A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!

Sep. 14, 2021

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

Sep. 8, 2021

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

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

 

“You were eating Peg leg’s left hand?” she hears Zala ask the Cannibal girl as they catch sight of ‘Wheel Turner’ talking to the ‘Ship Builder’.  She notices that they brought the pinnace farther up the stony shore now that the tide is in.

“Before coming here I lived in a land with too many people,” the Cannibal girl replies.  “You notice the Horse People will only allow us to land to trade.”

“But it’s the same for us,” she hears Zala say.

“Some of your men told the Horse People how pale skins, like myself, and your friend with the interesting sword hilt, would claim their lands as they did in the world you came from.  Now the Horse People won’t allow my people to land because when the brandy moon moves in front of the milky one we have to feed. “

“Where we came from there was disease and war,” Zala says.  “Didn’t that stop you from having too many people?”

“Some of us are not affected by disease or got it and survived,” the Cannibal girl says indifferently.  “We tried war but that didn’t work.  Some of the members of the warring tribes fell in love with each other and we like to make little ones too much.  So a month before the three moons become one, we stop eating and only drink.  Then during the eclipse, because we are starving, each tribe attacks another.  We do not hunt down the children but adopt them afterwards.  Unlike the Horse People we do not bury those killed.   We eat them as nature intended.  Afterwards we are horrified and apologize to the children that we ate their parents.  Mostly we are a caring and loving people.”

It makes Master Jo Anne queasy when she realizes what the Cannibal girl says makes sense.  She worries, as she knows the Captain does, that overpopulation on the ships will bring trouble.  “What is your name?” she asks.

“Melinda,” the Cannibal girl answers.

Master Jo Anne notices her glancing at the ‘Ship Builder’, especially at his missing finger.

“We did that?” Melinda asks.  “That would be an awkward finger to get at without eating the others?”

“No one knows what happened exactly,” Zala replies, looking at Master Jo Anne for confirmation.

“It was something else,” she says.  If they ever find the Witch, everyone will understand.  She turns to ‘Wheel Turner’ and the ‘Ship Builder’ and tells them, “This is Melinda, she came from the other ship,” she tells them.  “She ate part of Peg leg’s left hand but she’s better now.”  Deftly she uses her knife to cut the vines binding Melinda’s wrists.

“Are you hungry?” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks everyone.  Master Jo Anne knows this is a test to see if the madness is out of Melinda, or not.

“Very much so,” Melinda replies, “and thirsty!”

“We have biscuits and dried fish to eat,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says, noticeably keeping her body turned sideways to Melinda.  “As for drink, there’s watered down rum.”

“I don’t eat flesh,” Melinda says, “So some rum and a biscuit would be wonderful.”

Master Jo Anne is shocked at Melinda’s reply.  “You don’t eat flesh?” she asks.

“That’s only once a year, to cull the population, otherwise I abhor it,” Melinda replies.  “Sadly the two moons did not converge as planned.”

 

 

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

Aug. 31, 2021

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

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

“This one is injured,” says the tall, dark Horse Man with the bulging chest muscles that ripple as he speaks down towards the Captain.  “She gnawed on wood leg’s left hand between sensual whispers.  A girl, must be one of yours?”  The last statement was definitely a question made plain by the Horse Man’s arched left eyebrow.

“We’ll take her,” the Captain says with a frown and after a pause, “and the others.  In our boat we have a casket of liquid sunlight.”  The Captain shakes her head, making it clear; she’s losing greatly in this deal.

The Horse Man raises his square shaped chin so his eyes are half lidded.  His tail whips side to side.  “Bring gift, and we will share a meal to seal deal.”  The Horse Woman says something to him in their language with much vigour.  With a voice torn between lust and regret he adds, “And take the pointed ear one with succulent canine back to your boat, now.  She may not come back.”  The Horse Man raises his hands before his face and independently moves them as if to make sure that all his fingers are still there.

“Master Jo Anne, you and Zala take our guest back to the pinnace with you,” the Captain tells her.  “And ask Synthia and the ‘Ship Builder’ to return with our special gift.”  She notices the Captain doesn’t give Synthia’s title.

The Horse Woman makes a nod behind her and a male Horse Teen trots up to the tree.  Like the others he has shaggy hair.  He carries an obsidian dagger that he uses to release everyone but the Cannibal girl.  After a moment of hesitation the vines that encircle the tree around her and the gag in her mouth are cut, but not the vine that binds her wrists.  Master Jo Anne notices the teen is very cautious around the Cannibal girl.

“I won’t hurt you,” the Cannibal girl says to her and Zala in such a sweet and honest voice that Master Jo Anne instantly believes her.

 

 

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

Aug. 23, 2021

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

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

 

Its sunset and she knows the bugs will smell their sweat once they move past the wind that always touches the shore.  The red rimmed eyes of the ‘Harlot’ are heartbreaking.  The poor girl holds her bow with knocked arrow pointing at the ground as she furtively tries to glance everywhere at once for signs of her lover.  There are two known dangers on the island.  One is the Cannibals whose ship they didn’t see anywhere; the other is the Horse People who live here.

The sound of a hoof striking a rock is unmistakable.  With only the two moons to give light and the faint mist that blankets everything it’s hard to decide if what she sees is a tree, a plant, or something on two or four legs.

There are two more distinct strikes of the hoof and an impatient cough.

She sees the Captain raise an arm.  Zala also raises her arm to make sure everyone sees.  “I am Captain Alejandra of the Nagua we come to negotiate the release of any survivors of the Surprise.  The ship stuck on the rocks near your shore.”

“You are not welcome here,” says a cocky baritone voice.  “Drop weapons and clothes and--,” there’s a loud oomph sound from the speaker.  An angry feminine voice says something in a different language.

“Keep all clothes on and everything,” says the voice in a much higher tone.  There’s silence then, “Put hands above head.”

“I think his wife just gave him a toe or knuckle reminder of who his eyes should stay on,” whispers ‘Wheel Turner’ with a snicker.

As she sheathes her rapier and raises her arms above her head Master Jo Anne has to chew on her lower lip to not laugh out loud.

“I bet I can reach my throwing knife and implant it into his throat before he could let off an arrow,” she hears ‘Dizzying Blade’ tell the ‘Harlot’.

“Where do we go?” the Captain asks.

There’s some inaudible conversation between the female and male voice.  “Forward ten paces,” the male voice demands.  There’s a pause.  “Twenty of yours.”

As she walks with the Captain and the others through the mist, passing glimpses of tree trunks and bushes, Master Jo Anne realizes they are entering an opening with a giant tree before them.  There’s the sound of the hoof against a rock again.  To her right about ten paces away she sees the shadowy image of a well-endowed massive horse body with a torso of an equally large man.  Beside him, perhaps three-quarters the size, is a buxomly female.  The male is holding a spear and the female a longbow with a knocked arrow.  

The tree’s trunk is clothed in thick vines that grow vertically up its trunk.  As she gets closer she sees Captain Peg leg with a leaf wrapped around his left hand.  Humphrey and some others from the Surprise are tied and gagged with vines against other trees.  The ‘Harlot’ cries out and dashes to Humphrey.  Master Jo Anne tears up as she watches the ‘Harlot’ caressing her lover’s cheek but smart enough to know not to try to cut the vines.

Master Jo Anne follows the others to the other side of the tree.

The Horse People couple are closer now, along with others.  The male who spoke to them, is as tall as a Shire horse.  At least nineteen hands tall at the horse’s shoulder and another seven hands to the crown of his head.  In the mist his skin is dark and glistening.  Long, auburn curls fall around his broad shoulders.  His irises are green or grey.  She can see the muscles in his cheeks twitch confidently as he smiles through thick lips that show off his shiny white buck teeth.

She hears a hiss and turns her attention to the female, who is now glowering at her with wide hazel eyes.  The girl’s dark brown hair flows around her bare chest and farther down until it leads Master Jo Anne’s eyes to the arrow aimed at her own chest. 

“Navigator,” she hears the Captain whisper.

Quickly she turns her attention back to the tree.  A lush young woman is tied there.  The woman is wearing a similar mix match of clothing that everyone on the Nague wears: a vest from here, capris from there, a laced shirt from somewhere else.  The girl’s irises are a peculiar mauve with specks of red.  The girl glances back at Master Jo Anne inquisitively.  In the mist the freckles on her long narrow nose and full cheeks are only visible intermittently.  The vine gag shows her long, thick canines.   She must be one of the Cannibals.  Because the girl has what looks like curly slate grey hair in the mist, tied back in a bun, her long pointy ears are clearly visible.  They twitch causing Master Jo Anne to involuntarily step back.

 

 

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

Aug. 18, 2021

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD

Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis:  taynorris@gmail.com (Kitchener-Waterloo)

With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com;

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

Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier:  http://fireandsteel.ca/

Alex Watt for background pictures

Daiana Duca for background pictures

Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures