A Murder of Crows (AXP): Queen Anastasia’s Pirate Killers

The previous night, the night of the christening celebration, the fireworks had looked lovely. With no moon in the sky the colors were quite a sight against the curtain of black with spots of bright star lights. Out at sea, in the same darkness, there were four ships quietly making their way towards Bourne. They were careful to stay just out of reach of each colorful flash.

When the echoes of cheering came across the sea towards the four ships, they knew the show was over. So they moved in a little closer. The Brethren of Crows slept a well deserved sleep that night, as did everyone in Bourne, and while they all slumbered, the stealthy craft crept in even closer.

These four were not just any four ships of Her Majesty’s fleet. These were the finest of the lot. Designed and built together so that they would serve at each other’s side. Each vessel’s unique attributes were replicated in the design of the other. Where one had a weakness, another would make up for the tactical shortcoming. Where one had a particular strength, another would augment its power.

Separately, they were known as the Valiant, the Courageous, the Advantage and the Provocateur. Together they were known as Queen Anastasia’s Pirate Killers, and as the Revenge began to set her sails that morning, the hunters were clearly visible, and in perfect position to sink their prey.

Anything unusual or dubious or illicit or illegal out at sea was within the purview of the four. Their chief disposition was the suppression of pirates. The economy of the kingdom rode on the waves of the open sea. The wealth of the powerful and connected rode along side it. Protection of the former was necessary. Protection of the latter was a necessary evil.

Under previous crowns, piracy was allowed to grow, and over time it flourished. History shows that the royals gained a great deal of their wealth from playing both sides of the coin. They took money from the wealthy to protect their riches at sea. Then the crown would loot the stolen fortunes from the pirate vessels they captured.

When the child queen Anastasia came to power, those with business at sea and influence in the palace took advantage of her naiveté. They convinced her that pirates were coming for her crown. They told her pirates were coming for the wealth her predecessors had stolen from them. A nightmare of a tall, dark, bird like pirate in her room spurred the young lioness into action. She herself named what would become her four favorite protectors.

The flagship of this small but potent armada was the frigate class Valiant, under the command of Admiral Ludlow Castle. One hundred and sixty creatures served onboard. Sixty guns were always at the ready. Anastasia thought this one the prettiest so she put her uncle in command. The fey mannered old lion never let his crew forget that fact.

Sister ship, Courageous, was commanded by Captain Anne Galley. This gutsy, but elegant skunk was known to her crew as the Iron Rose. The twin ships were matched gun for gun, but Courageous carried thirty additional creatures that comprised a contingent of the King’s Marines. The married captain enjoyed the company of well uniformed males.

The Advantage and the Provocateur were sloops of war. They brought speed to the pack coupled with deadly firepower for their relatively small size.

Captain Orville “Uncle Lucky” Hinkle was at the helm of the Advantage. He led a crew of eighty ferrets who boasted they had the fastest fourteen guns in the known world. They loved their fellow ferret leader. He had never been defeated in any encounter throughout his very long career.

Not to be outshined, the Provocateur and her twelve guns had as its captain, the legendary Lionel Swift. This bear had no fear. His crew of forty was made up of pirates he himself had captured and imprisoned on the very ship they now served aboard. His crew always followed each and every one of his orders, while quietly plotting his demise. Several attempts had been made. None had been successful to that day.

Four seasoned commanders, one hundred and forty six tried and true guns, four hundred and seventy battle tested animals, all at the ready to dance with a rather unusual enemy. These were not pirates. These were not creatures of the sea. These were clowns and jugglers and acrobats in a makeshift carnival ship. It was unanimously agreed that this minor encounter would be dealt with quickly and severely and with decisive force.

That was a grave mistake.

03. XPnew

From the author of the Amazon top ten Action Adventure, and Fantasy bestseller It Is Said (MBKS1) comes a dark fantasy adventure full of  treachery, deceit, and terror.

A Murder of Crows is the prolog novella to the Adventures of the X Pirates series and a completely new and unique experience in the world of pirate lore.

This is the possibly true life story of the deadliest pirate and criminal mastermind to ever sail the high seas. This first installment tells the origin story of his spiral into madness, the indoctrination of his cutthroat crew, the creation of the eerie ship they sail, and the night of violence and murder that bore them all.

A Murder of Crows introduces you to an all animal world full of epic pirate fantasy, where nothing is what it seems, and everything is suspect. A world where both heroes and villains have a tortured past and every twist and turn tests their resolve. This is a dark fantasy full of treachery, deceit, and terror and your first port of call in the Adventures of the X Pirates.

“Once upon a time has been reborn and remade with the latest offering of Edward Medina. Murder of Crows is a classic waiting for the rest of the world to realize it. There is a lyrical quality to Medina’s work that carries the reader on an unbelievable journey from a one hundred and fifty year old circus to a pirate captain haunted and bent on revenge. It is one of those tales that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let you go until the end.” – Lucinda Rose author of Blood Child

“A Murder Of Crows” defies you to accurately nail it down with any category or description, and comes armed with a barrage of blindsiding surprises to defend that quality as it sails into seas entirely of its own.” – Amazon Reader

A Murder of Crows debuted in the top ten on the Amazon bestseller lists for both Fantasy and Action Adventure. To date the Adventures of the X Pirates series has earned 32 Amazon and Goodreads ★★★★★ reviews from readers, reviewers, teachers, authors, and bloggers.

A Murder of Crows is available on  Amazon.com.

Alice Author Pic

Edward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

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