

“Grab the string and stretch your arms apart so it’s tight,” Sadie says to Althea.

Althea grimaces as she holds the string apart as hard as she can while Sadie pulls on it.  Turning to the ‘Harlot’ she says with a nod, “Not bad.  We’ll test it with wood in about a week from now.”

“The ‘Ship Protector’ will need to get us more,” the ‘Harlot’ says with a sarcastic grin.

“I’ll let her know,” Sadie replies.  “Betty’s your aunt and she’ll bake you a pie,” she says as a further compliment.  She turns towards the kitchen and shouts out, “I don’t want any bones in my soup this time Nippie!”

“Aye, aye ‘Dizzying Blade’,” Nippie shouts back with an accent no one’s been able to figure out yet.

As she steps out of the galley she hears Mesi cry out, “I’ve knicked me ‘self!”

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

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

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

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

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Sadie can smell raw fish and baking bread as she steps into the galley.  In the very fore of the galley, past the few long tables and fixed chairs where the ‘Harlot’ and Althea are sitting together, she sees a single window with a wide serving ledge.  To the far right is the entrance into the kitchen itself.  She knows from helping Nippie out when she was younger that there’s a stove, and a pantry with flower, spices, and salted fish.  The kitchen also has a distiller, an oven, and grills.  

She hears Mesi complaining to Nippie about Janet hitting her wrist with a spoon instead of just telling her when she guts a fish wrong.  As she steps closer she hears Nippie say in her boisterous caustic voice, “Janet doesn’t talk she only sings.”  Sadie peeks through the window.  She sees they are gutting large fish that have the length of a pike but the shape of a wide mouth bass. 

Janet has her head turned slightly towards Mesi.  Janet is a tall girl.  She wears a mix match of clothing under a robin egg coloured apron.  The sleeves of her white cotton shirt are rolled up.  Although her shirt is worn loosely it still can’t hide her ample bosom.  Nor do the loose fitting brown capris hide her round hips.  Her hair is the colour of flax and escapes the plain olive green bandana that covers her head.  Her face is smooth and brown with large pouting lips.  The simple string necklace the ‘Harlot’ made for her dangles loosely from her neck.  The one with the tooth the Captain obtained from the young rascal, who tried to take Janet without her permission. 

Janet glances back at her and Sadie realizes that from a distance its Janet’s body that draws attention first, but up close, it’s the green iris of her eyes with the faint circle of brown around the pupils.  Janet received the best physical attributes from her Creole parents.  Sadie wonders what Janet would have been like if Barthadrow hadn’t captured her when she was a child.

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

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Thirteen) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Thirteen) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The more we define our differences the more observers notice the similarities.

She remembers Iluka revving up her Super Soco as Liam helped her onto the back.  Something rubbery and tight pressed against the skin of her abdomen.

“I’ve bungeed her to you,” Liam said.

“Let you know how it goes,” Iluka said.

Rita felt herself moving but not on the Earthereal plain.

She’s on a river of sand the colour of silver under a crescent moon.  The river of sand piles into a hill under her feet increasing her perspective.  In the distance are giant land shapes she thinks she’s seen in pictures but the light is dim and mist flows everywhere.  Walking towards her are two indigenous men, naked but for bodypainting.  These men represent the poison drawn out of Australia herself.  She knows the one on the right is Bamapana a member deity of the Yolngu from the Northern Territory.  Covering Bamapana’s chest and abdomen is a white crocodile but with its head facing down as its tail wraps up to Bamapana’s left ear.  His deep set eyes are squinting and his yellow teeth are on display in a cruel smile.

Meanwhile, to his left, with his monstrous phallus swelling is Julana.  She sees that Julana has a lustful grin and realizes what he intends when he rapidly digs into the sand.  Rita grimaces.  Julana is a rapist.  She tries to run but her right calve muscle burns and refuses to let her move.

“Muldjewangk belongs to this island,” Bamapan says while continuing to walk towards her.  “You don’t so Muldjewangk attacked and now you are here with me.  I can’t stop what Julana is going to do to you but that could be it.  Stay out of the business of Australia.  The humans will all die but some of us can change into creatures that will survive.”

She sees a projected image of a coiled rainbow snake appear on Bamapan’s chest.  “No,” she replies clasping her hands over her head.  “Better tell your father Nijirana to come save you Julana,” she continues under her breath.

The change is more than she can handle and she may never be able to leave the Dreamtime again but she won’t let Julana defile her.  “Wish you were here Marlo,” she whispers into the mist swirling around her.  She calls to the soil of Australia to tell her what to transform into.  Her eyesight grows wider.  The strange sense of leaning too far forward fills her.  Her body feels as though it’s wrapped around itself.

Julana bursts out of the sand before her.  She sees an easy target and strikes.

“Your friend Zsofia is here,” she vaguely hears Aurora telling her.  She starts to get up but Aurora pushes her back down.  “Iluka said she used the salve in your dilly bag just in time.  Australia is full of poisonous animals and plants.  I should have warned you.  I guess we don’t notice it because we grow up learning about them.”

“Hey Rita,” Zsofia says from the doorway to her basement apartment.  Zsofia steps up to her with a cloth.  Rita feels Zsofia’s hand wiping away sweat from her forehead.  “You need to heal.  Lots to do in little time.” 

Blue Mountain Jenolan Caves background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt

Caedar-writing-artwork.com

Mythruin.simplesite.com

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Eleven) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Eleven) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Maybe humans did come from the sea.

https://www.nma.gov.au/explore/collection/highlights/yawkyawk-sculptures

Later that day Rita is invited to eat supper with the Martins. 

“Hope you like meat pies,” Aurora says passing her a steaming plate.

“I do,” Rita replies.  She glances down at her new clothes.  “Thank you for everything and I’ll pay you back as soon my term starts at the University.”

“We’re going to watch, What We Do In The Shadows, tonight,” Oliver says.  “You’re more than welcome to watch it with us.”

“I’d love to,” Rita replies, realising she would like to, “but I’m meeting up with Iluka tonight.”

“Ask her to show you her paintings,” Oliver suggests.

“I will,” Rita promises.

Inside Iluka’s hallway is a painting of Uluru in the foreground with Luna in front of the Earth behind it.   Iluka tells her the painting is based off pictures of Uluru by a famous photographer named Peter Samuel and of Luna and the Earth taken from space by NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory.

“It’s strange to see a place on Earth looking at Luna and the Earth,” Rita says.

“It tries to explain an aspect of Dreamtime,” Iluka says as she leads Rita to a side door attached between the hall and her kitchen.  The door opens to the garage where Rita sees a dark green Super Soco electric motorcycle.  “Neither of us can fly so we’ll ride to the harbour.”

At the harbour front Iluka parks on a dock near a bluebird yacht.  An older gentleman with indigenous features is fishing off the boat.

“Can I leave my bike by your boat Liam?” she hears Iluka ask the man.

“Those things will kill you,” Liam replies with a guffaw tinged with humour.

“Does that mean you don’t want to take it for a spin,” Iluka throws in.

“Maybe but not tell I see you’re off doing whatever you’re doing.  Wouldn’t want you to know.”

“I’ll leave my keys in the ignition than since there’s no worries you will.”

“How much ump is in it?”

“Enough for us to get back is someone were to take a short spin, and I mean no longer than half an hour.”

“I’m getting old.  My half an hour is about an hour or two in your time.”

“Leave your boat open then.”

Iluka takes Rita to the base of the dock.  “He throws whatever he catches back in.  The water’s oily here but here we must enter.  I’ll be in my truest form but I suggest you change to a platypus if you can.  That way you can communicate by moving your paws.  The messages will travel faster if you’re submerged.”

“What will you be protecting me from?”  Rita asks as she steps into the warm salt water.

“Maybe bull sharks but that’s rare.”

“I think I’ll just turn into my aquatic self.”  Rita’s eye turn yellow to see better, and gills grow at the back of her jaws.

Iluka climbs into the water beside her.  Rita is taken back when she sees Iluka’s upper body turn into an indigenous woman of Northern Australia and a fish below.  “If you feel a strong sound wave it’s me telling you to get out of the water.”

Rita nods and submerges.

Based on a picture of Uluru, Australia by Peter Samuel, and Luna in front of Earth by NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory

Blue Mountain Jenolan Caves background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt

Caedar-writing-artwork.com

Mythruin.simplesite.com

Fallen (from the as yet unpublished 4th book in the Children of the Myth Machine series)

(From “Miya” the as yet unpublished 4th book in the Children of the Myth Machine series)

Fallen

I rebelled against destiny

So Father Sky severed my wings

And I plummeted into Mother Nature

Who chained me to her bosom

In vines dense with iron

But still I rebelled

So they gouged out my eyes

And I can no longer see the future

Now as I wander with these chains around my neck

Listening to the betrayals and laments

I grow tired

Of killing my insides

So you feel safe

I never belonged to you

Nor do I answer to you

Though I answer

And as my destiny nears its end

I will listen

I will encourage and promote

And if necessary

I will judge

Listen with keen ears and remember

If you follow your destiny

You will have the choice to return or not

But if you don’t

You will have no choice but to return

And I won’t be here when you do

  • DW