Dec. 23rd, 2013 03:42 pm
jackdaws_master: Blond scruffy guy in early 1700s clothes on a dock, looking up at something offscreen (Default)
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It was hardly the first time Edward'd come under fire, and it would most certainly not be the last. The hooded stranger's ball grazed Edward's shoulder, leaving a line of fiery pain and blood in its wake- but no more than that. He'd had such wounds before. With a little tending it'd be good as new. But tending would have to wait, because Edward had a rule that he lived by: when a man tried to kill him and failed, he'd get no second chance.

The man reached for his powder, thinking to reload.

Edward did not give him the chance.

When the man lay dead at his feet, Edward took stock of the situation. He was bloodied and sore, stranded in a place he couldn't truly say he recognized. He had no gear save the blade in his hand and the little coin-pouch tucked into his belt. The dead fellow, on the other hand, looked to have been fair well equipped before going to meet his Maker. Save for that odd hood of his, he wore the garb of a fully respectable gentleman- and on an island where the sun beat down harsh and heavy, a hood wouldn't go amiss, odd or no. Dead men had no great need of anything but a few last words, so Edward clapped the dead fellow on the shoulder and began divesting him of his belongings.

His pistols were mostly useless, as his powder was wet. Edward tossed them aside. The man wore some strange contraption on his forearms, which had the look of a knife fitted into some mechanism, but the blade wouldn't come free. Edward shrugged, and the blade joined the pistols. As he took the man's belt, a rough bit of something brushed his fingers- an oilskin pouch, proof against the water. It scarce felt heavy enough to hold much of note, but he opened it anyway. One never knew what might be inside- and indeed, there was a peculiar crystal cue and a bit of folded bit of paper inside. Edward unfolded it with care, smoothing it out to read:

Mr. Duncan Walpole,

I accept your most generous Offer, and await your Arrival with Eagerness. If you truly possess the Information we desire, we have the Means to reward you handsomely. Though I will not know your face by Sight, I believe I can recognize the Costume made infamous by your secret Order. Therefore, come to Havana in Haste... And trust that you shall be welcomed as a Brother.

Your most humble Servant,
Governor Laureano Torres y Ayala

Well now. Wasn't that something. Edward cast an eye at Mr. Walpole's garb, but if that was the clothing of some Order it was one too secret for him to recognize. If he played his cards right, he might take advantage of that. A governor's reward would doubtless be worth the risk. "Mr. Walpole," he said to the dead man, "let's collect your reward."

It was a matter of moments to dress himself in the dead man's things. As he pulled the hood up- it was sunny, after all- he heard shots ring out in the distance. That meant men- Spaniards if he were unlucky, Englishmen if he were. He set off at a trot through the jungle towards the sound, leaving Walpole's corpse behind.

What little trail he could find must have een made by island deer, narrow and meandering as it was. But it crested a ridge overlooking an unfamiliar harbor, and at anchor in that harbor- "Oh, that schooner'll do me just fine," Edward breathed. "Just fine."

Mind, there was the little matter of the redcoats. Edward had a vague memory of there being a British ship or two about during the battle with the Spaniards that sent his vessel to the bottom, drawn by the prospect of sinking a pirate ship. Mustn't've fared all that well; the redcoats' leader had a fat fellow in green garb backed up against a stack of crates. "The Commodore's gone ahead to Kingston," the officer growled. "We're to commandeer this lubber's ship and follow."

Edward, having already set his sights on commandeering the ship himself, was none too pleased with the prospect. The lubber in question looked absolutely stricken, stammering, "S-sorry, Kingston? No, no... our destination is Havana. I'm just a merchant-"

"Quiet, you bleedin' pirate!" the redcoat snapped. "You'll hang for the mess you made out there."

The fat man squeaked in fright. "Sir, I had nothing to do with this attack!" he said. "My crew and I had merely anchored to water and resupply!"

As he spoke, Edward spotted a pair of the crewmen he spoke of making a break for it. So did the officer, who shouted, "Stop them!" The redcoats' guns barked; the crewmen fell, their blood spattering on the sand.

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't vent your skull," growled the officer to the fat man.

"Take my sugar!" the merchant said. "Take anything you like!"

"Ukk," said the officer, who hadn't noticed Edward creeping up behind him. Nor had the other redcoats, but they would never be noticing much of anything again.

Edward never did like men who abused their station in life.

The fat man stared at Edward a moment as Edward shook the blood from his blade. Then a smile burst across his face; "By God's grace, sir, you saved me! A profusion of thanks."

That got a nod of acknowledgment, and a bit of a smile in return. "You're welcome," said Edward, and gestured to the schooner. "Is that yours?"

"It is my vessel, yes," said the merchant. He cast his eyes down, and pointed to one of the corpses the redcoats had made. "But, ah... here lies its poor captain. And I have no art for sailing..."

"I can pilot her myself, sir," said Edward, sizing the man up. "No mind."

The man paled somewhat. "You don't mean to abscond with my ship, do you?"

"I'm Duncan," said Edward. "What's your name, friend?"

"Stede. Stede Bonnet."

Edward smiled, patting his oilskin pouch. "Well Mister Bonnet, let this stay 'twixt us... but I am on a secret errand for His Majesty the King, God save him, and I must get to Havana with speed."

Bonnet exhaled, the tension draining out of him before Edward's very eyes. "Ah, that is a relief, sir!" he said. "Havana is also my destination. Our ways lie together!"

"Natural allies, then."

"Oh, you put me at ease, sir," Bonnet went on. "To think I took you for a pirate when you first appeared!"

"Did you?" said Edward, a trace amused.

"Yes!" said Bonnet, nodding. "You have an... uncommon way of handling yourself. Quick and easy, if I may say. Gave me quite a fright! But all things considered, I think it's turned out to be a rather fortuitous day, hasn't it? Er... well, save for the lack of a rowboat. I fear we'll have to swim to my ship."

"Hardly the worst thing to happen," said Edward easily, and set out into the water. He'd swum farther in worse, and reached the ship first; Bonnet was struggling in his coat, but made it eventually. As the two of them clamered onto the deck Bonnet said, "Welcome aboard, Dunca. She's a modest schooner, but well-suited to my purpose. Trafficking cargo from my plantation and such."

Edward nodded. "She'll do fine," he said, and took the ship's wheel. "There's a strong wind now. Bring in the anchor and let's strike to full, shall we?"

Bonnet beamed and did as he was told. "Ah, there's a tug of the wind at my hair!" he said gaily. "I find a bracing comfort in the feel and smell of the ocean. The raw stink of- of Possibility!"

Not, perhaps, the stink Edward would have thought of; he lifted an eyebrow. "That's a top way of seeing it, mate," he said, and left it at that. He had a bay to navigate, after all.

As they reached the open water, Bonnet said, "We've really opened it up now, haven't we? You're a natural sailor, Duncan."

"I did a decent trick at the helm some time ago," said Edward. "Two years before the mast as a privateer."

Bonnet whistled. "Dash my buttons!" he said. "Your life seems a grand one, if I may say. So full of adventure! How marvelous."

Edward considered this and that, and chuckled quietly. "I have seen my share of strangeness, aye," was all he finally said.


jackdaws_master: Blond scruffy guy in early 1700s clothes on a dock, looking up at something offscreen (Default)
Captain Edward Kenway

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