20 years ago, there was an attack. Not a simple, go in, go out, run of the mill attack. This pure slaughter. Two forces set themselves for an epic battle. Jolly Rogers and his undead army on one side, the EITC led by Lord Cutler Becket. The island of Raven's Cove and its residents lay in the middle, fighting both sides to even preserve the life they had on the tiny island. The EITC and the Undead fought over weapons viciously. Not caring who got in the way. Man, woman, child, were killed without remorse. Only the really lucky made it off the island. A man, his wife and 3 year old son were able to sneak aboard a dinghy and float away from the horror and the desolation that would kill their small island. As they floated away, their son, slept. Peacefully. Not a care in the world as to what was going on. He didn't understand war, battle, death. He didn't have to. His parents never wanted him to understand. The home he knew, the friends he had were gone and when he wakes up, it will a whole different world him.
Three days later, the fighting stopped. Both sides ended up in a draw. Bodies strung everywhere. People died stripped of clothing, bodies decapitated, body parts flung all over, innards pulled or strung out on the ground. The air had yet to smell of death but the ground and the walls were covered in crimson. On a far away island, where smoke billowed, deep in the belly of a volcano, a single black stone, shone, contrasting the rock and red lava with its white light. The Death Stone waited for the Chosen One.
7 years later
The town of Port Royal, Jamaica was busy, bustling. It was a place to see all walks of life. The rich lived in huge mansions near the hills while everyone else essentially lived and did business down near the sea. For a town, 3 square miles in area, with a population of a few hundred, it can get really cramped for some reason.
The Keeldavis family worked in their butcher shop. John and Sue, two Caribbean born Africans, were busy taking orders and preparing the meat, poultry, and fish, when the sky turned gray, then grayish-green and then a sickly green in a matter of a few hours.
"John, come look. Di sky. That no look right." Sue called out to her husband in the back. John came from around the back, his white apron, smeared with blood.
"What is it Sue?" He went over to his wife and wrapped arms around his, knowing full well that she hated when he was this close when he dirty from handling meet. She was too distracted to notice. He smiled.
"Look. That has never happened before, has it?"
"Is that apron clean?" She asked with annoyance.
Silence. "You want to sleep on the sofa?"
John smiled and went back to work on the orders.
Outside, the townsfolk also noticed. Everything stopped as the sky got greener and darker. The wind started to pick up ever so slightly. Cautiously, the town people went back to what they were doing. Cassandra, a local outdoor shell jeweler, called out to patrons as she made her crafts. The sky maybe green but that didn't mean she could make a dollar.
A ten year old boy was making his way from the beach on the far side of Port Royal with a sack full of crabs. He smiled. Try as they might, they couldn't get away from him. He was the best, when it came to catching them on land that is, but he had the scars to prove that he isn't afraid.
He felt the wind change and saw that the sky turned an ugly. He shook from the chill and headed home and passed Cassandra, who always made him smile. Everyone he came across from dock workers, to sellers like Cassandra, and even some of the richer folk seemed to like him. It made his parents proud to have raised a good son. It helped them get loyal customers, but they loved their son regardless.
"Papa! Mamma! I'm home!"
"Jack, good, you're here." His mother came from around the counter, checking him over for any injuries, and worry on her face.
Jack knew something was wrong. Sue only got like this if something was about to go wrong or something already. She took the sack of crabs from him and put them on the counter. Jack smiled watching the sack move and squirm. It was funny.
"Momma, why is the sky green? Everyone down the beach is acting all weird, running and closing up."
"I don't know, son. I don't tink its good though. You hungry?" Jack nodded and his stomach growled in agreement. Sue smiled at her boy and gave him some homemade bun and cheese until dinner was finished.
"Did I hear Jack come home?" John came from the back.
"Papa!" Jack put the plate down and ran to his father.
"You smell like meat Papa." The two laughed. Sue could only smile as her men laughed away.
The scene outside was anything but funny. Shops were being closed. Even Cassandra closed down her little street shop and moved indoors. Sue stopped a scraggly dressed man and asked him what was going on. He told her that Jolly Roger was heading this way. Sue's heart nearly stopped. She thanked the man and went back to her family.
"Mama, what's wrong?"
"Sue, what is it?"
John stopped cold. Jack looked confused. He only heard stories. He didn't believe he was real. But it had to some mistake, Jolly wasn't real. Only a bedtime story to scare little kids from sneaking out at night or going into the jungle with supervision.
"Come Jack, we have to move." His dad took his hand and led him upstairs.
"But Jolly isn't real, is he?"
His parents stopped on the steps. They looked at each other, wondering if they should tell him. John nodded.
They walked in silence up the stairs to the first floor of the living quarters. They sat down on the couch.
"Jack, what we are about to tell you may surprise you." Sue said sullenly. This was already a surprise. His parents were never this quiet or somber. They always had smiles on and full of life. He was starting to get scared.
"Jack, when you were born, we lived on an island far away from here. It was a busy island, much like how Port Royal is. People were friendly and caring. When you were born the whole island knew about it. People came to visit us bringing gifts for you and for us, some offered to help babysit you while we ran the shop during the day."
"Didn't some have things to do? Didn't they have children?"
"Jack! Don't interrupt."
"They did have children but there weren't many. Only about a 100 or so people live on the island itself. But everyone helped everyone. Then one day…"
There was a large commotion outside in street. Swords and cutlasses were being sharpened by folks Jack had never seen before and pistols were being loaded. Some of the men were bare-chested and had scars all over their bodies. Some dressed quite well, others not so much. The women were pretty much the same except for the bare-chested bit. Pirates. Where was the Navy? If Jolly Roger was coming shouldn't they have already stopped him?
His parents pulled him back into the living room. John pulled out a short sword he had hidden. Sue only looked at him.
"No worry. Mi naw leave the house. I'm staying in just in case dem come looking fi us."
"What's going on? Why would Jolly come this way?" Jack wanted to know.
"Jack," his father picked up the story. "When you were three we left our home during a war. Jolly Roger and the East India Trading Co. fought on our island so reasons we still don't know and maybe never will." Jack's eyes went wide. He was in a war? Granted he was three but still. "When you were born, there was a prophesy: The child who escapes the dead island will be the Chosen One, destined to strike fear into an immortal. The Lost Stone of Altolds will be the key to defeat Jolly Roger." Jack just sat there. The Lost Stone of Altolds? His mom took up where John left off.
"Son, you are the last child of Raven's Cove, our first home. Our island was destroyed in a three day war. Jolly Roger and his undead armies leff empty-handed as well as the EITC. It has been seven years since anyone has seen or heard from Jolly Roger and we believe he has come to find us."
Ok, now he was freaking out.
"We have to leave."
"No son. Now that Jolly is back, we can't run. We can't hide." His dad said sadly. If Jolly came, he came. There was no stopping it. He had seven years to build his forces and he would show no mercy.
The sky turned an ever darker, blacker shade of green.
"Jack, help me move dis chair to the door." Jack and John barricaded the door to their home with the couch and other pieces of furniture. Hopefully it will hold in case the family was sought out. They prayed they weren't.
There was the largest crash of thunder and the whitest lightning they have ever seen or heard. There was a mighty well in the street below as the pirates moved in to battle the undead on the beach.
The Keeldavis family sat there listening to swords clanging and clashing. There was the sound of pistols being fired and the occasional explosion and another sound that sounded like a shrilly wind and another sound of a wail.
The pirates on the beach fought their hardest, bravely, with courage. Innocent people would be killed and they all wanted the glory to be first one to down Jolly Roger. The sand was littered with the broken bodies of the undead and splattered by the blood of the pirates who were injured or dying. They were slowly being pushed back and they really wanted to put distance between themselves and the giant skeletons carrying barrels of black powder, which mostly backfired on the undead. Soon the fight was out into the street in front the meat shop. John readied his sword. Jack ran upstairs to his room and searched for a dagger he found a while back. It was a blood letter, or so the sheath said. He practiced with it when he could. If he could find it, he could fight. It was under his bed. He pulled out the blade. The round bulb at the end of the handle and curved hand guards twinkling in his eye. The metal blade reflecting whatever light was in his room brilliantly. He patted for his crab knife, he had that and secured the Bloodletter around his waist. When he turned around, the place shook. He ran back downstairs to his parents, who know closed the window. Smoke was rising into the living room from the barricaded door and the window. The shop was breached.
"I can smell him. He's here!" There was a deep gravelly voice coming from the shop. There was a faint green glow coming thru gaps in the door jam. What or whoever it was found the stairs.
John quietly moved his family to the second set of stairs. Jack pulled out his Bloodletter and got questionable looks from his parents. He nervously shrugged and put it away. If they survived this, he would definitely be questioned about it.
Sue and Jack looked at John who winced and lifted his right foot off the step. He signaled for them to keep going up to the bedrooms. Thankfully the rest of the stairs didn't squeak.
At the top of the stairs they couldn't hear the fighting that much. The family sighed. Big mistake.
The house blew up. The place just exploded in a giant ball of fire, smoke and wood. Jack was thrown into his room as the third and second floor fell onto the demolished shop. He only heard the screams of his mother and the sound of swords meeting in battle. His room fell onto top of him and he blacked out as heard someone being choked and metal piercing flesh.
Jolly smiled. The only family to escape the war seven years ago was dead. He surveyed the wreckage of the home and found it flattened. The third floor was now in the street. It fell sideways off the second floor as it crashed onto the meat shop below it. Seven years. Seven long years of waiting and scouting. Looking for the family that escaped his wrath. Seven long years of searching for the child that would one day kill him. The irony of it all. The prophecy could not be fulfilled now. He could claim the seas. Jolly Roger was now the ruler of the seas.
But the pirates were still putting up a fight. Seeing the destruction of an innocent home, the pirates fought back feverishly. Pushing Jolly and his horde back into the sea. Some took Jolly on personally and despite the high level of danger, they fought and managed to push him back into the beach and defeat him, temporarily.
It was a bittersweet moment. The undead were defeated but Jolly had already done his damage. The main dock area was just a mess. But the west end was borderline a warzone. Unbeknownst to many, Jolly took the meat shop family and butchered them along with many other civilians who were caught in the clutches of the horde.
Jack woke up in darkness. His body hurt. He tried to move up but couldn't. How long was he out? Hours? Days? A week? Wait, where his parents?
"Mommy?" His voice was weak and hoarse.
"Mommy? Daddy?" No answer. Fear began to creep in. He kept calling out louder and louder. He hoped someone heard him. Tears began to fall.
There was a commotion somewhere on the other side of the darkness. Rushed voices and barking. He heard scraping and the pile over him began to move. More agonizing moments and the pile got smaller and lighter. He could hear voices clearer now. They told him to stay calm and to keep talking. He kept crying. The pile was lifted off of him and the night sky light bathed him in the lit dark.
"Hey, kid. You alright?" A man asked him.
Jack just shook his head.
"Where are my parents?"
"Mommy? Daddy?" He called out again. Hoping to hear their voices of them looking for him. He wanted his family.
"Jack!" Cassandra ran over to him.
"Miss Cassandra, where are my parents? Where's mommy and daddy?"
She couldn't tell him. She witnessed the house being blown to bits and then finding their bodies in the street, dismembered.
"Jack, they're… they're not coming back." She said sadly.
"What? No, they have to come back. They would never leave me behind." Jack was confused. Tears were flowing.
"They didn't leave you behind by choice." Cassandra kneeled down next to him and pulled him into a hug. "I found something." She broke away from him and held up his dad's necklace. It had a 20 inch silver rope and a one inch silver ring as a medallion. It had an inscription in a language that know one knew how to read: Ut subsisto magnum malum. Jack knew his dad never took it off. It was his first bit jewelry and kept it close. For it to be off meant… no. Jack took a step back. Cassandra pulled out their wedding rings as well and put them on the necklace, one on each side of the bigger ring. Now Jack was knew his parents weren't just coming back, they were dead. Jolly Roger killed them. Cassandra put the necklace around his neck, fastened it and took the young boy by the hand away from the place where he grew up. He kept his head down and let the tears fall. The whole place was quiet. Everyone knew the Keeldavis' and their son. Seeing this was heartbreaking for them, even more so for him. Some saw the battle between John and Jolly. It was all one sided. Sue tried to crawl away but Jolly had shackled her with his voodoo and that was it. No mercy, no quarter.
Someone ran up to them and gave Cassandra a sheathed cutlass. Jack barely heard what was said, but made out 'boy's father's blade '. He cried more. He needed his family. He missed them and he hated Jolly. He hated the undead. He wanted them dead. There is always a way to destroy everything. You're just not born like that – a heartless monster. His started to hurt and he fainted.
Somewhere on the far side of the Caribbean, deep in the belly of a volcano, a black stone started to vibrate quietly and stop. The volcano that surrounded it shook too.
Present day: 12 years later
Jack walked down the gang plank of his ship: the Riptide Guardian. The light brig was full of cargo and it was a month since he had been home to Port Royal. His dad's necklace and parents rings still around his neck. He was wearing white cotton pants with a large stripe around both ankles. His black boots worn from his travels were still quite comfy. He decided to go shirtless today. The years were good to his body and the sun tanned his already naturally tanned complexion. But he did need to shave though. His body looked like it chiseled out of marble and he became quite the target for some young ladies but he never answered their advances.
He turned around to his helmsman and first mate.
"Since it's Friday, sir…"
Jack could only laugh. His crew loved making port after a venture on the sea. It was his gift for a job well done on sea and raiding navy ships and finding treasures on various islands. They had their pay and wanted to spend it.
"Tell the mento finish unloading, get it all counted up, properly, and then I'll see them next week."
"Next week sir?"
"Well, yeah. We did take on bigger ships than planned and the crew performed well. One weeks' rest. And then we'll see."
"Aye sir. But what about you?"
"I might head out again."
Patrick gave a worried look.
"It's alright my friend. I can easily dock a ship myself and fire the cannons if need be. You all deserve a good rest."
"If that is your order."
"It is. I'll deal with the dock master and be back to help with the unloading."
Jack turned back around and walked down to pay the docking fee. It was good to be home but it was bittersweet, he desperately missed his family. Maybe a visit to Cassandra would help besides he hasn't seen her since he was last here anyways and that was about 3 months ago.
"Well here goes."
Right, well, here is my potco story. what ya think? if you read my other works, you know the drill. if you haven't: follow, favorite, review and comment.
Be safe, God bless.