Ahoy there ye lily-livered, yellow-bellied landlubbers! It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. To celebrate, I’ve laid aside me hammer and me cutlass and took up the weapon said ter be mightier than either and penned ye a tale of a pirate lass with a heart so black, ole’ Blackbeard himself was afeared o’ her.
During the Golden Age o’ piracy the Spanish Main was not a safe place for any ship. Black hearted scoundrels like Charles Vane, Bartholomew Roberts, Anne Bonney, Henry Morgan Mary Read, and the terrifying Blackbeard, said ter be spawn’d from Hell itself, pillaged and plundered throughout the Caribbean. Neither merchant cog nor navy vessel were safe from the like o’ these ruffians an’ their very names would strike fear in the heart o’ landlubber and sailor alike.
But more fearsome than all o’ these was The Shrike, so called for her habit to impale men…an’ ships. The Shrike shunned the cutlass, weapon o’ choice of most buccaneers, for the rapier. In close combat she moved like lightnen’, practic’ly dancin’ among her foes, runnin’ each through with a stab ter the heart every time.
The Shrike capt’nd a frigate unsurpassed in speed that could outrun any ship in the King’s Navy. Triton’s Hammer, she was called, and boasted twenty-three guns to a side. But those guns were rarely used – Triton’s Hammer had a steel-cap’d ram which would cleave smaller ships in twain and leave the biggest Man o’ War flouderin’ in the water, ready to be boarded.
The Shrike an’ her crew pillaged up an’ down the Spanish main. They raided towns, sunk ships and besieged fortresses. E’en other pirates steered clear of Triton’s Hammer, for when The Shrike’s blood grew hot with battle she could no longer tell friend from foe.
For years the King’s Navy tried to capture her, but she either outfought or outran any who came against her. Then the guv’ner of Port Royal had a plan. That yellow-bellied lubber snuck a spy into The Shrike’s crew and learned o’ her secret hideaway on an uncharted isle off the Florida coast.
One day as Triton’s Hammer rounded the headland five ships were waitin’ for her. The Shrike could of turned and run, but the crazy wench turned her bow to the centre of the battle line and called for full sail. Such were the loyalty o’ her men that they sang shanties as they readied the guns and loosened their blades.
The British ships loosed volley after volley at her, but she had the wind at her back and the best of the King’s gunners couldn’t ‘ave hit her at the speed she was sailin’. The ram struck the centre galleon with such force its hull split right through, Triton’s Hammer barely losin’ any speed.
The Shrike would have been free an’ gone had she kept her headin’, but the King’s men had found her home and she would not let them be. She destroyed two more ships, before the unending barrage of enemy fire tore Triton’s Hammer apart. She went to Davy Jones’ Locker with all hands.
I recently heard an old seadog tell how one night he saw the God of the Sea himself bear down on his boat, a mighty hammer in his hand. As the sailor braced for impact, the spectre disappeared, and he put it down to bad grog. Next mornin’, a shrike was perched on the wheel, e’en though he was far out to sea.
Ne’er had their been a pirate the likes o’ The Shrike, but may be that’s because she’s never left…
If ye enjoyed this ‘ere tale, why not stick it in a bottle and chuck it into yonder sea? Also make sure ter go say ahoy to Cap’n Slappy an’ Ol’ Chumbucket who came up with this here day of all things piratical.
An’ make sure yer comment only in pirate speak, savvy? Mutineers will be marooned on the loneliest rock in the pacific with a flock of shrike. They be mean little bastards, so don’t say ye’ve not been warned.
Squigglin’ courtesy o’ me wench.