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The Second Element II: Through A Glass Darkly
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Disclaimer: I do not own the Monkey Island series or any of the characters/places/things/rubber chickens with pulleys in their middles therein. I’m just borrowing. If I promise to give them all back when I’m done, will you not sue?
“The time is out of joint--O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!”
--“Hamlet,” Act I Scene 5
Act One: Salt in the Wound
Commodore LeChuck opened the door and slammed it shut again the moment he was through. The only other person in the room, a ghostly specter of a woman floating three inches off the floor, barely noticed his entrance.
“I just had another run-in with yer husband,” he growled, spitting out the last word.
Elaine smirked. “Did he scare you off again?”
Growling still, LeChuck formed a small boulder from the dust that perpetually surrounded him and hurled it at her. It flew through her waist and bounced off the far wall. Elaine didn’t even flinch.
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
LeChuck ignored her and set about pacing the room. It was so small that he easily crossed it and started back again in just a few steps. “Aye, and ye won’t be smirkin’ so much when I get that divorce...and that no-good Peepgood out of my hair.”
“You mean like you tried to do five years ago?”
“Shut yer mouth, woman! It would’ve worked, too, if ye hadn’t gotten in the way.”
“Of course it would have,” Elaine answered in what at first seemed to be a soothing voice--but in truth held a mocking undertone. “And I’m sure all those other attempts would have worked, too.”
LeChuck pointedly ignored her again. “I’ll be gettin’ that divorce soon, Elaine. Then ye’ll change yer tune, aye...”
She laughed. “Good luck. You’ll need it.”
He shook his head. “They’ll have ta give in sometime...or ye will.”
“I’ve told you before, LeChuck,” she said, waving her hand in dismissal, “I won’t marry you until you can show me legal divorce papers.”
LeChuck sighed. “Then I’ll be leavin’ for Lucre Island ta talk to those blasted lawyers again. Ye stay put--when I come back, I’ll have them papers.”
Elaine only smirked again at his retreating back. “Like I have much of a choice?” She leaned against the wall, kept from sinking through it by a complicated combination of spells. “It’s been seventeen years, LeChuck,” she yelled as the door shut. “I’m not giving in now!”
Armena sighed and brushed the mud from her pants. The raft was stuck in the part of the Marshe she’d always been warned to avoid--it was wedged between a rusty iron fence and a withered old tree. She had waded into mud and swamp up to her knees to try and pull it out, but the raft was as stubborn as the mysterious current that had gotten her stuck there in the first place. And Armena was fast losing what little patience she had.
“You stupid--you fight like a cow, you stupid raft!”
She sat back down on it and sighed. “Now I’m going to be late...” She sighed again, eyeing the raft as if she wanted to try kicking it again. A lock of blonde hair fell into her eyes and she grumbled under her breath as she flicked it out of the way. Finally she dug into her pockets, looking for something that might help. That turned up nothing of use; the only thing in her pockets was a scrap of paper. “Definitely late,” she muttered under her breath.
Armena got back up and picked up the pole she used to steer the raft, wedging it in just ahead of the raft itself. “If this doesn’t work,” she said, “I’m going to walk there.” She maneuvered the pole around so that it looked more like an impromptu lever and then, hopping over it and back into the mud, pulled on it with all her strength. The raft popped free as if it had never been stuck.
“Finally!” She jumped back onboard, taking the pole with her, and began steering the raft in the direction she had been trying to go in the first place.
Lucre Island was one of three remaining pirate strongholds in the entire Caribbean, and more fortunate than the other two, Plunder and Scabb. Those two were left alone largely because they had nothing left to offer; they were little more than backwater holes, homes for only the most desperate of pirates. Lucre Island was left well enough alone because they had four people living there that the Pirate Commodore LeChuck didn’t want to upset in any way--the Voodoo Lady, and three lawyers.
Once a year for nearly sixteen years, however, Commodore LeChuck had been stopping by the island on his routine patrols. At first, the pirates living there thought he’d come to finally conquer them, as he’d done to most other islands in the Caribbean. But he’d actually come to talk to the lawyers.
Every year like clockwork LeChuck came by the island to try and secure a divorce from the Law Offices of W.T.D, the only lawyers in the entire Caribbean. Every year they refused, and every year LeChuck threw a temper tantrum and vowed to return the following year, when they’d best give him what he wanted, “or else.” The entire event had turned into a spectator sport that drew a substantial crowd. And word had just gotten out that LeChuck’s ship had been spotted by several trade ships just a few days ago, headed straight for Lucre Island.
Armena drew the raft up on shore and jumped off--straight into a mud puddle. “Great,” she muttered, shaking more mud from her shoes. “I’ll be late and I’ll track mud everywhere.” She brushed more mud from her pants--or at least tried to--and then sprinted off into the woods.
Lucre’s main paths had been allowed to overgrow for several years, but Armena knew the way into town well enough. She’d walked it hundreds of times before. This time, though, she was sprinting, which nearly got her lost several times. She was more than a little relieved when she finally saw the town gates up ahead. They were locked and barred, as they often were, and there was a substantial amount of pirates on guard. Armena looked at them and their mismatched weapons before finding the person she was looking for--he was a clean-shaven young man who looked as if he’d be better off working behind a desk.
“Bill!” she hissed. When he didn’t turn around, she prodded him in the back. “Bill!”
He jumped and turned, looking at her through several long, runaway bangs of auburn hair. “Oh, sorry, didn’t hear you.” He looked up at the cast iron gate and then back at her. “You’re late, Mena.”
She sighed. “I know. Don’t remind me.” She waved her hand at the gate and then, noticing a smudge of mud on her hand, abruptly stopped. “You’re going to let me in, right?”
Bill paused for a minute, appearing deep in thought. “Well...maybe.” He laughed when he saw the angry look on her face. “Just kidding, just kidding!” With a surreptitious nod to some of his fellow guards, Bill unlatched the gates and pulled them open just far enough for Armena to slip through. She nodded to him as he locked the gates again.
“Thanks. Is he here yet?”
“Just got here a few minutes ago.” He jerked a thumb over towards the city proper, where a large crowd was gathering around the law offices. Then he paused and frowned at her. “Mena, are you sure this is such a good idea? The Voodoo Lady--”
“--isn’t here and doesn’t care either way,” Armena snapped back. “I don’t need her permission for everything, you know.”
“Okay, sorry, don’t bite my head off.” Bill sighed. “Go on, forget I said anything.”
She smiled at him and then darted off towards the crowd. She managed to slip through the crowd relatively unnoticed, moving almost to the front, where she had a clear view of what was going on.
LeChuck--Commodore LeChuck, as he preferred--was in the middle of an argument with the lawyers’ front door. He smashed his fist against the door with all his strength, but it held firm. The fact that the Voodoo Lady put special hexes on the door might have something to do with that, Armena thought.
Finally, the door opened and one of the lawyers came out, straightening his powdered wig. “Yes?” he asked, looking up at LeChuck. Despite the fact that the giant stone demon was nearly two feet taller than he was, he still managed to look as if he were looking down at him over his pointed nose. “May I...help you?”
“Ye know what I want,” LeChuck answered, growling. “It’s the same thing I ask ye for every year!”
The lawyer frowned. “Sorry, we see a lot of clients, you understand, and I’m afraid that one of my...associates may have lost your file.”
There were snickers from the crowd. The annual “losing of the file” had rapidly turned into one of the island’s biggest jokes. It was the only one they could pull on LeChuck and get away with.
LeChuck sighed. “All right. Do ye want me to explain it again?” When the lawyer nodded, he continued. “There’s a lass I be wantin’ ta marry. The only problem is, she says that she won’t marry me unless she gets a divorce from her first husband.” He spat the last few words out with particular distaste. “They’re both dead, and the lass keeps tellin’ me somethin’ about ‘till death do us part, not undeath,’ or whatever it is she keeps bloody screamin’ at me.” He sighed again and glared down at the lawyer. “Now can ye get me the stupid divorce for the lass or not?”
The lawyer jotted down a few notes, scratched the side of his nose, then went inside without a word. The entire crowd fell silent, waiting, while LeChuck glared at the door with all his might. He looked as if he wanted to rip it from its hinges by sheer force of will. Armena’s gaze fell on a chunk missing out of LeChuck’s left shoulder. He could’ve easily fixed that, she presumed, but he wore it like a battle scar. And that it is, Armena thought, remembering the rumors that swirled around that wound. Rumor said that he’d earned it in a battle with the pirate Guybrush Threepwood, the man who so foolishly thought he could control the toughest pirate that ever sailed the Caribbean. Pah, she thought, spitting on the ground. A man standing next to her raised his eyebrows, but she only shrugged. Spitting at even the thought of Threepwood’s name had become a habit over the past decade or so, at least from what she’d seen around town and in Lucre’s only bar, the Rotted Coffin.
Finally the lawyer returned, this time with one of his taller compatriots in tow. “I’m sorry,” the first lawyer began, “but we simply can’t grant you the divorce.”
“We’d need proof of the first husband’s death,” the second lawyer continued. “Or undeath, as it were.”
LeChuck sighed. “He’s buried under sixteen tons of rock and his ghost ship still sails the Caribbean! What more do ye need?”
“Well,” the first lawyer said, scratching his chin, “you’d also need the consent of the woman involved...which you quite obviously do not have.”
The second lawyer nodded in agreement. “Thank you; please do visit us again for any other legal troubles you may have.” Then, nodding politely to LeChuck, both lawyers disappeared and shut the door as quickly as they could, and not a moment too soon. LeChuck, snarling curses under his breath, formed a large rock out of the dust surrounding his form and hurled it at the lawyers’ front door. It bounced off and rolled through the crowd; they barely managed to get out of the way in time.
“Ye’d best be reconsidering!” he yelled, shaking a finger at the closed door. “I’ll be gettin’ married to my Elaine if it’s the last thing I do! When I come back here again, ye’d best have them divorce papers ready!” Still growling like that, he turned around and noticed the crowd for the first time. “What’re ye all standin’ around for?”
That was the spectators’ cue to scatter; it was always a good idea to clear out before LeChuck got any ideas about taking his anger out on the general populace. Armena was hurrying back towards the gates, still chuckling, when a young man caught her arm. She jumped at first, then relaxed when she recognized his face.
“Bill, don’t sneak up on people like that!”
Bill grinned at her. The smile reached all the way to his light blue eyes. “Sorry, Mena. I was just thinking--you don’t have to go back to the Voodoo Lady’s for a while, do you? They’re having a party over at the Rotted Coffin...”
“Sorry,” she said quickly. “I probably should go back--I just wanted to see this whole thing.” She gestured back towards the lawyers’ offices. There was still a small crowd hanging about, making sure that LeChuck left the island without causing too much damage. “The Voodoo Lady’ll know I’m gone if I stay any longer.”
His face fell. “Look, I know she said you weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the town on days when LeChuck shows up, but you’re here now...the damage is already done.”
Armena snorted and shook her head at him. “This from the guy who didn’t even want to let me through the gates earlier because ‘the Voodoo Lady said...’”
He held his hands up in mock-surrender. “Okay, okay, point made. I’ll see you later.” He paused, then added, “When’s the next time she’ll send you into town?”
“Probably not for another week or so, unless she runs out of eye of newt or something like that before then.”
Bill laughed. “Yeah, right. Well, see you. I should go make sure LeChuck clears out.” And with a quick nod to her, he hurried off in the direction of the harbor, where LeChuck’s black-sailed ship was docked. Armena took that as her cue to hurry off in the opposite direction, towards the town gates. The pirates on guard opened them for her as she went by--they all knew who she was, as the Voodoo Lady’s ward and apprentice. She managed a small nod to them as she headed for the overgrown path.
The return trip took much less time than the trip there had. She knew the way to the Voodoo Lady’s shop by heart, and there were no currents to pull her off course, this time. Soon she was pulling up alongside the dock that led to the shop. The shop itself was an unimpressive thing--a ramshackle little shack that listed uneasily to one side. The interior, though, was more to the Voodoo Lady’s style, with eccentric decorations and voodoo tools and ingredients scattered around everywhere. It smelled faintly of formaldehyde, too, which Armena thought only a bit better than the odor the swamp had a tendency to give off.
She crept in through the front door and eased it shut behind her, quickly glancing over to the large chair where the Voodoo Lady usually sat. It was empty. Armena let out a small, quiet sigh of relief and relaxed. She was just heading for one of the back rooms, where she should have been working on sewing together voodoo dolls for a shipment to one of LeChuck’s smaller strongholds on Pinchpenny Island, when a flash of light and a soft ahem stopped her in her tracks.
“Er,” she began, turning around slowly, “I can explain--”
“There is nothing to explain,” the Voodoo Lady answered, her voice stern. She was nearly a foot and a half shorter than Armena (not including her tall hat, which today was a shade of burgundy), but still cut an impressive figure. “You went into town to see the spectacle they make of LeChuck’s visit, yes?”
Armena sighed. There was no point in lying. “Yes...”
The Voodoo Lady nodded sharply and then moved around Armena towards her chair. Settling herself in it, she said, “And do you know why LeChuck visits every year?”
Armena’s eyebrows arched involuntarily. She had been expecting a long lecture, not this. “Well...he’s trying to force that Elaine woman into a divorce so he can marry her, everyone knows that.”
“Elaine Marley-Threepwood,” the Voodoo Lady prompted, nodding again. “She was and most likely still is the most beautiful and influential woman in the Caribbean. She holds more sway over LeChuck than he’d like to admit.”
“Yeah, too bad she picked such a lousy first husband,” Armena added, spitting again. The glare she got from the Voodoo Lady made her wish she hadn’t.
“We’ve been over this before, Armena,” she said, her voice low. Anyone else would have thought it a soothing voice, but Armena knew better--that was the voice she took whenever she was frustrated. “No matter what the rest of the Caribbean thinks, you won’t spit on Guybrush Threepwood’s name here, or anywhere.”
Armena nodded dutifully and sighed. “Can I go now? I have to finish sewing those voodoo dolls before tomorrow.”
“Yes, go,” the Voodoo Lady said, waving a hand. As Armena moved towards the back room, though, she held her hand up again to stop her. “Wait--did he see you?”
Armena blinked, confused. “What?”
“LeChuck--did he see you today, in the crowd?”
She shrugged. The Voodoo Lady had closed her eyes and taken on a pensive look that Armena didn’t like at all. “I don’t think so. Doubt it. Why?”
The Voodoo Lady didn’t answer her question. She merely frowned and muttered something that might’ve been a “Hm.” Armena, trying to shrug it off, scooted off into the back room and sat down in front of a pile of little heads and arms and legs, digging around for a sewing needle and thread.
It was two weeks before the Voodoo Lady would let her go back into town for supplies and to arrange for a shipment of voodoo powders to be sent to Jambalaya Island. Even then, she’d advised Armena to be quick about it, and looked for a moment as if she wouldn’t let her go at all. Armena tried to chalk it up to LeChuck’s visit, which always seemed to make the Voodoo Lady tense and more withdrawn than usual, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something else involved.
Still, Armena bought the needed supplies and made the necessary arrangements, then walked into the Rotted Coffin despite the Voodoo Lady’s advice. She waved to the barkeep and owner as she came in.
“Mena!” he called cheerfully. “Been a while, eh lass?”
She nodded and slid into a seat at the bar. It was midday; there was no one in the bar except for a few comatose drunkards. “Too long,” she said ruefully. “I’ve been...kept busy.” She made another quick glance around the room. “How’ve you been, Mr. Cheese?”
Ignatius Cheese flashed her another toothy grin. “Been busy m’self. I’ll say one thing about LeChuck’s visits: they keep me in business.” The grin faded slightly, replaced by a frown. Mr. Cheese was one of the few people left alive who had lived through the tumultuous weeks that had led to LeChuck’s takeover, and he’d been caught in the thick of it, too, from what Armena heard. Rumor had it that he used to own a bar on Mêlée Island and had been there when LeChuck had invaded. He didn’t talk about it, though, and Armena never asked. Their friendship was tenuous at best--he was also one of the rare few who didn’t use Threepwood’s name as a curse, something Armena never understood.
“So,” he said, breaking the silence, “ye learnin’ any more of that hoodoo lately?”
“Voodoo, and no, not really.” Armena sighed. “The Voodoo Lady’s been obsessed with spirits since before I can remember; it’s not like that's changed. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she was a fraud.”
Mr. Cheese laughed. “Aye, and ye’d be payin’ for a comment like that, too, if she heard ye.” They both laughed briefly before he motioned to the bar. “Can I get ye anything?”
“No, thanks. I was just looking to see if Bill or anybody was around. I forgot he doesn’t wake up before six.”
“Yeah, well, give ‘im a few more hours...”
Armena shook her head. “I can’t. I’ve got to get back or the Voodoo Lady’ll kill me.”
“I’m surprised she hasn’t yet, lass." He patted the bar near her hand and then shrugged. “Don’t be such a stranger, all right?”
“I’ll try,” she said honestly. “Tell Bill I said hello."
“Aye, and should I be tellin’ him a bit more, at that?” Mr. Cheese added with a wink.
Armena rolled her eyes and made as if she might slap him. “No, you won’t, and you never will.” She sighed. Mr. Cheese had somewhere gotten the idea that she--how did he put it?--“fancied” Bill Duncan the wanna-be pirate. She was doing her best to knock that idea out of him.
“All right,” he said again. “Go on then.”
She was just standing up to leave when the door opened and a young man walked in. He was tall, with dark brown eyes and similarly colored hair. He also walked with a distinct limp which seemed somehow out of place on a man his age. Mr. Cheese and Armena exchanged a glance--he wasn’t from Lucre Island. Everyone on Lucre knew everyone else after seventeen years of living on the same island together.
While Armena immediately distrusted the newcomer, Mr. Cheese tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. “Hello there! New in town?” The man grunted and slid into a seat. He spared Armena a passing glance. Mr. Cheese tried talking to him again. “Can I get ye anythin’?”
“Yeah,” the man said at last, “I’m looking for the lawyers.”
“Ye just missed ‘em; their office’s over that way.” He pointed vaguely in the right direction. The man sighed.
“Not again...bartender, get me a drink. This is the fourth time I’ve missed the place.”
Mr. Cheese, nodding in sympathy, poured him a grog and set it on the bar. The man took a long drink and then looked over at Armena again. “Hey,” he said, then trailed off. Armena folded her arms across her chest and raised her eyebrows at him. The man didn’t strike her as the most intelligent person she’d ever come across, even for a pirate, and she had a feeling that whatever he said next wouldn’t be very impressive. He tilted his head at her. “Hey...you know, you look kinda like--”
“No she doesn’t,” Mr. Cheese interrupted. Both Armena and the stranger shot him a curious glance. “Ye’re just seein’ things, lad.”
“I am not,” he shot back angrily. “She looks just like--”
“There’s a lot of people in the Caribbean with blonde hair, lad. Maybe ye ain’t seen ‘em all, but it’s no strange thing.”
“I’m tellin’ ye, ye’re seein’ things. How long have ye been sailin’ out there? Ye got scurvy?”
Armena looked back and forth between the two of them like someone watching a swordfight. It was starting to make her a little lightheaded. “I don’t have scurvy,” the man shot back, slamming his mug down on the bar. Mr. Cheese grumbled something about not breaking the dishware. “I just came in from Pinchpenny.”
That shut Mr. Cheese up in a hurry. Pinchpenny Island was one of LeChuck’s smaller strongholds, but it had the fortune--or misfortune, to hear anyone on Lucre Island say it--of being strategically located almost in the center of the Tri-Island Area. A good number of his skeletal troops were stationed there.
Seeing that he had Mr. Cheese’s attention now, the man continued. “I’m Deathbeard, captain of--”
“Ye’ve got a beard?” Both Mr. Cheese and Armena couldn’t help but laugh.
The man growled under his breath. “--captain of Commodore LeChuck’s third flagship, the Hades.”
Armena’s eyes went wide. As quietly as she could manage, she reached down and picked up the supplies she’d been sent to get. Mr. Cheese tilted his head towards the door, indicating for her to leave as soon as she could. “So why’re ye here, eh? Been sent to invade us like ye tried to do ta Scabb?”
Deathbeard winced. LeChuck’s fleet had sailed for Scabb Island three years ago with the intent of conquering it and forcing the other two free remaining islands to submit--but they’d been pushed back just as soon as they got their ships into the harbor. For an island with few supplies and fewer pirates, they were a tough lot. “No,” Deathbeard spat back, “Commodore LeChuck’s sent me to try and talk to the lawyers. He thinks that I might be able to...reason with them.”
“Threaten ‘em, ye mean, and ye’ve got ta be daft. They don’t listen to LeChuck--”
“--to LeChuck, and they won’t listen to ye,” Mr. Cheese finished angrily. “Now I’m thinkin’ that ye don’t have permission to be here. Any ship that wants ta land or send men ashore’s got t’have permission. So ye’d best get out before Inspector Canard gets a hold of ye.”
Deathbeard grunted again. “And you’d throw me out, would you?”
“And I suppose this stupid wench here’ll help, because she’s--”
“I said shut yer mouth about that!”
“No,” Armena interrupted, “let him finish.” She was halfway to the door already but had stopped, listening to the argument.
“Lass, don’t worry about that, he’s just babblin’ is all. He don’t know what he’s talkin’ about.”
“So why won’t you let him finish his sentence?”
Mr. Cheese stopped and scratched his head. He couldn’t seem to come up with a decent argument to that. “Well, lass, maybe...”
Deathbeard saw his chance and immediately interrupted him. “I was saying that she looks remarkably like the late Guybrush Threepwood.”
As quick as lightning, Mr. Cheese grabbed Deathbeard by the shirt collar and started shaking him, launching into a lecture about something Armena couldn’t quite hear. She herself spat on the ground and shouted back, “You take that back!”
Deathbeard pried himself away from Mr. Cheese’s grasp to give Armena a long look. “Maybe,” he said, “maybe the stories are wrong. Maybe Threepwood didn’t kill his daughter after--” And at that moment, Mr. Cheese slugged him. Deathbeard hit the floor, groaning and rubbing his jaw. Armena stared at him, fists clenched, barely containing her rage.
“I am not related to that idiotic, murdering--”
“Ye’re not, lass.” She looked back up. Mr. Cheese was looking at her, his expression somehow sad. “Guybrush’s daughter is just as dead as he is.” He sighed. “Now go on, ye’d better be gettin’ back to the Voodoo Lady. I’ll be takin’ this sorry ‘scuse for a pirate over to the Hall of Justice.”
She nodded goodbye, then slipped out the door, still seething. No one else in the town took any notice of her, and the gates were for once left unlocked. She walked straight through them but didn’t go straight back to the Voodoo Lady’s--instead, she wandered the paths aimlessly, sometimes straying off them entirely with every intention of getting lost. It took a while--nearly an hour, by her guess--before she felt calm enough to try and go back to the Voodoo Lady’s. It took her another half-hour to find the path again. From there, she made it back to the Voodoo Lady’s shop quickly, but was surprised to find a raft already there. People on Lucre Island didn’t visit the Voodoo Lady very much; most of her business was with other islands. Armena walked into the shop on tiptoe.
“There’s no need for this concern, Inspector. I’ve told you before that she is perfectly safe here regardless of her choices and whatever Commodore LeChuck--or his lackeys--may see.”
“I don’t care,” Inspector Canard answered. His back was towards the door and he didn’t see Armena come in. The Voodoo Lady did, however, and made a surreptitious signal for her to stay quiet. “The only reason I let you bring her here in the first place was because you promised me she’d bring no harm to the island.”
“And she won’t,” the Voodoo Lady said, smiling. “It’s LeChuck who would do you harm.”
Frustrated by the remark, Inspector Canard turned to go--and stopped short, seeing Armena standing in the doorway. “Oh dear,” he murmured, but quickly composed himself into the stern policeman Armena had known all her seventeen years. He tipped his hat to her, politely, but not enough to reveal all his gray hairs, and said, “Good day Armena.” Not waiting for an acknowledgment, he turned back to the Voodoo Lady. “We’ll finish this discussion later, then.” He tipped his hat to her as well and then disappeared out the door. He spared Armena one last, wary glance as he left.
Once he was gone, Armena stalked over to the Voodoo Lady’s chair on silent feet. She dropped the supplies she’d bought and then took a step back, folding her arms across her chest. “What was that all about?”
“Don’t try that trick with me! Why was he here?”
The Voodoo Lady sighed and pressed the tips of her fingers together. “You should know,” she said calmly. “You were, after all, involved.”
“Oh.” Armena dropped her arms to her sides, sighing. “Right...the whole...thing at the Rotted Coffin.”
“Yes.” She waved to an empty chair. “Sit down.”
Armena sighed again and sat. It promised to be a long lecture, from the looks of things. “Why don’t we just get right to it?” she said, interrupting the Voodoo Lady just as she started to speak. “Mr. Cheese hit him--I nearly hit him--because he decided to tell me that I looked like a Threepwood.”
“Yes, and you have the temper of a Marley.”
“And you fight like a cow!” Armena shot back without thinking. When she looked up at the Voodoo Lady, though, it was plainly obvious that she wasn’t provoking a simple insult fight. She was looking at Armena with a strangely nostalgic expression on her face.
“You actually do look quite a bit like your father...except your eyes. You have your mother’s eyes.”
Armena started nervously twirling a lock of hair between her fingers but, looking at it with sudden disgust, stopped. “What are you saying? My parents died when LeChuck first took over the Caribbean--didn’t they?”
The Voodoo Lady nodded. “Yes, they did.” She sighed. “What I neglected to tell you earlier was that your parents were the first--the very first.”
“So...what are you saying?” Armena said again. “LeChuck killed my parents; we’ve been over this before.”
“I never said that LeChuck killed your parents. In fact, I’m not entirely certain that they’re dead.”
Armena blinked and shook her head as if to clear her thoughts. “Can we stop dancing around the subject here, please?” She clenched and unclenched her fists. “Why would Inspector Canard think I was a threat?”
“Have you heard the rumors surrounding Guybrush Threepwood’s death?”
Armena sighed. “Yes,” she answered through gritted teeth. When the Voodoo Lady didn’t say anything more, Armena took it as a prompt to keep going. She sighed again, rolling her eyes. “When he couldn’t control LeChuck, Threepwood fled Monkey Island. Governor Marley--”
“--Governor Threepwood was already on her way there, having been captured by LeChuck’s men. Rather than let her fall into said evil pirate’s hands, Threepwood killed her and supposedly their daughter, who hadn’t been seen since Plunder Island nearly fell to LeChuck’s men. In a fit of rage, LeChuck killed Threepwood and buried him under a ton of rock on Monkey Island, but his ghost still sails the Caribbean in his little ghost ship.” She waved her hands in a mock-gesture of sailing. “It was all very tragic and they didn’t live happily ever after, the end.”
The Voodoo Lady almost smiled at Armena’s sarcasm but stopped herself. “That is the rumor, yes. But no one really knows what happened to that little girl...do they?” Armena blinked. The Voodoo Lady, seeing that she finally had her full attention, continued. “What many--including LeChuck himself--do not know is that the girl was taken off Plunder Island long before the skeletons ever made landfall. LeChuck has always suspected that she might still be alive and has been looking for her ever since he learned Guybrush Threepwood had a daughter.”
“I take it he hasn’t found her,” Armena answered dryly.
“No,” the Voodoo Lady said, smiling, “it’s very easy to hide something right under LeChuck’s nose, Armena Torquemada Marley-Threepwood.”
There was a long, awkward silence. Finally, Armena slammed her fist down into the arm of the chair and jumped up. She began pacing back and forth, looking at the Voodoo Lady with wild, almost frightened eyes. “It’s not true,” she said at last, slowly. “It’s not true! I can’t have a name that long...and I can’t be related to that murderer! Take it back!”
The Voodoo Lady let her pace a while longer before answering. “I can no sooner take back what I have said than I can go back seventeen years and refuse to take in a little girl with no other safe haven, Armena.”
Armena, though, wasn’t listening. She simply whirled around and shouted again, “It’s not true!”
“It is true. I only tell you now because one of LeChuck’s men has seen you--if he manages to report back to LeChuck that a young woman who looks remarkably like both his arch-enemy and his would-be bride is here, you would not be safe. Lucre Island would not be safe. You had to be told. LeChuck may fear me...but rage often transcends even fear.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “Well, it doesn’t matter, because it’s not true.” She snorted. “LeChuck’ll have ‘found’ the wrong person.”
“If you do not believe me, ask Ignatius Cheese.” The Voodoo Lady was glaring at Armena now, as if she was having a difficult time understanding why Armena flatly refused to believe her. “He knew Guybrush Threepwood well--he recognized you the moment he saw you. And of course Inspector Canard had to be told; anything that might be a threat to Lucre had to be reported directly to him. You may ask him, as well, and he will tell you the same story.”
“Of course,” Armena answered sarcastically, though her voice had taken on a defeated tone. “Because LeChuck would destroy an entire island just to get at one girl--who isn’t me, by the way.”
“LeChuck would destroy the entire Caribbean to find you if he had to. Guybrush Threepwood proved a persistent, if not formidable, annoyance. His daughter may prove the same--if not worse.”
“Right.” Armena sighed, drawing her arms up around her shoulders. “Can I...can I just go to bed? I’m tired.”
The Voodoo Lady nodded. “We’ll continue this in the morning, then.” She disappeared in a flash of light to wherever it was she went at night--Armena had never figured out just where, exactly. She was just glad for the opportunity to be alone.
“I’m not related to him,” she said again to the Voodoo Lady’s empty chair, spitting out the words one by one.
“Yes,” the Voodoo Lady’s voice answered back, “you are.”
Armena jumped, even though she knew she should be used to that sort of thing. “I hate it when she does that.”
Armena slipped past a heavy curtain of voodoo beads and into the back room she’d adopted as her bedroom. It wasn’t much, just a bed in one corner, surrounded by heaps of voodoo test kits and some of the Voodoo Lady’s old school textbooks, but it was a welcome relief from the strange atmosphere the rest of the shop had suddenly taken on.
She sighed and kicked a book out of her way, lighting a voodoo lamp that hung in the corner. It flickered, then flared to life to give the room a sickly green tinge. Armena picked up the book she’d kicked aside and idly flipped through the pages for a few minutes. Then, bored of that, she tossed the book into a pile and looked around the room for another distraction.
Her eyes fell first of all on the old, cracked mirror that hung on the opposite wall. She’d accidentally cracked it practicing a hex that was supposed to keep angry spirits away--though it certainly hadn’t kept the Voodoo Lady’s resulting angry lecture at bay.
The mirror’s upper left hand corner was so cracked that it distorted a good portion of her face, making her look as if she had several extra pair of eyes and a spiky hairdo. She snorted at it, as she always did, and stood up so that her reflection could be caught in one of the mirror’s unbroken parts.
Armena stared for a long time at the teenage girl staring back at her. Her eyes were a brilliantly dark shade of blue, though in the green light they looked more brown than anything else. “And she said I have my mother’s eyes...” she murmured, staring at her reflection. But that’s ridiculous, she thought. She tilted her head to one side, trying to avoid enough of the green light to make her eyes turn blue again. No one ever talks about Elaine Marley-Threepwood’s “dark blue eyes.” So I can’t be related to her. Or him. No, definitely not.
She sighed and shook her head--her logic, she knew without even thinking, was horribly flawed. No one ever talked about what Elaine looked like anymore, and hadn’t since before Armena could remember--all they ever talked about was what had happened to her.
Armena moved away from the mirror and peered out into the shop. It was dark; the Voodoo Lady only left a couple of torches burning, just in case someone came running in with an emergency--but since not many wanted to brave the Mystes O’Tyme Marshe at night, that rarely, if ever, happened.
She stepped back into her room and looked around again. She was tired, but didn’t even want to think about sleeping. “I hope you’re happy,” she grumbled over her shoulder, somehow imagining that the Voodoo Lady could hear her every word. Finally she sat down on the edge of the bed again, intentionally avoiding looking at the mirror.
She picked up another book off the floor and flipped through it, leaning back so that her head rested against the wall. After a minute, though, she stopped and looked up at the mirror--her own distorted reflection seemed to be enjoying her inner confusion. “Oh knock it off, you bloody thing,” she muttered, tossing her book at it. It missed and bounced off the wall with an indistinct thud.
Armena curled up and wrapped her arms around her knees, sighing. “I wish I hadn’t said anything,” she said. Then, “I wish she hadn’t said anything.” And then, finally, looking hatefully at the mirror, “Maybe it would be better if I just disappeared...”
That very same night, Armena broke into Bill’s apartment above the Palace of Prostheses and, nearly tripping over a hundred different objects and articles of clothing on the floor, tiptoed over to his bed and shook him awake. He jumped and reached for his sword before he realized who it was.
“Mena?” he asked, bewildered. “What’re you doing here?”
“Listen,” she began, not waiting for him to fully wake up, “I need three crewmembers. You’re number one; that just leaves two more. Pick two pirates you trust and meet me down by the docks--I’ve already gotten us a ship.”
Bill reached out and lit a candle on the nearby nightstand. The faint light it provided allowed him to see at least part of Armena’s face. She looked more than a little bewildered herself. “What’s going on? Mena, does the Voodoo Lady--”
“Shh! I'm leaving Lucre Island, that’s all you need to know.”
He looked at her and for the first time noticed the bag slung over her shoulder. It was usually full of voodoo ingredients, but now it looked as if it contained personal items, instead. “Mena, are you in some kind of trouble?”
“No...well, not really, it’s just that--” she sighed. “Never mind. Can you find two more crewmembers or not?”
“Only if you tell me what’s going on. Why the rush? And why do I get the feeling the Voodoo Lady doesn’t know what you’re up to?”
Armena rubbed her temples and looked as if she wanted to box Bill’s ears. “I have to get away from her. She’s--she’s insane. She thinks my middle name is Torquemada.”
“And only a madwoman could’ve come up with a name like that,” Bill answered, grinning faintly.
“...And she thinks my last name is Marley-Threepwood.”
Bill stared blankly. “Wow,” he said at last. “That is crazy.”
“I know. Now come on, get your lazy rear end out of bed, I need your help.”
He sighed. “All right, get moving. I’ll meet you by the docks in a while...God, what is it, two in the morning? It’ll be tough finding pirates who aren’t hungover. But I’ll try.”
Armena smiled faintly. “Thanks.” She stood up and turned to go, but Bill’s hand on her shoulder stopped her.
“Mena, you don’t think she might be telling the truth, do you?”
She shook her head. “She can’t be. There’s no way.” He nodded and let her go. Armena picked her way back through the room, closing the door behind her.