1. Cahira (Our Thirsty Pirate Queen!)
I want to thank my patrons for continuing to support me:
x51t2, John Driscoll, Anskelis, Brian Barrett, Dylan K, WeirdWhril, Don’t_Like_To_Talk, David, Howldawg, ArchoniaXenia, and my other Patrons!
Entering the half-broken-down shack, Cahira noticed it hadn’t seemed to have changed much since her last visit; she reflexively swallowed with the same heart-pounding sensation she’d felt when meeting Raguna the first time.
Fingers balling into a fist, her pulse quickened as she saw three people gracing the obscure establishment; the tall, black-haired man made her heart stop and armpits sweat.
Clearing her throat, she glanced at the two pirates with her and muttered, “Don’t be stupid, boys.”
They nodded after hearing the guarded note in her voice, and Cahira added a bit of pep to it as she waved at the barkeep’s wry smirk in her direction; he knew what was up.
“Gennaro! How ya been, mi good man?” she asked, ignoring their guest as best she could.
“If it don’t be the pretty lil’ Pirate Queen herself, Boss; ya came at the perfect time! Hehe.”
Jack’s smile became strained as the two men shifted in their seats, and Cahira confirmed her fears as the guest rose to his feet in a cold rage.
“Teach!” Jack paused mid-step, no doubt wondering if he should flip around and flee. “Hehe… fancy seein’ ya here.”
Nearly 2-meters tall with muscles flexing under his leather coat, likely made from something he’d killed himself, the man’s grizzled beard was braided and hung down to his chest. His intense blue eyes hounded the thief, yet the tense atmosphere only pressurized as the retired pirate legend threw his arm behind his chair to appraise them.
“Ah, be knowin’ each other, fellas? Hehe. Good. Good. Come… sit with Raguna—there be no bloodshed in a sacred place such as this, Teach.”
Cahira focused on Gennaro’s entertained expression while cleaning a dirty glass. “Heh-hehe. Well, isn’t this a meeting, Raguna? Comin’, Jackie, Bonnet? We don’t be wantin’ ta be rude.”
Bonnet moved to put a hand on Ward’s shoulder, trapping him inside and now probably feeling like he had the upper hand. “Hmm. Won’t this be interesting? Of all the seas, Blackbeard, how did you end up here?”
Cahira had already walked over to sit at the table, throwing her weight into the chair beside Raguna. She held her hands behind her head while appraising the hostile Pirate Legend, as he reluctantly did the same, showing how frightening this shabby, old entity next to her was to temper someone like Edward D. Teach.
“You’re a lucky man, Jack… Where is my ship?” Blackbeard evenly demanded, not needing to raise his voice to deliver the weight of his words.
Jack reluctantly took the opposite side of the man—he clearly wanted to leave—and Bonnet used the chair between the two to face Raguna, enjoying Ward’s squirms.
“You know it wasn’t personal, Teach! Heh. Ya just were the best target givin’ the circumstances—I didn’t have a choice, man—try to understand mi position.”
Cahira found opportunity rising in the dispelling atmosphere; it would take someone like Raguna to create a neutral ground for the pair. Her casual posture drew the furious Legend’s attention as she jumped into the conversation; Bonnet enjoying the simmering heat under Ward’s rump that made him fidget.
“There be some… complications, Teach; why don’t ya be showin’ him the letter, Ward?”
Raguna lifted his fingers to snap them at the bartender, signaling him to bring them booze—likely life-saving rum—and she was a bit surprised when he selected one of the better bottles. The elder apparently wanted to see how things played out, returning to his more shabby disguise.
“Ugh… Just so ya know,” he mumbled, summoning the article to toss to the intimidating pirate, “mi initiative Legend’s Quest requirements were ta steal a famous vessel—who wouldn’t respect a reputation such as yours?”
Blackbeard ignored his excuses as he took the letter, Bonnet unsuccessfully tried to sneak a peek, and Teach’s fingers bit into the paper after scanning down the content.
“Mmgm… Zheng Yi Sao stole my ship from you… when?”
Bonnet stiffened. “What—you don’t have the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Jack?”
He flinched as Blackbeard didn’t even look at him while speaking.
“Aye,” Ward grumbled, picking at his left ear to distract himself. “Mi prize was captured with mi crew shortly after gainin’ the Queen Anne, and I’ve been searchin’ for a time ta get the Firehaired Queen here in mi pocket ta get ‘er back.”
Black flames engulfed the parchment, Blackbeard storing the item no doubt for later as he sat back to study her. “Hmm… What’s your connection to Ward, Cahira?”
Knowing she needed to play her cards right, she kept her focus away from Bonnet; things could get sticky if he tried to leverage Sadie’s visit. Of course, he didn’t know the details of her reason for wanting to meet her, which meant she had to keep things vague to not land the girl in hot water.
Teach had a massive fleet of eager youngster Demi willing to point their guns at anything that went against their idol, and while Kidd could handle that heat, Sadie couldn’t afford a spotlight like that in her neutral status and trade.
“Call it curiosity, and I be hearin’ many a thing from birds across the seven seas regardin’ yer exploits… Includin’ the talk of this here Legendary gatherin’ ya be settin’ up fer many of the major factions. Ya be wantin’ Mythic’s help, hmm? Hehe. Ya know we be walkin’ a delicate line, mi man, and ya be makin’… unsavory waves?”
Blackbeard’s temper simmered as they continued, and he relaxed in his chair to cup his chin, index knuckle pressing against his nose. “Levels and treasure aren’t cheap, and sanctioned raids, such as your Cuba venture, are few and far between.
“Speakin’ of a thin line, I’ve heard of your… extensive connections and exploits—the lads be callin’ ya the Fire Goddess of the Sea, and the news from Cuba shows yer not one to pull punches…” he trailed off, mirroring Cahira, much to her amusement.
She chuckled to herself as Jack sighed, Bonnet’s sharp eyes darted between them, muttering, “What is this, Teach; a gathering?”
A wry smirk lifted Blackbeard’s mouth while appraising the man. “You can always buy your way in, Bonnet… If ya have the booty. Maybe you can get the U.K. to finance ya to hear what I have planned? I’m sure MI6 would love to employ someone of your Legend.”
It was a mild insult, but Bonnet didn’t seem to mind; the well-dressed pirate sat back, folding his fingers in his lap. “And the price would be the same as others?”
Cahira snickered. “Don’t be foolin’ yerself, Stede; ya don’t got the weight ta be throwin’, so ya best be usin’ this opportunity I’ve given ya to build yerself up instead of flappin’ yer gums—some good crew members ya could hire here—if ya got the bounty.”
Jack slapped him on the back with a laugh. “In short, be careful where ya spend your fortune, Man!”
Blackbeard ignored the man after that, but Cahira knew they’d have their own private dealings after this; such was the way of the pirate. “Back on topic… Jack, do ya think you can outrun me forever? I’ll offer a one-time deal… Ya listening?” he questioned, gaze telling Ward he had no choice in the matter.
“Aye! Mi purpose was always ta return yer sweet Annie to ya.”
“I’m sure…” Blackbeard puffed out a long breath, free hand tapping the table as his gaze shifted between Cahira and Raguna with a suspicious gleam. “I can make my own idea as to ya having already made it to this island, and I’d love the details of that tale, but unfortunately, I’m a very busy man.
“If you can lay claim to a Pirate Lord’s token of your own Jack… and return the Queen Anne’s Revenge to sail under my banner—even for just for what I have planned—all grudges return to Davy Jones’ Locker.”
Cahira didn’t allow her frown to show as Jack grinned, throwing his hands wide as Gennaro brought each of them a carefully selected bottle on a tray.
“We sail as one, Brother!”
Bonnet wanted the same deal by the greed in his eyes, but Cahira was leery of the hidden message in that statement; she shifted her bottle around to stare at the label, a fire-haired lass smiling at her—Fire Queen’s Brandy.
So, Blackbeard needs us to have the Pirate Lord’s token, which is likely what he and his crew are currently on; they’re probably in the cave after completing their own challenging Legend’s Quest to reach this point.
She silently glanced between the two Legends, Jack laughing while recounting the story that would be sung from the events that transpired—enemies turned brother—yet this was far from the end of that tale.
Peace until Ward’s aid is no longer required, then… Davy Jones’ Locker is where their grudges will end.
The retired pirate legend chuckled, deep-set red eyes illuminating while leaning forward to rub his unlabeled bottle. “Ol’ Raguna be keepin’ an eye on yer fates… Now, if ya would be so kind as to leave, Teach; ya already be hearin’ Raguna’s advice in yer troubles.”
Blackbeard’s expression brightened as he stood, holding out his hand to shake the elder’s firm grip. “It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to seeing you on the seas again, Old Man.”
Teach shot one more enigmatic look at her, tilted his hat, and went to the door; he paused for a moment, head shifting to look at Bonnet. “Didn’t I say I was busy, man?”
“Right! My apologies, Queen Cahira… Ward, I won’t be absent long.”
Rising to his feet, likely feeling foolish after chasing Jack for over a week when he didn’t even have the prize he sought—another testament to his status as a try-hard pirate that never got anywhere—yet he struggled to change his fate nonetheless.
When they were alone together, Cahira popped the cork on her bottle and took a swig—it brought back memories of her previous visit, if a tad bit milder—fire burning her throat, yet she could feel power swelling within her breast.
“Ack… heh—the good stuff, hmm?”
Jack’s smile fell with a growl. “The sodden lout… What be your thoughts, Raguna?”
The man’s sharpening demeanor left a buzz in the atmosphere. “Raguna thinks you should be careful who you make an enemy, lad… Dark clouds follow yer soul—the gods have it out for ya, Jack—best be cautious.
“Now,” he grinned, red eyes appraising her curves, “what brings mi shapely young Pirate Queen ta Raguna’s humble isles—ya must have gottin’ mi message?”
Cahira took two more swigs of her bottle, noticing the lump that fell down Ward’s throat. “Haaa… I didn’t intend ta stop by—as painful as that may be ta hear—it be the truth.”
“Haha. Raguna be havin’ a sharp eye, and yer wee Gem Crusher be not in mi waters, so it would seem… Ya here to help this poor soul complete his mission, no doubt, but what does this have to do with Raguna… Ya don’t be expectin’ a man of mi age ta be sailin’ out fer glory?”
Jack forced a chuckle, summoning his Legend’s Quest to toss across the table at the man. “We be lookin’ fer a means to find somethin’ that can’t be found!”
“A many a thing can’t be found by yer typical…”
The crimson-eyed elder trailed off, Cahira’s gut swirling as the fathomless void in front of her drew in the light around the room, vision fixating on Ward’s petrified posture.
“Ya be seekin’ Raguna’s most valuable treasure, boy… Bold… and foolish of ya ta be seekin’ what just returned to mi hoard. Hmm-hmm, but ya don’t be comin’ empty-handed…”
His dark presence and flaming irises shifted to her, and Cahira could figure out what was coming next—earn the support of a Legend to capture the Heart of Darkness; Raguna had taken a shine to her—gathering her courage, she met his searing gaze.
“Fine, ya bleedin’ swindler! I’ll take up yer quest, Raguna… tit for tat; I’ll save yer pretty Lefay from this Great Deep and return yer map when done.”
“Ah-haha!” Flashing his teeth, many missing from adventures past, Raguna summoned his map to hand to her. “And be sure ta return with a bottle o’ song from the finned lasses; ol’ Raguna be needin’ somethin’ ta put himself inta The Dream!”
“I’ll see ya sleepin’ soon…”
She took the map, looking down at it with a deep frown; Rachel would probably be pissed she’d agreed to it, but, in a way, Raguna had forced her into this from the start, and she wondered if he was the fashioner of these Pirate Legend Quests, to begin with.
This better be worth it, Ward… You don’t know what you’ve entangled me in.
Jack swallowed, the fear the man invoked dissipating with his laughter as he took a drink from his obsidian bottle.
“Good! Good! A celebration ta be had on yer return!”
“Eh-hehe,” Ward interjected, feeling the spirit of adventure rising within him, but Cahira was more concerned about her promise to clash with the Eldritch. “What can ya tell us about Isla de Marda?”
Raguna sat back and stroked his wild beard, vision still on her with that knowing, predatory gleam that showed the shadow of the devilish fiend underneath. “There be many paths ta the infamous Island of the Dead if ya know the seas, Lad, but Raguna… Raguna would take the Rok’s Tempest route.”
Cahira hissed out a long stream of air; naturally, he’d be putting her on the most challenging path. “What secret be hidin’ in this predator-filled storm, I wonder? Mi crew already fought a tempest of such creatures in our first voyage.”
“Mmh-hmm-hmm.” He gave her a sly grin. “Ya may find somethin’ lost within that not be belongin’, and it be best to save ‘er before Davy Jones finds the lass ta make a prize of her skull. She may be of help ta ya in the future, mi Fiery Queen, and a friend ya have ta offer the help she be needin’.”
An escort mission… at the start?! And Davy Jones is real, eh? Ominous revelation, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, Raguna… after you set up this meeting between Jack, Teach, and I.
Knowing it would be the best option and probably the hardest, Cahira got up to stretch out her back. “Ugh… Why do I be feelin’ this be helpin’ ya more than me, Raguna?”
“Hehe. What greater tragedy be there than a lost child—rejected and cursed by the gods, and thrown to be a sacrifice ta the deep by her lover… lost in a world unknown, with no hope of rescue nor return. Does Raguna not know the heart of a queen?”
Cahira’s lips tightened, narrowed vision lingering on the table in front of her as she thought about her life before becoming the gorgeous redhead she now enjoyed, and her focus drifted to the darkness gathering around the dangerous pirate elder.
What do you see in me with those flaming eyes?
“Hmm… We be off, Jack!”
“Adventure! Eh… yer spirit seem ta be down, Love?”
She slapped his shoulder with a light glare that made him force a chuckle. “And why, pray tell, do ya think that be, ya fool? All ya seem ta do is be bringin’ me trouble—and not the pleasurable kind!”
Raguna laughed as they moved to the exit, parting words making them pause. “Mi aged mind may be gettin’ the best of me, but I recall a dark secret below that isle of death… Careful, Love; even your fine crew may have trouble with what ya might find, but it be sweeter than fruit after a month at sea…”
You couldn’t help yourself… Cahira growled, grabbing Jack’s shoulder and marching him out with the bartender and elder’s snickers.
“Ooh, a secret!”
Cahira’s fingers closed into a fist before jabbing the man in the side.
“Ack! What be the trouble, Love? Yer luck, heh, be as legendary as they say!”
“Idiot!” she snarled, crossing her arms. “Yer ungodly misfortune be draggin’ me ta hell, Jack! Ya got no idea what those words mean—trouble for mi crew—mi crew, Ward… Not a part, mi full bleedin’ crew. We best be hopin’ there be somethin’ ta help balance the scales, or we ain’t goin’ near that secret. Savvy?!”
“Aye… Aye. Eh… whatever ya need, hehe, Jackie be here for ya; so, what’s the plan, Boss?”
“Haaa… This was supposed ta be a simple Low-tier Legends Quest, yet the difficulty be rampin’ up every meetin’; ya best put on yer big-boy pants, Jackie,” she growled, marching toward the main pub they’d likely find the gang at. “We may actually be needin’ all hands on deck.”
She marched to the bar, finding Bonnet sitting in a chair at what seemed like as fine of a restaurant as you could get on the pirate’s paradise, deep in thought.
Calling him to join her, they found Selvaria stuffing her face with the other two Mythickin; Mara was as hardy as the rest, but, naturally, no one could match the Leviathan. However, her seal appeared to have gotten a similar appetite as the voluptuous Mythickin, fully charged on water.
Retreating to a private room, she explained the clouds looming over their heads and finished gathering supplies; Selvaria was firm on completing it at ‘any cost’ before the three-day deadline when her mother would arrive in Miami. Still, she was eager to level and eat new prey—plus, she wanted a unique treasure of her own like Maria and Rachel.
If they could all get back in one piece, Cahira would be glad; more and more, she couldn’t help but wish she had more hands on deck. Once back on the ship, Mara found her at the bow, everyone else taking the items they’d bought into the hull after depositing them on the deck.
The moss-haired woman held her elbow, a slight frown on her full lips as she surveyed the open sea they were moving into; Blackbeard appeared to have left before they could see what ship he’d brought.
“I’ve had time to ponder the information you gave us, and a thought came to me.”
Cahira puffed out a long sigh, pressure only building in her chest. “Tell me it’s good news?”
“I suppose it is…”
“Thank the sea!”
Mara didn’t divulge her thoughts for a time, more than likely working over the data—she didn’t have Rachel’s insanely fast mental state, after all—and nodded. “I don’t think this hidden area is as hard as you believe.”
“Can I be so lucky?” Cahira questioned, hoping the woman was right.
“If everyone was here, then it would ramp up a ton; so far, I think each phase of our journey contributes to the next difficulty; there are multiple routes we can take, meaning there will be different results in how things change toward the end.
“So… If we find someone new to join us while inside the Legend’s Quest, their addition won’t be counted until the next trial, and if that’s the case, we should try to prolong this Rok’s Tempest until we get to the island and bypass any kind of ‘bonus level’ for competing it too quickly.”
Cahira’s tension eased. “Haaa-haha… Rach letting me know ya got a mind on ya and ta listen to ya certainly makes me feel better. Somehow the bloody Lunar Hare always finds the route to win, and havin’ a stand-in helps the team a lot, I’d say.”
Mara giggled, pulling around her braided hair to play with the end as she studied the sea on their massive war vessel. “I’ll say I think Rachel is far ahead of me in many ways after hearing everything she planned and adapted to in Cuba, but she certainly has a way of pulling interesting parties together.”
“That she does! Hmm… What about this lass we’re supposed to save?”
Silence took them for several minutes as the Mythickin considered the question, and Cahira sighed as she had to slow her vessel down for Bonnet to keep pace; if she didn’t want to impress Rachel by using him, she’d have told him to take a hike long ago, but she had to pull her own weight, too.
After pondering the options, Mara shook her head. “Someone the gods hate and who was used as bait by her lover? I have no idea, but it implies this lover was a pirate of sorts or found her inside his adventures before abandoning her, and… that she is surviving in this imaginary world—or whatever this place is—speaks to her power, yet obviously, her luck is coming to an end.”
“Until ol’ Grace O’Malley swoops in ta’ save the day! Haha-haaa…”
A twinkle came to Mara’s shimmering brown irises. “The real question is why this legendary old Pirate Lord cares for her rescue… and a few answers come to mind—many of which might overlap.”
“Oh! Spill,” Cahira grinned, rubbing her arms as the breeze chilled, indicating a coming storm; she’d been following the map to the location it showed for Rok’s Tempest. “What are Raguna’s secrets?!”
“I wouldn’t say it’s much of a secret,” she mused, eyeing Cahira’s curves. “By the way you described things, he’s certainly smitten by you, despite his status, and he has a similar temperament for a pretty face.”
“Hehe—guilty as charged! Speaking of…”
Mara caught her wandering eyes. “No.”
“As to Raguna, hmm… I think this ‘Davy Jones’ may be a sort of ‘force of nature’ in this world from your explanation.”
Cahira ran her fingers through her flowing locks. “Mmh… I can see that. If ya be tryin’ ta play the system—linger too long, and… the bringer of death ‘imself appears, eh—a reaper ta collect?”
“Something like that, and I’d be careful about these ‘gods’ interfering. Moongmor may have been with Rachel, providing his own form of protection, but I wouldn’t count on that this time around…”
“Aye, and if these gods have it out for this lass, and Jack, curse his luck… We best be on our guard.”
Cahira began to feel the pulse of adventure again after the woman’s hopeful outlook, and the wind picked up, thunder and lightning appearing in the distance as it moved swiftly toward them.
Selvaria soon joined her with her pet, and Cahira had to do a double-take as she saw the girl hop up on the bow.
Her head held high and glaring at the approaching omen, somehow obtaining an oversized trench coat on her shopping spree that was blowing back in the increasing gale, with her little Seal-Leviathan floating beside her, she put her hands on her hips with a sigh.
“Aww, snap. Here we go again.”
I hope you’ve been enjoying the free entertainment! The internet is divided into different echo chambers; you have a specific group that only hovers around specific sites/content. So, by recommending my serials to others, you give it more exposure to different echo chambers and help it grow. Ratings are excellent, Trending is terrific, but it only will appeal to a specific echo chamber. If you like my content, then please share it in your own unique way.
Thank you! ^_^7
Discord Link – Growing Community =D
View and help contribute to the Wiki
Support me on Patreon and get up to:
+ 10 Chapters ahead in A Tail’s Misfortune
+ 11 Chapters in The Oscillation
+ 10 Chapters in Undying Empire
+ 10 Chapters in PokéSync (Pokemon Fanfic)
28 Chapter Soul’s Requiem – Volume 1 Complete!
+ Mystery Wednesday Patron Exclusives
Anything else you’ll find on the Patreon introduction page!
+ Access to Polls
+ All my commissioned artwork is up for free on my Patreon!