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Rebellion: The Beginning
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Chapter 5: The Secret of Monkey Irresistible
Angus awoke in a shiver; he was freezing, a sensation he had not experienced since his trip over the great Atlantic. He was soaked to the bone by his own sweat, and now completely awake and unable to sleep any further, tried in vain to warm himself by tucking his clothes tighter around his body. Angus then blinked curiously over the rail of the small rowboat, wondering about his location. He could see the moon descending dimly towards the pitch-black sea, surrounded by an even darker horizon. It almost seemed that the blackness had trapped the helpless moon; as if the death-black masses surrounding the horizons, had dragged the glowing circle from the lighter grey clouds that towered over the skyline, and was now dragging it forcefully towards the sea, in an effort to extinguish its proud glow.
Angus felt painfully alone sitting in a little rowboat towed by a dead ship, and frightfully open to attacks. Miserable thoughts started drifting to the Scotsman. He was now cold, wet and alone, and had depressing thoughts as he wondered if the crewmembers of the Grog Villains Beauty would ever awake from their comas and save him. His wounds seemed at least to have healed though, all that he now felt of them was itching scabs; but that was also the only improvement that he could notice from the last days.
Angus grasped the rope connecting the small rowboat to the sloop and tested the fastness of its hold. He COULD climb it, he believed, even though he now was starved (after days without food), and rather weak (from the same reason). He was slowly towing his little boat closer to the Sloop when his back suddenly flashed with coldness, as if someone had laid a long metal piece all across it; Angus turned slowly expecting only a cold wind hitting his face.
The moon was now being dragged into the sea by the darkness, and was starting to lose its white clean shine. Now the moon slowly turned darkly red by the blackness surrounding it, and as the moon dipped itself into the water, the sea too was coloured red along with the horizon around the falling circle. And then, as the moon was halfway through its fall, all the horizons fiercely turned dark purple. Angus now turned forward and saw a terrible looking sun sending great sticking red beams all over the sea. The sun was evil in Angus' mind, and he had a creeping feeling that the reddish beams were searching for something, most probably him.
Then suddenly a great white flash came and lightened the Grog Villains Beauty and the surrounding waters. Angus was petrified, he had now reached the Sloop, and felt that the spotlight from above was too revealing, at least while he sat openly in a small rowboat. Angus hoped at least to get into the Sloop; any possible danger that could follow these strange weather phenomenons would surely be easier to handle in a four-gunned Sloop than in an un-defendable rowboat. He was a couple of metres away from the stern of the ship when he heard a great cracking sound, like a tree cracked by a heavy storm. Angus looked up in surprise, towards the skies where the sound had come from. He could to his astonishment, see a wide and shallow crack opening slowly with a great trembling noise. At the end, the crack had widened to a great looming circle that seemed even larger than the world.
Angus felt uneasy; somehow, he knew that this was a sight not meant for mortal eyes.
Then the great grey clouds above lowered themselves, and it seemed to Angus that the world itself was going under. Then a thin column of fume came twirling from the Grog Villains Beauty towards the wide circle; and when the fume reached the clouds, the clouds stopped their descending. The green column from the Grog Villains Beauty now grew wider, and separated itself into several tails, which in their turn pulled and ripped off large pieces from the clouds, with terrible cracking sounds. The fume then formed from all its collected cloud-masses a small cloud shaped as a bowl, and sent it slowly down towards the ocean.
As it drew closer, Angus understood how mighty it truly was, and he was horrified. It was hundreds of metres wide, and just as high.
The sight of the solemn descending cloud had scared Angus, and he was therefore relieved when it dipped itself slowly into the waters behind the Grog Villains Beauty like a whale.
Whale? Something was clearly wrong with this picture. The cloud was supposed to disappear like a foaming-cream in warm water. Clouds mix with water; they do not dive into them.
Angus focused his eyes on the water, and saw to his shock that the bulking cloud was travelling freely underwater, but even worse: towards him! It finally stopped with its tip right between the Grog Villains Beauty and Angus’ rowboat.
Then to the horror of Angus, the cloud came up from the waters and started lifting the Grog Villains Beauty with its flight.
Angus looked around in disbelief, again fearing the end of the world. Then he saw something that horrified him more than any Armageddon would do. From all the horizons around him, a blood-like red glow shone. It was as if the waters were on fire and the air was burning.
Angus panicked by the look of this, he knew not what it was, but was sure that it could not be a good sign. He looked at the bow of the rowboat, and saw to his dread that it had started to raise over the water as the rope from the now high-flying Grog Villains Beauty pulled it. Angus understood that he could not sit in the rowboat if he hoped to avoid drowning, so he started climbing the rope, and as he did so the rope itself and untied itself from the rowboat, and Angus wondered greatly about this, as he realised that up was the only way to climb if he wanted to live any further. It was as if nature itself forced him to go on.
The climb was long and very tiring for the starved Scotsman, but when he finally had reached the bottom of the cloud, he took a break and tied the rope around himself. He then started to look over the ocean that now laid hundreds of metres below him; it was starting to turn entirely red, and Angus could see small dark squares all around. Angus now knew what this was; it was the VoodooLady and her armada of ships, trying to capture the rebels.
Angus could hardly believe the power of the evil sorceress. She had the greatest army Angus had ever seen, and seemed also to have control over the weather. Angus was afraid; the terror of the VoodooLady had now finally reached his soul, and his hopes in all that he believed was quickly diminishing. Then, as depression gnawed upon his soul like a rapid dog over a meat-full bone, calming winds came carrying a great white cloud.
Angus instantly focused on the cloud in the hopes that it would hide him from the VoodooLadys gaze; and as he did so, his mind went dreamingly away from all worries, and brought forth strange pictures of things unseen to him before. A vision of a great army readying itself for a fight, was painted to him by the curves and bulks in the great cloud; or maybe his imagination was going wild. Angus could see a proud war chief on a great horse, wielding a golden pike, which he used to control thousands upon thousands of following riders with similar pikes. At his left flank, a row of bowmen on chariots shot out thin streaks of crispy white cloud-stripes. Angus followed the cloud-arrows, and could see another army rushing fast from the other side. These were clouds with the likeness of a hundreds of axe-wielding fighters; the leader of this army was a great man twice the height of his soldiers. Angus then, as the two armies had blocked his visage of the VoodooLady's armada in their great collision of axes and pikes, tried to regain his focus to reality and continue his climb.
He managed to climb half a metre before his gaze again drifted down to the battlefield that no longer seemed to be only in his mind. The two armies had now blocked every inch of air bellow Angus and the sea. The fight was now on its height, and Angus believed that he could hear muffled cries as the men draw their weapons into each other, and he could even see thin strips of blood-red fumes evaporating from the men’s wounds. The last glance he could get from the battlefield was of the giant sabre-wielding monster facing a tiny unarmed cloud. Then the sight faded from Angus' eyes, and he turned and focused on a strange sight ahead; it seemed that he was inside an enormous cloud, even greater then Europe.
A landscape made out of only clouds, water and snow, played the symphony of seasons for Angus’ eyes, and he marvelled more for each second, over the greatness of it all. Then as the winter’s blizzard gave way for the warming breeze of spring, a great mountain met Angus eyes, and the mountains sides where filled with thousands of faces. They smiled happily when the cloud carrying the Grog Villains Beauty passed slowly by, and as Angus passed the last face, the only face that was angry and aware of Angus, a man drifted slowly out of the face’s mouth. Angus instantly recognised the cloud-man that flew towards him.
It was Fergus! Angus' granduncle.
He was the last man to rule over the McDow castle in southern Scotland before the insane protestant Brits came, burning women inside their houses in the name of their own petty vision of the bible. Angus eyes went moist when he recalled the great halls of the old castle, and the memory of the ever-glad Fergus who always liked to talk about the old days.
Angus fondly recollected these tales now. The brutal feud and horrible wars with the McMuttons… The tale of the dragon and its foundation of the castle walls… The three generation long “holmgang” (A Viking duel) with Torvein Hardhaug, and the great war that followed… The tale of the giant, and its shaping of Ireland at Ben McDow’s command… All the stories now came back to Angus’ mind, and he was amazed to see that these very events where portrayed by the surrounding clouds. There was Count Jacob McDow with his sword "Blunty" positioned at Martin McMuttons throat after the stealing of the sheep. He could see Dowman himself, standing at Dowland Moor holding Katie Bellman in his hands, ready to shape the future forever. He also saw the great and proud dragon Vetterissa, forced into buildinging the Hall of Hopes, the seat of the McDow clan. The episode where John McDow finally revenged his grandfather, father, uncles and brothers with a foul spit, made Angus laugh loudly. Lastly, Angus' own father showed himself in his last living moment fighting some mean Whig. Then as Angus' eyes got blurry by the thought of the doom of his clan and its unpromising future, the clouds faded into unrecognizable shapes. Angus cleared his eyes, and gazed ahead hoping to see an end to all the whiteness. It was not the McDow spirit to dwell in the past with misery and sadness.
He could now see the clouds clearing over him, and thin beams of light shone through the cloud-line. Angus decided to loosen the rope, which he had fastened around his waistline, and continue his climb towards the Grog Villains Beauty. And just as he had untied the rope, and was about to climb into the cloud that carried the Grog Villains Beauty, Angus thought he could see a demonic face filled with maddening rage, appear in the clouds behind, and varied forms of this face appeared around the first one. Nevertheless, even though the face was horrid and often deathlike, Angus could not help noticing a glimmer of gladness, hope and enjoyment in the curly cloud-eyes of the illusion. Then the images faded in the now fast growing light, and Angus climbed into the Grog Villains Beauty-carrying cloud.
Angus was, after a rather strange climb through a mushy cloud, and a long swim through much water, finally able to climb the rope to the stern of the ship. He then looked around and saw that the Grog Villains Beauty now was floating on a great ocean. It was as if he had reached another world with a great border of clouds.
Angus, now on the brink of starvation, didn't stay on deck and ponder his strange travel and the strange sea he had come to, but instead decided to go down to the galley and prepare himself some food.
There he found the usual meals, salt meat and water. Angus' was glad just the same, poor food is better than no food.
He had a little feast for himself while thinking of what to do next. He should surely try to awake the others later. Angus was certain that after telling them about his destruction of the War Galleon, and the terror that followed them, they would rethink their foolish abolishment of him. They had acted upon fear, and so when Angus now told them the entire truth, they would surely see things in a different perspective.
Angus was just finishing his meal, and had emptied his last cup of water, when he heard that the others was starting to awake. He quickly stood up and started for the door; but then he heard a great cursing upon deck. Angus silently walked towards the hatch, not knowing what to expect.
"Captain!" Rum's bellowing voice cried out. "Our sails are torched!"
"And the rowboat is gone too!" Rap cried instantly after, from the stern.
Angus crept slowly a bit higher on the staircase, enough so that he could see the men.
Marley’s face was painted red by anger and despair.
"Who could have done something as dreadful as this?" he asked himself mutely as he inspected the sails. "Lindy!" he then cried out.
Ah, thought Angus. Finally the brat is getting a beating.
"Yea" Lindy answered sleepily, stepping onto the deck with unsure feet.
"I knew it!" Marley cried out right after the young boy had answered. "It must be Angus! If I ever see him again he will surely kiss the gunner's daughter (an expression used for a method of punishment: The guilty of crime is tied fast to the cannon and whipped. There are many variations of the ties and whipping (or even other pain giving tortures).)."
Angus did not know what to do. His first urges to jump forth and proclaim his innocence were soon discouraged by his more "sensible" thoughts. With the captain in this mood, his safety could be at stage, and the last thing he wanted was another whipping. He just continued to listen in silence.
"How can it be him?" Rap asked. "Didn't you see the Dons take him with them?"
Oh no! Thought Angus. Now I surely couldn’t appear again. The stupid cook is playing along their side.
"How can we know he wasn't on league with the Spaniards?" Marley said, first addressing only Rap, then as the vision became clearer addressed all the others. "The Spaniards could have sent him onboard to set our ship on fire, and as she burned he would run away with one of our rowboats. The Spaniards must have been on the VoodooLady's league since they managed to make us all collapse. Therefore, Angus has been on the VoodooLady's team all the time. We should have known."
Angus glanced miserably on each of his former "friends". They where all shocked, but even Rap could see the sense in the speculation. Angus now knew that a reuniting would be impossible. He therefore quickly went to the hold to find a suitable hiding place. He was going to hide until they got near land and escape would be possible.
He was now right back from where he started when boarding the War Galleon. He could not expect any gladness any longer from any of the people who might find him. Angus now hoped that this sky-ocean at least contained one or more colonies in which he could hide.
He had crept inside a chest filled with ship-crackers, and listened intently to the soft noises of trampling upon the deck. He was not entirely sure what his hopes now lay in, and if his hiding place at all was safe. He heard the clinging of the ships-bell and Rum bellowing “Land Ho!”
Now was the time, Angus thought, now he could finally escape from these amateurish rebels, luckily enough, these lands seemed to be Voodoo-free.
Angus was just about to lift the lid of the chest, when he heard Rap and Rum stumbling down the stairs to the hold. Angus lay completely still, eavesdropping on them in hope for information on the new land.
"Where do you think we have gotten?" Rum asked, his voice was trembling with concern.
"I don't know Rum," Rap answered just as afraid. "I only hope that the VoodooLady isn't controlling the island."
"Don't you think we could manage with the storm-sails till we get to a proper colony?" Rum asked on, clearly at unease with the plans, prearranged on deck. "I have a really bad feeling about this."
"No use I guess." Rap replied sadly. "We need more men. This ship cannot be sailed with only four people. I was onboard a Sloop staffed by seven men one time, and I am telling you that it was like a living nightmare. The men were totally exhausted; half of them had gone crazy when we arrived in Nevis two days later, and was unusable for further sailing."
"So bad eh?" Rum replied with doubt mixed in his amazement, interested in more information.
"To tell you the truth Rum," Rap said, as he took a ship-chest over his thin shoulder, and gave the man a sly smile. "It would perhaps have turned up all right if it hadn't been for that dreadful parrot of the cabin boy who... Hey! What is that?"
"Wha..?" Rum started, before noticing where Rap pointed. "What the... It's glowing."
Angus lifted the lid of the chest a bit more to see what they where talking about, but could not see what they huddled themselves over.
"Should we open it?" Rap asked doubtfully. "He HAS abandoned the ship hasn't he?"
"I don't really know Rap." Rum doubtfully said, while backing away from the object of interest. "Marley said that he was under influence of the VoodooLady, and if that is true, this thing could be a weapon against us." He backed away a couple of feet more when realising his own words. It was enough so that Angus could see what they where talking about, and when seeing it, he wondered. It was his ships-chest, and through all possible cracks in it, a great green light shone out, and it grew in intensity for every second and so like a great beating heart. Rap was still bending over it. He touched the lid, and looked wondered but confident upon Rum.
"I'm sure that Angus was no spy of the VoodooLady" he said while adding a grave look to Rum, to make him understand the truthfulness of this. "And therefore this chest can't be anything to be afraid of"
"But Marley said..." Rum protested loudly as Rap started fiddling with the lock.
"Marley don't know a thing about Angus." Rap answered back furiously. "And I really can't believe that a man like you would follow him so blindly in his beliefs."
Rum eyed the cook with suspicion. "How much do you REALLY know about Angus' actions after the Spaniards took him?" he then asked slowly, while his hands lowered gradually towards his belt and knife.
Rap looked frightfully at Rum; he clearly disliked the Dutch drunk’s speculations.
"I at least know that his actions didn't have anything to do with the VoodooLady." Rap said quickly, trying to clear of all suspicion.
"What about the rowboat?" Rum asked, while playing his fingers around the hilt of the knife.
Angus swallowed hard, and looked distressed at Rum.
"I was about to save him."
"And the sails?"
Rum interrupted him, even before Rap could explain the whole situation. "We all knew that Angus was on the VoodooLady's side..." He started, still playing his fingers around his knifes shaft. "But you Rap? I'm disappointed." A scornful and horridly sadistic smile widened across Rum’s fat face.
Rap gazed back with fear, surprised over the bloodlust of his friend.
"Rum, Rum! Take it easy!" Rap tried to calm him down "If I really was on that fools side you all would have been dead by now.” He had now gotten over his shock about Rum's speculation, and had found out that the only path he now could play was to play along. "He was trying to enter the ship from the rowboat that was floating from the stern; I cut the rope connecting the boat when I noticed him. He was probably trying to return to retrieve the chest after trying to torch the boat, which I was lucky enough to save from destruction."
Rum swallowed the story as easily as a mug of grog, and looked upon Rap with renewed respect and wonder. Rap was aware of the troubles that could appear if he was to ask about a more detailed description of his tale.
"Now hand me that rapier," Rap commanded, while pointing at a sword resting against a barrel filled with rum, trying to get Rum on other thoughts than treason. "And maybe we can open this..."
Rum gave him the rapier with a scowl and added. "Well, the blame will surely be on your part if snakes and skink-toes come leaping out and overruns the boat..."
Rap gave Rum no heed though; he forced the tip of the rapier into the lock and twisted it hard. A crack followed, and the locking-mechanism was destroyed. Rap slowly opened the lid, and a bright light filled the room. Rap reached down into the chest, and as he raised again the whole room lightened brightly green. Angus could only see the silhouettes of the two crewmembers bowing over something small that Rap seemed to hold.
"Wadd'ya now!" Rap said, melancholically but with joy.
Rum looked with interest, and hoped clearly for a further explanation.
"Angus had locked his treasure map down into his chest..."
Angus froze when hearing this. His map? Was it glowing? Why? He could find no sense in the puzzle.
Then Rap again spoke. "Hear Rum." He said interested. "There are some writings here... Let us see: 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. Hmm. Strange, strange ind..." Rap stopped abruptly as he realised something. His face filled with excitement, he asked Rum about the land sighting he had reported to the captain.
"Well, I couldn't see so much from my location, but it seemed large. I saw an entire mountain-chain stretching over the horizon."
"Then this must be it!" Rap cried out in wonder. Rum looked strangely at him. "This is the place you fool! See this chain, and that coast! There is a treasure on this island, and I'm guessing that it is the VoodooLady's"
A smile widened over Rums mouth, and he and Rap talked merrily to each other as they walked up to the deck to report their findings to the captain.
Angus now had a hard time breathing in his box. The others had found his treasure map, the solemn reason for his travels into the Bahamas, and it now even beamed out its signal of direction. So close, but alas so far, far away. His back shivered when he thought about the greatness the map must have hidden, it was a secret treasure that even the VoodooLady seemed to want to obtain, and now it was handled by fools.
Angus could hear the sound of a rowboat splashing down into the waters. He quickly got out of his barrel and sneaked upon deck, only to realise that his fear had been truthful. The others had now already embarked on land, in search for HIS treasure. Angus then ran down to the armoury and loaded three guns, which he afterwards properly fastened into his belt. He WOULD get that treasure, even if it meant killing of the rest of his former crewmembers. In that grim mood he lowered the last rowboat into the water, and rowed towards land.