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    RPCC - TREASURE on the ISLAND [Ciro, Sturs]
    • TREASURE on the ISLAND

      No relation to the novel
      By
      R. L. STEVENSON



      #####



      Across the seas, a legend echoes on the wind. A legend of a treasure greater than any other on earth. Riches beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, along with magical artefacts of awesome power - tales tell of an amulet that lets one command the very waves themselves; of a wand that controls the winds, from the slightest breeze to the mightiest storm; there’s even a rumour of a kazoo that can turn time inside-out, though most people take that particular rumour with a grain of salt, as it is mostly propagated by Captain Harry Crazy-Eyes, who once ate his parrot because he believed it to be a Spanish spy[1].

      Along with this legend, there came rumours of the Wolves of the Sea, a pirate crew who had found the island where this treasure lay hidden, and were now frantically searching for their prize while simultaneously trying very hard to keep anyone else off the island through a mixture of misinformation, gentle persuasion, and overwhelming firepower.

      “Mad” Marie Petit was intrigued by these rumours. Admittedly, she was intrigued by most rumours which contained the words “overwhelming firepower”, but this rumour was intriguing to her even without the firepower aspect. She was determined to get to the island and find out what was going on. The only problem was that she had no idea where the island was or how to get there, and that ever since that unfortunate accident with the colossal squid, she was without a crew or a ship[2].

      Still, she found herself on the island of Tortuga, and anyone who couldn’t find herself a decent crew, or steal herself a decent ship, on the island of Tortuga wasn’t much of a pirate.





      [1] This despite the fact that all evidence indicated the parrot was spying for the Dutch.

      [2] Well, strictly speaking, she did have a crew, but it was currently scattered across the Caribbean, and likewise she also had a ship, but it was in much the same state as her crew.
    • Though the sun shined brightly before the waning hours of twilight with its toe just a hair’s breadth from dipping into the horizon, a noticeable wind blew in from the east. In most parts of the Caribbean, these would be signals to begin slowing down and taking things easy after a hard and busy day. However, in the port of Tortuga, things rarely slowed or quieted to little more than a quiet din. In fact, the night often brought out the worst of this supposedly unassuming town; were it not overrun with pirates and other privateers.

      High above in the fading blues of the daylight sky, a ring of golden light shimmered and cast down a beam of light upon the Earth. Unseen by all in this town, a human figure flanked by three pairs of shimmering light rode down the pillar and touched upon the dirt streets of the new world with not even a speck of dirt disturbed. The angel surveyed her surroundings cautiously with an eye of purest silver and another made of solid gold while her bronze hair shimmered in the light behind her as the portal above sealed shut silently. Her robes of pure, silken, white wafted gently in the sea breeze; if any could see her, they would be smitten if only by her grace and beauty.

      Satisfied that she was alone, the angel motioned towards the ground with her finger. The halo above her head expanded in size to encircle her from above and descended with great haste. In its wake, the angel was bathed in golden light that quickly faded into tanned, lightly coloured skin. Her once gorgeous, flowing robes of white were replaced with dirtied and worn pants, shirt, and a jacket with far too many buckles on it for her liking. Mousey brown hair replaced flowing bronze and a pair of sea blue eyes replaced her mismatched set. If any other soul were around, to them this woman simply appeared out of thin air from the head down.

      Ariana took a deep breath; inhaling with it not only the smell of sea air, but the stench of alcohol, body odor and trace amounts of blood. From within the coat pocket, she withdrew a tin can that popped and fizzed in her hand. Tossing her head back, she downed the contents of the can and tossed the remains over her shoulder. “Feck’s sake!” she exclaimed. “Savin’ this woman had better be feckin’ worth this hassle.”

      Stuffing her hands into her pockets, the woman listened closely around her. Down the alley, and across a cobbled street, she could hear the trademark caterwauling of a rowdy tavern. Might as well look there first, Ariana thought. I could go for something to drink anyway. Making her way down the road, she soon found herself upon the threshold of a small establishment, indistinguishable from any other building in town; save faded white letters on the outside of the building that read ‘The Drowning Mermaid Bar’. “Classy. Let’s see what’cha got for me,” she said before stepping inside.
    • Any pirate worth their salt knew that if you were looking for a crew, you should head for a tavern. Marie had experience with searching for a crew, and knew what to look for - it had to be a rough kind of establishment, where simply looking at someone the wrong way might be enough to earn you a punch in the face - a place, in other words, where people who were too weak for a dangerous high seas adventure would not last long. Definitely not the sort of posh place that didn’t even allow fighting on the premises.

      Marie had entered the Drowning Mermaid, and picked a strategic place at the bar, where she had been talking loudly about her plans to challenge the Wolves of the Sea. Anyone who was interested could talk to the woman in the corner who would give them the standard physical exam. Said woman wasn’t actually affiliated with Marie, and may in fact have been a violent drunk punching anyone trying to interact with her in any way whatsoever, but as far as Marie was concerned, anyone who was still standing after trying to talk to the woman had very definitely passed the physical exam.

      Marie ordered a tankard of grog, and waited. She wondered how long it would take for the first person to pass the physical exam.
    • The faint smell of gunpowder barely registered in Ariana’s brain next to the overwhelming scents of not only alcohol, but body odor and mildew. Although things were civil inside, she could feel the leer of dozens of eyes upon her, altogether far too clean to be legitimate, body. She ignored them though, as she sensed the presence of her quarry at the very end of the bar. Immediately, the angel moved to the target of salvation; all the while overhearing her plan to attack a group of pirates.
      She would use that to get an in with her target.

      “So, I hear you’re going after the Wolves of the Sea. I am interested in joining you on this quest,” Ariana started.

      The woman she knew to be Marie Petit simply grunted and pointed to a woman at the end of the bar. “"Go talk to the woman o'er there, lassie. She'll give ye a quick medical examination to see if ye're up for the task.”

      “Oh. Very well then,” the angel said simply. She ducked and weaved between patrons bellying up to the bar for more ale or food and came to the lonely woman at the end. “Pardon me, madam, but-” Suddenly, the woman growled and threw a punch so swift that even she could not avoid it. In fact, Ariana was so surprised by this action that she forgot to act like the hit even affected her, standing still as a stone.

      “OW! Motherflunker!” The drunken woman slurred in a curse (she did not actually say ‘flunker’) most foul. She grasped her hand and decided better than to take another swing. “Just... fecking leave me alone ya mangey curr.” She continued darkly.

      As tempted as Ariana was to try and help this poor, unfortunate, soul who obviously had been recently trodden on by life, she was quickly reminded of her purpose as her target spoke behind her back and nearly caught her off-guard once more.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Ciroton ().

    • Marie watched as the drunk woman threw her punch. The prospective crewmate didn’t even flinch, while the drunk looked like she’d seriously injured her hand - Marie hoped the woman could throw punches with her left hand, because otherwise, Marie would have to find a new medical exam.

      The pirate stared for a moment, dumbfounded. “ARR, ye’re tough all right, lass!” she said, finally. “I haven’t seen many people take a punch like that. Welcome to the crew, matey!”

      She looked her new recruit up and down. “Ye’re awful scrawny-lookin’ for someone who just shrugged off a punch like that. So what be your secret? Secretly undead? Human form of a terrifyin’ creature from the abyss? Sold yer soul to an ancient unholy god?”
    • "Oh, um. Nothing as unsavory as any of those options," was the scrawny sea rat's reply. "I just... did one hundred sit ups and one hundred pushups and then ran over a mile every single day."

      It was not a lie, per say, but rather a stretching of the truth; she did indeed do all those things and all within a day. However, a day in Argentum lasted however long she wished it to, by means of traveling to the outer rings where the light from the Holy Palace faded into a gentle night. She may be undercover as a ravenous dog of the sea and a thief by another name, but she would not be called a liar.

      "So... how many others have you managed to recruit for this endeavor... captain?" She asked. Perhaps she could still head this off at the pass, before what was destined to be could happen, and save this soul from eternal damnation.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Ciroton ().

    • Marie raised an eyebrow. “Well, if ye want to keep your secrets, that be fine by me, lass.”

      She turned to look at the corner where the drunk woman was still cursing and clutching her hand in pain. Eight unconscious bodies surrounded her - those being the previous applicants. One of them had arguably passed the medical exam - if he hadn’t tried to hit back he very definitely would still be standing. And, Marie decided, anyone who could knock out most people with one hit was a good person to have on your crew. She’d definitely have to try and convince her to join up - but only after she’d sobered up.

      “Well, nothin’ be finalized yet, but right now I be lookin’ at two other prospective crewmen,” Marie said. “So, what can I call ye, matey? If we’re gonna be on a quest together, I’m gonna need a name to call ye.”
    • “You may call me ‘Arirana’ since that is my name,” the undercover angel replied before taking a seat at the bar beside Marie. “I do have to ask what other criteria you have for recruitment. Being tough is one thing, but being capable is another.”

      Meanwhile, the bartender walked up to her. He was a large gentleman with a magnificent handlebar moustache the likes of which she had seldom seen on angel or mortal alike. “What’ll you have?” He asked her while keeping some distance; no doubt having born witness to her casual shrugging off of a knockout punch.

      “Oh. Um... what do you have?” she replied, hoping that clean water would be on the menu.

      “I got rye, whiskey, ale, rum, and beer,” he said curtly.

      “Um...” the angel muttered in indecision. She had never had any strong drink; not even wine. Maybe this body would have some resistance to it, given she had consumed the canned personality of a sailor, but she did not like he chances of getting out of this without consuming something, especially when they got underway. “S-surprise me,” she started off shakily, but hoped she sounded confidant.
    • “I don’t really have much other criteria, lassie,” Marie said. “Though I still need to find meself a surgeon and a few people who know how to sail a ship, and do it well. Ye wouldn’t happen to be able to help out, would ye?”

      Strictly speaking, she could’ve mentioned that she wanted someone who knew how to swing a sword and fire a gun, but then again, if you were going to ask for sword and gun skills on Tortuga, you might as well ask for breathing and eating skills while you’re at it.

      She took a swig of her grog, and idly wondered what the bartender was going to give Ariana. Probably his strongest rum. Anyone as tough as Ariana probably wouldn’t even taste anything but the strongest stuff.
    • “I do have a basic knowledge in all the aspects of sailing a vessel. However, I have never really specialized. I am, however, apt with firearms. However, for a bladed weapon, I prefer these.” She pulled a set of white, fingerless gloves from her pocket and tapped a trigger inside, causing five long blades to emerge from then, then retreat once she clicked it again. “I could, however, wield a sword in a pinch.”

      Meanwhile, the bartender had been mixing several drinks. Unbeknownst to the angel ‘Surprise me’ was a code word in this bar that he was obliged to honour, even if he did not think it a wise idea. By the time he finished, Ariana had just put her gloves away. “One surprise for the lass who took that punch like a rock,” he said as he slid the beverage to her. Its orange surface seemed to glow and bubble somehow despite the glass being cold to the touch, and it smelled a lot like a sickening mixture of cinnamon and lilac.

      Ariana’s keen senses told her that this was a dangerous cocktail... or was it more of a screwdriver? Either way, she could smell her nose hairs burning. Her hesitation seemed to have caught Marie’s attention, as the woman was grinning at her. “What? be a strong lass like ye afraid o' a little whiskey? Drink up, me hearty”

      If she wanted to be in with this woman, and not arouse suspicion, she knew she had to comply. And so, despite everything telling her not to, she took the drink and downed the entire glass in a single gulp. “There, are you satisfied now... Miss.. Mari... Mar... Marrii-” All of a sudden, the word was enveloped in darkness and muffled sounds. The next thing she knew, she was hearing a commotion all around. “Nnngh,” she groaned as she sat up in a gently swaying hammock, her vision blurred and sounds distorted.

      “ARRR, about time ye woke up, lassie! Come on now, there be lots o' work to be done!”
    • Finding a ship hadn’t been hard. Some captains just couldn’t resist taking the narrow strait between Tortuga and Hispaniola as a shortcut. One of these captains was currently in a tavern on Hispaniola, regretting his decision. A few of his crewmates were still with him, but the majority had joined Marie. Press-ganging sailors was not without its downsides, the captain found.

      Meanwhile, his former ship, a caravel which Marie had christened the Devil’s Flame, was en route to a tiny little isolated island. On board were fifteen people, including Marie, Ariana, and one Christina, who was quite pleasant to be around as long as she was sober, as well as one Enrico, who still felt some resentment towards Christina for the medical examination she had given him.

      Marie gestured at Ariana to follow her to the deck. Most of the crew was gathered there. One of them was looking through a telescope and pointing at the horizon. “I think I’ve spotted the place,” she said.
    • “Wait, what? How long have we been at sea for? When did we leave I... what... happened?” She looked around and the ship was a hive of activity as men, and a few ladies, carried provisions and got things read for, as far as she could tell, shore leave.

      “Well,” the strange red-head wearing a pair of home-repaired glasses spoke. “Ya got right proper ossified on Craig’s ‘Bomb Blast’ Chaser. Honestly, I’m surprised ye’re not dead... but given ya can take one o’ of my drunk punches, from what the Cap’n tells me, then aye guess yer tough ta take out,” she spoke with a heavy Irish accent. “Name’s Christina, by the way; Christina “The Hammer” O’Brian.”

      “Enrico’s name is Enrico,” a tan man standing some distance away while glaring at Christina offered. He was quite obviously a Spaniard. “You tired to pitch much woo at me when I woke up. It’s not that I was not flattered, but I do not go for women who walk up to the toughest looking men in the bar and punch them through the door because of a friendly little pat to the bottom.”

      “I... I don’t want to know that much,” Ariana sighed and groaned as she forced herself off the hammock.

      “I’ll tell ye some more sometime, lass. Right now, we got landfall to make, savvy?” Marie said, grabbing Ariana by the hand to pull her on deck.
    • “See that isle o’er there, lass?” Marie said. “That’s where we be stayin’ the day. Come nightfall, we set off to the next island - which be the island, if ye catch me drift. When we be gettin’ near enough, we lower most o’ the crew in dinghies and row to the island. We make sure a few lamps on the ship are alight, the Wolves see the lights and fire at the Devil’s Flame, and the last few aboard light a fuse leadin’ to some barrels o’ powder and blow her up, makin’ the Wolves think they destroyed us. Then we land on the island, group together again, and sneak up on the scurvy rats! We capture the lot o’ them, and take the treasure for ourselves!”

      Marie looked at the horizon, in the direction she knew the Wolves to be. “That be me plan, at least. But we’ll have plenty o’ time to strategize on our own little island, ARR!”

      The Devil’s Flame laid anchor, and its crew rowed to the little island. There, they made ready to spend the day. They prepared food and caught some rest and talked, and prepared for the night ahead.
    • "Are... are you SURE that this is a good idea?" Ariana asked for what had to be the sixteenth time since they landed on the small island. She was currently in pursuit of Marie as she barked orders at their small rag-tag group of pirates. Meanwhile, Enrico and Christina had grown easily into roles as officers; commanding the regular sailors or guiding them on how to complete certain tasks such as setting up shelters, or rigging the explosives. "How are we even supposed to cross the water to the island if you EXPLODE THE SHIP!? Do you happen to know if the water is shark-infested or not?" With her Eye of Providence, Ariana had easily deduced that the channel separating the two islands did not, in fact, house any sharks; nor would it for the foreseeable future.

      "An I keep tellin' ye it is! Now stop botherin' me about it," the captain said with an indistinguishable tone of finality.

      "Are there not alternative... less flashy ways of getting onto the island? Perhaps, say, a stealthy approach? The channel appears to be quite shallow. We could upend some of the boats and carry them over our heads as a mobile air supply and march on the island, then duck into the jungle!"

      Marie stopped and looked at her, interested. "Could we rig the boats to explode if anyone came snoopin' or as a distraction?"

      "I uh... don't think so? The explosives might get wet as we-"

      "Nay," she interrupted and continued walking.
    • The sun sank below the horizon, and the Devil’s Flame set sail, loaded with several dinghies and quite a lot of gunpowder, and with all kinds of supplies scattered around the deck. For several agonizing hours, nothing happened other than their destination slowly growing closer. Finally, some three hours into their journey, Marie ordered everyone on deck.

      “All right, me hearties,” she said. “All o’ ye, get into the boats in groups of four. Double-check that yer dinghy has everythin’ ye’re goin’ to need on the island - weapons, ammo, food, rum, medical supplies.” With every word she gestured wildly at the various items spread across the deck. “We don’t know what awaits us on the island, and yer own lives and those of yer crewmates rely on this. Once ye’re lowered into the sea, spread out, get away from the ship, and head to the island!”

      “Now, I’m gonna need one volunteer,” Marie said, looking over her crew. “Ideally, I want the toughest bastard around. Yer job is going to be to stick around with me until we get in range o’ those bilge rats, prepare the last dinghy while I set off the distraction, and row to shore with me while the Devil’s Flame lives up to its name. The rest o’ ye will have plenty o’ time to get far away from this floatin’ death trap. Me an’ the volunteer will be pretty close. The blast should be delayed enough to give us time to get out o’ the direct radius, but when this thing goes sky high, there be debris fallin’ all over the place.” She illustrated the point with some wild gesturing which, she hoped, put the image of a huge explosion in the heads of her crew.

      “The good news,” Marie said, with the desperate smile of someone who knows her good news isn’t actually very good, “be that there be half a table o’er there next to those cutlases which we can use to shield ourselves from the debris.” She sighed. “Also, the volunteer needs to be a decent swimmer. That might just be a very important skill, aye.”
    • Ariana wasted no time in raising her hand, for she was not the angel who would refuse to tread where a fool of a mortal would. Whether or not that made her an even bigger fool or not was irrelevant, but if she could safely do a job that a mortal could not then it was her duty to do so. If, of course, it served as a means to her desired ends. "Right! I knew I could count on ye, lassie! Alright, rest o' ye gather yer kit an' get yer assess off o' this candle afore she blows 'er top. Well? What are ye waiting for!?" With no farther prompting needed, Christina, Enrico and the others set to work gathering their supplies and getting their boats ready to depart the soon-to-be-doomed vessel.

      Besides the fact of her superhuman durability, taking this position would necessitate a lot of alone time with Marie. Time in which, perhaps, she could urge her to curb her more... flashy tendencies; lest she meet ruin. "I still have a lot of misgivings about this plan of yours, Captain," Ariana spoke as she followed her in preparing the ship to end its career with a bang.

      "Well, can ye think of any better ideas then?" She replied.

      "Yes. In fact, I have tabled a number of different suggestions in the past several hours; all of which were viable, yet you turned them down."

      "They wouldn't a worked, lassie. That's why," Marie said as she opened a barrel of gunpowder and started pouring a trail from the powder magazine.

      "Not every plan requires giant explosions and possible collateral damage as a result of said explosion."

      "An' that, me dear Ariana, is exactly why none of yer plans would work," the pirate smirked at her.

      Faintly, very faintly, the Seraphim could feel one of her eyes twitch in frustration. This woman was literally hellbent on causing as much destruction as possible, and it never meant anything good either for Marie itself or anyone in her immediate vicinity.
    • Marie watched her crew fan out, away from the Devil’s Flame. The ship was still steadily approaching the island. Before long, her crew had vanished in the inky darkness of the night. She whispered a quick prayer for their safety, and sighed.

      “An’ now we wait,” she said, scanning the horizon. “Shouldn’t be too long afore those scurvy dogs open fire on us.” She was quiet for a moment. “ARR, I always hate parts like these,” she said. “Parts where yer own survival is entirely out o’ your control.”

      She sighed. “So, Ariana, got any good stories, lass? Gotta pass the time somehow, aye?”
    • Stories? Ariana had plenty of those. Alas, she was not sure how seriously she would accept her account of the birth of the universe, or how the planet came to be, or even the various milestones of humanity she had since viewed from afar. And while she did not like to lie, she could feel the sizzle of something cook within her brain; no doubt the personality she had consumed concocting a tall tale common among seafarers. Outwardly, a finger had come to tap upon her lower lip in a pensive gesture. "Hrmm..." she spoke. "I'm not much for stories, or at least I've not been in a lot of incidents that you would consider exciting. I mean, none of them involve explosions. Well, perhaps one, but-"

      "I fancy the sound of that one! Not a proper voyage without somethin’ blowin' up or cannons roaring, lassie!" Marie said excitedly as she continued to pour a long path of powder. "Go on then, I'm all ears!"

      "Well, before my more... free days, I was a representative for the East India Trading Company. One day, we picked up a strange charter. It was a chest guarded by some Orientals who were taking it to the Far East. My job was to ensure it reached its destination... but there were ill omens immediately. Before setting out, we lost a man loading cargo, and then there was an illness that took three more. Things only went more to shite from there as we get best upon by honest-to-God Merfolk and other beasts from the depths of hell that looked like spiders that could sling spikes and impale a man from 50 yards. Finally, after we fended them all off, the worst beast you could imagine came knocking on our hull: a Kraken. Needless to say, it took an explosion to scare the creature off, but after that I didn't want to stay on that boat for love or money. So, I got on a boat with some of the passengers and abandoned ship. Lost my job, of course, so I took to joining random crews and, well, here we are."

      It was not necessarily a lie. These events had occurred, and Ariana had witnessed them, but her being physically present could be called to question quite easily.
    • “Huh, most people who become pirates didn’t start out with an important position at a trade company,” Marie said. “I guess ye’re one o’ a kind, lassie.”

      She admired her handiwork. A long trail of powder snaked its way across the ship. “ARR,” she said, “by me calculations, it should take some ten minutes for this boat to blow once I light this thing.”

      What followed was twenty tense minutes of sailing towards the island. The sea was quiet, and there was only a slight breeze in the sails of the Devil’s Flame. Birds kept quiet. Nature itself was holding its breath.

      Stars twinkled in the moonless sky. They were the only lights outside of those of the ship and those on the distant island.

      Finally, a light flashed on the island, and then another, and another, until almost ten lights flashed. Some ten seconds after the first flash, the roar of cannons reached the ship.

      “Incomin’ fire!” Marie shouted. “Ariana, start preparations to launch the dinghy! An’ keep yer wits about ye, lass! This be where things get terrifyin’!”

      For about two minutes, the cannons were silent. Then, another series of flashes, followed by the thunder of cannons. For about half an hour, this was life aboard the Devil’s Flame - a barrage of cannonfire every two minutes. They were far enough away that the odds of actually getting hit were tiny, but even the bravest of sailors get nervous facing down the fire and thunder of a battery of cannons.

      “ARR, this be close enough!” Marie said. “It should take about ten more minutes at this speed until this beauty be close enough for them to have a real chance of hittin’ it. Avast, Ariana, put the dinghy to sea an’ be ready to row for dear life! I’ll be lightin’ the fuse an’ puttin’ on the show of a lifetime, me heartie! ARR!”

      Baggi sig drawn by Malia! <3

      BA charries: Phantasmo - Mad Marie


      The post was edited 1 time, last by SacredSturgeon ().

    • In the midst of the chaos, Ariana worked hard to prepare the small rowboat for launch along the side of the Devil's Flame. During her last bought with canon fire, a thirty pound ball had hit her square in the chest at point-blank, and yet she felt nothing, so she had no fear of these poorly-aimed shots from some miles out. Still, she did her level best to look just a little bit afraid as the spontaneous pillars of water slowly drew nearer. Finally, Marie gave the order to abandon ship. "Ready to pull out whenever you say, Captain!" Ariana shouted over a particularly close splash oh water erupting behind her.

      Internally, a sigh of frustration rattled in her head as she watched the woman lean down and light the long fuse with the last lantern on board. She did not need the sight afforded her by the Eye of Providence in order to see that this plan had more holes in it than a fine Swiss cheese. However, this was the path that Fate had assigned so she had to sit there and take it, no matter how much she objected.

      The fuse sparked to life and, like a startled rat, followed the trail of black powder across the deck. Marie bounded over to the boat as Ariana finished swinging it over the side. "Come on, lass! Time's a tickin' unless ye wanna go up with the ship!"

      "I know, I know!" The angel replied in some genuine frustration as she loosened the falls and carefully, but swiftly, lowered them into the water.