November 12, 2018 at 5:22 PM #1778
A place where folks can post their Pirates inspired stories, fan-fics, extended flavor texts, etc. Any work of fiction inspired by the game can go here.November 12, 2018 at 5:27 PM #1779
I’ll start things off! This was the story introduction for the ‘Free the Pirate King’ fleet challenge I hosted on MT.
Jack Hawkins was not in a good mood. Locked away in his cabin, he had given strict orders to not be disturbed, yet there was a pounding on his door. Rolling out of his hammock, Hawkins strode to the door and wrenched it open.
“I thought I was VERY specific sailor, I was not to be disturbed, not even if Jones himself came upon us.”
“Aye sir, you did say that, but captain…..”
“This had better be good sailor, or it’s your head.”
Hawkins shoved past the frightened pirate and clambered up onto deck. Squinting in the brightness, Jack looked around, and quickly noted another ship bearing down from the starboard. Slung low in the water, her sails were unmistakable.
“Seems you were right to rouse me sailor, All hands, prepare to board, we have company!”
The crew burst into action, readying cannons, grapples, and weapons, when jack shouted again,
“Stay the cannons lads, we won’t be needing them.”
He then strode to the starboard rail, a hand on his sword. The Star of Siam was soon broadside, and lines were thrown from both ships, and a gangway lowered. Wesley ‘the Dread Pirate’, soon came across, accompanied by two stout and burly souls. Jack walked back away from the rail to stand amid ships.
“Have a table and chairs brought forth.”
Two crewmen scurried to obey and soon returned with a rickety table, and sagging chairs, Jack sat down in one, and motioned for Wesley to do the same.
“To what do I owe the great pleasure of a meeting with the ‘Dread Pirate’?”
“I have news, Jack, and a Summons.”
“A summons? For me? From whom?”
Wesley produced a tattered and folded parchment from inside his coat, laid it on the table, and slid it across to Jack. He looked at it dubiously, then picked it up and unfolded it. It was a royal missive, clearly intercepted by Wesley, but what it said……
Jack looked from the parchment to Wesley and back again.
“Is this true?”
“Aye Jack it is, I had my spies confirm it.”
Jack folded the parchment again, and slipped it into his own coat, the crew gathered on deck looked on in confusion. Jack leaned back in his chair, the chair protesting as he did so.
“Your summons is from the others isn’t it?”
“Aye, a gathering has been called, and we must honor the summon Jack.”
Jack chewed his lip, not liking what he was hearing.
“Are they thinking of a rescue?”
“I believe they’re going to try something like that. Calico and the Angel are already waiting, and I hear even Blackheart is coming. I went to inform and bring you Jack.”
“Angus will be there eh? Hope he’s forgiven me for all the past duels, and if not I’ll simply beat him again.”
“Be careful Jack, they say Blackheart is worse than Jones nowadays.”
“Then it’s a good thing I’m not afraid of either one! Very well ‘Dread Pirate’ I’ll go to your little gathering and maybe I’ll help with your little rescue, but only so I can keep these waters safe for our kind.”
Wesley stood and motioned to his two guards, and the three of them returned to their ship. Jack waited until they were halfway across before shouting,
“Cast off lads! Adjust course to follow the Star! Full sail!”
The crew burst into action, hauling in lines, and unfurling sail. Jack retreated back to his cabin, closed and locked his door, and sat at his desk. He pulled out the parchment Wesley had given him, and once again unfolded it look at it.
“Seems your luck has either run out, or is good enough to summon the Lords together, Mysion.”November 12, 2018 at 5:47 PM #1780
This was the fleet description for my entry to the ‘City of Gold’ fleet challenge on MT. In the actual fleet, links were inserted into places to make reference to the other fleets participating, past challenges, and other game pieces WK official and Custom. For example, when Hammersmith talks about ‘John’, he’s referring to a custom pirate crew of mine called One-Handed John, who is an extremely blood-thirsty pirate.
Going off of the ‘Free the King’ story-line, this takes place after the events of the Pirates united efforts to free Captain Mysion, the Pirate king.
Hammersmith looked up from the primitive charts he had drawn and gazed out of his cabin’s window. The sun had long set, and light was only available in limited amounts from the guttering candles. He could barely see the other two ships in his voyage; the Longshanks dwarfed the Banshee’s Cry, practically hiding in its shadow. The vessel he currently resided on he’d stolen from the Spanish, for he’d heard tales of how her holds were larger on the inside than on the outside, making room for plenty of gold.
‘Gold is getting harder and harder to come by these days.‘ He thought to himself as his eyes returned to his charts.
He knew he was no Cartographer or map-maker, but he prided himself on his hastily done work. The charts had come from a former member of the Spanish Navy who had been onboard when he’d stolen the ship, and who Hammersmith had ‘persuaded’ to give up his valuable information. The charts showed a rough outline of a river in the Southern Americans, a place the Spaniard had called ‘Orinoco’. According to the Spaniard a Conquistador had been there in the 1500’s and had found traces of a ‘city of gold’. Hammersmith chuckled to himself,
“If such a thing existed, someone would have found it already…..probably.”
The venture this Conquistador had gone on had been over 150 years ago, since then no one had found a lost golden city. Then again, no one had really explored the new world much in the last 150 years anyway. The only reason Hammersmith even considered undertaking this voyage was the immense wealth it promised to bring him, and the freedom that wealth promised. He’d made powerful enemies after attempting to free the Pirate King, and not just Blackheart. There was a newcomer on the scene that made Blackheart seem kind and generous.
“That one handed Bastard…” he growled.
At the head of his appropriately named ‘Carnage’, John had sailed into Mysion’s Pirate haven, burnt it to the ground, and made off with all of Mysion’s treasure, leaving an empty throne for Blackheart. To make an even bigger statement, John had done the unthinkable and had laid low half of the Pirate lords. Rumor was that John had amassed a fortune to rival that of any imperial power, and he was spending most of it on his own vendetta of blood and violence against what seemed like the entire world. Hammersmith knew like a few Englishmen that money and not arcane power was what made the world go around, and he also knew that if he had enough of it he could buy his way to safety.
So he had double crossed Blackheart, leaving him to the English, and made out on his own in search of great wealth to secure his freedom. Doing so however, had enraged Blackheart, who escaped English custody and then ‘convinced’ the surviving Pirate lords to join him in his hunt for vengeance. Even more concerning than Blackheart and One-handed was the rumor floating around that Jones had been overthrown, and that El Fantasma was now the embodiment of the Cursed. Fantasma was sure to be looking for ancient relics to spread his domain, and a city of Gold would surely have caught his attention.
A knock on is door snapped Hammersmith from his musings. He covered his charts and strode to the door, opening it slowly. The light from his candles and lamps revealed Le Requin, the French Pirate. Hammersmith allowed himself a rare smile. Requin was one of the few remaining Pirates who was not loyal to Blackheart, or cowed by One-handed. Hammersmith gestured for him to come in, and closed the door behind him, securing it firmly. Returning to his chair, he uncovered his Charts and looked up at Requin.
Requin sat down opposite him, and took several folded pieces of paper out of his worn red coat. He placed them on the table and slid them across to Hammersmith.
“These were not easy to acquire, do you have any idea how hard it was to find him, not get killed, and get him drunk enough to sneak into his rooms?”
“I take it you had some help from the Madam?”
Le Requin smiled and leaned back in his chair, pulling a small bottle from his coat as he did so.
Hammersmith un-folded the papers, revealing several much more accurate charts than his own hand drawn ones. He smiled again, and then quickly frowned as he noticed a series of red lines, leading in the same direction he was heading.
“Is someone else on the chase?”
Requin took a long drought from his bottle, returned it to his coat, and leaned forward again.
“Yes. The King has sent an expedition to try and find this great treasure. He intends to use it to fund a war with the English. What’s more, he’d found out that we weren’t the only ones interested as well, almost everyone is. The Spanish have at least two separate expeditions, one privately funded, the other sponsored by the King. The English have at least two as well, and the Americans are also rumored to be on the hunt.”
Hammersmith leaned back and looked at the wooden ceiling above him, counting the nails in the wood to calm himself. Requin, seeing this as a sign to continue,
“That’s not all, I’ve heard from our ugly friend that Fantasma has put together a small outing as well, though he had to entrance some countrymen to help him.”
Hammersmith looked back to Requin,
“Have you heard about any other pirates?”
Requin shook his head,
“Only scattered rumors about the Cat helping the English; seems she’s related to that Gunn bastard.”
“That’s good. We can’t afford to have Blackeart and John breathing down our backs as well as half the modern world.”
Requin nodded and reached for his bottle again. Hammersmith returned his attention to the charts and maps before him. He quickly marked their current position, just outside of Charlestown, about a week’s journey to the southern Americans, less maybe if they went under full sail.
“When did the other expeditions set sail?”
Requin hiccupped and put his now empty bottle back in his coat,
“I’m not sure, even he didn’t know. These are all secret voyages, so as not to garner attention from folk like us, and those damned Cursed men.”
“So we might have an early lead, even over the Americans?”
“Maybe. I heard that they’re looking to hire native guides to help them, but natives from the pacific as I hear.”
Hammersmith nodded, and looked out the window again. He could see storm clouds in the distance, gray against the night sky. He recalled another such storm, when he had made his grand return to piracy.
‘Once again I have to be the stronger force….’
“Rouse the crew, and signal the others, we’re setting sail, NOW.”
Hammersmith rose and strode to the door, shrugging into his coat as he did so, Requin following close behind.
Hammersmith strode quickly from his cabin and out into the main corridor, rapidly ascending the stairs.
“South, for now. South is where the Lost City is, so South is where we go.”
Requin nodded and returned below deck to raise the crew, Hammersmith strode toward the helm. Settling himself behind the wheel, he gently turned it, all the while thinking,
‘The strong survive…Yes, once again I must be the stronger force.’
A grim smile crept across his face……..December 8, 2018 at 3:15 AM #2319
Hello everyone! My first post in this thread will be a callback to the first set I heavily worked on, Fiends of the Blood Islands! These are the story inserts for the English Bonus pack: Honor and Glory. These stories all take place before the main story arc of the actual expansion. Hopefully that clears up any confusion 😂
1. HMS Iron Predator:
It was a sunny day, the skies clear, and the wind blowing strong; perfect weather for hunting pirates. Admiral Victor Rose was on his way to the harbor. His superiors had informed him that they had something important for him to see. He doubted it was worth his time; probably just the construction schedule for a new frigate, or the confirmation of a new trade route. Either way, he was neither pleased, nor interested.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“There she is, Rose: Your new ship. What do you think?”
Grand Admiral Jason Thorn gestured towards the shipyard where a gray Scorpion floated by the dock. The name HMS Iron Predator was written across the side of her hull in big silver letters. Stunned silence was the only response Victor could supply for the expectant Grand Admiral.
“I-I don’t know…what- Why?”, he finally stammered out.
The Grand Admiral barked out a loud laugh.
“Because you deserve it!”, he said, giving Victor a hearty slap on the back. “This is our first and only Scorpion ship, Rose. It should be commanded by the best of the best.”
He pointed at Victor. “And that would be you.”
Victor looked at the Grand Admiral. A smile slowly spread across his face as he thought of the pirates he could bring to justice with his new ship.
“Thank you, Grand Admiral”, he said with a salute. “I promise you, you won’t regret your decision.”
2. Admiral Victor Rose:
The First Mate walked quickly to the Admiral’s Quarters. He knocked nervously on the heavy wooden door, dreading the impending conversation.
The deep rasp of Admiral Rose’s voice sent a shiver down his spine. Breathing deeply, he opened the door.
It was dim in the cabin, and the air was thick with candle smoke and the smell of alcohol. Admiral Rose was a vague silhouette leaning back in a large wooden chair behind an ebony desk at the back of the cabin.
“What do you have to report?”, the silhouette leaned forward, resting its elbows on the desk as it spoke.
“We have just gotten word, sir”, said the First Mate, carefully. “It would seem that your daughter-”
A glass bottle flew past his head, shattering against the wall.
“SHE IS NO DAUGHTER OF MINE!”, Admiral Rose roared at the messenger, who was now pressed against the door of the cabin in fear.
“My apologies, sir, I-”
“Get to your point.”
His quiet tone was somehow scarier than his yell.
“The HMS Crusader was spotted near Tortuga carrying smuggled goods and counterfeit documents of pardon from the King.”
The following silence felt like eternity.
“Tortuga, you said?”, asked the Admiral, breaking the silence.
“Yes sir”, began the First Mate. “She was-”
“Then we have our heading.” The Admiral stood up behind his desk, and turned his back to the First Mate.
“Load the cannons and raise the scythe; it’s time to hunt.”
3. Captain James Atlas:
The candle on the cabin desk was dim and dying. The tired eyes of Captain James Atlas strained to see the details of the faded maps he was bent over. He stood up straight, easing the cramped muscles in his back. There was a quiet knock on the door. Atlas sighed and limped over to open the door.
“Sir, pardon my interruption-“, began the crewman.
Atlas looked down and took the messenger’s envelope. He then looked the man in the eye, said a quiet, “Thank you”, and promptly shut the door in his face. It was too late for excuses and explanations. Or was it too early? Atlas squinted out through the windows into the pitch black sea air.
Giving up on the windows, Atlas turned his attention to the messenger’s envelope. It was marked with the Grand Admiral’s seal.
This can’t be good news, he thought.
The Grand Admiral’s letter was brief and to the point: “The Iron Predator was seen docked at Tortuga about two days ago; sources say that she left at midnight and was allegedly looking for the Red Rayven”.
Atlas slumped down into his chair. He knew that his orders were to investigate the actions of and bring back Admiral Rose. But Atlas feared that his family’s piracy streak may have claimed it’s final member.
4. HMS Mantle:
Captain Atlas stood nervously on the deck of the HMS Mantle, looking over at the HMS Iron Predator. Her guns were ready to fire, and her scythe towered over the hulls of both ships menacingly. A thick fog was rolling in from behind the Iron Predator. Admiral Rose stepped into view, a grim expression on his face.
“What are you doing here, James?”, shouted the Admiral.
“I was sent to call you back to port”, replied Atlas. “The Grand Admiral has requested a meeting-”
“We both know he’s going to court martial me for deserting a fleet on personal reasons, James. Go home. I’m not coming back.”
Rose’s words stung like a sword. Atlas watched in stunned silence as the Iron Predator began to turn away from the Mantle.
“No.”, said Atlas. “Intercept the Iron Predator! Maneuver broadsides of her bow; prepare cannons and a boarding party!”
They’d have to chance her scythe to stop Rose.
As the Mantle pulled broadside of the Iron Predator, Atlas called out to Rose.
“Victor! If you do not stop your ship, I will have no choice but to consider you a pirate, and attack, in the name of England!”
As he said this, the Mantle was crossing in front of the Predator’s scythe. Rose appeared through the thickening fog, sword drawn.
“Then so be it.”
As the scythe whizzed down, cannons rang out on the open sea.
5. First Mate Joseph Walker:
“Are you ready?”
The First Mate looked over at his twin brother, waiting for his response.
“Of course”, was Thomas’s confident reply.
“Good”, said Joseph with a grin. “Then you’ll probably get shot.”
The brothers shared a brief laugh as the HMS Belle of Exeter pulled along the far side the Meropis. The Meropis was receiving routine cargo inspection, as it was passing through English-controlled waters next to Ramsgate. The boarding planks were lowered, and the Walker brothers crossed the narrow bridges onto the Meropis.
Her crew looked like a ragtag collection of criminals and savages, wearing mostly tattered vests, stolen gray uniform pants, and bandannas or hats. They stared with silent scowls as the Englishmen boarded their ship. The Belle’s captain was crossing the planks and speaking broadly to the mercenary crew.
“This is a routine inspection. We will simply look through your cargo hold, check for stolen or illegal goods, and then leave. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
Suddenly, there was a gunshot, and the captain jerked back. His hand went to his bleeding neck before he fell off the planks and into the water between the ships. The shocked silence was short lived, becoming a chaotic, brawl.
Thomas looked around for his brother, but couldn’t see him. He heard another gunshot, and excruciating pain exploded in his shoulder. Falling backwards, he stumbled and crawled back to the plank bridges. Managing to stand up, Thomas looked forward and saw a large man with an eye patch slash Joseph across his upper chest. Before he could react, he was pulled back aboard the Belle of Exeter by an English crew member.
A thundering volley of cannon fire was released from Ramsgate, and the Meropis’s deck and hull erupted into wooden shards and splinters.
With luck I will post more from FoBI in this thread. I can also post these in the custom ships thread if it is so desired.
Will hopefully post tomorrow!
-J. W. DarkhurstJanuary 25, 2019 at 3:02 AM #2849
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. DarkhurstJanuary 25, 2019 at 3:06 PM #2852
JW posted the first of them, here are the rest of the convention pack story insets for Fiends of the Blood Islands.
The captain of the USS Ironsides looked warily back towards the fleet of rotting, bone-encrusted ships on the horizon.
“This wasn’t part of the plan…”, his voice nervously trailed off as he glanced at his two escorts.
The Pequod and the Swamp Fox had both been selected to serve as escorts for the Ironsides’s maiden voyage. They were there primarily as a safety net for the crew in case something happened to the prototype Ironclad. No one had anticipated to intercept a Cursed war fleet.
The Cursed fleet had spotted the three American vessels, and five galleons were already en route and gaining rapidly. The Ironsides had been equipped with a full barrage of cannons and munitions as well as a full crew so as to test her speed in a combat scenario, but they hadn’t been expecting to need them on this voyage.
The Swamp Fox began to slow and turn around, her numerous gun ports opening. From behind the American vessels, a single cannon was heard. The captain of the Ironsides turned incredulously at the sound.
‘Do they really think they can hit us from that far away?‘, he thought.
Then he heard it: The sound of a chain-shot closely flying through the air. With a terrifying crunch, the Swamp Fox’s main mast snapped in half, the upper part toppling into the ocean.
More cannons were fired, and as the Swamp Fox was destroyed, the Pequod and Ironsides turned around to meet their fate.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It was the only thing El Fantasma could think to say when the Ironsides finally began to vanish beneath the waves.
Standing at the railing of the King Jones, he was struck with an idea.
“Captain!” he called.
“Yes, sir?” replied the half-decayed corpse wearing a black coat.
“Signal to the Hellhound and the Skell’s Hand. They are to return to Aguinvari-Gakhali immediately for repairs.”
Nodding curtly, the captain left El Fantasma to execute his orders. El Fantasma walked leisurely into the below decks of the King Jones. He pushed open the door to the room underneath the captain’s quarters.
“Master Scribe?” he said to the elderly man who was shakily scratching away at a scroll behind a desk.
“Yes, yes; what do you want?” the ancient scribe was clearly very irritated at the interruption to his work.
“I need you to record our current coordinates at this spot. There’s something I want to retrieve later.”
The library was dark; lit by only a couple candles on the work desk. A thin man sat at the desk, scrawling on a piece of paper, attempting to translate and copy a small, strange journal. He leaned back in his chair, and removed his large round glasses, tiredly rubbing his eyes. Placing his glasses back on the tip of his nose, he looked over at the timepiece on his desk.
Twenty minutes to three. Another sleepless night.
He sighed, and glanced at the name placard on the desk: Dr. Milo A. Thackeray; Professor of Linguistics and History. If the expedition went well, that name would soon be known the world over.
Milo shook the tiredness from his head and leaned over the desk again. He needed these translations; even if it took him all night.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Early in the morning, Professor Milo Thackeray stood on the command deck of the USS Whitmore. Gripping the railing tightly, he looked out through the main window in the front of the submarine with a combination of excitement and fear. The Whitmore was about to launch; and his quest to discover the lost Empire of Atlantis was about to begin.
‘Day 20 of the Atlantis Voyage; USS Whitmore; Professor’s Log:
The captain seems worried about the mission’s success. We have about half a month’s worth of food and supplies before we have to abandon the quest. Even with the journal and all of its clues, the Lost Empire continues to evade me! I feel the crew is beginning to give up hope on this expedition.
And speaking of the crew, I clearly remember asking for a professional crew for the mission; not the questionable band of… mercenaries that have been placed on this vessel. I do not trust any of the men or women aboard this submersible. I fear disaster or much worse-‘
The professor stopped writing in his log book. He hesitated to write the one word that strikes fear in all sailors: Mutiny.
He sighed heavily, closing his book. He pushed up his glasses and rubbed his strained eyes.
The dim red light on the wall of his cramped room gave him a headache, and made him miss the sunlight and bright colors above the surface of the water.
The professor rose from his cot and left his room, heading for the command deck.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
On the deck, some of the crew were huddled together, whispering to each other suspiciously. As he glanced over at them, they stopped and looked up at him. The captain, an ex-military commander named Tiberius Rouran, stood up and walked over to him.
“You’re sure this place exists?” asked Rouran. “We’ve checked and rechecked these coordinates over and over. Where’s the city?”
Milo breathed deeply, trying to calm his nerves.
“Mr. Rouran, the empire does exist. It’s just hidden well.” Rouran raised an eyebrow skeptically.
Milo continued, “I know that none of you want to wait any longer, but-”
Milo was cut off when another crew member ran into the room.
“We found it! The Ulysses found the entrance!” he exclaimed.
Milo ran to the front window of the Whitmore. Sure enough, in the light from the Whitmore’s forward lamps, he could see the back half of the Ulysses turning downwards into a cave.
As the Whitmore began to descend into the deep, a feeling of dread slowly came over the professor. Whatever happened down here would change the course of history.
Milo looked hopelessly across the Atlantean harbor. The USS Whitmore was approaching the submerged tunnel that led to open ocean. Milo’s crew had mutinied against him, tried to kill him, and were now getting away with an ancient relic that the natives called, “The Heart of Atlantis”.
The Ulysses was being left behind due to her slow pace and size. She was moored at a sturdy wooden pier not far from where the Whitmore had just launched.
Desperately, Milo turned to the daughter of the murdered Atlantean King. They had become close acquaintances before Milo’s crew had turned against him.
“Is there anything we can do?” he asked her.
She looked at him with a saddened face.
“There is one thing”, she said. “But I need you to gather as many people as you can, and prepare that vessel for our escape.” She pointed to the Ulysses before turning and running towards the city’s remains.
“Kida!” Milo called, starting after her. “Kida, wait!”
Her pace never wavered. Before long, Milo could no longer see her wild mane of white hair.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When Kida returned to the beach, Milo was finishing up the preparations to launch the submarine.
“Where did you-”
“No time, we must leave now!”
Kida’s voice cut off the professor’s weak protests.
A deafening roar echoed through the city. Milo needed no further encouragement to board the Ulysses.
“What the hell was that?!” Milo exclaimed as he began to submerge the Ulysses.
“I had no choice, Milo”, Kida’s voice was somber. “There is no chance those traitors can escape now.”
Behind the Ulysses, Atlantis shook. The city began to crumble and collapse, caving inward as the ground beneath it sank.
“I have done the unthinkable” Kida’s voice was shaking. “I have awakened the last Guardian: The Grimm.”
As the Ulysses escaped through the remains of the city, a massive air bubble breached the surface near where the Whitmore was last seen.
The captain slowly made his way down from the wheelhouse, taking care to note all the minute details as he went. Little nicks and scratches in the paint and wood, rough spots made smooth by constant usage, a different colored plank showing where repairs had been done. He ran his hand along the guardrail, once rough now smooth from countless days at sea and constant usage. He looked up at the masts, the spars and sails. He could make out all the places where repairs had been done, both to wood and cloth. Heaving a sigh, he finally turned and walked down the gangway to the pier. Old Montana was there, grizzled and graying, waving to him as he descended.
“Saying a final goodbye?”
“Something like that.”
Montana grunted, and offered a pipe to the captain, which he accepted.
“They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, ships fall apart in a few months nowadays.” Montana grunted as the two strode along the pier.
“I remember the first time I saw her, back when I was a young buck, up till then nothing had ever impressed me, she did.”
The captain grunted in agreement.
“She was old then; it’s amazing she’s held up this long, a testament to her crew, and captain.”
The pair reached the other end of the pier, where a ship was sitting moored, fresh new sails and trim, practically glowing in the afternoon light. Scribed across the bow was the word Excelsior.
“So this is the replacement?” the captain asked.
“All bright and new, bet she lasts two months, tops.”
“Oh, don’t be so down Montana.”
“Like I said earlier James, they don’t make ships like the Enterprise anymore.”
Scarborough’s docks were cold and partially frozen in the winter night air. A man was slowly staggering through the harsh, snowy air towards the churning black water at the end of the docks. He was wearing a tattered, red sailor’s uniform under a thin blanket that was draped over his emaciated frame. He walked with a limp, favoring his right leg. He’d been pinned against a cannon during a fight at sea, and had been relieved of duty once he could stand again.
Shivering uncontrollably, he made his way to the end of the dock, where a Schooner was moored. A man in an impressive-looking captain’s uniform was standing outside the ship by the gangplank. Seemingly unaffected by the frigid air, he called out to the limping man.
“Sir! Have you come to enlist your service to the Orion Solstice?”
The man nodded jerkily, teeth chattering.
“Then step right up, sir! The Solstice is always happy to have new recruits”, the uniformed man was energetic and welcoming as he guided the cold man up the gangplank.
Snow was building up on the deck of the Solstice, but there was a cleared path from the side of the ship to the hatch leading below decks. Entering the dim lamp light below the ship’s top deck, a wave of warmth washed over the cold man. Turning to thank the uniformed man for accepting him onboard his ship, he noticed that the walls and floor of the Solstice were an unusual deep red color; almost black.
Before he could comment, a boot heel slammed into his face, knocking him onto the hard wooden floor. Blood pouring from his broken nose, he looked up at the uniformed man in shock and terror.
A cruel smile spread across his face. His uniform was now covered in bloodstains and sword punctures. At certain points along his limbs and torso, his skeleton was visible.
“Welcome aboard the Orion Solstice” he said, his voice fading. “Where not a single soul escapes…”
As he lost consciousness, the man heard muffled screams through the bloodstained wooden floor.
Hell awaited him hungrily.
Captain Scott Dacsh
The sea was stormy and treacherous. Waves washed over the deck of the HMS Orion Solstice as she sailed alongside the HMS Benjamin. Captain Scott Dash was at the Solstice’s helm, guiding her and the Benjamin through the rough, dark seas.
Lightning flashed in the sky, drawing Captain Dash’s attention to the Solstice’s starboard side. As the ensuing thunder sounded, he froze, staring out into the rainy night air. Something was out there. He’d seen it in the distant flash.
When the lightning flashed again, he was staring straight at them. Two Cursed galleons were closing in on the Solstice and the Benjamin, gliding effortlessly over the choppy waves.
“All hands to battle stations!” Dash shouted over the rain and wind. The crew responded quickly and without question. The schooner’s gun ports opened, loaded cannons sliding forward, ready to fire upon the incoming ships.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The storm had died long ago. The Orion Solstice was tied to the Hellfire. She floated, damaged, but not ruined, broadside of the Cursed galleon. The Plague had been damaged severely by the Solstice, and had fled halfway through the battle. The Benjamin had escaped thanks to the efforts of the Solstice and her crew.
Now, captain Dash and what remained of his crew were surrounded at sword-point by the fiends who manned the Hellfire. Her captain, a ghostly pale man in a tattered old American navy uniform, stepped forward.
“Which of ye be captain Dash?”
Dash stepped towards the phantom and looked into his colorless, dead eyes.
“I am”, he stated challengingly.
“Restrain ‘im”, the captain gave his orders in a lifeless monotone. “Take th’ crew below and slaughter ’em all.”
“No!” Dash’s cry was panicked and scared. “I beg you, take my life, take me prisoner, do what you will to me. But leave my crew. They were only following my orders!”
The Cursed officer looked back at Dash. A smile curled at the edge of his mouth.
“And what makes ye think we’re not gonna kill ye either way?”
Before he could react, Dash heard a gunshot and felt his right knee explode.
Falling to the ground, screaming in pain, and on the verge of passing out, Dash could faintly hear the captain’s final words to him: “Welcome to Th’ Cursed, Cap’n Dash. Prepare for Hell.”
Captain Shamshere smiled to himself. His day was going exceptionally well. In the space of a single afternoon, The Phantom had sunk two English cargo vessels and their escorts, ransacked Thompson’s Island, and now the Arbiter, the most feared pirate ship on the seas, was within his sights.
Shamshere stood at the helm as he gave his commands.
“Full canvas. Prepare cannons and a boarding party. Today, we take the sea back from the pirates.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Arbiter had fought bravely, but she was no match for The Phantom. She was now barely afloat next to The Phantom; her crew had been forced onto their knees and lined up on deck. Shamshere stood before them, looking at what remained. His eyes settled on a woman with short blonde hair near the far end of the line of sailors.
He moved to stand in front of her.
“Are you the captain of this fine vessel?” he asked, mockingly while gesturing towards the derelict Arbiter.
In response, the woman looked him in the eyes and glared.
“I take that as a yes.”
The undead captain looked over to his first mate.
“Lock them in the brig and set course for Aguinvari-Gakhali. Make sure The Phantom’s well-fed for the trip, but keep this one”, he said, gesturing to the short-haired woman, “alive.”
“Aye, captain…”, the cursed sailor said, his voice like a serpent’s hiss.
“What’re you planning to do to us?!”
The frightened and angry inquiry came from the blonde woman, who had been taken aback by Shamshere’s request to keep her alive.
Turning back around to face her, Shamshere’s face split into a cruel grin.
“Well, for those of you that survive your time in the brig, you’ll be put to work immediately. The Empire is in need of a new ship and a fierce crew.”
Realization dawning on the pirates’ faces, they tried once more to overcome The Phantom’s undead crew, but to no avail. As the pirates were subdued and dragged into the bowels of The Phantom, Shamshere let out a harsh laugh. Davy Jones was sure to promote him for this.
“Captain!” the cry cane from the crow’s nest. “There’s a large ship following us; looks to be a galleon, sir!”
Robert Surcouf looked back from the stern of La Possession. Sure enough, a four-mast galleon was visible in the distance. There were vague, white designs on her otherwise black sails.
“What colors are they flying?” Surcouf called to the lookout.
There was a lengthy pause.
“The Red Skull, Sir” came the lookout’s response. “And Sir, there are white coffins on her sails.”
Surcouf’s heart skipped a beat. Every sailor had heard the same description of the ship with white coffins on her sails: No ship can escape her; nothing can stop her; and no one survives her.
The Laughing Coffin.
“Full canvas! Keep guns loaded and primed! Throw unnecessary cargo overboard!”
Surcouf was running from section to section of the Possession, giving quick and precise orders to the crew.
He climbed to the helmsman’s post, taking the wheel. Turning to look back at the Coffin, it was already closer than before. Frantically, he glanced across the deck of the Possession, searching for a way to make her faster. He looked back again. The Coffin’s sail designs were now clear as day. Soon she’d be within firing range.
Sweat was running down Surcouf’s brow and face.
“Bring guns to the stern! Prepare to fire on-”
Before Surcouf could finish his commands, the deck where he stood exploded, sending shards of wood, glass, and metal through the air. La Possession’s back mast collapsed into the ocean behind her, and the next one fell forward into the main deck, cracking it severely.
The Laughing Coffin was now broadsides of La Possession. Cannons opened fire, tearing through the hull of the Possession. When the powder magazine went off, the guns stopped.
In the ringing silence, there was the faint sound of laughter.
The captain lowered his spyglass. The Two Spanish ships the Fury was chasing were making for an island that was getting steadily closer. He smiled, they were no doubt seeking a natural cove or bay where they could take shelter and hide, but there was nowhere for them to run to.
“Full canvas, I want those Spanish sunk by nightfall!” he cried, with a resounding cheer from his crew who could still speak.
*** *** ***
The captain lowered his glass, he didn’t need it anymore, he could plainly see the names of the ships he was chasing. One was called ‘Monarca’, and the other was something ‘Isabel’. As it had turned out there was a natural cove at this island, and these two ships were indeed trying to take shelter there. “Ready cannons, boarding party at the ready, I want these Spanish dead!”
Suddenly a sound like thunder ripped through the air, and the deck of the Fury was thrown into chaos as wood shattered and the main mast fell. The Captain looked ahead at the Spanish ships, which had parted as they entered the cove. Between them sat a ship larger than any he’d ever seen, with countless rows of gun ports, all open and smoking. The Spanish colors flew proudly from the main mast above the gathering clouds of smoke, the captain looked on in stunned silence as the giant ship reloaded it’s cannons. He made out the name ‘Santissima Trinidad’ on the bow, then a deafening boom as the Fury flew apart.
Elyse Rose looked around deck at the motley pirates around her. Being 14 and surrounded by Pirates was usually not a good thing, but Elyse had won them over when she took the ship, and welcomed them aboard. Besides most of the ‘pirates’ were barely older than her anyway.
The call came from her newly appointed first mate, who was making his way toward her from the wheelhouse.
“What is it Mr. Arc?”
“We’re approaching Tortuga captain-“
“Excellent, ahead of schedule.”
“We are approaching Tortuga, but some of the lads are worried we may be fired on by the Dead Man’s Point, since we still resemble a Royal navy Ship.”
Elyse thought for a moment.
“Run up a black flag, that should convince the gunners on the fort not shoot at us, although we’re barely a target worth shooting at.”
Arc and some others hurried to carry out her commands; Elyse ambled up to the bow, looking over the railing to see the name HMS Crusader still emblazoned on the hull.
That needs fixing, but what to call you my dear? she thought, absently stroking the scythe she carried at her side, her thumb tracing the crescent of the blade. Suddenly she was struck with an idea, and called for Mr. Arc.
“Bring up some paint; it’s time to give our ship a proper name.”
“What would you have us scribe?”
Elyse smiled, her pale eyes lighting up.
Elyse Rose was watching over as her boys loaded supplies onto the Crescent Rose, food, water, rum, cannonballs, powder, all things needed for a ship.
It was the man in the crow’s nest, who was holding a glass to his eye.
“What be it Mr. Winchester?”
“A ship, out beyond the reef, English by the look of it.”
Elyse’s heart skipped a beat.
“Have they spotted us?”
“I cannot say captain, though it looks as though they’re turning away.”
The lookout’s voice had grown fearful. All of the crew knew who she was, and who was chasing her. Elyse looked around at her lads, who had all but stopped moving.
“Load those supplies, double time! I’ll be back!”
She ran down the gangway and into the town of Tortuga, and stopped in front of a shabby looking tavern. Steeling her nerves she pushed open the door and waked in.
*** *** ***
Elyse stood by the helmsman and plotted their course.
“You’re sure of this route captain?”
“Yes I am. Got it from a reliable fellow in the bar by the pier.”
“All right, I’ll make the adjustments captain; but, you know, we’ll be skirting past Cursed territory?”
“We’ll be fine.”
Elyse left the helmsman to plot his course in the wheelhouse, and walked along deck to the bow, doubt beginning to eat her.
He WAS a funny fellow, that Skyme. She thought, turning her gaze to the horizon and the encroaching darkness.
Julie Rose looked from the ship to her mother and back again.
“You cannot be serious.”
Red Rayven responded with a slap across the face. Julie winced and held back tears, looking again at the sloop tied to the stern of the Branwen.
It was small, but had taken Rayven nearly a whole day to capture; it was so quick and agile. And now it was going to be hers. Not because she’d earned it, but because her mother was getting rid of it, and her in the process.
Even though it had taken them so much effort to catch, Rayven wasn’t keeping it, as it had been the personal yacht of some English businessman and it was sure to attract attention.
“That ship is yours now, Julie. Make good use of it.”
Julie snorted and allowed herself to be rowed over to the ship, upon which she clambered aboard and hopped on deck of the small sloop. The men who rowed her over almost seemed gleeful when they cut the tow rope and began drifting away, waving to her from their rowboat.
Julie cursed at them, loud enough from them to hear. Their waving and jeering stopped, replaced by scowls.
Not even a single deckhand….
Julie paced across the deck quickly, and soon set herself to work, hauling lines and canvas, and plotting a course. She reached shallow waters by nightfall and made anchor, noting her position on a map in the captains, no, HER cabin. Exhausted she slumped down into her cot, the rolling of the waves calming her exhausted fury.
Suddenly she spied something in a glass cabinet she hadn’t noticed before. Picking herself up out of her cot she opened it and examined it. It was a small crate, with several sealed bottles of amber liquid inside. Julie smiled, pulled out a bottle and popped the cork.
“All mine now….” She said, as she dropped back into her cot and slowly drank the whole bottle down.
Maybe things aren’t so bad she thought as she drifted off to sleep.
The water had run out three days ago, the food was dwindling and she was exhausted. But what was really bothering Julie Rose was that the Spiced Rum had run out yesterday. She pulled on a line, and looked toward the bow into the fog. She could hear it; there was a ship out there. She secured her line and looked over the rail toward the bow at the water. The trails were faint, but it was there, and she was catching up.
She’d been tracking this ship for two days now, determined to take it and make it her own, and maybe convince a few souls to join her. Suddenly she straightened up, listening intently. The sound of water lapping at a hull, the creak of ropes and spars, a dark shape loomed out of the gloom off her port side. Grinning, she ran to the wheelhouse and adjusted her course to point straight at the ship. A faint breeze caught her sails and she picked up speed.
Coming to stand on the bow, she looked up at the ship as it grew more defined. She counted numerous gun ports, and made out the name ‘HMS Gallows’. Her ship rose with a small wave and smashed into the starboard side of the ship, making a tremendous noise. She should have been crushed on the bow, but jumped, her red eyes flashing, golden hair trailing like a comets tail.
She landed on deck, surrounded by surprised and stunned redcoats.
*** *** ***
The fight hadn’t lasted long; the redcoats had folded like they were made of paper, and the sailors had cleared out of her way in fear. She stood before them now, atop a table on deck, looking at weary faces.
Yes….. They’re English, but I can work with them, make them mine. She thought.
She smiled, revealing teeth almost like fangs.
and then, mother, you and I are going to have a nice little chat.
Rayven stood at the railing of the Branwen, looking out at the sea. It was dark grey today, the water a little choppy; dark storm clouds gathered on the horizon, but the sun shone on her and ship. Rayven closed her eyes and unbidden memories rose before her.
Learning she was pregnant, feeling Julie grow inside her, giving birth, teaching Julie how to read the waves and the water, her first sword- which she’d broken moments later picking a fight with the bosun. Her tenth birthday, when Rayven had allowed her to take part in a raid, the day she’d sent her away on that little sloop, all those years ago.
Rayven opened her eyes, cutting off the memory. Julie probably didn’t understand why she’d forced her away, members of her crew had begun to ask questions about her, who her father was. More troubling to Rayven was the way some of the men had looked at her. Sending her away was the best thing she could have done for her little girl.
“Captain, ship approaching from the west!”
Rayven roused herself from her musings, and called back to the lookout
“None I recognize captain, but there’s something strange.”
Rayven quickly climbed to the lookouts nest and took his glass, and held it to her eye. Coming directly at them was a large ship, looking to have once been English, but the flag that flew from the topmast was not the union jack, it was a bright yellow and red, with what looked like crossed fists on it.
“Looks like we’ve some fellow pirate company, they shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Look at the bow captain.”
Rayven trained the glass on the bow of the approaching ship, and her breath caught in her throat. She was standing there, her golden hair flowing about her like a lion’s mane. Rayven lowered the glass,
“Julie……”March 3, 2019 at 12:37 AM #3486JackParticipant
I’ve been working on a glorified fanfic loosely based on Hawkins/Blackheart/Lady Arcadia. May post a link to the doc in the coming weeks, my idea is to make it so that it can be read front to back as a continuous story or as a short story collection.March 3, 2019 at 2:09 AM #3489
Looking forward to seeing it!March 9, 2019 at 3:06 AM #3625
I’m back at the tavern tonight to tell another story from the Dark Tides
Tonight, we join a pair of cursed sailors, as they make the mistake of antagonizing the Spanish…
Adrián de la Cruz
Philippe Desailly and Keith Atkinson were on their knees, hands tied behind their backs with gags in their mouths. They looked around the deck of the Spanish Galleon. About half a dozen men from both of their crews were lined up next to them, each one similarly bound.
The galleon’s captain had yet to show himself, but the other Spanish sailors surrounded the Cursed hostages, guns at the ready. Smoke drifted across the deck of the galleon, obscuring the remains of the Plague and Furies Whip from view.
A pair of loud explosions were heard, emanating from the direction where their ships were, both powerful enough to make the galleon rock. Desailly looked over at Atkinson. Absolute terror was visible in his eyes. Sweat ran down his brow, and tears threatened to descend his cheeks. The mental message he was sending Desailly was clear: I didn’t sign up for this!
A small pang of guilt passed through Philippe. He’d convinced Keith to join him in his attempt to take El Castilla del Infanta. It wasn’t his fault of course; how was he supposed to know the shipping schedule for the Spanish armada? Regardless, they were stuck in this situation now. But Desailly wasn’t worried. He’d find a way to escape.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Keith Atkinson heard shouts behind him. He tried to turn and look, but his movement was met with the butt of a rifle. Bending forward in pain, his fears made themselves known in the form of a quiet sob. This is not what he was promised by his freak of a brother. The shouts behind him became clearer. Someone was speaking rapid-fire Spanish with such hatred and venom that he thought he’d be sick. He’d learned some Spanish back in England, and what he could understand from the angry voice made him wish he hadn’t.
The speaker stepped into view as he finished barking his orders. He wore a simple sailor’s uniform but had a sword with a gilded hilt. He looked down at the Cursed Sailors spread out behind Atkinson and Desailly.
“Matarlos a todos”, he said gesturing towards Atkinson’s and Desailly’s respective crews.
The Spanish sailors leveled their guns at the heads of the oblivious cursed men and fired.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Desailly felt a sliver of fear lodge itself into his heart. The Spaniard looked down at him and Atkinson with such disgust and scorn that he suddenly wished there was a deity he could pray to.
“¿Son ustedes dos los capitanes?”
His words meant nothing to Desailly, but Atkinson seemed to understand. He was grunting and nodding, gesturing frantically to Desailly. Worry filled Philippe. What did he ask?, he wondered.
Whatever it was, Atkinson had supplied him with the wrong answer. The man (Desailly assumed he was the captain) kicked Keith in the face, knocking him onto his back. Keith was coughing up the teeth he almost swallowed when the captain’s sword impaled him, stabbing through his chest, and pinning him to the deck.
A muffled yelp of pain escaped the gag in Atkinson’s mouth. He twitched for a moment, then went still.
The captain pulled his sword from Keith’s body and turned to Desailly.
“You are the Capitan?”
His voice held a thick Spanish accent, but it was understandable to Philippe.
In response, Philippe glared up at him.
The captain smirked, and reached for a pendant he wore on a necklace. The pendant was a large wooden cross with a sharpened long end. The sharp end was stained a deep blood red.
Desailly began to struggle and shout through his gag. The Spaniards behind him held him still as the captain raised the cross-dagger above his head. He swung down, and the Cursed prisoner released a brief, unearthly screech.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Adrián de la Cruz kneeled before the full-size cross in his simple quarters. His wooden cross-dagger was floating in a basin of holy water for cleansing. When he finished his silent prayers, he rose and walked over to the wall behind his bed. He scratched two lines into the wood, adding up with over two hundred others already there. One for each Cursed ship the Cruz de Cristo had sunk.
And that concludes the third story from the Dark Tides.
I do not know when the next tale will be told, but I’ll be sure to come back to the Black Mongoose to tell it. Until then, good night.
-J. W. DarkhurstAugust 7, 2019 at 2:14 PM #8800
I’m back at the Tavern; so you know what that means. Another tale from the Dark Tides.
Today, we join a pirate captain, awoken in the dead of night…
There was a loud knock on the door. A voice spoke loudly through the thick wood: “Cap’n! There’s, uhh… A situation on deck.”
One-Eyed Bennett had woken up at the sound of the knock, and was prepared to throw this man overboard until he heard the uncertainty in his voice. Clearly something was wrong.
Draping his coat on his shoulders and fastening the top button, Bennett approached the door and opened it, lit lantern in hand.
“What’s th’ proble- Mr. Nautilus??”
Bennett looked with furious surprise at the face of the Storm Stalker’s helmsman.
“What the devil are you doing away from your post?!?”
The helmsman tried to answer, but was at a loss for words. Quite a worrisome detail, as it was normally difficult to get Nicholas Nautilus to shut up.
“It’s best if you come see, Cap’n.”
The captain grunted and began to follow the helmsman. “You didn’t answer my question.”
“The first mate, Mr. McBain had th’ crew drop anchor, sir.” Nautilus was leading the captain to the main deck of the ship. “He sent me to to wake ye up. The lookouts weren’t at their stations, what with the storm. So no one saw the longboat until he… It was already on board the Storm Stalker.”
Bennett raised an eye brow at the brief stutter. He was about to ask Nautilus to explain when they reached the Storm Stalker’s main deck.
The sea was rough, rain drenching the sails and deck of the Storm Stalker. Lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the tense scene before Captain Bennett and Mr. Nautilus: the first mate, Scott McBain, had his sword drawn, pointed at a pale, figure while the rest of the crew stood at the ready, prepared to draw their swords, daggers, or pistols. Bennett’s one eye widened in disbelief. He made his way up next to McBain, and stared at the figure before him. It was tall and thin, dressed in threadbare navy pants, a stained white shirt, and a tattered cerulean coat. A dark red bandanna adorned the smooth surface of its scalp. Underneath all of the soaked clothes stood a skeleton. A bony frame covered in ghostly flesh. A faint grimace became visible on the figure’s spectral visage. The skeletal man spoke:
“Cap’n Cutlass… It’s been a while.”
Bennett’s look of shock faded into a deep scowl.
“Mr. Brine.” The pirate took a shaky breath. “Indeed it has.”
Thus concludes the third story from the Dark Tides.
I will be back soon enough to tell the next tale, my fellow sailors. Until then, enjoy your drinks at the Black Mongoose. Good day.
-J. W. DarkhurstAugust 8, 2019 at 4:22 PM #8850
Another day, another drink at the Tavern.
Today, I bring another Tale from the Dark Tides. A tale of harsh bitterness in the frozen heart of winter…
Nobleman Jacques Schofield
Ice frosted the elaborate glass window panes in Jacques Schofield’s study. He sat at his desk, admiring a new portrait and sipping a glass of fine wine from his winter stash. The flickering candlelight created a warm atmosphere which contrasted dramatically with the stark white suit and hair of the nobleman. A fireplace was bright and crackling on the wall furthest from the door.
Jacques stood and walked over to the frosted window and looked into the storm outside. It was a blizzard out there. Schofield sighed and turned back towards his desk. There was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” Schofield said in a bored voice. A man entered the room, brushing snow off of his damp uniform. He saluted the nobleman, a gesture Jacques appreciated very much.
“What do you have to report, Mr. Klein?”, the nobleman asked. The man stood, slightly out of breath by the open door. His face was red from the cold, and there was melting frost on his uniform and at his hairline. He spoke in a stuttering voice, teeth chattering from the cold draft that came in through the open doorway.
“S-sir. The w-workers have refused t-to work in these weather conditions. They have demanded-”
Schofield held up his hand to the man.
“Mr. Klein, what do you mean, “they refuse to work”?”
“Well… Sir, they’ve said that they won’t work unless the factories are supplied with proper fireplaces. And they have demanded that-”
Schofield’s voice was soft, but stern. His white eyebrows arched in a disapproving scowl. The nobleman sighed, clearly disappointed.
“I suppose I should’ve expected this leniency from you, Mr. Klein, so let me make this very clear to you.” Schofield walked up to the man, who was clearly intimidated.
“Those workers do not demand anything. This is not the “Workers’ Ironworks & Ship-Building Company”, is it?”
Mr. Klein tried to stammer out an answer, but Schofield cut him off.
“No. This is the Schofield Ironworks & Ship-Building Company. So tell me, Mr. Klein, what do you mean, “They won’t work?” They do not make that decision. I do. And unless they want to spend this winter unemployed and on the streets, they will work until I tell them otherwise.”
Klein gave Jacques a look full of dread. The Schofield Company was infamous throughout England. It never stopped; the factories were never silent; the workers had no days off. Klein sighed.
“Of course, sir,” he said, saluting the nobleman. “I shall…inform the guards of your wishes. Good day.”
“Klein,” Schofield spoke calmly. The man stopped cold in his tracks.
“You and I both know that words have no real effect on these lowlife workers,” the nobleman had a cold, disturbingly pleased look in his eyes. “Tell the guards that they may use whatever method of persuasion they feel is necessary to get the workers going again.”
Klein took a shuddering breath before salting Schofield, and then left, closing the door behind him. Jacques Schofield returned to the window and gazed through the frosted windows and beyond the tempest, towards the factories. A smile slowly spread across his face in anticipation of the first gunshot.
This concludes the fourth story from the Dark Tides.
In roughly two day’s time, there will be new ships and sailors introduced from the Eldest Seas.
Until then, my fellow sailors, Good day
-J. W. Darkhurst
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