Author Topic: DEAD MAN'S TAVERN II  (Read 38508 times)

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Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2008, 08:41:04 PM »
The dawn of a new day shone through the porthole right onto Wench's face. She opened one eye and groaned, then put the pillow over her head.
'No, no, no, no, no....too early...too early....'
She heard the lock rattle and then Jack's voice yell, "We're porting! Don't make me get the boarding pike again!"
'Get stuffed,' she groaned.
She rolled over and landed on the floor.
'Damn! It's not a double!'
Wench stood up and rubbed her bum. 'Next time I make sure I get a spot on the HMS Sheraton.'
 
She took her time getting dressed. She slipped a white gauzy shirt over her head and tried to get her breeches up. She couldn't get them over her hips. She laid on the bed and tried to thrust herself into them. Then she took a dagger and tried to pry them a bit looser.
She stood up with the pants around her hips. Briggs should have some implements...
But the momentum of her forward motion was more than what her legs could keep up with and she did a face plant on the side of the bed.
"AAAAHH!!!" She gingerly used the coverlet to hoist herself upright.
Bunny-hopping, she made it over to the chest and opened the lid.

'This will work!' She took out a belaying pin and threaded it through the top buttonhole and then took a grappling hook and hooked it over the doorknob and threaded a line through the pin and then inched backwards...slowly...slowly...until the waistband stretched out and snapped. She fell back again on her arse.
'Martin and his damn brownies! I'd better see some action soon or I'll be getting captain's quarters for my arse!'

Reaching under the bed for her boots, her hand came onto something smooth and elongated.
She pulled it out.
A freshly emptied bottle of Madeira wine.
 
She sat there with a confused look on her face and turned it upside down. A few drops fell onto her hand and she licked it off.
Fresh....
She looked at the locked door and then to the bottle of wine.
'No...he isn't....couldn't be...it was all a dream....wasn't it? I mean, incubus were just a thing to scare us with at the Order of St Brigid...I mean..well, Gwydion was a rumoured shape-shifter even though I never saw it..but Jack?....JACK?? Sure, he's always bragging about better parties but....'
She threw herself backwards on the bed and wailed at the ceiling, 'I'd better not be carrying the spawn of the devil!..I mean, there was that woman Rosemary and everyone said her child was...no, impossible! Briggs left it behind. He's always raiding the stores...'
She pushed it from her mind and thought, 'I'll deal with it later...'

Wench scabbarded her sword and went to the top deck. Jack was standing at the rail so  she made a quick detour to the other side. All of a sudden, a chill washed over her from the start of her neck and spread down to her feet. There was only one reason she ever felt that. The last time was in Dead Man's Tavern.
And he was there.
Her mentor.
Gwydion.

She couldn't tear her eyes away from the island. It was as if something were drawing her in. A connection that she couldn't explain but sure understood.
Gwydion who taught her everything, in all things. The ways of the Druids and the ways of life and the start of the ways of love.
She whispered, 'No. NO! He can't be there. He can't...'

She folded her arms and leaned against the rail, her breath coming in gasps. Maybe it's the breeches...yes, that has to be it! Too tight...but then why is it affecting my breathing? That should be a circulation  thing...

The last time she saw Gwydion....was it really only a few months ago? He forced her to draw on her strengths and what he had imparted to her to heal his crippled leg that Amber had torn up. And his last words were 'this isn't over, I'll be back...'
Was it the book he was upset about? Or was it compounded by the fact that his star protégé slipped through his grasp?

Wench's eyes were riveted to the island as they were coming closer to it. Her training to listen to her inner sense and block out all other thoughts were kicking in. And all of it spelled 'disaster'. 
He can't be there...he just can't. The nearer they got to the port, the more drawn she was to it. Like a magnet to iron. Like a compass that pointed north...
Gwydion filled her thoughts. And that was his special gift.
A horrific thought came over her.
If Gwydion could change shapes, why could he not shape himself into Jack? That would explain the locked door and the intense lovemaking....

A hand on her back...
"Aahhh!"
Captain Jack Wolfe stood there with a look she had seen a dozen times--at least--before.
She stood there with her hands on her hips. "What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack?"
He laughed and stepped closer to her. "No, my dear. It is just I feel compelled to do this..."
He reached towards her hip and she jumped backwards.
"What IS giving you a case of the heebie jeebies? We aren't anywhere near Bonita or Castara Bay. I just wanted to point out something..."
He reached into her scabbard and took out her sword. "How many times do I have to tell you that a rapier is NOT good for close combat? It makes you look--"
"What? Fat? Are you trying to say I look FAT? I told you I don't know how many times that the rapier draws the eye to a diagonal line and it is very slimming. So don't tell ME what looks good and what doesn't!"
Jack held up his hand and said, "What I was TRYING to say, Captain Bright-Wolfe--or is it Wolfe-Bright, I forget--is that it makes you look a bit incompetent and..."
"Incompetent? Am I still standing? Am I still alive? Did I not run Daemon Vardus through? Did I not kill that English soldier?---by mistake I might add--and did I not...."
"Yeah, yeah, you're a regular killing machine whether it be men or trees."
She took the sword back from Jack and scabbard it.
"What do you want, Jack?" She asked crossly.
"I want to thank you for last night."
"WHAT?"
"The delightful company of you and your crew. That is quite an eclectic assortment you have there, Honour."

She took a deep breath and then grabbed him by the lapels of his frock coat. Jack leaned in and closed his eyes when all of a sudden, Wench took his hat off and ran her fingers through his hair. She slammed the hat back on his head.
"What the hell was THAT for?"
"Your hat was on crooked."
"Oh."

She looked over at La Ville du Traitre and said to herself, 'If Jack has horns, he certainly keeps them well hidden....'


« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 08:43:15 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2008, 09:33:30 PM »
Blackjack finished secreting the last of his ‘surprises’ and placed his caviler’s hat over the spare black silk headscarf. He had removed the bandage that covered Lil’s stitches, it wouldn’t do for any on that forsaken hole to realize he had been injured. On La Ville du Traitre that was tantamount to blood in the water with sharks. Particularly if any of his old acquaintances should meet up with him. More than a few carried a grudge from the last visit, he was certain, at least the ones he had allowed to live.

He sighed heavily at the memories. This damnedable isle had caused him to commit atrocities that still caused his stomach to turn. He could be fairly sure he may have to repeat some of those acts and hoped for Lil’s sake he was wrong. At least this time he was far better equipped to deal with any misfortunes than he had been the last time. He thought about using the Lotus again, and instantly dropped the idea. He couldn’t afford to be incapacitated if forced to push himself too hard.

“Damn!” He cursed aloud. “I had hoped never to set foot there again.”

“So you have been to La Ville du Traitre before, then.” Drake’s voice came from behind him and Jack cursed himself for a fool. He had gotten so lost in his thoughts he had not heard the doctor enter the empty cabin.

Blackjack turned slowly to face the man. Wondering just how far he should push his luck. The scribe was easy, no one had even mentioned his disappearance. Roberts guessed the same could not be said for the ship’s doctor. “Aye, Sawbones. That I have. Near four years ago if memory serves, and never was I so glad to leave a port in me life.”

“How long?” Duckie asked, only to be met with stony silence. “Why don’t you trust me, Jack? I’m not the enemy.”

Blackjack stiffened and for a moment Drake saw near murderous rage fill those turquoise eyes. “I’ve heard those words before, Gander.” He hissed between near clenched teeth. “They were a lie to drop my guard then and I’ve little reason to believe them true now. I’ll not be making the same mistake twice in one lifetime.”

Duckie stared into Roberts eyes for a moment, then let his gaze fall. “Mores the pity then, Jack, because this time they are true.” He had been right Blackjack had been betrayed and from the depth of the emotion he had just witnessed by someone close to him.

“No matter, then. I’ll let the matter drop for now and keep the knowledge to myself.” The Lobo’s surgeon sighed, a little disappointed. He had caught glimpses of the man Blackjack kept buried inside himself and rather liked what he saw. “The pilot is aboard and we’ll be making port soon. I’ll leave you to ready yourself for shore.”

Roberts watched the doctor close the door behind himself, his eyes boring a hole in the man’s back. How could he ever explain the pain he felt, especially when the last time he had heard those exact words they came from a man he had trusted with his life. His own second cousin, Malcolm Dagget.

Jack had been preparing to leave England. The first of the wanted notices had been posted and the reward for his capture of one thousand gold crowns could be more than enough to have him at the gallows. That had been something he could not permit, not until he had his chance to kill Sir Terrance Blackwood. Since he had buried Jenny there was little reason to stay in the cottage anyway. The urgent knock at the door brought him up short and he pulled his flintlock before he answered.

“Malcolm??” He grinned at the sight of his cousin, remembering the games they had played with Cade when they were just lads. “Come in, Man! You’ve no idea how glad I am to see you!”

“Jack.” Malcolm smiled and hugged his cousin. “I’ve heard you’ve gotten yourself into a spot of trouble for sure this time.”

“To say the least, and with your employer no less.” Jack frowned. “Until I can prove my innocence, I’m afraid I’ll have to leave England behind.” it was then his words struck him. Blackjack had been so happy to see a potential ally he had forgotten who Malcolm served, and he went white with the thought.

Malcolm smiled warmly, noting the change in Jack’s demeanor. “Have no fear from me, Jack. After all we’re family and I’m not about to turn my own cousin over to the redcoats. Where were you planning on going?”

Roberts stared at Malcolm, his hand twitching on the butt of his pistol. “Why would you be concerned with that?” He asked suspiciously.

“Why don’t you trust me, Jack? I’m not the enemy.” Malcolm looked hurt. “I’m your cousin, Man!”

Blackjack had relaxed, and shoved the weapon into his belt. “I’m sorry, Malcolm. This business with Lord Blackwood has me more than a bit jumpy. Of course I know you wouldn’t cause me harm.” He sighed. “I thought about going to the colonies. Perhaps to New Orleans.”

Malcolm picked up the bag Jack had been packing. “Well then, I’d say it be high time we got you to the dock then, Cousin.” He grinned. “The sooner your out of Lord Blackwood’s reach, the better.”

No sooner had they walked out the door when no less than six footmen came from the corners of Jack’s cottage. He whirled around with accusation in his eyes only to see Malcolm’s gloved fist land between his eyes, stunning him. He hit the ground, desperately shaking his head in a vain attempt to clear it faster.

Malcolm stood over him, framed in the rifle barrels that all pointed into his face. “How dare you, Jack Roberts?!” Dagget shouted. “I thought I knew you! To cuckold a good man, and take his wife??!! Then murder her in a fit of jealousy??!! Your no cousin of mine, and I’ll be happy to personally escort you to the gallows.”

Blackjack walked to the door. He had been lucky enough to escape before they had made it to London. Stopping only long enough to take the gold he had hidden at his cottage and burn it to the ground. His world had turned completely upside down. His own blood had tried to have him killed. Had refused to even consider his word above his master’s. He had learned well though and it was not a lesson he would soon forget.

Regardless of what his motives were, the doctor was still in service to Mad Jack. Just as Malcolm was in service to Terrance Blackwood. “No thanks, Mate” He thought. “I’ll keep my caution where you are concerned. I know who my shipmates are and I’ll keep my trust in them.”

He walked into the tight hall openly for the second time since being shot. Instantly the “devil may care” grin he had used since becoming a pirate leapt to his face. As he sauntered off to find Lil before going ashore he began whistling a sea chantey.

Offline Elinor Hakebourne

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2008, 04:56:49 PM »
Elinor felt warmth upon her face as she slowly awoke to the loud bangs of the pilot's boat coming towards the El Lobo. Her hand feebly clutched the quill she'd be attempting to write with the night before, the paper on her lap stained slightly with ink that bore no resemblance to readable letters. She was making strides, she realized, with a smile. Soon her fingers would be deft at writing again, and her position on the crew of the Knight Hammer could commence once more. "And all without that wretched Julian," she murmured under her breath, finishing the statement with a yawn. The mention of her fellow scribe's name gave her pause. She hadn't seen him recently. I wonder, she thought...

Just then, Lil came bounding into the berth. "Putting your fingers to the test, I see," she commented. Elinor nodded sleepily, lifting her arms high in a stretch. Glancing down at her parchment, once again spying the disorderly splotches. She blushed. "It's not as it looks," she replied, embarrassed. "I fell asleep."
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 09:58:12 PM by Elinor Hakebourne »

Offline Captain Jack Wolfe

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2008, 09:12:18 AM »
The battered vessel drew close to its slip, where men stood ready with mooring lines and long gaffs to receive her.  Despite Kreatcher's drunken braggadocio, he'd proven to be a competent pilot after all.  Crewmen scurried about, working the lines and preparing the ship to nestle into her temporary home.  Amid the bustle, Honour remained at the gunwale, her brow furrowed in worry. Her eyes scanned the docks, hoping against hope she was wrong about Gwydion's presence.  She tried to focus her will as he'd taught her to shield herself from his far-reaching gaze.  Had he really reached out to her in the night,or was something else at play?  Had Bonita taught Jack some dark art, or was it simply her desires getting the better of her?  No matter how hard she tried to ignore it, her body ached.  She knew she could have Jack with just a wink and a smile, and that made the stirrings even worse.  But she had her pride.

Honour could hear him walking the deck, shouting orders peppered with epithets as was his customary fashion.  She looked over her shoulder and saw him standing there, the wind tugging at his clothes and hair.  To her surprise he met her gaze.  There was an unexpected softness in his eyes she'd seen what felt like a lifetime ago on the sands of Castara.  An involuntary thrill ran through her, and she could feel the heat rise quickly in her cheeks as a betraying smile revealed itself.  She turned her head quickly, silently cursing herself for letting him glimpse what burned within.  But the Judas smile would not leave her lips.  She closed her eyes tightly and tried to salvage her composure.  That's when she heard the sound she wished would not come.

The sound of Jack's boots approaching.

She inhaled sharply when she felt his arm gently slip around her waist.  She hadn't allowed herself to remember how delicate his touch could be.  His closeness was at once uncomfortable and welcome.  They stood there side by side for what seemed to her the longest time, but she made no offer to move away.  Finally Jack broke the silence.  His voice was pitched soft and low, meant only for her.  It was the same voice he spoke in when they shared a marriage bed, when they'd lay in each other's arms talking and laughing for hours about everything and nothing.

"I was beginning to think you'd never favour me with that smile again.  The last time was on our honeymoon to Castara.  You know, it just struck me how much I've missed that smile.  How I've missed you."

The confession caught Honour completely off guard.  She took a few moments to gather her wits before she answered.  "That was a long time ago, Jack.  Other men have seen that smile since then."

Jack chuckled.  "I hope you're not trying to shock me, love.  I couldn't help but know.  You made certain of that."  He turned to face her.  At first she resisted looking at him, certain he was looking for an argument.  But when she finally met his eyes, the softness was still there.  If anything, he looked a little sad.  "I made a mess of things in Barbados.  I know that, and I've paid for it ever since."

By this time, Honour was completely confused.  Where was this coming from, and why now?  It had to be another one of his games, she just knew it.  "What are you after?  I won't play along," she said, not nearly as defiantly as she'd intended.

Jack smiled.  "I'm trying to apologize, you mule-headed girl!" he said with a teasing lilt.  His smile faded suddenly and he took her softly by the shoulders.  "Know this, Honour.  I will never let any harm come to you."

"What?  Quit talking in riddles!  What do you mean by-"

The side of the ship made contact with the dock, and the vessel lurched suddenly.  Honour lost her footing, and Jack grabbed her and held her close to keep her from falling to the deck.  Their faces were close enough to feel one another's breath.  They lingered for a moment...

"Ahem!"  They both looked in the direction of the couch to find Duckie, Lil, Eleanor, Kate, Martin, Briggs, and Blackjack standing there with bemused looks.  Brother Timothy was behind the group, gently swinging a bucket back and forth like an icy pendulum.

"While it would do my heart a world of good to see you two actually get back together without killing one another," proclaimed Duckie, "I'm sure we'd all appreciate it if you didn't reconsummate your marriage on the open deck?"

Honour looked aghast, and pulled away from Jack.  Jack on the other hand burst out in laughter.  "We were just chatting, Duckie.  But thanks for the concern."  He pointed at two crewmen.  "You there!  Step lively and get that gangplank in place.  With a will!"

The men worked to move the gangplank into place, and the group moved off in anticipation of going ashore.  Jack paused, then leaned close to Honour.  "What I said before the battle still goes," he whispered.  He turned on his heel and went to join the rest of the group.  Kate walked over to her stunned friend.

"That all looked pretty intense.  What on earth did he say say to you?" asked Kate.

"He apologized to me.  That bastard!"

The gangplank banged down hard against the dock, and Jack wasted no time leading the way off the ship.  He still had no idea what was bothering Honour so, but he hoped it was the same thing that was driving him to distraction.  Perhaps they could reach a mutually satisfying accord once their business on the island was over.  Right now, he had to worry about buying her life back without her finding out.

“Everybody, remember where we parked!” he instructed loudly.  “Briggs, you and Duckie keep an eye on Honour.  Let nothing happen to her while I'm gone, am I clear?"

Briggs gave his friend a puzzled look.  "Damn, Jack, you're actin' squirrelier than usual today!  Where ye be off to in such a rush?"

Jack fidgeted.  "To... see Ahmet," he muttered.

"Ahmet!?" Briggs hissed.  "Mother's love!  You  didn't."  He measured the guilty look on Jack's face, and his shoulders sagged.  "Aye, we'll keep her out of harm's way.  Ahmet's Redeemers won't get close to her if Duckie and I have anything to say about it.  Shall I tell him?"

Jack sighed.  "Hopefully you won't have to.  Last time he got angry with me over something stupid I did where Honour was concerned, it was a year before he settled down."

"Ye have to admit, last time was pretty stupid.  Almost as stupid as this."

"Thanks for the critique," grumbled Jack as he turned and headed for the heart of town.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 07:28:52 PM by Mad Jack Wolfe »
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2008, 10:14:49 PM »
A light knock brought Lil and Elinor’s attention to the door. “Come in.” Elinor shouted happily, her smile widening as the face of Blackjack Roberts edged it’s way around the door with a wink before he entered the room.

“Hello, Luvs.” The roguish pirate beamed as he made his way over to the two women. “Well now…look at this. I see your well on your way, Little Sister.” His pride in Elinor’s accomplishment evident. “You’ll be catching up with the logs in no time.”

Elinor hugged him tightly. “And all without that know it all Julian’s interference.”

Roberts looked idly off to the porthole at the mention of the Lobo’s scribe. Lil placed one hand on her hip. “Blackjack, you didn’t kill that pest, did you? Now that Elinor has mentioned it, no one’s seen hide nor hair of him since the first day you came to check on her.”

Elinor held her breath. She had been a ships scribe long enough to be aware of the ways of pirates, and she had seen Roberts make a very real threat to Julian’s health. While she wasn’t that fond of the man, she wasn’t certain she wanted him dead either. She smiled when she heard her new friend speak.

“Nay, lass.” Jack chuckled. “I didn’t kill him. He is safely tucked away for the moment. The blighter will be up and about after we get the supplies I need ashore. Though I dare say he’ll have drunk deep of the river Lithe.”

“What?” Lil’s brow furrowed, and Elinor giggled.

“It’s the river of forgetfulness in Hades.” Elinor explained.

Blackjack held one forefinger up to his lips and winked. “The less said aboard ship, the better, Luvs. Needless to say he’ll be fine, but no longer a threat to any of us.”

“That reminds me, Jack.” Lil grinned. “I invited Martin to go with us on our errand.” She waited to see how he would react to the news.

“Excellent, Lass!” Blackjack’s smile grew wider. “Martin would make a good choice for where we are headed. Having him along should discourage the smaller fish from making things difficult for us.”

“Is it that bad.” Lil wondered aloud.

“Aye,” Blackjack said solemnly. “Even for this accursed isle it’s a rather rough area, Lass. Nothing we shouldn’t be able to handle, but I for one will feel better with Martin’s added muscle with us.”

“Now if you’ll forgive us, Little Sister, it’s time we made our way above and onto shore.” Roberts gently kissed the back of Elinor’s fingers, then he and Lil left for the deck.

Elinor watched them go and wondered just what Blackjack had done with the Lobo’s scribe. How had he managed to keep the man safely quiet and hidden for so long? She turned back to her practice, it would certainly make for an interesting entry into the ships log once she found out.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 08:26:49 PM by Blackjack Roberts »

lilaney

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2008, 11:35:20 AM »
Elinor struggled. Her hand and mind were not quite talking right to each other.
"Now, look you."
She said sternly to her hand that clutched the quill.
"Into the ink, then out, then onto the page."
She tried, ever so slowly, watching as her hand as it made its way slowly to the inkwell, dipped in, a bit too far, back out and left ink drips across the page.
She held it poised over the page, and concentrating hard she began to scratch our her name.
She was gleeful to see letters forming on the page, she concentrated harder. Her eyes bulged in surprise at the word she wrote.
julian
'That's not my name' she whispered. She stared strangly at her hand.
"bugger!" she shouted and pushed up, the scribe things left abandoned as she made her way topside.
'I wonder what is for breakfast' she thought as her stomach rumbled.
She made it topside just in time to her Captain throw herself onto Captain Jack.
At Dr. Gander's bellowed words, she laughed with the rest of the crew.
Martin slung an arm around her shoulders and gave her a fierce hug.
"Stay aboard lass, their is plenty to eat in the Galley."
Martin stared down into Elinor's face.
"You will all come back?"
Martin gave her a solem look, "I swear that we will all come back."
"In one piece?"
The sides of Martin's lips quirked.
"We will come back" he repeated.
"Sure, Elinor, we'll be back in one piece." Lil came over and stood next to Martin.
Her new bracers in place, and her other blades and sundries resting comfortably against her skin.
"I would hug you, dear, but, I fear I might accidentally skewer you."
Elinor gave a cautious smile.
Her other crew members bid her farewells in their own way.
Elinor watched as the crew trooped off the ship down the gangplank.
'Please come home.'
She thought inwardly.
Julian
She trusted BlackJack, but, her curiosity was coming to the top.
'Wonder where he is?'
Her mind may not be able to get her arm and hand to work, but, it communicated really well with her feet.
Soon herself was wondering all over the ship.



Offline Hibernian

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2008, 08:52:39 PM »
The arrival of yet another vessel flying the black flag was old news in this port. As the gangway was extended the usual collection of beggars, old salts down on their luck, cons, and carts selling at least one of everything you never needed, gathered to watch the crew of the Lobo descend. As soon as the first crewman hit the wood of the pier a chorus of cries erupted and mass confusion involved everyone.

Now don’t imagine for a moment that there are no women on this island. Of course there are women and some are more approachable than others. Yet there are no women the equal of those who came in on the Lobo. At the first sight of the black boots with the stiletto heels, every eye on the pier was focused on the same spot. Men who would sell their mothers for a tankard of rum knew, without even checking their purses, there was no hope that these women would be of the approachable type. Besides, these women had protectors with them whose mere look and size, lord the one over there was as big as a mountain, kept the average pirate far distant.

Yet even the size of Martin or a deadly look from Blackjack could not totally end the various catcalls and suggestions being heard. The interplay between the Lobo’s crew and the locals continued in fine form each giving as well as they got. The crew started to relax just a bit as matters seem well in hand.

Captain Jack looked about and thought to himself that this was good, this was normal, this just might work. Jack, Honor, Lil, Martin and Blackjack were on the pier waiting as the rest descended from the ship.

Just as quickly as a press gang’s belaying pin will drop a drunken sailor in Portsmouth the noise on the dock ceased. Jack’s hand dropped to his pistol but he kept it in his belt as he looked about. What had happened, what had changed, he slowly spun in a circle trying to see everything. Everyone was here, nothing had changed, and as he looked to the head of the gangway he saw Brother Timothy.

“Oh my, now this could be interesting.”
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 10:15:30 PM by Hibernian »
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Offline Elinor Hakebourne

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2008, 09:28:26 PM »
Having no idea where to locate him, nor whether she wanted to locate him, Elinor wandered aimlessly, her mind buzzing with thoughts. Concern for her crewmates that had just left the ship mixed with curiosity and a bundle of other feelings she couldn't identify associated with Julian.

Amidst all her thoughts, she found herself stopping in front of Julian's door. She peered inside the room, wondering if he was taking a nap or lazily working on the ship's accounts. No, she thought, he likes to record the ship's logs outside on the deck...

She briefly entertained the thought of going out on the main deck and attempting to find him there, but decided in the next moment, when pride and fury rose up in her once again, not to go looking anymore. "I don't care if he's lost, or...or...in trouble," Elinor declared to the silence, trying to sound more certain than she was. "He was rude, and didn't care about me, so I won't care about him!" She finished, flouncing upon a nearby chest. She sighed, and glanced at her left arm, which still wouldn't cooperate to her liking.

"Stupid man, stupid bullet, stupid stubborn boy...cause that's what he is, a boy, that's all..." she muttered, working the anger inside her to the surface. "And now I'm wasting my time looking for him, when I should be perfecting my penmanship! Stupid boy..." She glanced up once more. "Well, you can stay lost, Julian, for all I care! You are not worth my time anymore!" She yelled. But Julian was indeed nowhere to be found, and the space echoed with her exclamation.

And then, as if to answer, the chest gave a lurch right under her, sending her once more to her feet, screaming.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 09:33:54 PM by Elinor Hakebourne »

Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2008, 09:57:17 PM »
Blackjack stood beside Martin, shooting his most “no-nonsense” look into any direction that a catcall, or lewd suggestion would come from. Many of the old salts who knew him immediately dropped to silence at the sight of his whip hand resting idly on the handle of Old Hob. The other hooked thumb first into his wide belt just a fraction from one of his trademark French flintlocks. Luckily none of them had yet to whisper his name aloud. He prayed it would stay that way.

Suddenly all went silent, and for a moment he thought that the scum had finally gotten the message he, Lil, Captain Wolfe, and Martin were projecting. He discounted Honour only because she presented a more stylish picture than threatening. If only the fools knew how deadly she could be when she wished. From the side of his eye he caught Jack looking up at the gangplank. There was the reason for the sudden quiet, Brother Timothy had appeared and calmly made his way to the dock.

“Well, that seems to have curbed their tongues.” Lil leaned over to whisper to him.

“Aye.” Roberts whispered back. “But, love me if I knows exactly why. Even though most seadogs are a superstitious lot, the sight of one monk wouldn’t seem to be able to curb their tongues this easily.”

“Perhaps they know something we don’t.” Martin spoke lowly to his two conspirators.

“Of that I would have little doubt.” Blackjack grinned up at his friend. “This bloody isle is a veritable storehouse of secrets.”

“Look who’s talking!” Lil snorted quietly as Martin chuckled lowly. “Most of our crew know by now that you keep much close to your vest, Blackjack”

Jack reddened slightly, cocked his head to one side and raised his right eyebrow. “Who me, Luv? I be naught but a simple pirate what does his best ta live and let live. Savvy?”

Lil put one hand to her lips to hide her growing mirth at Roberts sliding so easily into his ignorant pirate role and Martin clapped him warmly on the back. “If you say so, Blackjack.” The man mountain grinned down at him good naturedly.

“My God!” Jack suddenly exclaimed. “That’s it!”

“What’s it, Jack?” Lil started for a moment, a dagger quickly in her hand to ward off any sudden danger.

Blackjack quickly lowered his voice so that only Lil, and Martin could hear him. “Look at the cross he’s wearing!” He hissed lowly, pointing with his chin to the descending monk. “It’s a dead ringer for the only bit of gold left at the church. The cross that tops the steeple. It’s the cross of St. Dimas!”
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 10:02:37 PM by Blackjack Roberts »

Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2008, 04:48:16 PM »
A steady staccato rhythm hit the deck. All eyes looked to see a pair of black leather stiletto boots walked in a measured gait down the gangplank.
The eyes of the miscreants followed their line of vision from the heels up to the shaft of the boot and continued towards the heavens.
Jack looked over and uttered an epithet. "She's wearing a skirt. Damn her."
 
Honour looked over at the crowd of men who were unusually quiet. 'Well, now..that is more like it,' she thought. She tapped the hilt of her rapier in a constant beat as she surveyed the great unwashed of the island. Her nose wrinkled up.
"So...this is what Hell on Earth is like."
Jack whispered, "Not exactly the best party I've been to."
She tilted her head and tossed the feathers on her hat behind. "I've a mind to do some shopping while you do..whatever it is you need to do, Captain Wolfe."
 
Jack nodded to Briggs who came to his side. "I won't permit it unless Briggs goes with you."
Briggs' jaw dropped. "Me? ME? Why me? I need to go with ye for the mast, Jack."
Jack took his arm and squeezed it tight. Under his breath he said, 'I need to see Ahmet the Turk."
Honour looked up from tying the laces on her boots and said, "Who is it?"
"What?"
"You said you just met a jerk."
Jack waved her off. "Just a business associate that I need to see about a contract. For a mast. Honour, Briggs goes with you."
Honour mimicked his voice, " 'Honour, Briggs goes with you'. Only on one condition. Duckie goes with me too. He was telling me about some batik silks that would look great on me."
Jack turned to Duckie and raised his eyebrow. "You going funny on me, Duckie?"
Duckie laughed and said, "No, Jack. But last time we were here I bought some bolts of silk and sent them home to my sister. You remember my sister Rose quite well,don't you, Jack?"
Jack turned red and ignored the barb. "If Duckie is inclined to shop for nancy-boy things to ship home to Sissy, there is nothing I can do to stop him. As long as Briggs goes too."
Honour sighed. "As long as he doesn't complain. Come along, Briggs. I just may treat you to tea and frosted cakes."
Briggs turned haplessly to Jack and Jack gave him a 'shoo! shoo!' motion.
'Get no respect, I don't. Need to go with Jack, says I. Instead I be lookin' fer frou-frou things wit' a woman who requires constant upkeep. Well, I ain't peelin' 'er grapes or skinnin' 'er peaches...'
"What did you say, Briggs?"
Briggs answered, "Wonderin' where I can get a fruit salad, that's all..."
Honour linked her arms through Briggs' and Duckie's arms. "Won't this be FUN?"
Over her shoulder, she said, "Ta, Jack! We'll see you later!"

Duckie and Honour walked arm in arm through the narrow cobblestoned alleys, Briggs bringing up the rear and scowling.  The bazaars were lined with tents and canopies. There wasn't anything that couldn't be bought. Carpets, silks, jewelry and leathergoods...Honour inspected them all.
"Duckie, I don't know..it just seems alot of this is pillaged goods and why should I buy them when I can just wait for El Lobo to take a vessel?
The good doctor held up a bolt of silk.
"Aye, Mrs. Wolfe--I mean Captain Bright--where else can you find a silk in ocean blue striated with emerald green that would bring out your eyes?" Duckie waved it under her nose, watching her eyes glaze over.
No fair, Dr. Gander. You know my weakness!" He laughed.
"Do you want it or don't you?"
She turned to the seller and asked. He gave her a price, she haggled a bit and walked away with the silk.
"Briggs? Here. Hold out your arms."
"Why?"
"Just do as I tell you to."
Honour heaped the silk bolt onto his outstretched arms.
"Hey! Jack didn't say anything about me bein' yer pack mule!"
Duckie laughed and said, "Indulge the lady, Briggs. It will be as close as Jack lets you get to her silks!"
Briggs muttered, "First she takes over th' captain...then the ship...then that infernal moggie of his...."

On and on the morning went. Honour shopping for goods that she knew Jack couldn't pillage or she couldn't wait. Briggs was loaded with silks and satins and saris and jewelry and porceleins.
Duckie parted the goods to find Briggs' face.
"Briggs?"
"What? WHAT?"
"Honour asked if you'd like a repast?"
"I canna hear her amidst all this finery. Of course I want a repast. It's past my re..whatever.
I NEED RUM!"
 
The three of them sat in the tavern, enjoying ale and a bowl of stew. "Now, that's not so bad, is it, Josiah?"
Briggs smiled, his stomach making peace with him.  "It's fairly decent, yes."
"That's not what I meant. I meant the shopping."
"Well, I'm not used to being a pack mule."
 
After the lunch, Honour wandered over towards the fruits and vegetables. She selected some dates and figs, some pistachios and various other nuts. Duckie raised his eyebrow.
"It's for Jack. He likes them, alright? And no, I am NOT poisoning him."
Briggs said, "Never crossed our minds...after the first minute."
 
From the shadows of the bazaar, a cloaked figure stood observing the threesome. He pulled his hood closer around his face and whispered,  'Rhiannon 'ch butain. 'ch ddiwrnod chan yn clandro ydy nes na dybi."
 As he walked off, a pirate turned to the other and said, "Wonder what that was all about?"
His companion shook his head. "It ain't good, my friend."
"Some kind of mumbo-jumbo. He put a curse on them?"
"No. It was Welsh."
"Well, what did he say?"
The pirate looked after the cloaked figure who now disappeared in the crowd.
"Strange...very strange. He said, 'Rhiannon, you harlot. Your day of reckoning is nearer than you think' ".


 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 01:07:33 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2008, 08:03:27 PM »
As Blackjack watched the crew break up into separate parties with different agendas he breathed a sigh of relief. This was going to be easier than he first thought. He leaned in close to Lil. “Seems we won’t be needing an excuse to trapes off on our lonesome after all, Luv.” He whispered. “I was near sure Wolfe would be keeping a tighter reign on all of us. Seems he has other things on his mind for the moment.”

“No doubt there, Jack.” Martin chuckled. “What now?”

Roberts eyed the crowd of human refuse for a few moments. If anyone would know it would be….Yes! There he was sitting at his usual begging spot at the end of the pier. Now to pry the information out of him without breaking the bank just yet. He motioned for Martin and Lil to follow once the rest of the crew had been swallowed in the hustle and bustle of the streets.

“First we need to see if Old Pew is still among the living, or changed his address in the last four years.” Blackjack walked steadily toward the beggar. Smiling as he saw Lil constantly scanning the rabble for any sign of trouble.

“Alms. Alms for a poor old sailor what lost his eyes in battle.” The tattered mass of rags intoned as they drew near.

“Here ye go, Mate.” Roberts said as he flipped one of Sparrow’s remaining doubloons expertly into the tin cup.

“Thank ye kindly, M…….Jack!!!!” The blind beggar dropped three shades of color beneath the filth at the sight of Roberts standing above him.

“Aye, Israel. Jack.” Blackjack grinned squatting down even with the beggar. “We be need’n a parlay, you and me.”

“I know nothing’, Blackjack.” Israel quaked. “No need fer ye ta be harmin’ an poor blind man!”

“Bilge water!” Roberts spat. “Ye be no more blind than I, and the whole island knows it! Although I could remedy that fer ye!” Jack’s razor gleamed for an instant in his right hand. Lil’s eyes widened at Blackjack’s new demeanor, and where in Hell did that razor come from? Martin frowned worriedly, not certain himself if Roberts were bluffing, or dead serious.

“Ye wouldn’t dare!” The mass of rags quivered under Blackjack’s steely gaze.

The wickedness in Blackjacks smile sent an involuntary shiver down Lil’s spine as Jack continued. “Now ye know better than that, Israel.” He hissed lowly. “Not only would I dare, I’d happily do it right in front o’ the Boss. Remember Harmon?”

“What d’ye want ta know?” Israel whispered.

“Pew.” Roberts smile instantly became more friendly and the razor vanished from sight. “Be he still alive, and still in his old haunt?”

“Aye.” The blind faker mumbled. “Though I’d say by now he be knowin’ yer back.”

“I’m countin’ on it, Mate.” Blackjack grinned as he stood up and flipped a second coin into Israel’s cup. “I’m countin’ on it.”

As the trio marched off Lil whispered. “Did you have to threaten him that hard?”

“Aye, Lass. I did.” Blackjack said thoughtfully. “The only reason Israel didn’t blow a hole through me with the pistol he keeps under his rags was he figured Martin would have broke him in half for it.”

“The what?!” The massive cook asked incredulously.

“Aye, Mate.” Blackjack Roberts stopped and grinned at his two friends. “There is no such thing as helpless on this isle. If it breathes, it’s dangerous and wicked.” He paused in thought for a moment then grinned from ear to ear and swung his arms out to his side.

“Welcome to La Ville du Traitre, Crewmates!” He said with a half bow. “Now lets head off to see about our supplies before going to see Old Pew.”

Offline Hibernian

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2008, 04:49:05 AM »
When one is dressed in a brown robe and stands well over six feet, getting stared at is an everyday event. But, as Brother Timothy scanned the crowd gathered upon the dock he thought this was perhaps the first time he has ever heard a crowd such as this become completely silent. When the Bishop enters the Cathedral for Mass, the awaiting congregation draws silent, but not like this, if not for the cries of the gulls overhead he might have thought himself suddenly deaf.

Perhaps being pirates they are not use to visiting clergy, raising his hand, palm open he spoke aloud in a friendly voice  “May the Lord give you peace.”

As if in a single movement the whole of the crowd backs away. Kate walks over, “I think the collection plate going to be a bit light today.”

“Bless me Kate, I’ve never seen a crowd so spooked, and I haven’t the faintest idea as to why.”
“It’s your cross, look at it and then look there…” Kate turned and pointed to the steeple of St. Dimas. “See something familiar?”
“They appear to be the same.”
“Bingo, you got it in one! Now what, good brother?”
“It’s obvious isn’t it?” Looking at Kate’s blank stare, “we must pay a visit to St. Dimas.”
“Any idea how we get there, I don’t see anyone selling maps of the island and from what Jack said we don’t want to get lost.”
“When in Rome, ask the Romans. But as the crowd still seems a bit reluctant still, we may not get an answer to our question.”

A quick scan of the crowd and Kate suddenly walks over toward a stack of crates, knees down and speaks to the shadow cast by that stack. Taking two coins from her purse she offeres them to the shadow. Slowly a small hand emerges from the shadow and without hesitation quickly grabbes the coins. Kate stands up, reachs down into the shadow and draws forth a small street urchin, judging by the size the child can be no more than 8 years of age.
“Brother Timothy, may I introduce our guide, Souris. Souris this is my friend Brother Timothy.”
The small boy gazes upward at the monk stepping closer as if to show he was not afraid, “Are you the one? Are you?”
“Am I the one? Am I which one?”

“Are you the man in the pictures in the church? Are you the one? This lady says you need to go to church, and well the picture windows and the wall story show a man in a brown robe who comes to the church with a cross. A cross like yours, like the one at the church! Are you the one?”
“Well Souris, I would need to see the picture windows and the story on the wall to answer your question. Can you take us to the church?”
“Sure I can but it’ll cost you.”
“I saw Kate already give you two coins…”
”That was just an opening, if you want to get off the dock and to the church safely it’ll be another 10 coins.”
“I offer you 5…"
“How about 8?”
"How about 4?"

"Wait a minute, you did that wrong, you’re suppose to come up to 6 not go down."
"How about 3"
"Hey, did I say 8, I think 5 is just right, deal?"
"Deal!"

"This is bad, beaten by a monk, we better go."
The tall monk, small child and woman head off the dock and toward St. Dimas.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2008, 09:17:30 PM by Hibernian »
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Offline Captain Jack Wolfe

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2008, 09:40:43 AM »
“You'd think that with times being what they are, there'd be fewer places to shop!” groused Jack as he picked his way through the overcrowded bazaar.  The unanticipated delay served only to heighten his anxiety.  He should have gotten to Ahmet's by now by his reckoning.  Not mired in the island's illicit retail district.  After what felt like an eternity, he spied a gap in the throng and went for it.  He jostled his way through the opening before it vanished and popped out of the crowd lie a champagne cork.  “Look!  Over there!” cried a voice, and everyone turned to look in the direction the man was pointing, including Jack.  Over a bazaar tent, a small blue flag was being hoisted.  The anxious shoppers clamoured toward the fluttering blue pennant in anticipation of deeply discounted merchandise.

Jack quickened his pace now that he was free of the crowd and into the town proper.  He tried to plan out in his mind what he would say to Ahmet in order to clear the bounty hanging over Honour's pretty head, but Duckie's verbal barb back at the ship drove him to distraction.

“You remember my sister Rose quite well, don't you, Jack?”

Why did Duckie have to bring up Rose at all, much less right in front of Honour?  He hadn't thought about Rose Gander in years.

Jack had courted Rose while he and Duckie were still at Oxford.  He was utterly smitten with the shy, sable haired girl from the moment he saw her.  Then and there he vowed he would win her heart, but being a young, less than worldly academician left him ill equipped for the task.  So he did what any bookworm would do: voraciously read everything he could find on the subject.  And it worked.  Jack Wolfe was the perfect gentleman – doting, attentive, kind,  chivalrous, and charitable.  He took odds jobs in between his studies, and he used the money and other savings from many long months of scrimping and saving to buy Rose an engagement ring.  He worked up the nerve to ask her for her hand.  He professed his undying love for her and presented the woman he loved with all his being the gold ring with its tiny diamond.

She looked at Jack with surprise, looked at the ring, put her hand to her lips... and laughed.  “Oh,Jack!  This is very sweet of you, but I could never marry the son of a shipbuilder!”  He was devastated.  The only reaction he could muster was to put the ring back in his pocket, give her a polite kiss on the cheek, and walk away like a hollowed out automaton.  Duckie sat for hours with his heartbroken friend, consoling Jack as best he could and apologizing repeatedly for Rose's reprehensible behaviour.  What bothered him far more than his sister's heartless treatment of his best friend was Jack's metamorphosis from a happy-go-lucky, starry eyed lad with a bright future to a bitter, disillusioned man with a heart of stone and not a penny to his name.

Rose Gander was the first woman to gain Jack Wolfe's love and break his heart.

Honour Bright was the second.

Before long, he found himself outside the garishly painted headquarters of Ahmet the Turk.  Certainly much sooner that he'd originally thought he would.   He took a deep breath to collect his thoughts and focus on the task at hand.  No plan, no strategy, no idea what he would say to save his wife.  So Jack Wolfe resigned himself to doing what he always did in situations like this; take his best whack at it and hope for the best.  What made him most nervous was that it wasn't his life on the line this time.

He pushed aside the curtain of beads that served as a door and began to step inside.  Out of habit, he paused to see if anyone was taking note of his activities.  A brawny man with a swarthy complexion was standing across the street staring directly at Jack.  He wore loose robed in the Arab style, with a red and gold sash around his waist.  The robes were more for concealment of weapons rather than comfort.  He was one of Ahmet's "Redeemers".  Enforcers and assassins for hire who would murder their own children if the price was right.  And they knew Jack was in town.

"Piece of cake," he muttered, and stepped inside.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2008, 08:22:45 PM by Mad Jack Wolfe »
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Offline Martin Montgomery

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2008, 07:34:28 AM »
After the "Parlay" with the not so blind beggar,Martin looked with new eyes at the mass of humanity that seemed to ebb and flow around them,the tides never getting too close to Blackjack,the Hard Eyed Pirate,Lilaney,the Restless Lass and Martin himself,the Lumbering Rube. In all of his years of traveling as a merchant,the big man had seen nothing like the streets of La Ville du Traitre! Trodding along behind Lil he spotted the hungry stares of men,barely hidden as they went about their daily lives,many of the men met his eyes with a predatory gleam before he could avert his gaze. Laughter heard from one side was lost before he could find it's owner and the normally self-reliant cook felt that he was causing his small group to be watched and judged with not only theft in mind. Walking along he was stopped short by a firm hand on his chest! He had grabbed the offender by the wrist and pulled his right dueling pistol before he realized he'd been stopped by his own guide! "FOOL!" Blackjack hissed "Put that thing away! Be ye Daft?!? loosin' a weapon without usin' it is a Definite NO NO!!" Jamming the pistol home and releasing his grip on Jack,Martin lowered his gaze to meet the brightly intent stare of his shipmate. "Listen to me ye oversized oaf!" He slapped Martin's cheeks several times,backhand then forehand just to make sure he had the man's full attention "We are going to attract the stares of everyone that resides upon this bloody isle just because we're not regulars! That is fine an' ta be expected cause one of us," A nod in Lil's direction,"Is a right pretty thing and another,"The slaps were repeated much lighter this time. "Is a walkin' talkin' mountain!" Lowering his voice Blackjack looked back at Lil,who's eyes were filled with worry over her friends behavior,yet she still scanned the throng alertly. "Now I have ta get a few errends done,an' with her help it might not cost anymore than I'm willin' ta part with! So we're stayin together till we reach the Market Streets,that's where you can find all the supplies the "Lobo" needs,stay within sight of "The Ship's Stores" it were owned by an old acquaintance o' mine,last time I came through,we'll find you as soon as we return." Lil watched as Martin got his wits back about him and she shuddered as his friendly blue eyes took on the cold glint of ice. He nodded his understanding to Blackjack then stood straight and tall. "My friend ,"He stated in a low monotone "I will not fail to accomplish our goals!"
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: Dead Man's Tavern II
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2008, 06:34:50 PM »
Blackjack allowed his countenance to remain hard and scowling. Inside he hated himself for what he had just had to do, but he knew better than to let the pulled pistol pass without an answer. Any sign of weakness on this accursed isle would be a signal for the rest of the populace to tear the three of them apart and he knew damn well they would be no match for that many assailants. Regardless of the new surprises he had brought with him. Had it been anyone else but Martin he would have had to kill them as brutally as possible.

Inwardly he grinned with pride as the gentile giant stood straight, a look of flint in his normally kind eyes and said. "My friend, I will not fail to accomplish our goals!" It had been the perfect answer, and now the scum would think that Martin was in Blackjack’s employ. Added to his sheer size it would offer him some measure of added protection, as well as offer an excuse as to why Roberts had not killed him immediately.

Out of the corner of his eye Blackjack noted several of his own old cronies nod knowingly as He looked Martin in the eye, as nose to nose as he could get with the man mountain. “Fair enough, Mate.” He quickly winked so that only Martin would notice. “Take this with ye, an’ be certain that him what ya deals with be Rubin. No other. Lil an’ I should be back not two bells from now.” Jack pulled a scrap of parchment from his jerkin. On it was a crude drawing of a skull resting on a bull whip, a dagger piercing straight through it’s top. “That there be me mark, so’s he’ll know I sent ye.”

Leaning as close as he could Blackjack whispered lowly. “Forgive me, Mate. Remember. Show neither weakness, nor mercy for God‘s sake. Any such display will seal your fate before you can return to the ship.” Martin effected a deep scowl and nodded slightly. “Good man.” Jack nodded back.

This next part was far more risky, but it had to be done. Jack said a quick silent prayer he would survive long enough to accomplish it. Without a word of warning he gathered Lil in his arms and placed his head next to hers, quickly grabbing her wrist as she pulled a dagger and whispering into her ear. “For the love of God, Lass, don’t gut me and put your arms around me. Only if they think I have a claim on you will they lose interest in having their way with you.”

Lil allowed Jack to take the dagger from her hand and hugged him. Several knowing snickers came from the throng. “At least he’s clean.” Lil thought.

Blackjack kept one arm around Lil’s waist, flipping the dagger over expertly in his hand to return it to her butt first. “Here ye are, Luv.” Jack grinned and winked, speaking loud enough for the rabble to hear.. “That be what I likes about ya, Darlin‘. I never know when ye’ll try ta love me, or kill me.”

Martin blushed slightly as Lil sheathed the weapon and pulled Blackjack close to her again to whisper in his ear. “Next time warn me, or by heaven I will gut you, Jack Roberts!”

Jack hugged her lightly, whispering back. “Fair enough, Luv. Now that we’ve given them all the wrong idea, let’s be off.” He chuckled thinking back to when he had laid the plan. He knew it was dangerous, but if Lil would agree to go with him to Pew’s it would be better if the trash of La Ville du Traitre thought her to be his woman. That had been the reason for sending the Lobo sailor to fetch her. The rumor would spread among the Lobo’s crew and they in turn would spread it on land. Now Jack and Lil had just confirmed it for all to see.

After they had left Martin to purchase the supplies at "The Ship's Stores" and spending the rest of Sparrow‘s purse on the drugs he needed to make the antidote to the zombie powder, Blackjack led Lil into an area of the island that became seedier and darker with each passing moment. Compared to this the port side of town was a courtyard. “Keep sharp, Luv.” Roberts whispered. We’re in the belly of the beast here.”

Lil needed little prodding from Blackjack, the narrow streets resembled nothing short of the grimiest alleys she had ever witnessed in Tortuga. The alleyways themselves were even worse. Rubbish was heaped against walls, and drunken pirates of all descriptions lay propped against them here and there, most of them losing their few possessions to ragged street urchins who took advantage of their state of inebriation.

“God’s, Blackjack.” She whispered to her friend. “How can men live like this?”

“Very carefully, Luv.” Roberts whispered sadly. “Most of the time they don’t. At least not for very long.”

Suddenly a red haired prostitute in a tattered green dress, badly in need of a week long bath, appeared from one of the black open doorways and made her way toward them. A smile of recognition on a face that would have been lovely if not for the garish make up and smudges of dirt. “Blackjack! So it’s true, ye came back at last, Ducks!”

Roberts came to a dead halt. “Now don’t ye be staggering into me, Sally!” He ordered pointing a finger at the advancing whore.

“I’d do no such thing, Ducks” Sally frowned defensively. “I just want to see an old friend up close for a moment and….Oooops!” Suddenly she seemed to trip on some bit of refuse in the dirt street and fell toward Blackjack.

With a speed that even startled Lil, Roberts had her by both wrists and righted her headlong tumble. “Damn it, Luv!” He cursed. “Ye know full well I’ll not be letting’ ye pick me pockets like some babe fresh off a’ the merchant ships!”

“Why I’d never do such a thing to you, Jack.” The red head looked hurt. “Very well then. I leave you in the grace…..”

“…and favor of the Lord.” Blackjack finished with a wicked grin. “Aye, Luv. Ye’d steal yer granma’s wooden leg, an’ let her hop about on one foot if’n ye figured the price be right.”

Sally huffed and stuck her nose in the air as she stalked off down the filthy street. Once she was no more than ten yards away she whirled around and placed her thumb and middle finger in her mouth, releasing a shrill whistle. “Oh, bloody Hell!” Blackjack cursed as three of the “drunks” leapt to their feet, weapons in hand. Four more poured from the doorway the trollop had emerged from.

Lil and Jack put their backs to the wall. Two of the ruffians suddenly let out gurgling cries, clutching their throats where the handles of Lil’s daggers stuck out. Two more would have fallen an instant behind had she not been stunned by what she saw next.

As Blackjack’s one hand pulled his rapier free of the scabbard his other hand shot out at the closest thug, a ball of flame erupting into the stunned man’s face. With staggering speed Roberts’ sword buried itself into the man’s belly just above his belt buckle and Jack jerked upward, sending the hapless victim’s innards into the filth of the street.

The remaining four quickly decided that discretion was the better part of valor and spun about to take to their heels. Lil broke free of her shock and caught two of them between the shoulder blades with two more daggers. As they crumpled to the street Old Hob’s coils wrapped around one’s throat jerking him backward with a sickening snap. Two strange looking darts with red tassels embedded themselves in the last, just behind his knees and he went down with a startled cry. In an instant Blackjack sat astride the survivor, the hidden razor once again in his hand, and a grin of pure evil on his face. Sally was no where to be seen.

“Gather yer blades, Luv, and wait fer me at the end of the street!” He shouted to her. “Ye don’t want to see what’s about to happen here!”

Stunned by the change she saw in her friend Lil obeyed like a woman in a trance, wiping the blades clean on the dead men‘s clothing before sheathing them. She had no more than made it halfway to the end of the street when the screaming began. An involuntary shudder raced up her spine as she fought the urge to turn around at the pitiful wails. She had seen with her own eyes the man Blackjack Roberts truly was and wondered at what cruel twists of fate could have made this side of him.

Soon the cries of pain ended in one last gurgling cry and Blackjack joined her, coiling his bull whip into a circle before fastening the braided leather to his belt. He deliberately refused to look at her and she noted the shame written on his face. “I had hoped we would be spared something like this, Luv.” He spoke quietly. “I should have known better on this bit of Hell on Earth.”

In spite of what her imagination had told her had just happened, Lil could not help but feel pity well up inside her as he continued. “When I was first here I had to do things that shame me to this day. I would not blame you now if you found that you could not stomach the sight of me. I have added to the sins that will earn me my place in Hell, while my Jenny rests in Heaven.” As he finished Lil noted the single tear that raced down his cheek.

Softly Lil raised one hand to the torn man’s chin and turned his head to her, looking into his blue green eyes. “You did what you had to, Jack.” She said tenderly. “I think no less of you for it and you shielded me from the worst of it. That has to count for something.”

“Do you know how I stayed alive on this accursed isle, Lil? Fear. Terrible gruesome acts of savagery.” Blackjack’s voice was choked with emotion. “If a man attacks me, I flay him alive. If he tried to rob me, I would cut off his hands one finger joint at a time. If he stood up against me, I bull whipped him near to death before I cut the head from his shoulders. A spectacle of horrible acts. That's what maintains the order of things on La Ville du Traitre. Fear, and here I became that which I loathe the most!”

“Blackjack!” Lil spoke sternly. “The only thing that you did was what anyone in your position would have done to survive and I’ll never think less of you for it! I have seen the man that you truly are! You saved Elinor without a second thought for yourself! Willing to risk your life to go and get the antidote from your bunk! I saw you do everything in your power to protect Honour on that English scow! No man who thinks so much of others before himself is evil and I’ll hear no more of it!”

“Thank you, Luv.” Roberts smiled, bringing her hand to his lips and softly pressing them to the backs of her fingers. “You have no idea how much that means to me. Now let’s go see Pew and finish this.”
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 10:37:39 PM by Blackjack Roberts »

 

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