Pirate of the Spiral: A Great Adventure by Kelsey Radcliffe
Chapter 1, Sailing in the Skies: The Heroine Pirate Enters!
Kelsey Radcliffe was her name. The long blonde haired girl sat in a cell block below the deck of an Armada Navy Vessel with her legs huddled close to her body. She had been traveling for three days and the clockwork soldiers refused to give her food or water – what a wonderful way to spend her sixteenth birthday weekend. And for what? A false charge of treason? How was she to know the ship she was stowing away on was a pirate ship. Even with after all the explaining she did and multiple accounts from pirates who were unaware of her presence on the ship, the Armada still took her in. Her attempted escape, however, landed her another charge for resisting arrest so there was no longer in hope for her being found free of fault. So she sat there in her cell wishing for the miracle that she knew would never come.
Suddenly, there was a mighty explosion from outside – multiple explosions actually. She could hear the clockworks running around at what almost seemed to be a frantic speed. Kelsey listened closer. She heard the sound of distant cannons. “Wait, cannons?” she thought to herself. “But who would dare attack an Armada ship?” Suddenly, another explosion even larger than the last burst on the opposite wall of the ship. A gaping hole was left in place of that wall and the resulting debris from the explosion destroyed the clockwork soldiers guarding her cell.
She peered out of the hole with her sparkling sapphire eyes as the smoke cleared away flipping her unruly long hair to the side. Another ship of different origin slowly reared around to the side of the Armada’s vessel. Kelsey now found herself staring down the barrel of what was likely the very same cannon that burst the hole in the wall she now looked out of. “I guess this is it...” she thought to herself. “Can’t say I lived a happy life but I don’t have many regrets. I wish I could have lived a bit longer though; there are so many worlds I haven’t been to yet. I can’t believe I’m going to die here... Oh well, at least it’ll be quick.”
It was the moment after she thought that thought that the door to the cell block was broken in. She could hear the footsteps of two people coming her way. Or at least what she thought were people. When the two intruders stopped in front of cell, she found herself looking upon a rather small monkey in what looked to be a military uniform with a small gun fit for his size and a rapier attached to his waist. Towering above him was a rather gullible looking pirate whom she thought was the spitting image of Santa Clause with a peg leg and gun similar to the monkey’s but much more suited for a human his size.
She wasn’t sure what exactly she was to say so she sat there gawking at them as they shared their own conversation. “Is this the prisoner we are looking for?” the monkey said with an interesting accent.
“Hard to say,” the Santa-man replied with a hardy voice. “You, there! What’s yer name, pirate?”
“Pirate?” Kelsey questioned crossly. “What makes you think I’m a pirate?! It’s that kind of assumption that got me locked in here in the first place!” She sighed. “I guess I shouldn’t be this rude to the person breaking me out of here though. My name is Kelsey Radcliffe – blacksmith, not a pirate.”
“I told you! She is the one.” the monkey exclaimed.
“Maybe so,” the Santa-man said. “If ye are who ye say you are, prove it.”
“Prove what?” Kelsey asked impatiently (she thought they would have freed her by now). “You don’t even know me! What am I supposed to be proving?”
“Start with where you’re from,” the Santa-man replied.
“Well, I don’t know where I’m from,” she growled frustrated. “my parents were defeated in naval battle by the Armada not long after I was born.”
“Blasted by the Armada were they?” the Santa-man said.
“Clockwork fiends!” the monkey exclaimed crossly. “There is no dishonor in dying for the resistance!”
“So who raised ya, then?”
“Well,” Kelsey started again. “I spent the first few years of my life I can remember in Marleybone. Around my seventh birthday, our family had move to Mooshu and start an embassy there so Marleybone could help defend Skull Island from any threats from the Armada. Shortly after we arrived, the embassy was attacked and I was kidnapped by ninja pigs. At first they planned to ransom me but, their leader saw it more fit to raise me in their twisted dojo.
“Ah, you were raised in the exotic realm of Mooshu, eh?” the Santa man replied.
“The best assassins come from Mooshu! You must be quite skilled with a blade,” the monkey added.
“I guess so,” Kelsey replied modestly. “I don’t mean to brag or anything but they did teach me all they knew.”
“So what’re you doin’ in this brig?” the Santa-man continued to interrogate.
She sighed as explosions could still be heard outside the ship. “Long story short, I eventually got my chance to escape from the ninja pigs so I fled to Sujimura, a village elsewhere in Mooshu, where apprenticed myself under a blacksmith there and spent my teenage years peacefully honing my sword crafting skills. When I heard a rumor of a rare metal only found on the Sacred Mountain of the Subata skyway l stowed away on a ship that was on its way to the Subata Temple – in retrospect that probably was one of my worst ideas ever. It wasn’t too long after that a fleet of Armada ships attacked the ship and arrested everyone on board and we were all charged with treason.”
“Taken prisoner in a naval battle huh?”
“Well, I didn’t do much ‘battling’ myself but I did cheer on the crew members. Not much good that did considering they still lost.”
“You’re a real privateer! Privateers excel at inspiring their crews,” the monkey stated.
“Well, now, that settles that!” the Santa man exclaimed. “Now let’s get you outta that blasted cell.” He grabbed the cell door and struggled with all his might to pull it open. Kelsey thought for sure a man his size would have no trouble accomplishing something like that but alas, he failed to open it. “Blast! The door! She’s...jammed! The bulkhead’s bent!”
“Well NOW what are we supposed to do?” the monkey exclaimed worriedly as more explosions set off outside. Almost as soon as he said that the cell’s wall behind where Kelsey stood was blown in by a cannon ball. “Great more holes in the ship...” Kelsey thought to herself. “I think one’s enough.”
“Look! That panel’s broke free!” the Santa-man exclaimed.
“I’ll meet you guys around the other side,” Kelsey said jogging wearily out of the only exit to her cell. She would go faster if she could be three days without a meal really takes a toll on the body. As she turned the corner to the other corridor in which the monkey and pirate awaited her, she passed another prisoner’s cell. She wasn’t paying much attention to the cells because the ones she had passed previously where empty but, she recognized this particular prisoner out of the corner of her eye. She stopped, walked backward, and stared at him for a moment examining his facial features.
The goose warrior student from Mooshu noticed her staring and recognized her too. “Kelsey!” he said joyfully.
“Egg Shen!” she replied with equal excitement. “It really is you! What’re you doing here?”
“It’s a bit of a long story. Let me out and I’ll tell you once we get away from the Armada.”
“Right, it’s so great to see you!” Kelsey grabbed the door’s handle and tugged at it with all of her might but was surprised to find it didn’t budge a bit. Was this one jammed too or maybe those three days without food left her weaker than she thought? “The door’s stuck!” she exclaimed in her frustration.
“I believe the soldiers put my spear in that closet back there. If you can get it, I’ll be able to free myself.”
Kelsey turned and saw the shed. With even less energy than before, she jogged to it and yanked it open by the knob – apparently someone left it unlocked...and ajar. She saw a slew of weapons but recognized Egg’s spear (it was the same one she smithed for him while still in Mooshu) and grabbed it while also taking the opportunity to grab a scimitar blade that was lying near it. After a quick examination, she deemed it a worthy enough blade to fight with then ran back to Egg with her spear. “Here,” she handed the remarkable weapon to him through the prison bars and watched him grip it tightly as if he were holding a lost love.
“Thank you, Kelsey. Now stand back; I’ll make short work of these bars!” Kelsey stepped back as advised by her friend and Egg chopped through all the bars with two clean slices. The bars fell to floor and Egg slipped out with ease. “Thank you, again, for helping me.”
“You can thank me what’s we’re off this hunk of metal! C’mon!” Kelsey ran back to the monkey and pirate followed by Egg Shen her new crew member.
“What took ya so long?” the Santa-man inquired as he ran ahead of the lot of them.
“What’s this? Captain, she’s found her first crew member!” the monkey exclaimed hopping after him. “Well how about that! A friend of yours I presume?”
“Mind your own business, you toad!” Kelsey said crossly. She caught herself afterwards and felt somewhat bad for allowing her aggravation to be taken out on him but didn’t bother to waste time apologizing.
And so the group ran above deck as the clockworks manned their battle stations and fought back against the pirate ship’s attack. At the head of the ship, Kelsey noticed the back of the head of her jailor. He turned to see that she and Egg had escaped and whom they had escaped with. Angrily he exclaimed, “What is this? Boochbeard! Trying to steal my prize, you ruffian?”
“Deacon!” the Santa-man responded. “So his name’s Boochbeard? Well, that’s lame...” Kelsey thought to herself staring up at him from an angle.
“The spymaster of the Armada – I think we’re in trouble...” The monkey said in worried tone. “Wait, I’ve heard that name before...” Kelsey continued to ponder. “Boochbeard and... Boochbeard and Gandry! They’re notorious pirates! But what do they want with me?”
“Quick, Kelsey, we must flee to their ship!” Egg Shen exclaimed.
“I think not!” Deacon shouted commandingly raising his scepter. The clockwork soldiers seemed to respond to his action with raised heads and turned over their complete and undivided attention to him. “The prisoner must not be allowed to escape!” Clockwork elite soldiers, Battle Angels, descended on deck and stared menacingly at the group with their empty eyes and expressionless masks. “Take them now!!”
With that command, the three Battle Angels engaged the four pirates in combat firing bolts of static and magic-like energy out of handguns and lunging with rapier-like sabers. The fight was rather intense but the pirates did more than hold their own. After evading the assaults from a Battle Angel, Egg Shen did away with it using one powerful attack with his spear. Boochbeard and Mr. Gandry overpowered the Battle Angel attacking them with a two-on-one, double assault. Then Kelsey was able to disarm the Battle Angel after her of its rapier using it to slice apart the arm which held the hand gun and then again in conjunction with the scimitar to bead head the clockwork fiend.
Once the trash was taken out, the four pirates glared down Deacon from a distance. “How’d you like that!” Kelsey boasted loudly. “We aren’t your ‘prize’ or your prisoners anymore! We’re leaving NOW!”
“Not so fast!” Deacon banged his scepter on the deck activating what appeared to be a hidden door in front of them. After opening, a group of bulky clockwork soldiers with guns like mini-cannons were lifted to the deck. They took their aim at the four pirates. “Do you really think you can so easily defy the might of the Armada?”
“What...What are those?” Mr. Gandry questioned fearfully.
“Surrender now,” Deacon exclaimed smugly. “Please, don’t make me destroy you.”
“Oh don’t bother,” Boochbeard replied in an equally smug tone. “LADS – FIRE!!”
“AYYYYYYYE!!!” the Boochbeard crew shouted back. All of the cannons on Boochbeard’s pirate ship fired at once blasted apart most of the remainder of the Armada naval vessel as well as the large clockworks that had joined Deacon on deck.
“Impressive,” Deacon remarked. “It seems we’ve underestimated you, young pirate...you’ll regret making an enemy of the Armada. Enjoy your freedom...while it lasts.” Deacon revealed the handgun concealed by his exquisite Armada drape and fire at a gunpowder keg in front of them. The initial blast was enough to knock Boochbeard to his back and the smoke following gave Deacon the cover he needed to disappear after it cleared.
“Captain, are you alright?” Mr. Gandry inquired standing at his side as he struggled to his feet.
“Ayyye...” he replied rather wearily. “My eye – the seeing one that is. It’s... My vision, it’s blurry.”
“What! But then how will we—“
“Ugh, no one’s got the time for this!” Kelsey exclaimed crossly. “Just come on! I’ll sail the ship.”
“You?” Mr. Gandry questioned obviously having a hard time believing her.
“Is it that unbelievable that a woman can sail a ship?”
“Well, you got so cross with us for calling you a pirate I had just assumed—“
“Again!” Kelsey interrupted. “We don’t have time for this! Let’s just go!” Egg Shen shrugged and followed Kelsey as she rope swung over to Boochbeard’s ship and manned the sailing station. Rather reluctantly Mr. Gandry helped Boochbeard aboard and, after confirming their readiness to set sail, the pirates set off as the Armada ship sank below the skyways behind them. Unfortunately, as she look out beyond the clouds, Kelsey realized that the one ship they just sank was the least of their troubles. Three more Armada naval vessels flew through the air ahead of them obstructing their path and after noticing their allies sink they were now converging on the pirate heroes.
“Miss Radcliffe! I hope you know what you are doing!” Mr. Gandry exclaimed worriedly.
“Everything’s under control...” Kelsey said confidently as she grabbed the rope which controlled the sails more. The wind caught the sails as she opened them more and the ship quickly began to gain momentum.
Seeing how rapidly they were approaching the Armada ships, Egg turned back to her anxiously and asked, “Kelsey, what are you doing?”
She didn’t respond, only smirked as she returned the wheel and glared at the oncoming Armada vessels. The two closest ships slowed down to engage in broadside combat but at the pace the ship was moving Kelsey and her pirate compatriots easily sped passed them without giving any thought to stopping. Egg sighed with relief that they didn’t have to go into another battle then remembered that there was a third ship.
Mr. Gandry peered out at the Armada ship, which had anchored itself giving no regard to the pirates’ approach, nearly falling off the deck of his own then called back to Kelsey. “Miss Radcliffe!” he shouted. “We’re on a direct collision course with the Armada’s navy vessel!” She looked down at him briefly but then went back to smirking at the Armada ship once again giving no response. Mr. Gandry had an epiphany and went hopping up to her side. “You couldn’t possibly mean to ram them! Could you??”
Egg and the rest of the pirate crew dashed to the back of the ship with Gandry and Kelsey yipping distress. “Miss Radcliffe, have some self control!” one said. “Miss Radcliffe, please don’t do this!” shouted another. “You can’t do this Miss Radcliffe! Please this ship is my pride!”
She ignored them all. “Brace yourselves!!” she yelled as she tugged at the sails once again. The angle at which she did so caused them to catch the turbulence at different point all the while the pirate crew ducked-and-covered as the top of the sails filled with air. The ship rose ever so slightly and the hull grazed through the deck of the Armada vessel while the horn pierced and tore through its sails. After realizing they were indeed still alive, the entire crew shouted with utter glee as another Armada ship crumbled and sank behind.
“Had you been a minute later, we might not be alive right now,” Mr. Gandry scolded.
“But we are alive nonetheless,” Kelsey replied in a slightly condescending tone while still smirking from her victory.
Mr. Gandry sighed. “You’ve convinced me now, Miss Radcliffe – you are crazy.”
Kelsey laughed a genuine laugh like which she doesn’t remember doing in years. Thoughts and concerns about how she would return home lingered in the back of her head but she was too happy to let herself be put down by such troubles. A short while after leaving the Armada ships behind them, the ship came by Skull Island, one of the largest pirate sanctuaries in the entire Spiral. The crew anchored and helped dock the ship and, Mr. Gandry along with the recovered Boochbeard saw Kelsey and Egg Shen off.
“I guess this is goodbye for now,” Egg Shen said as he bowed with respect. “Thank you for all of your help. It was very much appreciated.”
“How am I going to get home?” Kelsey shouted.
“Home?” Boochbeard queried. “Why, this is Skull Island! Home to any and all pirates.”
“But, for the final time, I. Am not. A pirate. I’m a blacksmith.”
“Ohoho!” Mr. Gandry chuckled. “Not anymore. You have taken the wheel of a pirate ship so now you are officially a pirate.”
“What?! That’s utter nonsense! I need to get home now! Everyone is probably worried to near death about me.”
Boochbeard looked at her and thought she looked pitiful saying those earnest words with such bright blue eyes. “I’m sorry but I’m not sure we can help you get home,” he said. “Hmmm. Find Captain Avery, he’s an old friend of mine. He ought to be of some help to ye. He’s always hiring pirates for some scheme or another.”
“How will helping him with his ‘schemes’ get me back to Mooshu?”
“You never know.” The crew reeled in the anchor and the ship backed back out into the sky.
“Wait! Get back here! Take me back home!!”
“Find Avery!” Boochbeard yelled back. “He’ll help ya!”
Kelsey sighed deeply as the ship quickly disappeared from sight. Egg placed his hand on her shoulder. “Come, Kelsey,” he said tenderly. “We must go find this Captain Avery. The sooner we get home to Mooshu the better.”
Kelsey looked back to egg and smiled. “You’re right.”
“I owe my life to you, Kelsey. Where ever you go, I’ll stand by your side and whatever you do I will support you all the way. If we really are pirates now, then I will serve you loyally...Captain.”
With a heavy heart and great reluctance, Kelsey accepted her new title. “Thanks, Egg. We’ll be the best pirates in all of the Spiral.”
“Together,” Egg nodded in agreement.
“Well then, let’s get to it,” Kelsey’s eyes sparkled as she looked toward the steps up from the dock up the land. “Let’s find Avery.”
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