Since 1998 

Page 1  2  3  4  5      Main

Unholy Trinity
(Rated R-18 for language and content - do not go further if under age or sensitive to such.)

Date: 06-03-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 21

Escape From Montserrat

Once the last of the men were 'ushered' below, the trap door was closed, sealing out all light. A few of them drew out their pocket flints and their blades which had not been confiscated. Really, was there any reason? Locked down here, the weapons would only be used one against another. Less of a burden for the MPs. In a short while, small fires were blazing, filling the hole with the thick smoke. Far better to cough on that than the foul odors otherwise filling the room. Faces and bodies were illuminated or silhouetted or cast into complete shadow, depending on where they stood.

The smoke made Brendan cough but it did the same to several men. It was relief though and when he noticed some of the men weren't moving, the smells made more sense, unfortunately. They came not only from the living but from the dead as well. He squinted through the smoke until he spotted one or two of the men from the Whore and made his way toward them. Not a word was said though; it just made sense to stay together until they got out of here. The ship itself would likely be long gone, something that made the gunner smile to himself. Still, the situation here wasn't good. No food, no water, and however many men were in here. There was bound to be more trouble before they breathed fresh, clean air again.

Minutes. Hours. Days. Weeks. Who even knew. At times, the door above would open, food was tossed down in a large, sloshing splat. Not nearly enough to feed the number of men below, only the strong and daring could grab a handful of the muck to hold them over to the next onslaught of slop. Better to snooze lightly, if the rats didn't eat at you while you slept, a hungry, desperate pirate might. With no light, and only the fading, rekindled, fading fires to console the vision there really was no passing of time, only the tricks of the mind. Some men scratched at the earthen walls, marking the hours as best they could. Others pulled strings from their pant leg hems, a string dangling as evidence for each day beneath ground. Some pants were nothing but tattered strings at this point.

Brendan had spent hours in the darkness when he first was taken prisoner on the Whore but this, this was so much worse. He managed to get some food because he was quick. He had learned to sleep lightly, and now he learned to sleep with his hand on the hilt of his poniard. His ribs still hurt and he ignored the pain as best he could. One of the men closer to his age was not handling the imprisonment well, talking to himself in a soft voice. Others stared at nothing or shouted out for no reason. Though he didn't count the days, he watched the men that did even though at this point, he had no idea how long it had been. Freedom? The freedom of the Whore was beginning to look good to him, and he almost wished he hadn't left for shore leave. Almost.

Normally, when food, or what passed as food, came spilling down the hatch, a bustle of sound proceeded it. Above at the moment, there was shuffling, thumping, bumping, several thuds, grunts and a moan, all muffled by the floors above. Silence followed. The door above started to lift, then dropped with a loud slam. A repeat of noises followed then a steady drip, drip, drip seeped through the wooden slat and splatted to the earthen step below. A scraping slide, then another thud.

Brendan had been dozing when the sounds came from up above. He expected the swill to follow but those noises... Brendan looked up as did those who were coherent. He glanced at the men around him, but just briefly. As the drip began, one of the men from the Whore moved closer, putting out his hand. He tasted it, then looked at those below him, watching. "'Tis blood." One of the lost men shouted, "Revenge!" close by Brendan. The gunner jumped in surprise and looked at him. "Crazy ol' twit." He muttered then watched the stairs again. It grew silent after that shout and they waited, every man's hand on the hilts of their weapons.

Light shot in from above as the door was flung open, then that brightness was blotted out by the large, black shadow. "Dammit, Roach, where the hell are ya?" The gravel-riddled voice broke through the anticipation below and the hulk of form slid a step or two down before reaching out to the side. One of the Whore's crew shouted out. "Rhazor? Christ almighty, Man, it is you!" Which started the others to push and swarm. "Goddammit, back the hell up!" Rhazor growled, with one kick thrusting the first of the surge so that he toppled any behind him. "Get the fuck out of my way...blast it...ROACH! We've only got a little time, get your scrawny ass...I said back the fuck up!" This time there was the eye-searing flash, the ear-ringing blast, the nostril-burning smoke of a flintlock and another man who had pushed forward sailed backwards into the now scrambling, dispersing group. "Now...or I leave your sorry crack!"

Brendan blinked against the light until the shadow appeared... a very familiar one. He was trying to answer but the swell and push had him stumbling against the wall. "Here!" Cripes! He was half blind and half deaf but when the last man scrambled down the steps, he started up them, the other crew members behind him. His eyes were watering as he stopped in front of Rhazor, glad to see the scarred pirate, even if it meant he was heading back to that uncertainty of life on the ship. He wanted to ask questions ... when didn't he? ... but he didn't. "You're a sight for sore eyes. Might want to stand back though." He was dirty, hungry, sore and tired and certain he smelled of smoke, death and all the smells that came from that hell hole of a prison. The guards were dead which explained the drip. Brendan actually hoped Rhazor would leave the trapdoor open so the released prisoners could ravage the town.

Like hell he would. He grabbed Brendan by the arm, that large, firm grasp snatching him up as he started away. Never mind the stench. They had to get the hell out of here. The men behind started to surge forward again but no sooner had they reached the top, Rhazor shoved Brendan toward the other large sun-blocker by the front entrance and the gunner was caught by the scruff of his neck and directed out while Rhazor spun and slammed the door closed on the top of any heads that had gotten up that far. Including those of the Whore's crew. "Feck ya." He growled past the rumble of injured vocal cords to the sealed off hole. The dead patrol were not the only ones bleeding. The militia had managed to get in a slice or dozen before meeting their demise and with a hand pressed to his side, Rhazor limped off in the direction of the fleeing Brendan...and Blackbeard.

Brendan let out a strangled sound of surprise as he was grabbed, then pushed forward. The sunlight hurt his eyes, setting his eyes to watering, nearly blinding him. He heard the trap door slam close and tried to turn. "There's some of our crew down there," he yelled out before he was jerked forward. Blinking again, he turned his head enough to see it was the Pirate Lord who had him in his grip. Ah hell! He'd be sure to be in trouble for getting caught as well as protesting about the others. There would be no more protests, no more words. He knew why that door had been shut in that way... pirates had no hearts, showed no weaknesses. And the chance of freedom disappeared like a drop of rain hitting the ocean.

"Shut up." Eric growled to Brendan's protest, even though the gunner had already done just that. Eric's strides were long, determined but gave no evidence of the need to hurry. Although, Brendan's attempt to keep up might give away the opposite. Every once in a while, a passerby would step further from their path, or perhaps offer a muted "Captain" with a nod, giving the man and lad ample space to pass. As they made the corner of the next building over, two more large forms closed in behind them. Since Westmoreland didn't react, surely no threat was present. In fact, if Brendan had the opportunity to twist around at all, he'd notice it was the Twins taking up their flank and Rhazor not far behind covering all of their backs. Shouts started down the street in the vicinity of the prison and whistles found lips with a shrill of alarm. "Goddammit." Eric grit out between his teeth. "Arm's length, you hear me?" Strykar nodded, though Eric wouldn't see, but he did hear the other brother's reply. "Aye, Capt'n. No one will get closer."

The gunner was trying to not to look like a school boy again as he was forced to go forward. He glanced at the Pirate Lord once, then looked away. Ah hell. What next? At the sound of foot steps, and the prickle in between his spine, he did twist around just enough. The men left behind had told him no one would come for them but surprise! He heard the shouts, then the whistles and cut another glance toward the Captain. He shouldn't say it, wouldn't say it, but dammit, if they had let the prisoners free, they'd be running amuck and no one would notice the five moving quickly down the street. Or maybe they would. Apparently the Captain wasn't going to let go of him anytime soon either. He did say something though. He couldn't help it. "No more shore leave, right?"

Strykar heard and responded, since the Captain only jerked the lad for the comment "Oh, you'll get shore leave. Once you leave the shore, you shore 'aint never leaving the ship again." Whoah! That was all he got out. Eric stopped short, the Twins pulling up tight to keep from plowing into them and Rhazor spun with his back to the lot to check behind. All was well there...but what? Westmoreland shoved Brendan to the side, into an alcove of a doorway and out sight. "They're coming." The captain hissed, a similar sound following from the blade as it was pulled free from its sheath. All three men jerked out their blades, swords and cutlasses, daggers and even a grappling hook in Vott's grip.

ACBrendan made a choked sound when he was jerked but Strykar nearly had him laughing, in spite of the trouble he was in. Nearly, because the Captain suddenly stopped short, jerking the gunner back a step. When he found himself inside the alcove and nearly nose to nose with a door, he turned. Who was coming? He watched the men draw blades, then drew his own daggers. Though the gunner probably wasn't supposed to fight, he would be ready. He took a deep breath and tried to listen for what the Pirate Lord had heard. Nothing... no steps, no shouts. Nothing, at least ... not yet.

All four stood still, Westmoreland's large form blocking the entryway into the tight area where Brendan waited. "Mother fuckers..." Vott cursed, turning his head slowly from left to right, tracking...Strykar did the same. Bodies still, only the motion of heads or eyes attempting to find the threat. Down the street the shouting never ceased, the MP were engaged elsewhere in disputes that centered around their slain comrades, questioning, with less than cordial measures. Eric lifted a hand slowly, listening as well, then growled out his next words as he took a step away and turned, starting to look above. "Up!" He barked, even as the large, dark forms leapt from the shingles of roof above to the boards of walkway below, landing with solid, vibrating thuds. Two, Three, Four, Fivesix. The MP touched down with expertise around their target and entered immediately into combat.

Brendan stood still as well in that confined space, watching Eric's back though he could see slightly around him to the others. Now he could hear the shouts, the sounds of fighting and he bit at his lower lip. He didn't feel guilty anymore about the deaths of others and that troubled him. Instead, he felt his heart beat harder, not from fear but from anticipation. He watched as the Pirate Lord stepped forward and spoke, then watched as the MP appeared and attacked. Before he could step forward, the door behind him opened and the face of a child appeared, eyes wide at the sight. "Close the door, and lock it." Brendan whispered, "Don't come out." The door closed as quietly as it had opened and he heard the lock slide into place. He shook his head, then turned to see how the four men were faring. Should he jump in and help? It couldn't get him into much more trouble then he was.

At this particular moment, Brendan could take his best chance and make a run for it. An opportunity such as this one didn't come along more than once in a lifetime. Considering the anticipated life span of this particular gunner...he better make the most of it in order to keep his blood from flowing outside of his veins. That is, unless that very blood ran thick and red and tainted with the black ink of the jolly roger. Each man fought without a single thought other than survival, Brendan's existence be damned. But the lad hesitated in order to save a curious child, and that split second of delay, brought the MP into the alcove to welcome the young pirate the fray.

Trouble?! It was right there in his face, and he barely had time to bring up the poniard and dagger to block a rather large blade. The MP was taller and stronger, and the gunner was hard pressed to keep the blade from bearing down, so he did the only thing he could do, He left the weight of the soldier do the work, as the gunner went down on one knee then twisted. When the soldier lost his balance, Brendan jumped up and brought the poniard down, stabbing the MP in the heart. He was panting as he turned to see what was happening. Run and chance being taken again by the MP or stay and fight. Each of the others were fighting hard, and they wouldn't notice if Brendan took off but he wasn't sure where he could go. He slipped out of the alcove, feeling trapped in there and slid along the wall of the building, weapons still in hand, his eyes on the four.

And this...this here...was what legends were made of. The tales of Blackbeard and his horde of unsavories were spread throughout the islands, haunted the mainlands, rippled across the seas. They were used to train men to combat evil, used to scare children into proper behavior, and held as role models for those who would survive the life of a pirate. This here...this right now...This. The MP did not shrink away from the nefarious force that confronted their attempts but no man could face off against sure and certain death without a good dose of intelligent fear. The four men had fought together before, many times, without a doubt. A formidable, well-executed slaughter as blades sank into flesh, time and again, and life for man after man ended. He who woke with the sun this morning not knowing he would not see another sunrise. And that life was snuffed without even an inkling of remorse. Boots tramping through spilled blood on to the next man.

Brendan stopped to watch, amazed at the way the four men moved, fought and he was nearly caught unawares again as another MP came from nowhere and almost skewered him. It was only an uncanny instinct that had him turn and block the blade of the man. He fought harder then he had against the Spanish, dancing to the song of steel against steel, and finally the man fell to the ground lifeless. Brendan was wounded, a cut deep into his thigh but he pulled his dagger free and wiped the blade on the dead man before he took the MP sword. The dagger slipped back into his boot, he turned with poniard and sword in hand to face the next foe. His lip was curled into a near snarl, his eyes were fierce and he looked nothing like the lad who had first met the crew of the Whore months ago.

Two more of the Patrol rushed to join the fight, but they would end much as the first six had. Smeared with blood, their enemies and their own, the pirates had been working their way down the dock while they battled. A boat bobbed in wait, a solitary seaman holding the vessel in place for the men to return. Since no man cared who still stood or who had perished, as they reached their means of escape, one by one they jumped in. Rhazor was the last of the four to enter and he turned, looking up to Brendan, brows lifted. The fifth still remained on the dock and now, his decision had to be made. Or would it be made for him? "Get in the damn boat, Boy!" Eric barked, tearing off his blood soaked shirt and tossing it into the water to his right. He didn't look at Brendan. No. The Captain not only expected his order to be followed. The boy's life depended on it.

He hadn't realized how close to the docks they were until the fighting was over. He stood there a moment, breathing hard, indecision on his face as he looked at Rhazor. . First he glanced over his shoulder, then the Captain spoke. There was no hesitation after that. Brendan joined them without a word of protest. He had helped kill men to aid their escape. He would likely never be able to step foot on Montserrat again but again, there was no guilt. He didn't care anymore.

That invisible line. A doubt. The decision. Boot into Boat. Somewhere between human decency and complete disregard ... and the step from one side to the other placed Brendan in with the basest of the lot. As soon as the gunner had both feet within, the man pushed off from the left and Vott and Strykar started rowing.

It was a final decision. He knew that as surely as he knew his own name. He didn't look back toward the city, only forward, to the ship that had become his home, to the men that were it's crew and to the man he could only claim as Captain. The child would be likely the last person he saved, including himself. He didn't even know if any of the other crew was still on the island besides those in the prison. He looked from the ship to Rhazor and gave the Quartermaster a slight smile. What happened next would be up to Blackbeard. And there would be no excuses for what happened in that tavern from the Gunner.

Date: 06-12-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 22

Hell on Earth

Four weeks, to the very day, passed while The Whore crossed out of the sights of any well-meaning ship set to clear the waters of the wicked pirate influence. Four weeks, to the day, everyone upon the pirate ship labored and lounged, as was their shift without a comment about what had transpired on Montserrat or that they were five men short of a previous crew. Four weeks, to the day, and the life of one bastard son of a pirate lord had progressed with perhaps a bit of initial trepidation but no apparent repercussions. Four weeks...but this was the day. All it took was a nod from the Captain, and what five men would have been able to accomplish, was hoisted off on the gunner. Not that it had been his fault they all had been arrested and tossed into prison. No. It was because Eric had felt compelled to go after the lad, and now, he was pissed as hell for succumbing. That left the bottom of the hill, and all the shit was rolling right at him.

Brendan understood not to relax, not to ever feel as if he were perfectly safe on the Whore. He never knew what to expect and that had him always on edge as well. The weight of guilt that he usually carried was not there, and even that didn't trouble him anymore. Days passed and he avoided talking to most, did his work, and kept to himself. The Whore was his home now. He wasn't sure he could ever return to his old life. It was fading like a child's dream and Heathfield could have been on the moon. So, he worked, ate and slept and tried not to think about what could happen to him next. Even with the extra work given to him, he didn't complain.

On this particular day, this four weeks, to the day, more chores were dumped on the boy. More than even three men could see finished. And though the gunner sweated and struggled and attempted to see them all accomplished, the best of his ability would not be good enough. Not...this day. Rhazor was not on board as he usually was at this hour. But that wasn't Eric's doing since even Westmoreland was within his cabin working the logs. Was the captain aware that the quartermaster was not at the wheel? Actually, should notice be made, most of the men that had become comfortable around Brendan, who chatted and chummed around with him as best as pirates can do were not on deck at this particular moment in time. Only the ones that kept their heads bent to their work, or their notice set on their chores. Vott bumped his hips and groin up against Brendan as the gunner started to bend before squatting next to a bucket. "Missed you, Pony." The man growled low. "Do believe you owe us one for having the Cap't come and safe your worthless ass in that Montserrat hole." Strykar eased up and stood with his back toward Brendan, arms crossed, his large body blocking this conversation...or whatever might transpire...from the immediate view of any close.

It was different enough that Brendan did notice, not so much the men around him, but the fact that Rhazor was not at the wheel. It troubled him, especially since they were out to sea but it could be that the Captain had him in his cabin, talking. Brendan was hot and not even the breeze helped. He had pulled his shirt loose from his pants and still he found no relief. He thought about stripping the shirt off but left it go. It did protect him some from the sun. the gunnar was unaware of the twins until they moved in close. When Strykar bumped him, his eyes grew wide and even though he had been bending, he moved two steps forward, and turned.. When he looked up at the larger man, his expression however, showed nothing of how he felt. "I'm wonderin', why did you even bother?" He was stalling, looking for options but he didn't try to move away from the Twins. Not yet.

The more scarred of the two chuckled with the question although he wasn't facing the lad. Vott's reply was simple. "You owe us." A brow arched up, and he nodded slowly.

Brendan's heart was pounding as he answered. He was scared of the two, just as most of the men on this ship were but he'd be damned if he'd show it. More damned then he was. "I don't owe either of you a bluidy thing. All you ever wanted was to scare me and treat me like you did Leonard." His fingers gripped the handle of the bucket as he spoke. This was going to turn out badly!

Strykar backstepped, his muscular back and strong legs bumping into the gunner and giving him a push toward the stairs that led down into the bowels of the ship. "Did his voice just squeak, Sty? I do believe the Pony just neighed." Vott looked down to the bucket in Brendan's hand, then back up to catch the lad's eye. "You can put the bucket down, won't be helping you none." Unless, of course, he had to vomit, which happened sometimes, if the pain got intense enough to enjoy it. Strykar just grunted out another muted laugh and took another step back, edging Brendan along. Vott continued speaking. "And you're right there, Ponyboy. Although, had you been the one to come with us that night, little Leonard might still be with us. Who knows. I don't figure you to be a piglet though. All squealing and squirming." Vott turned his head side to side as if sizing up the gunner. "Mmm." He practically moaned, pulling his gaze back up the lad's form to his features. "No, you are all pony, boy, made for riding hard."

Brendan looked up at Vott, narrowing his eyes and when Strykar bumped him again, he cursed. "Stop. Doing. That." No way in hell did he want to go down those steps with these two. He was pretty sure he would survive what they would do. Almost sure. He didn't release the bucket though he made it seem as if the water dumped out accidentally. "Where's Rhazor?" Did they do something to him? He knew there'd be no answer there either. That was when he twisted as he turned, in a way that would make an old man groan. The bucket was swung as fast and as hard as he could swing it, in an effort to smash it right into Vott's groin. If that succeeded, Brendan was going to throw it at Strykar and run like hell!

Delusional lad. Didn't he realize that unless he managed to kill the two of them, he could run, but he could only run so far? The bucket grazed the area intended as Vott leapt to the side. The contact was just enough to cause him to grunt with the possibility of the pain that could have inflicted. Seeing the action from the corner of his eye, Strykar spun around, grabbing Brendan's swinging arm and squeezing until he could possible snap the thing in two if the bucket was not released. Vott grabbed his balls in one hand and then bounded forward to grab Brendan's face in the other. "Now that is the kind of play that gets me stoked and in a cockstrain, Pony. No, you're not that whimpering cabin boy." He cut a look to the side, and since one of the men on board happened to be looking their way, he narrowed his eyes at him. "If anyone comes knocking, I'll know YOU sent them." A slow nod from Vott and that pirate jerked his eyes away. Strykar shoved Brendan this time, the boy's arm in his grip, which caused Vott's fingers to dig into the lad's jaw before being released. "Get going, I don't want to blow in my britches with just watching you two struggle."

Brendan grunted from the pain, no squeal, no eeping noise, just a grunt and a grimace as the bucket fell to the floorboards. He looked at Vott as his face was grabbed and actually snarled. The gunner glanced over at the man watching, then looked back, breathing through gritted teeth. There's be no doubt he'd be black and blue and worse if he didn't get away from the two, but with his arm held the way it was, he could only dig in the heels of his boots and not much else. No, there'd be no help from anyone else and the gunner knew it. He spit at Vott after the man released him but it was a useless gesture. Neither man would be impressed and they would keep him moving toward the steps.

Date: 06-23-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 23

Descend into Hell

The boy was shoved and pushed until he was stumbling down the steps. But he wasn't let go of. No, Styrkar made sure the lad wasn't going anywhere except where the Twins wanted him. That 'where' was into the cabin set aside for the two muscular men and it was in that very direction their course was set.

Ow, Ow, Ow! His arm wasn't broken but it damn near felt like it. He practically had to walk on his toes until they reached the steps, then it was all he could do to keep his footing. At least they hadn't pushed him down them. That corridor was darker then he thought possible, or maybe it was the fear of what waited for him. He tried to struggle against Strykar's hold but finally gave up. He wasn't getting away and he was sure Vott was blocking his escape anyway.

The boy was released when he was shoved into the cabin, both large men following in after him. Don't look around, Brendan. Or better yet, do! So many weapons to choose from if only the lad could get his hands on one. On the walls were sickles and hooks, chains and shackles. Picks of every thickness and daggers of every size, all lined up and hung along the wall according to their respective length. Leather straps, razor studded or studded with sharp pikes hung over steel hooks. Black, full-headed masks, some with just tiny holes for the nose and nowhere else, others with the lumpy appearance of what metallic menace may be within it. Oh what fun it is to ride...

He hadn't been expecting any of this... some whips maybe, definitely knives, but this... this was a nightmare. Brendan couldn't begin to imagine what they had done to Leonard, what they planned for him. He turned to face them both, face pale as he looked from one to the other. A step, then another backwards away from them. "You're both insane." The gunner blurted out the words, between quick breaths. Yes, he was scared but the paleness and the breathing were the only signs of how scared he was.

Vott laughed and moved forward, taking down one of the studded leather straps. Strykar reached behind him without looking and closed off the door, not even bothering to bolt it behind them. Brendan was going nowhere, they were confident of that. "There's a new one, Sty." Vott continued to laugh, folding the strap in half so that the metal barbs were on top, and flexing the leather into an arch, he jerked it flat with a popping snap. "Might as well take your clothes off, Pony. We'll be taking some of your flesh, and whatever else we chose." Styrkar said. As Vott dropped his hand to the side, swinging the strap beside his thigh, he started to the right of Brendan. His words were low and rasping, as if he had already expended energy to beat the gunner. Anticipation had that affect on him. "And I'm thinking, he's been showing his ass, what, with the captain coming after him to save it, he might as well share a little of that ... with us."

Brendan took another step back until the wall was against his back. Something stabbed into his shoulder but he ignored it. If he survived this, it wouldn't matter much, would it? "No way in hell," he growled the words, voice changing slightly. "And the captain's never seen my ass, nor has anyone else." He turned his head slightly, studying what was behind him in his peripheral, then looked back. They were getting too close and he grabbed a sickle, moving into a fighting stance. Ohhell, what a choice for a weapon, but he might keep them back. Right! Desperation was making the gunner take a risk, one that would probably make matters worse, but he wasn't going to give in to the Double Bastiges without a fight.

Vott smiled where he rocked side to side, foot to foot, just shy of the sickle's reach. He hated when the toy just balled up and gave in with no fight. This was oh so much more to his liking. Strykar stalked in a semi-circle in front of the plaything, reaching up in one of his passes to snatch down a leather-handled whip. It wasn't long, it barely licked the floor where it trailed by Strykar's foot, but it definitely was made for doing damage. With a flick of thick wrist, the snaked-end lashed out, snapping just shy of Brendan's hip. "So through the clothes it will be for now, Pony." And again, that spine of leather cracked, this time slicing through the lad's shirt against his ribs.

Brendan would never be overconfident when it came to fighting. Usually he just let instincts take over but these two were a whole new game, and watching two of them made this all the harder. He kept the sickle moving, trying to keep out of reach. And when Strykar started to reach for the whip, Brendan groaned inwardly. He danced to the side with the first snap, nearly bumping into something... though he wasn't sure what, then he yelped with both pain and surprise. "Dammit!" The outburst couldn't be helped. He glanced to the side to make sure he wasn't getting himself cornered then turned slightly so he could watch them both. "Gonna stay that way too." Words growled out even though he knew they'd just laugh.

Oh, but they weren't laughing. No. This was serious business, as much as it was their favorite type of ... business. They both may be smiling, but that had more to do with their anticipation and planning than Brendan's actual words. Cat and mouse. But in this case, the 'cats' had larger claws, and far better means to torment their rodent. At the same moment, both Twins sent out their attack, one from Brendan's right, the other from the left. Whip and strap. Slash and sting. Neither said anything. It was far better to 'hear' at this moment, and to listen to the moans, the gasps, the cries, very sound of fabric and flesh separating ... no words were needed.

If the gunner had time to think about it, he likely wouldn't have been able to decide if they were scarier when they smiled or when they were deadly intent like now. He jerked back when those whips hit, having no choice. The sickle might be keeping the two men from being close, but with those whips, they didn't need to be. He cursed again and though he swatted at the wide lash Vott had, the other hit. He didn't entirely block the first and with a sharp intake of breath, he tried to move away from Vott at least. Even if it brought him close to Strykar, it also brought him closer to the knives. As soon as his back brushed that wall, he grabbed one and threw it at that Twin. Anything in reach was going to be used, and no sooner had one flown then he was picking up another, sending it toward Vott.

Strykar twisted so that the dagger missed its mark, and as he did, he let loose another crack of whip, catching Brendan's right hand at the wrist and wrapping around tight, cutting into the skin and releasing the blood from those just-under-the-surface-veins. The other weapon that had been unleashed toward Vott sailed right toward his chest. That twin lifted his arm and blocked the blade so that it intentionally sank deep into the top of that muscular forearm. A flip of hand and he tucked the strap under his arm, pulling the weapon out slowly, and when Brendan looked his way, he drew the width of his exposed, spread tongue under the flat of that blade, leaving his own blood on the surface. Vott brought the blade in front of his face, turning it as he eyed the metal, then locked on Brendan over the sharp edge. In that instant, that very instant that their eyes touched again, Vott jerked the strap from under his arm and the other hand sent the dagger sailing back, toward Brendan's right hand, the one that held the sickle.

Damndamndamn! He missed Strykar and Vott ... really was insane! He let out a yell of pain as Strykar's whip curled around his wrist. Pulling only made it worse but he did anyway, keeping the whip taunt. He couldn't take his eyes off Vott until that last moment, when he started to bring the sickle up. The knife hit the weapon, startling the gunner enough that he dropped it. "Fuck m... " He caught himself and grabbed at the whip with his other hand to try to free it, then he twisted back, and reached for another weapon. His fingers touched the hilt of a longer knife with a dangerous wavy blade. Gods! How many different weapons did they have? Now his shirt was sticking to him from blood and sweat.

As soon as the gunner laid hands on his next weapon of choice, Strykar jerked hard on the whip, the manner in which it was wrapped would spin the gunner off balance. Vott moved then, his large muscular forearm slammed into the smaller man's chest, shoving him up tight against the wall behind. The strap dangled from that hand while the other vied for the weapon in Brendan's grip.

Brendan yelped, nearly losing his balance but he had hold of the knife and kept it. He didn't have a chance to slash at the whip again as the air was nearly knocked out of his lungs. The gunner could feel the weapons on the wall biting him in the back but he kept the blade from Vott long enough to slash at the Twin's arm, then the bigger man's face. The slashes were wild because of how he was being held. He tried kicking too, especially between Vott's legs!

Time for contact then, was it? Strykar lunged forward as Brendan started slashing out, catching the unscarred twin along the arm, across the face. Since Vott had reeled away from the infliction of gash, that left the boy's stomach wide open for Strykar's meaty fist to land in a solid blow to that area. Not once, but twice that Twin punched the lad. As the blows were making their mark, Vott stumbled to the side, his hand lifting by instinct to wrench down one of those sightless masks.

Brendan took a deep breath as Vott moved away. Only one and it was expelled with a whoose and a grunt at he doubled over, then fell to his knees. He felt as if anything, everything in his stomach was about to come out. He put one hand out to brace himself, the other clenching his stomach. Boots were all he saw. One too close, the other further away. Whatever it was that made him so stubborn was still working, and he grabbed up the knife again, then he struggled to his feet and tried to get around Strykar though he nearly stopped dead when he saw what Vott had in his hand.

It would only be 'nearly' since the boy wouldn't be dead for quite some time. A limp body was never as much fun as a struggling on. When the boy managed back to his feet, Strykar was ready, and brought his knee around to catch him at the midsection at the same time as he caught the boy's hair in a tight grip, jerking the younger man's head back so he couldn't double over again. A large grip had clamped down on Brendan's blade arm to hold it away from any threat against his foe. Vott walked over slowly, the opening of the mask was held just beneath the dripping blood that streamed from the injury on his face. As he neared Brendan, he pressed the material together, scrubbing the blood on the inside to coat the interior. The boy would taste and smell and feel the blood he had managed to produce. As he came to stand right next to Brendan, he spoke, all strained and hoarse. "Do you want the gag ball, boy? Or do you wish to be able to cry out?" Strykar chuckled with that, pulling harder on Brendan's hair.

Again, a grunt and down to his knees again. He grimaced when his hair was pulled but then his eyes went wide, and his breathing came in quick, panicked gasps. He couldn't answer Vott and didn't do anything but grunt again, when Strykar grabbed his hair harder. His eyes closed for a moment, then he spit at Vott. What the hell was a gag ball? "I'm not going to cry out." But he was going to fuckin' kill them both ... somehow he'd see them both dead. In spite of Strykar's hold on his hair and arm, Brendan started to struggle. He didn't look at the mask, only at Vott.

He'd have to fuckin' live, to fuckin' kill. "No? Bet you'll damn well squeal then." Vott laughed after that comment, and in a swift up and down motion, captured Brendan's head inside of the black hood, like a butterfly in a net, no matter how much the boy struggled to prevent it. He tied it off tight under the chin then slapped a large palm against the cloth-covered forehead. "Now, Pony, now you'll have a damn fine time of it." Strykar had pulled his hand free just as the mask came down, and grabbed the back of Brendan's neck instead so that he wouldn't be able to escape the placement of mask too easily.

Did Brendan just say no as that hood was slipped over his head? Maybe. He was nearly gagging from the smell and taste of blood. Then he seemed to be starting to hyperventilate. He had one free hand and that one was clawing at the mask. Strykar wasn't holding his arm as hard as he could, so Brendan fell jerking his arm forward in the man's hold. With the knife still in his hand, he should slice up the Twin's arm, then jerk free completely. He slashed in front of him, where he thought Vott might still be then fell back on his ass and started scooting backward. He didn't know how close he was to the wall until he ran into it again. His shirt caught and the gunner jerked it free with a rip sound. Half sprawled, he pulled his legs closer to himself, trying to make a smaller target. That was when he became very still, forcing himself to control his breathing and not allow himself to fall into complete panic as he listened for the two men.

Date: 06-24-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 24

Escape from the Twins

"Bastard!" Strykar hissed, jerking back from that slash that extended elbow to wrist on the underside of his forearm, exposing muscle and causing blood to spurt out with the excited beat of his heart. That twin stumbled back a few paces, clamping the wide expanse of his large hand over as much of the injury as he could in an attempt to hold the opened flesh together. Vott had started in, but ended up maneuvering this way and that to avoid that blind wielding of weapon. Strykar's cry out caused Vott to pause and look his way. Ah, the blood. All that blood. And the pain of it. Damn hard-throb for sure now. He dove in, anticipating the slice of that weapon, willing it, but his timing was off, and Brendan's arm was trapped between them, the weapon flat to both of their chests. Vott ran a thick, wet tongue along the boy's neck, tasting the sweat and the fear which created that sweat. He growled close to the cloth-covered ear. "Damn but you're good boy." In the background, Strykar stumbled around, bumping into the wall, attempting to find some way to stifle the flow, to close the wound tight. The blood seeped through his fingers, dripped to the floor. He let go only long enough to reach up with his good arm and jerk his shirt from his back, using that fabric to wind and wind and wind around his arm.

He could hear them, almost tell where they were after Strykar cursed him. But it was impossible to be sure how close with that mask over his head. Unsure until Vott was up against him and he couldn't move. Beneath the mask, his eyes closed and he stiffened as Vott ran his tongue over his neck. "Get... away ... " The gunner actually gagged, certain he was going to be sick, but not in this damn mask. He tried to push Vott away using his own body, arching his back. If he could just free his arm!

That's right boy, buck up against him! Shit! Yes! Vott rode that rearing Pony for a moment, glancing back to check on Strykar. He didn't want to have 'all' the fun. As he twisted to see his brother, he growled with what he did see. The man had gone pale, and the shirt wrapped around his arm red. Fucker better not die on him, not while he was so close to plugging this little bastard. "Strykar!" He barked, twisting a little more from the boy's chest. "Get your ass over here!"

As soon as Vott lifted away from him, Brendan lifted the knife and turned it. He pushed as hard as he could, feeling the blade hit flesh and he continued pushing forward. Praying he was hitting the man in a vital spot, the gunner twisted the knife and fell back, panting. Now to get that damn mask off! He reached down into his boot for the knife he almost forgot he had during the whole process of nearly pissing himself and cut at the ties in the back, taking a chunk of hair. The mask was pulled off and he took a deep breath. Brendan probably looked half-dead with blood on his face, covering his body, but he wasn't and he was trying to get out from under Vott!

That blade sank deep into the front right of Vott's neck, which had his attention, immediately! His hand lifted and he clutched and clawed, pulling at the handle to yank it free. He tried to keep his hold on Brendan but ... that wasn't possible, not when his jugular was a geyser of red. This could have been his first climax if he wasn't all light headed with blurred vision. Vott collapsed on the lad, heavy, semi-dead weight and when the gunner shoved at him, thick fingers attempted to latch on to the boy's shirt, but couldn't close tight. There was a ruckus behind him,
the sound of a door hitting the wall, the shouts of men, his brother's yell of defense. Shuffling, thuds, and Vott was jerked up, his head lolling on his neck. Focus, dammit. Vott couldn't bring any face in clearly. Although, it wasn't one face, but the whole of the crew pouring in to that small room, taking control of the first Twin they encountered before the ones behind stormed further in to grab the second. One of the men dropped to a knee beside Brendan, hands and gaze searching the lad for injuries. "Can you walk out of here?" He was already snaking an arm under Brendan's, ready to hike him up.

Brendan didn't notice the sounds behind him at first, not with Vott 's weight on top of him. He was becoming drenched with the dying man's blood but he didn't notice that either. He was watching Vott, watching him die. "Rot in hell, fucker," this time he whispered close to the man's ear, then pushed again. Ow! The man touched a few of those raw, bleeding cuts causing Brendan to grimace. "I can walk." Be damned if he wouldn't even though he wasn't sure he would stay up long. "Just get me the hell up." He grinned then blinked as he realized how many had come into the room. "Vott won't make it." Dear Lord, protect him if he was wrong.

That news had Strykar revolting in the hold those five men had on him in his attempt to reach his brother. His arm no longer mattered, the heartless bastard actually possessed some sort of feelings for his Twin. The men let him go to race over to Vott, and the remaining twin slid to his knees in the blood left behind by the wound in Vott's neck. He jerked up the man, rocking him back and forth, back and forth. "Blimey." The man with Brendan whispered, helping the gunner from the room as he watched the Twin show. "We better get you the hell out of here." With the murmured agreement of almost all of the men close, Brendan was escorted out, while several of the pirates remained to deter the surviving Twin once he completed his initial mourning. Rhazor was rushing down the corridor when Brendan and the other men stepped out. "Fuck and damnation." He barked, skidding to a halt right in front of the gunner. "Where are you hurt?" The boy's clothes were still on, that was a partial relief. Rhazor's gaze shot past Brendan to the door of the Twin's cabin. "Where are they?" One of the men jerked a thumb in the cabin's direction. "Vott is as close to death as a man can get before crossing over. Boy here, jabbed him good in the jugular. " And he used that same thumb to poke at his own throat in the exact spot. Rhazor nodded. "Get him above and cleaned up, before the Captain sees him."

His shirt was in shreds, his pants ripped up good too but yes, they were on. "I'm fine." He gave Rhazor a half smile. "Blood's not all mine." He was lightheaded, and not so steady on his feet, but he was alive and so was Rhazor.. "I thought they got to you." The gunner didn't argue about going upstairs. He wanted air that didn't smell like blood and sweat, and ... death. Beneath his clothing, his skin was raw, cut and bleeding. He was frowning slightly though. Why the hell would Westmoreland care what condition he was in?

"Where is my goddamned crew!" Came the roar from above, causing every single one of them, to the man, to stop breathing. "Jesus Fuck." Said the man next to Brendan. Rhazor shot a look over to the stairs that would lead above, then back down the corridor that lead... nowhere. Rhazor grabbed hold of the closest man, jerking him forward. "The lot of you get the hell up there!" And in doing so, he took charge of Brendan. The men raced upward, exploding onto the deck in a scramble and stumble. Oofs and umphs followed, no doubt from the welcome back to duty that the Captain provided. "We need to get you off this goddamned ship, Roach." But there was nothing to be doing about that now. Now, they would remain where they were and pray to whatever higher power there might be that Westmoreland didn't come below.

Brendan blinked and look upward, eyes wide in that blood colored face when he heard that familiar voice. He watched as the men raced up the stairs, then winced at the sounds that followed. "Why?" Yes, he was that muddled headed that he didn't understand. "Because of the Captain?" What had he done that would make the Captain madder then he already was at the gunner?

"Let me know if you're going to pass out, boy." Some of that blood might not be his, but a good portion of it was and Rhazor didn't need the gunner going down with a thud. He backed them both up against the wall, and he kept his eyes on the light streaming down in the hopes that no shadow appeared. He didn't look at Brendan, just spoke low. "Because of the Captain? You only killed one of them, right?" He darted a look Brendan's way, then back up again. His free hand was on the hilt of his sword, but the weapon remained sheathed for now. "If BlackBeard doesn't kill the other after this, your death sentence has been signed and stamped with wax, Roach."

"Aye, only Vott." He swallowed hard. "I wanted to kill them both. I would have... " He shook his head and that damn well made him dizzier. "I ... how can I get off this boat, Rhay?" He took a deep breath, steadying himself. "The Captain will come looking for me if I leave. " He looked up at that doorway, and took another deep breath. "and he'll find me no matter where I go, unless I can get back to Heathfield." He wasn't even sure about that but he'd be a dead man in either case. He looked at Rhazor again biting at his lower lip. He wouldn't say why if he could help it.

"Then we'll have to fuckin' get you back to this Heathfield." He turned to look at the lad. "But you'll probably be dead this time tomorrow." Same ole, same ole. And Rhazor smiled, distorted as that expression was. It was the familiar threat, the one that always ended their evenings.

And it made Brendan smile even as he continued to watch the doorway. "Aye, probably. And Heathfield is a long ways off. Though, their ships travel everywhere." But hell, better to try to escape then to face Strykar. At least for now. He looked from the doorway to the deck, back to where he had just escaped. He didn't care that he had killed Vott, no regrets at all but damn, he wanted to stay alive. "Question is, how we going to get me back to my cabin?"

"Good question." Rhazor grumbled under his breath, once again watching that light. Then the shadow appeared, just as he feared and the sound of steps followed then the show of boots. "Get him up here...come on...Rodney managed to get the Capt'n back into his cabin. Move!" That man was waving them on frantically, cutting a quick look above, then back down to them. "Aye...let's try this thing, Roach." Rhazor snatched the injured gunner up against him and they struggled to the stairs that would lead up. That man continued to swirl his arm in a 'come on' manner until it threatened to smack either Rhazor or Brendan in the head. "Get the fuck out of the way, Judd, dammit."

Brendan's heart stopped for just a moment, then he exhaled in relief. He hated that he couldn't move quickly on his own but this was necessary. Hopefully someone would scrub away that trail of blood drops that followed the gunner up the steps. He winced when Judd's hand came close to his head, then bit back a groan of pain. All the adrenaline was wearing off, and every damn cut, bruise and lost flesh was starting to hurt. All he was concentrating on was one step at a time.

The bellow of rage echoed down the corridor, which initiated the cursing and shouts. All that ended with the remaining twin's rampage down the corridor toward the steps and what pirates weren't rolling around on the floor in pain chasing after him. Rhazor looked back, his jaw worked, and he shoved Brendan up the remainder of the wooden planks. "Stand down, you damned to hell bastige." Rhazor had that sword free and was standing dead center of the stairs with the blade pointing downward at the angle of the Twin's windpipe. "Move, Rhazor!" The bloodied pirate took a step forward, his opened-flesh arm extending to point to Brendan behind the gnarled-faced quartermaster. "He killed Vott!" Strykar stepped forward, Rhazor stepped down a step. "I said, stand down, the sonofabitch deserved it. You both deserve it. Care to join your brother in the afterlife so soon? I'd be more than obliging. Take another step forward."

Brendan near jumped out of his skin when he heard that bellow. He stumbled the rest of those steps, and landed on hands and knees with a grunt of pain, then he managed to struggle to his feet and turn with his knife in his hand. He snarled at Strykar, as he looked at the man over Rhazor's shoulder, almost daring him to come the rest of the way. "Just let him bleed to death, Rhay." Blood everywhere. Wasn't it lovely?

Strykar had one of the pikes in his other hand and he tilted that point to Rhazor and to Brendan beyond him. "Borrowed time, me hearties." Strykar pointed again to Brendan. "Borrowed f'eckin time." The pirates from behind tackled the massive twin to the boards and started hauling him back toward his cabin and the dead brother there. Rhazor didn't turn around but graveled to Brendan. "Get up the stairs and to your cabin...bolt the damn door."

"Aye. Aye, I'm goin'." He watched the Twin being dragged for a second more, then turned to head across the deck to the doorway that lead below to where his cabin was. He wanted to sleep, to forget this all but he first he needed to get cleaned up and tend his wounds. He managed to grab a bucket of clean water that had been left by the water barrel, and staggered to his cabin. Once the bolt was in place, he kicked off his boots and pulled off his clothes. Those went out the porthole for the sharks to tear to pieces. There wasn't much of the salve from Heathfield left, but he put it on his wrist and some of the worse wounds after he cleaned up. He even dunked his head in the bucket to get the blood out of his face and hair. Once he tended and bandaged what wounds he could, Brendan pulled on a shirt and pants collected after the escape from Montserrat. His second best clothes and best clothes were still in the chest and he didn't want to wear them. The water followed the clothing out the porthole, though much was splashed on the floor. It would dry. Finally, the gunner placed his blanket on the floor and curled up there, away from the door and the wet floor. The hammock would hurt and the floor would be his bed for a good many nights to come.

Date: 06-27-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 25

Brendan was dreaming and it wasn't a pleasant one though it had started out fine. He was on the Lady Jane again before the attack and talking to Jimmy. Right in the middle of a word, Jimmy stopped, his head separating from his neck. Behind him stood Vott, blood streaming from the knife wound on his neck. His Twin was with him and both circled Brendan while fires danced around them. Strykar reached for him, catching him by the throat and began to squeeze until the gunner couldn't breath. "Time to die, Pony." That's when he woke, sitting up fast, his hands to his neck. He calmed down when he realized he was in his cabin, and then he groaned. Every bruise, every mark where whips had cut through fabric and skin could be felt. His shirt stuck to him in some of those places as he pulled it off gingerly. Someone has left clean water for him outside and he cleaned up as best he could, bandaged what he could and put on another shirt, praying the bleeding wouldn't start up again. His legs were given the same treatment, and then the clothes were shoved into the water to soak. He'd get fresh water later. He stood slowly and bit back another groan. This was every bit as bad as the time Rhazor had punished him. No worse. He had the salve then.

Rodney found Rhazor once the possible crossing of paths had been diverted. "You know, you'll have to get that boy off the ship, Rhay." Rhazor allowed his body to thud up against the wall behind him, his head banging lightly against the wood a couple of times as his mind raced. "Aye, Mate. He is as good as dead for sure. There are none of us able to keep an eye on him every second of every hour. And once the Capt'n hears that Vott is dead..." He pushed up from his lean. "We are but a day's passing to Isla Vaca. We get him to Cow Island before the twins are missed and we'll get him ashore." He slapped a hand to the man's shoulder and, while shaking his head with disbelief he might even pull this off, he started down the hall toward Brendan's hole of a cabin. The gunner no longer required a guard, so none would see Rhazor as he rapped his knuckles to the wood. "Boy...are you awake?"

The gunner jumped when Rhazor knocked, then shook his head at himself. He was as jumpy as hell and with good reason. "Aye, I'm awake, Rhay." Pulling open the door, he gave Rhazor a lop-sided smile. "Not movin' too well, but awake." He paused then asked, "how are things topside?" There were no shouts, nothing to let him know what might be happening. Was the Captain even aware?

Rhazor passed a study over the boy, then nodded slowly as if satisfied with the results. "The Captain has yet to know...and here's my thinking, Roach." He placed a hand on the young man's shoulder and guided him back into his cabin, closing the door behind them. "Come Cuba, we'll be pitching you to the Locker in a sense. See? There's a woman there I'm acquainted with. Knows some things. Can do some things. She'll make you dead, so that Strykar or the Captain won't do the deed for true."

Brendan stepped back, blinking a few times while he took in what Rhazor had just said. "A what? Dead? And buried at sea?" That seemed pretty permanent to the gunner! "I'm a liability to the Captain as is. Strykar... " He hoped the Pirate Lord would kill the man himself. "So, how does this happen?" Hell, he didn't want to die on the Whore, nor by the hand of either man.

Rhazor stepped around the younger, crossing over to the gunner's box of personals. "What of this can you put on your person? Anything you can't hide on you, you can't take." The Captain would notice for sure if Brendan went off of the ship carrying his chest. "You are a liability to all of us now, Boy." He turned to look back to Brendan. The Captain would find out that the crew had rallied around the gunner, and that could be used against any of them. There was no doubt that Strykar would face Westmoreland's wrath, but they all believed it was because the twins acted without permission, again. Vott's death could also be on Strykar, causing the Whore to be one hardass pirate short. The trouble there was, no one could out think Blackbeard. Inevitably, the man's twisted mind always came up with something that would make even Satan cringe. "Not sure what she could have for you. Better we just let her take care of you. But you can be sure we'll only dump you in the water, if she messes up."

What could he take? The Bible, his letters, his weapons, the pendants he always wore. The best clothing would have to be left behind unless he wore it. His whole life was in the box and there wasn't much of that. Westmoreland had some of it as well, including that lock of his mother's hair but those things were best forgotten. He could get a copy of his birth certificate later, though he probably wouldn't.. "Aye, I guess I am." He opened the box and looked inside. No. He'd wear his second best. Now that the chance for freedom was before him, Brendan felt his heart in his throat. "How long before we reach Cuba?" Had Rhazor said? Brendan asked anyway. Then he looked at Rhazor and grinned. "No dramatic death scene?" Could the Quartermaster tell the gunner was scared?

The gunner should be scared. He should be fuckin' petrified. Still, that scarred expression split into a grin with the boy's final question. "We should make Cuba by noon tomorrow with a following wind. And, hell boy, I would have thought you had enough drama after the Twins." The quartermaster continued to the door, lifting the latch and pulling the wood open again. "Been nice knowing you, you'll probably be dead by this time tomorrow." And this time? That repeated comment held far more truth than any other.

"Aye, nice knowing you too." Brendan managed a grin, then waited until the door closed before he latched it again. He leaned his forehead against the wood. His heart was pounding and he shook his head. Did he want freedom or not? Heathfield or certain death on the Whore? No choice. He had to leave and leave the ship and the men he had come to know. Not friends. It was too dangerous to have friends but some were damn close to it and he would miss them. Still, he had to ... die. He had to get through this day, tonight and tomorrow, and he had to stay out of sight to do it.


If Eric wondered where the gunner was for the remainder of the day, he didn't mention it. The fact that Vott and Strykar also didn't show above board wasn't commented upon. There were times the two were absent for hours to a day, below, playing their own demented games with themselves. Westmoreland preferred not to know. Rhazor approached the captain, mentioned Isla Vaca, and was granted permission to seek out Nyx while there. The woman's potions were well liked by Westmoreland and, since he couldn't step past the barriers against evil she had placed at her doors and windows, it was up to Rhazor to do so. Aye, he could take the boy...IF...the lad never left Rhazor's sight. But...take the twins for protection. No matter how Rhazor protested, to continue pressing against that last idea would make the Captain suspicious so the quartermaster ceased and agreed. He'd figure something out before time to depart.

By afternoon the next day, it was time to depart and the quartermaster paced before the side rail, cursing under his breath. He hadn't figured out a damn thing. When Strykar came toward him, Eric stepped between them, the flat of wide hand to the large man's chest. The captain's gaze narrowed on the fresh wound, turning his head side to side with his complete study. "Where's your brother?" Strykar looked past the captain over to Rhazor. "He's not coming." Then back to Westmoreland. "He's feeling like death." Eric grumbled under his breath, shoving at the chest under his hand. "You two play too hard, goddammit." The pirate lord turned then to look at Rhazor. "Where's the boy? Get going. I don't wish to anchor here too long. Nyx has a way of eating away at my innards just knowing she's a shore away."

Brendan stayed below deck until it was time to go. Food had been sneaked to him and barely touched, though the ale was drank down. It helped ease some of the pain. Enough that it would be hard for anyone to know if they hadn't seen him earlier. He had hidden the wound to his wrist with a wide strip of leather, making a cuff that might seem decorative. At least that was his hope. He wore his second best clothes because they were looser and didn't rub the wounds. The Bible was hidden away in the loose shirt, along with the letters. His weapons he wore. And if the Bible was spotted, he'd simply tell Eric it was protection against the woman they were about to meet. He near ran up the steps and out on deck, skidding to a stop on the slippery boards when he saw Strykar. He quickly looked at Eric. "I'm here, Cap'n." As much as it pained him, the gunner managed to keep how much he was hurting hidden. They didn't need questions now.

"Good, get going and get back." Eric ordered, waving them away as he turned to leave them to it. Strykar reached out, catching Brendan at the back of the neck along his collar and tightened that hold. "Don't you worry none about our boy, Cap'n. I've got the pony's back." Eric's steps stopped, and he twisted to frown over in Strykar's direction. "I wasn't worried, ye' bastard. And now I'm wondering if I should have been." Rhazor jerked forward, snatching Brendan away from Strykar's hold and shoving the injured gunner toward the rope ladder leading down "Go." He growled to the lad and turned to face off against the surviving twin. "Shut the fuck up, Strykar. We're going, Captain. As if anyone's back is safe once you cross Nyx's threshold." Rhazor didn't say any more, just lifted a brow daring the Twin to say more. Eric remained with a narrowed survey of the men as one after the other the three climbed over the edge of the ship.

Brendan stiffened as soon as he felt that hold on his collar, and though he made a choking noise, his hand dropped to the hilt of the sword he had claimed on Montserrat. He glanced over his shoulder at Eric once Rhazor had jerked him free and after he had stopped his near stumbling toward the ladder. A shrug followed, though he winced in pain when he turned and he started the climb down. Once he was in the longboat, he stepped back and out of the way. He watched the other two men until they were both in the boat as well then looked upward to see if the Captain was watching. Damn, things were getting harrowing... or more so then before. Strykar was seemingly ignored but the gunner was watching and always wary. He'd stay out of the living Twin's reach from now until ... well, forever!

Date: 06-28-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 26

Truth and Lies

A place such as Cow Island played welcome to many a ship. Some docked within the bays, others remaining anchored in the harbor. Men and women strolled along the beaches, the piers, the small but crowded town beyond making it almost too easy to blend in whether the intent was fair or foul. That is, unless the bulk of body and visible scars drew the eye of those around. Double that attraction and, yes, Rhazor, Strykar ad Brendan were noticed and gazes followed and words were whispered. The fact that they proceeded to the priestess' hut was also gossiped upon although Strykar didn't enter. He couldn't. Damn witch woman had placed that barrier against those who would and could do her harm. The last time he tried to duck head and go in, he had doubled over in pain and spewed the entire contents of his gut with only one boot through the doorway. Not doing. Not today. The remaining Twin took up a position of sentry outside the door and waited.

Ducking his head, Rhazor entered into the dark interior with Brendan not far behind. He rather liked the smell of the place, all burning sage and whatnot. He couldn't stand up completely, keeping his head bowed as he searched for Nyx in the shadows. Familiar with his surroundings, he didn't need to study the many shelves of jarred powders and liquids. The canisters of things floating in clear fluids. The storage chests or crates. The tables littered with god only knew what and the figures made of clay, sea grass or twigs. No. He knew them all too well. He didn't even get the chance to call out to her, because she made herself known before he even could. "What be bringin' y'pirate ta Ile a Vache? Eh?" A curtain to the right parted and the woman stepped from the alcove beyond. She turned her back to the room, not at all uncomfortable with the present company. But then, she knew she was well protected. This man had never meant her harm or else he would be outside, with that 'other' one. Bones and beads, shells and symbols were braided in the unruly dark curls. Her fingertips were stained from the many years of practicing her art. Her voice hoarse from just as many years breathing in the fumes of the same. Fabric fell in folded layers from the waist down, creating the illusion that the woman floated when she walked. But then, maybe they were meant to hide the fact that she actually did. Her blouse was simple, the sleeves tied up at her elbows so not to get in the way, the ties at her neck knotted up in a bunch which exposed the valley of breasts shining slick with perspiration. It was hot as Hades in this place. Kept anyone from staying too long. Rhazor nodded off his initial greeting to her. "Good to see you, Nyx." He began, motion Brendan around for the woman to see better. "This is is Brendan."

Crowds. They were usually a refuge, a place to hide but today, Brendan felt exposed. He was smaller then the other two, his scars and wounds hidden beneath his clothing. He limped from the cut to his leg as he tried to keep up with the bigger men. He glanced around at the people, straightening his shoulders, chin lifting. Maybe he wasn't as big, but he did his damndest to look like he belonged, that he was as dangerous as the two with him. As the three came to the hut, Brendan was relieved to see Strykar take up a position at the door. He had to duck too, though not as much as Rhazor. Of course once they were inside, he had to blink his eyes against the smoke and dimness. He sneezed once, twice, from the smell of sage. Sniffing, he looked toward the jars on the shelves, his blue eyes going wide. Eyes, spiders, and was that a shrunken head? He nearly ran into Rhazor but stopped just short. It wasn't until Rhazor spoke that he tore his gaze away from it all. As he stepped around the Quartermaster, he blinked again, as if to clear away more smoke. The woman was a surprise as well, from head to toe, but oddly enough, he didn't fear her, in spite of her profession. "Pleasure, ma'am." He greeted her with a slight bow then sniffed again. Dammit, he had to rub at his nose to stop the itching.

Petite in size, this woman's presence seemed to fill the room. A cant of head, trinkets in her hair tinkling, she eyed the boy up and down. "Still dun know what be bringing you to me hut now, Mon. So speak it or get ye' gone." Rhazor cleared his throat, but it had nothing to do with the thick air they were breathing. "Need a potion. I want this boy dead..." The woman's dark brows lifted which had Rhazor amending quickly with... "To any what might be wondering on it, see? Not dead...dead. Just appearing so. Aye?" Nyx leaned back, her hands gripping the edge of the table behind her as she propped herself there, never once taking that assessing gaze from Brendan. Her response consisted of one word. "Why?" When Rhazor started to speak again, she hissed at him, pointing a long, discolored nail in Brendan's direction. "You be tellin' me, Boy. You be tellin' me why dis'here pirate plays pretending wit'chore life?"

Brendan fidgeted under that intense gaze, glancing at Rhazor when he spoke of a potion ... and death. He looked back, this time his eyes meeting hers. Unable to look away, he watched her as she watched him, nearly jumping when she pointed at him. It took him a few seconds to stammer it out. "To save it. I ... killed the brother of the man outside. Sliced that one up good too. The Captain wishes me dead but hasn't acted on that yet." He didn't add the why. He hadn't told Rhazor the truth of his birth yet either. "And the only way to save me, is to have me seem dead." It sounded confusing to him but somehow, he felt she would understand. He waited to see if she asked more. Somehow he was certain she could see into his very soul, could ferret out his secrets without a single word.

The woman hummed out a reply, then nodded in that jingling of motion, her regard switching to Rhazor. "And, dat Capt'n of yers? Da' one wantin' da boy dead. He be sendin' his evil witch'ya." Again a nod, this time toward the doorway to indicate the man standing outside. "So you'd be comin' for da likes of him too 'den don't cha'know. What for dat dark soul'ed one, eh?" Rhazor blew out a long breath, starting his response with a shrug of broad shoulder. "The usual, Nyx, if you'd do us the favor." He motioned between himself and Brendan. Nyx sucked air between her teeth, then jerked off another nod. "Just be keep'n your souls clean, eh now?" Shoving up, she bobbed off a finger in both of their directions. "Evil, she be a lickin' at yer earlobes now, both'a ya. Dun ye be let'n her tempt ye into lay'n wit her. Nasty bitch." The woman spit to the side and floated around the table. "Give me da hour, Fredrick, mon. One set'a sixty. I'll be havin' what da two of ya' be needin' by den. Get now. Get and leave me be." As she finished her comment she was shushing them with one hand, the other dropping to begin gathering things from the table in order to see to their needs.

She knew. Somehow she knew! Or maybe he was just jumping to conclusions. How could they not be close to it when they lived with it every day, were surrounded by it? And he was blood to it. He blinked at the name, then started for the door. Before they reached it, and were still out of Strykar's hearing, the gunner cut a look at Rhazor. "Fredrick?" Rhazor had a normal name?!

Rhazor didn't even pause with the question, just pushed the door opened with a "Ah, shut the fuck up." To Brendan and returned out into the bright afternoon sun. Strykar pushed up, looking the lad over as the two of them stepped back out. "How long?" The twin asked and Rhazor brushed past him. "An hour. Go do whatever. Just do it somewhere other than by me." Strykar didn't begin to move away, just caught Brendan by the arm. "And you, Boy?" Almost as if Rhazor knew what Strykar would attempt, the quartermaster spun, sword drawn and tip pressing at the base of Strykar's throat. "Keep your fuck'n hands off. Meet us back here in an hour." He nudged that sharp blade, causing Strykar to gasp and then growl. "Go to hell, Rhazor." The twin jerked back, glaring toward Brendan then back to the first mate. "I'll be back in an hour." To that, Rhazor nodded, lowering his arm and the weapon in it. "Aye, Strykar, if you don't beat me to hell first." With a jerk of head, he motioned Brendan to follow him.

Brendan was grinning as he stepped outside into the sun. The grin didn't fade until Strykar grabbed him by the arm and he came to a stop, jerking free. He reached for his blade, intending to slice the Twin's wounded arm again but Rhazor beat him, and the gunner stepped back. With the confrontation, he watched both men then glanced over his shoulder. There were a few watching as well. Strykar got a smirk, and then the gunner turned to follow Rhazor. "Careful of the arm, mate." Yeah, he probably should keep his mouth shut but hell, he'd be dead soon anyway.

Dead by this time tomorrow. It was a certainty. When Brendan caught Rhazor up, the man kept his stride but started to speak in lowered tones. "We'll give her fifteen and then circle back, Roach. That's all she needs for you. It will take forty-five for her potion to take effect full out so in that hour she said you'll be as good as dead." He stopped, looking over to the lad. His lips thinned, pulling the scars tight, then he shook his head, not saying what he may have had on his mind. "Any where you want to go? Want to do? That'll take less than fifteen, boy?"

"That quick?" He felt his heart pound against the wall of his chest and shook his head as he looked away. It felt too quick, too permanent. "Down by the water." He looked at Rhazor again. "I'm thinking it'll be a long time before I dare set foot on a ship, take the chance that he'll spot me and come after me." He swallowed hard then turned to head where he could look out over the water at the Whore. "I'm never going to be able to pay you back for this, Rhay. Never." The loss of traveling over the water was well worth it, though he wasn't sure how long it would take before the longing to return to the sea grew too strong.

Rhazor accompanied the lad to the shore's edge, looking out over the water but not at the Whore. The quartermaster stared toward the horizon. Somewhere, out there, a man known as Frederick Bolinger ceased to exist and the pirate, Rhazor had been spawned. "Never said that you had to, Brendan." He blew out a breath, his lips flapping with the effort and he spread his stance, legs apart, arms behind his back. "Just keep your head low, aye, for a while like you said. Westmoreland finds out he's been tricked...and you'll be dead. No joke. Kind of envy your chance, Boy. You just better make the most of it." He still didn't look at the gunner next to him, still just searched that line where sea met sky.

"I know you didn't but it's the truth." He looked at the Whore for a long moment then followed Rhazor's gaze to the horizon. Somewhere out there Heathfield waited. "I can't stay on the Whore, but you know that." Maybe not the entire why of it. Best not to mention it as much as he wanted to tell Rhazor the truth. " And I will make the most of it. Not sure what I'll do yet, but there's that darkness Nyx warned up about to deal with I guess." He closed his eyes for a moment then looked at the man beside him. "Why do you stay with him? With Blackbeard?"

"History. We have history." With that, he broke the spell of memories and looked over to Brendan. "And not likely a mug like this could remain hidden from the bastard now could it? Never mind all that. Ain't nothing in that soul of yours that could warrant any concern, Boy. Not like you're a pirate by blood or a bad seed." A fist knocked into Brendan's shoulder, then the man grimaced. "Shit, sorry." He completely forgot the boy was injured since the gunner managed to put on such a good show of good health. "You don't belong on the Whore, Roach." He shook his head, returning his survey back to the sea. "Not on The Whore."

"If only that were true." Brendan muttered, then let out a yelp of pain when Rhazor managed to land that fist right on one of Vott's gifts. He rubbed his shoulder, half laughing. "It's okay." Damn that hurt. He shook his head . "Maybe I don't belong there, but lately it's felt like I do. Until what happened with the Twins. I could almost forget all that was hanging over my head." He looked at Rhazor a moment then bit at his bottom lip as he looked away. "I'm betting you won't forget me though." And all the trouble he caused.

Rhazor slanted a look the boy's way, chuckling for the moment before he spoke. "Fucker. I've practically forgotten your sorry ass already." The tone of his voice told otherwise though, and the inability to erase the lad from his mind had nothing to do with trouble. The quartermaster jerked his head to the side. "Time to get back, boy. Need to make sure we allow Nyx's magic to do it's thing before that scarred son-of-a-bitch gets back." Pot calling the kettle black? More like scarred son-of-a-bitch pirate calling a pirate scarred son-of-a-bitch.

Brendan grinned, then sighed. "Aye, time to get back." As he turned, he looked at Rhazor again. "She's really good, right? No mistakes and I won't end up truly dead?" Yes, he was nervous. Hell, more then nervous. The gunner was downright terrified. "If you ever get the chance to look through the Captain's desk, find the papers he took from me. There's one you might find interesting. It'll prove what I'm going to tell you." He stopped before they actually reached the crowds. "I'm Westmoreland's bastard. That's why he kept me alive, and that's why he wants to kill me. Probably shouldn't have told you, but, after all you did, you deserve the truth." Pirate by blood after all.

He slowed then stopped as Brendan stopped and spoke. A moment passed, the sounds of the town cascading over them. Rhazor searched the boy's features, for an additional silent moment "No doubt there's many an interesting thing in that man's desk." Perhaps a thing or two about the man walking along next to Brendan. "Whose brat are you? Anne's" It had to be Anne's, any other's would have been dead already. "Let me tell you something about your mother, Boy...Aye?" Nyx would wait...if the gunner was going to die, he needed to 'die' knowing this.

"Aye, Anne's. I had a lock of her hair and the Capt'n took that." He bit at his lower lip and nodded. His mother had been a saint in his eyes but now he wondered. She had loved a man who was a monster, and yet, he had left them money. Her money. He hadn't know about Brendan. Maybe it was time for him to accept she wasn't quite what he had thought she was. No matter how much it hurt.

That slow, thoughtful nod followed the boy's acceptance of additional truths. "I'm the one that got Westmoreland in and out of Ireland when he slipped away to see Anne. Oddest thing, the fucker actually seemed to care for her." Silence. Then he started again. "Truth is, he isn't the only one that cared for Anne...boy. Aye? I didn't know where she lived just because of him. She told me she was pregnant, Roach. She told me..." His chin lifted, features tight with emotion. "She told me because the babe could have been mine as well."

Brendan's mouth dropped open and worked, then closed again. He looked down at the ground, his mind going over Rhazor's words. His mother had never really said his father's name. Westmoreland's was on the birth certificate but, maybe she just had to put someone there. Why hadn't she put Rhazor's? In case he met Westmoreland? Maybe it would have saved Rhazor's life.. She wouldn't have known that Brendan was a threat to the Pirate Lord. And that explained something else. When he had asked his mother how she could marry his stepfather, she had told him it was possible to love more then one man. More ... then ... one. He looked up at Rhazor and let out a whoosh of air. "I ... I'm a bit stunned, Rhay. But, maybe I'm not so dark inside after all." He accepted it. How could he not? "I'm assumin' Westmoreland didn't have a clue." He wasn't sure if he should be relieved or cursing.

"I'm standing here breathing next to you, aye? Better he doesn't even suspect." To that truth Rhazor shrugged. "A bit of our history. Your mother believed in her heart, Roach, that Westmoreland was your Pap. I knew that. But she told me she was with child where she didn't tell the Bastard Lord, aye? Still, don't be thinking your blood doesn't run dark, Lad. These scars of mine aren't from baking cakes for the county fair. Either way, Boy. Your pap is a bastard, through and fucking bloody through." He smiled, almost as an apology for the facts of the lad's lineage, but it did give Rhazor some bit of insight into his need to protect this lad more so than any other. Brendan's was Anne's. No, the quartermaster didn't know that for sure until now, but, perhaps, without any real knowledge of it...he had known. And whether or not the boy was his son, the boy was Anne's. That's all that mattered. Rhazor placed his hand on the back of Brendan's shoulder. "Now...Nyx..." She was another, and she was a couple of Rhazor's scars. A man didn't sleep with vipers and not get struck a time or two. "Whether she is or isn't good at what she does. You'll either be saved or you'll be dead. Those are the only two options. Better you be dead by Nyx...than by Westmoreland. That's my thinking. So...come on, Laddybuck. Let's get you dead. Let's get you ... dead."

Date: 06-29-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 27

Time to Die

At this point, it didn't matter which man was his father, did it? He had a lot to think about once ... if ... he ... came back from the dead. "Aye, better to sleep and never wake up." He was certain Westmoreland wouldn't make his death easy, especially once he found out about Vott and how the crew had helped him. And he was even more certain things would not go easy on Rhazor. Brendan took in a deep breath and stepped up the pace. They needed to get this over with, even if he wasn't sure he was ready. It seemed all too quickly they were back at the hut. The gunner couldn't help taking a look around. He didn't trust Strykar to stay away for the full hour.

When they re-entered, Nyx was near the fire, squatted near as if she didn't feel the excessive heat given the flames, the humidity of the island, the stifling confines of the hut. She leaned close to the light, a miniature ladle in one hand which poured thick, dark liquid in a tiny, thin vial. She didn't look over to them, just started to speak, measuring carefully. "You will take this with your meal, here, on the island. You will slip that evilseed the other." The pouring ceased, as slow as it was, and the woman shot an sideways glance from across her shoulder to the men. "Do not confuse the two. A drop of the boy's for you, Frederick. Only a drop. It will blend into the drink and make the food appear tainted." She stood then, sweat beaded at her temples, across her upper lip and she wiped both with the back of the hand holding the small spoon. "You, Frederick, will appear sick and the boy will appear dead." She placed the utensil on the table and then tweaked off a bit of cork, stuffing it in with a squeak of resistance from the narrow opening. "But dat satanspawn? Him, dat one, he ... will ... be dead." Tenfold. She knew it. The woman had no delusions about what her profession circled around back at her. But in the end, to this end, she could hope it was all for the good this time. Not that she would change a thing if it wasn't. She was who she was...she did what she did. "And dat der case..." She picked up another narrow vial wrapped with a dark string. "Dat be for your bossman. He can send his payment da usual way, you know now." With his head ducked beneath the lowered ceiling, Rhazor met the petite woman half way, taking the vials. As he studied the thick liquid by turning the one with the black string side to side, he motioned with his elbow toward the wooden case the size of a cigar box. "Get that, Roach, will ya?" Nyx looked around the large man standing in front of her to spy on the younger one. "Shame dis be de only time you be coming cross my brickdust, Brendan. Truly be. But will be. You take care of you, now, yesmon? You take care of you."

Brendan listened as Nyx spoke, watching her from around the bigger man. The hut was so hot, it made him slightly dizzy but he took in every word. His eyes grew wide when she mentioned the death of the other Twin then he let out a soft exhale of air. Only one to hide from? That would help some. First he wiped at his brow, then answered the man. "Aye, Rhazor." He had been tempted to use the quartermaster's name, but held his tongue. As he lifted the box, he looked at Nyx and gave her a wistful smile. "You never know what the future holds, aye? And I will." Hell, if he did know what would happen in the future, he might go on a different course all together. "Don't worry about me." He was doing enough of that for all three of them.

Nyx laughed, a pleasant enough sound considering the affairs underway beneath her roof. "Do we not, true? Do we not know what dat temptress fate holds for us? Or do we not dare to be looking...for fears of finding out da truths?" Spindly fingers shot out and poked Rhazor in the chest, causing the man to huff out in surprise. "Brendan needs to be drinking dat now, yea? Get da' boy in a tavern, order him da' lobsta', fittin' last meal. Make sure you and dat' twindemon eat da' same. Gots to make it looks to be foodrot, Mon." Her arms crossed at her chest, a smile spreading. "You gonna' be hurtin', My friend." Rhazor tucked the vials away in his vest pocket, narrowing a look at Nyx. "And you are lamenting that fact, I can tell." Nyx hooted out another laugh. "Will be fer days an days, pirate. Will be for days and days." Rhazor huffed out his own laugh at that comment and turned, inviting Brendan to follow him out with just the motion of his head. "Damn witch, should have tossed her in her own boiling brew years ago." As they stepped over the threshold, Rhazor was still chuckling, even with the weight of the upcoming events. Somewhere behind them, Nyx called out. "Heard dat, Pirate! Enjoy your meal now!"

Brendan just grinned as he listened to the two, though dammit, he was still scared to death. Hurting? He felt a chill move right up his spine as they headed outside. He did laugh out loud, glancing over his shoulder. The air outside was cooler then inside that hut in spite of the humidity in the air. "How we going to find Strykar?" He said it low, in case the bastard was about. Had the Twin had his way, Brendan would likely be dying in a very unpleasant way. "I'm a bit ... scared." There, he admitted it. Mostly, it wasn't the whole dying thing, but what would happen afterward. He had no clue what they would do with his 'body'.

Rhazor headed them straight for the nearest tavern, and for all appearances, he didn't mark their surroundings. But Brendan knew the man well enough to know the pirate was well aware of everything, everyone around them. "We won't need to find him..." The bastard wanted Brendan, it was just a matter of a small amount of time before he showed up. Just enough time, hopefully, to roll these dice and set the game into motion. "Aye, Lad." Rhazor nodded, not needing to look to Brendan in order to agree, but instead pushed into that establishment. "Aye, me too a bit. But there is no turning back from here. We're as good as dead, the both of us, if this doesn't work." He raised a hand to catch the eye of a serving lass, then found a table that he claimed for the three of them. When the third of their party arrived...and Rhazor didn't have a single hesitation in confidence that he would...arrive.

That first comment gave the gunner another chill. No, Strykar would find them, no doubt about it. It did give him a small bit of comfort to know Rhazor admitted the same. It would work. It had to. He didn't want to be responsible for Rhazor's death. It wasn't a matter of guilt, but the man, was, even more then before, important to him. At first, he was afraid he wouldn't be able to eat a bite, but his stomach rumbled at the smells coming from the kitchen. He settled into a chair so he could watch the door and tried to relax. Damn, the chair was hard and there was one wound that reminded him of why they were doing this. He shifted then looked around. The tavern held the usual types, even some of the folk from the port itself. Hopefully their business wouldn't suffer too much.

No sooner than the tankards and platters were clunked down on the table, then Rhazor slipped the vials from his pocket. He cupped the slender containers in his hand, staring down to his palm. Bloody, fucking, hell. His other hand stuffed back down in that shallow pocket, fingers fiddling, and then he withdrew them. Pinched between the sides of that forefinger and middle...was the string. "Jesusfuckin'christ." He growled low, staring at the captured thread. A flick of wrist and he discarded it. Drawing in a deep breath, he opened his palm flat, eyeing the two thin containers. One. Then the other. The first. Then the second. He looked to Brendan, brows lifted, and then he offered his opened hand over to him. "Pick your fate, Roach." *

Ohhellohhellohhellll. He watched Rhazor search for the missing string, then audibly gulped. Blue eyes were wide as he looked up at the Quartermaster. Sending off a prayer and an appeal to his mother to help him chose, he reached for one. Appear dead or really dead. Either way, he had made the choice. "Might be dead for sure come tonight." He said low as he held that vial as gingerly as a deadly snake.

Rhazor held his breath as the boy chose, nodding off to his comment. "And definitely considered so by this time tomorrow." He opened the remaining vial and shook it into one of the tankards, leaving behind a couple of drops which he plopped into his glass. The potioned tankard he slid to Brendan. "We'll both be taking responsibility for this decision, Roach. This yours." He leaned, placing the empty tube on the floor and then, with the sole of his boot, rolled it toward the tables away from them. "Here...give." He collected the one in Brendan's hand and poured that one into the remaining glass. Gaze resting there a moment, he canted his head, cutting a sidelong look to Brendan. "Here's doing, Roach. To a long, prosperous life or a quick, slightly painful .... " He straightened instantly, his comment never finishing and he shot off an uplift of chin somewhere across the room. "Fuckme." He growled to himself, a momentary notice to the leftover glass, then back out into the crowd.

He watched Rhazor, a slight smile on his face for the comment. Eyes lowered as the tankard was slid his way, then lifted again. "Aye. It's the right one." He was almost certain. Fingers curled around the tankard and he prepared to lift it but then ... he looked to where Rhazor had and cursed softly. There was no mistaking the large man. Not Strykar but Westmoreland. He glanced at the extra glass, then at the Quartermaster. This was not the way it was supposed to go! Heart in his throat, he felt as if he were frozen to the spot.

Goddamnsonofabitchlickingbastardson no it wasn't supposed to go this way. The crowd was parting to allow Eric passage and Rhazor leaned forward, large hand palming the rim of the potioned tankard and drawing it toward his chest. "That for me?" A large figure loomed up to the left of Rhazor, Strykar reaching over to snag the tankard from the quartermaster. "It is too damn hot here." The remaining twin brought the tankard up to his mouth, Rhazor's lips parting in a mimic of the upcoming action. Eric joined them, hand slapping down on the wood of the table and the other reaching forward, claiming Rhazor's mug. "Didn't order one for me?" The captain snarled before nodding off to Strykar. "Sit down and eat, ye bastard. We have what we came for, right Rhazor? We'll eat and set to sail again." Rhazor's eyes were darting from one to another then over to Brendan then to make that circuit again, even as he nodded. "Aye, Captain. The witch said you can pay her as usual." With that, one hand raised to catch the serving maid's eye, the other reached out and grabbed Brendan's cup. This he brought up, shifting a look the boy's way and holding his gaze as he took one long pull from it. No way of knowing just how much he got, but he had to have some, by god. He had to have some. The liquid inside that tankard splashed but didn't spill out as he slammed it back to the table, reaching for that platter and nudging it toward Eric. Captain first. They had to start eating to make the illusion complete and if they all were going to be double over, considering Rhazor's and Brendan's recent visit, they had to be able to blame it on the foodrot. The girl brought Rhazor a tankard and the quartermaster practically sucked down the entire contents. Motherfuckin'hell.

Brendan wasn't sure what was happening at first, but then Strykar took the mug and drank, Westmoreland took Rhazor's and Rhazor took a drink of his. He finally lifted the returned mug for a drink. Ready or not. The food would taste good no matter what they were drinking. Not so much when it came up again. He patted the box on the table to show the Pirate Lord it was in safe-keeping. The gunner tried not to think that this could really be his last meal as he downed what remained in the tankard. Lowering the now empty glass, he motioned to the serving maid again. With the heat, no one would think anything about the need to refresh their drinks.

While captain and crew ate and drank, several men approached the table, spoke with the foursome, wandered off. Tatt'ed, scarred, pierced, pocked...the lot of those that mulled about inside the tavern. Forty five minutes fifty ... Rhazor had no way to follow the passing of time except to watch for signs. The fact that he and the other men were wet with sweat didn't mean anything. Until that twinge in his stomach. He moaned low, too low to be heard. A slight shake of head to ward off the approaching pain although he welcomed it at the same time. Pain for passage. He could only hope his pain, wasn't Brendan's true demise. Eric was seated directly across from the quartermaster and the captain snatched an emptied lobster shell over to him, sniffing the remaining hull. "Christ." A frown followed and he tossed the used carcass back to the table. His fingers curled into the shirt covering his gut and he narrowed a look toward Rhazor.

Brendan was relieved there was no clock in the tavern, or none that he could see. He ate as much as the others, tried not to tap his fingers on the table, and generally studied those around them. The men who spoke receive a polite nod, but they weren't really talking to him. He felt odd, and then a pang in his stomach had him placing his hand over his stomach. He looked at Rhazor then at the Captain when he cursed. Strykar got a quick glance but another pang had him swallowing hard. It was happening, no doubt about it. He took a deep breath and another, then wiped his brow. Hell, it was getting hotter in here.

Strykar clamped a hand to his midsection, to his mouth, his eyes wild as he shot a glance around the room. His words were smothered behind that tight hold. "We've been...poisoned." He careened from his chair, bumping, staggering, stumbling his way toward the door that led out. Erick shoved up, glaring across the table. "You bloody bastard..." He started, but then at the table next to them, a man howled out in distress and he pitched to the side, relieving his insides of its contents along the side of the wall. Several others started heaving and gagging. Rolling from their chairs in agony or fighting their way from the confines to the cooler, more open air. Some to get away from the foul sounds and sights. The others to vomit and wretch. Eric spun on a heel, rushing for the door himself, shoulders jerking as he fought back the need to expel the contents of his stomach in full view of any others. Runnels of sweat poured down the sides of Rhazor's face, his stomach clenching in painful spasms, his throat constricting, mouth watering with the oncoming threat. He glanced once to Brendan, then jumped to his feet, hand to the table as a support while he too started to make his way from their current location in route to the door. He didn't bother to notice that anyone with lobster, was now writhing in pain. Across the room, a woman sat. All by herself. Not even noticed by the men in full chaos. Those affected. Those responding to those affected with fear they may soon enough prove to be. Her gaze crossed the room to the younger boy. Her plate of lobster untouched. She lifted her tankard to drink though. Tipping it his way by means of a silent toast, then touched the rim to her lips. Could they not know their future? Or could the future be anticipated...and prepared for... with something as simple as the which to boil lobster.

Brendan barely noticed the others as he doubled over, gasping at the pain, and trying to stand before he lost everything in his stomach. He heard the accusation Westmoreland made, watched the others stumble away without really seeing. As the gunner choked back the bile, he looked up and through the dim light saw the tip of a pewter tankard. Just for a second and then she too was forgotten as he fought his way outside. He stumbled over one person, fell to hands and knees, crawled forward and then lost everything that had been in his stomach. Gods, it hurt worse then he could imagine. He kept heaving but there was nothing left in his stomach. Somehow he managed to stand, take a few steps and fell to his knees again. His sight was fuzzy and his heart felt as if it would pound right out of his chest, but he had two lucid thoughts. What if he had picked Strykar's vial? And maybe he should pray for his soul. Any praying would be forgotten as his stomach rebelled again. When that passed, he was panting like a dog.

Men rolled in it. They knelt in it. They ran through it to get away. They added to the putrid puddles. Rhazor hunched over, a hand to the wall of the tavern, eyes watering and head dipped with the pounding. Wave after wave of those forceful expulsions tore his throat raw. He tried to search for Brendan, but his vision was blurred, his mind blurrier. He had no idea where Strykar had taken himself. Or Eric for that matter. At the moment he was alone in his misery even when surrounded by so many incapacitated by "the rot". The less seriously gripped, those who hadn't eaten as much as others, were already blaming a bad catch as the source. It was common. It happened...a lot. With the heat and had died from less.

There was something he needed, something he wanted from the ship. Something Eric didn't deserve to have, even if he really was Brendan's father. The boy was driven and he stood and staggered back to the Whore. The gangplank had never seemed so long or so unsteady but he headed up it slowly, one step at a time. When he reached the top, he leaned against the rail and heaved again. Someone yelled out something about drinking too much, and he just waved a hand, causing them to laugh. No one stopped him as he made his way to the Captain's cabin, even when he stepped through the door. The gunner made it to the desk, leaning there as he tried to keep focused. He fell to his knees as a spasm racked his body with pain. Finally, he reached for the drawer knob. The drawer wasn't locked and he pulled it open a little too quickly, nearly smacking himself in the face. There, among the letters left for the Pirate Lord, was the lock of his mother's hair. He put it in the same slot in his belt where he hid the key for the sea chest and slammed the drawer shut. Westmoreland could have the letters but that lock of hair was his. "Bastard." He mutter and then he stumbled out again. Sweat poured down his brow, stinging his eyes as he made his way back down the gangplank. He paused again as the heaving started all over. Would it ever stop? Yes, it would. His laugh was more a choking sound before he groaned. The gunner started forward again, knowing he needed to move away from the Whore. He felt he shouldn't be found near her and oddly enough he wanted to find Rhazor. Brendan could barely see where the hell he was going but somehow he was close to the tavern before his knees gave way and he fell to the ground. Every breath was a struggle, his limbs felt heavy and he felt tears fill his eyes. Somehow he managed to roll over onto his back. A spasm racked his body again, causing him to breathe in short, shallow pants. There was so much pain. And then, he looked up at a sky so blue that it hurt his eyes. One final spasm caused him to curl up again and he felt numbness and cold taking over his body. "I'm afraid," he whispered. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he took a few deep, final breaths, then with one final gasp, sounds faded, the sky dulled to black, and the rise and fall of his chest ceased. Brendan seemed truly dead.

Date: 07-06-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 28

Death is Not the End

“Where’s that boy.”

Rhazor coughed up and then spit out what was left of his stomach lining. There really could be nothing else left in his gut after the amount of heaving and gagging for a good half hour. On his knees, one hand on the wall of the tavern, he cocked his head and looked up to Westmoreland.

“Damn if I know. I’ve been a bit … preoccupied.”

Eric jerked his hat from his head and slapped it at the quartermaster, causing the man to blink against the contact.

“Find him, dammit. And Strykar. I want to put as much space between us and this damnedable island as we can as soon as we can.”

The scarred pirate grunted, forcing out words past an already injured throat now scraped raw from the excessive vomiting. “Why can’t we just leave their asses?”

While Eric stuffed his hat back on his head, he searched the surroundings, taking in all of the men sprawled out on the ground or still rolling around gripping their midsections. “Because I fuckin’ said find them.” He shot a look back to Rhazor. “Get the hell up. You’ve got fifteen to get back to me with breathing bodies or the location of their dead ones.”

Rhazor jerked up his chin in acceptance of this order and struggled to his feet. Why wasn’t Westmoreland one of the ones curled like a centipede on the ground after consuming that entire tankard? Clawing the wood, the quartermaster gained his stance and drew in a deep breath, swiping a hand over his forehead and then pushing away from the walled support.

The Pirate Lord had remained until his first-mate had straightened, then he turned on a booted heel and started away, kicking any unfortunate body aside that happened to pitch into his path.

Rhazor narrowed his gaze on the back of his captain, muttering under his breath when the man put distance between them. “Had I known it would have been this easy, I would have just told the fuck’n boy to run, and gutted Strykar myself.”

Just as he finished, Eric paused, looking around his shoulder. That was enough to get Rhazor moving, no matter how much like steaming-shit he felt.

Strykar wasn’t hard to find. As large as the man was, he hadn’t made it that far. Just down the alleyway of the tavern several men were braced against the wall. Some sitting, some leaning, all breathing heavy. At the end of the line, was the remaining twin, hunched over in a stretched-out-leg sit and covered in his own vomit.

The three living victims of the lobster cast a look the quartermaster’s way.

Rhazor jerked off a motion of head toward Strykar. “Is he dead?”

Two of the men looked over to the man indicated, the other just nodded. “Aye. And in this heat, already starting to stink. He with you?”

Rhazor grunted out a laugh. “Looks like he’s with you. Best see that he gets to the fire heap before the flies start dropping their maggot eggs on you from association.” The quartermaster lingered a moment more, casting a final study over the dead twin before he turned and started away.

That third one looked over to Strykar and cursed under his breath. “Nastyass bugger. Oscar… get that bastard to the heap.”

“ I ain’t got the strength none. Isaac, drag that vomit mound to the heap.”

“Me? Why me? I’m not doin’ it.”

Rhazor smiled as he left the men to argue over who would be responsible, cutting around the corner of the establishment and went off in search of Brendan. Hopefully, the boy had spewed out the poison and was now conscious. Maybe even took off so that Rhazor couldn’t find him.

No such luck.

Just shy of the dock, a couple of dogs were growling and circling one another, preparing to fight in order to claim the prize. That curled up, unconscious prize was the gunner, smelling all the world like just another sweated, smoldering carcass.

“Get!” Rhazor raced over, kicking at the ribs of the closest animal which brought it around with a snarl and a snap of jaws. “I said…get!” This time a meaty fist caught the animal in the jaw and that managed to get both of the beasts scampering off, whimpering and tails tucked.

The quartermaster dropped to a knee, flipping the boy over on his back and pressing two fingertips just below the gunner’s jaw. Dead.


Rhazor tensed, his jaw tight for a moment but then he nodded without looking back. He didn't need to in order to know who it was asking the question. “So it seems.”

Westmoreland shoved the quartermaster aside, lowering to do the same, fingers seeking out a pulse that couldn't be found. The captain then gripped the boy by the jaw, turning his head side to side as he studied him. “Did you find Strykar?”

“Mmhmm.” Rhazor answered. “Deader still.”

Eric flattened a palm to his knee and pushed himself up to stand, still looking down at Brendan.

“Shame. I was getting to like the boy.”

Rhazor stood as Eric did, and with the captain’s comment, looked back down to Brendan too. “That’s gull shit if ever I heard it go splat.”

The captain’s gaze flickered over to Rhazor, then he turned in the opposite direction, a laugh in the process. “Aye. More than likely so. You still have five minutes. See the lad disposed of and then get back to the ship. We’ll set out as soon as you return.”

“Aye-aye, Capt’n.” And with that, Rhazor bent to heft up the dead weight. Brendan was no small thing, and Rhazor was weak from the heat and the poisoning aftermath, but he sure as hell would see Brendan somewhere safe…until the lad hopefully regained what life he appeared to be without.


“You sit with that there lad now, boy. No more than the one body on the top. You hear me now?”

“Yes’sum Merses Nyx, Mame. Is he a’comin’ back kind?” The lad gathered up the small pouch of coins and tucked it away in his pants’ pocket.

“If he does come back, you won’t be scared none, will you Petey?” The priestess smiled around to the boy, using the motion of her head to send the youngster on his way.

“Not me, Mame. No Mame. Not me. What did you tuck in his shirt before that large man laid him on the stack?”

Nyx turned back to her work. “None of your never mind for sure, Petey. Now go with you. One body only, remember. And there’s more coin for you if you can stall if they be wanting to start that fire.”

“One body. No fire.” The young boy repeated and with his chore set out for him, Petey hurried from the stifling head of the hut into the circulating heat of the open air. He would watch over that dead body until the magic worked. He always squirmed when it did work, but the witch-woman paid him good coins to bear witness to the resurrection. He’d stay put, keeping only one body on the top of his dead charge, and he’d wait…for as long as it took.

Date: 07-07-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 29

After Death Comes...

Brendan was on the Whore again but there wasn't a sign of the crew. The ship was drifting in a hot, boiling sea, sun beating down on the ship, and he was alone. There was a loud, irritating buzzing sound and though he searched he couldn't find the source. As he neared the door to Eric's cabin, the smell of death oozed from it like a fog. It surrounded him, making him gag. The smell became stronger and stronger until the door burst open. The gunner staggered backward as Vott stepped out, covered in blood, the knife still in his neck. The man's face was decomposing, showing muscle and bone. The twin reached out with claws of bone, maggots dropping from those open wounds. "Let's play, Pony." Brendan backed up, choking and gagging and bumped into a wall; one of flesh.. An arm, cold and pale went around his neck and Strykar whispered in his ears. "You owe us, Pony. You owe us." Brendan clawed at Strykar's arm, fighting as he felt life being choked away, trying desperately to get away from the smell. Everything was going black again, just like the first time.

The first time? Brendan took in a deep breath, and gagged at the smell surrounding him. There was a weight on top of him, stopping him from moving, from sitting up. He opened his eyes, then closed them again against the too bright sunlight. The brief look had revealed a body on top of him. He grunted as pushed against the corpse, trying to get from beneath. His brain was foggy, he couldn't understand why he was wedged between that one and another below. Still weak from the potion, his wounds hurting and probably bleeding now, it was a struggle for the gunner to get even part way free. The flies were thick and kept buzzing around his face and he cursed as he waved them away. He wondered if they had been over him while he was unconscious and that set him to gagging again. The smell of rotting flesh was in his nose, in his mouth, in his pores and it made him doubt he'd ever be free of it. Even breathing shallowly didn't help. He had to get out of here.

Panic made him stronger. One last push and he fell backward off the stack of bodies as the corpse fell to the other side. He laid still, gasping before finally sitting up. A few minutes more passed as he covered his eyes and finally opened them, shielding them from the sun with his hands. His eyes were watering so bad he could barely see but it hadn't taken sight to tell he was in the company of the dead. As his vision finally began to clear, he saw five bodies, all purifying quickly in the light of the brutal sun and heat. They were covered with flies and ... had Brendan anything left in his stomach, it would have been on the ground. When the wave of nausea passed, he looked at the corpses again. One had a bloodied chest, likely from a knife wound, another had his skull beaten in and .... then there was Strykar. The Twin's eyes were closed, his face held a grimace of pain. Brendan shuddered at the sight of a spider on the dead man's face. Strykar's death had not been easy and Brendan found he was glad. The Twins had been pure evil, and had caused so much pain, so much death. He was glad the bastard had joined his brother in Hell.

He crawled on hands and knees to the wall that surrounded the cemetery, using it to gain his feet. The gunner stood slowly, brushing at his clothes when he was up, then he started away from the cemetery. Cemetery only for those who had people who cared about them. Men like him, like Strykar, had their bodies burned, buried in a mass grave. Had he truly been dead, or had not awakened before they started to burn them ... he caught himself and shook his head. Best to not think about it. One foot forward then another. He still felt like hell, his stomach still hurt and he stunk. Stunk like death, stunk like ... ugh, best not to think about that either. He thought he heard a scream behind him and he paused, turning. A young boy was watching him. The lad rubbed his eyes then raised a hand before taking off. If Brendan been in a different state of mind, he might have laughed but he just wanted to get away. Staggering forward, the gunner found his way out of the grounds. There were huts a short distance away. Gravediggers most likely but he avoided them. More screams were not what he needed. He wanted to get into the shade of the trees, away from the sun though the stench followed him. It was on his clothes, in his hair.

In the shadow of the trees, he found a small stream and took a drink of the cool, clear water. He scrubbed at his face, at cuts and wounds on his arm, anywhere the flies might have landed. It helped some though his stomach seemed as if it were about to rebel again. For the first time, he realized his boots were gone as well as his sword, the leather he had around his wrist, and the boot knife, all probably stolen. He checked for the necklace, his letters and bible, and his coins and found them all gone. Sitting back on his heels, Brendan howled, with pain, with anger, with sorrow. For the first time since Brendan had arrived on the Whore and been tortured by loneliness and guilt, the gunner wept. He didn't know how long he sat there but finally, he wiped at his face. His hand fell to rest on his thigh and he realized there was something in his pocket. Reluctantly he reached inside and pulled out a small piece of paper. It had a single word on it. "Nyx." Brendan felt hope stir that maybe Rhay had somehow managed to get his possessions to the woman.

Thoughts drifted a moment while he thought about the clothing he had left on the Whore with a bit of longing. But then he splashed cold water on his face again and stood. It wasn't a time for regrets. He felt like he was moving through water as he started back to the road. If he heard riders or voices, he darted into the bushes, not willing for anyone to see him.. The third time he hid, he noticed a lane leading away from the road and followed it to a neatly kept cottage. A dog came from around the house, barking and showing its teeth. Brendan put his hands up and started to back away. "Easy, doggie. Easy."

"Diablo, stop. Ya be scarin' da boy." An older woman, skin a rich dark brown with short black curls that had streaks of white, came out of the door and studied the gunner. "Whew, ya hav'da stink o' deat' on ya, boy. Ya be on' o' da walkin' dead?" The large hound sat at the woman's side, watching Brendan closely. The woman was dressed in a simple orange skirt and a white blouse, her feet bare. She looked Brendan up and down as she spoke, then looked in his eyes. Brendan felt like fidgeting but he stayed still.

"No, not dead. Walking but not dead. I woke up in a pile of bodies." He gave her a half-hearted smile, knowing it probably sounded insane. "Thought I was dead after I ate some bad food. But I'm not." He shrugged and didn't stay more. That had sounded stupid enough.

"It happens. Likely ya woul' hav' waken when dey lit da fire." She chuckled at the grimace the boy made, then squinted. "Ya be hurt, boy? Der be blood all over yer shirt."

Brendan looked down at himself and nodded. "Ran into some crazy men with whips. The cuts haven't healed and they bleed I guess. I'm afraid of what the flies left there."

The woman nodded. "We git'cha cleaned up den. Der be a spring behind da house, 'long a stone pat'. It has healin' minerals, clean out da wounds, mak' ya feel bettah. I'll brin' ya clothes,
think I hav' a pair o' boots dat might fit. We burn dose ot'er clothes."

"A razor or some way to cut my hair too? Afraid I won't get the mats out of it otherwise." Not a complete lie with it soaked with blood, vomit and who knew what else. The woman nodded then paused in her turn for the house.

"Gotta name, boy?"

"Brendan." He answered quickly, "Brendan O'Sionna."

"Irish boy den. I be Poppy. Now git. Gonna hav' ta stick somet'in' up my nose ta clear da smell." Brendan grinned and headed around the back. Since he hadn't been chased off the land, Diablo decided the boy was all right and followed him. The gunner stripped down as he came to the springs and tossed the clothes aside. When the hound sniffed the discarded rags, he sneezed, making Brendan laugh. "Nasty aren't they?" There was a pool, likely made by Poppy with a flat rock to sit on, and a flat wall of stones. Brendan cursed as he lowered, each place where he was cut, had a whip mark and even just a bruise, stinging. Once he was in though, it eased and he leaned back against the stone. A plop in the water surprised him and he opened his eyes to see a bar of soap floating there. "Dat one is Castile. Dis one is lye. Use da lye on dat hair, Brendan, an' den I'll cut it whilst ya be soakin'." The gunner was all to happy to comply. Poppy put her feet in the water on either side of his shoulders when he was done and began to cut.

Finally, she touched the raven tattoo on his shoulder. "Good spirit animal da raven. He be wise. Tatt needs some touchin' up." Poppy stood and pointed to the clothes she had set down nearby. "Now, ya soak as lon' as ya want, den put dese on. Dey be my son's. When ya done, I got some ointment. Dere be a razor in da house too." She left Brendan who stared at the clothes a moment. Diablo left with his mistress and for a while, the gunner just soaked. Finally, after scrubbing off with the Castile soap, he climbed out of the pool. He dried off with a clean linen towel then dressed, surprised to find the clothing fit. Poppy was in the back yard, burning the clothing that Brendan had discarded. She also showed him that she was burning his hair. "Dis way ain't no one can use da black magic on ya." She explained, then nodded. "Now ya look human 'gain. Come inta da house an' I'll be takin' care of the wounds." Brendan pulled off his shirt as he followed. Inside, Poppy had him sit on the floor while she walked around him. Her touch was light, the ointment soothing and while she tended to his wounds, they talked. She didn't ask how he came to be there, other then to ask again if he was sure it was the lobster. When Brendan nodded his head, she smiled behind his back, then continued.

"Wha' be ya plans now, Brendan? Lift your arms, chile."

"I'm going to travel to Tortuga if I can. Ships from my homeland come there, and I've been away too long. Then I'm not sure. I may take a break from sailing for a while." He wiggled a little when she touched a ticklish spot then asked, "Is your son still alive?"

"Aye, he is." Poppy chuckled. "He be a sailor, won' be home fer months and t'en he can buy new clothes an' boots." She laughed at Brendan's look as she came around to the front of him. "I be teasin'. He be bigger den you, an' has no use for what I be givin' ya. Goin' ta give ya some others, too, if ya don't mind, and a sailclot' bag to carry 'em. Now, ya take the ointment and go inta dat room, do de rest o' ye if ye need. I'll make some supper. Ya can stay here da night and in da morning, go back ta da town. Dey be a captain dere name o' Jamison. Got a smaller boat dat he sails between islands. He usually leaves every Dhursday and dat be in two days. Ya tell him Poppy sent ya an' he'll see ya get ta Tortuga."

"Thank you, Poppy. I don't know how I'll repay you." Brendan stood and took the jar, looking down at the smaller woman who just reached up and patted his shoulder.

"Ya have no needin' to repay me, Brendan. Jus' be gettin' home safe."

The next morning, with a duffel over his shoulder, and a small bag with a lunch, Brendan bid Poppy farewell. She watched him go, Diablo whining. The dog had slept in the room with the young sailor. "Shhh, boy. His destiny be elsewhere." She patted the hound's head. "Let's get de message on da way, boy, then be about our business."

Date: 07-13-12
Poster: Brendan O'Sionna
Post # 30

Return to Nyx

At the end of the path from the cottage, Brendan hitched a ride on the back of a farmer's wagon. The man had two young sons, who talked away during the short journey. They shared their lunch, and Brendan shared his. In spite of what had just happened, it was a pleasant way to pass time. Once they were in the small port city, he bade the three farewell and started for the port first. He caught sight of himself in a window and blinked. Short hair and no whiskers made quite a difference but he wanted to be sure the Whore was truly gone. As he stood where he and Rhay had just two days before, he stared at the ship that had taken the Whore's place. He felt an odd emptiness in his stomach. Not from hunger, but there was a longing there, and yes, an emptiness. He didn't stay long but turned and headed for the Priestess' hut. Standing before the door, the gunner paused, took a deep breath and stepped inside. It was as hot as he remembered but at least this time he didn't sneeze from the sage.

For all the methodic clutter and seeming disarray, the room was empty. Lids bobbed on bubbling pots. Steam wisped up from opened cauldrons. Herbs burned. But there was no Nyx, at least, not to the eye immediately entering from the bright out of doors. "Another chance at life, Brendan. Welcome back t'ya." She stood from where she sat behind a tall table, and even standing, she was barely more than a chin above the wooden level as she looked the boy over from head to toe. "Part of what ye' be lookin' for is in that chest'a'drawers. Second down." The string doll she was weaving into a knotted head and torso found the flat surface. "Just 'da second, mind ya."

He blinked several times as his eyes adjusted to the dimness but the woman still managed to startle him. He smiled at her then nodded. Just the second and that would be the only one he'd look in. Who knew what she had in the others! "I ... don't know how I'm going to be able to every repay you, Nyx, ma'am." She deserved respect for just the fact that she had seen to Strykar. Turning, he opened the second drawer. "Was Rhay... all right?" Should he have said Frederick? No. She'd know who he meant and calling him Frederick would just feel odd.

Nyx shuffled around the table, reaching as she did to snatch the doll to her chest. She crossed over to Brendan and watched by his side while he collected the things that Rhazor had stowed away for him. "Dat man be alive. All right though? Dat one will never gonna be all right till he can separate guilt from loyalty, clear?" She handed out the palm-sized doll to the gunner. "Hair o'da demonspawns. Courtesy of Frederick. Don't you be carrying no extra weight now, Brendan. Toss it in da' flames over there when you get good an' ready." She eyed each special trinket that Brendan must have felt important enough to risk going back to the ship to retrieve.

It was the necklace that was most important to him. That and the lock of his mother's hair. Not even the letters or the Bible mattered as much though he wasn't sure he was going to keep the pendant with his father's initials. The one to his mother, yes, even if he took the miniature of Eric out. Once it was safely around his neck he smiled at her. "Aye, that's clear enough. No extra weight? Black Beard killed the crew of the ship I was on to get to me. He... " He just shook his head and accepted the doll. As soon as he felt the weight of it in his hand, his lip curled. "Those two... deserved what they got, didn't they?" The devil should put them in a pretty place with flowers and lovely things. They'd hate that for sure!

"Dat wicked soul has killed many a crew, yours weren't be the first, nor weren't be the last. None of dat is yours to carry, Brendan. True now, what is ... is. When it be your time, ain't nothing but the goin'. Don't be thinkin' you cheated death none of her choices, boy, yeah? It was time for those two mean'uns just as it was time for those men on dat ship of yern. One way...or the other. It was time. You just been a'happening along to have to be a'part of it, is all." She gave a shrug of narrow shoulders and pointed a long nailed finger to the fire. "Toss it in...eventually, yer time will be upon you, soon enough for sure too."

He looked at the doll then stepped over to the fire. Brendan didn't even look at the doll again. He tossed it into the fire, watched as the flames licked around it, then turned away. He was done with it, done with the Twins. The guilt? Well, that would take time. Longer then it would take the nightmares to fade likely. He returned to gather his weapons, the pouch of coins and the Bible, even his boots, placing what he could into the bag along with the letters. Then he looked up at Nyx and smiled. "Ain't none of us going to escape it." He accepted that. Just wondered where he'd find himself... if there was anything after death.

Nyx watched the boy closely, linking her fingers and pressing the uplifted fores to her lips with a light tapping. "None be escaping...when you believe dat for true and certain, Brendan, then ---only then, you will be free good and right. I've gots work to do now, and you're taking up space and time. Be gone for you, get on wit' this life that waits. Shoo." A flip of hand actually ended in a touch of fingers on his arm in a gentle, caring stroke before she scuttled back toward her table. "Probably never see you again, Boy, probably might just may again soon. Those that believe there's no knowing, don't know. Those of us dat know better...know more." She chortled at her own comment, and actually went back to work, Brendan as good as gone in her opinion.

Brendan felt younger when he was under her scrutiny but he smiled. "Take care, Nyx." He watched her a moment, then turned and stepped back outside, waiting a moment as his eyes adjusted. With his weapons at his hip, and his possessions, the ones that counted, back in his hands, he felt whole again. And maybe, with the burning of the doll, a weight had truly lifted. He looked back over his shoulder at the hut, smiled and walked away. Now it was time to find the Captain, and in a few days, start back to a life that would never be the same. He made his way back down to the docks. He sat on the rocks for a long time before heading to the docks to find Jamison. It didn't take long and the man agreed to give him a berth. Cow Island was a nice enough port but he'd have better luck finding a Heathfield ship at Tortuga or Bridgeport. In spite of the wounds that remained, and the feeling in his gut, there was a lightness to Brendan's step. He had survived the ordeal and there was one less man would kill him on sight. He fully intended to be sure Westmoreland never had the chance.

Post # 31


Post # 32


Post # 33


Post # 34


Post # 35


Post # 36


Post # 37


Post # 38


Post # 39


Post # 40


Page 1  2  3  4  5      Main

Hit Counter