©Daniel Lopes
©Daniel Lopes

It was their hundredth day of journey, with no other ship in sight. Azov, the Mighty Pirate, had been sailing the Southern Ocean, where they were supposed to attack and plunder all the ships they came across with. All except the fleet from the Golden Queen, who had secretly hired them to weaken the power of enemy countries.

Azov didn’t care much for politics.
In fact, when he wasn’t being the Captain Pirate, Azov would spend a great deal of time writing odes to the sea, the winds and their deities, songs of exotic lands – and heartbreaking ballads about the Golden Queen, Isola the Fair. Ah!, what a match they would make. Both equally fierce, both sovereigns of their own kingdom. Azov knew he didn’t have a country to offer Isola as an alliance. But he had the sea. He had been traveling it while still in his mother’s womb and felt more lost on safe, stable land than in the floating ship where the stars would always guide him in the right direction.
Yes, the sea was his – the same way one’s home is one’s own – and if he had to attack and plunder to prove to Isola he was a true Emperor, then attack and plunder he would.

But there had been no plundering for over 3 months and they all felt rather bored.
Days would be spent playing cards, dealing with the regular maintenance cleaning of the ship, net fishing and occasional playing with the ship’s dog, Sirsir. You would think these were ordinary, peaceful sailors… and so would they if it wasn’t for their night ritual. Too afraid that they would start to soften up and hoping it would keep their fearless, warrior spirit alive, all the pirates would gather long after the sun had sat to tell each other pirate stories. Some of them were real, others pure fantasy, but all with the right amount of battles, prisoners and treasures.
That night, the first story was told by Pardel. A very short and even rounder man, Pardel had an earring for every plundered ship. His right ear was already full all the way to the top, while his left ear was only one earring away of reaching the end. Soon, there would be no more space, which meant he was one ship away from retirement.


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