"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
A Pirate’s Fate
Fardea's movements were precise and snapped exactly where she
planned them to be. She crept down the corridor and entered the
large dining area; her head on the swivel as she maintained vigilance.
This mission had not been a challenge thus far, but this would prove to be the
most treacherous segment for this master of stealth.
Her feet padded softly, crisscrossing each other as she maneuvered
through the congested refuge of the pirate clan. The men lay about her,
drunk and passed out from the evening’s festivities. Fardea Panthrex knew
exactly how to entertain a room full of questionable characters, her voice and
charms not going unnoticed as she swayed her hips and sang to the rhythmic beat
of the hide-skinned kettle drums.
They ogled and fondled her, she had even let them do more so long as it meant
gaining their confidence. She herself had a questionable character, but
one would never have guessed her anything more than a traveling gypsy.
She appeared to be a woman built for male entertainment, available for a
hand full of gold coins. None could have known she indeed was for hire,
but not for entertaining. She was a lethal purchase.
Deeper she waded into the sots, their unbathed bodies enough to make her gag.
The goal was to close though, she had to continue. It had been two
weeks of disguises and subterfuge to get her to this point. She could not let
that much hard work go to waste. She needed only to remain undetected a
few minutes longer.
Fardea's hand slid down her trim body and rested lightly on the hilt of her
favored dagger. Darcelli was the name of her mark. The pirate clan leader
had been the bane of her mother's endeavors. His pirates had been
chartered to steal goods from the merchant shipping lanes and funnel the proceeds
back to the Shadowling Faction. Lately those funds had been lacking in
substance. Darcelli and his men had begun to take more and more of the
booty for themselves. The men, like all men, had become untrustworthy
allies to the all female guild of thieves. It was time the pirates gained
new leadership; someone who would adhere to previous arrangements Fardea's
mother, Della Panthrex leader of the Shawdowling Faction, had conceived.
The pirate refuge was not an ornate building but it was vast, housing hundreds
of the pirates. Fardea slid back to the shadow of a massive wooden
pillar and she contemplated her next move. The great room she snuck
through was centrally located and from what she had determined over the course
of her two weeks with the pirates was the only way to access the personal
chamber of Darcelli. A single alert guard now stood between her and the
pirate leader, not a worry for such a seasoned assassin as Fardea Panthrex.
Each footfall was timed and calculated as she made her way to the guard. The
dagger now slipped from its sheath and poised along the straight line of her
thigh. Fardea crouched, biding her time to the perfect point at which to
strike, unseen and silent in her approach.
The glint of steel was the final vision the guard had; his throat severed so
that he was unable to shout out his death cry. Fardea's hands held the
guard upright for a moment as she obtained the clan leader's chamber key.
She then draped a thin blanket across the man and let his body slouch
down along on the wall. She hoped the ploy would fool any drunken sot
that might wake during her visit within Darcelli's chambers.
The room behind was lavish, its walls adored with scenic tapestries and the
floors covered by exotic furs. Several naked females sprawled themselves
on the floor, their bodies writhing. Fardea quickly disrobed herself to
blend in with them, even letting her prized jeweled dagger rest beneath her
clothing. She intertwined her athletic frame into the mix of bare flesh
keeping the distant goal of a pot bellied Darcelli in her path. These
people too had drank and entertained too much and had not noticed the
additional female that had entered their midst. She was one of them in
that moment, her ability to meld into this and any surroundings she encountered
always perfect; the skill of a master assassin.
A deep and grumbled snort escaped the lips of the pirate
leader as he slumbered. Dreams of the numerous women and ample amounts of
booze no doubt dancing through his thoughts as Fardea's lithe body curled
itself up behind the obese man. Her
muscular legs slid through the plush pillows he had sank deeply into. Ever so
slowly and even quite seductively her lovely legs wrapped about his upper
torso. If he were to be roused by her movements and find her in such a
precarious position she would have little difficultly playing off a different
agenda that would please him.
She brushed her hands through his damp sweaty hair and then let her fingers
tickle the backside of his neck. Her bare legs locked and clamped his
arms tight against his sides; he was forced prone. She felt him
squirm as he began to wake. She had jostled him too much.
"Hush now," she began to softly sing.
"Hush now Salt of the Sea,
there isn't need to cry,
the world will soon be,
rid of the man known Darcelli.
Hush now Salt of the Sea,
Shan't let you further pry,
The females of Shadowling
bid farewell the man Darcelli."
The whispered lullaby relaxed and subdued the pirate leader. His
shoulders slouched upon hearing her intoxicating voice. Fardea Panthrex the
master assassin then squeezed the main artery in his neck with the simple
pressing of her fingers. It was subtle and could have easily
been misconstrued as a lover's embrace if she were caught. However
as with every lethal move she had ever made, her timing had been impeccable and
none witnessed her murderous act. With a final guttural gasp,
the man went limp.
Several days had passed since the unexpected death of their leader Darcelli.
Many fights had broken out as the savage and unremorseful pirates
scrambled to replace the vacant position. One such contender was a young
man named Benny the Boot. He was a squirrelly lad whose adept usage with
the blade made him the most likely candidate for none had beaten him, and none
in their ranks could.
Aboard the pirate's ship, yet another of the skirmishes broke out.
"Nigh, I shall not giveth quarter. You be sittin in troubled
waters and me n'ver spare the likes of you." Benny the Boot
exclaimed to the would-be assailant going by the name of Jaris Hadly.
This had been the third attempt at Benny's life since he had appointed
himself into the role of clan leader.
"I'll have your throat Benny," Jaris replied as his long saber dashed
towards the new pirate leader.
The two danced their swords in a clanking of thrusts and parries. Benny,
the better of the two fighters, had little difficulty at evading each of the
Jaris's attacks. A slice dead center at Benny's head was swiped away with
his left blade while the right blade whipped a long gash through Jaris's
abdomen. The man winced drawing back into a defensive posture his
free hand wiping the blood from the wound as if to check its severity.
"Argh, is that all you have Benny? I've got worse cuts from the rigging
of our spar," Jaris taunted.
"Ya needin not worry much longer about me,"
Benny coolly stated back.
Benny swooped his blades in low, both of them, and curled them upwards at the
last second. Jaris managed to sidestep one of them, but the other slipped
through his rib cage finding the soft organs inside. His saber dropped
from his hands, his mouth gurgled blood, then he collapsed to the ship's
Hours later as the sun set below the sea's horizon a leather clad female stepped
into the Benny the Boot's quarters. "What manner tis
intrusion?" Benny shouted hoping to alert his newly appointed
guards. Unfortunately for the green horned pirate leader his protection
had already been compromised, both of whom lie dead outside his wheel house.
Fardea the master of stealth had remained undetected for the ship's
journey thus far; only now showing herself.
"You and I have terms to agree on," Fardea retorted.
He strode over to the delicate looking female and pushed out his chest.
"I be thinkin so sweet britches. I wonderin if me new job had
perks with the likes of pretty things like you." His hands went out
in search of her slender hips and met the sting of Fardea's dagger.
Benny's lightning reflexes drew back his hand quick.
"What tis sweet britches? Why you be tis way?" His words
lashed out in response to the attack, so too did his drawn pair of thin bladed
swords. He crossed them over his chest, their sharp points facing
"As with your predecessor, the Shadowlings have an offer for thee,"
Fardea Panthrex stated pertly.
"Shadowings?" Benny questioned shortly, but quickly coming to
an understanding as he recognized the small symbol of a eagle's talon seemed
into right breast area of her black armor. "I be thinkin tis clan
not be in dealings with you all." He lurched forward with a direct
and easily telegraphed strike that Fardea evaded with comfort.
Benny watched the beauty slide around his blade thrust with
smoothness he had not been accustomed to. Salts of the Sea, as the
pirates commonly called themselves, were sloppy fighters and never gave Benny
the Boot much difficulty in defeating. Her nonchalant demeanor in the
evasion led him to believe this was no ordinary gypsy girl. She was a
well trained warrior and he had better not hold any punches on her.
The Pirate leader pushed the attack using his second blade to
whip a downward arc that came close to grazing the admitted Shadowling female,
but as with the first, it missed the mark. Benny kept his wit and frustrations
continued to build within him. Had he met his match with this girl?
He could not let it be so.
The pirate clan's alliance with the Shadowlings had
never shown much promise. This was why the former leader of the clan,
Darcelli, had skimmed larger sums of gold off the booty they pirated.
Darcelli had tried to look out for his shipmates, and now it was Benny's
turn to do the same. Benny the Boot would sever the ties to the female
guild of thieves and accomplish what the former clan leader had failed to
achieve; freedom for the Salts of the Sea.
"So you thinkin that marlin spike will do me in there
girly, I be thinkin not," Benny shouted referring to Fardea's jeweled
Never at a loss for words, Fardea quickly replied.
"There is no doubt that this blade shall do what is needed tonight.
The real question is whether that need will be you and your clan's demise
or a proper union sealed in a bloodied handshake."
A clash of steel rung out through the small room as Fardea
used her blade to deflect another attempt on her life.
"You can not win, Benny the Boot," Fardea explained
simply, her foreign accent pronouncing his name in a silly manner.
Benny disliked the arrogance this Shadowling possessed.
She mocked him. How dare she try and strong-arm him into a pact
with her guild. The Salts of the Sea would not go into deals
of extortion so quietly; a fair fight was no longer in the interest
of the clan.
Benny reached into his tunic and pulled out a silvery cord of
twine. A crooked smile beamed just before the sailor uttered,
"Lash-eigh-la." The rope blinked bright one time in his open
"Can’t win ya say! Benny the Boot not knowin the
meaning of losin a fight." He then clenched the twine, reeled back
his arm, and then pitched the balled up cord toward Fardea.
During its flight, the magical rope grew in size and
developed a life of its own. It warbled across the open space between the
two warriors until it collided with her chest. Fardea could not escape
its path and the cord wrapped itself around her body; her arms became bound.
In a rapid succession of stabbing strikes Benny tried to take
advantage of the situation provided by his magical trinket. "Stand
still will ya," Benny mumbled in dismay as the girl turned and curled her
body to avoid his barrage.
Fardea disliked magic, especially when used in melee.
It broke so many rules of engagement and even though Fardea was a
Shadowling, a guild known for such dubious tactics, she held the belief that a
true blade wielder did not need such implements. Fardea was more than
just a warrior of the blade she was adept at pugilism as well. Her
long legs now became the tools of this negotiation.
She pivoted about on one foot letting her momentum build in
her position. At the last second her free leg lifted up snapping a swift
kick into Benny's face toppling him to the deck. Still bound, Fardea
strode over and straddled Benny lowering herself on top of the dazed man.
"How do you like not being able to use your arms?"
she asked the trapped pirate leader.
Her arms still magically tethered to her body one would think
Fardea limited in actions, but she remained in full control of the jeweled
dagger left in her hand. She dipped the tip of the long knife to the top
of Benny the Boots trousers and gently prodded.
"Now let us talk the terms the Shadowlings are willing
to allow the Salts of the Sea to have along these trade routes," she
sternly said getting a grunted and submitted sigh in return.
It was happenstance that Earl the Gray should romp into the
room at that very moment. The galley's cook had brought his good friend
Benny an evening snack. Now he was witness to his favorite patron's
predicament as Fardea held Benny the Boot captive, a jeweled knife pointing at
"Call to arms!" yelled Earl the Gray whose long beard was indeed the
aptly named color. "An intruder attacks our boss."
Fardea quickly stood; her negotiations with the pirate leader
would recommence at a later date it would seem. With help on the
way, she would have to forego coercing Benny further. There was little
she could do to change the outcome of this encounter. Her hands still
magically bound to her sides, she gave up any pretense of coming out this
ordeal unscathed. An exit strategy would need to be formulated, else she
would end up being the one strung out on the decking.
"Hold fast girlie," Earl spouted while pointing a fat finger
her way. His other hand held delicate on a small tray of fruit and
Fardea smiled, "Why thank you kind sir, I think I will have a slice before
I leave." She strode over to the cook, tipped her head down to the
tray and bobbed a single piece of brie.
Earl was beside himself, "You can't have the cheese."
"Why did you offer it then? Clearly you brought Benny and I the
snack to help smooth the way of our negotiations."
"Nee goat tee..what?" The gray bearded man said flustered.
His patience run out, the pot bellied man reeled back and attempted to
smash her face in with his tray.
A simple dodge was all she needed to avoid the mishap attack; her hand sneaking
out catching a piece of fruit in mid flight. "I guess you want me
taste the grapes too, very well."
Earl swung at the leather clad female again but this time she wheeled around
letting the tray glance off her back. The cook began to understand the
truth of his situation. This woman had obtained the upper hand on Benny
and all the pirates had seen his prowess as a fighter. She was not to be
taken lightly. Earl's head rolled from side to side in search of a real weapon,
the tray of food falling to his feet.
Fardea took the opportunity to lay into a run. She dropped her shoulder
and slammed into Earl knocking him off his feet. She then launched out
the doorway. A quick assessment of her options did not leave much to
The captain's doorway was positioned near an outer railing.
The barnacled beam the only obstacle now in her way of the open sea.
However, risking a jump into the water was unwise with her arms still
bound; so she put that escape route as a last resort. She needed to find
a way to get the magical netting off of her first. Three men ambled
towards her from the aft deck, yet another avenue that did not present itself
with the best of options.
Back on his feet, Benny helped his dazed friend Earl gain his composure and
then scampered out of the wheel house in search of the woman who had bested
him. "Where ya be, ya little hussie. I be needed to have words with
ya." To his amazement she was not at the entrance. He looked
right; to his approaching men, each waving and yelling at him a warning of
some sort. He looked left.
"Hussie this?" Fardea exclaimed as a boot hit Benny
sidelong in the jaw. His head whipped about, but he took the punishment
"Aye missie, lets dance some more. I be thinking you want to figure
out a way to get close to me again." Benny retorted his blades out
once more. He didn't wait for a reply. A slash swept in on the
She did not have much room to manuever, her back on the galley's rail.
Fardea managed to avoid the first swing by swiveling her hips and
sucking in her belly. That was as far as her luck granted
itself. Benny's second blade found home, sinking into her
exposed arm. Blood spurt out from the deep gash as he withdrew the sword.
"Ya see missie, I be a worthy dance partner afterall,"
"Sweet heaven," Fardea said, wincing from the pain that shot
through her. Damn the magic netting, she thought. If it weren't
for it, she would have easily taken this man out. Fardea pushed
through the frustration of the situation and agonizing sting of her
Her eyes locked on Benny's, his men now at his side. Five total now
scowled at her, with more surely on the way. She could jump for the surf
or make her stand, either way presented no easy way out. It was time to
resort to desperate measures. A parlay, laced with a Panthrex's unique
way of flirting just might get her out of this mess.
Fardea let out a deep sigh, pushing out her chest in the exhale, then
turned to the railing. She began to cry letting her tears and sobs
be obvious and loud.
"Thinkin o' jumping my sweet little girl."
She nodded with an emotive sob.
"If you cede, I might be making use of you. Do you consider this an
A small break in the tears, "You would give me quarter?"
His eyes were honed in on the tears dripping into her ample bosom. "I be
an honorable pirate, o course I be given a beauty like yourself
"Very well, you win Benny the Boot. I cede."
It took Fardea a mere hour in Benny’s private chamber to get
the dumb sailor to forget she was supposed to be his captive and not his
lover.Her seductive movements made it
obvious that she was a capable woman in the bed and needed only have her hands
freed to work her body even better for Benny.
“Lash le zoen” Benny commanded releasing the magical net that
had bound her.
Moments later a dazed Benny the Boot ceded to the Shadowling assassin
as a newly released hand grabbed a tight squeeze on a part of the sailor’s
anatomy that he had no desire to lose function of.
His full attention hers she peered up to him “Now back to our