***Originally Posted on GIO as “Wake-Up Call”***
In which we do not talk about micro-transactions whatsoever, but I instead tell you all a little story…
His clothes were torn. His trousers sodden, and his shirt died red with something; blood most likely. He had cuts, scratches, and bruises all along his back and arms- which were exposed through his ripped canvas covering. He’d obviously been through some wear and tear…wherever he had washed up from.
The beach was desolate except for a few spars of wood from the wreck. His ship- assuming it was his, had obviously met an ill fate, worse than the one he himself now faced. His plumed cap’n hat lay nearby, not ten yards away. The brilliant, azure feather was sodden as well- but still retained enough of it’s shape to be considered majestic and mesmerizing. One of the spars of wood had poked a small hole through the side of the hat, but that could easily be fixed later.
His arm hung, draped over the makeshift raft that he had apparently roped together, out there- on the drafty, deadly ocean blue. At the moment, the blue-green waters lay unnaturally still, with a silent, serene warning unspoken. The spar which he gripped in a firm grasp, as unrelenting as death, spelled out part of a word. The first four letters being “Quee-” and then cutting off abruptly, where the piece of wood had been jaggedly split by lightning or by pressure the previous night. There was no telling how long he and his crew had battled the deep blue, but it was a battle that they had obviously lost- and with more casualties than one could tell right off the bat as well.
A small set of footprints led away from where the unconscious or dead man lay still, pale as never before seen in these regions. Forty feet away, under a palm tree, sat a wide-eyed, bronze skinned little girl in a ragged smock. She had obviously been keeping her eye on the strange fellow for quite some time, and watched as he continued to lay there, unsure if she should go check him out again, as she had done moments before.
The breeze lifted, gulls called, and the palm tree swayed in the cool morning air, anticipating the coming heat, and shying away from the wayward sun looming overhead. The girl sighed, thinking to herself, “When is this strange man ever going to get up? Surely he’s just sleeping there? Maybe if I stroll down the beach a ways, and then come back, he will have already awoken…”
With this thought in mind, she slowly got to her feet- which were bare and sandy from the beachsand, and went on her way, picking between the shelf’s new accoutrements, and heading away down the shoreline. It took her about ten minutes to walk far enough away before she decided to turn back and see if any progress had been made. As she turned about, she happened to glance down, and noticed an odd piece of wood lodged firmly in the wet sand.
She grunted and finally managed to pull it out with a wet Squelch before falling down with the wooden piece laying in her lap. It was roughly three and a half feet long, and broken off jaggedly at it’s right-hand end. It looked strangely like the other piece, clasped in the stranger’s hand…
As she desperately tried to make out the strange letters which her mother had tried to teach her not too long ago, she thought it said something along the lines of “-n’s Anne’s Reverence”. She furrowed her brow. The last word was proving more difficult to decipher than she had thought it would. “No… Reverence isn’t right… It says something else, but I can’t read it… Maybe if I ask the stranger back there…”
She turned back around, dragging the long wooden sign-like object behind her, catching and bumping along in the sandy rocks. By the time she had arrived back where the man was- or had been, as she now realized, to her dismay, that he was in fact gone- another ten minutes had passed. She looked around desperately, and caught the reflection of something partially submerged in the crystal waters blurring and refracting the sun’s yellow light.
She walked over into the shallow shoals to see what exactly this strange new object was, dropping the wooden sign and forgetting about the strange man who had disappeared. As she glanced down in the water at the metal rod, she realized it was some sort of sharp knife, or sword. It was beautiful.
The girl bent down to pick up the sword, but instead of reaching for it’s handlegrip, grabbed it about its middle- forgetting that such weapons often had a steel sting in store for the unwary. She gasp as it bit into her flesh, and droplets of blood glistened on her wet palm as she dropped it back into the shallow waters. Suddenly, a rough, cold hand clasped her on the shoulder- whirling her around in shock.
It was the strange man, who had miraculously recovered and now only looked a little worse for wear, minus his clothes- which were in terrible condition. “Missy, what dah you think you ares a doin with me sword, hmm?” He said in a deep, gravelly voice.
She was speechless. This man was obviously a pirate or bandit of some sort, as no gentleman would allow his beard to run rampant across his face like that. And the odd, smoldering strings curled into it… they were quite dreadful. She stammered a bit in response.
The man chuckled heartily, as if she had just told him some funny joke. He reached down to grab his cutlass- by the handle, and looked around for his sheath. Finding it four or five feet away, he retied the thing to his belt and placed his sword carefully in it, after wiping it on his muddy pants leg, and somewhat cleaning it off.
“Sirrah, who ight you be if I’m a be’s askin?” the little girl timidly asked, with her hands clasped tightly behind her back, her shock now somewhat abated, and the grotesque man’s features now having sunken in.
He turned to her then. Bending over real close like, he whispered, “They be’s a callin me Edward. Edward Teach milady.”
With that, he mockingly bowed to her and turned about, looking for something, or some object. Then he saw the broken sign laying in its two halves there in the morning glow, which was giving way to afternoon. Smiling, he walked over and put the two back together, then stepping back to admire his handiwork.
“Queen Anne’s Revenge.” He said to himself, just loud enough for the young girl to hear, and shiver at that name. It was the name of the ship that had raided her village years ago, and taken both her sister and father away from her as well. It was the ship captained by the evil Blackbeard. And then, looking upon the man in front of her, who had tuned and was leering her way, she saw it.
This was Blackbeard. Edward Teach. Murderer, scoundrel, mercenary. The man who had ripped apart her family, leaving her mother and herself to pick up the remains and carry on- as if they ever could. This was her chance. She could get even, square things up a bit. She could kill this man. Or at least learn from him. Strengthen herself for her future.
“I see that look in you eye lassie. Ye’ve got the look of an adventurer about you. But are ye sure you wants to come with me? The goin gets tough, and ah can’t have you shyin away from what needs to be done…” He said to her then.
She thought it over. “Could she really do it? Could she stay with this loathed man long enough to learn is weaknesses and destroy him?” And knowing the answer, she replied, “Master Teach. Blackbeard. I can do whatever I set my mind to.”
“Then you’re on the right track bucko. Let’s be gone from here.” He said.
And soon they were.