The last time we saw our bearded adventurers the Hero witnessed the crash of a strange, out-of-this-world object. He investigates the crash, finding a survivor in the wreckage, babbling about being taken before losing consciousness. The Hero retrieves the stranger inside the craft and brings the wounded traveler to the Wizard. In the meantime, the infamous Captain Crimson runs the fellowship’s final errand, before returning to the seas to reassert his dominance as the greatest captain to ever live…
Captain Crimson leans on the captain’s wheel taking a deep breath, breathing in the salty sea air, and feeling the warm sun’s mid-morning glow dance across his face. It had been a while since Captain Crimson had sailed the open sea without the threat of total annihilation looming somewhere in the uncertain future. After defeating the Enchantress and the Witch Doctor and the Wizard absorbing the Time Changer stone’s immense power, everything seemed right with the world and nothing could get the jovial Captain’s spirits down.
“Do you feel that Witch Doctor?” says Captain Crimson mockingly, “That’s the warm sun and another beautiful day out from under your heel. Isn’t it glorious?”
Captain Crimson had moved the Witch Doctor from the hull of the ship and had wrapped chains over his magic chains, fixing him to the mast of the Mystic Wave. The Witch Doctor sits and endures the mocking jabs and relentless heat.
“Foolish Crimson,” spits the Witch Doctor, sarcasm dripping from his deep and gravelly voice. “I’m well adjusted to the heat. Besides what happened in Franklin was not my fault. The charming Enchantress warped my fragile little mind, remember?”
“Well, your fault or no, you are bad voodoo, and the sooner you’re off my ship the better,” growls Captain Crimson in return. “Even if she was runnin’ wild in your brain in Franklin, I suspect you’ve committed your fair share of sins elsewhere.”
The Witch Doctor chuckles to himself and lays his head back against the mast of the Mystic Wave. Crimson was right, he had much more to answer for, but he would not be answering for his sins today, nor to these “heroes.”
The Mystic Wave anchors off the shore of a deserted island, and a single longboat rides the waves to shore. Captain Crimson stands at the bow of the boat, feeling the water splash up in his face. As the boat gets close to the shore, two deckhands jump out of the longboat and pull it to shore. As the boat makes land, Captain Crimson steps off and begins to stroll up the beach, not missing a step in his stride. The sand is white as snow, and the salty sea air mists the skin of the pirates strolling up the beach. The wind whips across the beach, whipping the beards of the pirates and bending the palm trees.
First-mate Cole drags the uncooperative Witch Doctor from his seat on the longboat and throws him onto the beach. The Witch Doctor turns, staring at the first-mate, muttering a curse in his tribal language. Cole laughs it off, pushing the Witch Doctor forward, ordering that he follow Captain Crimson.
“Well this looks like as good of a spot as any,” says Captain Crimson.
Cole pushes the Witch Doctor down in the sand and the pirate party turns to leave but Captain Crimson spins back around, tilting his head, catching the sound of yelling on the breeze.
Captain Crimson squints, struggling to see through the mirage caused by the sun relentlessly beating down on the white sand on the beach, but eventually, he makes out a person walking down the beach. The closer the figure gets, the more Captain Crimson could make out.
The Captain can make out a man, wearing a blue-checkered sleeveless shirt and a pair of dark, shaded spectacles. They are strange to Crimson, he has never seen anything like them. Several tattoos are scrawled across his copper-colored skin. An ivory-white beard graces the man’s chiseled face while a swath of strawberry blonde hair is swept back across his head. The man walks with a swagger that rivals that of even the boldest pirate. The closer the man got the stronger the smell of the ocean breeze became. The breeze began to also carry with it the smell of tobacco from the smoke of the man’s hand-rolled cigarette.
Captain Crimson couldn’t explain it, but the individual emits a feeling of power as if this man was not one to be trifled with. Crimson dares not draw his weapon, not at least till he understands the nature of the man walking down the beach.
“Hey there,” says the man as he approaches the group, “What do you think you are doing here?”
“Well sir,” begins Captain Crimson, “The plan was to maroon this here scoundrel on your island to both pay for his crimes and so that he may not harm anyone else.”
“I’m sorry Mr?” asks the stranger.
“Crimson. Captain Crimson,” replies Crimson.
“Mr. Captain Crimson…” begins the man.
“No, sir it is just Captain,” says Crimson, trying to correct the man, but the man is already speaking.
“...this is my island. I was marooned on this island many many moons ago by a Captain and crew who didn’t appreciate my honesty. Instead of wasting away, I have built my life here and taken care of this island. I am its caretaker, and in return, it has taken care of me. I cannot have you depositing your trash on my island,” continues the Castaway.
The Witch Doctor growls at the Castaway. The Castaway regards the Witch Doctor with nothing more than a simple, relaxed look, then reaching into his pocket and he pulls out a succulent berry and pops it in his mouth.
Captain Crimson stares at the unassuming figure. Apart from the strange glasses the man wears, nothing physically about the man gives cause for alarm. In fact, Crimson had passed many a beach bum without so much as a second glance. This man, however, gave him pause, causing him to feel unsettled. Maybe it was the fact that he had survived here all by himself, living off the island, or maybe it is the calm confidence the man exudes in the presence of the pirate crew. Maybe it is some sort of deeper connection with the island. Maybe he was a powerful being or spirit. A spirit of the island maybe?
“Then we will deposit him elsewhere, in accordance with your wishes,” decides Crimson pulling the chains on the Witch Doctor, lifting him back up to his feet.
“But sir,” begins first-mate Cole, not discerning the strange aura the Castaway presents.
Crimson interrupts him saying, “I said to return the Witch Doctor to the ship, we will find another island. Then we will continue, subduing the seas once again.”
“I appreciate your understanding,” answers the Castaway. “However, word of advice to you, I would be cautious trying to tame the seas. Many strange beings, creatures, and forces rule islands and the waters around and between them. There are strange things in every breeze and wave. You would be wise to acknowledge your place on these waters,” advises the Castaway.
Crimson typically would either dismiss the claims for foolishness or fight the unlucky schmuck who dare challenged him, but the Captain sees nothing but truth in the stranger’s eyes.
Crimson pushes the Witch Doctor back towards the landing boat. “You’re advice is heard and will be headed, but I promise you Castaway that I will be king of these seas. No one will stop me,” answers Crimson.
“You’ll need that belief,” chuckles the Castaway, “There’s several out there with the same goal: pirates, demigods, gods… I wish you the best of luck.”
"Your wishes are appreciated," answers Crimson, "One more question, if you will allow me. Where did you get those darkened spectacles? I've never seen anything like them before."
The Castaway took the glasses off of his face and examined them. Crimson could see a red "O" branded on the side of the frames.
"A gift from a far-away friend," answers the Castaway, "They must not be in fashion yet."
With that, the Castaway turns and his form melts into the white sands of the beach. The crew stares in disbelief for only a few seconds, but then quickly turns and re-boards the landing boat.