Amongst the crystal blue waters that bordered the Enchanted Forest, a full rigged ship sailed into the night under the orders of the King. The vessel burst in activity as the crew prepared for an inevitable storm that would soon wash upon them. The clouds thickened and thunder bellowed throughout the deck. No spot of land could be seen through the fog.
The Captain of the ship, a burly mustached man by the name of William Bensley, fared the wheel as he commanded his men, " Batten down the hatches! Secure the cargo! Don't dilly dally Mason, don't act like I don't see those playing cards! And you-" A deluge violently shook the 'The Endeavor', knocking the temperamental captain to the ground.
A younger man emerged from below deck and squabbled over to help the fallen captain. "Blimey! Are you alright sir?"
"Lieutenant Shore, what in the blazes are you standing around for? Help me up," His second in command complied and hauled, with much difficulty, his superior back to his feet, "What of the prisoner?"
"Nothing. The old loon is muttering nonsense as always. He says he's 'calling his friends' "
"This man is not a threat. He's just bluffin', trying to frighten ya. The King wants us to ensure his passage to the most fortified asylum in all the land,"
"But sir," Shore interrupted, "If he's not a threat then why are we, a naval vessel, have the task of transporting a manic across the seas."
"Are you questioning the King?"
"Why no, sir,"
"Good! Then we need to reef the sails or else we'll capsize or worse,"
"But sir, doesn't it occur to you in the slightest that this storm may be his doing. If he does have a connection to the other side-"
Cue the second round of waves. It showered the deck. A few men were slipping and sliding. Hans, the boatswain zipped from port to starboard in a matter of seconds. Captain Bensley spat out water before giving Shore a cold glare, "Lieutenant. There are two things that could have caused this storm: Mermaids and my mother on an off day," This made Shore laugh nervously. Rumor had it that Bensley had emerged from the darkest depths of the sea at birth. He claimed to have been born of the goddess of the sea herself, Ursula. He doubted it had any truth but he, like other skeptics, didn't dare to question the man.
"I'll see to him now, sir," With that, the Lieutenant made his way below decks. He passed by the crew members battening down the hatches as the Captain ordered. They closed every porthole and strapped in their cannons and crates. Everything was secured. He then made an impromptu stop to the cargo hold. His fingers shook when unlocking the door, mainly because of his uneasiness of a certain cargo.
The cargo hold was a small room, about a size of an outhouse. Since they were a military vessel, they normally wouldn't transport goods or people. Shore's eyes swept over the room, until stopping in the far corner where a chest sat. On top of taking the prisoner to the most unpleasant jail cell in the Realm, the King had ordered passage for this chest. He had also wished for extra security, but Captain Bensley never acted on this command. Both he and the Captain saw no need to be having men patrol the cargo hold for this one item. What was inside it that made someone as powerful as the King worried?
Lieutenant Shore inspected the chest. It was chained heavily with a padlock. Was it his imagination or did the chest shudder? He felt something sinister emanating from it. Slightly afraid, he rushed out of the cargo hold and marched to the brig where the prisoner was.
He relieved the guards from their duty as he checked on the man sitting in the cell. This man was well dressed for someone who had been on the 'King's Most Wanted' list. He didn't appear a scoundrel, but an aristocrat. A top hat perched lopsidedly on his head, masking his face but Shore detected a hint of a malicious smile. His hands were occupied, despite chained together. He shuffled playing cards, twisting and flipping them in the air that defied the laws of physics.
A card, an ace of spades, broke away from the deck and began floating in mid air, "Is this your card?" he laughed.
Shore maintained a solemn expression. The chest might have fazed him, but this man certainly didn't, despite all his 'magic', "I'm not here for a party trick, Facilier. I came to check on you,"
The man, Facilier, cocked his head to the side, "Checking if I hadn't escaped yet?"
" I don't see how you want to do that, especially with a storm raging,"
"On the contrary Lieutenant has it occurred to you that's maybe why I would want to escape now? Just think," The man abruptly stood. He clapped his hands together and used gawdy gestures that of a phony magician, "The night roars with thunder and rain. The crew struggling to protect their beloved ship, too preoccupied if I may add. While they all scramble on deck, doing your bulky Captain's bidding the prisoner-the oh so clever prisoner- would breakout of this cell. Brilliant, if I do say so myself. Quite theatrical?"
"Flawed is what it is,"
"Why is it? Care to enlighten me?"
Shore sighed, "You know that once you're out, we'll know. You will be shot before you could reach the lifeboats. There's no way to escape without plunging into the ocean. So," Shore spat curtly, "I suggest you bide your time with your card tricks."
"These cards aren't regular playing cards,"
"I suppose they are magic? Must you remember Facilier, you're an imposter. I have seen real magic. It is more powerful than yours could ever be, " Once aboard, Facilier showed signs of needing an asylum. They stripped him of his belongings apart from the clothes on his back and the cards. Voodoo dolls and vials of mysterious substances were found. He claimed to have a connection with the world beyond, the world of the dead, "The only thing mystical about you is your appetite. I've never seen a man starve himself to only look healthy."
"Food doesn't fill me. Only the essence of the spirits can replenish me,"
"Spirits cannot be contacted, you fool!" Shore sighed. They weren't getting through to him. But what did it matter? The King didn't pay them to institute the man. Rain pelted against the sides of 'The Endeavor' and the rocking grew violently, tossing a few items on the shelves onto the floor. He took a piece of rope hanging off a hook and tied it to the bars. He handed the other end to Facilier to hold onto when the ship rocks again, "Brace yourself. We've hit the storm's center,"
The Lieutenant made his way to exit but the prisoner had more to say. With a haunting whisper, Facilier pressed his face between the bars, "He's on board,"
Whirling around Shore asked, "Who?"
"The most powerful being in the world. One you should fear most definitely, " Facilier smiled giddily as if a mountain of gold formed underneath him, "The spirits told me he's onboard, in the cargo hold. You know he's here. You feel it."
This man must be delusional. There was no man in the cargo hold, Shore had been inside only moments ago and never snuffed out a stowaway. But then again, there was something off about the chained up chest in the hold. Could a man be inside? No, Shore convinced himself, with little air no man could survive in a confined space such as that.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Now if you excuse me, I am needed above deck," With that, Lieutenant Shore tied another piece of rope to the bars and left for the deck.
Some time after, Facilier crouched into a kneeling position. His eyes closed, concentrating on establishing the connection with the voice.
"I am here, my lord," he muttered, "What must I do?" This voice began to contact Facilier during the start of his time aboard 'The Endeavor'. Having done seances before, he was not afraid, much less unfazed by this. Though this voice was different from other spirits he has contacted. This voice was clear, whereas others were fuzzy. This voice gave him instructions, preparing for the right time to escape.
Energy swelled inside him and soon the voice replied.
Facilier opened his eyes after being given his task and gripping on the other end of the rope, searched for something to use to escape. The room shuddered, toppling over a case of cannonballs. One by one they rolled between the bars.
His mind whirred with thoughts that were not his own. His fingers moved without his consent and he hastily reached for a cannonball. He had examined every section of the brig and concluded that the bars in the cell had eroded over the course of many decades. They were not as strong as they were used to. Thank the lucky stars the King had placed him on an older vessel. By this time, Facilier figured out what he was meant to do.
His callused hands cradled a cannonball before jamming it into the one of the bars. The sound of metal creaking came in response. He repeated this until the bar was so loose Facilier could pry it off, creating a gap large enough for him to walk through.
Facilier smiled to himself before adjusting his top hat. That was more like it.
Quit fooling around. Go to the cargo hold. Find the chest.
These short and curt commands were enough for the man to move briskly through the ship without a second thought Facilier had his experience with spirits before and had better sense than to disobey their orders . It was risky business, never knowing whether or not he would gain anything positive from interactions with forces beyond his control. But he struck countless deals with spirits and it posed no problems before… just as long as he did their bidding in exchange for power.
It was no problem accessing the cargo hold since no guards weren't present. He located the chest immediately and hauled it by the chains.
Go to the quarter deck and escape on cockleboat.
With his scrawny physique, it seemed impossible for him to lift it so he dragged it against the wooden floor. It screeched at the motion yet he pulled on, with the promise of power fueling his muscles.
"Oi! You!" Dropping the box suddenly, Facilier turned to see four navy soldiers standing in the doorway. Lieutenant Shor, in front, held him at swordpoint.
"I told you your escape plan was flawed."
"Is it?" Facilier latched onto the chest, refusing to move. The voodoo man braced himself for the guards to shackle him back to his cell but as they came forward, the soldiers stopped rigidly. Soon, their eyes glazed over and used zombie movements to step aside for Facilier to safely pass. Only Shore remained unaffected. It was an unbelievable sight. Facilier was more than sure that it had to be the work of his master. Shore still held his gun but shakily now. Witnessing what happened to his crew had him frightened.
"My lord, this one simply won't give up. Care to eliminate him?"
Suddenly, one of the soldiers raised his rifle and turned to face the lieutenant. The soldier wasn't aware of his actions, otherwise he would have reacted. His expression was impassive, even as the barrel was centimeters away from Shore's face.
"Thomas! Put down your weapon!" He desperately tried to ask his comrade to set the rifle down, "Right now or I'll have you thrown off the ship!"
Facilier pursed his lips before grinning maniacally, "An imposter, Lieutenant? I assure an imposter could not do this."
Captain Bensley heard a gunshot fired below decks. He sent his men down to scope out the scene but they never made it down the stairs. Blocking their path was Facilier, carrying the heavily chained chest. He pushed past the crew until he was on the quarterdeck. The Captain was stationed at the helm, opposite of the quarter deck. Realizing the prisoner had escaped his confinement, he was outraged.
"Facilier!" He tried to run towards him but slipped once more on the wet deck. The storm was still raging on. None of the crew members would dare capture Facilier. He was out of reach. If they took a step closer towards him rather than hang on to the rigging, they would surely die. They would let the man perish in the storm.
The voodoo man didn't waste time in boarding a cockleboat. He tossed the chest inside before cutting the rope which held the tiny boat to the 'Endeavor' with a stolen sword. The cockleboat zipped through the air before plummeting into the torrential waters. Facilier groped around his vessel until he found the oars. With circular motions, he rowed against the churning sea. The yelling and cursing from the King's naval crew grew faint as the cockleboat distanced itself from the ship.
"My lord, where shall we go?" Facilier shouted, not to the thin air anymore, but to the chest. His shoulders began to grow numb from rowing against the waves. From what he could gather from the situation, no land could be seen for miles, "We are in the middle of the ocean! We will not survive!"
Row. Row until you reach the peak of death. Row until we become lost within the ocean.
Within the realm.
Facilier could not decipher the voice's meaning. Was he being tricked into death? He did not want to die knowing he had been deceived. "How? Where do we go?"
To the place of the lost.
"No cryptics! Answer me, where are you planning to take us?"
On the 'Endeavor', Captain Bensley saw the cockleboat disappear within the stormy haze, along with Facilier and the mysterious chest. He made no effort to launch a search party. By the looks of the weather, Bensley figured they wouldn't survive. And sure enough, the prisoner and the precious cargo were never seen again. Though haunting voice seemed to echo through the night, drowning out the torrent for a moment. Bensley didn't know what to make of it, neither did his crew. It spoke only a name. A name of place they knew all too well.
A/N: This starts off the story. It depicts who exactly to watch out for in the story. Who is the voice inside the chest? For those who have read Peter and the Starcatchers may be familiar with this character. But for those who haven't, all would be explained later on.