Ten or so years ago Candelaria, the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s champion warrior, was leading the defense of the Imperial Palace from rebel factions, when she heard ghastly screams coming from inside the imperial court. Fearing rebel forces had breached the palace interior she ran to defend her emperor. When Candelaria arrived at the room of feasts, the scene that greeted her was ghastly to be sure. It seemed that the emperor, wishing to spare his royal household from a most heinous torture at the hands of his enemies, had killed every female member of his household.
The stench of death was heavy on the air. Candelaria could see corpses and puddles of blood everywhere. The Emperor’s body, however, was nowhere to be seen, which struck Candelaria as peculiar. As she turned to leave the room and search for the emperor, she heard a faint whimper. Racing to the sound, taking care not to slip in the blood, an urine, she found little Shiva bathed in scarlet, but still breathing. Quickly the champion dressed the unconscious child’s wound. By this time she could hear that the palace had been overrun. She looked out the window just into the courtyard to see Shiva’s father, captured and surrounded by a hundred rebel soldiers. It was time for Candelaria’s retreat so she carried the princess through the secret underground passageway and eventually out of the kingdom.
Fast forward a decade:
Although she had not seen much treasure these past few months with Captain Smew, she knew his keen senses and uncanny luck would guide them to enough booty that would allow her to hire an army and win back the kingdom, and her place in it.
The thing that bothered her most was lying to Captain Smew, whom she had grown to like. To convince him to take her onboard, she pretended to be a man and that Shiva was her sister. Smew was not the type to hire a female as first mate, and Candelaria knew it. She also knew that next to the captain’s, a first mate’s cut was largest.