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Rebellion: The Beginning
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Chapter 1: The meeting at the infamous SCUMM bar.
Angus nipped into his grog, saw the Governor straight into the eyes, then started his tale. “I was travelling with some guy that I meet in Glasgow named Ben, when I got to Nevis. But the partnership soon took a halt; we went to different jobs, seeking different goals. While I was hoping to influence and convince ship-captains who came into town, that I was a decent young boy who would be a useful crewmate. Ben had teamed up with a local gang, seeking the thrill and easiness of crime.
Years went by, and while I had gone from the warehouse-boy to a bartender, Ben had become a leader for a small criminal group, consisting of 10-20 men. They did second-rate jobs for larger bands, and helped steal goods from merchants to lazy pirates.
One day as I was walking around at the marked, I dumped into Ben. We talked, and the talk came towards our ever-growing lust for life on the sea and easy money. And after several hours we had come up with a cunning plan, which would surely secure a ship for us.
Later that year I learned that a small sloop was heading for Port Royale with my tavern’s homebred and renowned beer. I had made agreements with the captain and my boss, so that I would follow the beer from the storage room, and all the way to Port Royale. Everyone was pleased. The Captain could surely use an extra hand, and since it didn’t cost him anything, he was thrilled. My boss saw this as a great way to get rid of my love for ships and for the sea. He had in fact made arrangements with the captain about several ways to mock and harass me. And I myself saw this as the change to finally get my own ship.
I met Ben once again, and made him meet up with his gang at the storage house the night before the boarding of the ship.
When I met them that night, my head was high, and my heart full of excitement and joy. I soon had filled 20 of the barrels with Ben’s sturdy gang. And when the crew of the ship was loading the barrels onto the ship the next morning, I successfully managed to place the barrels that had my companions, out of reach and care from the others. I personally carried each of them into the boat, and placed them securely among the other barrels, in a way so that they wouldn’t roll too much, and didn’t point themselves out for any crew-member who tried to take a sip of the tasteful goods.
We sailed for some days, with the ever flowing east wind blowing gently into our sails, and to my luck, no one of Ben’s gang had been discovered when we past proud St.Kitts. And I was sure that no one had noticed me sneaking food from the supply barrels, and then stuffing it into seemingly beer barrels. I had absolute confidence when the last sight of St.Kitts disappeared from the horizon, and we all waited for the first view of the Virgin Islands, that my and Bens devious plan would work.
We where a few days westwards from the Spanish Puerto Rico, with its powerful city of San Juan, in fact right of the coast of Isla Mona, when Bens gang was starting to get impatience, and my fellow crewmates and captain suspicious. I affirmed each of Ben’s men that we would attack the next day, and if anything unusual should happen, like someone was being discovered, they should attack immediately. They should be alert for any attack for the next two days.
I had just finished explaining the situation to the last man, and was carrying some food to them, when the captain, followed by his personal bodyguards, two stout and over muscled fellows, came down the ladder to the storage-deck. I momentarily dropped what I was holding in panic, and ran towards Ben’s barrel, a row behind most of his men.
I started whispering that he should attack now, but was interrupted before finishing my first word. The Captain demanded to know what I was doing down in the storage deck, and why I was dropping food onto the floor. I stood there completely quiet, and after my opinion hidden from sight from my captain, and hoped that he didn’t see me. He walked slowly into sight. -Just as I thought, He said. -You are trying to sabotage us, starving us, so that some stinking pirate can pick up our ship without any fight.
The captain’s theory was comically close to the truth, but still far enough from reality. I could gain some time advancing, giving Ben and his men enough time to attack at the right way. No one would escape the storage-deck of the ship that day. I tried to make a lie about how the beer needed food to maintain its unique flavour, I did that while I knocked firmly at the barrels, so that the captain would believe that I was bragging about the beer, but it was in fact a very special form of communication that Ben and his gang understood.
And as the captain’s self good grin grew tired, I knocked so hard on Ben’s barrel that it shattered, and pieces flied around the room. The fight began, the captain and his guards where soon killed. But sadly the fight had been too noisy, and soon crewmembers, hungry for fistfights where flying down the ladders, but as they only expected a quarrel between two crewmates concerning beer, or food.
Most of them didn’t carry any weapons, and were soon eliminated with longswords and cutlasses. The whole original crew of the ship, apart from me was killed during just some 10 to 15 minutes. Soon after we raised our proud flag, an English flag beaded in blood, it looked completely red.
After some days of sailing beneath the Mona Passage, with our proud new ship, we reached Hispaniola. We sailed into Santo Domingo, and luckily managed to sell the suspicious looking blood-covered barrels of beer in exchange for a load of rum.
I was made captain of the ship, and decided to mark our victory over the original crew, by selling the rum in Port Royale. Even though we would likely lose more gold than we gained, we figured that the reputation would easily make the trip worthwhile.
We were closing towards the Jamaica Channel when I noticed something unusual in the captain’s cabin. In the bed-chest, that I had at a prior occasion smashed the top of, to reveal something that might prove profitable, I noticed an iron box. It was right beside the keyhole of the chest, and was revealed to me under a rage that made me want to destroy the whole room; the iron box flew right into my bedside bottle of personal whisky, and smashed it.
I angrily picked the box up, and was to throw it out the window, when I noticed a keyhole inside it. I wondered about this, and checked the chest, and to my surprise, it wasn’t the lock to the chest I was holding but rather a tiny box, holding a secret that had to be useful. I searched around the room after the key, and finally found it inside a soft pillow on the captain’s bed. My fingers trembled as I put the key inside the little box.
I turned the key slightly and was thrilled to hear a little metallic click as the box opened. Inside the box I found a small piece of old yellow paper, firmly wrapped and packet to take minimum amount of place. I unfolded the little paper and soon discovered that it was a map, a map over one big island. It had a big red X marked on the north-eastern side of the island. As a side note it was written some kind of verse in the bottom left corner of the paper. -By a storm in the Bahamas Isles you will find the land of wonders and finally this isle. Ps. a recipe is not always for cooking food-.
This was the very luck I had hoped to find on the high sea, stealing the goods of notorious pirates and villains from right under their noses, and I soon got my crew along with the idea, so we sailed north trough the Windward Passage, and headed towards Eleuthera.
The rumours of treacherous reefs, and ever roaring storms wasn’t just high bragging from captains who had survived the island chain of the Bahamas, it was truly a challenge to the most sturdy navigator, and a true nightmare to my crew, and pain to our new won ship.
We where caught in a strong wind right after leaving the comfort of Great Inagua, and was blown towards the Crooked Island Passage, a passage only the most experienced captains could brag that they had sailed through unharmed. Our hopes of great wealth and life full of luxury were suddenly changed to the terror of coming death. We prayed for a harmonic afterlife, and watched in terror as we saw the wind engulfing clouds, turning them pitch-black, and gathering them around our small boat. Soon we were completely surrounded by blackness, a black fog that made even our bones shiver with fear for fates worse than death itself.
The blackness loomed for several days, or maybe weeks, and the boat no longer tweaked and cried, and no rolling was noticed by any of us. It was like we had gradually slowed down to a final halt. All noise where stilled, and we had trouble communicating with each other.
But after a two weeks, (by the reckoning of my first mate) things started to change. It was still dark as night, but a noise had started to engulf from the depths that surrounded us. A singular tone, that tempted us to dive out of the boat and into the blackness. Soon a light appeared from under the ship. We were still on water, and from the water a grey light flourished lightly. Then the singular tone changed and evolved to a simple line of music, which seemed to change the minds of my crew, and made them out-earthly. It was like the sea itself tempted them to dive into it. At least that was what I thought at first. It was like it was an accordion in the depths, trying to seduce them to jump over board.
The next day the ship floated helplessly by itself. No man could work, and the crews minds where constantly on drift, mine too was starting to drift, I had to fight hard to maintain my consciousness. People started talking about their younger days, when they where innocent children. And soon the great wind came again, with its roaring whistle, and the sails once again started flapping. And with the wind there came rain. The wind brought a great storm that was throwing the boat around. The music grew louder and louder.
Three nights and days, the ship rolled helplessly in the storm. Then the weather suddenly silenced, and sunshine replaced clouds and rain and wind. The music had stopped. We looked around, and too our great wonder our ship was right outside another greater storm, with clouds of grey and black that engulfed a whole area, all the way into the sea itself. And right in the middle, and in fact right before us, of this great storm there was a great hole that looked like a big archway, with a door of rain, and lists of human skulls.
The storm, started slowly to surround the boat, and the clouds changed into a looming blackness. The crew panicked, and started raising the sail in hope of sailing away from the menacing storm. But then the music started again, louder than ever, and now the source of the music was perfectly clear. It came from the great archway. The crew dropped instantly the sail (as in a trance), and got themselves safely down into their sleeping deck. I was the only one standing left with the steering wheel in my hands, uninflected by the music, wondering what to do. Then as I saw out into the black gulf of coal black clouds, with thunders roaring and rain pouring, a voice came out from the door. It was a woman’s voice.
-You’re ship stands on the doorstep of my empire and realm. What do you want?
The voice said with a looming and commanding tone, with a voice that seemed to change the clouds as she spoke.
-I want nothing from this land, my course is …..
I didn’t even have time to finish my reply before I was interrupted.
-You seek secrets long forgotten. I can feel that. But mark my words. You won’t succeed if you don’t pass trough my kingdom.
Lighting flashed and made the door look more menacing than ever.
-Why would I want to enter your land? The place I am sailing to is hundreds of miles from this place.
I shouted, interested in leaving the dreadful place as soon as possible.
-You will never be safe if you refuse my realm. Your fortune as a pirate and treasure seeker will be doomed forever.
The voice shouted, leaving me without hope of ever leaving the sight of the gate, unless I went trough it.
-But still. The final decision is upon you, I will not force you to live in harmony in my realm if you don’t want to.
The voice ended.
I didn’t care from then on what happened, so I just let my body fall on the steering wheel. Then I collapsed when a knob on the wheel hit my chest.
After an eternity in blackness, my eyes automatically opened. I remember strongly that it was automatically, because I did not in reality want to open them. One of my crewmates did, right after conscience had rescued me from my deep coma. And I had recognized the man who opened my eyes right before my face was flushed with salt water. The smell reminded me instantly where I was. Soon I was up and issuing commands. Then the sail was up and fluttering in the wind, and I was trying to find out our location, and if we where on the right course.
The gate was like a dream and I tricked myself to believe it was so also. But I soon figured out that things where strangely more different than they had originally been. All maps except my treasure map, was destroyed. Only ashes were found where the maps were stored. Then as we had picked out the most possible man who could have destroyed the maps. I found out, to my great shock, that my mind was also different, and sweeter than before. Before I would have gladly have decapitated the terrorist. But now, the worst thing I could think of was to let him leave my ship. So I sent him away in a rowboat.
My motivation to try and navigate the ship blindly in the Caribbean Sea, was as strong as an English pirate’s love for a group of Spanish Pirate hunters. So I let the ship drift by it self.
For the next two days, I talked to my crew and concluded that my dream was no dream, but the cold reality. We all agreed to try and defeat the evil sorceress that beheld our fate in her voodoo-filled fingers.
In the early morning the third day after my arrival in the realm of this voodoo-lady, my lookout reported that land was in sight. We started loading our cannons, but to our surprise, all our gunpowder was soaking wet. No attack could be done onto the armada, that we saw engulfing the north side of the island. Our boat was rushed faster and faster, by the wind, towards the island and the cluster of boats, it was like our boat was driven by unearthly powers.
To our great wonder and relief, no attack was made upon us. And we saw as we drove closer, that the cluster that we had assumed as an armada of ships protecting some major colony, was in fact a horde of shipwrecks. We hurriedly started to load the rowboats, but to our dismay, we noticed that all of them had major holes. We got closer and closer, some of the crewmembers stated that they had seen movements on some of the shipwrecks, and other claimed they saw skeletons dancing at the deck of a great merchantman, waiting for new corpses to feast upon.
Then our proud ship crashed into the cluster, and we all collapsed. A long period of blackness, unbelievable for any normal coma came over me. It was like a sucking darkness that ripped every thought from your mind, and replaced them with milder versions of them. Hate where calmed down to a slight anger, love to a calm fondness. It was like all my thoughts were simplified.
I knew that something was wrong, so I decided to not think of things that I knew I didn’t want to be erased or thoughts that were to important to be calmed down. I started thinking about the making and brewing of my taverns ale. Soon I was into a long and disturbing meditation.
Suddenly my eyes were granted their vision back. I was dazzled by the strong red light that burned into my eyes, but I could do nothing about it. My eyes where already closed, but the light that was shining on the lids of them, made a red haze that truly burned. I quickly put my hands in front of my face, and bowed towards the ground to block out the stinging pain.
-Welcome mighty pirates!
The voice was only too familiar to me; it was the sorceress that had lured me into this wicked land.
It hadn’t been a dream after all. I forced my eyes open, the light burned with an insane pain in my eyes, and all sight was blurred by a great whiteness. I drew my sword and charged towards her. Behind me, I could hear my crewmembers do the same. I had almost reached her, when my hand was twisted tree times around it self, I dropped my cutlass automatically. I heard the clash of other swords crashing into the ground behind me.
-No weapons are allowed in my house.
The woman said calmly.
Then our sight came back, and we noticed that our weapons where destroyed beyond repair, they lay twisted on the floor, and soon they disappeared all together. I looked up, expecting to see a dreadful woman, that was about to make a final strike before we lay dead on her floor. The sight was far from expected. Before us on a stool of straw, a rather large woman with a round and merry face, sat and painted some voodoo dolls with grinning faces, and colourful hats. Different voodoo-artefacts and materials where piled all around her.
A silence fell, she didn’t even look upon us. At last I raised my voice.
-You have drawn us here, and you refer us as violently pirates. I think you are mistaken, we are just humble traders, who were on a peaceful mission in recovery of a great treasure, when you forced us here.
I tried to make my remark as proud, and trustworthy as possible.
-You became pirates the moment you rebelled against your captain, and even if you planned to find a hidden treasure in these horrifying waters, I think that you wouldn’t find any. And even if you did, you would soon have been arrested and hanged for Piracy against the English throne. Captain Jacob was as unlikely as it may seem, the cousin to the king’s advisor. English pirate hunters would easily recognize his ship, and arrest you. And as with your accusing that I forced you here. You are wrong, and you know it in your heart, you let yourself decide. You yourself decided to fall on the steering wheel, and now you will live here for the rest of your life.
This time her voice and face, expressed every situation, after her meaning and grade of them.
A new silence fell while she added some final touches to the nose of one of the voodoo dolls. My men started mumbling behind me, and soon they where charging towards the voodoo lady. The effort was useless, before they even had arrived, she had grasped some blue ashes in a pot beside her, and blew it on my crew. The effect was momentarily, and very effective, they abruptly stopped, and greeted each other, as if they didn’t know their lifelong friends. Only I was left untouched by the spell, maybe because I didn’t inhale any of the ashes. But still I felt another brain sucking going trough me for an instant, much more violently and stronger, but my meditation momentarily kicked in.
-To bad. I was hoping to learn some of your formerly lifes before sending you into the sweet life and memory of my realm.
She mumbled to her self, but loud enough for us to hear.
We were sent back to Woodtick, and we separated. But not before I was able to talk to every one of my crew-members. They all seemed as that they had had other pasts than they had in reality. And most of them thought I was crazy, trying to make them remember things that they had never experienced or done.
Only my friend from Glasgow remembered something that was linked to his true past. He remembered that he had sailed with our ship, but he was claiming it to be a travelling bed and breakfast service for stranded pirates, and now after he had crashed the boat, he had opened the only inn at Scabb Island.
I didn’t like the feel of Scabb, so I teamed up with a man called Papa Dread, who claimed he was from Port Royale. We sailed people around what he called the tri-Island-area, (something that I had never seen before on any map, or ever heard of) just like a ferry.
We sailed around for nine months, when Papa suddenly wanted to change course, we where then sailing a Mr. Sheepgood to Mêlée Island. Soon we where docked up in Scabb again. Apparently Papa Dread had had an affair with Mad Marty’s daughter, and she was now about to have their child. The baby came, and it was a small baby boy. Soon we started making preparations for the trip towards Mêlée, but Papa seemed strangely disoriented, and rarely spoke to us. But finally one day in May he said the time had come to get going, or sailing.
But after two days, with strange navigating and the feeling that the wind controlled the ship more than Dread did, we figured out when trying to serve him some soup, that Papa wasn’t on board at all, he had strapped a rather confused monkey with his clothes to the ship’s steering wheel. Suddenly we understood the meaning of the strange screams that always seemed to come from the captain’s, quarter. Thinking back at the way Dread used to navigate before re-entering Scabb, I wondered if this always had been the true captain on the ship.
But since I didn’t know the way to Mêlée, I had to trust the monkey. I whispered –Mêlée. Into his brown hairy ear, before leaving the cabin, and hoped to survive the trip alive.
And the rest you already know I think. I arrived yesterday here on Mêlée. And after a little argument with the police officer Marco Largo La Grande, I ended up with a night in jail. And so I was released by you in exchange for my story about the coming to this place.
So there you have it, this is my all genuine pirate story. Are you pleased now?"
Angus stopped talking, and emptied another mug of grog, the half melted mugs of former drinks had filled up the whole round table. He then looked at his listening companion.
"What is this stuff?” Angus asked, pointing a shaking finger towards his grog and looking into the fast melting mug “It has the same sting as ordinary rum, but taste more watery, and with a whole bunch of other festive flavours. Much like my old taverns rootsandrum-soup made especially for women, I would say. And after dozens of drinks, I don’t feel a slightest hint of drunkenness."
The Governor smiled, and as he did so, his great beard revealed enormous heaps of food and grog.
"Then you are more custom to alcohol than most people here “He replied, and rolled his eyes towards a table with a bunch of young pirates near the door, that sung drinking songs in blurry loud voices. “But you are right in your tongues observation. The hint of rum in grog is mostly because the original grog was just out watered rum. Later when people complained about the taste not being stiff enough, and to dull, the cook started adding additional ingredients, like battery acid to preserve the stiffness of rum, unfortunate the acid isn’t to friendly towards our pewter mugs though, other ingredients was added to make the drink more likeable by more people, just like all the big companies do. Just like Coca Cola.”
“Coca what?” Angus asked and stared intently at the other mans face.
“Eh.. What? Did you say something?” he asked and stared wildly around the room. Then he ordered the cook to throw out the other guests.
The cook did as he was asked, and soon they where the only ones, except the cook that still remained in the bar.
The cook stood silently at the door, resting his body against the doorframe, he looked as he was about to drop to the ground at any moment.
"Governor!” he soon cried out, and walked quickly towards the table to gain the advantage of eye contact. His face was full of sweat, and he looked awfully tired.
"Yea?" The Governor replied.
"Are you finished now?" the cook asked.
"Just go you, Rap. I will lock up when we’re finished here"
"Thanks a lot Marley." the cook thankfully choked out "You’re a blessing to us all!"
Then he threw his apron at a table near the door and left.
“Well, I bet you want to know the real reason for me arresting you, and then letting you out just for a fair tale of your past?” Marley asked suddenly hoping to leave other subjects for later talks. And seeing Angus affirming nod he continued. ”Your tale isn’t new to this area, most people here have faced the same fate as you and your crewmembers. The problem is that most people don’t remember their earlier days as you do.
I only know four other than me, which managed to preserve their original soul, and memories, and that includes you. Now we are enough men to start plotting the death of the voodoo lady, but how and when is still a mystery. We must keep our secrets hidden, and keep our eyes on the Voodoo Lady’s movements, everyone has a weak point, and no one is better to expose them than themselves.
You should get a job. You can take Marco’s job if you want to, it leaves you a great opportunity to talk much to the Voodoo Lady without her sensing any danger. I bet Marco will be more than happy to go to Scabb Island. He has gotten fairly tired of my constant begging that he should treat people better. On Scabb he will find a whole new marked for his hate towards humanity”
"OK, I’ll take the job." Angus answered "But only for a short time I hope. My true life is on the high sea."
"As is mine boy” Marley laughed out “But we must be cautious to defeat the Voodoo Lady. Her powers is greater than you could possible imagine. We’ll get our sailing done when the time is right."
And so they ended their conversation and left the SCUMM bar, and they remembered to lock it before leaving.
“By the way,” Marley added, as they where heading towards the governors mansion, where Angus was to spend the night as a guest of importance. ”Rap Scallion the cook that you met, is one of the other tree.”