Book 1 - Chest
Her chest heaved from the exertion of her aerobic activities moments before. Sweat ran down her voluptuous, red-skinned breasts that gleamed in the morning light from the cabin’s porthole. She lay there a moment, basking in the afterglow. Her crimson tail unconsciously twirled its tip on the bare chest of her dark-skinned first mate.
Kasa Brace, captain of the Crimson Widow, knew it was bad mixing business with pleasure. The trip to find a long-forgotten island had taken longer than expected, and, well, the captain had certain needs. A knock came from the cabin door.
“Yes?” she answered.
“Captain, the island is in sight,” the voice from behind the door told her. It was Kleine, her second mate.
“About bloody time. Any longer and I was prepared to throw Winston overboard,” she said.
“Tell the crew to begin preparations to land the ship. I’ll see to taking her down personally.”
“Aye, aye, Captain,” Kleine replied.
Kasa listened as Kleine stepped away from the door and back out onto the deck. She stretched her muscles and looked toward her naked first mate. “Well, go on, get your ass out there. Get my ship ready to land, you scallywag,” she said with a smile.
“Throw me overboard, you say?” he mused.
“Well, it’s your bloody chart and unless this island of yours moves, the chart was enchanted by an idiot. Now get!” she exclaimed, throwing his clothes at him.
“Aye, aye, Captain,” he complied while getting dressed.
Winston rushed out of the captain’s cabin and Kasa could hear him shouting orders. She had taught him well and trusted that he could get everything ready. The captain of the Crimson Widow rose from the mess of her bed and stretched again in front of her standing mirror. She stood six feet tall and possessed the physique of a skilled, well-trained fighter, paired with all the right curves of a well-endowed woman.
Her heritage was half devil and half human. To be more precise, her mother was a succubus, giving her red-colored skin, curved horns on top of her head and a four-foot long prehensile tail. Tattoos of a traditional half devil design were inked in black across her arms, chest, neck, her ribs, thighs and face. Her eyes were solid orbs of silver and shone slightly.
Kasa took her time getting dressed in black pants, leather boots, tan shirt, leather bodice and large black overcoat. She tucked her shoulder-length black hair behind her horns and fitted on her hat. From the wall in her cabin, she pulled down her enchanted sword named Widowmaker. Widowmaker was a fine, hand-crafted rapier, enchanted to poison anyone it stuck like the black widow that rested on the web-like basket over the hilt.
Next to the sword rested a black and silver single-handed crossbow, Blood Biter, which also possessed the same enchantment. After strapping her weapons on, she checked herself in the mirror once more. Satisfied with her appearance, Kasa stepped onto the deck of her ship. The sun was high in the sky and the clouds drifted by at a leisurely pace. The wind blew briskly around her, causing her coat tails to flap behind her.
Crimson Widow was a full sail galleon vessel and required a crew of at least forty men. The red-painted ship possessed three tall masts and two retractable masts that sprang forth from the side of the ship, all of which held the enchanted sails that, in conjunction to the magic glyph along the ship’s hull, enabled the massive vessel to fly. In air and on water, the ship slid on the current as smooth as a fish in water or a bird through the sky. Kasa was very proud of her ship and the crew she had put together. They had been through quite a few scrapes in the past and had come out victorious.
Merchant ships feared the sight of Crimson Widow’s flag while other pirates came to fear her more. There are few female captains in these parts of the Storm-Swept Sea and fewer still with a ship as swift or deadly as Crimson Widow. Nevermind the fact that Kasa had slept with most of the captains out here. She smiled a naughty smile at the memories and made her way up to the wheel.
Young Doreen was manning the station. He greeted her warmly, “Fair morning, Captain!”
“Indeed, it is Doreen. Move aside, I will be bringing her in myself.”
“Yes, Captain!” he said, stepping aside as she took the wheel.
Kasa took hold of the wheel and felt the currents as they rolled around her vessel. It rode the waves down to the waters below with the grace of a bird in flight. She briefly shouted orders to adjust the sails and her crew, a hodgepodge mix of races, went into action with the same kind of skill. Before long Crimson Widow slid back into the dark water of the Storm-Swept Sea like a shark’s fin.
Kasa looked up at the looming island before them, its single mountain ominous over the lush greenery of the island flora. Kasa could make out the tufts of smoke from the mountain’s dark peak. She looked down at all of her crew while they were looking up at their destination, awestruck.
“What are you bloody sea urchins doing? Draw in the side sails and begin preparations to disembark!” She commanded, steering the ship around the island, looking for the best spot to drop anchor. “Winston, bring that chart over here.”
“Aye, Captain,” her chocolate-skinned first mate replied.
“Take the wheel, Doreen.”
The young pirate came forward and took over the wheel. The boy was as green as a babe just off its mum’s tit. Still, Winston recommended him and so far Winston had been a solid judge of character. Kasa stepped off to the side with Winston in tow. He handed her the rolled-up chart believed to once belong to the infamous pirate king Briarbeard. The chart had changed since the last time she looked upon it. Where it once displayed nautical charts that altered as their position changed, it was now a detailed map of the island that stood before them.
“Well, this is definitely Eska En’ Du Island. Look here,” Winston said, pointing out at the mountain’s cliff face lumbered over the water’s edge. “This is where we are.”
“Doreen, continue west along the island. There is a bay that we can drop anchor in.” she instructed. “Eska En’ Du... Wait! Home of Darkness, could this place be any more ominous?”
“Captain, are you sure you do not wish me to take a few of the crew and seek out the treasure? There is no reason in endangering yourself,” Winston protested.
Kasa gave him a sly smile. “Are you trying to protect me, Winston?”
“No, ma’am. I…” He stammered.
“Winston, who is the best swordsman on this ship?” Kasa mused.
“You are, Captain,” he replied with his head hung low.
“Who is the best marksman?” she said, stepping closer to her first mate, hand on Widowmaker’s hilt.
“You are, Captain.”
“Sneakiest, quickest, and when prompted, meanest son of a bitch on this ship?”
Winston took a step back. “You are, Captain.”
“Bet your sweet ass I am. Now, shut your trap and get the crew ready. I’m taking a ten-man team. You are to stay put and keep MY ship safe. Bausk and Helmda are coming with me, I’ll need titan muscle if this treasure turns out to be as grand as you claim.” She slapped his rear with her tail and walked down the stairs to the lower deck.
The crew bustled around her, gathering gear and provisions and loading them into the rowboats. As they did, the crimson captain picked who would be venturing out with her. With her crew selected, Kasa returned to her cabin to gather her own things: bedroll, torches, flint and steel, rope among other small items. She knew that her crew would have these things, but some habits die hard. She ventured back out to the deck of the ship and surveyed the landmass ahead while final preparations were being made.
She withdrew a spyglass made of brass and surveyed the empty shoreline. Through it, she caught a glimpse of something moving just behind the forest line. She logged that into her memory and turned to her crew.
“OK, lads and lassies, this here may be the haul of all hauls. The treasure trove of Pirate King Briarbeard is legendary; so much so, in fact, that many do not believe it exists. As legend has it, only the first mate of the original crew of the Devil’s Reaper ever returned from this place. He was found dehydrated, starved and half-mad clutching this very chart.” Kasa held up the aged parchment. “I know some of you thought it was foolhardy to leave our normal skies and seas in pursuit of this myth. Yet, we are here and we have proven that the island is not a myth. Let us go forth and claim our reward.”
A round of shouts and cheers rose up from her crew. Kasa nodded and boarded the first rowboat being lowered to the waters below.