The Hero Episode 4- A Lesson Called "And"

The Mystic Wave was a party barge for the past week. The Hero and Captain Crimson sailed the coast of the realms, making port every evening to enjoy the locale of the coastal cities. The Captain and crew made landfall at sunset and stayed out far into the morning hours. 
The Hero Episode 4- A Lesson Called

The last time we saw our wildly whiskered adventurers, the Hero may have started but undoubtedly finished a disturbance in a coastal tavern and convinced the mighty Captain Crimson to join the fellowship brought together by the Gunslinger and the Wizard. Ready to set sail for fame and fortune, Captain Crimson and the Hero are sailing their way around the realms, but first they must make it around Wailau Cape…


The Mystic Wave was a party barge for the past week. The Hero and Captain Crimson sailed the coast of the realms, making port every evening to enjoy the locale of the coastal cities. The Captain and crew made landfall at sunset and stayed out far into the morning hours. 


The Hero took this time of ease to write a letter to the Wizard, informing him of their success and that they were currently on their way back to the Great Realm. The night after he sent the letter, the Hero received a response, with the wax seal of Fable Beard Company sealing the letter. “I’ve heard of magic, but the mail service moving this fast is magical indeed,” joked the Hero to one of the crew members. The Hero stuffed the letter into his frock coat pocket to be read later.


The impromptu voyage saw the ship leave without restocking provisions but with plenty of plunder, so nightly stops for food and drink were a necessity, though comforts were enjoyed in excess. Many a drink was drunk, many a song was sung, and many a wench was toasted. The Hero partook with the Captain and enjoyed themselves, having a grand time together. 


“You need enjoy yer time ere Hero. Thar will be days at sea where you would kill fer a nice warm bowl of warm beef stew and fresh bread. You’ll go so long without laying sight on a woman that even your crewmate Steve would seem a catch,” roared the slightly (or not so slightly) inebriated Captain Crimson, slapping the Hero on the back.


Early the next morning, the two stumbled back to the docks and back onto the ship. The Captain retired to his quarters and the Hero crawled into his hammock and fell into a deep sleep.


……………………………………………………………………………………………..


The Hero awoke as soon as his face hit the floor. Someone had flipped his hammock, spilling the hungover Hero onto the floor. 


“Pick yourself up and get topside, the Captain wants to see ya,” yells first-mate Cole.


The Hero mutters to himself something about Cole being the son of a motherless goat, and picks himself up and crawls up to the main deck. The sunlight blinds the Hero as he steps onto the deck. It has to be at least noon as the sun is directly above the ship. 


“Thar’s our sleeping beauty,” cries the Captain, standing loftily behind the ships wheel, “we’re heading around Wailau Cape presently. Look alive.”


The Hero groans as he climbs the stairs up to the poop deck, “What’s this about?”


The Captain passes the Hero his eye-glass and points to a distant island, peeking up over the horizon. The Hero takes the glass and peers through the lenses. In the distance, there’s an island covered in tropical forests and on the beach gleams a giant gold statue. The statue’s foot is resting on a skull, with two hands raised in the air. One hand holds a vial, in the other outstretched hand, there is a strange green flame burning. 


“A chunk of that gold would see me darling Mystic Wave plated in gold, if that were prudent,” says the Captain with glee.


“It would be quite the plunder but we’re on course for greater glory, Captain,” says the Hero.


“Time to learn a lesson my boy, it's called ‘and,’” replies the Captain.


……………………………………………………………………………………………..


The Captain and the Hero pile into a long boat with a dozen of the Captain’s crew, and make way towards the island. When the boat makes landfall the crew departs the vessel and walks directly to the statue. The Hero had never seen so much gold in one place, and stands in awe of the statue. 


“Well look at that,” crows the Captain as he draws his sword. He swings the massive sword and takes off a chunk of the statue's leg, like a hot knife through butter. “And its pure gold,” chuckles the Captain.


All of a sudden, whistling sounds pierce the air all around the landing party. The Hero feels a sting in his neck and reaches up to pull a small barbed dart from his neck. All of a sudden he feels a tingling sensation, starting from the ends of his extremities moving throughout his body. Left and right, the crew members fall to the ground. The Captain, groggily shouting curses at the mysterious attackers and swinging his sword wildly, falls into the sand. The Hero, reaching for his pistol scans his surroundings looking for the origin of these darts. He sees shadows moving towards them from the treeline. He raises the pistol but it feels like it’s a hundred pounds, and the ground feels like he’s back on the deck of the Mystic Wave, being tossed out on the seas. The Hero staggers left and then right, then left again. He uses both hands to try and raise his pistol once more towards the ever encroaching shadows. He sees a quick flash and then a sting, right between his eyes. The Hero was gone before he ever hit the sand.


……………………………………………………………………………………………..


The Hero awoke with a start. “I have to stop waking up like this,” laments the Hero as he turns to roll out of his hammock. Something stops him, and then he realizes that he is bound by hemp rope and is sitting up right. He hears the snoring of the Captain behind him. He hasn’t had another wild night, he’s been captured. If he could, he would wipe the sleep and sand from his eyes but as it is, he can’t reach around to clear them. His drugged stupor also doesn’t help his vision. He looks around and sees most of the landing crew tied together to trees, the same as the Hero and Crimson.


He looks around to see a primitive village. There are several huts made from teak wood with palm tree thatch roofing. There are several island natives, with various tribal tattoos and piercings gathering in the middle of the village. Their skin is sun-tanned like bronze and their hair is dark as coal. Their stature is slight and lean. In the middle of the village is a much nicer hut. It is still made from local resources but the architecture is much different and the building much bigger. On the porch of the building sits a throne made of stone and accented in gold and jewels. The Hero can see now that there is someone sitting on the throne. He looks very different from the natives with skin like onyx, and a very muscular build. The figure was sitting but his legs seemed to stretch out forever and his torso was long, the Hero guesses he stands a couple inches taller than Crimson. In his hand he carried a staff with the skull of some sort of primate affixed to the top and had a large necklace with turquoise inlay. 


The crowd of natives grow quiet as a member of the natives speaks to the mysterious figure. They speak in a language foriegn to The Hero, but the matter seemed to be of great importance. In the middle of what The Hero could only guess as some sort of presentation, the figure on the throne stands up and replies to the envoy and the villagers burst into applause. The mysterious figure walks through the crowd, over to where the captives were tied up, and crouches down to look the Hero in the eye. 


The figure’s voice quietly hissed through the thick tropical air, “I am the Witch Doctor, and it seems that you are my sacrifice.”

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