Story Pirates of the Caribbean: Quest of the Black Dagger

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  1. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    14.

    Harold walked along the bottom deck when he found Crispin kneeling in the corner before his desk, eyes closed and hands clasped together. He opened his eyes just as Harold started to walk away.

    “Sorry t’ startle ye, lad,” Harold said.

    “Don’t be,” Crispin said. He noted the scraps of wood under the older man’s arm. “More repairs?”

    Harold nodded. “Just a couple wee leaks by the larboard rudder.” He pointed to Crispin and then to his desk. “Praying to the Almighty for more wisdom?”

    Crispin shrugged. “Praying I don’t sink the ship.”

    “Well don’t that just ease me worries,” Harold said. Chuckling, he slapped the younger man on the back. “I’m sure y’ll do just fine, lad. Yer the brain of this ship as it stands.”

    “I wouldn’t say that,” Crispin said, standing.

    “Oh don’t be so modest, lad,” Harold said as they walked along the ship’s deck. Once they reached Harold’s destination, he knelt down and began hammering a scrap of wood into the hull. “If not for you, we’d be in the middle of the ocean.”

    Holding the scraps of wood in place while Harold hammered them, Crispin said, “If it weren’t for you, we’d be at the bottom of the ocean. We’re experts in our own ways.”

    “Mayhaps,” Harold said with a shrug.

    “I mean it,” Crispin said. “I couldn’t fix this ship, and I know I can’t command it like Captain Reed. And I know I cannot do half of what Ian-“ He stopped as Harold looked at him. “Okay, not as fitting an example.”

    “Close enough being,” Haold said. “Yer a good lad for a lubber.” Finishing the repairs, he stood. “There, that shoul-“

    “Ship Ho!”

    They both turned as they heard the call from the deck above. Walking up the steps, they joined, Reed, Jade, and Ian, who looked where Calob pointed from the crow’s nest.

    “Can you identify, Mr. Calob?” Reed asked.

    “Looks like a Junk,” Calob said, looking through his spyglass.

    “Oh no,” Jade said, stepping back.

    “A Junk?” Reed pulled her own spyglass out and looked through it. “What are the Chinese doing here in the Caribbean?” Peering through her scope, she said, “By her colors, she means to parlay.” She closed her scope. “That’s odd. Mr. Temple, ready arms. Mr. Calob, raise our colors and grant their parlay.” She then glanced back. “Mr. Passer, find yourself below deck for the moment while we learn of their intentions.”

    “No arguments here,” Ian said, disappearing down the steps.

    As it drew closer, the ship’s mate, a tall, muscular man stood at the railing. “You are the ship called Hawking.”

    “I’m Olivia Reed, Captain of the Hawking. According to your colors, you seek to parlay.”

    “You will speak with captain,” he said, pointing.

    “Very well,” Reed said. “I’ll speak with your captain if my crew will not be harmed.”

    “Captain has no interest in your crew,” he said, “and You will speak with Captain.”

    Everyone turned to see that he was, in fact, point to Jade.

    “Beg pardon?” she said, suddenly realizing everyone was watching her

    “You are Jade Thorn. You will speak with Captain,” he said, leaving nothing in his voice for argument.

    With a sigh, Jade nodded. “Fine, I’ll go.”

    Reed looked to her. “Do you know what this is about?”

    “Unfortunately,” Jade answered, crossing the plank and boarding the other ship. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

    Jade walked across the deck, and a guard ushered her into a large, dimly-lit cabin.

    “Come in, Jade,” Mistress Ching said, waving her forward.

    She sat in a throne-like chair in the center of the room and was flanked by a single guard, a slender woman in her twenties. The young woman wore simple dark gray garb, but Jade could see in gleam of multiple weapons hidden beneath. No doubt, the steely-gazed woman could slice to pieces anyone she felt threatened Ching before the person could blink an eye. Sure enough, her eyes locked on Jade from the moment she entered the cabin.

    Ching raised her hand. “Marrim, leave us.”

    With a slight bow of her head, Marrim obediently walked toward the door. As Jade passed her she winked, and the younger woman suddenly lost her composure, flushed, and covered her mouth as she giggled. She turned and gave Jade a subtle smile as she stepped through the doorway.

    “You certainly inherited your father’s charms,” Ching said.

    “I inherited a lot from him,” Jade said, turning back and approaching Ching, “everything but yer anger.”

    “Our anger grants us strength,” Ching said, “as does our hate.”

    Jade scoffed. “Except that I learned to hate from th’ one I direct my hatred to.”

    Ching nodded, though being blind, she continued facing forward, even while Jade paced the cabin. “I made some mistakes with you, child. I understand that now.”

    “Mistakes?” Jade suddenly whirled around until she was glaring right into the older woman’s blank eyes. “Y’ call leaving a child alone in a brothel a mistake? I had no one watching over me, no one directing me, and old men asking what my rates were!” She walked by a desk with several ornaments and back-handed them, sending the objects flying into the wall.

    If Ching seemed bothered by Jade’s actions, she failed to show it, remaining calm and stoic as she spoke. “I did my best to help you, child.”

    “Oh did you now?” Jade stormed across the room, circling Ching’s chair. “I don’ recall you rescuing me from that place. Father did, and I spent the next several years sailing with him, not you!”

    Ching nodded. “I know. Who do you think informed him of your whereabouts?”

    Jade ignored her words. “And where were y’ when Father died at sea? I was left alone as my world fell to pieces, and where were ye, then? Huh? Where was my mother then? Sailing the seas, assaulting ships, running her little brothels while I scrapped every speck for myself?”

    “Many of those brothels, I owned,” Ching said. “Those working there helped you as I asked. You may not believe me, but I had my ways of watching over you.”

    “Is that how y’ found me?” Jade asked. “Teague crumbled?”

    “Teague mentioned how his dog was rescued by, ‘sea turtles,’” For the first time, Ching allowed a smirk to appear on her painted lips. “However, then I heard of a woman holding her own in that bar, and later doing the same in Santiago.” She turned her head in Jade’s direction. “You were not as subtle as you thought.”

    “That’s because I was helping my friends,” Jade said, suddenly realizing that she had used that word, friends.

    “And the bar fight before that?”

    With a shrug, Jade said, “He grabbed me rear so I put his face through th’ counter.”

    “You’ve grown up well,” Ching said. “My child, I am not here to beg your forgiveness, and I may never make amends in your eyes.”

    “You finally noticed,” Jade scoffed.

    Ching ignored the remark. “I am here to warn you. The Brethren Court has been summoned. Lord Beckett has already terrorized Port Royal, executing people by the thousands, and he has even attacked Tortuga.” She straightened. “I want you to return with me to Shipwreck cove.”

    Jade started to laugh. “Why? So we can hide in a closet together?”

    “Shipwreck Cove is well protected,” Ching said. “You will be safe there.”

    “From Beckett, perhaps,” Jade said, “but you and I’ll surely kill each other b’fore the next dawn. And Beckett’ll remain out there indefinitely until every supposed pirate falls.” She shook her head. “No thank you, I’d rather die fighting.”

    “You are a young fool.”

    “No woman, you are an old, decrepit, spineless, fool!” Jade shot back. “Yer lucky I don’ kill y’ myself!”

    Jade realized quickly that she had overstepped her bounds, but she didn’t care anymore. The door behind her opened, but Ching waved the person off.

    “If you plan to fight,” Ching said, “then be aware that while Beckett leads most of his fleet to Shipwreck cove, St. Augustine and its neighboring ports will be sparsely defended. I understand your friends have drawn the ire of General Strouse. If you seek a war of your own, you have your chance.”

    Facing away, leaning against a desk, Jade nodded. “I’ll give Captain Reed this information.” After nearly a minute of silence, she turned and walked back to Ching. Tearing a blue, star-shaped amulet off her neck, she dropped it in the older woman’s hands. “Father gave me this, and now I’ll give it to you. If I don’t survive the war, I want you to know I died fighting, not curled in a ball in some cave.”

    Spinning on her heels, Jade turned and stormed toward the door. As she grabbed the handle, Ching finally spoke.

    “I want you to take this, child,” she said, placing her hands on a box that rested on a table beside her chair.

    Slowly, Jade turned, hesitated, and then reluctantly returned. Opening the box, she found a pistol with an abnormally thick double barrel.

    “That weapon was a gift to me from my father when I was your age,” Ching said. “It can annihilate an enemy, even on the other side of a wall.”

    Jade studied the pistol, then looked up at Ching. “You’re Mistress Ching, one of the pirate lords. Y’ shoul’ be leading the others in th’ war.”

    “Only a pirate king can call for war,” Ching said. “But if one orders us to fight, especially one with your spirit, then I promise you, I shall obey.”

    “Well then,” Jade said, “until this war is over, and until next time, if there is one, farewell.” She turned, pistol in hand, and walked out of the room.

    “Farewell, until we meet again, my child,” Ching said. Facing the door, her fingers clasped Jade’s amulet.

    And a single tear fell from her eye.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ian emerged onto the Hawking’s upper deck to find the crew speaking as the Chinese ship disappeared over the horizon.

    “I can’ believe that woman,” Jade said, “tryin’ to make peace with me after all these years.”

    Reed touched her shoulder. “Well at least she tried.”

    Jade scoffed. “This was th’ same woman who left me in a brothel, with none to look to, when I was a kid. I then had t’ deal with all these sick men wanting to bed me.” She stormed away, slamming her hands on the railing. “I mean what sick, twisted sod-head propositions a child anyway?”

    “I know some,” Crispin answered, not bothering to hide the disgust in his voice.

    Reed approached her. “You’ve apparently made your choice and you’re well entitled to it, but she is your family.”

    Jade stared at the sea for several moments before responding. “No,” she said, shaking her head and turning to look over the crew. “I already ‘ave a family.”

    “So who did you mangle this time?“ Ian asked.

    Jade shot him a glare. “None, but eve isn’t here yet.”

    “Ah, Mr. Passer,” Reed said, “There’s someone here who asked for you, someone our previous friends delivered to us.”

    “Asked for me?” Ian asked.

    At that question, a short, old woman with long gray hair tied behind her back and wearing clothing that looked like rags stepped forward. She titled her head as she studied a confused and nervous Ian, all the while fiddling with her necklace of pebble-like beads. After a minute of awkward silence, she reached a withered hand out, brushing her fingers across his face. Recoiling in horror, Ian jumped back.

    The older woman’s gray eyes widened and she spoke in a strong, deep voice for someone her size. “Ian? Tis you, really?” She suddenly leaped forward and wrapped her arms around Ian’s neck. “Ian, by Yoruba, you’s alive ‘n breathin’!” She pulled back and looked at him from his head to his feet. “You’s grown much big to a stronging young man, Y’ave, Ian!”

    Reed and Jade looked to each other before Reed spoke. “Mr. Passer, you know her?”

    Ian shook his head but the woman didn’t seem to mind.

    “Course you’re not ‘membering ol’ Breluna. Last Ian I lays mine eyes on wasn’t but a naked lil tadpole.”

    “Tadpole?” Ian struggled to digest this new bit of information. “You knew me when I was a little boy?”

    “I’s sayin’ so,” Breluna said. “I worked for you’s parents as’n you’s nanny.”











  2. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    15.

    “So, you knew my parents,” Ian said as he, Reed, Jade, and Crispin sat on the deck of the Hawking with Breluna.

    “That I did,” Breluna said, staring at the sky as she thought back. “You’s but a wee tadpole when we left Denmark to visit the British Colonies. Mr. and Mrs. Magnus, they always loved their wee Ian.”

    “Magnus?” Jade asked. “I thought your name was Passer.”

    “I was adopted by Walter Passer, well, after he caught me stealing from him.” Ian shook his head. “I never knew my real name or anything except a large boat.”

    “Aye, the she we sails on, the Havik. We’s in middle of the seas when you’s parents killed.” Her eyes suddenly darkened.

    Ian tensed. “I remember screaming and seeing blood on the ship’s deck, but I was told it was an accident.”

    Breluna shook her head, narrowing her eyes. “Twas no accident. They’s murdered, cut down by First Mate Strouse so less mens to pay.”

    “Just a moment,” Reed said. “Did you just say Strouse killed his parents?”

    “Aye,” Breluna spit the name out, “Kaiser Strouse, he knew the less mens ‘live, the less to pay, and the mores he getting paid.”

    “And he’s the one who wants me dead, not realizing who I am.” Ian got up and walked away. “I need a minute.”

    Breluna got up and followed him. “So you knows this man?” She placed a hand on his shoulder. “I see this fire in yous eyes. Lets it go, Ian. Yous parents would not wanting you to live this life of hate.”

    Leaning against the railing, Ian shrugged. “It’s just that this whole mess is going on, but Strouse and I haven’t ever met face-to-face. Not to mention I never knew who he was and he has no clue who I am.”

    Breluna smiled. “The fates, they works under a veil of mystery.”

    “Well the fates can shove their plans up their-“

    “Ship ho!” Calob yelled from the crow’s nest.

    Reed and the rest rushed to the railing, but instead of an intact ship in the distance, they found wreckage. Pieces of the vessel floated in scattered directions, some still aflame from a recent attack.

    “I see burns from fire,” Reed said, looking through her spyglass, “remains of an explosion, and blood.” She lowered her spyglass and took a breath. “This was no simple attack by pirates. Someone was hunting.”

    “Captain, a body in the water!” Calob pointed toward a piece of the wrecked ship’s hull where they saw a bearded man clinging to some plywood.

    “Haul him aboard!” Reed ordered.

    They brought the man aboard and Reed walked over, gasping as she recognized his bruised and swollen face.

    “Davis!” She rushed to his side. “Is he alive?”

    Breluna knelt down and felt his head. “He lives, for now.” She turned to Foote. “Brings me water and tattered root.” She looked at Reed. “I helps him best can be.”

    Eventually, Davis stirred and opened his eyes. Reed touched his shoulder. “Davis, can you hear me?”

    “Captain Reed!” His eyes went wide and he smiled for a moment before his face went pale. “I’m sorry, captain. We did the best we could.”

    “What happened? Where’s Tom?”

    “He thought of trying to find you again, so we sailed back toward St. Augustine.” He coughed and drank some water. “Then some pirate named Adissa attacked us.”

    “Adissa? That’s impossible,” Reed said. “We crippled his ship and left him to the mercy of the East India Trading Company.”

    “No, no, no,” he said. “The East India was helping the pirate?”

    “Y’ cannot be serious,” Jade said.

    “Someone named Greer led the second ship,” Davis continued, “and they both attacked us.” He trembled. “Tom ordered me to escape and warn you. When I refused . . . Please believe me, captain, I tried to stay at my post.”

    Reed nodded. “So, Tom Pistol knocked you out and threw you overboard to warn me.” She brushed a tear from her eye. “So then he went down with his ship.”

    Davis shook his head, his entire body nearly convulsing. “They took him and the crew. I remember seeing a fire on Adissa’s ship and I heard Pistol screaming, and then Adissa’s crew cheering and singing.” He coughed blood onto the deck and refused to look anyone in the eyes. “I was far, into the water, but I smelled it, the stench of burning flesh.”

    “I gave the order to spare Adissa,” Reed said, staring down at Davis. The man continued to cough as he curled into a ball and eventually stopped moving.

    Reed looked up at Breluna who shook her head. “Sorrows, captain, he’s dead as we brings him ‘board. I thinks he lived only long to warn you.”

    They sat in silence for several minutes, not noticing the shadow falling on the ship as something nearby emerged from the fog and blocked the sun.

    “Captain,” Calob called out, “Another ship. The Blutanz!”

    Adissa stood on the bow of the Blutanz, looking out over the Hawking. “Charon,” he called out to his first mate, “guns!”

    Charon, a tanned, muscular man, turned and yelled, “Limbo, guns read!”

    From the lower deck, Limbo yelled back, “Aye, guns ready!” He rubbed his fingers along one cannon. “We gonna be getting them this time, Bessy. This time go singin’ yer dirge, love.”

    Before the crew of the Hawking could react, the Blutanz opened fire. The Hawking’s port side exploded and crew members dashed for cover to escape the flames and flying pieces of wood.

    “Captain,” Jade asked, “your orders?”

    “I gave the order to let him go,” Reed mumbled, still staring at Davis’ body, now covered by a sheet.

    Another shot rocked the Hawking, and members of the crew screamed as they struggled to remain at their posts.

    “Captain!” Jade grabbed Reed by the shoulder and physically hauled her face-to-face. “Snap out of it! Your orders!”

    Reed shook her arm free, blinked out of her state. “Mr. Temple on deck! Mrs. Houser, hard to port! Mr. Foote, full canvas!”

    “Full canvas?” Jade asked as the rest of the crew silently agreed with her confusion. “Have y’ lost yer mind?”

    “Trust me,” Reed said. Then she turned. “Mr. Passer, help Foote with the sails.”

    “But I don’t know anything about the sails,” Ian argued.

    “You know how to climb though, do you not?” Reed asked. Then before he could answer, she said, “Get up there and follow Mr. Foote’s orders. Now go.” She turned. “Mr. Acardi?”

    “Captain” Crispin asked as he rushed to her.

    Reed looked at him. “Your little toys that you were to throw in the water. Have you finished them?”

    “A couple,” Crispin answered, “enough to put sea between us.”

    “Then get them.” Crispin took off below deck as Reed stepped to the railing.

    Ian raced up the ropes and held on as the mast shook. “Calob,” he yelled as he spotted him in the crow’s nest, “you still have your mirror?”

    “Of course,” Calob answered, “but who we signaling way out here?”

    “No one.” Ian climbed up and revealed his own mirror. “You warned me before to signal someone but to not blind them.”

    Understanding crossed Calob’s face and he nodded. “But we want to blind them.”

    Ian pointed at the Blutanz’ hull. “Point the light at those holes in the side of the ship.”

    “Gun ports?”

    “Well, if you want to go all nautical on me,” Ian said as Calob rolled his eyes.

    Together, the two used their mirrors to reflect the sun at the Blutanz’ gun ports.

    “What the snot?” Limbo cried out as the reflected light hit him in the face. He stumbled back, knocking his cannon off-angle, and its shot missed the Hawking completely. “What other voodoo they be trying?”

    “They rammin’ us?” Charon, on the main deck asked as they watched the Hawking grow closer.

    Adissa stared at the ship heading right for his ships port before yelling out an order. “Starboard!”

    “Temple,” Reed shouted, “Fire!”

    A smaller blast fired from the Hawking sent both Adissa and Charon scrambling out of the way, and the resulting explosion knocked them to the deck. When they looked up, they noticed nothing remained of the helm or its officer but a charred stump that once held up the wheel.

    Adissa glared. “They got chasers!”

    On the Hawking, Crispin emerged on the upper deck, holding his sphere-like contraptions. Spotting Benjamin, he ran up to him. “Benjamin, you’ve got long arms. Do you think you can hurl these toward his ship?”

    Benjamin glanced at the contraption, then curiously back at Crispin. “I can’t hit the ship.”

    “You don’t have to,” Crispin said. “Just get them into the water, as close as you can.”

    Benjamin looked to Reed her nodded her head. He then took the contraptions from Crispin and, one by one, threw them into the water.

    Aboard the Blutanz, Adissa and Charon watched as the contraptions landed in the water, not far from the ship.

    “Ha,” Charon laughed as Adissa simply stared, “they missed!”

    “Fire!” Reed yelled.

    As the Hawking passed, it opened fire, rocking the Blutanz with multiple blasts. Before the Blutanz’ crew could regain its bearings, the Hawking raced by, gaining a lead on the larger vessel.

    “More! Starboard!” Adissa shouted.

    The Blutanz turned, but when it struck Crispin’s contraptions, the sphere-like objects exploded, shredding holes in the ship’s lower hull.

    “We’re taking water!” came the call from the lower deck.

    “Fix it,” Adissa called back. “Fix it! Or we. Feast. On. You!”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Aboard the Hawking, Reed yelled, “Get us out of here!” as Foote and Ian struggled with the sails. One the Blutanz disappeared in the distance, Reed turned and walked to the steps. “How badly are we damaged?”

    As she and Jade walked down the steps, they found members of the crew tending to several who were injured. Two of which lifted a badly-burned Harold onto a hammock. Breluna immediately looked him over as Tamy rushed over to him. He lay unconscious but breathed heavily.

    “Harold, ye stupid sod, what’d you do t’ yerself?” she cried, leaning over her husband.

    “I will tends to him,” Breluna said, removing herbs from her belt pouch. Taking Tamy’s hands, she placed them over a wound in Harold’s chest. “Holds them heres and press down.”

    “Captain,” a younger man said, approaching Reed.

    “What happened?” she asked, trying to keep her voice from breaking.

    “They blasted right through the hull,” he said. “Mr. Houser be fixing a leak when the cannon exploded.” He suddenly looked nervous. “Atencio and Gibson, they be fixing the hull on Mr. Houser’s orders when they vanished. Hopper be dragging Mr. Houser away when the piece of wood ended up.” He started crying. “I stayed at my post as Temple ordered and fired when you ordered. I’m sorry, captain.”

    “You did what you were supposed to,” Reed said, touching his shoulder while fighting to keep her voice from cracking. “Are we still taking on water?”

    “No, ma’am, we sealed it.”

    Reed nodded and stood up. Walking to the steps she spoke over her shoulder. “Have whoever’s at the helm to continue our course, best speed.”

    Jade caught up to her as they reached the upper deck, and Ian and Crispin joined the two.

    “We’re clear for the moment,” Crispin said. “Orders?”

    Not looking any of her crew in the eye, Reed simply shook her head. “Keep us clear then. Someone else take over for now.” Continuing in her trance-like state, Reed stumbled past her crew into her cabin, slamming the door behind her.











  3. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    16.

    Jade stormed into Reed’s cabin to find the captain sitting at her desk with a bottle of rum in one hand and a glass in the other.

    “Ah, Miss Thorn,” she said, looking up, “are we under way?”

    “Th’ crew is performing final services for those we lost,” Jade answered. “They think y’ prefer to mourn alone.”

    “Well then,” Reed said, “shall we drink?”

    “What th’ hell do y’ think you’re doing?” Jade asked deciding against subtlety in this instance.

    Reed ignored the response. “I’m celebrating the lives of those lost; Hopper, Davis, Atencio, Gibson,” she paused for a moment, “Tom Pistol. They were all exceptional sailors, and we wouldn’t be here without them.” She smiled. “Come toast with me, Miss Thorn.” She held up a glass.

    Jade knocked the glass out of her hand. “Have y’ lost your damned mind? Your crew needs its captain, but she rather be hidin’ in her cabin getting miserably sloshed!”

    “I’m out of options,” Reed said. “I need moment.”

    “What you need,” Jade said, slamming her hands on the desk, “is a bash th’ side of your head!”

    “Perhaps later.” Reed lifted the bottle to her lips and downed part of its contents. Holding up the bottle, she said. “Tom Pistol and I bought this to celebrate our brand new ship, but it was sunk before we could celebrate. And now we can never celebrate, because Tom is dead.” Suddenly, she slammed the bottle onto the desk. “And it’s my fault!”

    “Your fault?” Jade asked.

    “I had him in my sights,” Reed said, burying her face in her hands, “and I let him go.” She pulled out her pistol and rested it on the desk. “If I had just pulled the trigger . . . “

    “Captain,” Jade said, “ye did your best. If ye had the’ chance, I know ye would’ve put a shot through that scug’s head. Ye didn’ know he was workin’ for Strouse. None of us did.”

    “This isn’t about you, Miss Jade,” Reed snorted. “I’m the captain of this ship.”

    “Then, fer cryin’ out loud, act like it,” Jade said, ripping the bottle out of her hands before she could take another drink.

    Glaring at her, Reed slowly stood, her legs trembling as she moved from behind the desk. “Give me that bottle, Miss Thorn.”

    Jade stood back, standing tall. “No.”

    “That’s an order!” Reed said, though her voice breaking removed any authority she tried to place in it.

    Jade eyed her defiantly. “Stuff your order, you sod-off, heartless witch!”.”

    With a yell, Reed lunged forward, pulling her sword out and attacked. With her own sword, Jade blocked the attack, and the two fought back and forth. Reed viciously swung her sword in an overhead arc, but the taller Jade deflected it and pushed her off. Partly crying and partly yelling, the captain struck over and over. But the rum flowing through her muffled her skills, forcing Reed to rely on brute strength, which Jade easily bested her with.

    As they clashed blades, Reed spat out, “This is mutiny!”

    Jade scoffed. “Nay, mutiny would be letting ye rot in your liquor and tears!”

    With another swing, Reed snapped forward, but Jade knocked her blade aside, sending the captain crashing into her own desk. Dropping her sword, she grabbed her pistol from the desk and pointed it at Jade.

    “That bottle is worth more than your life,” Reed said.

    “So is your leadership, Captain,” Jade shot back, lowering her blade and stepping forward until the barrel of the pistol pressed against her chest. She threw her own sword down and pointed out the door. “I’m finally part of a crew I’d call a family, and I’m not letting ye throw that away from the grip of guilt and rum! If you didn’ notice, your crew needs ye. They need their captain, but she’d rather sit in her captain, sulking like a dim mule. Tell me captain, what would Tom Pistol said if he saw ye like-“

    “Don’t you dare!” Reed yelled, jabbing her pistol into Jade’s chest with another fury to force the taller woman back a step. “Don’t pretend you know Tom. You never knew Tom Pistol!”

    “But ye did,” Jade said. “So once again, captain, what do ye think he’d say if he saw ye like this? What would he say if he was here now?”

    “Nothing, because he’s dead,” Reed said, brushing tears from her eyes, “because I killed him.”

    “If you didn’ notice,” Jade fired back, “Adissa killed him, not you! Adissa, Greer, Strouse, they’re all the ones who killed him. An’ the more time we waste, the more they’ll keep killing. Is that was ye want, captain?” Jade narrowed her eyes. “Ye could either sit here and drink yerself silly, or we could end this once and for all. Now are ye our captain or not?”

    Reed stared at her for a long moment, then slowly, she lowered her pistol and placed it on the desk. “The bottle, Miss Thorn,” she said in a more controlled-voice.

    When Jade hesitated, Reed held out her hand and said, “That’s an order.”

    Hearing the authority return to the captain’s voice, Jade handed her the bottle.

    As Reed passed her, she said, “Thank you,” and walked out the door.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Stepping onto the main deck, Reed called out, “All hands!”

    Jade joined her, and Ian, Crispin, Tamy, and the rest surrounded her as she strode near the railing.

    Holding up the bottle, she said, “To those we lost; Davis, Gibson, Atencio, Hopper, Tom Pistol. I think now we must honor them in the way they’d prefer.” With that, she hurled the bottle overboard. “By finding the ones who took them from us, by preventing them from taking any more lives. They call us pirates? Very well, then pirates we are. And as pirates, we shall seek out Adissa, Greer, Strouse, hunt them down, and show them No Quarter.”

    After a few seconds of silence, Benjamin spoke up first. “No Quarter!”

    He was joined by Foote and Calob. “No Quarter!”

    One by one, each member of the crew raised his fist and began repeatedly yelling, “No Quarter!”

    As the crew continued chanting, Reed turned to Jade, Tamy, Crispin, and Ian. “You were not part of my original crew, and thus I cannot ask you to join in this battle. If you wish remain out, we’ll drop you at the nearest port.”

    “The hell ye will!” Jade said. “I don’ care if all I do is swab th’ decks. I’m part of this family too.” Raising her fist, she joined in the shouting. “No Quarter!”

    “Miss Breluna said Harold be right soon,” Tamy said, “but we ain’t going. This be our ship, and we be her crew.”

    “You can count me in as well,” Crispin said.

    Reed turned to him. “I thought missionaries opposed violence.”

    “I do,” Crispin responded, “but I oppose it occurring to innocent people as well. If God wants to punish me for it, then so be it.”

    Seeing Ian turn and start to walk away, Reed looked at him. “Mr. Passer?”

    “Forget it,” Ian said.

    Jade grabbed his shoulder. “Are ye mad? Th’ louse who killed your parents is doing th’ same to everyone else, an’ ye want to run?”

    “As fast as I can,” he answered, pulling his arm free. “He’s also got both an army and navy. What do you have, a single ship full of brave but foolish pirates?”

    “Yous but a boy, and look at what yous accomplished, Ian,” Breluna said, stepping onto the deck. “Thanks to yous, Strouse no longer threaten thes colonies.”

    “Oh I accomplished much then,” Ian said dryly. “Thanks to me, he’s killing thousands here instead of hundreds there. Haven’t I done enough damage?”

    Crispin looked at him. “Enough damage? Whatever happened to all the damage The Black Dagger caused? Remember all those stories you told me? The Black Dagger made a difference, and this ship needs that again.”

    “Well the Black Dagger is done,” Ian said.

    “I can’t believe you,” Crispin said. “You’re a coward!”

    Ian spun to face him. “And you’re just learning that now! If you failed to notice, cowards tend to live longer.”

    “But for how long?” Crispin stepped forward and faced him. “How long until Strouse hunts you again. You think you can just keep on running?” He pointed at the ocean. “His reach keeps lengthening, Ian. How far can you really run? Why are you really afraid? Do you think we’ll fail?”

    Ian nodded. “You have no idea.”

    Crispin smiled. “If we fail, then we fail, but screw our courage to the deck and we will not fail!”

    “You know what you can do with your screws,” Ian said as he walked away.

    Crispin started to follow, but Reed stopped him. “Mr. Passer is allowed his choice as well. Now how soon until we reach St. Augustine?”

    Walking over to the map, Crispin studied it. “With our current course and speed, we can arrive by about midnight.”

    Nodding, Reed pointed to a small island not far from the port. “Set course for here. That way we can hide and prepare for battle.”

    “Understood, captain,” Crispin said.

    Reed walked over to Jade. “If we attack tomorrow night, we’ll deprive them of the chance to rest. Make sure the crew sleeps in shifts, yourself included.” She walked to her cabin. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sleep while attempt to not anticipate how I shall pay for that rum, come morning.”

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ian leaned over the stern railing, staring at the ocean. The rest of the crew took any measure to avoid him but wasted no effort to silently reveal their disgust with his actions.

    Breluna approached and placed a hand on his shoulder.

    “Shouldn’t you be watching over Harold?” Ian asked, not glancing back.

    “He’s asleep,” she said, “and recovering goods.”

    “Is this where you tell me how disappointed you are, that my parents are?” Ian asked.

    Breluna smiled. “I think they’s be proud of you, Ian and all you done.” She joined him next to the railing. “Tia Dalma, she taught me much, but what she says most is some men, they seem good, but they’s bad, and some men, they seem bad, but they’s good.” She looked at him. “You, Ian, you’s a good man, and yous parents knew it.”

    Ian grunted. “What’d they think if they knew I was running again?”

    The old woman shrugged. “Who knows what ever’one is thinking. But yous parents, all they wanted is for you to be safe. I guess they’d wants you to run.” Giving his shoulder a quick squeeze, she said. “In a sense, you doing exactly what yous mother and father wants.”

    Walking away, she left Ian to his thoughts.





  4. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    My reading has fallen waaay behind this summer, but I had a blast catching up to where you are so far. :D You definitely have a great fic going, and I can't wait for more! =D=
  5. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    Thanks. I'm glad you enjoy it. I'm having a lot of fun writing it.
  6. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    17.

    Tamy, reclining on one knee, caressed her husband’s head as he lay on the hammock. As he slowly opened his blackened eyes, she smiled.

    “It’s ‘bout time ye returned t’ us, ye ol’ bloke.”

    Harold brushed tears out of Tamy’s eyes and smiled. “What happened? Last I remember, I was fixin’ the hull when everythin’ ‘round me exploded.”

    “Ye fixed our ship,” Tamy answered, fingers intertwining with his. “We lost some o’ the crew, and ye took a few wee bumps to the head, but that woman, Breluna, brought ye back to me.” She rubbed his forehead. “Thank th’ lord for yer rock-hard skull.”

    Harold gripped her hand. “Well, I aint leavin’ ‘till ye suffer a mite bit more w’ this ol’ man.”

    “Glad t’ hear,” Tamy said, “because th’ captain needs us. She wants to attack St. Augustine within a day.”

    “Good, then get me off me back so I can get ol’ girl ready to fight.” Tamy helped Harold as he got to his feet. “Let’s get t’ work on her.”

    Tamy nodded and started to walk away when Harold kept her hand gripped. “I love ye, wife, always have and will.”

    Tamy leaned forward and kissed him. “And I, ye, husband.” She released his hand. “Now get that big backside of yers down there and keep us ‘float!”

    “Aye, wench!” Harold responded, assuming an angry tone, despite the gleam in his eye. “And ye get yer great big-“

    “My great big what?” Tamy asked, spinning to glare at him.

    Harold struggled for a response. “Yer great big, brown eyes, me love.”

    Tamy nodded. “As I thought.”

    As she turned and walked away, Harold added, “along with yer massive buttocks.” Tamy slammed her foot down in her tracks, waited a moment, and then continued up the stairs.

    Sitting in the corner, Ian watched the exchange. When Harold glanced in his direction, Ian pretended to be asleep until the big man disappeared down to the lower deck. A few minutes later, stepped onto the deck, passing members of the crew, who went out of their way to ignore him. Nearby, Crispin gave Tamy instructions to sail.

    “The fog should conceal us,” Crispin said, pointing ahead of them. “Now there’s a small island not far from the port; we can hide there until we’re ready.”

    “But how’re we seein’ where t’ go with this fog?” Tamy asked, trying to peer out through the fog.

    Crispin looked upward. “The stars are visible. Follow that one.”

    She looked up. “Which one?”

    Pointing, Crispin answered, “There, second star to the right, and we’ll be there by morning.”

    Ian stopped, looking over the railing, and stared out over the sea. He stayed lost in his thoughts for several minutes, feeling the cool breeze blowing over his face. Then, knowing no one paid him any attention, he broke into tears.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hours later, Ian climbed the wall of the fort and slipped into one of the bastions. Watching the guards pace in opposite directions, he dropped down to the lower level, finding the instrument stores near one of the armories and granary, he grabbed pair of large drums, and climbed back up the wall. Hiding in the shadows created by the moon and the walls, he knelt down beside a cannon with the drums in hand and peeked out at the water. Keeping the drums in his lap, Ian half-turned, pulled out his spyglass, and looked through the scope. In the distance, shielded by trees, he could barely make out the Hawking and its crew, awaiting the opportunity to strike.

    Replacing his spyglass into his pocket, Ian held the drums before him and tinkered when a guard appeared from the bastion. Shoving the drums beneath the cannon, Ian tried to slip back into the shadows.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t slip far enough.

    “Who goes there?” The question, while generic, held its place as the guard pointed his rifle in Ian’s direction.

    “I’m repairing the . . . ground,” Ian answered, slowly moving to one knee.

    Noticing the boy, the guard pointed his weapon at his head. “How did you get up here?”

    Ian pointed past him. “Shark!” The guard turned for just a second, but Ian hit him with a tackle, sending him tumbling off the platform. Spinning on his heels, he bolted along the wall as the guard opened fire. Several others joined in, and Ian leaped into a bastion as a shot ripped into the sole of his shoe.

    Rolling on the ground, he stopped with his back to the wall. “Ow ow ow! Hot hot hot!” He pulled his shoe off and blew on it. Hearing the guards move closer, he replaced his shoe, pulled out a dagger, and threw it in one direction. Then, as the guards fired at the sound, he took off running in the other direction, back to where he hid the drums.

    He made it to the cannon, only to see a guard running right for him. Turning, he ran back into the bastion, only to run head-long into the guard he had originally met. Taking a step back, Ian closed his fingers into a fist and threw a punch that caught the guard right in the jaw. The guard’s face shifted slightly before he looked back at Ian. The boy barely took a step backward when the guard slammed the butt of his rifle into his chest. Ian doubled over and collapsed to the ground, looking up just in time to see the butt of the rifle smash into his head.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The knocking awoke Reed from her slumber, and she stumbled to the door and threw it open, immediately regretting that action as light flashed into her face.

    “Oh, what the devil?” Reed covered her eyes, barely making out the silhouettes of Jade, Crispin, Tamy, and Breluna.

    “Captain,” Jade started to say.

    “Miss Thorn,” Reed said, “Stop yelling and turn that thing off!”

    Confused, Jade looked behind her, then back to the captain. “That’s th’ sun, captain. I can’t exactly turn it off.”

    Reed shook her head, which only caused it to throb more so. “Well then get order Mr. Temple to shoot that bloody thing off.” She rubbed her forehead and leaned against the doorway. “Great, I can’t believe I just used the word, ‘bloody.’ What else can-“

    “Captain!” Jade grabbed her shoulders. “Snap out of it!” She led Reed out of the cabin and shut the door.

    “Well then what is it?” Reed asked, still shielding her eyes from the sun.

    Jade pointed back and Reed looked back at the door, where a note had been pinned to it by a black dagger. Removing the dagger, Reed opened the note and read it aloud.

    “I dreamt of the last moment I saw my parents. They died with swords driven into their gullets, and as they fell to the deck, they yelled for me to run. And that’s what I’ve been doing. That’s what I’ve always been doing. I’ve been running, because that’s what they wanted. But, I’m tired of it. I lived my life ignoring the orders of others, and it’s time to do the same with my parents. So I took one of your little boats, or ships, whatever you call them, and plan to sneak into the fort. You want help in attacking the fort and getting rid of Strouse? I’ll give you your chance. Get into whatever position you will to attack. Then strike when you hear the rapid beat of the drums. Signed, The Black Dagger.”

    Reed crumpled the paper and threw it over the railing with a curse as Jade and Crispin just looked on with confusion. Breluna, meanwhile, gazed over the water toward the fort.

    “You’s mother and father be proud of you, Ian. I just hopes you knows what yous are doing.”





  7. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    Gah, I just hope he knows what he is doing too. [face_worried]

    This is shaping up to be quite the showdown. [face_thinking]
  8. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    18.

    Ian stood in the center of the courtyard, wearing a makeshift vest of shackles, which held his arms by the wrists against his chest and chains which surrounded his upper body. Several guards stood nearby, their weapons trained on him, no doubt ready for any trick he might pull.

    Hearing footsteps, Ian looked up to see a woman approaching.

    “So you are the infamous Black Dagger,” she said. “Funny, you don’t look like much.”

    Ian eyed her from head to toe, then back to her eyes. “You, on the other hand, are candy to any man’s eye.”

    She smiled. “Well aren’t you the charmer. Looking for more reasons to spite my husband?”

    “Your husband?” Ian thought for a moment. “So you’re Mrs. Strouse, married to General Strouse.”

    “I am,” Katherine said.

    Ian bowed his head. “I am so sorry. I can’t imagine how much you suffer each day.”

    She gave him a wry look. “Humor before the gallows. I hope it comforts you.”

    As she started to walk away, Ian said, “I noticed you didn’t deny it.”

    She paused for a moment, then continued.

    “That is adultery of the heart,” Bishop Peck said, stopping before Ian and glaring him down. “I saw how thou looked at her.”

    Ian shrugged. “You’re already executing me. What do I have to lose?”

    Peck frowned. “Thou still hath to answer to Him.” He pointed to the sky.

    “Who?” Ian asked, looking up.

    “The Almighty,” Peck answered. “The vanguard of all wisdom.”

    Ian thought for a moment. “Zeus? Odin? Shakespeare?”

    Ignoring him, Peck revealed Ian’s book and opened it. “I see thou even has wicked taste in the words of others.” He flipped through it. “Donne . . . Spenser . . . The Minister’s Daughter?” He read a passage aloud. “No stranger be she to amorous stares. She kept her virginity for thirteen years?” He slammed the book closed and glared at the boy. “Why thou baneful, fiendish little-“

    “Hey, I didn’t write it!” Ian protested. “Some sailor gave it to me years ago.”

    Peck huffed. “Thou are not a boy but a young man and should act like it.”

    “Actually,” Ian said, “I was born on February 29th, so I’m only four and a half years old.”

    Turning to a nearby guard, Peck snapped, “Frederic, watch this one closely.” Then, shaking his head, Peck turned to two other men who approached. “His fate belongs to thou.” He slammed the book into the taller, thinner man’s chest and stormed off.

    The man opened the book and glanced at a page. “A thing of beauty, from back to front. Her hair smells of strawberries, and-“ Eyes wide, he closed the book. “You cretin!”

    The shorter, older man approached Ian and stopped before him. “So we meet at last, Black Dagger.”

    “At last we meet,” Ian responded. “Who are you?”

    “My name is General Kaiser Strouse, and you have caused me nothing but strife.”

    Ian nodded. “Strouse, so you’re the one who’s been hunting me.”

    “If not for you,” Strouse said, “I wouldn’t be here, but instead I’d have control over the colonies by now.”

    Ian stared back evenly. “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here as well.”

    A younger woman approached, standing suspiciously close to Strouse. “So this is the Black Dagger. He’s not but a boy.”

    “And you’re just ‘Not,’” Ian replied. “Ever heard of food?”

    Strouse leaned closer to him. “You will show the Lady Strouse respect, or I will show you suffering as you’d never imagine.”

    “Someone I doubt that,” Ian scoffed. Then he glanced at the woman. “And I already met the Lady Strouse just minutes ago.”

    Both Strouse and the woman looked at each other. “I thought you ordered her t’ stay home,” she said.

    “I did,” Strouse replied. “The boy fabricates stories to attack me.”

    “Of course I did,” Ian replied. Then he raised his voice. “My apologies, LADY STROUSE!”

    Hearing a door open, the two turned to see Katherine appear, looking at the two in shock.

    “Speaking of lies,” Ian said with a smirk, “how long have you two kept this little secret?”

    Katherine turned and stormed off, leaving a trail of curses in her wake. Spinning to face Ian, Strouse lunged forward and wrapped his fingers around the boy’s throat.

    “You little!”

    Choking Ian, Strouse slammed his head repeatedly into the ground, then released him long enough the slam his fist into the boy’s face. It took several guards to pull Strouse off the boy, and when he stood, his wig was disheveled and fingers were covered in blood. “Greer, shoot him!”

    “But, general, you said you wanted him executed in front of the entire town as an example,” Greer protested.

    Rubbing his fingers, Strouse growled. “Fine then, mark my words, Black Dagger, when the sun drops, so will you, by the rope.”

    Ian sat up, blood dripping from his nose and mouth and face covered in dirt. He coughed and spit blood on the ground and a guard helped him to his feet. “You know, if you’d just denied my remark, you would’ve looked slightly more innocent.”

    “Take him to the cells,” Greer ordered. Still holding Ian’s book, he approached Strouse. “Sir, this alone shows he’s nothing but a sick little boy. And your wife is but a woman. She’ll obey you regardless.”

    Assemble the gallows,” Strouse ordered, as he and Maggie walked toward his room.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Reed emerged from her cabin, placing dual pistols into her belt and fiddling with her sword and pockets. “Are we prepped?”

    “We’re ready,” Jade said. “Temple has th’ cannons set and everyone is at stations.”

    “Good,” Reed said, approaching the map. “I’ll take the longboat here, then sneak into the town here.”

    “You’ll sneak in?” Jade eyed her curiously. “You’re going alone?”

    Reed nodded. “I need the crew ready for battle. The less people we have sneaking in, the better.”

    “You could use my help in th’ fight,” Jade said.

    “No doubt,” Reed said, “but the ship needs its first mate here.”

    Jade looked up. “First Mate?”

    “That’s correct,” Reed answered, “and your first order is to keep my ship in one piece until I return.”

    Smiling, Jade nodded. “Aye, captain. I’ll keep ‘Our’ ship and crew together.”

    “Good.” Reed straightened. “All hands!” As the crew gathered closer, she slowly turned, looking each one in the eye. “You will follow your first mate, Miss Thorn’s orders while I’m gone. I’m certain other ships may arrive to aid Strouse’ navy so strike quickly, then watch your backs. I’m going in there to retrieve Mr. Passer.”

    “Mr. Magnus,” Breluna corrected.

    “Mr. Magnus,” Reed repeated. “Whatever he meant with his riddle, he seems to be giving us the chance. We must not waste it.”

    “We’re ready, captain,” Crispin said, emerging onto the deck.

    Reed turned to him. “I appreciate the thought, Mr. Acardi, but you’re hardly the warrior.”

    “I’m aware of that,” Crispin said as a figure hidden beneath a huge brown cloak emerged behind him.

    Reed looked to the newcomer. “Is that-“

    “This is Robert,” Crispin said, “and Robert will be helping us.”

    Reed nodded. “Very well. To the longboat.”

    “Are y’ sure Ian knows what he’s doing?” Jade asked.

    Reed shrugged. “We shall find out. If he does, then we shall be ready to aid him. If not,” She placed a hand on one of her pistols. “then only one of us gets to pull the trigger.”



  9. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    19.



    “We need to hurry,” Reed said as she, Crispin, and Robert waded through the crowd. Robert, who still wore the full-body cloak, lagged behind, and Crispin had to slow his pace several times to walk with him, constantly reaching into the large sleeve of Robert’s cloak.

    The people of St. Augustine had assembled at the entrance to the fort. A platform holding the gallows stood before the fort, with two executioners maintaining and testing it as guards entered and exited the fort and nearby barracks.

    Reed stopped in the middle of the crowd and looked around. “I wonder why they’d place a church right next to the fort.”

    “I have an idea,” Crispin said grimly, as he saw Bishop Peck leave the church and approach the gallows.

    Peck marched up the steps and stopped on a platform beside the gallows, similar to the last time Crispin had seen him. He was joined by a tall, younger soldier and shorter, stockier, older man.

    “Greer,” Reed snorted, motioning to the taller man. “The other must be Strouse.”

    “This is where we find if Ian’s plan is in motion,” Crispin said.

    Eyes wide, Reed replied, “I think we have our answer.”

    A circle of guards led Ian, chained from neck to waist with a vest full of shackles and chains, up the steps where they stopped him right before the rope. As they fastened the rope around his neck, Greer stood forward.

    Holding up a paper with both hands, Greer spoke to the crowd.

    “We have gathered here to send this pirate and criminal back to the depths from which he came.”

    Reed and Crispin noted that Ian looked at Greer in surprise and mouthed, “Pirate?”

    “Black Dagger, as you will be condemned as since you refuse to provide us with a name, are hereby charged with the following crimes: assault on East India Trading Company officials; theft of private property, including jewelry, slaves, and consumables; releasing condemned criminals; damage to property of the East India Trading Company; crimes against the Church of England, including adultery-“

    “Wait!” Ian shouted. When Greer stopped, Ian asked, “Adultery?”

    “Yes,” Peck said, “I noted how thou had committed adultery with thy mind and soul toward General Strouse’s wife.”

    “I see,” Ian said. “Then you should add Murder to the list, since I’m doing thus to Strouse right now.” Glancing at Strouse, he asked, “By the way, how’s Maggie?”

    Strouse lunged forward, grabbing the railing of his platform, while Peck tried to pull him back.. “Gag that wretched fiend!”

    As the guards gagged Ian, Greer continued. “As I was saying before the lout so rudely interrupted me, crimes against the Church of England; general piracy of the most heinous sort (to which Ian rolled his eyes); and crimes against the Company. Theft and damages to the Company total over fifty thousand pounds, fifty thousand reales, and fifty thousand guilders!”

    Hearing the final sentence, Ian bobbed his head from side to side as he stared into space. Finally, deciding the amounts were correct, he shrugged and nodded.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Aboard the Hawking, Jade and the rest of the crew, stood waiting with Jade leaning against the port deck’s railing as she watched the fort’s wall. Next to her, Turnbuckle bobbed his head to the beats of the drums until Jade shot him a glare.

    “What’re they doing?” Tamy asked.

    Jade shrugged. “No clue.”

    “So what’d we do now?” Calob asked.

    Jade continued to stare at the walls, waiting for a signal, hint, something. Finally, without removing her eyes from the town, she said, “Stations.”

    “Aye,” Calob said. He then turned to the crew. “Stations!”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As Greer continued speaking, Reed, Crispin, and Robert inched closer through the crowd. Noticing them, Ian eyed Reed and subtly shook his head.

    Crispin looked up and whispered, “What is he doing?”

    “Perhaps he has a plan after all,” Reed answered, watching Ian.

    “You are therefore,” Greer continued, “sentenced to be hanged from the neck, until dead.

    “Yes,” Crispin snorted, “I can see he holds full control of everything.”

    Greer then looked to Strouse who nodded his head. Greer turned to the executioners and did the same. The drummers sped up their beats as the lead executioner tightened his fingers around the trapdoor’s lever.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jade suddenly looked up. “The rapid drumbeats.”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “The rapid drumbeats,” Reed said.

    Then the executioner pulled the lever.

    Before the trapdoor fell, Ian leaped straight up until he hung upside down from the top of the gallows, gripping the rope as he pushed the shackled vest over his head. As the executioners looked up, Reed pulled out her pistol and shot both of them. Ian then dropped through the trapdoor, landing on a guard below. He swung the vest, catching another guard in the face before disappearing into the crowd.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Fire!” Jade yelled.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On the walkway of the fort, two guards found the drum hidden beneath the cannon.

    “Look,” said one, “the cannon has leaked gunpowder.”

    “Why use the drum?” asked the other.

    Then a cannon ball from the Hawking struck the wall, igniting the gunpowder, and the two guards screamed as they burst into flames.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Get them!” Strouse yelled, pointing at Reed, Crispin, and Robert.

    As the guards surrounded them, they ducked as the Hawking opened fire on the fort. Returning her pistol to her belt, Reed pulled out her sword and stabbed the nearest guard before spinning to attack the next.

    Crispin the grabbed the hood of Robert’s cloak. “This is for you, da Vinci,” he said, pulling the cloak off to reveal a suit of armor, filled with gears and springs. As Crispin pulled a lever in the suit’s back, ‘Robert’ came to life, marching forward with swords in his hands and assaulting the shocked guards.

    Spinning as if in a violent dance, Robert struck one guard, then another. One brave guard tried to stab him from behind, but Robert ignored the blow, then turned to gaze directly at the terrified guard. A second later, the guard fell to the ground, his nose and jaw crushed by a mechanical fist.

    Strouse and Peck rushed down the steps of the platform and took off in opposite directions. Peck ran back towards the church while Strouse rushed back into the fort. Greer reached the bottom of the steps when Reed met him blade-to-blade.

    “Olivia Reed,” Greer said, “so this is where you disappeared to after they kicked you out of the navy.”

    “You would know,” Reed replied. “You sabotaged me.”

    Greer swung his sword at her while circling. “I knew you were never strong enough to succeed. I simply aided the process.”

    Suddenly leaping to the side, Reed struck at his blade, sending him off-balance. “That’s spurious and you know it!” She slid under his swing and met his blade again. “You simply couldn’t comprehend a woman as your equal so you tried to change reality.”

    Dodging her blade, Greer stumbled and used a nearby wall for support. “You failed because you weren’t good enough. As a woman, you should’ve known that to begin with.”

    “Then show me how you’re better,” Reed countered, leaping again to throw his balance off.

    The two exchanged attacks, with Reed slipping past his strikes, slicing the medals off his shirt and pierced his shoulder. Crying out, Greer fell back against the wall, gripping his shoulder.

    “You’re to prove I’m but a helpless female,” Reed said, blade pointing to his chest. “I await this proof.”

    Grumbling, Greer looked past her and signaled with his sword. And immediately, Reed spun to face several guards stopping one blade after another. Greer tried to sneak up on her, but she threw her foot back with a kick that sent him stumbling into the wall again, all the while meeting the other attacks.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “What’d y’ see?” Jade asked, looking up at the crow’s nest.

    Looking through his spyglass, Calob replied, “All hells’ loose!”

    Jade turned. “Temple, keep firing.”

    “Captain Reed’s fighting lots of guards and Mr. Crispin’s friend in the suit’s dropping many.” Calob then glanced back, froze, and looked through his scope again. “We got company!”

    Jade rushed to the railing and looked where he pointed. A second later, a cannon ball struck the water beside the ship. “EI?” she asked, squinting to see the flag.

    “Nay,” Calob answered, suddenly trembling, “The Blutanz, and she’s flanking us!”

    Cursing under her breath, Jade turned to Tamy. “Get us into the water!”

    “But we’re abandoning the captain,” Tamy replied.

    “If we stay here, we’ll be trapped between the fort and Adissa.” Jade pointed away from the docks. “At least in more open water, we have a chance. Move!”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Strouse reached his office and ran right to his desk. Ripping it open, he pulled out several pieces of jewelry and bills.

    “Leaving so soon?”

    Strouse spun around, sword in hand, to find Ian crouched on a table by the window. Ian took a quick glance out the window at the fighting below. “I bet you’re quite surprised how quickly the world turned against you.”

    Slowly moving forward, Strouse pointed his sword at the boy. “Foolish, boy, you should have retrieved your effects before I entered.” He motioned to Ian’s belt, pouches, and book which lay on the desk.

    His expression remaining neutral, Ian merely shrugged. “Bested by curiosity, I guess.”

    As he took another step forward, Strouse held his blade inches from Ian’s chest. “Before I run you through, you little whelp, tell me how you escaped. You were shacked worse than a captured lion.”

    “Very true,” Ian said, “but you remember when you were choking me?” Reaching into his pocket, he revealed its contents. “I acquired your keys.”

    As Strouse looked at the keys in shock, Ian threw them into his face, leaped, and rolled off the table. Cursing, the older man swung his sword, but Ian blocked it with a metal candle holder. Strouse struck forward over and over again, but the boy continued to deflect his attacks.

    “You fight like a drunken dancer,” the boy said, sucking Strouse’s blade, “and I’m guessing you dance like a drunken fighter, only without the skill.”

    “You miserable little-“ Strouse lunged forward, but Ian slipped out of the way before grabbing a glove from the desk and slapping the older man in the face with it.

    As Ian went to jump back, Strouse stomped his foot and slammed the hilt of his sword into the boy’s face, sending him falling over the desk and to the ground.

    “I was to control the British, French, and Spanish colonies by now,” Strouse growled.

    Dodging another swing, Ian stumbled and grabbed the candle holder again. “I’m so sorry that you won’t be able to execute more people and rule them as a king.”

    Strouse swung again, and although Ian blocked it, the boy lost his balance and fell against the wall. Rather than attack, the older man stopped to catch his breath. “I’ll make you pay, boy, for ruining my life.”

    “Your life?” Rising to one knee, Ian suddenly threw a furious glare at his opponent. “I believe you won that race when you slaughtered my parents.”

    Strouse looked at him curiously. “Your parents? Who the devil are you?”

    Ian straightened. “Ian Magnus.”

    “Magnus . . . “ Strouse nodded.

    “You killed them so you’d receive more payment from your voyage,” he spat at the older man.

    “Is that what you were told?” Strouse chuckled. “The truth I was forced to execute your heretical parents when they tried to lead a revolt against the control I attempted to maintain on the ship.”

    Ian narrowed his eyes. “You mean like the control you attempted to maintain here and in the colonies? No wonder they revolted. I would’ve as well.”

    “And you shall fall the same.” The old man struck forward again, throwing all of his power into a swing. Ian blocked it but was thrown off balance from the power. Grabbing some coins off the table, he hurled them at Strouse’s face and backed off to regain his balance.











  10. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    20.



    “Block them from the sea!” Adissa shouted as his ship intercepted the Hawking. “Push them into the fort where we will crush them! Cannons!”

    “Cannons,” Limbo shouted back, “Aye!” He patted his cannon. “Time to sing, Bessy, time to sing them, and sing them to sleep.” He laughed as he loaded the cannon. “Sing to them as them sleep with the fishes!”

    “They’re blocking us off,” Tamy yelled. “They’re too fast!”

    Jade slammed her hands onto the helm’s railing. “We’re not going down like this!”

    Calob suddenly pointed ahead. “Rocks!” Best be turning!”

    Tamy nodded and started to turn the wheel, but Jade grabbed the wheel and stopped her. “Belay that.” Staring at the rocks for a second, she followed with. “All ahead, full canvas!”

    “Are ye mad!” Tamy asked.

    “Mad as the captain,” Jade answered. “When I give the order, go hard t’ starboard and bring us bout.” Rushing to the steps, she cupped her hands over her mouth and called out, “Mr. Houser!”

    “Aye?” Harold said, popping his head up a few moments later.

    Jade pointed past him. “Those ropes holding th’ crates in place, when I give the order, cut ‘em.”

    “But we’ll list-“

    She cut him off, “Exactly. Do it!”

    He glanced to his wife for a moment. Tamy stared at him in confusion, but when she understood, she shouted to him. “Jus’ do it, ye’ blockhead!”

    Looking up, Jade called to Turnbuckle. “Full canvas!”

    Aboard the Blutanz, Adissa watched the Hawking curiously. “What she doing?”

    “She got blast o’ wind,” Charon said, “and escaping us.”

    “All. Canvas!” Adissa stepped to the bow of the ship. “Ready. Port. Cannons!”

    “Aye,” Limbo called back. He kissed the top of his cannon. “Bessie be ready to sing her tune, ain’t ya, Bessy?” He pushed the cannon to a port opening and adjusted a gear on the side. “Ol’ Bessy be blowin’ holes in them hull. Maybe you even sing some men to pieces, ha!”

    “They’re gaining!” Calob shouted.

    A cannon ball struck the side of the Hawking, destroying part of the railing and shaking the ship. Turnbuckle, losing his grip on the sail, fell from the mast. He grabbed a rope and tried to climb back up, but with the rope now loose, the sail weakened and the ship slowed.

    “Turnbuckle!” Jade yelled.

    Suddenly, Benjamin raced up, grabbed the rope, and pulled with all his might. The sail tightened again, and the ship picked up wind and sped forward.

    “Thanks,” Turnbuckle said as he climbed back to the mast.

    “Tie the ropes,” Benjamin said. “I hold it till you do.”

    “Leaning against the port railing, Adissa growled. “They list starboard. Cut the off!”

    “They’re cutting us off t’ starboard,” Calob said.

    “Move us closer t’ land,” Jade ordered.

    “List! Port!” Adissa gripped the railing so tightly the wood buckled in his hands. “Crush them against the land!” He narrowed his eyes and grinned. “That’s it, move closer to Adissa. Adissa’s no feasting tonight. Tonight, you roast alive while we dance. No one living of you this night.”

    “Closer,” Jade ordered. “Closer.”

    The crew watched in silent panic as the Hawking sailed even closer to the rocks.

    “Cannons!” Adissa ordered. “Ready!”

    “Housers,” Jade called out, “now!”

    Grabbing an ax, Harold cut the ropes holding the crates and pushed them over while Tamy spun the wheel. The ship then leaned to starboard and spun around.

    Seeing this, Adissa’s eyes went wide. “Port,” he shouted. “Port!”

    As the Blutanz slipped to port, the Hawking, building up momentum from the earlier wind, suddenly bolted forward. The crew of the Blutanz watched the ship spin around and leap forward, until Charon pointed head.

    “Rocks! Rocks!”

    Adissa turned to see them too late. The Blutanz crashed into the rocks, causing the crew to tumble forward.

    Adissa and Charon groaned and they lifted themselves up. “Guns!” Adissa growled.

    “They pointing port!” Limbo shouted back.

    “Pointing port?” Adissa and Charon looked to each other, then slowly glanced off the starboard side of the ship as the Hawking closed in and fired. With the Blutanz already damaged from the rocks, the cannons from the Hawking tore right through the larger ship, sending pieces, and crew, flying in every direction.

    One cannon ball ripped through the hull of the Blutanz, disintegrating several crew members and sending Limbo’s cannon falling into the water. “Bessy!” he screamed as he leaped into the water after it.

    Several more shots from the Hawking shredded the deck of the Blutanz. “Mast!” Adissa shouted as he and Charon leaped out of the way. The mast crashed to the deck, crushing several members of the crew, and impaling Charon through the deck.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Strouse growled as he struck at Ian again. Another powerful strike sent the candle holder flying out of the boy’s hand. He followed with a front kick and punch, and Ian fell to the ground right near the window. He tried to stand, but Strouse kicked him in the ribs.

    “I told you,” Strouse said as he towered over the bleeding, bruised Ian, “this is not about money or power. This is about control, and I shall have control, in every part of my life, and everyone else’s, and neither you nor your friends shall stop me!”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Peck pushed his way through the terrified crowd. “Move thyselves. In His name, Move!”

    He reached the church when the doors flew open, and Peck fell onto his back. Looking up, he saw a furious Crispin emerge with papers in his hand.

    “His name?” Crispin asked. “His word? His law?” He held up the papers and spoke up loudly enough for anyone nearby to hear. “According to this, you gained the property and assets of everyone you condemned for piracy. You had these people executed while you took everything they owned!”

    “Lies,” Peck cried out, his voice breaking, “lies and blasphemy! Thou soul, I condemned-“

    “No, no more will be condemnded by you,” Crispin said, punching him in the face. Turning to the crowd, he asked, “Who here can read?” Seeing the hands, he responded, “Only a few. We’ll have to remedy that.” He handed the papers to the closest person whose hands was raised.

    Peck started to stand. “Now listen-“

    “No, you listen!” Crispin kicked Peck in the ribs. “You turned His home, their home,” he pointed to the people, “into a den of thieves!” He picked up Peck by the shirt and held him face-to-face. “You steal from people, yet you call Them pirates.”

    “He’s right,” the man reading the papers said. “They’re stealing from us!”

    One by one, the people began shouting and cursing at Peck.

    Seeing this, Peck lost his composure. “He shall judge me, not you.”

    “You’re right,” Crispin said. “But until then, I believe the people wish to speak with you.” He shoved Peck into the crowd, and the bishop screamed as he disappeared into the mass of fury he had created.

    The crowd then turned and attacked the guards. The guards drew their weapons, but Robert then appeared and struck them down one by one. Cheering, the people began picking up anything they could use as a weapon and attacked the remaining guards.



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Striking the last guard attacking her dead, Reed spun around at the last moment to meet Greer’s blade again. The two exchanged strikes and dodges, until he elbowed her in the face. Responding, she grabbed his arm and threw him. They both tumbled to the ground, rolling as their swords fell to the side, and both stopped with pistols pointing at each other’s heads.

    “You don’t deserve to be here,” he coughed.

    Reed smirked. “I don’t see you stopping me, and I’m not the one breathing heavily.”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The crew of the Hawking cheered as the Blutanz was reduced to smoking ruins. All over the ship, members of the crew slapped each other in the back and shouted praise for each other.

    The shouts turned silent though. With an inhuman roar, Adissa leaped aboard the Hawking, landing on the deck with a crash. Sword in hand, he started for the closest member of the crew, which was Tamy. Screaming, Tamy back behind the helm, and Adissa stalked her, but Benjamin blocked his path.

    With another roar, Adissa attacked Benjamin and the two exchanged attacks. As the two clashed swords, Adissa stepped in and slammed his head into Benjamin’s. He then picked the big man up and threw him over the helm.

    Adissa hovered over Benjamin and thrust his sword down, but it was deflected by another blade.

    “Permission t’ come aboard denied,” Jade said shoving him back.

    “A woman?” Adissa looked at her in surprise. “Fine. Adissa feast on you just the same!”

    He stabbed with his blade, but Jade knocked the blade aside with her own. She struck at Adissa, and he stepped back to defend against it. Then, calling on his strength, he roared and swung his sword sideways like an ax, but Jade blocked it. Adissa then tried swinging his blade overhand, but again, Jade blocked it, and the two glared at each other.

    “You. Will. Die. Now!”

    Jade gritted her teeth. “Get. Off. Our Ship!”

    Shoving him back, she knocked his sword off-angle and him off-balance. Before Adissa could recover, Jade slashed him across the chest. Adissa’s eyes went wide, and he froze in place for a moment, but it was one moment too long, as Jade plunged her sword right into his chest, as far as it could go.

    She waited for him to fall, but instead he smashed her with a headbutt and back-handed her, sending her crashing to the deck, where her head bounced off the railing. To her horror, Adissa then pulled the blade out of his chest and glared down at her. Spitting out blood and now holding two blades, he slowly stalked toward her. Pulling out her pistol, the pistol Ching had given her, she fired, repeatedly, shooting Adissa in the chest, right where he had been wounded. The first shot stopped him in his tracks. The second forced him backward. He stumbled in surprise and the last shot sent him tumbling over the railing and into the water.

    Still dazed, Jade dropped her pistol and crawled to the railing. She raised herself to one knee and glanced at the water where only a pool of blood remained.

    Close to the pool, a hand appeared. Reaching to grip the rock, a bloody Adissa pulled himself out of the water. Jade could only stare, paralyzed as he slowly, and with a trembling hand, pulled out his pistol and pointed it at her head. He then saw a single cannon on ship pointing directly at him. The cannon fired, and Adissa vanished in a cloud of smoke. Once the smoke cleared, all that remained was a blood-soaked shard of rock, barely rising from the sea.

    Slumping against the railing, Jade struggled to her feet, and Benjamin appeared, helping her up. “Thank, y’ Benjamin,” she said.

    “Thank You, First Mate Thorn,” he replied.

    She smiled, then shouted, “And a hell of a shot, Temple!”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Straining to regain his feet, Ian clung to the window for support. Strouse stood over him, but his attention fell to the fighting outside.

    “Are you still so confident in your control?” Ian asked.

    Opening and closing his free hand, Strouse stepped back, staring into space. “They shall fail. This is my port, and I shall have my control.”

    “And you’re doing wonderfully,” Ian said. “Your people turn against you, your guards fall, and your wife knows your little secret.”

    Strouse slapped him across the face. “Mention my wife again, and the animals in the moat will feed on human flesh.”

    Ian raised himself, legs still shaking, until he could look Strouse in the eyes. “All you wanted was control, control over everything in your life.” He grinned. “And look how quickly it slips right through your grubby fingers.”

    Strouse glared. “You did this, Black Dagger, all of this!”

    “That’s right,” Ian said, steadying himself. “I pulled you from the colonies, I ruined your promotion, and now I ruined your life.” Taking a quick glance out the window, Ian looked back at Strouse. “And once you’re gone, your wife’ll be available to pursue, won’t she?”

    With a roar, Strouse lunged forward, but Ian ducked, dropping to the ground, and Strouse flew out the window. He fell, smashing head-first into guard’s station, before rolling off the roof and landing in the moat.



    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hearing Strouse’s scream as he fell, Greer looked up. “General!” He then heard a gunshot and felt an explosion in his stomach. Turning, he saw smoke from his chest and Reed slipping around the wall for cover, still pointing her, now-smoking pistol at him. He fell to his knees, dropping his pistol. “You cheated.”

    Reed started forward and kicked the pistol away. “Pirate.”

    Greer fell to all fours and then onto his stomach. “You could never beat me.”

    “Keep telling yourself that,” she replied, walking past him as his chest stopped moving.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Raising himself back up, Ian stood and looked out the window. Strouse’s body lay in the moat, surrounded by animals who quickly closed in. Turning back to the room, he collected his effects and began pocketing as much of the valuables as he could.

    Then, Katherine entered the office, sword in hand, and Ian spun to face her. “Not so fast, Black Dagger,” she said. Stepping to the window, she glanced out. “So, my husband is dead now.”

    “Seems like it,” Ian answered, nervously.

    Stepping forward, Katherine lowered her sword, grabbed Ian by the shirt and pulled him into a quick kiss. “Thank you. Now you may wish to depart before any remaining guards show up.

    Ian gave her a mischievous smile and ran out of the room.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Reed rushed through the crowd, seeing the Hawking close in to the docks. Passing the church, she saw Crispin standing in the doorway.

    “Mr. Acardi, time to depart.”

    “I’m staying,” he said.

    She stopped and looked at him. “Staying?”

    Crispin nodded and looked up at the church. “I want this church to help the people, the way it should.”

    “I see,” Reed nodded. “Then best of luck to you.”

    “And to you captain, thank you.” He pointed. “You better hurry. I heard some guards talking about reinforcements from their fleet.”

    Reed saluted and ran through the crowd.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Ships approaching,” Calob said. “I’m guessing less than an hour away.”

    “Get us close to th’ docks,” Jade said, “so Captain Reed can get aboard.”

    Reed ran along the loading platform as the Hawking moved by. Climbing a statue, she leaped from it and landed on the ship’s deck.

    “Welcome back aboard, captain,” Jade said.

    “Thank you, Ms. Thorn,” Reed said. “I see you kept my ship in one piece.”

    Jade nodded. “As ordered.”

    “Look!”

    They turned to where Benjamin pointed to see Ian running along the wall of the fort.

    “Get us closer,” Reed order.

    They sailed the Hawking as close to the fort as they could, and Ian raced toward it, knocking a guard to the ground in the process. Not even slowing, he ran toward a flag. Leaping, he grabbed the flag and used it to swing through the air. The guard, regaining his feet, pulled out his pistol and fire, tearing into the flag.

    Losing his grip, Ian screamed, “****!” and fell into the sea.

    “Find him!” Reed order as she and Jade rushed to the railing.

    Jade frantically searched the water. “I don’t see him!”

    Looking through his scope again, Calob called down, “Captain, ships closing!”

    “We’re not leaving without him,” Reed said, still searching the water.

    “He’s not coming back up,” Benjamin said.

    “Captain,” Calob said, “only a few minutes till this place is crawling with ships.”

    Jade looked up at Calob, then to the water, then, reluctantly to Reed. “We have to go, captain.”

    “No,” Reed said. “We’re not-“

    “Th’ water’s too dark,” Jade said. “We can’t find him. I don’ like it as much as you, but we have no choice.”

    Reed again stared at the water. Then, with a sigh, she nodded. “Very well, Mrs. Houser, get us out of here.”

    They continued to stare at the water as the Hawking fled into the ocean.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not long after, a single figure climbed out of the water. Gasping and choking, coughing up seawater, he collapsed onto the dock, staring out at the sea. He didn’t move, even after several guards surrounded him.

    “Halt,” the lead guard said. “You’re under arrest.”

    The figure, though, made no attempt to fight. He simply sat on the dock crying. “Bessy!”

  11. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    Whew! Those were a couple of action packed chapters! Really, really well done with these. =D=
  12. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    Thank you. I'm glad you liked the chapters. I've finished the last two chapters (which tie up the loose ends). We're just prooreading them and then I'll post them.
  13. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    21.



    Katherine sat before, what was once, her husband’s desk, signing a stack of forms before her. Most of the room had been cleared of broken clutter and Strouse’s wife now used it as an office to clean up the mess Strouse left behind. With both Strouse and, from recent reports, Lord Beckett, defeated, and no one stepping forward assume control of the East India Trading Company, Katherine took over the duties in St. Augustine, and with such assertiveness that no one had challenged her authority.

    Archer and Charles entered, dragging Maggie as they held her restraints. They stopped her before the desk, and Maggie spit down at it.

    “Whatever happens t’ me,” Maggie said, “jus’ know yer husband already made his choice.”

    “He made a number of choices,” Katherine replied, ignoring the woman’s fury. “He also paid dearly for them.” She held the stack of forms to Charles. “These are pardons to all those still incarcerated. See that they’re enacted as soon as possible.”

    Confused, Charles took the forms. “But, ma’am, some of those we captured really are pirates.”

    “If that is so, I’m sure you’ll catch them again,” she answered. “However, too many were wrongly imprisoned, and we both know that needs to be rectified.”

    Charles nodded. “Yes, ma’am. And what about her?” He motioned to Maggie, who failed miserably to hide her nervousness.

    Katherine watched for panicked woman for what seemed like an eternity before answering. “Let her go. What’s done should be left in the past.”

    Maggie looked down at her. “What now? Expecting my thanks, my friendship?”

    “I expect nothing,” Katherine replied. “Go on with your life, find some governor or something, I don’t care. You no longer have any power here.”

    She motioned and Charles led her out of the office.

    Archer turned to her. “Ma’am, what of the missionary who’s taken residence in the church?”

    Katherine thought for a moment. “I understand he’s donating to those in need following the Company’s presence here.” Standing, she walked over to a table and pointed to the coins, jewelry, and scattered valuables. “Please see to it that he gets these as well. In fact, donate everything in this office as I have no need for it.”

    She returned to the desk and picked up a single sack. “I plan to return to Aarus and have already sent word to Phillip that we’re returning this port to Spain.”

    “Yes ma’am.” Archer started to leave, then paused. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I forgot to mention that the Blutanz is still afloat just outside the walls, and I’ve heard her treasure may still be intact.”

    “I see.” Katherine thought about it a moment. “See to it that salvage teams find what they can aboard her.”

    “Yes ma’am.” He turned to leave.

    “In two days.”

    “Two days?” Archer paused and looked back at her.

    Katherine shrugged. “If anyone out there finds anything, they can have it.”

    Archer nodded and left.

    Katherine started to leave as well but stopped. Returning to Strouse’s desk, she opened a drawer and retrieved a black dagger. She gazed at it for several seconds before, with a smile, placing it in her sack, a memento of this recent adventure.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Hawking returned to the crippled Blutanz in the middle of the night. Leading a small team, Captain Reed boarded the vessel and returned with numerous treasure, including various coins, gems, and weapons. The next day, she and Jade divided the plunder among the crew, and, to everyone’s surprise, keeping only a small portion for herself.

    That night as the Hawking sailed into the ocean, the crew drank and danced about the deck. Harold, Foote, Turnbuckle, and a rather-uneasy Benjamin sat against the stern mast, slamming flasks together as Harold led them in song.

    “Through th’ burn o’ the summer and the win’er’s blast, we sail as brothers before th’ mast. All th’ women, they flush and beg, for a flask of jolly an’ t’ spread their-“

    “Spread their what?” Tamy glared at them.

    Harold fumbled. “Spread their . . . . lovely lips in a loving smile for their humble husbands.”

    Tamy smiled back. “A donkey could eat a whole pasture and not be full o’ it as ye.”

    Harold leaped to his feet, which wasn’t easy considering the contents of the flask now in his stomach. “Well if I be the donkey, then yer the-“

    “The donkey’s better half, am I right, husband?” Tamy shot him a threatening look.

    “Aye,” Harold answered, “the better half.” As she walked away, he muttered, “Or the lower half anyway.”

    Jade watched the festivities and even raised her own flask to Temple, who watched alone from the shadows. He slow, shyly returned the gesture but kept to himself. Jade smile, gazing over the crew, who had become her friends, or even her family. Speaking of family, she thought as one hand fell to the pistol on her belt, it might be right time to reconcile with one of them, someday.

    Turning, she noticed Reed, standing at the bow of the ship. Stepping over to her, she saw and heard the captain playing a tune on her flute. Unlike before, this tune seemed quicker and more upbeat. Jade stopped next to her, leaning against the railing, as Reed finished and gazed over the ocean.

    “You’re not joining in the festivities, captain,” Jade said.

    “In time,” Reed said. “For now, allow them their celebrations. You all deserve it.”

    “Thanks.” Jade took a drink from her flask. She offered it, but Reed shook her head. “If y’ don’ mind my asking, captain, you’ve fallen well silent since y’ returned from the Blutanz.”

    “You’re quite observant,” Reed said.

    “As first mate, it’s my job,” Jade replied.

    “Indeed.” Reed’s eyes rose to the stars. “We found most of Adissa’s treasure in a single, large chest.” As Jade nodded, the captain continued. “However, we found that it had already been opened.”

    Looking out over the ocean, Jade shrugged. “So some lub broke into it before y’ found it.”

    “Possibly, except it had been opened with the key. We even found the key still in the chest.”

    Jade turned to her. “But Adissa’s th’ only one with the keys, well until-“ Her eyes went wide. “Y’ don’ think?”

    “I don’t know,” Reed said, “but, among the treasure, I did find this.” Lowering her flute, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a compass.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Maneuvering through the aisles, Sister Anna entered the atrium of the church and found Crispin handing sacks of coins to people.

    “Excuse me, Brother Acardi,” she said.

    “Please,” he said, “just call me Crispin. “I’m afraid I’m not one for titles.”

    “Yes of course, pardons, Crispin,” Anna handed him a large, thick envelope. “This arrived for you. The sender left no return address.”

    “I see.” He looked over it, then motioned her to the chest of coins and sacks nearby. “Would you please continue this for me?”

    “Yes, of course.” Anna took his place, handing coins to people as Crispin stepped away.

    Entering Peck’s chambers, which were stripped of most anything valuable to donate, save for a single desk, chair, and some books. Leaning against the desk, he opened the envelope and poured its contents onto the desk. Crispin’s eyes drew large as he saw the wads of British pound bills and a note written on a single piece of paper.

    Lifting the paper, he read the note:

    “This should more than pay for your underwater breather that I borrowed. Thanks for everything and good luck with your church.

    Signed,

    A Friend

    P.S. I still hate you!”

    Chuckling, Crispin walked over to the window. Gazing out, he tapped the suit of armor on the shoulder. “Well, Robert, I think we’ve made a new ally.”





  14. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    Epilogue



    Blake finished the last of the day’s transactions and closed the book. Returning it to the shelf, he started across the tiny back office for his coat when he heard a knock on the door to the shop.

    “We’re closed!”

    Picking up his keys, he started for the front door when he heard the door unlock and open. Blake stopped in his tracks and lit a candle. Entering the main shop, he spotted a single figure entering the store and closing the door behind him.

    Blake gasped when he saw who the figure was. “The Black Dagger. You’re here about what I wrote.”

    “You know why I’m here.”

    “Oh I know you for sure,” Blake said. “The Black Dagger, scourge of the new world, vex of the seas, bane of the Caribbean.”

    “Oh how you still love your words and colors,” Ian said, stepping forward and giving Blake Passer a hug.

    “Well, I wanted to make you larger than life,” Blake said. “If you’d prefer someone else, I’m sure-“

    “Who else would be insane enough tell my tale?” Ian asked. “Besides, I wasn’t complaining, just making an observation.”

    “So what happened?” Blake asked. “I haven’t seen you in over a year, and your friends haven’t heard from you in months.”

    Ian shrugged. “I knew they’d be searching for me, and I didn’t want to put you in danger, so I just left. Unfortunately, I boarded the wrong boat and ended up in St. Augustine. Everything went awry after that.”

    Blake laughed. “I’ll say. So did you find what you were looking for?”

    “I did.” Ian dropped his bag on the counter. “First, I found a solution.”

    “Let me guess,” Blake said, mischievously “ginger.”

    “You knew?”

    Blake laughed. “If you had stuck around for one more month, you could’ve saved yourself quite some suffering, not to mention food.”

    “True.” Ian then pulled out a sack and dropped it in Blake’s hands. The other opened it and stared at the coins inside. “That’s my way of saying thanks for everything you and your father did for me.”

    “Hey it was like having a little brother.” Blake smiled. “Looks like you had quite the adventure.”

    “Oh, the adventure’s just beginning.” Ian pulled out several parchments. “I found these in Captain Adissa’s chest. Can you believe it? Real treasure maps?”

    Blake looked over them. “They even describe the treasure, but those sound like magical items, not real ones.”

    “Only one way to find out,” Ian said, returning them to his bag.

    “So have you contacted your friends?” Blake asked.

    Ian shook his head. “I like them, but I have an annoying tendency to resist any form of authority.”

    “No!” Blake said in mock surprise. “I would never have known. So you made some new friends, then.”

    At that moment, another figure entered, and Blake heard a woman’s British accent. “Are you ready, love?”

    Ian looked back. “Just about.” Turning back to Blake, he pulled out his book and handed it to him. “More research for your stories.”

    Blake smiled. “I can’t wait to start writing more. Keep safe and you better come back more often than once a year.”

    “Deal,” Ian hugged him again. “Keep an ear out for more trouble.”

    Blake grinned. “I know you’ll be at the center.” He opened the book to a page Ian had inserted a bookmark and read the page. “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me?”

    Ian winked and walked out, arm-in-arm with Anamaria.



    the end.
  15. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    This was one of the funnest stories I have read in a while, and I am sad to see it done. :( BUT, this was just great as a whole - great characters, great dialogue, great action. I enjoyed every part of it. =D=

    Thank-you so much for sharing this! :)
  16. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    Thanks for all the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it. At my friend's constant (and I mean CONSTANT) requests, I might do a sequel next year. Right now, though, I'm working on some non-fanfiction stories for Halloween, plus maybe a different ff story.
  17. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    You really have a talent for characters and dialogue, I will say that! I hope your muse keeps you busy with whatever your write - good luck with your non-fanfiction! =D=

    And, when you have more fanfiction to share - in this story arch, or any other, I look forward to reading it! [face_dancing]
  18. vypernight Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 2
    Thank you. I look forward to writing it all.
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