Kasa Brace, The Crimson Pirate

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Chapter 34

Kasa pulled the lever, releasing the armoire from its locked position. As suspected, the room was clear. The red pirate drew Widowmaker and Blood Bitter and stood next to the door. Elie stood next her with her new single sword she named Siren Song. The blade flickered in the low light; that was part of its enchantment. The blade would flicker in and out of viability, intended to be distracting and mesmerizing to her opponents.

The red captain opened the door leading to the main deck and, without preamble, stabbed the first pirate she saw. The man let a spine-tingling scream, drawing the attention of those nearby. The brutish, ruthless, mangy pirates stared at Kasa and Elie completely stunned.

“What in the shadow realm was that?” Winston said, rushing to the rail.

Kasa smiled a wicked smile, her eyes gleaming in the dawn sky.

“Hi sweetie, did you miss me?”

That's when the killing started. Winston lost his cool, calm demeanor and shouted frantic, frightful orders.”Kill her! Kill her you sorry sacks of griffin dung.”

He backpedaled away as quickly as he had appeared, clutching his left eye. Kasa fired a bolt from Blood Bitter at the first pirate to approach. She parried the blade of another pirate and dropped the tip just enough to graze his exposed arm. She kicked him away and into one of his allies. The two pirates tumbled to the deck. The pirate Kasa had struck was frothing at the mouth, Widowmaker’s enchantment doing its deadly work.

Widowmaker’s blade stabbed through the ribs of another pirate, and Kasa spun with the motion not skipping a beat. She fired another bolt from Blood Biter, planting it in the right eye of a pirate that was about to land a killing blow on Elie. Elie, in turn, slashed at another pirate to Kasa’s right. They broke for the aftcastle stairs. A pair of titans stood at the staircase’s summit with ballista-size crossbows aimed right at Kasa.

The strange, empty feeling that had been troubling Kasa suddenly faded. She smiled as her psychic bond with Devil’s Reaper strengthened with the ship’s approach. Twelve bolts of purple arcane energy tore through the thick clouds in the early morning sky, and a brilliant nimbus of power exploded on impact with Crimson Widow, rocking the vessel harder than a buoy in a malstrom. The titans were knocked unstable. Kasa quickly loaded and fired another bolt from Blood Bitter; at the same time, Elie threw a belt knife at the other. Both titans fell forward down the stairs. Kasa and Elie leaped back down the stairs and out of the way. More pirates engaged them.

Devil’s Reaper descended from on high, the thick clouds swirling off the hull like the vessel was crashing through a mighty wave, her black hull stark against the white and gray of the clouds.

“It's the black ship!” shouted the Pirates.

“It’s the Grim Reaper!” a few said, panicked.

“Hold your positions, you sorry sacks of dragon’s dung,” the vampire yelled. “And kill the she-devil.”

A second volley of arcane energy hammered into the ship. Kasa listened as her first love groaned and popped, the splintering of wood, pairing with cries of pain and the bellows of a would-be pirate king barking orders. Kasa and Elie worked as they had done in the past: they moved as a pair, one watching the front and the other the back.

“They are boarding, sir,” Kasa heard the elf call out.

“Damn you, Kasa,” Winston shouted. “Why couldn’t have you just stayed dead?”

Another volley rocked the ship. Pirates stumbled and braced themselves.

Kasa laughed and shouted, “The same reason I had to fake orgasms. It appears you are not good at killing people or sex.”

Kasa and Elie found themselves surrounded. Javelins of ice pieced the the air, impaling unsuspecting sailors. Kasa looked up to see Kleine aiming down at Crimson Widow, a frosty white glyph swirling before her outstretched hand. Her slight, scarred first mate smiled back, tipped her hat, and launched another volley of frozen death. Large shards of ice littered the deck along with many half-frozen bodies.

Ropes descended from Devil’s Reaper, and Kasa’s well-trained, battle-tested crew joined their captain in her sweet revenge. Broen hit the deck running, darting amongst the throng, stabbing some pirates while tripping others with relative ease. Kasa could hear Elenoren’s sweet voice sing a song of the blade, which was followed by the sounds of those soon to be dead. Her crew did what it did best. She smiled excitedly and dash forward.

Widowmaker’s blade stabbed through the ribs of the next pirate she encountered. With Elie by her side, they broke for the aftcastle stairs again. Winston and his vampire first mate were fending off the attacks of her crew. Kasa slashed down another of Winston’s crew and kicked him down the stairs. She fired another bolt, killing another, before closing advancing on Winston. Kritis, Elenoren in hand, landed next to them from a swinging rope.

“Glad you could join us, sexy.”

“A pleasure, Kasa. Is that the guy?” he asked, killing a charging pirate.

“Yeah, that's the guy,” she said, parrying another, sidestepping, and shoving him into Elie’s waiting blade.

“The elf?” he asked, sidestepping another pirate and cutting off the attacker’s left leg at the knee.

“A vampire,” Kasa answered, finishing the fallen pirate off.

“Yay!” Elenoren cheered mid song.

“Yay?” Elie asked, tossing a pirate overboard.

“We haven’t fought anyone challenging in a while; Elen has been bored.”

Kasa laughed. “Then the vampire is all yours, sweetie. Elie, you handle the rabble. Winston is mine; I need to remind the would-be king why I was captain.”

Elie and Kritis nodded, and the three swordsman surged forward. Kritis took the lead and intercepted the vampiric elf. The two clashed blades, and Kasa caught a glance at the elf’s surprise when Kritis allowed her overpowered strike to roll off Elenoren’s black blade while stepping deeply to her left. The elf stumbled, and Kritis kicked hard at her hip, sending her toward the portside railing. Kasa smiled as she and Elie cut their way through to Winston.

“Winston, Winston, Winston,” Kasa said walking toward him, blood staining his clothes. “Last time we spoke I asked you a few questions.” They began pacing around one another. “Who is the best swordsman, the best marksman, the sneakiest, quickest, and the meanest son of a bitch on this ship.”

“But that day you weren't the any of those, were you?” Winston said, lashing his sabre through the air.

“No, that day I wasn’t, but that day is not today.”

They surged forward, matching strikes with parries. Kasa thrust forward with three strikes in rapid succession. Winston back stepped, cutting small circles and deflecting the blows. He surged forward with series of quick cuts. Kasa deflected each blow while getting into close range. She struck him hard in the face with the spiderweb-like basket on Widowmaker’s hilt.

Winston took a step back, and as he did he flicked a fast undercut, clipping Kasa’s right forearm. Alarm struck Kasa’s face. The blow was minor, truly negligible, yet Kasa felt the strength in her arm weakening. Winston gave her a blood-filled smile. He surged forward and slashed at her quickly with large, powerful arcs. Kasa brought Widowmaker up to parry and found her arm too weak. The first blow knocked her back and she was forced to dodge the following strikes. She spun to the left, clear of blow number two, and then ducked under number three while sweeping a foot at Winston’s legs. The large man jumped up over the attack; however, Kasa anticipated the counter and snared his right foot with her tail. Kasa jerked, hard causing her mutinous former first mate to come down crashing to the deck.

He quickly recovered and returned to his feet. The sound of battle rung through the air like temple bells on holy days. The clouds above had grown thick and black as the two ships sailed deeper into the accursed Fildearis. Lightning crackled and thunder rumbled in sky around them. Widowmaker felt heavier in Kasa’s right hand as if it was the weight of a gold bar. She was unable to take a guard and instead held it weakly to her side.

Winton laughed. “Are you feeling that Kasa, that numbness in your right arm? I commissioned this sword to fight you. She is called Heartstopper. She is enchanted with a weakening spell; soon your sword arm will be rendered useless. Once again, I have outsmarted you.”

“You truly believe that, don’t you, sweetie?” Kasa smiled, ignoring the loss of feeling. “For a moment there as I witnessed all that you had accomplished, I almost respected you. Oh well, the moment has passed.”

“Fuck you, Kasa.”

“You did, poorly I might add, but we can't all be spectacular,” she smiled. “Someone has to be the butt of the joke.”

Fury overwhelmed the one-eyed pirate. He surged forward with a descending blow aimed straight for Kasa's crown. Kasa raised Widowmaker in a feeble parry while stepping off to Winston’s right. She spun as the parry collapsed under the weight of the strike. Kasa, using her free left hand, quickly drew Dragon’s Breath from its slumber, and as she did, a flaming arc illuminated the clouded sky. She completed the spin, slashing the flame blade skyward, and cutting cleanly through Winston’s wrist, severing the hand and cauterizing the wound at the same time.

Winston screamed as his departed limb fell to the deck, still clutching Heartstopper’s handle. He fell to a knee, agony and shock clear on his face. Kasa’s world fell silent; only his pain registered. Everything else seemed to be moving slow, at a half pace. She smiled and advanced on her prey, a sword in each hand, her glowing silver eyes shining brilliantly in the light of Dragon's Breath’s flame-wrapped blade.

“They say revenge is a dish best served cold; I prefer mine as I prefer sex, hot and... smoldering.”

Winston's single eye went wide, realizing this is how his story ends. Kasa slashed Dragon’s Breath down, splitting the captain of the Crimson Widow, the mayor of Pirate Cove, the would-be pirate king Deadeye’s skull in two. The smell of burning flesh filled the air and suddenly sound rushed back into Kasa's ears. She looked up to Devil’s Reaper to see Kleine watching overhead, a smile stretched across her sun-tanned face. She nodded in approval.

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