Wake of the Red Mistress
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by Teel James Glenn
Description: A fantasy tale of thwarted love and piratical lust, blood and treasure! Sister Shinara of the Yulinites is on a ship that is attacked by Aurzia- the Red Mistress. When the pirate's men are going to kill Shinara and the five novices in her care the sister makes a deal with the pirate queen to lead her to a 'great treasure' in a distance monastery. Meanwhile near that monastery young monk Zak has been slipping out of the monastery to have an affair with a noblewoman using a magic talisman but he haunted by the memory of Shinara. The Red Mistress leads her brigands on a cross-country trek to loot the monastery with Shinara in tow and a strange bond develops between them. When they reach the monastery in a storm of fire and blood a reckoning is due. The three; the monk, the pirate and the nun are on a collision course where love, hate and fear are a heady and overwhelming mix! Excerpt: "Keep reading, girls," Shinara ordered. She worked to keep her voice firm and fight the panic that welled up from within her. The sound of many bodies moving around in the corridor with many curse words and oaths promised violence. Abruptly a pounding erupted on the thick wooden door. "This is the only one locked!" a gruff voice called from directly outside. "Then break it down!" a new voice responded. A female voice caused the women in the room to shudder. The girls all screamed and huddled together as a boarding ax smashed into the planks of the door. "Trust in the Goddess," Shinara said with all the calm she could force, "and we will be delivered." As she spoke the door splintered and a bearded head thrust through the gap. "Women!" The pirate proclaimed with a sinister laugh. The younger sisters screamed and clung to each other as the head withdrew and a second, even gruffer, scarred face filled the gap.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, 2011 2011-06-07
eBookwise Release Date: July 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [124 KB]
Reading time: 61-85 min.
Before the Mast
Sister Shinara was enjoying the warmth of the sea air and meditating on the foredeck of the cargo ship the 'Courage' when the lookout in the crow's nest cried, "Ship on the starboard horizon."
The green robed Shinara closed the sacred scroll she was reading and looked up, brushing aside a stray blonde hair that had escaped her shawl in the sea breeze. She squinted to look at the masts and then across the expanse of the ocean to the phantom shape the lookout had indicated.
"Can you identify it?" the helmsman called back up. "Can you make out the markings?"
For a long pause, every eye on board strained to make out the shape on the western horizon. The afternoon light from the two suns dueled with the ocean mist to obscure the phantom shape and blur its edges. The low clouds on the far horizon made the shape barely discernable against the sky and one had to stare a long time to see it as a ship at all.
Everyone held their breath while the lookout used his long-glass to examine the masts of the far off vessel.
They had only one thought on all their minds, one fear that they dared not voice that had hung over them all since they left the port city of Ecikz to make the run across the straits to Symbila's Port Storm.
"Pirates!" the lookout called. "It's the 'Red Mistress'!"
Suddenly the deck of the ship became a frenzied hive of activity as the crew scrambled to their battle stations and the few passengers, Shinara included, were forced below decks to hide and pray for deliverance.
Loose gear was stowed, the boards were strewn with sand, and the catapults brought to the ports. Meanwhile the small marine contingent on board came up from below decks to scamper up the sheets with their bows ready to rake the deck of the approaching buccaneer vessel. Pitch buckets were set about and a fire boy stood ready with hot coals to ignite the flaming arrows that might be the ship's only hope.
"What is it, Sister?" Xena asked when Shinara came below. The compartment where the five Yulinite Sisters were housed while making the pilgrimage to the Main Sanctuary on the mainland, had six bunks and a small table where they took their meals.
All of the sisters wore the green gown and shawl of the order with a broad silver belt that signified their dedication of Yulina, Goddess of Transformation. Though she was only nineteen years old, Shinara was the senior of the group and felt a 'maternal-elder sister' responsibility for them both spiritually and physically.
"They have sighted a pirate ship approaching," the blonde woman said. She did her best to keep her voice calm but even the youngest of the girls could see her lips were pressed into a tight line with worry.
"Pirates!" Yuza, the most adventurous of the novices in Shinara's charge exclaimed. With no fear in her voice, only excitement, she sprang to her feet to try and get past the elder sister to head up to the deck. "I want to see."
"No you don't," Shinara said. "You will stay here and pray that they do not attack--or if they do they will repulsed." The tall sister physically stopped the younger girl from exiting the cabin.
"We may never get another chance to see a pirate in real life," Yuza said. "I'll bet they are tall and strong, handsome devils with great big muscles--but not too big--and wild eyes!" She did a little dance that made the other girls giggle. "I just want a little peek." The older sister stared hard at her charge, just the latest installment in their ongoing battle of wills. The younger girl finally sat back down on the bunk and pouted.
At that moment the ship's cook, Fergon, came by and seeing the door cracked open a bit stuck his head in. "Are you sisters all doing okay?" the stout man asked. He was bearded and wore a facial tattoo of the Merchant guild around his eyes that gave him an owlish appearance.
"Can you see the pirates yet?" Yuza asked hopefully. "Are they big and bearded and bloodthirsty?"
"The captain put on every bit of canvas that he has to try and outrun the red-handed devils but the pirate ship is a sleek sloop." Fergon said with delight at Yuza's wide-eyed questions. "On deck the pace of the preparations is more frantic than I've ever seen in such things. They say the ship is the 'Red Mistress'!"
"Captain Fizk's ship!" Yuza exclaimed. She was all but jumping up and down with excitement. "Sister, he's the scourge of the straits! They say he and Aurzia--the woman he named his ship after--have sunk five ships this last year alone and scuttled the crews!"
Shinara 'shhhed' Yuza, but the damage was done. The other sisters' faces blanched and they huddled together more tightly.
"It is he," Fergon said, "and his ship will overtake us before long, of that there is no doubt." He saw the searing look from the older sister and touched his chin in a prayer gesture. "I was hoping you would pray for me, Sister Shinara," he said contritely.
The devout Yulinite woman managed to offer a slight smile to the bearded man and she nodded. "We will all pray for you, Fergon; and for ourselves. The Goddess will protect all who seek her embrace."
"Thank you," he said as relief washed across his features. "Thank you." He closed the door and Shinara moved to bar it.
"Now you," she said to Yuza. "Stop this talk and bring out your scriptures; we will read from The Book of Kingdoms; the prayer for Varnia."
"In the flood times?" one of the younger girls asked. "But that's a prayer for the hopeless."
"To give hope to the hopeless," the elder sister corrected. "I think it is just what we need to read."