Organised chaos is a frightening and somehow calming experience and yet so far, the attack had gone to plan.

The Pirates had silently approached the English merchant ship using a number of smaller boats which travelled undetected under cover of darkness. Once they had boarded the ship using grappling hooks and ropes, instinct and adrenaline had kicked in as the lead pirate disabled the ships rudder, demobilising the craft, while in the darkness, another took out the sailor posted at the ships wheel. Now it was the duty of every single man to engage in hand-to-hand combat in a vicious attempt to overpower the unsuspecting crew.

The battle that ensued was loud and ferocious. The smell of saltwater, blood and fear filled the night air. The Pirate’s had absolute trust and belief in their young Captain whose reputation grew larger with each passing victory. Though a ruthless leader and vicious in battle, the level of respect shown to defeated enemy ranking officers had further served to enhance the captain’s reputation. If the enemy Master and Commander surrendered, they were always treated with dignity. If they fought to the death, the young Captain always knelt and whispered, what was rumoured to be an ancient prayer for the dying before sending the poor soul to meet his maker. Respect was something that every good leader craved as respect for their Captain ensured discipline. To guarantee a swift and less bloody victory, the young Pirate Captain fully understood that the capture of the enemy’s ships Master and Commander was vital. Once the leader was nullified, the crew’s surrender was guaranteed. Though the battle continued around them, both enemy leaders accepted that the result of their dual would determine the final overall outcome of the battle. With this one solitary frightening fact embedded in his mind, the Master and Commander swung the heavy steel sword above his six-foot two frame and brought it down with all his might toward his much smaller opponent. With a slight adjustment of the wrist and torso the young pirate Captain manoeuvred the approaching blade away with unburdened ease with the much lighter forged steel blade.

Experience had taught the Pirate Captain, that a dual of this nature would go either one of two ways. By surrender or by death. In this particular instance, the latter was looking more likely as was demonstrated by the rage built on the British Commanders face as he lunged forward hurdling spit and curses toward his opponent. With the adrenalin pumping violently through his veins, the enraged Commander drew his large sword back as he prepared to inflict another crushing blow on the savage pirate. However, the over balancing act, left the enraged soldier momentarily exposed and the young pirate instinctively pounced, inflicting three to four lightning-fast fatal stomach wounds that brought the startled Commander to his knees. Within moments the blood gushed through the open wounds, and he fell in defeat on the flat of his back.

Sensing victory, the Pirate captain brought the slender razor blade tip of the sword to rest at the heart of his fallen opponent. The cold steel blade was so sharp and thin, that it pulsed with the vibrations of the Commanders beating heart. Sensing the inevitable outcome, the battle around them began to cease and the victorious Pirate Crew watched and waited for the coming ritual. Kneeling down to address the Commander, the Pirate Captain took a moment to soak in the victory and pulled down the bandana as both opponent’s eyes locked.

Now, as any experienced military man will tell you, the most striking component of any battle, is the element of Surprise which appears in many facets throughout the period of conflict. The surprise of the ambush itself. The surprise of a well organised attack or in this case the surprise on the Commanders face when he realised that he had just lost his cargo, his ship and ultimately his life….to a woman!

Understanding the significance of the ritual to the Pirate crew, the young victor paused momentarily and before inserting the blade deep into the Commanders beating heart, leaned down and whispered into his ear, I am Grace O’Malley, The Pirate Queen…. Men fear me!