Tag Archives: pirates

Challenge: Legal Theft: Worth Her Salt (234 words)


Connal ignored the resentment simmering in the silence and enjoyed his drink.

Ally might have exhausted her tongue, but she hadn’t exhausted her bitterness. Her arguments would start to flow again as soon as the drink hit her, maybe with more vehemence than before if she was that kind of drunk.

But he pitied her too. It did seem a raw deal.

Connal sipped the beer again, looking at Ally thoughtfully. She was tough. She was wiry and long, the muscles visible below the tanned skin. The expression that she wore was as fierce as his own could be, enough to make others skirt her in this dingy taproom despite the swell of her chest and the flare of her hips just hanging over either edge of the stool. With her hair braided back she looked as ready for action as any man in the tavern.

Connal let his eyes slide around the barroom. Ally really did look as capable as many here, and she was trustworthy besides, which he could say for very few of the burly men lit by the candlelight.

“How,” Connal asked her carefully, “attached are you to your hair?”

Ally’s eyes narrowed sharply. “What?”

“Your hair. Would you cut it?”


“And your chest. If you wore baggy clothes and maybe bound those things back more firmly….”

“What’re you getting at, Connal?”

“I’m saying you’d make a good crewman.”

This week we all stole from Kate Kearney from More Than 1/2 Mad.  She wrote “The Living and the Dead.”  We pinched the first line and used it but saw nothing of the rest of her story before we wrote our own stories.

Kid at The Gate In The Wood wrote “The Silent Bar.”

Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master wrote “No Need” (524 words).

Bek at Building A Door wrote “Small Town Stigma.”

Challenge: Legal Theft: Blindsided (409 words)


It took three weeks to sail between the islands, though rough weather could turn it into a more interesting five. Not one among the crew had told him what sort of delay would be caused by a tussle with pirates.

They’d not prepared him well for that possibility.

No one had mentioned raiders. Certainly no one had mentioned sword- or fistfights or being captured and having his ankles and wrists tied together, sitting quietly on the deck under threat of being skewered like a pig while three burly men in ratty clothes watched him. 

None of it sat well with Aidan.

He wasn’t sure if he was more annoyed with the tight-lipped traders quaking beside him or the pirates.

He ought to have just gone below and hid. He wasn’t sure why he’d jumped to engage the pirates.

They had his knife and his sword now. They’d been thrown into a pile with the weapons wrested from or surrendered by the crew and a very few that belonged to felled pirates.

At least, he thought, Darryn wasn’t here. Until recently, he’d have had to look after Darryn besides, but now it was only Aidan’s own hide that needed saving.

And that made things easier.

To the man next to him, he grumbled, “You didn’t tell me there were pirates.”

“We didn’t know,” the sweating sailor pled. “I haven’t heard of any in the area before now.”

“Just our luck. Any thought what happens to us?”

“I don’t know these—”

“Hey!” one of the guards shouted, and the tip of a sword tickled the sailor’s throat. “I said no talking.”

“I was asking him,” Aidan said boldly, “what he thinks you’ll do to us.”

“That’s up to the captain.”

“Do you have a guess?” Aidan pressed.

“Pray to your gods, boy,” the pirate growled by way of answer. He lowered the sword and made to turn away, but was stopped by Aidan.

“Suppose,” Aidan said, “that I pray to the captain instead.”

“Captain don’t like beggars.”

“Maybe not, but maybe you could use an extra deckhand? Or a cabin boy?”

The pirate laughed. “Boy, you don’t want to be no pirate’s cabin boy.”

“What’re you doing?” the sailor beside him hissed.

“I need passage away. I don’t particularly care where. And you lot seem unlikely to be able to take me much farther. So what do you think,” Aidan asked the pirate, “since they can’t take me, can you?”

This week we all stole from Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master, who wrote “Herd” (1117 words) but showed us only the first line until we’d all written our pieces.

Kid at The Gate In The Wood wrote “Red for the Blood.”

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Three or Five.”

Bek at Building A Door wrote “Paying Passage” (375 words).

Challenge: Legal Theft: Consider It a Present (1662 words)


If it was still in fashion to name blades, Briditte was pretty sure Hanna would have named her sword Lady Sparkle. She wore the blade as no warrior or soldier or killer ought to, more as decoration, touching its pommel the way one might touch a pendant or bracelet when the conversation became uncomfortable. Briditte had never seen her draw the sword from the scabbard, and she doubted that Hanna had ever drawn it other than to show off its blade. If she polished it at all, it was only to increase its shine and not to keep it sharp. Probably Hanna had servants to polish the blade for her, though. Briditte hoped that the servants knew their mistress well enough to go for more effect than practicality.

Guarding Hanna was an awful bore, Briditte thought, less appealing though better paying than guarding the most innocuous cargo on its journey. On a journey at least there was often good company. Hanna was vapid and unable to carry on a conversation that wasn’t about fashion, men, or bloodlines. Not that Briditte had much tried to engage Hanna in conversation. Briditte knew her place.

Today Hanna was meeting with the Lewises, a family of the upper echelons, rich, their money made in the shipping industry. Briditte wasn’t sure exactly what it was that the Lewises did nor did she particularly care.

Hanna sat at tea with Leanne Lewis, a young woman of about Hanna’s age in the Lewises’ hillside garden. The garden, Briditte had to admit, was lush, a cacophony of bright flowers and densely leafed bushes and trees, carefully planned to maintain a view from this spot of the sea into which the hill sank, its waters as bright as any flower in the garden and seeming as tamed by the Lewises’ hands as the garden.

Briditte might have enjoyed the setting in other circumstances.

With only Leanne in Hanna’s company, Briditte thought that she might not have to be as vigilante as usual. Briditte allowed herself to listen to the birds singing and the cicadas humming and the waves soughing against the cliff instead of the conversation between her charge and her host.

Before she had left on this particular outing, Hanna’s father had taken Briditte aside and warned her that she may need to guard Hanna particularly well. Briditte did not now understand the man’s fear. Hanna seemed as safe here as she might in the garden of her own estate.

The Lewises—or Leanne at least, who was the only Lewis whom Briditte had yet seen—had met Hanna warmly, was pleasant towards her servants, and treated security in a manner of which Briditte approved, staying safe behind high stucco walls and employing several guardsmen. One remained some ways up the hill from them. Leanne had bid him stay within call but out of sight for the duration of her tea party. She had tried to dismiss Briditte too, but Briditte had been adamant about staying and Hanna had not echoed Leanne’s request with a demand.

That one slip was all that put Leanne Lewis out of Briditte’s favor. Otherwise she had thus far been amiable.

Briditte’s open ears detected the crunch of footfalls along the gravel walk, and she straightened herself, adjusted her grip on the hilt of her sword.

A tall and broad-shouldered man entered the glade where the girls sat at tea. He was dressed all in dark greens and wore a sword and a dagger at his side, Briditte noticed, but such was the fashion. Even Hanna wore a sword. And the Lewises had always been good friends with Hanna’s family.

Leanne beamed at the man and threw herself from the chair and into his arms. “Robert!” she exclaimed. “You’ve been gone too long!”

“I asked after you up at the house. They told me you were here. They warned me that you were accompanied, but I couldn’t wait.”

Leanne led the man forward and introduced him to Hanna as her brother. Hanna stood and curtseyed to the man, but Briditte noted that her eyes returned quickly to his face and flashed towards his hands. Hanna’s fingers brushed the pommel of her sword.

Briditte shifted, wondering after her charge’s interest. She was not introduced, but she saw Robert’s eyes dart to her, and she nodded to him as he was invited to join the girls at the table and the last of the tea was poured for him, Leanne giving up her empty cup for her brother.

Hanna tried to inquire after Robert’s occupation, but Leanne, laughing, cut across her guest to tease her brother about his long absence. He had been at sea, Briditte learned. There was mentioned between the two siblings a troublesome business partner, but “Lewises take care of business,” Robert told Hanna, “on our own,” he pulled a face, “as my father is so fond of saying. It’s how we’ve come as far as we have.”

“And it’s taken care of?” Leanne asked delicately.

Robert nodded. “But you’ve a guest,” he reminded his sister. “We bore her with our talk of business.”

“Not at all,” Hanna hurried to say, and Briditte was surprised to see that she seemed to be genuinely interested, and that her fingers still toyed with the pommel at her side. “I’d like to hear more about your business, Robert, and about this devious partner of yours.”

“He was no one of consequence.”

Leanne elbowed him, laughing, but Briditte noticed that her smile seemed a little overly bright, and the eyes that caught her brothers were just a touch stern.

“As it happens,” Hanna said, “a partner of my father’s recently ran into some trouble at sea as well. His ship was accosted, raided, and sunk. It sounded as if there was more unpleasantness than my father wished to share with me.”

This was a tale that Briditte had not heard.

“I am sorry to hear that,” Robert said, his expression sober.

Hanna nodded. “I thought you might be, Robert. You seem a man who knows the seas, who knows what unpleasantness might befall a man while abroad.” Hanna confessed, “I had a friend aboard that sunken ship.”

“Did you?”

Hanna nodded again.

“Again, I am sorry.”

“You are not yet sorry, Robert,” Hanna told him, and her fingers shifted from pommel to grip almost too quickly for Briditte’s eyes to follow. The sword was whipped from the scabbard and flicked into Robert’s gut in a quick, practiced movement.

Leanne screamed. Briditte hurried forward, drawing her own sword. Leanne screamed for her guard, and Briditte knew she would have to fight him and protect Hanna from the vengeance of the grieved sister.

“Tell me the ship’s colors, Robert,” Hanna demanded, turning her wrist. Another rivulet of blood seeped from beneath Robert’s green doublet.

Robert coughed. “I don’t know.”

Hanna inched the sword more deeply into his stomach.

He was not nearly so handsome with his face twisted in a grimace. “Green,” he coughed. “And purple.”

“Those colors won’t fly again, Robert.”

“You’ll kill me, Hanna?”

“You killed him. But I don’t intend to kill you, not if you accept that the Lewises make their money fairly from now on. No more piracy.”

“I can’t—”

Hanna growled.

“I sail on my father’s orders.”

“Next time he gives you those orders, if you’re not brave enough to contradict him, you take to your ship, and you sail under your own colors. You don’t return if you can’t return without your father’s stolen booty. Or return with an army. My family will sail with you against him. But from now on, Robert, you are an honest sailor. Those are my terms. Do you agree or shall I skewer you to the garden walk?”

Despite herself, Briditte was impressed by Hanna’s viciousness.

“One hears tales of your families’ rigidity, Hanna—”

“We fight for what we believe to be right.”

“I agree,” Robert said. “I will sail away.”

Hanna looked at Leanne, who had her hands over her mouth. “Send your guard for a surgeon. I’ll leave my sword in him till the surgeon comes. It will staunch the blood.”

“Merciful too,” Robert groaned.

Leanne spoke a few quick words to the guard. “I cannot leave you with this monster,” the guard complained a little too loudly.

“Too right,” Hanna said to the guard. To Leanne, she said, “Leave the sword there. Consider it a present from my father and I. Thank you for the tea. It truly was delicious, and your garden is magnificent.” Hanna curtseyed to both her hosts, and began up the garden path. Briditte followed, and Leanne’s guard took up the rear, apparently not willing to pass them and put them between his mistress and himself, despite Robert’s need for a surgeon. Hanna amicably told him that she had done and she was now weaponless, which Briditte thought unwise; she gripped her own hilt more tightly but did not draw for fear of provoking the guard further.

They did not go into the house, but angled away from the guard towards the gate. As they crossed the open lawn, Briditte sure that they were at any moment to be attacked or arrested, Hanna apologized. “I’m sorry to have put you in that danger, Briditte. My father said he warned you of the danger of this visit, but I doubt he was quite specific on what had happened and what might happen. I thank you for not stopping me.”

“It was an impressive display, my lady.”

“Thank you. I do hope Robert will live. I might enjoy fighting beside him. I will need a new sword first, I suppose, unless he brings me back my own.”

“You think he will sail away from his father?”

With a wry smile, Hanna answered, “I don’t think he will quickly forget the threat of my house.”

Hanna waved at the guards as they passed out of the gate in the stucco wall.

I am a thief!  That first line comes from “Sharp Smile,” written by Gwen of Apprentice, Never Master.

I should also apologize for the length.  That story got away from me a bit, but I couldn’t bring myself to destroy the sense of place that I felt was established merely to truncate it.

Book Reviews: July Picture Book Roundup


Welcome to the second monthly roundup.

Moby Dick: A BabyLit Ocean Primer by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Alison Oliver.  Gibbs Smith, 2013.

The first BabyLit Primer that I read (Pride and Prejudice), I didn’t much enjoy.  This second, a more recent publication, I liked better, maybe because I was better prepared for what to expect, but also perhaps because it simply is more complex, better constructed, and makes better use of the source text.  This integrates quotes from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick as it introduces young readers to both the story of Moby Dick and some usual (captain, fish, whale, ship, stars, sailors) and more unusual (harpoons; if anyone is looking to get me a gift) ocean vocabulary.  It takes the basic primer a step farther not only with its quotes but also with its labels of the various types of fish (more specific knowledge than I at 24 know).  Confession 1:  I have not read Moby Dick, but I know it is lengthy, and I know the basic idea.  Whether BabyLit retells Moby Dick I cannot say, but it does capture the basic story of a whale hunt, though BabyLit does not specify what becomes of any of the characters, cutting it short of killing or injuring the whale.


Les Petits Fairytales: The Little Mermaid by Trixie Belle, Melissa Caruso-Scott, illustrated by Oliver Lake.  Henry Holt-Macmillian, 2013.

Les Petits Fairytales retell classic tales in the form of board book primers with only one or two words per page and bright illustrations of round, toddling characters in complete settings.

I really appreciate Les Petits Fairytales’ ability to tell an entire tale in such a simple form and their decision to distance themselves from the Disney representations of these classic fairy tales.  Ariel is not a redhead, though the illustrator, Oliver Lake, could easily have made her so.  Instead the young mermaid sports black locks.  Confession 2: I’ve never read Hans Christian Andersen’s original “Little Mermaid.”  I do not know how closely this book stays or how far it strays from the text.  I can only really compare it to Disney’s.  The mermaid regains her grandmother (Disney never can allow two parents to care for their protagonists—or not until recently).  Following closer to Andersen’s version than Disney’s, the prince and mermaid do not wed (Les Petits Fairytales calls them “friends”) and the mermaid returns to the sea, though Les Petits skips the bit about the mermaid refusing to kill the prince to save herself and the part where the mermaid becomes a spirit, losing her mortal and bodily form altogether for not winning the love of the prince.


Les Petits Fairytales: Snow White by Trixie Belle, Melissa Caruso-Scott, illustrated by Oliver Lake.  Henry Holt-Macmillian, 2012.

Again, Les Petits Fairytales distances itself from the Disney version of the tale and remains closer to the original Grimms Brothers’ version.  The witch uses an enchanted corset and poisoned comb before defeating Snow White with a poisoned apple.  Les Petits Fairytales remembers its audience and allows only a forehead kiss to wake the sleeping girl.


Baby ABC by Deborah Donenfeld.  Dial-Penguin, 2013.

Obviously, this is an alphabet book.  The illustrations each feature a black-and-white photograph of a baby wearing or bearing some object alone in the photograph left colorized.  The color of this object matches the letter that it represents.  It’s a simple concept, a simple design, but very tastefully done—and of course babies (humans) like looking at faces, are predisposed to recognize faces, and humans as a whole are drawn to faces that look more youthful, more babyish, so what better than a smiling baby’s face?  There’s no plot to report on here, but there’s not meant to be one.


In My Ocean by Sara Gillingham, illustrated by Lorena Simonovich.  Chronicle Books, 2011.

This is another book the draw of which is the design not the text.  The book is done with concentric cutaway pages of ocean landscapes, essentially oversimplifying a day in the life of a baby dolphin.  The baby dolphin, it should be noted, is a finger puppet, which is sure to delight, though I noticed that the puppet is quite small and quite shallow; I have small hands for my age and had a difficult time maneuvering the puppet.  The book ends with a reminder to come home to family.


No Matter What by Debi Gliori.  Houghton Mifflin, 2008.  First published 1999.

Small fears that Large doesn’t love him because he feels unlovable, “grumpy and grim.”  Large assures Small that there is nothing Small can do or be (a bear, bug, or crocodile) that will make Large love him less.  Small becomes surer of Large’s love through the story, the crocodile question being less fueled it seemed to me by fear than as a challenge given with a giggle.  Small asks about the qualities of love, and Large confesses her ignorance of whether it can bend or break.  Large assures Small however that, as the stars shine after they die, her love for Small will go on beyond her death.  This is a small book with a lot packed into its short, rhyming text.  The images nicely take the pair through the actions of getting ready for bed, giving the book a grounding and context that is rare in such picture books.

I love that the characters are Large and Small rather than a more boxed in Mother, Father, Grandma, Grandpa, Baby, etc.  I should mention too that I have arbitrarily assigned genders to these characters for the sake of the review and that they are never specified.

This is a great, little-known alternative to Robert N. Munsch’s Love You Forever or Barbara Joosse’s Mama, Do You Love Me?, and one that deals additionally with the question of death not just misdeeds that children fear might diminish a parent’s love for them.  The rhyming text is enjoyable with a great message.


My Little Pony: Friends Forever: Play-a-Sound.  Publications International, 2013.

This is a “meet the ponies” book.  Spike convinces Twilight Sparkle to leave her studies to go seek the company of her friends.  The book has little plot and consists primarily of the gathering of the friends together.  The book includes flaps to lift and reveal the friends and buttons to press to hear the character’s theme music.


Bizzy Bear: Pirate Adventure illustrated by Benji Davis.  Nosy Crow-Candlewick, 2013.

Pirates are all over the bookshelves lately.  I blame Jake (and the Neverland Pirates) but want to say that we at Hollins’ Children’s Literature program were ahead of this trend when we voted the 2012 Francelia Butler Conference’s theme to be Pirates and Treasure Seekers.  This is a board book, filed at Barnes & Noble as a “first concepts” book.  Within the rhyming text, there are examples of opposites (left/right, up/down) though the book markets itself as an adventure not a primer.  This is a board book with moveable pieces.  Readers can hoist the sails, steer the ship, dig for treasure, and open the chest.  Even the cover illustration allows readers to toss the ship on the waves.  The illustrations are quite detailed and colorful even aside from the captivating moveable bits.  The book is thankfully constructed of sturdier material than most other books with moveable pieces.  The plot is pretty simplistic, though, I suppose for its genre (first concepts), it’s actually quite complex.


Ponyella by Laura Joffe Numeroff, Nate Evans, and illustrated by Lynn M. Munsinger. Hyperion-Disney, 2011.

As you can probably guess, this is a retelling of “Cinderella,” where all of the characters sans the prince and the stepmother are ponies or horses.  I actually thought that this was an extremely well done retelling.  Ponyella’s farm is bought and she along with it by a new owner (stepmother) who brings two of his own beloved horses with him (the stepsisters).  Ponyella is shoved aside so that the owner’s horses can have the nicest stalls.  She receives less love and attention.  He even put her to work pulling carts of heavy coal.  A horse show is arranged which it is rumored that the Princess Penelope will attend to look for a new pony.  Ponyella’s godmare arrives, cleans up Ponyella, gives her diamond horseshoes, and turns a friend of Ponyella’s, a mouse, into a rider.  Ponyella attends the horse show and shows off her ability to jump the higher than the other competitors.  When her glamour wears off, she loses one of her diamond horseshoes, and Princess Penelope uses it to search the land for the pony that it fits, ultimately finding Ponyella and taking her to live at the castle as her own pony, showering her with love and attention, putting her up in the largest, nicest stall, and feeding her carrot cake.

The retelling uses all the elements of the story and twists them just enough so that they fit the new cast.  It’s sure to delight young riders and horse-enthusiasts.

The story is beautifully and expressively illustrated by Munsinger in pastels and pinks.


Imagine by Bart Vivian.  Beyond Words-Aladdin, 2013.

The illustrations of this inspiring picture book are gorgeous.  Black and white images of kids in the now and the real are contrasted when the page is turned by bright, bold illustrations of what could be or what one could imagine the real to be (ex: a tree house is a castle or you could become a real life hero as a firefighter).  I hope kids don’t need the reminder to imagine, to dream.  It almost seems to me to be a book for older children (graduates).


An Elephant and Piggie Book: I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems.  Hyperion-Disney, 2008.

Piggie has a new toy.  Elephant Gerald plays with it, but it falls to the ground and snaps.  Piggie becomes very upset, upsetting Gerald.  Then a kindly squirrel happens by to explain that the toy is supposed to break, and Piggie becomes embarrassed for having gotten angry with her friend.  Gerald and Piggie realize that friends are more fun than toys, and the toy is forgotten.


An Elephant and Piggie Book: My Friend Is Sad by Mo Willems.  Hyperion-Disney, 2007.

Elephant Gerald is sad, Piggie notices.  Piggie tries to cheer him up by dressing in elaborate costumes as things that she knows Elephant enjoys (a cowboy, a robot), but Gerald only seems to become sadder each time Piggie tries.  Piggie finally approaches Gerald without a costume to apologize for not being able to cheer Gerald up, but Piggie’s appearance heralds Gerald’s happiness.  Gerald explains he was sad because he saw all these awesome things, but Piggie wasn’t there to see any of it.  Piggie reminds Gerald that she is here now, and Gerald explains that he needs his friends.  Piggie tells Gerald, who did not recognize Piggie in any of her disguises, that he needs new glasses.

Willems’ depictions of Gerald’s devastating sadness are particularly expressive, and this book contains such great gems of lines as “How can anyone be sad around a robot?”


These reviews are not endorsed by any of the authors or publishers or anyone else involved in the making of these books.  They are independent, honest reviews by a reader.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Wind in Our Sails (530 words)


“Have you ever smelled air so sweet, First Mate Kate?”

“No, ma’am, Captain, ma’am.”

Kate grinned at her friend.  Side by side they stood in the prow, looking out over a hilly, green ocean.  Blue skies and a bright sun shone down on them.  It was the perfect day: near the end of the school year, the kind of hot that shouted that summer was coming, and a Saturday.

“Are those seagulls?” Kate asked, pointing.

Captain Jewel squinted at the sky.  A flock of three small gray birds with striped wings were chasing a big black bird across the sky.  The big bird squawked and screamed as the little ones dove at it with their sharp beaks and claws, screeching.  The birds went swooping over their heads.  Captain Jewel laughed her pirate laugh as she followed the bird with her eyes.  “Arr-harr-harr, I think ye be right, First Mate Kate.  Three gulls and a sea raven!”

The girls both laughed.  Neither knew what a sea raven was.  It was an animal they’d found mentioned in a book.  They only knew that a raven looked like a crow.

A bark signaled the approach of a dolphin.

“Good luck!” Captain Jewel grinned, pointing at the dolphin.

The black animal darted into the shadow of the boat and out again into the sunshine ahead of the prow, chasing a little gray fish.  The fish chittered as it ran from the barking dolphin.

“Thought you might need it.”  Mrs. Carmichael, the owner of the port’s tavern was standing in her tavern doorway.  “And Sirius needs the run.  Where are you little pirates headed today?”

Kate and Jewel looked at one another.

“Somewhere warm,” Kate said.

“With buried treasure,” Jewel added.  “Cursed buried treasure.”

Mrs. Carmichael thought then pointed out to sea.  “There’s an island I know of in the Caribbean.  Mind those storms.”

“What storms?”  Captain Jewel waved a hand at the blue sky.

Mrs. Carmichael frowned, looking up at the sky again.  “Don’t put your trust in your eyes.  See with your heart.  Feel that storm?  Hear that faint rumble of thunder in the distance?”

Kate, grinning, said to Captain Jewel, “You know, I think she’s right.  I think I feel it.  This ride is much too smooth.  There should be a storm.”

“Arr,” Captain Jewel groaned, defeated, “perhaps ye be right.”  She quickly brightened and bellowed, “Batten down the hatches, First Mate Kate!”

“Aye-aye, Captain!”  Kate hurried to check the ties on their paisley cotton sails.

Jewel ran back to the wheel and grabbed hold.  “There’s a storm a-brewing!  A mighty powerful one.  Like to knock us off our course.  Like to tear the sails.  Maybe we’ll lose the mast.”

“Think that marooned sailor over there will need our help?” Kate asked, pointing towards the sailor.  He was baking in the sun, his tongue hanging out, wearing a heavy black coat of sealskin.  He grinned up at the girls and barked.

“Aye,” Captain Kate said.  “That was a call for help!”

“You girls just be sure to be back at port by dinner,” Mrs. Carmichael called, waving as she disappeared inside the tavern.

“We will,” Captain Jewel and First Mate Kate chorused

What a crazy random happenstance (or I think the thief lord decides our partners in crime by chance).  This first line was stolen by Kate Kearney, whose first line I stole.  The story that she wrote off of my line can be found here.

All legal theft posts will be linked to by our thief lord here.

Sorry I’m a few minutes late in posting this one, all.