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DEAD MAN'S TAVERN II

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Captain Jack Wolfe:
Copyright Notice: 
This entire work ©2008-2009 by the respective authors.  All Rights Reserved.
Dead Man's Tavern I ©2008 by the respective authors.  All Rights Reserved.


For those of you just joining the story, we humbly recommend you start here, with Dead Man's Tavern I, where Welsh Wench's crew joins up with that of Mad Jack Wolfe, her estranged husband.

The complete narrative of Dead Man's Tavern I, compiled by Welsh Wench, will be available for download from this location at a later date.
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Picking up from where we left off...

Jack smiled as he poured himself more wine, then held his glass aloft in a salute.  “I have to hand it to you, Brother Timothy.  You don't shake easily.”

The monk gave a single small nod.  Had he heard a hint of respect in the pirate's voice?  “A by product of strong faith, Captain.”

“I suppose,” Jack replied.  He took a sip of wine, then continued.  “You all seem to have heard ramblings and rumours about our destination.”  Everyone at the table nodded and made affirmative noises.  Briggs just shook his head and slugged back his wine.  “Well, it's true.  We are bound for La Ville du Traitre, the former prison colony built by the mongrel French and now run by pirates, for pirates.  We'll lay in for necessary repairs, thanks to the popularity of your Mister Roberts here with certain well armed lunatics.  Will we lose time in our pursuit of the Hammer?  Of course we will.  But we'd lose considerably more if we were to lose a mast, which you all have intimate experience with, or should we manage to get a few more holes blown in us, which always seems to happen whenever your bonny captain sets a stilletoed heel on my deck...”

Honour cleared her throat loudly.  “Would you mind focusing, Jack?”

“You said the Hammer will stretch her lead,” Blackjack interjected.  “By how much, do you figure?”

“Two days, give or take,” Briggs answered.  “The shipwright owes a few favours.”

“Two days?  We'll never catch him!” Lil lamented.

“I wouldn't worry,” said Jack.  “Unless Muir has learned to handle the lines – good dog, but doubtful – it'll be nigh on impossible for Cade to make significant headway.  Besides,” he added, making sure to avoid Honour's gaze, “I have as much reason to chase down that perfidious cur as any of you.”

Elinor's brow furrowed with worry.  “This place you're taking us to sounds ghastly and dangerous!  Is there any place in particular we should stay away form to avoid trouble?”

“The entire island, for starters,” Duckie said, and gave Honour a wink.

“And any place Jack feels comfortable,” added Honour.

Jack gave her a sarcastic smirk, but his expression sobered quickly.  “Let me be clear about this.  Nobody goes ashore alone.  Stay within sight of the ship, and stay together.

Blackjack leaned back in his chair and chuckled.  “And I suppose the bogeyman is lurking round every corner.  Jack, you strike me as too cautious a man to risk your neck, much less your ship, at such a wicked place!  You've done a splendid job getting the womenfolk in a tizzy.  Fairy and hobgoblin stories aside, what's this port really like?”

“Land!  Land ho!  La Ville du Traitre, dead ahead!” came the cry from the deck watch.  Jack gave the former highwayman a knowing smile.  “Let's see just how honest I've been, Mr. Roberts.  Shall we all retire to the weather deck?  Josiah, have the watch hoist our flag and pennants, and pass word to the gun crew to have the appropriate salute ready.”

Briggs made his way to the Lobo's main deck with the rest of the group in tow.  As he went about passing along orders, Jack led the Knight Hammer's crew forward.  He made a grand sweeping gesture toward the sunset bathed island that lay before them.

“Behold.  Hell's forward outpost on earth.”

La Ville du Traitre was, to be generous, a filthy, pestilent dung hole masquerading as a port of call. Tortuga, Port Royal, Charlotte Amalie, and other famous dens of iniquity were garden spots in comparison. If one wanted to find the dumping ground for society's refuse, this was the place.

The island's most prominent feature was the massive prison fortress that seemed to grow right out of the top of its solitary central hill. A majority of the inhabitants of this forbidding place lived within the walls of the former prison, its cell blocks having long ago been refashioned into flats and hovels. The ramshackle town that sprang up between the ominous structure's gates and what was now a disjointed jumble of a dockyard offered anyone with money a variety of diversions devised to satisfy their whims, from subtle to gross. Snaking its way amongst the docks was a grand bazaar where nearly anything, or anyone, could be purchased for the right amount.  The little island's sole redeeming quality, a tiny crumbling chapel, long ago ransacked and now used a storehouse for powder and shot hidden well within the impenetrable walls, stood testament to the soullessness of this place.

Honour glared incredulously at Jack. "You didn't say it was going to be this horrid," she spat.

"What part of 'hell on earth' wasn't clear to you?", Jack asked.

"We're upwind of that cesspool, and it already reeks!"

"Maybe so, but remember; it's got shopping.  Has to count for something, yeah?"

Honour crossed her arms and stared at the island. "You'd better have one hell of a line of credit here, Jack," she grumbled.

Welsh Wench:
Wench continued to stare at the island and then gave a big sigh.
"I can imagine you know where every den of iniquity is on that God-forsaken rock, Jack."
He gave her a sly grin and whispered in her ear, "You can get anything you want at Alice's tavern."
"And I just bet you've had everything on the menu, too."
She turned to her crew. "It's late and I suggest that we all get a good night's sleep while we still can. Jack, I am guessing you are putting the anchors down and we shall be disembarking to this armpit of the world in the morning when we have a fighting chance?"
"You guess correctly."
"Then I shall say good night to you all."

Everyone left the Captain's mess to go their separate ways. Martin touched Wench's sleeve and said quietly, "Will you be alright, Wench?"
She nodded. "I've survived Captain Swazey and Undead Daemon, I'll survive this one."

She went to the quarters that were formerly Briggs' and were now hers. She closed the door and crossed the room to look out of the porthole.
'Jack, what have you done to us? Taking us to the soiree in Hell you've always talked about? I'm betting you are sitting on the Devil's right...'

She dropped her breeches and flung her shirt in the corner. Reaching for her chemise, she pulled it over her head and then turned the covers down, slipping between the sheets. Within moments, she was asleep.

Jack headed back to his quarters with Briggs close behind. Jack whirled around and said, "And where do you think you are going, Briggs?"
"Well, seeing as how the missus has commandeered my quarters, I'm bunking with ye. Remember?"
Jack glowered darkly. "Briggs, there is no way I am sharing my quarters--let alone my bed--with you. I suggest you bunk down with Davis until I can make Honour see reason."
"Reason? Honour? We talking about the same woman? The woman that threw ye out of yer own bed?"
"She didn't throw me out."
"Oi, right. Out of yer own cabin then."
"Look who's homeless, Briggs. Not me. You."
With that, he shut the door in Briggs' face.

The moonlight streamed through the porthole window, illuminating the sleeping form that had a sheet gliding over her.  He made his way over to the bed and gently brushed the tendrils that escaped her braid away from her cheeks. She stirred and her eyes opened. Opening her mouth to scream, he gently put a hand over her mouth.
"It's just me," he whispered.
He took his hand away from her mouth and she said in a hushed voice, "Jack, what are you doing here? If you think there is going to be a repeat of last night, you are sadly...and what do you have in your hand?"
"This? Only a bottle of the finest Madeira wine. It was from the same lot as the bottle we drank on that night on our way to Castara Bay. I thought it was only fitting I share it with you."
She sat up and pulled the sheet up to her chin.
"Jack, you always have an ulterior motive. You never do a kindness--well, rarely--unless there is something in it for Jack Wolfe."
He laughed softly and didn't answer. Pouring two wine glasses, he handed her one and said, "I just wanted to share a drink with you before we set on La Ville du Traitre."

She took a sip of it and closed her eyes as it traveled down her throat. "As good as ever."
Jack chuckled, "I seem to recall you said the same thing that night but it wasn't in regards to the wine."
"Keep it up, Jack, and you can add Briggs' cabin to one more place I have kicked you out of."
He looked at her and then said, "Damn it, Honour! Why do you have to be in Briggs' cabin with the moon shining down on you when you could be in OUR cabin lying in my arms?"
She looked down and said softly, "There is too much we have done to each other, Jack. Too many bridges burned."
He gently put his finger under her chin and raised her face to his. Their lips were within inches of each other.
"I say we build another one. Or find a rowboat. Or swim. But for tonight, let's find our way back to each other....."
He kissed her and then put his hand to her hair. With one gentle tug, her ribbon loosened and her braid came down as her hair flowed around her shoulders.

She felt her pulse quicken and her breath starting to catch.
"Jack..." she started to say.
"Shhh..."
He drew her close and kissed her. Her arms went around his neck and she pulled him back down as she leaned back against the pillow. His hand caressed her cheek and trailed down her neck as his finger ran slowly along the neckline of her chemise, gently tugging at the drawstring.
He looked deeply into her eyes and said in a gentle whisper, "And can ye serve under a captain such as me?"
She nodded, finding the words hard to say with the rising heat, "Aye. At least for tonight...."
Her chemise slipped off her shoulders and his hand slid under the sheet...

With a start she woke up.
There was no Madeira.
There was no Jack.
Only the gentle sound of the ship rocking as it moved with the currents and swayed with the anchors.
The moon shone down on her. And that was it.
She was alone.

Let the writing begin!

Blackjack Roberts:
Blackjack whistled lowly and feigned surprise at the sight of the island he had once taken refuge on to escape Malcolm and heal after the debacle in India. It wouldn’t do for Mad Jack, or for that matter anyone else aboard, to know that he had spent three months there before signing on for the near disastrous voyage to Singapore. The less the captain of the Lobo knew about him the better.

“I’ll give ye this, Captain.” He spoke lowly, making sure to keep his eyes wide with false surprise. “Of all the scum ridden ports I’ve seen what pirates make their own, this hell hole tops the list!”

Mad Jack swelled slightly with pride that he had succeeded in shocking Roberts. “Now you can see why I ordered that no one,” he made certain to look Blackjack in the eye for emphasis, “and I mean NO ONE, is to go ashore alone.”

Blackjack raised one hand in front of him. “No worries there, Mate.” He grinned. “I’ll not be settin’ foot there by me lonesome.”

Mad Jack scowled for a moment before returning his attention to his estranged wife, but whether it was from distrust of Robert’s word, or Duckie had informed him of Blackjack’s ploy of playing the ignorant pirate, Roberts couldn’t say for sure. All he did know was he intended to keep his word, after a fashion. All that remained was which member of the Knight Hammer crew he would take with him to see Old Pew.

Gaining the ingredients he needed to make the antidote for the zombie powder was no problem as none would suspect, save for perhaps Lil, or Gander. Lil he could trust, but Jack still had his doubts about Duckie. The physician was far too knowledgeable and his loyalty to Mad Jack made him too much of a risk to be trusted completely.

Drake Gander. Jenny’s uncle. Still Blackjack had to wonder if he secretly held him responsible for her death and was waiting for him to take his revenge on Sir Terrance before exacting his own on Blackjack. Roberts knew all too well the hollowness of words and how easily they could be twisted to gain a advantage. It had proven to be a hard lesson, but one that he had learned well.

When he had come to from Duckie’s shaking the Black Lotus had still held him in it’s grip and his mind barely registered the concerned man standing above him. He certainly did not recognize him as an ally.

“Jack! Jack! Are you alright?! I almost couldn’t wake you! Who’s Mi Lin?!”

“A….a girl I knew in Singapore.” Blackjack scowled still muddled. “And who are you?”

“You know damn well who I am, Jack!” Duckie frowned, checking Robert’s eyes. The pupils were so dilated that the were almost pure black with a slight ring of blue green color. He felt Jack’s pulse and noted the clammy coolness of the pirate’s skin. “What the hell have you been doing to yourself?!” He demanded.

Blackjack’s mind cleared as the last of the potent flower burned its self out of his system. “Not a bloody thing, Sawbones.” he chuckled. “Yer more nursemaid than anything else if ye ask me.”

Duckie scowled. He knew enough to realize Roberts had taken some form of opiate, but none he knew of caused such delirium. Almost bordering on hallucinogen. This was new to him, and quite possibly dangerous. He was also a bit perturbed that Roberts insisted on continuing his charade with him, even though they were alone and he knew better.

“Don’t lie to me, Roberts!” He replied icily. “I know full well the effects of a drug when I see them. You were also seen entering the galley when I strictly said for you to rest! Are you trying to kill yourself, Man?!”

Blackjack laughed. “Ye lot would’ve left me to starve down here if’n I hadn’t, Sawbones. I had a bit o’ laudanum in me sea bag, so I used me a bit ta get ta the galley and some grub. Perhaps a bit more’n was good fer me.”

Duckie sighed exasperatedly. It was obvious Blackjack was going to tell him as little as possible. For a few moments he wondered what the man had gone through to make him so mistrusting of others. Roberts exhibited all the marks of a man deeply betrayed at some point in his life.

“Very well.” The lobo’s doctor said at last. “I’ll let it go for now, but if you have need of medicine, I would advise you get it through me.”

“If’n it’ll ease yer mind, Sawbones.” Roberts grinned.

“It will. By the way, the captain requests your presence at dinner tonight in the Captain’s mess. If your strong enough.” Duckie added matter of factually.

“Any idea why?” Blackjack asked, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.

“We’re nearing La Ville du Traitre and he wants to brief you and a few others of the Knight Hammer crew.” Gander said. “Think you’ll be up to it?”

Slowly Roberts stood up from the bunk, but this time he didn’t sway, or seem dizzy in the least. “I think I’ll be able to manage.”

“Good.” Duckie smiled. “Till then you rest. Or by God I’ll have you tied to that bunk!”

Blackjack sat back down and mockingly saluted Duckie. “Aye, aye, Sawbones!”

Duckie rolled his eyes heavenward as he turned to leave.

Martin Montgomery:
Martin stood next to his Captain ..... Bright? and nearly choked as she commented under her breath "Damn you Jack!! I'll bet that the bootshops here don't even carry any decent stilettos!!" She spun and stomped back towards the bowells of the ship,purposely gouging small circles into the otherwise pristine deck. The big man looked once more towards the forboding island that loomed just off the starboard bow and looking up he saw the "Lobo's" Skull and Crossed Bones flag flying high above the crow's nest. The symbol of pirates everywhere snapped and popped in the stiffening breeze,sounding to Martin like a volley of musket fire. Shaking his head and starting for the galley to catch some sleep and prepare himself for the landing party he whispered to himself "I wonder if we do find everything that we need and can afford the prices here,will we all return in the same shape we left in?"

Elinor Hakebourne:
Elinor's curiosity got the better of her, and after supper, she ventured to the main deck to take a glimpse of the island they had all but arrived at. Shivers seemed to creep up her arms and send goosebumps in their wake, causing her to think fleetingly of the warmer clothing she had in her room. There was no doubt about it: the place was foreboding, and somewhere in her head she knew it wasn't just because of the fact it was night at present. From what Captain Wolfe had said, she knew better than to think the shadows on that island would fade with the morning sun.

Deciding she'd had her fill of the sight of La Ville du Traitre, she turned away and headed for the Infirmary. There was no doubt Lil would want a good look at her wound before she went to sleep for the night.

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