It’s been a while since I’ve posted here in the Black Mongoose Tavern, and sorry, but I’m gonna skip over some FoBI to get to the new stuff.
I give to you now: Story Pages for Pirates of the Dark Tides!!
Sir Heathcliff, the Red Paladin
The final rays of sunlight were creeping across the deck of the RNS Blood Pact. The light slowly made its way down the short hallway that lead to the captain’s cabin. The rays struck the base of the white, wooden door. As the sun descended further, illuminating the whole of the stylized red cross painted on the smoothly sanded surface, the fading light shone upon the one aspect of the door not devoted to the Blood Cross. In the cross’s center, where its arms intersected its body, there was a small glass window. The sunlight drifted through the glass, amplifying its brightness and intensity. Brilliant rays of light landed upon the weary face of the captain, who had been trying, fruitlessly, to get some decent rest after the week-long assault against the City of Ouroboros. Waking from his light and fitful dozing, the captain sighed, and sat up. Sleep had been evading him since the Blood Pact had set sail from the ruins of Ouroboros; and it seemed intent on staying that way.
The captain stood up, and in two strides, was before the small mirror atop the desk in the corner closest to the door. In the dim light, he could see almost nothing. Faint, dying rays of light streaming through the small window in his door made the dust particles in the air visible as they danced around, indifferent to the world outside the cabin’s door.
With a heavy sigh, the captain grabbed his coat, glanced at the emblem upon its breast, and attached his sword to his belt. Opening the door, he made his way out onto the deck of the Blood Pact. He took a deep breath of the twilight air, and then strode towards the gangplank, and the city beyond.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Most of Genova’s docks were occupied with merchant ships and trading vessels. Among these travel-wearied beauties were the occasional private sailing boats of higher class English nobles on personal vacation. Sir Heathcliff, the Blood Pact’s captain, looked at the lavish boats with unveiled disdain. There was no reason for such a waste of fine materials and craftsmanship. As if those nobles even knew how to sail on their own, he thought with a scowl.
He strode up the pier towards the city’s seaside taverns. He couldn’t help the feeling of unease that came over him as he left his ship under the first mate’s supervision.
It was nothing personal; he just didn’t like the idea of someone else in charge of his ship. He entered the closest tavern; a small, wooden building with a worn sign reading, “Il Lanciatore Vuoto”, or, “The Empty Pitcher”. The sign was somewhat misleading, however, as upon entering, Sir Heathcliff was struck by a cacophony of noise mostly emanating from a group of very drunken and jovial Italian merchants in the far left corner. He searched for an empty table or a familiar face, but to his dismay found neither.
His eye caught upon an old, weathered man with a well-trimmed white beard and moustache. He was sitting alone with a mug at a table, and seemed ignored by everyone else in the room.
Heathcliff approached the old man and gestured towards the empty chair across from him.
“May I have this seat?“, he asked in perfect Italian.
The old man looked up at Heathcliff and nodded with a genuine smile.
“You may. And to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?“, the man spoke Italian with a slight Spanish accent; as if he hadn’t spoken the language in many long years.
“Nothing in particular,” Heathcliff replied, producing a small, metal flask. “You looked lonely and I needed someone to share a drink with.”
At this the man laughed; a hollow, lonely sound.
“That’s true, I suppose,” the man, noticing Heathcliff’s uniform, spoke in accented English. “I am not popular company in this city nowadays.”
“And why is that, if you don’t mind me asking?” Heathcliff accompanied his inquiry with a gesture, offering the metal flask to his new acquaintance.
The man sighed and accepted the flask. He poured a decent quantity of its contents into his empty mug. Handing the flask back to the Englishman, he began to tell his tale.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When the older man finished, he downed the last of his alcohol, and looked up at Heathcliff. The English captain leaned back and sighed, a sad expression on his face.
“That truly is an unfortunate story,” He paused for a brief moment before continuing. “Would it be fair to assume that you are no longer loyal to the Spanish?”
The old man spat on the ground.
“They promised me a life of fame and valor, but instead here I am, alone, dishonored, and with no one to call family or friend in my own home. They hold no place in my heart.”
Heathcliff nodded slowly. He then rose from his seat, placing his hand upon the table near the older man.
“This port is merely a stopping point for myself and my crew. Before our most recent quest we had heard rumors that the Spanish war fleet was planning an invasion against some of our territories. Not long after we arrived here, those rumors were confirmed.” Heathcliff sighed deeply. “I will more than likely be assigned to combat the armada head on. I doubt I will return here for quite some time.” The Englishman lifted his hand, revealing enough coins for another drink.
“From one friend to another”, he said with a kind smile.
The old man looked up at Heathcliff in surprise.
“I must be going now, but I will remember you during the battle, Signore Freda. Buonasera.”
And with that, Sir Heathcliff turned and left his baffled new friend, to begin the weary voyage back to home; and to impending war.
(This is the first story of ten, featuring crew from PoDT. The rest shall come as I refine and complete them.)
Until next post
-J. W. Darkhurst