TITLE : BRIG
GENRE : Epic Pirate genre?
PAIRING: None, future Alistair/Bella
SUMMARY: Alistairs change from pirate to vampire to pirate vampire. This is a time-stamp fic of Hit and Run, but can be read on it's own.
WARNING: Um, some semi-graphic violence and swearing. Enough to merit an M rating, I think.
DISCLAIMER: This is not my sandbox. I don't own it. But I do play in it.
Every man has a story to tell, but mine, oh mine is rarely spoken. It had been years if it had been a day; so many I had long-since lost count. The sun rose and the sun set, and the sun was no friend of mine.
I was a pirate, see, and we did not live by time, or by the setting or rising of the sun, but by the distance between one shore and another. There was no ticking second-hand upon the clock, but the steady sound of waves crashing, counting the beats 'til our heart stopped ticking. Oh aye, I was a pirate and lived by the ways of the water.
Many years I traveled the seas, from crew to captain as I grew steady on my sea legs. I cut paths through men weaker than I; blood on the blade and gold in my pocket. I was ruthless, cunning, and cold. I was a pirate, and I was damned good at what I did. The King's men cowered beneath me, and turned sail when they saw my mighty ship cutting a path across the ocean waves. My father was Poseidon, my brother Calypso. There be only three women in my life to love: Pinocle, Aglaope, and Thelxiope, dear Sirens of the sea. I was a pirate, through and through…until the day I was no longer.
It began, as so many pirate tales do, with mutiny. My second-in-command, a green lad with his eyes set for the farthest shore, rallied against me. He had promised my crew a bounty of things that would never be reached, but they had scuttled to him like frantic crabs none-the-less. Oh, and it was not death for me, no. 'Tis ill luck to kill your captain, and they had known better than to abandon me, who knew the seas better than the lands. It was very nearly heartening to find that they believed in my skills enough to be sure that I would indeed find them, should they strand me on an island in my skivvies with nothing but a buck knife for company.
No, instead they shackled me, shoving me down into the underbelly of my magnificent ship, to muck around in the murky depths of my own brig. I was fed and watered like a feral dog, skittering members of my crew refusing to meet my eye as they shoved a bucket of stale water, and even more stale bread at me by the end of a long pole. Oh, I took delight in their fear, and even once managed to knock the yellow front teeth from the mouth of a ship hand by manhandling the wooden pole from his hand and jabbing him squarely in the mouth. My attack cost me my measly dinner, but I took my victories where I could find them.
So many days had passed in sloshing darkness that I had long since lost count, though it hardly mattered, regardless. I almost did not believe that I would ever see the light of day, but hope is a thing a pirate is familiar with; especially blind hope. My wrists and ankles were wet with open, festering wounds, aching and raw. I was near death, but thriving, awaiting the days my mutinous crew would folly, giving me my out.
Alas, that day did not come.
A storm was brewin', that much I could tell from my prison, knocking my beloved ship about on crashing waves. The heavy, thunking clunk of boots against the deck echoed above me, along with the patter of rain. I could hear garbled orders being called out over the wind, but the words were carried across the sea. It was the blood-curdling shriek that warned me, the thundering stomps shaking the planks above me as the crew seemed to scurry blindly and in every direction. A thin beam of light played from the trap door, flooding my depths of my ship along with the sounds of death.
A man took the stairs one-by-one, calm as ever, as he made his way to me, every motion as graceful as the ocean itself. "I've found another one!" he called out over his shoulder, his eyes never leaving me. "Why don't you join your crew for the party, Mr…"
"Alistair," I growled, my voice brittle as chalk from ill-use. "Captain Alistair Xavius Webb, and those men are no crew of mine."
The man looked down at me, the shaft of light catching on his pale face to reveal a pair of violent red irises staring back at me. I did not gasp, or flinch, or whimper, but of surety, my heart beat faster in the face of danger. I had heard tales, for every pirate had, of the red-eyed demon that emerged from the waters, slaughtering across the seven seas. Stories meant to scare children, not hardened men such as I. But scared I was, in that moment, caught beneath the devil's glare.
"This be your ship, then?" he asked, his gaze never wavering, his voice oddly light and musical, in contrast to his devilish appearance. I lifted my chin, defiant unto my end for sure, and he smiled. "Join me, Captain Webb, and see just how my men take offense to mutany."
He struck my bindings with my bare fist, tearing them from the post with a flick of the wrists. The cuffs still chafed at my ankles and wrists as the chains rattled behind me against each stair I ascended. It was dark, night having long since fallen on the seas, when I emerged from the brig. The men I once called my own cried out in an orchestra of horror and pain as these things that dared to call themselves men drained them of every drop of red that pumped in their veins.
I held my head up high, following as Death himself cut a path through the dead. "Hear me!" he called out, coming to stand behind the helm, staring down upon the brutal chaos. "Hear me, brothers! Hear me, men! It has been brought to my attention that we have boarded a ship of mutiny! That which stands before you, this man," he said, forcing me forward with an iron-cold hand at the small of my back, "is Captain Alistair Xavius Webb, and for your crimes against him, he shall have the pleasure of dying last. Brothers, oh my brothers, show these humans what we think of men who turn against their own."
I had thought it brutal before, the chaos that reined henceforth was nothing short of the darkest nightmares. Blood seeped across the sun-washed wood of the deck in a puddle, dark at the edges as it thickened and dried. The screams were sharper, though not as sharp as the teeth that I watched cutting into the flesh of the men who betrayed me. I beheld their crumpled faces, torn in agony, as they struggled fruitlessly against their captors, and watched them die one-by-one, a sick heat churning in my empty stomach. They had taken the time to save my second-in-command, the master of my mutiny, Cameron Lorimer, for the end; the lot of them, four in total, ripped into him even as he begged, his voice bloody and wet.
"Captain Webb," the beast beside me said. "Do you feel avenged?"
"You speak as if I asked for this," I snarled, my eyes skimming the sea of dead that blanketed what had once been my ship. "My vengeance can only be found in death. If you wish me to find it, then kill me as you planned."
His eyes darkened as his mouth curled up into a smile, luminescent white teeth shimmering like Mother-of-Pearl. "What a pity," the man said, his cool finger slipping up the nape of my neck to yank my hair back, exposing my throat. "Such a fascinating creature I have never met; I would have very much liked to keep you."
"I'm not a pet," I growled, choking as he pulled harder at my hair. "Not a man to be kept."
"No," the man murmured as he licked a clean line up my filthy throat. "Which is why I can't keep you. Too much trouble you'd be, I think; magnificent, but trouble." I lifted my chin, as much as could be done when it was already very much lifted, and did not look away from him as he smiled down cruelly upon me. "Defiant to the end, then? You'll taste so much sweeter for it."
He bit me then, the beast, sinking teeth into my flesh as easy as silk to scissors at the curve of my jaw. Pain like I had never known lanced through me, burning and bright. It seeped through me like liquid fire, burning slow, steady trails from my fingertips to my toes.
As suddenly as it happened, it stopped, the boat lurching beneath my feet. His hands released me, much to my surprise, sending me tumbling off from the helm to the deck in a listless pile. The sound of splintering wood screeched in my ears. We must have hit something, I thought almost absently, as the pain continued to swallow me down.
"Eadric!" someone called, and I looked up to see the face of my Death staring down at me with his violent eyes, his face, neck, and chest streaked in red. "We must leave. The ship, she sinks"
"Kill him then," the beast called down from the helm, his eyes still locked on mine.
I could see boots from the corner of my eyes, polished to a shine. "He won't make it through the change anyway, Gamel," the owner of the boot said. "You've nearly bled him dry and his heart, it barely beats."
"Then be done with it," Eadric Gamel, for that was the name of my murderer, said. "We're expected in port by tomorrow's setting sun, and I shan't be late. Are the men ready to leave?"
"They've pulled a row boat just for you, Eadric," another voice said, just as light and musical as all the others. "We must be leaving now."
"I'll need to thank them," Eadric said absently, stepping over my cooling body. "You do know who much I am loath to get my feet wet."
That was the last I saw of Eadric Gamel for a very, very long time.
Abandoned, was I, on a sinking ship, and paralyzed to do anything about it. I felt myself sink down with my beloved Misconception, water sloshing across her well-worn decks, tugging me to her edge. A fire so hot it could have been born from Hades roared through my body, as my fingers grappled at the grooves of the wood beneath my palms for purchase, though none was found. I was slipping, burning, surely dying, and prayed to Poseidon, that he be gentle on his child.
She upended with a mighty groan, wood splintering as hull broke from stern. In my death I drew comfort from hers, faithful in the knowledge that if I musts need go down, it would be with my ship. I felt myself slipping towards her break, where the wood was jagged and sharp, slicing through the thin camric of my thread-bare shirt, as well as my shirt, as I slid down her deck, plummeting into the ocean, lifeless but alive.
The waves were tumultuous, knocking me about like a Gods angry fist. To soon, I was caught in a current that couldn't hold the ship, but pulled me along, away from what I was sure a rocky coast line. It pulled me further, head bobbing on the waters surface, gasping, salty breaths burning my lungs.
How long I bobbed like that, battered by the wind and wave, I did not know, though I reckoned later it mightn't have been a scant two or three days. I felt myself stop breathing, that had been when I began sinking, but breathless or not, my heart continued on, beating hard in my chest. I was consumed by pain and fire, to gone with it to know of anything else, as I fought a burn so great I was sure I would be rendered unto dust and ash by the end of it. The confusion of sensation, cold of the ocean and fire of my veins, did nothing to help my plight. I remember little of that time, save for the strange fluid sensation of sinking, falling, an endless slow dive into an endless abyss.
I woke flat on my back, staring into endless black. The floating sensation hadn't ebbed, and I wasn't in the mind to realize that I had found the bottom of the ocean, and was staring upwards from it. I often wondered,w hen I had learned enough to understand, what I might have done, had I woke anywhere else. But no, I woke unto a sea of calm, encompassed and cradled in the oceans arm. My throat ached, parched and dry, and I heaved a bubbling breath and gagged as water filled my lungs and stomach. Water, I thought, my first real thought since my rebirth, frantic and racing, water, water, water, all around me. It was still so ingrained in me, even in death, to hold my breath, and I did so, until I realized that I needed no breath regardless.
I was lost to it, to all of it; the burn in my throat, the whirl of my mind refusing to settle, and the endless ocean of blue-black. There was life in it, I could see that, the ocean was abundant with life from the most tiny of microscopic organism to the massive, singing whales, their low pitched whine echoing against my eardrum. Things I had never seen I saw then, as I swam the oceans bottom: giant squid with reaching tentacles, strange stationary sea-flowers that snapped at tiny fishes as they swam by. I saw things, touched, things, heard things, and my mind it seemed to swallow it all, cataloging every tiny little thing till I was sure I would be mad with it.
I cannot say how long I swam, or where I went, or what I saw, only that I felt pulled, a tugging in my chest that forever went unnamed. The isolation the sea-bottom offered me would change me in ways I would never fully comprehend. I was reborn alone, and I would stay that way, for a very long time.
The fire never seemed to fade, growing in me like a blaze unwatched. It ruled me, in ways, always on my mind, keeping me on edge, but beneath the waters without the benefit of scent, I was loathe to know what to do with it. On the boarder between man and beast, I knew enough to understand that I was no longer human, no longer encumbered by the demand to breath, eat, sleep or even pause. But the ocean, she offered me endless possibilities, endless distraction,, and more often then naught, I never put much thought into what I was. I became an animal, just like any fish in the sea, swimming endlessly with no destination in sight.
As I have said, time went unmeasured, a long learned habit of my piracy. However, when time is unlimited it is no longer a conscious thing. There is no way to time a thing that has no limits. It had been a day if it had been a year when finally I found myself floating upwards, cutting a slow path through the waters as they faded from black to baby-blue before my keen eyes.
The waters were tepid against my skin, and I could see the sun through the crystalline surface. Immediately I was assaulted by the nearly forgotten sense of smell. I could smell it all; the water, the salt, the fish, the air. Beyond even that I could smell something else, something more, something hot and sweet that made my throat ache and my nose flair, sending me into a wild spiral of vicious want.
Fluid, venom, pooled in my mouth, saccharine sweet and bitter all at once. It spilled over my lips, down my throat, seeping into the ocean in mother-of-pearl swirls. Birds cried over head, fat sea-gulls and the occasional lost crow. Every sound was sharper here, above the waters, as if a veil had been lifted. A ship, my mind screamed, pulling forth a profusion of hazy memories. Alistair, my mind clung to the name, my own name, Captian Alistair. There wasn't much to be seen, vague things, painful memories; I saw Lorimer, and I snarled. Mutiny, my mind sang out, mutiny.
I approached the vessel with speeds previously unknown, scaling her sun-smooth sides with beastly ease. Sunlight warmed my skin, shimmering diamond dust, catching the eye of ever many. They were a young crew, newly minted Pirates fresh from a haul, but all I saw was mutiny; all I saw was Lorimer, and my ill-begotten crew.
I slaughtered them all.
A crew in it's entirety, some few sixteen men, and not a one escaped my confused wrath. Blood, my body craved and I had never known, soothing the perpetual burn as it flooded my mouth. So much blood, much of it wasted, for many I killed but never tasted to eager to continue. Many though, I drank down with newborn enthusiasm and little grace, spilling red down my chin and bare chest. It hadn't occurred to me to consider my nudity as I cleaved open throat after throat with nothing but my teeth.
They screamed and scrambled, scurrying across the deck like bugs, and there was a memory there though I had no wish to delve deeper to find it. One by one, I killed them, leaving them strewn out across the deck, pale and bloodless. It was brutal and vicious, and I felt better for it. The world became sharper, more real, and I returned to myself in small measures. I was a starved man fed, and it felt bloody good. I looked up from the helm and pointed the young ship south. The world was as I had left it when I died, and no compass could tell me anything I did not already know. I knew in my heart, or in my head, but I knew where I was and where I was going. However, what I was looking for would remain a mystery for sometime.
Aboard the ship I stayed, dressed in a pair of pilfered trousers, until the stench of rotted flesh began to be to much. The waters welcomed me back, but this time, I did not delve deep into her murky depths. No, I swam her surface tirelessly.
It became my life; swimming and killing. I had found myself caught in a circle. I would be fine when it was just water, when the fire of my throat was little more then a niggling annoyance. But the winds would change, showering me in the calling scent, and I would be a man done for. Control, a long lost friend of mine, had abandoned me as surely as every one else; the want consumed me, became me, till I was the beast I'd been reborn.
Years passed, and I slaughtered crew after crew, to deep in my spiral to see anything but mutiny and death. I killed pirates and men of Queen-and-Country alike, sparing little remorse for either. Slaughter, chaos, vicious brutality, I painted the oceans read for decades, earning my Myth as most vicious beastie of the sea, though hey had no name for me, to fearful to invoke my rage. No matter where I had ventured to, a ship could never escape me, for I could find them all with the simple want to do so.
It would be the day I followed a ship to closely to shore that changed me. Over the countless years, I had, it seemed, developed a measure of self control. More as like, when at last my feet touched the ground, I was to gorged on sailors to be lured by the musky scent of deckhands.
It had been purely accidental, for I had never felt inclined to become reacquainted with my land legs. But the port, she bustled with a long-faded familiarity that called to me, and I found myself in pilfered clothes, rowing myself to the docks in the moonlight. The Dock Master paled upon setting eyes on me, stumbling back upon himself and fleeing arse-over-kettle from my presence. It served to amuse me, in a way, long since unaccustomed to seeing others and not killing them. I might have, but I was, for the very first time in a long time, distracted.
The tugging ache lurched in my chest, and I became a man on a mission. The world had changed on me, but I did not notice. That smell, so familiar, and yet ambiguous, haunting me as it tugged me along, through the cobbled streets of a port city. It was hypnotic, to follow the invisible line that seemed to lead me, seemed to tug me along like a reluctant filly.
Alas, what I found was not what I would have expected, had I been in the mind to expect anything. Their skin shimmered, even in the moonlight, as they finished off their pray, a young rent girl if my assumptions were right.
"A newborn," the woman said, a she dropped her corpse to the alley floor. "Who let you out to play, darling."
I snarled, hackles rising and words escaping me, snarled like the beast I had become.
"Bloody hell," her companion said, reaching out to grab her arm in a blurry flash of white. "That's not a newborn. He's decades old, nigh a hundred, nearly, if I'm right."
"You're never wrong," the girl seemed to agree, taking a step back too sooth me. The small space seemed to set me at ease, shoulders losing there tight pull. "He's feral. How can he have gone so long like this, without attracting the attention of the Volturi?"
"Can you tell us your name?" The man asked, ignoring the females question entirely. I eyed him with more caution, though that might have been folly, for the woman I was sure could keep her own. "Do you remember your name? Where you come from?"
"Alistair," I replied slowly, my own voice serving to startle me. "From...the sea."
"You're the monster the locals speak off," the woman said, a look on her face that could only be described as motherly, though I could hardly remember my oh Mare's face. "You were abandoned."
"Would you like to come with us?" The man cut in, keeping himself as small nonthreatening as possible. "You must have questions. We have answers."
Their names were Brógán and Dálach, and they were barely older then myself it seemed, but far more domesticated at any rate. Indeed they had answers, for questions I did not even know to have. They imparted upon me, gently, that it was unwise to over-induldge, as they called it, for it drew the attention of the Volturi Guard, a self appointed policing system to all Vampires, who ruled ruthlessly. And to, they told me, it dulled ones senses, and slowed them down, creating a nearly ineluidable high that kept a vampire stuck in the spiral of need and want. This I knew, for I had lived it many yearsp; the idea I could live outside my base instincts served to intrigue me. Brógán and Dálach aqquainted me with all that the could, speaking of blood-lust, sires, venom, gifts, clans, the one word I dared not utter, even though I knew it to be true.
It was, perhaps, sire that struck a chord in my long lost curiosity the most. I remembered a man, I had told them, Eadric Gamel, though neither of them had heard newborn. Abandonment, it seemed to me, was a crime punishable by death.
I took that knowledge to heart.
We parted, Brógán, Dálach and I, with few words. They had given me the gift of understanding, for which I was greatful, but they were not looking to extend there clan, nor was I looking to join. Instead I pressed onward, by the light of the moon, feeding but never feasting. I followed the aching-tug wherever it lead me.
And too, I noticed that the vague inherant knowledge I had come to take for granted as little more then a meal ticket, was infact, a gift.
Brógán had explained what a gift meant for a vampire, a human talent in excess, he had called it. He himself had one, though Dálach did not, and they had been born of the same venom. Brógán could taste the age of a vampire like a man could taste the age of wine. It was never particularly exact, but there was a science to it he understood. It seemed my pentchant for treasure hunting had ripened in death to the ability to find what I expected to be anything, though I never tested it's bounderies. I had felt Brógán and Dálach even after we parted, like a sixth sense that never faded. And the feeling was not alone, no, like an itch deep in the marrow of my bones, I felt them; vampires.
To long I had spent in solitude, I steered clear of most my kind. I only had one man in mind, and my gift was to untrained to do anything for it. The aching-tug grew within me, evolving into a kind of yearning I did not care for. I longed for him, his companionship, and it sickened me. Vaguly though it seemed to pull, I followed the tug across the lands, for he was a mobile man, as many vampire are, and not prone to anchor.
I relearned life in those years spent hunting Eadric. Things had changed while I had remained still and I was forced to acclimate accordingly. The first King had long since fallen, replaced by predecessors who seemed to be doing a world of good, though I was hardly one to benefit for it. Any one I could have ever known, were I inclined to remember them, would be long since dead. I made no friends and mourned for no one. Nothing outside of my pursuit for Eadric existed, as I honed my talent, my speed, and my strength to seek the man. It was a gift not wholly given, for it had to be learned, had to be understood. Each nuance of knowledge inherent inside me meant nothing if I could not understand it. I was searching for a man who's face I did not know. I knew nothing, save for a name no one else remembered. One man hidden in a million, and the world was large then, unexplored. The journey was long, but it seemed as though I had the time to spare.
Years, it seemed, passed, for if I was an old man, I was still in my prime as Vampires went. When at last I found him, I was fast approaching the tender age of two-hundred. Dálach had once told me that the surviving the first century was always the most hard, and I had done that blindly.
Eadric Gamel was living as an English Lord in Italy, draped in exotic silk weaved in gold, draining a young gir, in his lap when I found him.
"A visitor," he said pleasantly, shoving the dead girl from his lap. "How delightful. I hadn't known there were many of our kind here yet."
"Eadric Gamel?" I asked, though I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the man who had killed me so lightly, and left me to not quite die without a care in the world. I could not recall his face, but I knew. I knew.
"The very one," he said with a wide and dimpled grin. "This is Brinley, and Lawson, companions of my clan. And who might you be?" He asked politely, as the one called Brinley cleared away the corpse.
I steeled myself for it, for the inevitable possibilities. "Alistair," I growled, as I had all those years before. "Captain Alistair Xavius Webb."
His eyes widened, and that seemed enough to jar his memory. "You were dead."
"I was not," I retorted. "Clearly. I have been informed that abandonment of Children is a crime punishable by death."
"I didn't know," was his argument, though I could not justify it. "I believed you dead."
"Then perhaps you should have checked yourself, Eadric Gamel. Perhaps you should have been a little less lenient in your surety," I snarled, stalking forward. Brinley and Lawson stepped forward, guarding there patriarch. "I have no qualm with you, only him. I suggest you step aside."
They didn't and I couldn't be bothered to spare them a moment more as I had come a long way to find the man behind them. I had no experience in vampiric combat, but I had been more then skilled as a Pirate, and I had certainly not grown lax in my years. Still, the fight was messy.
Brimley, the bulkier of the pair, came charging first, but his head came off just as easy as his friends. They're hands were untrained for such battle, and Eadric, for the first time since I had arrived, looked scared.
"You must know that had I known you'd turn, I would have never left you," Eadric pleaded, springing up from his chair. " I would never abandon one of my own."
"You would have never seen me change," I snarled, stalking forward in a rush. He evaded me like a coward. "I remember you said as much. That you'd never change me."
"Then you know it wasn't intended!"
"And yet," I whispered then, "I was turned, and I was alone. For one hundred years I was alone! You left me still alive on that sinking ship on the mere assumption that I would not live, and for your folly, I paid. For your folly, you die."
Sever the head and burn them, Brógán's words still echoed within me.
He was weak, over-fed and pampered. Still though, his teeth and nails were sharp, and I did not come out of our altercation unharmed. Brimley and Lawson scuttled on the floor, bodies scrabbling for their heads, and even still, Eadric called for them. It shamed me to know that I was born of such recreant blood. I caught him at the throat, my fingers burying themselves into his flesh, and saw nothing but fear in his eyes.
Perahps, and I will not deny it should any one ask, I was particularly brutal in his death. I tore his jaw from his face and used his own bottom teeth to saw his head from his body, a slow but gratifying process, as his limbs tangled with his clans on the floor beside me, gripping at the legs of my trousers, weak and frantic.
With his jaw in one hand, and his head, hanging by his curly locks in the other, I watched he and his clan burn in their entirety, billowing purple smoke curling up and filling the room, cloying and sweet.
In my delighted relief, I am ashamed to admit that I was gotten the better off. To hypnotized by the death of my Sire, I had allowed another to creep up upon me.
"You!" A vampire crowed, golden hair falling to his shoulders as he looked down upon me with a regal, pale face, red eyes flaring. "What have you done?"
"Abandonment of a Child is a crime punishable by death," I said in reply, eyes narrowed in challenge. The man did not stand down, now flanked by two hulking masses. "I've come to collect my retribution."
"Who are you?" He growled, staring at the remains of the Gamel Clan, "to kill my son?"
"My name is Captain Alistair Xavius Web," I snarled, heat tickling at my back as they burned behind me. "And to be fair, he did kill me first."
"Well then, Captain Webb," the man said, a cruel smile curling at his mouth as he advanced upon me. "By right of the Volturra, I, Aro of the Volturi Clan, hear by sentence you to death for the murder of the Royal Son, my son, Eadric Gamel-Volturi."
"I have done nothing wrong!" I snarled, as I backed away, eyeing the open window. "By your own rules, he has done wrong by me."
"He is exempt!" The man named Aro growled.
"He is dead!" Rushing forward, I pounced for the window, feet catching on the wooden sill. "No one is exempt from death!"
"You will pay for this, Alistair!"
"You'll never find me you righteous bloody bastard!" I hissed, springing downward for the sleepy streets of Volturi, head of my Sire still in my hand, as his men chased after.
And for a very long time, he didn't.