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Allegro Rasputin - Pirate to Priest.
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Prologue

It all started with a ripple.
Well, not all things- that would be saying the whole, entire Universe was born by a ripple of some kind or another. That could be wrong- then again, it could be right. Nobody knows, after all. But in this case, the events that followed started with a ripple, followed by a gasp, and then a plop. Here’s how it happened.
Vladimir Volobosky was the Sunday night lookout aboard the Weeping Iguana, a smuggler’s vessel loaded with contraband fluffy toys. Right now the ship was berthed snugly in Stirling’s Harbour, a natural dock created by billions of years of aquatic force smashing itself angrily against Elizabeth Cay, a tiny island often used as a stop-off by smugglers, pirates and rogue real-estate agents (often to be found searching the seas in smart, sleek boats, armed with contract deals for the rights to the Mary Celeste). Vladimir’s stomach growled hungrily as he stared into the dark, depressing gloom of the night, and his calloused hand was halfway into his pocket when he saw the ripple. It was followed by a lot more ripples, and then it occurred to Vladimir that looking up and seeing what was causing the ripples would probably be a very, very good idea. When Vladimir’s eyes fell upon the origins of the nightly disturbance, his mouth gaped open and then his head, neatly severed from his body by an expertly swung (and slightly notched) cutlass, flew into the air, bounced off the ship’s railing and landed with a plop into the darkened sea. If Vladimir had of had any kind of conscious thought at that time, he may have been pleased that his now useless appendage was going to feed a family of four deep-sea Caribbean grouper. But, of course, Vladimir was not conscious and so therefore he didn’t have the pleasure in knowing some good came from his untimely death.

A massacre followed. It was caused, as is to be expected, by the newly undead Ghost Pirate LeChuck and his menagerie-like crew of Ghosts, Skeletons and several phantom-like creatures of unknown description. The captain, a man named Smollet, was cut into numerous small pieces and thrown into the Ocean- it is interesting to note this quick, previously unknown fact- Captain Smollet’s spiritual body, so enraged by its untimely demise, reformed itself later on using its own mangled corpse and several other half-decomposed seagull remains. This bizarre, undead freak terrorised the desert isle it washed up upon until May 3rd, 1876, when it was found by British soldiers and sent to Australia as a convict for the heinous crime of ‘not wearing enough clothing upon one’s body in the vicinity of Her Royal Majesty’s Navy’.

***

There was one thing to be said about LeChuck- he was a Ghost with flare, with passion, with the rage of an homicidal maniac and the sheer bloody-mindedness of a catfish on Speed. His crew had been somehow diminished during the fight, and several crewman (Paul, John and George) were rendered useless after having garlic stuffed down their throats and being impaled on wooden mallets. Even though they were Ghosts, imperceptible to Harm (especially the type of Harm used specifically to kill Vampires), they hadn’t known this at the time and had died, causing a slight inconvenience. To make matters worse, Ringo, a suicidally depressed skeleton who spent all his free time drumming his head against the ships wheel, had decided to end it all by drinking as much Ghost Rum™ as was more than humanly possible and had sunk into a happily drunken coma, which he was unlikely to ever come out of. LeChuck, slightly jollier than usual, had only destroyed him with a Voodoo Punch™ rather than a Voodoo FireBall of Tremendous Rage™, as he usually did with his less-than-able crewmen. And so LeChuck was four short of a full set- he needed more undead. Four undead men, capable of going on one voyage without ending it all. Again. It made him sick, it really did.

So he decided to improvise. He walked silently across the Weeping Iguana’s now-tattered, once proud, deck and looked down at the corpses laid out before him. Weedy specimens. He glanced up at Bob, his second-in-command, and shot the skeletal lackey a withering, hate-filled glance. “These are the best ye could find?”

Bob cowered, and caught his head, as it was about to roll of his spin and plunked it back on. Originally, after he had been slaughtered and made an undead servant, it bothered him that one of his more useful appendages kept dropping off. After a while, he got used to it, and it ended becoming one of his ‘personal flaws’- like a stutter, or a nervous tic. In fact, it really turned out useful if he and the crew were ever playing beach volleyball and were a ball short. His peg-leg stumped up and down on the deck twice as he staggered slightly from the cower, then managed to straighten his bony body up, ragged clothes fluttering in the nightly winds. It is interesting to note that, because Bob was a Skeleton-Ghost and his clothes only semi-existent, they were not affected in any way by any form of weather. But Bob was a traditionalist and made sure his clothes moved in the breeze for the look of it.

“I’m sorry, sir, but really, they are the best… well, the Captain and the First Mate were a lot better, but you cut them up in a fit of evil rage, if you remember rightly, sir.” He grinned nervously- something he was well designed to do, what with only having a skull and all.
“Aye, that I did.” LeChuck’s glance now fell to the corpses on the floor again, and he shook his see-through head in obvious disgust. “I swear, back when I was alive I would never ‘ave allowed this weedy lot on my crew.”
I’m surprised you even had a crew once, you ugly, overbearing, disgustingly pus-ridden OAF, sir. Bob shuffled nervously, desperately hoping that Captain G.P. LeChuck hadn’t developed the ability to read minds in the last two hours. “Well sir, I am sorry…”

“Stow it, fool!” LeChuck shook his head again, black, wriggling hair shaking round stormily, and took a few steps backwards. “I need ta concentrate!”
And, with one transparent, ectoplasmic arm raised, LeChuck pulled four Ghostly bodies from the freshly killed corpses. Each was dressed in the clothes they had died in- tattered, insubstantial seafaring clothes, one with a bandana tied around its head, the others looking mournfully about, seeing for the first time the world of the living through the eyes of the dead.

“Listen up!” bellowed LeChuck, eyes glowing a bright blue for a moment. The Ghost Pirate was always in an evil mood, and he found that exploiting this anger for all it was worth pushed his crew to obey orders to the letter. If his plans weren’t so serious he would have burst into laughter at the… the pathetic way they did exactly as he said. Even these four, who he and his crew had just killed in a raging battle, felt they needed to listen as hard as they could.

“Ye are mine now, ye hear?” continued LeChuck, striding up and down on deck, feet sinking just below the surface of the timbers. It had taken a while for him to get used to the idea that Ghosts didn’t need to walk, and could instead float- but he preferred walking. It was a mortal thing, certainly, but it was built in to all humans. Besides, taking a step and finding your feet didn’t always rest on solid ground was a little disconcerting. “As ye are mine, this means ye follow me to the very pits of Heck itself! Literally!” He gave a bellowing laugh now at this joke, spit flecking from his mouth and falling through the decks as though it didn’t exist- which, in a way, it didn’t. “And thus ye are my crew! Ye do what I say, ye mop the decks, ye serve me food, ye respond to my every whim! I am yer captain, and also yer master!” Bob, a few feet away, nodded his head and deftly caught it as it tumbled from his spine, popping it back in place as carefully as he could. Despite how resentful he was of LeChuck, he was beginning to understand how the man- or Ghost- felt, and he even admired how well he could turn the most evil pirate into a quivering bowl of sea-gherkin.

“Now, get aboard me ship while I go about destroying this meandering hulk of rotting deckwood!” LeChuck shook his head furiously as the whole crew, including the four tumbling, newly-made Ghost rookies, rushed to LeChuck’s own vessel to escape the Ghost Pirate’s intimidating wrath.


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