Blood in the Water, first in the Act of Piracy series.
Kyros Vindex, treasure-hunter, has a problem. He’s carrying a torch for a fellow pirate with the sexual awareness of a teaspoon. Rumors say the man has killed hundreds. He’s determined to knock some sense into the work-a-holic that captains the Midnight Sun, but damned if he knows how.
Eric Deumont has more pressing concerns than the treasure-obsessed Kyros. There’s a creature inked into his chest that no witch in the seas will lay hands on for all the gold in the world. He knows it gives the Midnight Sun a cursed reputation and that doesn’t make living any easier. He has heard stories of spirits trapped for lifetimes inside spelled puzzle jars. Eric tracked down three of the pieces for such a jar with a lead number four. The fifth is still out there.
Even then, the spirit of vengeance that lives in Eric’s skin has no intention of giving up such easy access to the mortal realm. It craves blood and the light of the moon allows it to wreak unchecked havoc. Cursed is an insult. This is madness.
Pirates make for excellent stories. They fight against tradition, make their own luck, and sail off on amazing adventures fit for movie-making. But as we all know, the movies can stretch the truth a little. Here are 5 common pirate myths and one thing they got right.
1: Walking the Plank – MYTH
It’s an excellent suspenseful scene, but it turns out, walking the plank was never that popular. It’s ineffective as a punishment but it may have been used as a threat since most people in the 16 and 1700’s couldn’t swim.
Marooning, whipping, and keelhauling were all used as severe punishments, but walking the plank is largely a Hollywood idea.
2: Pirating Was a Last Resort – MYTH
The stories would have you believe that only after all other legal avenues had been exhausted, would a man turn to piracy to make a living. In fact, piracy was more attractive than a lot of work. Sailing under the command of the Queen’s navy could get you killed just as easily and for less than an eighth of the pay.
When pirates attacked a trade ship it wasn’t uncommon for military men to defect to the pirates’ side and sail away with the goods!
3: Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate – MYTH
Once you’ve broken the law and defected to piracy, there’s no going back, right? You live and die as a pirate… right? In fact, the usual stint for a man drawn to piracy was 3-5 years. Odds were good you’d die in that time, but if you were good with a sword and had a loyal crew, your career as a pirate didn’t need to last very long.
Either through gainful employment or simply after earning enough of a fortune to settle, even the most notorious pirates were only at sea for a few years.
4: Pirates Buried Their Treasure – MYTH
Thanks to Treasure Island, this myth will probably never fade away. Generally, the ‘treasure’ pirates plundered from their targets wasn’t gold and jewels. It was spice, sugar, rum, and metals. They attacked trade ships coming from Africa and up from South America, took all their supplies and goods, then sold the items themselves, splitting the profits. If they did take a treasure galleon or made a killing with their stolen goods, money was split among the crew and immediately spent.
In addition, the majority of people were illiterate and even fewer could chart a plot on a map. If you could read a compass and watch, plot charting required a lot of math. When a pirate buried something somewhere, they’d never be able to find it again.
5: Pirates Have No Rules – MYTH
Working aboard a ship, pirate or otherwise, required adherence to a strict code. Pirates had very different rules than the Queen’s Navy, but they had rules none-the-less. Pirate ships were a small nation to themselves. They voted as a group on Captain, Quartermaster, and several other high ranking positions. People with reading, writing, or math skills could rise quickly in the ranks. People who could cook or play instruments were favored.
But punishments were also delivered without mercy. Fighting between crew on the boats was usually forbidden and whipping was the detention of choice. Piss off too many people and they might drop you off at an island in the middle of the Pacific.
6: There Were Women Pirates – TRUE
Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who sailed with “Calico Jack” Rackham are probably the most well known women. When captured they both claimed to be pregnant to avoid a hanging. Some women took up piracy after their husbands died or were executed. Others joined to avoid marriage entirely.
Quite a few women came to lead their own crews or fleets and commanded the respect of political leaders around them. Sayyida al Hurra (Sayyida The Queen) controlled the entire western half of the Mediterranean Sea. When she agreed to marry the King of Morocco, she refused to leave her capital city to do so. It’s the only time in history the King of Morocco traveled to marry his wife and not the other way around.
Tami Veldura is a writer, reader, lover and artist. She currently resides in San Marcos, CA. She writes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and GLBTQ fiction.
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