This is the story of a young red female Krawk named Lily whose father was a pirate (Captain Greyscale) and whose mother’s whereabouts were unknown to her. She only had one dream: to become a pirate like her father; but she was a girl and so her father wouldn’t let her.
“It’s too dangerous,” he said to her one day, “and I can’t let ye get hurt.” When she asked if he would take her aboard as a boy, he just said no. So one day, she snuck aboard his ship, the Darksail, when he wasn’t looking. She found herself a spare sword and kept it.
“I might need this later,” she said. She hid below deck in the cargo hold. Suddenly, above the normal swish of the waves, she heard two words from her father’s voice:
“Set Sail!” She had done it. She was now sailing on the Darksail. She felt the ship move; rocking and swaying with the waves. She loved it already.
“Someday I’ll have me own ship,” she said under her breath, savoring the thought. But after she was done, she put her mind to setting up a hidden place to sleep.
Every time they had plundered a ship, each sailor (except Greyscale) woke up with a little less of his share. Maybe a single diamond or trinket was missing, but they never noticed usually.
“I’m a pirate already,” she’d say to herself after every night raid while she was standing above deck. Soon she had to start filling an empty crate with the loot she was getting.
“But I mustn’t ever steal from me father; pirate or not, I still respect ‘im,” she swore on the first raid. She still felt guilty about sneaking aboard, “but it’s better than me neoschool,” she said reassuringly. One morning she woke up with two paintbrushes next to her: a red one and a pirate one. She knew what she had to do. First, she painted herself pirate and then she undressed, painted herself red again, and redressed with everything except the pirate hook; she didn’t really like that accessory.
Later that same day she heard the lookout yell, “Sail ho!” Her father had told Lily that that meant that there was a ship approaching.
“Oh no!” Captain Greyscale yelled. “It’s the Black Pawkeet! The most feared ship on these high seas!” Just hearing that sent a shiver down Lily’s back. The Black Pawkeet! Her father had taught her to fear that name. The Darksail and her captain wouldn’t stand a chance against the Black Pawkeet and her captain, Captain Bloodhook. She knew that she had to do something, but what? She was a girl, but she still could fight. She knew that Captain Greyscale wouldn’t surrender, so there had to be a fight. And she, Lily, wasn’t going to miss it for the whole world! She waited until she heard the roar of battle to charge up onto the deck. When it finally came, she charged up, and fought her way to her father, Captain Greyscale.
“Lily, what are ye doing ‘ere? I told ye to stay ‘ome!”
“I couldn’t help meself. Ye be lucky I am, though!” she said in between breaths. She was fighting fiercer than a man with ten arms could! But the fight was already lost. They were all overrun by the crew of the Black Pawkeet and taken as prisoners below deck.
“I can’t believe that a girl was on board!” one of the crewman grumbled, “And with a sword, too! That explains where all the treasure went.” Lily looked for the spot where she had been sleeping.
“Look, I found a spot where we can sleep tonight,” she said when she found it.
“But did ye see the way she fought?” Captain Greyscale asked. All the crew agreed.
“Aye, a man with ten arms couldn’t do it better!” one declared. But they all knew one thing: they had to get out of here before Bloodhook decided what to do with them!
The next day they were made to be brought on deck to “enjoy the sunlight” as the new Captain Bloodhook had said. But the captives knew better. They were escorted in chains on deck and made to stay there all day until an hour after sunset. The morning was cool, but as the day progressed, the sun grew hotter. The captives were not allowed a hat or anything to protect them from the searing heat and the clouds of biting insects. The manacles were starting to feel excruciatingly heavy. At about noon, the prisoners were trying to shade themselves with the shackles that bound them. The evening wasn’t any cooler, although the sun wasn’t pounding on their heads as much.
“Finally, sunset!” one of the captured pirates exclaimed excitedly.
“Quiet, you!” the main guard said. “Or ye’ll get a taste of me whip!” he continued, this time cracking a rather large whip that the captives now noticed dangling at his side.
“All right, ye can take ‘em below deck now. Let’s hope they’ve got themselfs some vittles, ‘cause we ain’t givin’ them none!” A cloud of vicious laughter rose from Bloodhook’s crew as he finished giving the order. Once the captives were below deck, they began to try to formulate a plan, and almost all of the crew looked to Lily for food and shelter. They now knew that if she was freed, she could sneak anything from those nasty pirates. So, they found her sword and went straight to work cutting the old rusty chains that bound her. When they had finally come off, she could move more silently than a ghost. But she was no ghost.
“So, Lily, if ye want to join our crew, ye best have a new name,” Captain Greyscale said, congratulatory style.
“Oh, let me see, I like Rubyscales,” she said when she decided, “but I do not wish to take me father’s place.” So she was named. Then they had to let her do her work. She silently slipped onto the deck, savoring the fresh air. Then she moved just as silently as a ghost into the captain’s quarters. She silently slipped a bag of hard tack and limes from her father’s shelf. But she never forgot that the man sleeping there was not her father. She also managed to slip the treasure that was her father’s out from under the bed. Then, as quietly as she had come, she left for below deck. When she got there, she returned to Greyscale what was rightfully his and told of her, slipping it from right under Bloodhook’s nose. They all ate thankfully, though sparingly, they wanted to save the food for as long as it would keep. Then they looked for a way of escape. They weren’t toast yet, but if they didn’t do anything, they would be.
“I think Rubyscales ‘ere should just sneak up on ‘im one night and do ‘im in,” one of the pirates said. But Rubyscales refused.
“Killing a sleeping man is like shootin’ a sitting pheasant. Only a coward does it. I may be a pirate, but I’m no coward,” she said meaningfully. “If I’m gonna kill ‘em, I’m gonna do it in battle!” Her strong statement was greatly accepted with a roaring cheer from the crew. “Now this is the plan. I cut ye loose, then we storm up onto deck about noon. You guys are gonna watch me back as I cut ‘n’ slash me way to meet up with Bloodhook. Then ye drive his crew back whilst I duel wi’ Bloodhook. If me father Captain Greyscale ‘ere calls no quarter, ye know what t’ do, right mateys?”
“Aye, aye, Rubyscales!” was the thunderous reply from the crew. They rested, cleaned their weapons, and made all the necessary preparations for their sure to be marvelous come back.
Finally, noon came. They rushed upon deck.
“We finish this now!” was Rubyscales's deafening battle cry. Then, Greyscale’s crew rushed up on deck with a mighty roar. Rubyscales tried to get to Bloodhook but he was too heavily guarded. She saw an Usul fighting harder than any of the rest.
“What be yer name, mate?” she asked. His reply was strong and full of pride.
“Garin, how can I help ye?”
“Ye see those guards? I need ye to hold them off while I go and fight Bloodhook.”
“I’m on it like pirates to a treasure chest. Ye can count on me.” And then, they set the plan into action. Once Rubyscales saw a gap, she was right on top of Bloodhook.
“I don’t intend on bein’ beat by a girl,” he said quite snobbishly.
“Me neither, Bloodhook!” was her only reply. Then, the battle had truly begun. They were somewhat evenly matched, but, with a series of quick sword slashes, Rubyscales had her sword point at his throat. All of the fighting stopped immediately.
“I guess I am the girl here,” Bloodhook painfully admitted, “I surrender.” And then, Rubyscales looked to her father.
“What should we do with ‘im, Cap’m?” she asked. She remembered that she wasn’t captain of this ship, Captain Greyscale was.
“I have an idea. Why don’t we just set ‘im adrift in a barrel filled wi’ gunpowder?” Captain Greyscale suggested. Everyone in the crew agreed, even Blookhook’s men looked satisfied by their former captain’s punishment.
“Better not wriggle, ye might blow up!” Rubyscales taunted him. “I’ll make ye a sail!” the crew just laughed at this remark. She got a stick, some string, and a square of old sail cloth and made him a sail. They filled a barrel half-full of gunpowder, stuck Bloodhook in deep, and then filled it to the top. After that, they stuck Rubyscales’ hand-made sail in it and lowered him into the sea. Then Captain Greyscale had an announcement to make.
“My crew. We had a great victory over one of the most feared pirates in these here seas. But I’m growing a little too old for this kind of business, and would like to retire. I give my ship and all of its plunder to my brave daughter, who gave us a great part of our victory. This ship now belongs to Captain Rubyscales. I love the way she fought to give us this victory, and her plan that saved us all. I am no longer going to be called captain of the Darksail.” Captain Rubyscales had her first ship.
“But what about the Black Pawkeet?” Garin asked suddenly. “She's still tied to us.” Captain Rubyscales had an idea.
“I can sell her to ye, Garin.”
“For what price?”
“One small ruby to put into me sword’s hilt.”
“Here,” he said, handing her the ruby. It was just the right size.
“She’s yours, take care of her,” she said.
“But I...” he started to ask, but Captain Rubyscales already knew what he wanted to say.
“Ye can also take the crew of the Black Pawkeet with ye. Ye might need it,” she said, interrupting him. So Captain Garin took his crew and his ship and sailed of into a different direction. Captain Rubyscales sail to Krawk Island and dropped her father off and then went to seek more treasure.
Admiral Rubyscales sat on her glorious throne of gold and red velvet, with rubies in the arm rests. It was a particularly boring day. Suddenly, a servant ran in the door. She bowed.
“There is someone here to see you, my lady,” she told the admiral.
“Who is it? It better be good,” she replied.
“Captain Garin, ma’am; he says he’s got good news,” the servant said, looking very nervous as she did so.
“Bring ‘im in, I’d love for an old friend to see me now,” Admiral Rubyscales said, giving no hint of emotion.
“Yes ma’am,” the servant said. She bowed quickly and left the room. Moments later she came back in, leading an Usul about the admiral’s age to her throne.
“I heard ye were an admiral, but this I didn’t hear of. It’s beautiful,” he said, taking in everything. “I have astonishing news. I have defeated Captain Scarblade in battle for my ship, and saved Maraqua,” he announced.
“I always knew ye were good. How’d ye like to join me fleet?” she offered, knowing the answer as soon as she said it.
“I’d love to.”