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Rebellion: The Beginning
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Chapter 2: The last outpost.
The next day Angus was taught everything that he needed to know for his new police job, which in fact was quite an extending job for such a small island. He constantly had to prevent people picking some yellow flowers that grew in the woods, and investigate mysterious licking-“episodes” at the local shop (the shopkeeper was each morning, when opening and entering his shop, greeted by a random member of “Mêlée Island Society of Tasting”, they had been bothering him for years and they all came with the same poorly made yoke “Just tasting the wares”. The island also was a haven for pirates and brigands, who where wanted in the triisland centre. And as the police chief, Angus also had the part of organizing a “voluntary” defence-army that was going to command the cannons situated at the new built walls. Angus spent some hours going over all the plans, possible costs and how long time the rallying of men would be expected to take.
He was later that day invited by Marley to meet the rest of the rebels of the VoodooLadys tyrannical rule. Angus gladly accepted a brake from the hard planning.
Wearing a confident grin, Angus strolled alongside Marley, down the main street towards the SCUMMbar, clearly gleaming with pride over the many immense projects he was leading. He followed the Governor pass the SCUMMbar, and over the great dock. They stopped in front of a little hut at the end of this dock; it was in fact the last “house” of Mêlée Proper.
Marley knocked a firm, melodic drum on the door, and it was slid open just enough for a young boy to get a peek at the arrivals. His first expression was quite horrid; he gave forth a mad grimace while howling like a crazy dog (this, Angus thought later, must have been the way the group scared away unwanted guests). But his mad-looking face soon transformed to a merry look when he saw Marley pop his head up next to Angus’. He quickly closed the door, several metallic sounds were then heard, and then opened the door just enough for Marley and Angus to enter.
The hut was badly lightened, and the filthy walls were covered with posters splattered with “VoodooLady suck!”, “Pirates forever, voodoo forNEVER!” and the likes. A map over the triisland area was laid upon the table, and each island was marked with different coloured writings. Scabb was covered red and marked “Voodoolady’s hive, keep away!!!” other islands was marked with small key-words like “Open for discussion”, “Governor under control of the VoodooLady” and “Demonical creature, changing of power, most likely VoodooLady”.
Angus had mixed feelings when looking around at this place, the young boy that had opened the door was now sitting next to it and drawing a new poster that was going to hang on the wall. It was very pretty, and had nice colouring. But even though the posters looked great, Angus was wondering about the value of making them, no one else except themselves would believe their tale about the evil VoodooLady anyway.
Marley saw Angus’ interest in the young boy and his drawings.´
“So you have noticed our young artist?” Marley asked, walking closer to the boy, to look at the latest piece”I’m afraid the posters don’t have any practical purpose, except to motivate us to continue to fight when days are becoming dark. But since it entertains our youngest member Mr. Lindy, I don’t see any danger with them.”
“Pleased to meet you mister Lindy,” Angus said, with a smile, as he gave the boy his hand. ”I’m Angus McDow, the new police chief of this island.”
“Nice to meet you too Mister Angus” Lindy replied, as he heartily shook the others hand.
“Well, we better leave Young Lindy to his drawings.” Marley said suddenly, noticing that Lindy wanted to prevent a possible conversation between himself and Angus “And, it is also one last member that you haven’t had the pleasure to meet. And I’m sure you’ll have better conversation topics with this one than Lindy.”
Angus looked around the room, at first the only living thing he had seen in the hut was Lindy, but after his eyes had gotten better acquainted to the near pitching dark, which loomed in the shack, he now could see that in the far corner opposite from the door, a huddled individual was sitting and drinking mug after mug with some foul smelling liquid, the stench became clearer and clearer as Angus came closer to the creature. This creature was also rather poorly dressed, in stained clothes, which revealed that the man, who carried them didn’t really care what other people thought of him. Angus couldn’t even understand why Marley had this drunken wreck in his group.
Angus took his hand forward to greet this unpromising future companion in the war against the VoodooLady, but wasn’t greeted back; the other didn’t even see Angus’ friendly gesture.
“No use in silent gesturing to this one. His rum is far more important to him, than boring conversations” Marley said, hoping that Angus didn’t take the drunken man’s lack of interest, as an insult. “Hey Rum! We have a new member.”
Rum, raised his greasy head, that was full of sweat after too many warming drinks on a rather warm day, and a smiling face appeared, with a great big red nose that greatly resembled a potato. He took forth a dirty hand, and greeted Angus.
“Welcome to the group.” Rum said when Angus took his hand and shook it. ”I’m Rum Rogers, the most unlucky pirate on the seven seas.”
“Glad to meet you” Angus said, greatly pleased over the fact that this man wasn’t as repulsive as he first thought he was. ”I’m Angus, and just as unlucky as you I would believe.”
This last comment Angus added in hope for a more detailed description of this poor soul’s misery, without asking in a way that forced him to share his sympathy.
“Ha!” Rum shouted out, with eagerness high-pitched inside the tone of his voice, clearly wanting to justify his words “A English pirate, Colonel Smith, a rather cowardly captain with a reputation of fleeing when odds seemed against him, had at last found the golden egg...” Rum quickly started “He had surprised Maracaibo when both the Silver Train and the Treasure Fleet were in the normally calm and quiet colony. Smith had several ships, and 500 hundred men had joined the battle at his side. But only 60 were left standing when Smith finally could declare himself as the victor of the great battle. He had then 70000 gold pieces in his hold, and since he feared the pirates who obviously would guard every English port in the following months, he sailed towards the Bahamas Islands to bury his great wealth. But my captain at the time, Duke Benton, hoped to sail ahead of the rather inexperienced Smith, and wait for him at the Windward Passage.
I myself had the job as a gunner. An inhuman job; or at least my post was. The name had a rather fine tone to it: “Junior Commander of Gunpowder for the Cannons”, but the work was a nightmare. The night before the great storm (at the gates of the VoodooLady’s realm), I was forced to clean a messed up cannon (the mess was in fact pork grease, which some joker had mixed with gunpowder and poured it into the cannons muzzle. When asked about the reason for this stupidity, he only answered that he hoped to make the ball fly faster trough the cannon). I was just finishing the inhuman job, at least for someone with my waist size, and was heading out of the cannons muzzle.” Angus looked in disbelief at the large man in front of him, Rum saw the questioning look and quickly added “It was one of them mortar cannons. I don’t know what use they have one a boat really; they are a pain in the backside to aim with. But anyway... I was heading out of its muzzle when someone with a great sense of humour, (personally I suspected the same clown that messed up the cannon in the first place) found out that it would be funny if they took away the top of the gunpowder barrel that I was using as a stepping board to get in and out of the cannon. Well, I fell into the barrel, and panicked since I didn’t know what I had landed in. I had been sweating greatly when cleaning the inside of the cannon, and I got to tell you Mr. McDow, that sweating, and panicking inside a barrel of gunpowder isn’t the most pleasant experience you could get into. I got gunpowder in every thinkable part of my body. Thinking back at it now, it is a wonder I even survived the first night. In fact, the only thing that saved me was my constant drinking of rum, to stabilize the dangerous minerals in the powder, and to get it out of my system. But even so, I had a hard time even breathing, and sometimes my lunges would stop completely.
And that was what saved me when talking to the VoodooLady. My lunge stopped working right before she pushed that dreadful blue mind cleansing cloud at us. And the only thing that got my lungs working again was me falling trough the hole in her floor, when I was gasping for air and following my crew, and into the boat that transported us back to the border of the swamps. Then as we had returned to Woodtick, I noticed that my friends had changed. I spent my following days at some dreadful boat bar, drinking constantly to get all the gunpowder out of my body, and drowning my sorrow over my situation, later the latter became my prime motive for drinking. Then one day Mr. Marley came into the bar and questioned me about my past. And after telling him my sad and unlucky tale, he invited me to Mêlée.
That was back in the time when we could travel freely in the triisland area, without fear of getting discovered by the VoodooLady, or her spies. I don’t even think she had spies at that time.” Rum stopped to empty yet another mug of rum. ”But now, things are changed, and our battle seems in vain.” He stopped at this last remark, and went back to his drinking, head bowed and clearly more miserable than before.
“What happened?” Angus asked while turning towards Marley, as he understood that Rum wasn’t likely to reveal more than he had “What forced you into this secrecy?”
“Well I must somewhat put the blame upon my self” Marley started with grief painted upon his face, as if he with remorse recollected his memories around the situation.
“Once, we were as free as any other pirate that she had lured into her realm, and our campaign (we were trying to take government over most of the islands) was very popular. Even the VoodooLady herself supported us for some time. But then as most elections got close, and we where trying to convince the most desolate inhabitants of the different isles, I got to the tree house to a hermit named Christopher Hendry on Booty Island. We had a long conversation concerning his previous life, and his future goal. Well to make a rather long story short... He gave me the suspicion that the VoodooLadys magical mindcleansing powder wasn’t all invincible. This man had clearly swallowed the powder, but only half his memory was changed, (something that had made him into a schizophrenic madman, with constant quarrelling with himself upon what really happened at the VoodooLadys hive) when he entered the VoodooLadys Empire. I tried to convince him to see the truth. But his mind was so focused on the battle with himself, that when one of the sides got support from someone else, he lost the little sense he had left. He cried out like a monkey and crawled on the floor, and white fume was coming out of his mouth.´
Well, I saw that the man needed help, but he was strongly built and rather big boned, so I knew I couldn’t carry him myself. So I hurriedly ran back to the city, to get help from my comrades. But when I, Rum and Rap had returned to the tree hut, Christopher was gone.
We stayed on Booty for some time, hoping Christopher soon would be found by the many people who were looking for him, in exchange for a small reward of gold from the Mêlée Bank. But we heard nothing of the lost man. And after a while we noticed a change in the inhabitants of Booty. They were becoming suspicious upon each other, and us. Especially us.
Then Augustus, my old friend, and governor of Booty, arrested us. We then finally understood that our true purpose concerning the VoodooLady had been revealed. So we hurriedly escaped, and has never travelled outside Mêlée again.” Marley shook his head in misery. “But what a grand escape it was!” a voice near the door said with a proud expression. Young Lindy closed the door, and then added: “A deed worthy of heroes.” As a natural continuing to the cook’s, who had just entered, words.
Marley smiled a proud, but also bitter smile. “Yea! Your right Rap” Marley said “The souls who survived our escape from that dreadful prison dungeon, would surely give the VoodooLady a miserable and alarming description of us. Only three we where, and yet tens upon tens we killed only with our bare hands, before getting our hands on proper weapons. Then followed the bloodbath of her brain-dead army of civilians, and they where all armed with weapons, and willing to risk their own lives in exchange for the taking of ours. And when we finally had gotten into the only available boat, a little dinghy, we had to fight of rowboats after rowboat with boarding parties, (the nasty men and women threw the grapping-hooks, as if they hadn’t done anything else their whole lives) to get to our own ship, that luckily hadn’t been destroyed.
We left a trail of blood after us all the way to the Skeleton Reef Pentagon.” Marley stopped his tale at that point, staring miserably on the painted blood-trail that flowed from Booty and halfway towards Mêlée on the map.
Angus somehow couldn’t believe their tale, it seemed too unreal. But since so many things that previously would seem unreal to him, had in the latter days happened to him, he found it wisest to hold his misbelieve to himself.
“But then the VoodooLady know who, and most likely where you are!” Angus said, after a moment in which he had digested the grim tale.
Marley looked upon Angus, and smiled an as calming smile as he could muster.
“My cheeks where bare of hair back then,” He said, while brushing some food stains of his great beard. ”but Rap, and Rum was pretty hairy.”
“Luckily for us the poor brainwashed people of Booty, has a poor memory.” Rap said, as he was heading for a chair near the table containing the map over the isles.
“A infect of the brainwashing I would say” Lindy commented from his corner “They have no memory of faces, or shapes and colour at all if they have been separated from the object for a day. Something that have made many a family with a sailing fader, quite sad” “That’s right, they needed some painter to paint us, but he was arriving the next morning.” Marley said. Then he sat down at the table and surveyed the map.
They sat there like this for quite some time. Rum was drinking cup after cup with alcohol. Lindy was drawing some kind of picture on a large piece of wood, using diverse colours. And Rap and Marley where discussing the different isles and their weaknesses.
At last Angus couldn’t hold his thoughts, that after the wait had grown quite out of hand, for himself anymore, he openly declared his dismay over their situation:
“I don’t know what you plan to achieve with this rebellion. The defence of our current walls, are only a short time solution, and new walls would take years to built and destroy Mêlée’s economy, and in any case, no wall can withstand forever.” He said, hoping his words might seem wise. ”What can we DO to cripple or destroy the VoodooLady right NOW?”
“Well not much!” Said a voice loudly, from outside the hut.
Rum, Rap and Marley saw with dreadfully faces upon the door as if they where expecting the VoodooLady herself to stand on the other side.
Lindy hurriedly opened a gap, and saw out.
“Marco!” he gasped. Then as he was about to close the door again, so that Marley and Rap, who always carried weapons could attack him, he was stopped by a pistol that was jammed trough the door gap, and aimed for the poor boys head.
“Marco LaGrande!” the man holding the gun said, with great pride “The finest police chief this island ever had”
“And the greatest spy the VoodooLady ever had the privilege to brainwash, I also believe” Marley said, not caring about the begging look upon Lindy’s face, who hoped that no one would provoke the holder of the gun, which was aimed towards his precious artistically gifted brain.
“That can so be that I was her spy.” Marco said with a surprisingly calming tone when concerning the situation. “But I have never been brainwashed by that old witch, and as you probably have noticed. She pays her brainwashed people far less than she first promises them. Now I hope you would pay me the differential.”
“Why would we do such a foolish thing?” Rum shouted from his corner “That little boy is surely not worth MY bag of gold.”
Lindy gave Rum a sickening look that revealed that all hope of living trough the episode, was quickly leaving him.
“Of course he isn’t.” Marco said, even calmer than before “But maybe your freedom is? There is still time enough for you to leave, but not if I keep my men at their shooting positions around the hut as they are now. Your little Booty-episode won’t repeat itself here.” Marco went silent a moment, to let the message fully sink into the trapped people inside the pity little hut “So what do you say? Is it a deal?”
Rap, Rum and Angus looked with interest on Marley who was the natural man to make the decision, since he was the only one in the group who had any large amounts of money. Lindy only looked at the floor, hoping this nightmare would end soon.
Marley looked back at each of the other for some time before declaring: “Yes it is.” With a disappointing breath “How much do you demand?”
“Oh not much,” Macro said, while smacking his lips” three hundred pieces of eight, would suffice.”
“You will have it, you disgusting brigand.” Marley said. Then he lifted up a loose floorboard, and opened a chest that was built into the ground. He took up 3 bags and threw them through the crack in the door. “I’ll guess we won’t need money anymore anyway, since our disguise is at last revealed.” He explained when noticing Angus shocked expression.
“I thank you for your wise decision Governor” Marco said, after collecting the bags. “I give you luck on your journeys, and your goal.”
Then Marco did what seemed the most unlikely to them all, he left.
And so the rebellion left the hut, hurriedly collected a trustworthy crew (consisting mostly of servants of the governors mansion), and raised the sails to a proud barque named "Grog Villains Beauty". The cargo hold of the ship was already fitted for a long voyage; it was shipping supplies to Blood Island, some two weeks northeast. But since it already was Governor Marley’s ship, they figured that the sleeping captain and crew wouldn’t mind too much that they took it.
They where just raising their sails and heading towards the now dawning sea, when they thought that they heard from the clouds, travelling slightly past Mt.Fracas(the largest mountain of Mêlée, and the host for the lookout tower), a voice blowing faintly:
“Flee! Flee before the tides of doom are upon you! And succeed in your quests!”
And so they left Mêlée Island, the long centre for the rebellion against the VoodooLady.
They had good winds and where soon on the way southeast, they needed to get as far away the triisland centre as possible.