Writing Every Day in February: Day 8

Dunstana’s triumphant return to the helm of her ship.

In hindsight, I kinda feel like I should have introduced Dunstana’s first mate at some point before six books into the series. On the other hand, I have yet to actually write a story where Dunstana is actually anywhere near her ship and her crew.

In hindsight, I probably should have done that at some point before six books in…

Today is less of a story and more of a character study, which I think is helpful in nailing down some of the details of a character who logically should become (and probably should have already become) fairly important.

Also: quick reminder that Realmgard Orcs are sea monsters, not angry green dudes — that’s inspired by the Italian chivalric poem Orlando Furioso.

Thinking about it, Jimena Orcomatador was probably destined to live her life at sea.

It’s in her blood. It’s in her name.

And it has been since one of her ancestors become famous for single-handedly slaying a giant sea serpent and going down in history as the “Orc-Slayer”, which his descendants would adopt as their family name.

It comes from both sides of her family. She got “Orcomatador” and the legacy of the heroic Orc-Slayer from her father’s family. She got “Jimena” and the legacy of a long line of Pelayan sailors, marines, and pirates from her mother’s family.

She’s the granddaughter of the famous No-Tongue Ximenez. Most little girls listen to their grandfathers telling them stories. Obviously, that wasn’t an option for Ximena, though she was always entranced by her grandfather’s elaborate pantomimes of his adventures.

Once she learned to read, it became less fun, but much, much easier.

Piracy seemed inevitable. Though what was less likely was that she should end up as the first mate to a captain almost young enough to be her daughter.

“Captain on deck!” Jimena calls to the rest of the crew as Dunstana steps onto her ship.

“Hey, Jimena,” Dunstana says happily. “Long time, no see!”

“Captain. Good to see you’re feeling better,” Jimena says, pleased to see that the young captain has gotten over her recent cold.

“Yeah. It was pretty rough. On the other hand, I got to eat so much chicken soup,” Dunstana says. “How were things while I was gone?”

“Fine, Captain. Your sister proved to be an excellent Acting Captain,” Jimena answers.

“Don’t tell Kat that,” Dunstana warns. “She doesn’t like being a pirate.”

“We successfully delivered those tablecloths to Goldharbour,” Jimena continues. “I’m told your fee was delivered to your mother.”

“Did Kat let you stop for ice cream?” Dunstana asks.

Jimena nods. “Yes, Captain.”

“That’s good. It’s important to stop for ice cream after a job well done. Or just in general,” Dunstana says. “Any issues while I was gone?”

“Stevens and Jenkins got into a bit of an argument. Nothing serious, but they haven’t spoken in days,” Jimena answers, gesturing across the deck to where two of Dunstana’s crewmen are exchanging pointed glances before turning away from each other in a huff.

“What’s the problem?” Dunstana asks.

“Let’s, uh, call it a philosophical disagreement,” Jimena answers.


“Stevens was saying that he read in a book that some philosophers say the world is being carried on the back of a giant cosmic turtle,” Jimena explains.

“I see,” Dunstana says thoughtfully, briefly pondering the logistics of giant space turtles.

“Jenkins says that couldn’t possibly be true,” Jimena continues. “On the grounds that while the world is standing on a turtle, the turtle itself isn’t standing on anything.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Dunstana notes.

“See?” Jenkins calls across the deck to his rival.

“It’s a turtle. It can swim,” Dunstana notes.

See?” Stevens calls back across the deck with a smug grin.

Another pirate raises his hand. “Captain? Since you’re back and feeling better, can we go get ice cream? You know, to celebrate?”

“Yes,” Dunstana says. “Yes, we can.”

Space turtles and ice cream.

Truly, Dunstana’s crew has their priorities in order.

A reminder, there’s a compilation of my first seven February writings here:

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