Wednesday, 26 September 2012

"Help from a Man Named John"

Welcome to week seven of "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors"! I'm really happy to have so many awesome readers from ABC Life Literacy enjoying this reading program. Whether you've been reading this yourself or sharing it with your children, everyone enjoys a great Pirate story! In this chapters Lillian and Jude will be running amok in Historic Charlottetown and happen upon one of Canada's earliest historic figures!

Keep reading to find out who the 'man named John' just happens to be!

Chapter Seven

"Help from a Man Named John"

Every crew member on board the Blackbird was frenzied, there was a good chance that hitting the beach had damaged their ship. But Lillian and Jude, who were hiding under the Captain’s bed couldn’t have been happier. With a treasure map to follow there was no doubt now that they could beat Captain DeNoir and his crew to the pirate gold. The only problem that remained to be solved was how they could escape the ship without being found. Dimitri had discovered that his map had been stolen and was actively turning the cabin upside down in search for his precious papers. He looked so funny that Lilly would have giggled if Jude hadn’t kept shushing her. The Captain’s tantrum was to be short lived though as a crew member came to inform him that his two captives had escaped the brig. "How could they have escaped, they’re only children!" Captain Dimitri bellowed, pushing past the crewman to go and find the prisoners himself. Once the two had disappeared from the door way Lillian pulled Jude out from under the bed with her. "Here’s our chance to escape while they search for us." She said quickly, dragging a hesitant Jude along. "Wait…that doesn’t make sense, how can we escape while they’re looking for us?" He whimpered to Lilly as the two hid behind a barrel on the deck. "Some of the best plans just don’t make any sense at all." Lillian whispered back to him, before ducking out from hiding. "In that case I’ve got a good feeling about this plan…" Jude said nervously while the two approached the railing of the ship.

It was a lucky thing that no one thought the two would be out on deck because the two friends weren’t even noticed as they leapt off the vessel. Rolling into the sand, laughing on her way down, Lilly felt right at home as she squirmed around on the grainy beach. It was Jude’s turn to keep her mind on their plan and he pulled Lilly to her feet. "C’mon, let’s go." He coaxed her. While the two prepared to leave, a voice called to them from the water. "Nokomis!" Lilly cried, dashing to meet the half-way woman as she swam around in the shallow waters. "You did this, didn’t you?" Lilly asked. "I did indeed, but not without a little bit of help." She said, yet before she could introduce her helper, both Jude and Lillian were splashed with water from a shining blue fish tail. "it was me!" Meryl called as she poked her head above the water and waved at Jude. "But how?" Both children asked in astonishment. "I used my power over storms and sang to the water so it would create waves to bring you here." Nokomis explained. "And I called on my sea creature friends to come and steer the ship. The whales, fish and sea turtles! They are so kind to help, no?" Meryl said; greatly pleased by her own resourcefulness. "Yes! Yes, you’re all so kind!" Lilly ran into the water and gave each of the sea women tight hugs. Nokomis looked at her in a motherly way before gently nudging her back to the beach. "Go on little one, we cannot stay talking like this for long. You must go and find the treasure before the Captain catches you." She instructed the two. Jude was too shy to hug the mermaids so he just bobbed his head humbly in thanks. As the two were sent off by their mermaid friends they could hear Captain DeNoir yelling at his crew to leave the ship. They were going to go after the treasure too, map or no map.

The children ran as fast as they could, neither had ever been to Charlottetown before but Lillian pulled out their map and guided the path with expert ability. The Blackbird had landed on a beach a couple of miles off from the town so by the time they reached it, both Lilly and Jude were exhausted. Charlottetown was more impressive than either friend could have imagined. There were tall buildings with beautifully dressed women and dashing men strolling the streets. Candy shops had their doors open with bright sugar treats in the windows that tempted Jude and Lilly. Their prize wasn’t candy though; it was the Province House that decorated Charlottetown’s center. It stood tall. A massive place constructed from stone, its wooden doors were sealed shut tight. That wouldn’t stop Lillian though, she rushed to the entrance and tried to pry open the doors. Grunting and fussing she struggled against the handles until Jude gently pulled her away. "It’s locked Lilly, there’s no use…" Jude told her. The Province House felt like a giant of stone above them and Lilly wouldn’t accept Jude’s simple defeat with such an important challenge in front of them. "There’s got to be another way in…" She told her friend, looking around carefully. There, hanging from the windows were long banners striped with red, white and blue. They hung down in long strands at the end which gave Lilly a brilliant idea. "We’ll use those!" She proclaimed, running to the banner and grabbing it. "But how could we?" Jude asked nervously as Lilly started to climb up the banner like a squirrel. Lillian didn’t say anything until she reached one of the windows, waving Jude to follow her example. "Come on, it’s really easy. We’ll slip in through this window and find the treasure."

She told him as Jude cautiously approached the banner, he wasn’t excited to try such a dangerous feat but with Lilly to cheer him on it seemed much easier to be brave. With a minor struggle, Jude made it up so that he was crouching on the windowsill beside Lilly, the two peeking in at what was happening in Province House. There were men standing up from around a huge table, each one was dressed fancily and had a stern look on his face. "They look funny." Lilly laughed as each one filed out of the grand room. "Here’s our chance!" She said, moving to push the window open. "It’s locked…" Jude sighed, accepting another defeat in their bold plan. Lilly wasn’t so stumped though; in fact she seemed excited and started to knock on the window. There was a single man left in room, he was walking around reading a book but when Lilly started knocking he put it down right away and went to the window with a fright. Sliding it open, he leaned his head out. "My name is Lillian Webbe!" Lilly said, grabbing the man’s hand and shaking it. "This is Jude McLean, he’s kind of shy, don’t mind it though." She said brightly, pushing her way into the room and tugging Jude along with her. "My name is Sir John Alexander Macdonald…." The man told Lillian in shock. "But good heavens children, what are you doing on a window ledge? Don’t you know you could get hurt?" He asked, ushering them farther into the room. Lillian nodded quite sensibly at this. "Indeed, we could! That’s precisely why you saved us." Lilly replied as Jude watched her performance in confusion. "But you see, we wouldn’t have done such a thing if it wasn’t important and so that’s why we did it. We’re looking for treasure!" Lilly pulled out her map and started to study it. "You’ll help us, won’t you Sir John A.?" She asked him with big innocent eyes. "I suppose…" He said, imaging that this must be some elaborate child’s game. "But what did you just call me?" He asked. "Sir John A. Catchy, isn’t it?" Lilly said happily, showing Jude something on the map. "Yes, it does sound kind of impressive." He admitted, leaning over the map to look at it.

"That’s a remarkable map, did you make it?" Sir John asked in amazement. "No, the pirates made it." Jude said, finally getting up the courage to speak. "Yes and we need to find the treasure and save Jude’s farm." Lilly explained, starting to follow along the instructions of the map. "We’re here, so we need to take twenty paces to the east." She said while counting out large steps for their group. Just as they were about to make the nineteenth step there came a crashing sound from the main level of Province House. It was followed by the sound of men hollering, yelling and throwing things around in search for treasure. "They’re here!" Lilly yelped, clutching the map close to her chest. "Be careful with those things! We’re here to find gold, not pillage the place!" The voice of Captain DeNoir yelled to his crew. Sir John was just as shocked as the children when he looked over the banister to see a motley crew of men who were preparing to ascend the stairs. Turning to Lilly and Jude he moved them along into the Library. "Hurry children, we had better find your treasure swiftly." He said nervously, knowing now that whatever this was, it wasn’t a children’s game.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mari Talks to Strangers in Chapter One of From Away

Today, everyone on Prince Edward Island will get the chance to meet Mari Chance and Erik Deror through the first chapter of "From Away" in the G! Magazine. Don't forget to pick up your copy today at all local coffee houses, salons and almost anywhere on PEI!

I personally love to read things in print, I love the feeling of paper and ink between my fingers. But there are those occasions when the Internet is a much easier way to get my reading fix and that's why I'm presenting you all today with Chapter One of "From Away". So for all you "wordivores" who can't wait to get your hands on G! or the Vaughan Weekly, here's your chance.

Don't worry if you're not in the reading range of either magazine or newspaper...the story is titled "From Away" so we don't mind. Hehe.

"Chapter One"

I may not know you but to be honest I've gotten into the habit of talking to strangers lately. Not something I would recommend but if you think I'm crazy now, keep going because this story is a lot more interesting than I am. Let me explain...

Downtown Charlottetown is my home and at one of my favorite cafe's on University Avenue is where I find myself most at ease with the world. On a Fall day where I can stare out the picture window and see rain reflecting off the color of wet leaves on the pavement. A weathered notebook and pen sit attentively before me with my treasured latte keeping the silence in my head as I ponder on. I write stories of antiheroes and villains at war. Of good over evil and the line that humans touch while deciding whose side they favour. Most people wouldn't assume that I was thinking of such complications, however I must look distant enough because they all have the sense to leave me alone. Yet today my attention is snitched by an accented voice. "Would you hate me if I shared a table with you Miss?" He sounded as if he'd been to Brittan, Australia and the Caribbean, bringing a different voice each time as a souvenir. I'd assumed he would be patient and wait for an answer, but by the time I'd turned to see who the stranger was, he'd already sat himself across from me. A drink in his hand, pure black with caramel coloured froth as a crown. Espresso, a bold drink for a bold person. I said nothing but gave him a disapproving look. Unfortunately though, he was terribly handsome with a thin, yet defined face, black hair that hung in a small braid over his shoulder and bangs sweeping in front of the most beautiful ocean blue eyes I had ever encountered.

"Well, this is a cozy cafe, isn't it? Bit crowded I'll admit but on a whole the nicest I've seen in awhile." He spoke again as if he knew me. "Yes, it's a lovely place." I had to admit it, after all this was my second home. He nodded and smiled in a way that I couldn't tell if he agreed or was in fact amused. Yet reaching his hand out to me his expression shifted to one of greeting. "The name's Erik Deror." Watching his hand I decided that he must have assumed me either mute or incredibly rude. So clasping my hand in his tan, ring clad palm we shared a soft hand-shake. "Mari Chance." I said my name."Charmed, I'm sure." He added with little more than a chuckle. But swiftly I ducked my head back into my writing. He cut in again and I hid a cringe. "If you don't mind me asking, what're you writing at there?" Erik queried, poking a finger at my page. "Fantasy Fiction." I mumbled. My eyes traced up to him as he watched my pen with fascination. "Do you...write?" I asked hesitantly. His lip pouted thoughtfully and he took a sip of his drink. "Yes and no. I like to think I write by the way I live." With this statement I couldn't help but be interested. "You know, writing my story down on that ubiquitous sense that make up everything around us, building history and all that stuff. I suppose you're doing that too." Forgetting about my annoyance at unwanted company, I shook my head. "I don't think so. Tell me how you do it." He seemed surprised at my ignorance. "Like this." Erik said sweeping to his feet and setting a crisp five dollar bill onto the counter where people stood irritated at a man who didn't have enough to pay. He rejoined me and answered my incredulous look. "You see? I did something that changed a negative to positive. It effected that man and also the people around him, plus they see my example. They're moods have changed and they'll continue their day agreeably instead of frustrated. Something like that can change a lot. It greatly effects that ubiquitous presence I was talking about." I smiled and saw his eyes light up. "I understand, but how can I do that with my stories?...No one reads them." I whispered.

"You'll just have to change that, won't you?" Erik took my book, looking it over with interest before setting it back and smiling warmly. "You write eloquently. I want you to share this with people." He said softly. I watched his face, unable to take the silly looking contented grin from myself. "You seem familiar, but I swear I haven't met you." I spat the words that I'd been thinking out as he drank the last of his espresso. "Maybe you've met me before." He said, standing up from his seat. "But...where are you from?" I asked in a frenzy I hoped wasn't showing on my face. "From away." Erik said with a certain sense of humour, like he knew what that would mean to an Island girl like me. In that moment his eyes locked with mine. I couldn't say anything or ask him to stay before he walked away and vanished into the throng of people outside. But glancing down at my notebook I saw something in a distinctly unique hand writing. "See you tomorrow..."

"Swashbuckling Duel"

Well, today in another day for the "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors" reading group with ABC Life Literacy. Did everyone have a hard time waiting to find out what happens during Lillian's duel with Captain Dimitri DeNoir? Well the wait over! Today you'll find out how Lillian fared in her duel with the enchanted sword Nokomis gave her. Maybe her sword will help Lillian or maybe there's something else that will make sure she doesn't end up walking the plank...the only way to know is by reading on!

Chapter Six

"Swashbuckling Duel"

If there was one thing Lillian had never expected herself to really do, it was sword fight with a pirate Captain. Oh yes, she had imagined it many times, a scarf wrapped around her head as she fought her shadow with the wooden sword at sundown. But Lilly’s shadow wasn’t nearly as good at this as Dimitri DeNoir. Nokomis’ sword had proven a valuable ally in the fight as it seemed to guide her hand while the girl and Captain circled one another on deck, clashing swords and turning the blades trying to make the other drop his or her weapon. But as Lillian held onto the sword it was as if it would never leave her hand. She considered that this might be part of the enchantment of the weapon and was thankful for it. Lillian was small and quick so the Captain had a hard time catching her as she dodged back and forth, hiding behind masts. Captain DeNoir had run up against his own masts several times in pursuit of Lillian but it never stopped him, instead Dimitri would just stumble along for a moment before catching up to her again. The two were locked in a stale mate; both meeting each other’s sword strikes at the same time. "You can’t beat me lass!" The Captain laughed. "You’ll be walking the plank in due time missy." His eyes narrowed as he watched her, Lillian kept backing up while the Captain took steps closer and closer to the girl. She hadn’t realised it until she felt the wood beneath her shaking but Lillian had backed herself right on the ship’s plank. Screeching in shock, Lilly looked left and right for a way to save herself from plunging into the ocean, but there was no possible way. "Haha, I told you that I would win." The Captain roared in laughter as Lillian teetered on the plank.

Closing her eyes Lilly prepared to be knocked into the water, but a swishing sound cut through the air and silenced the laughing pirate. In that very second, Lillian felt as if she were floating in the sky her eyes squeezed close. "Open your eyes Lilly." A familiar boy’s voice said. Listening to him and opening her eyes, Lillian caught as gasp in her throat. "Jude!" She yelped, wrapping her free arm around him and smiling brightly. Her friend was holding a piece of rope attached to the main mast of the ship and was swinging straight over the deck as he held her close. "Did you miss me Lilly?" Jude asked with a smile as they landed on the top deck. "Of course! How did you find me?" Lillian asked, grabbing Jude into a big hug. The two ignored the pirates running towards them for a moment in their touching reunion. "You’re Father sent me." Jude whispered to Lillian and she let go of the hug with a massive smile on her face. "I knew he was alive!" She cried happily. It made Jude smile too but both friends’ expressions quickly turned serious as an angry Captain DeNoir stood before them. "You’ll both walk the plank now!" He yelled in fury. But Lillian put away her sword and crossed her arms. "I won! That means we get to stay on the ship!" She said smartly. "But you didn’t win, you’re little friend rescued you." The Captain said in irritation. "I didn’t say how I needed to win. I just said win." Lillian pointed out; she was proud of herself for a moment but as a wicked smile spread across the Captain’s face her pride failed. "And I didn’t say where you could stay on the ship…" Dimitri said in a snide tone. "Throw them in the brig." He told his crew before walking away from the two youths and before they could protest, Lillian and Jude had been locked away below the deck of the ship.

In their cage, Lillian moped in the corner, her chin in her hands. But Jude paced, he puzzled over what they could to do escape. "Where did you find my Father?" Lillian asked halfheartedly, feeling that neither of them would see their families ever again. "He pulled me aboard his ship..." Jude explained. "He’s on a Ghost Ship and he’s bound to it, that’s why he couldn’t come to save you himself." He added, feeling somber at having to share that news with Lillian. Slowly he went over and gave the girl tight, comforting hug. "I’m sorry Lillian…I know he would have come, he’s so nice!" Jude assured her, holding the girl tight. Lillian didn’t say anything but embraced her friend also. As the two sat comforting each other their silence brought a voice from the room above them to their ears. It was the snooty accent of Captain Dimitri DeNoir, he seemed to be talking to himself. "Yes, DeNoir, you’ll be the richest Pirate this side of Canada!" He assured himself. "Once you steal that treasure from the Island’s Province House you’ll be able to retire, maybe in France with all its rich foods and good wines!" Lillian gasped at this realisation but it was Jude who spoke softly under his breath. "If I could find treasure it would save the farm…" Lillian wasn’t sure exactly what he meant but she could easily assume that it had to do with Jude’s family. "You need treasure to help your family?" Lillian asked curiously, the light in her eyes had returned. Jude nodded in discouragement but didn’t speak. Slowly Lilly let go of him and stood up with determination in her eyes. "Then we’ll get to that treasure before the Captain does!" Lilly said proudly. "But how?" Jude asked. Rubbing her chin, Lillian thought about it for a moment until a plan popped into her head. "Ah ha!" She exclaimed, drawing her sword. "You can’t break the bars with that sword." Jude said shaking his head. "No…but I can break wood." Lilly said with a mischievous look on her face. "We just have to wait until the Captain falls asleep."

And wait the two friends did. They sat together and talked, Jude telling Lillian the story of her Father. She felt saddened by it but the thought of helping Jude outweighed any of her disappointment. When night came and the Captain’s snoring sounded above them Lillian jumped into action. "Give me a boost." She instructed Jude as he lifted her onto his shoulders. Lilly then started to saw away at the wood above them, shavings and wood dust falling on the two and making them sneeze. Thankfully the noise didn’t wake Captain DeNoir. Finally after much work Lillian had cut a hole that was big enough for her to squeeze through. Dropping down a rope she found in the Captain’s room Lilly pulled Jude up into the cabin with her. In the candle light the Captain’s cabin looked like something out of a fairy tale from far off lands. But Lillian didn’t stop to look at the grand treasures all around, she went right to the desk where she started to read charts and maps. Jude leaned over her shoulder and shook his head. He couldn’t make any sense out of the images on the maps. "How can you read that?" Jude asked, pointing out all of the marks on a map of Charlottetown. "That shows you how to get to Province House." Lillian explained, drawing a line with her finger to show Jude the route. Taking a smaller sheet out from under that one, Lilly showed him the floor plans of the important Charlottetown building. "Where’s the treasure?" Jude asked, not sounding very smart about reading maps. The girl only giggled. "Don’t you know Jude? X marks the spot." She said, showing him where there was an x on the map. He couldn’t make sense of where in the building it was, but Jude knew he could trust Lillian. "But isn’t it wrong to steal what belongs to someone else?" Jude asked a third question. Lillian rolled up the maps and stuck them in her belt along with her sword and compass. "This is Pirate Treasure Jude, it says so on the map and if a pirate buries their treasure that’s because they want it to be found by someone. Who better to find it than us? After all we can save your family’s farm that way and you’ll be able to grow crops again." She explained, proud of how resourceful she had been to devise such a plan. Just as Jude was about to agree with Lilly, the two were sent flying by the ship jolting with a crash. They both fell to the ground and luckily rolled right under the Captain’s bed. The two friends stayed close to the ground as a pirate burst into the Captain’s cabin waking him with bad news. "Cap’n, we’ve run aground! The ship is stuck on a beach!" He cried. Captain DeNoir flew out of his bed in a fury, waving his arms and yelling at the crew man, but under the bed Lillian smiled at Jude. "Nokomis kept her promise."

Saturday, 15 September 2012

From the Author's Mind to From Away...

With From Away's first chapter making an appearance in the Vaughan Weekly this Wednesday, I felt like it would be nice to give you some insight into what I felt during the writing of the story. My vantage is always different no matter what I'm writing so there's always this sort of anticipation for me, to find out what a story is going to make me feel and how it will effect me as an author.

Looking at the story of From Away, I felt that there was this really sort of magical experience in a chance meeting and I wanted to expand on that encounter. As I was writing each chapter dawned on me like it was a song, it has a solid point that can be taken as it's own entity but if you put them all together they tell you something bigger when they're looked at in full perspective.

Of course it wasn't difficult to craft, having two fantastic characters to work with. There are plenty of things I would like to say right here and now about Erik and Mari but I'll have to refrain if only because it would unfortunate to spoil the story. The amazing thing about Erik Deror as a character is that he is entirely unpredictable. As an author you get senses from your characters and you can tell what they're going to do or say before an event in a story takes place. But the amazing thing about Erik is that he constantly caught me off guard. There were things he would say that were totally unexpected and I that I couldn't have predicted myself. Even the scenarios were fantastically shocking at moments and as it dawned on me I couldn't help but laugh or just delight, it felt like a times I was one of the readers.

That's a rare experience for an author and I can really characterise my experience with From Away through that.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

"The Ghost Captain" and Something New Afoot

Notice anything different?

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that something is certainly afoot on my blog, not to mention a stark change in theme. Well, the reason you're being welcomed by the title "From Away" and an entirely new layout is because of my upcoming story by the same name. I don't want to spoil too much, even if the notion is tempting, but I can say that this one is especially for adults and young adults.

Here's a smidgen about the story, just to give you a taste of what's to come:

Meet Mari Chance, she's the unassuming person you see hunched over a writing book everyday in the Coffee Shop window. You don't know her personally, but she's a native to Downtown Charlottetown and obviously loves lattes just as much as air. Despite the fact that you're accustom to seeing Mari perpetually alone at her table, things in her introverted life are about to change...

Enter Erik Deror, a paragon of boldness, humour, unfortunate good looks and curious philosophy. He's got a wry way of expressing himself, a killer accent and a strange knack for showing-up exactly where you least expect.

Narrated by an enchanted and slightly irritated Mari, you're about to find out what happens when two opposites collide and what's to be gained from out of the box experience brought on by one very intriguing man who just happens to be 'From Away'.

Well, now that I've given you a mini introduction into my new world I'll return to our scheduled update!

This week, all my ABC Life Literacy Readers will be experiencing Chapter Five of "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors"! Welcome to the middle point of the story, you're half way through and don't worry I've done my best to pack double the excitement into the next five chapters so there's lots to look forward to!

Chapter Five

"The Ghost Captain"

When Jude opened his eyes, he saw a man standing over him. He was tall and broad with curly black hair and a bandana on his head. He had a wide nose and an even wider smile that looked too jolly to be on a glowing ghost ship. "Avast! You’re awake Lad!" The man exclaimed happily, plucking Jude up and setting the boy on his feet. The ship around them didn’t seem as if it were real, the boards beneath Jude’s feet were solid yet see-through. Below him he could see pirates running around the hold, hauling ropes and barrels of apples around. If he squinted even harder Jude could see straight down to the ocean where fish swam effortlessly through the ship. The man towering over him chuckled warmly and reached over to Jude, he took a lobster that was hanging off of the boy’s sleeve and held it out for him to see. "Brought a friend with you, did ye?" He asked. Jude just shook his head mutely. "No?" The Pirate asked, placing the lobster on his shoulder like a pet parrot. "Well, do you have a voice lad? What be yer name?" The pirate asked him. Jude would have thought that in the presence of a pirate he would be nervous, but this man was just too friendly, he acted more like a father then a fearsome seafarer. "I’m Jude McLean…sir." The boy said, hesitant of what to call the man before him. "Glad to know ye! I’m Captain Harlington Webbe the Crimson! This here ship be me vessel, the Wandering Maiden. We sail together and rescue poor sailors lost at sea!" Harlington said proudly, guiding a captivated Jude along the transparent deck.

Little blue flames flickered all around them. They seemed much warmer and kinder then they had from land, Jude stared at the lights with great interest. Inside the little flames that adorned the whole ship were pixies with mischievous faces that stuck out their tongues and wiggled their fingers in their ears as Jude watched them. The Captain smiled warmly and wagged a finger at the tiny creatures. "Will-‘o-the-Wisps they’re crafty little creatures but terribly useful too." Harlington explained, steering Jude away from them and towards the wheel of the ship. "But why have them on the ship?" Jude questioned innocently. "Well Lad, it’d be a shame for people to actually find me ship, it’d ruin the whole story of it…and so those little imps come out to protect her. If someone comes too near they distract them into going the other way. Besides, a flaming ghost ship makes for a grand story." Captain Webbe winked at Jude as he observed the whole ship. Jude considered everything for a moment, pinching himself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. He didn’t wake up, so that meant everything had to be real.

Then something dawned on Jude, the Captain’s name rang in his head through the voice of Lillian. She had explained about a man named Harlington Webbe the Crimson. "You’re her father!" Jude suddenly burst out, looking at the Captain with his thick black hair and grey eyes. He could see the resemblance between Harlington and his friend right away. "What’s that now?" The Captain asked, tilting his head and petting the lobster on his shoulder. "You have a daughter, don’t you Captain? Her name is Lillian and you left her to the mermaids in France, didn’t you?" The words came out of Jude’s mouth in a rush as his brain ran in circles trying to keep up with how everything was taking place. Captain Harlington was silent for a moment, his expression turned from pleased to brooding. He paced for a moment, his boots making no sound on the ghostly deck. "…Do you know her?" He asked, looking back to Jude with sad eyes. The boy nodded, feeling bad for making the Captain so somber. "She goes to school with me…she’s funny, smart and she’s looking for you Captain." He said softly. "Everyone thinks she’s an orphan but she knows about you, Lilly said she heard the mermaids singing about you…" Jude paused, swallowing hard. The Captain stopped in front of him and bent down on one knee so that their were eye level. "Of course, her presence would bring mermaids no matter where she goes. Lillian was given a special gift of protection by the mermaids when she was born…" Harlington said. "That’s why the French Mermaid came to see me!" Jude said, realising something important. "A mermaid came to you lad?" The Captain asked curiously. "Yes, yes! Lillian stowed away on a pirate ship because she thought it would help her find you. That was when a mermaid named Meryl showed up and offered to help me find her, but we got separated by the storm and I ended up here." The Captain nodded as if all this was something very obvious and normal, that mermaids and ghost ships were just as common as humans and houses. "Indeed, you must be very good friends with my daughter for a mermaid to come to you." Captain Webbe said, standing back up and turning towards the horizon. Jude moved beside him and looked out too, hoping there was some important purpose of the action.

"Let’s go save her." Jude suggested. "We can catch up to those pirates and then you can storm the ship with your crew and save her!" But Harlington shook his head at this suggestion. "I can’t lad…not long after Lillian was born, before she could ever remember who I was, I became lost at sea on a voyage. This very ship rescued me. It was just the pixies running her then. They told me that they had searched for a Captain high and low but found no one proper until me. I said I would Captain their vessel for them but there was a catch y’see. If I was Captain of the Wandering Maiden, I had to stay aboard her forever. Those pixies tricked me into agreeing before I ever knew it. I was given the job to save people lost at sea and I could bring them aboard this ship, just like I did with you." Jude listened intently to the story but even if Captain Webbe couldn’t leave the ship it didn’t make sense why they couldn’t save Lillian and bring her back to the Island. "But we can just go get Lillian and bring us both back to the Island then…can’t we?" Jude asked hopefully. But it was too good to be true, Harlington shook his head. "No lad, I can’t take anyone on the ship unless they’re lost at sea…and my dear daughter, she’s on a ship already. I’m bound to this vessel lad, it pains me to say I can’t help Lillian, but you can." He looked down at Jude with hope and trust in his eyes. Reaching to his side, Captain Webbe took out a telescope and placed it into Jude’s hand. "Take this spyglass with you Jude, when you use it you’ll be able to see across the land farther than an eagle and deeper into the sea than a shark." The telescope sat in Jude’s hands a second before he grasped it, too nervous to test the contraption. "You trust me to save your daughter?" Jude asked in surprise that this Captain, an adult, felt he was responsible enough to save Lilly. "Yes, of course I do." He said, placing a hand on Jude’s back. The Wandering Maiden had been sailing without anyone at her wheel and Jude only noticed this when the ship he had seen sailing away from Lilly’s Grotto came into view.

"That’s the ship!" He exclaimed, pointing it out for Harlington to see. The Captain’s brow knit in concern as he watched the red sails of the ship across from them. "That ship is the Blackbird…" He said knowingly. "Her Captain is the man who sunk my ship so many years ago when I was lost at sea." The Captain watched it in the distance. "Wait, shouldn’t we drop anchor? Won’t he see us if we can see him?" Jude asked nervously. "No, no, we’re in broad daylight, the only time you can see a ghost ship is at night. Right now we’re as invisible as air!" The Captain assured him. Jude was relieved to hear this, deciding that it was a good time to test out the new telescope he had received. Placing it to his eye he found there was a ring around the middle of it that he could turn to make the view get closer and farther away. He zoomed in on the Blackbird as close as he could until the deck was in clear view, he could make out the pirates in perfect detail as they stood around the deck cheering. It was strange to see so many in one spot with their arms raised as if encouraging someone. Then the crowd parted and he saw something unimaginable. Lowering the spyglass, he looked to Captain Webbe and spoke shakily. "Their Captain is on the deck…and he’s swashbuckling with Lillian…"

Thursday, 6 September 2012

"Deal With A Pirate"

Hoy Mates!

Congratulations to all my mates in Ontario who have been reading the Vaughan Weekly and completed their reading program! I hope you had a yo-ho good time reading "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors"!

And a big ahoy to all of you from ABC Life Literacy, this is your fourth week in the reading program and things really start to get exciting in this chapter! I won't spoil it but I bet from the chapter title you'll be able to tell that there is lots of pirate adventure and maybe even a little danger.

So pick up you swords and prepare to swashbuckle with a pirate captain!

Chapter Four

"Deal with a Pirate"

With one eye peering through the keyhole of her treasure chest, Lillian could see feet shuffling back and forth; they wore huge boots with tall men in them. Each was dressed messily and had funny accents, saying words like ‘ahoy’, ‘avast’ and ‘me hearties’. Lillian knew exactly what all these things meant though, because she had made it her personal mission to know everything there was about pirates. Her heart was racing from excitement as she anticipated them opening the chest to find her. The Pirates would be so surprised and even if this wasn’t her Father’s ship, surely they would be able to lead her to him. It was the perfect plan! But sadly no one had come to free her from the chest and Lillian didn’t want to scare them by just popping out. It was becoming tiresome and cramped hiding in the box though and so once all the men had cleared out of the hold, Lillian gently creaked open the heavy lid and slipped out of her treasure chest. She had her compass attached to the pants that she had changed into and her shirt was lose and comfy, it was much easier to navigate a pirate ship like this than in a silly dress. Observing the room around her, Lillian’s mouth was agape with awe. It was exactly as she had imagined and more. Floor to ceiling everything was made out of wood, ropes hung against the walls, wooden beams held up the frame of the room. It was dank and smelt like salt water but Lillian didn’t mind, she even liked the comfortable swaying of the ship. "It’s amazing." She whispered, creeping around the hold so no one would hear her. Swords were secured against the wall opposite of her and a wide eyed Lillian regarded them cautiously. That was when something glittery grabbed her attention. It wasn’t treasure or doubloons but something so much more fascinating.  In the corner was a barrel, it overflowed with water as the ship wavered and in it was a beautiful woman. She had long, straight black hair, radiant copper skin and deep colored eyes that shone. Too stunned to say anything, Lillian watched her in captivation until the woman spoke. "Come child." Lilly was quiet, but obedient, coming so close that the woman in the barrel could touch her. And she did. Reaching out long, slender fingers she touched Lillian’s cheek and then smiled. "Hello Lillian Webbe." The woman said. "How did you know my name?!" The girl asked, her cheeks flushing red as she realised how rude she had been. "I know, because the wind and fish speak to me. I am Nokomis, a sabawaelnu; friend of the Mi’kmaq of your Island. The fish have told me of a girl with hair like me and eyes of a storm who sought to find her Father. Is this you?" Lillian nodded quickly. "Yes! Yes that’s me and now I’m going to find my Father because these pirates will lead me to him." The girl’s face was beaming with optimism. "But please tell me, Miss. What is a
sah-buh-wahn-ill-noo?" She asked, sounding out the funny name that Nokomis had said. The woman laughed softly. "You amuse me little one, you are innocent. That is the name my people have given me. I am a half-way person. You see, trapped in this barrel is my fin. I am half woman, half fish." Her lips spread into a gentle smile. "A mermaid?" Lillian asked. Nokomis shrugged. "I guess that is what the English call me. But you must listen now there are more important matters at hand. This ship is not what you think, a dangerous pirate captain sails it. His name is Dimitri DeNoir. He is greedy and will not help you. I will though if you can do me one service." It was comforting to know that the half-way woman would help her, but Lillian was discouraged and felt disappointed that the pirates would not help her. "What do you need me to do?" She asked, fully prepared to help Nokomis. "If you free me, little one, I will give you something to protect yourself with and use my powers to lead this ship ashore to safety." Nokomis’ plan sounded just right to Lillian, but she would have to find a way to free her first. Looking around the room, the girl noticed that there were many cannons pointing out of holes in the wall. Dashing over to one, she got a brilliant idea. Shoving it out the way with great effort, Lillian found that the square hole was just enough space to push Nokomis’ barrel through. And just as she was about to shove the barrel over to the hole, Nokomis stopped her. "Wait. Bring me a sword from the wall, Lillian Webbe." Blinking in surprise, Lillian obeyed and went to the wall picking a small sword, one that fit in her hand and wasn’t too heavy to carry. Bringing it to Nokomis she held it out to the half-way woman. Taking a silver armlet off, Nokomis placed it over the blade of the weapon and slid down to the sword’s hilt. For a second, nothing happened but magically the armlet shifted in shape until it fit against the hilt and decorated it. "This sword is now enchanted; it will protect you and can use the powers of the sea." Lillian noticed the change right away, the sword was lighter than a feather and she could slip it into her belt with ease. "Thank you Nokomis." Lillian said gratefully, leaning over and giving the creature and little kiss on her cheek before pushing the barrel over to her planned escape route. For a second, Lillian watched Nokomis, but hearing footsteps coming towards the hold she quickly managed to push the barrel out of the hole and watched as it broke into a million golden fish from Nokomis’ magic. With her copper fish tail splashing into the water, Nokomis waved to Lillian. "Thank you little one! I will see you again, be safe and be brave." She called before diving underwater. Lillian was leaning out of the hole waving Nokomis off when she heard a voice that made her jump.

"And who be this little scallywag?" One man said in a funny voice. "Looks like we’ve got a stowaway." Another replied to him. Lillian cautiously peeked over her shoulder and out of the hole to see two pirates standing over her. They had crooked teeth and crooked smiles that weren’t very friendly. "It be a little lass!" One laughed, reaching to catch Lillian by the collar of her shirt, but she ran to the other side of the room. "A quick little imp too!" The skinner of the two men said, leaping to catch her, but Lilly scampered off towards the stairs so she could escape to the deck. "Oh no you don’t!" Both cried in unison, knocking into each other before they ran off after Lillian. She gave them a chase across the decks of the ship, dodging pirates and masts, the girl thought she had lost the two clumsy men. But with one quick swipe, the tall skinny pirate grabbed her hand and held her up above the deck. Lillian dangled there for a second, kicking her feet to try and get free, but it didn’t work. "Got’cha ye slippery little eel!" He laughed. "Let’s take her to the Cap’n." The other recommended. They both nodded and smiled at each other, taking Lillian to the Captain’s quarters. It was an elaborate room with treasure strewn all over the place and there a man sat at his desk looking over a pile of maps. Everything he wore was black, even his hat with a huge black feather in it. He stood up slowly as his crewmen came in, the pirate’s face was thin and his nose long and pointed with a curly moustache underneath it, his green eyes were alert like a cat’s. "Captain DeNoir, we found a stowaway!" The thugs said, setting Lillian down, Captain DeNoir gave her a good look and then chuckled. "This little thing? Throw her overboard!" He said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "No!" Lillian cried, pulling out the sword that Nokomis had given her and pointing it at the Captain. Even if he didn’t want to help her, maybe there was a way Lillian could get the information from him. Demitri raised an eyebrow at the girl and shook his head ignoring her outburst. "She’s feisty; do you think you’re a pirate girl? Then you shall be treated like one! Make her walk the plank!" The man said, pointing a bony finger at Lillian. "No!" She cried again. "Fight me! If I win, I’ll stay on the ship!" She said with determination. "And if you lose?" Dimitri DeNoir asked, drawing his cutlass. "Then I’ll walk the plank." Lillian gave her word, making a deal with the ruthless Pirate Captain.