The last we saw our bearded adventurers, the fellowship celebrated their victory over the Enchantress and the Witch Doctor and the renewal of Franklin. Now as our heroes go their separate ways, returning to the lives they lived and the adventures they sought, one last trial remains…
The heroes that remain in Franklin have gathered together on a hillside overlooking the town. The Marksman stands stoically at the top of the hill looking over the town, a light breeze rustling his chestnut beard. A foot or so down the hill, the Barkeep and Distiller look out over the town too. The Distiller reaches into his robes and retrieves a flask. He takes a pull and sighs with satisfaction.
“That’s some good stuff,” sighs the Distiller with satisfaction, offering the flask to the Barkeep. The Barkeep takes the flask with a nod and takes a swallow.
“Rum?” exclaims the Barkeep, “it’s really good, but when did you start on white liquors? And how? You don’t have your distillery.”
“The Inventor set me up something temporary in my room. It was part of an experiment with the Wizard, testing his powers,” replies the Distiller. The Barkeep nods and takes another enthusiastic pull from the bottle.
Captain Crimson sits on a large tree stump, fidgeting with one of his blunderbuss pistols. The Inventor stands next to him, feeling a moment of pride in the midst of the somber proceedings that the good Captain is still using his gifts. The Gunslinger stands nearby, taking a pull from his rolled cigarette, letting the cloud of tobacco smoke roll away into the wind.
The Wizard and Dr. Wolf appear at the top of the hill, with the Witch Doctor wrapped in chains between them. The Witch Doctor has returned to his normal, but still formidable size. Despite the Witch Doctor’s great size and strength, the Wizard’s enchanted chains keep him held down.
“I would like to call this trial to order,” says the Wizard.
The heroes all stand and walk over to the Wizard, Witch Doctor, and Dr. Wolf. “This should be short,” mutters Captain Crimson. The Witch Doctor glowers at Captain Crimson.
The heroes form a circle around the Witch Doctor.
“We’ve all been witnesses to the great cruelty propagated by the Enchantress and the Witch Doctor,” began the Wizard.
“Dang straight,” interjects the Gunslinger, “You’ve seen the destruction he caused. You’ve seen his ship. I’d be willing to bet that wasn’t an artistic decision.”
Captain Crimson’s gaze meets the Hero’s eyes. The thought passes between them. They may have met a few village people that make up the hull of the Witch Doctor’s ship.
“In the west, they had a way of dealing with scum like this. I say that we save ourselves all some trouble and put him out of his misery,” continues the Gunslinger.
“Aye, I agree,” growls Captain Crimson, “He’s too dangerous to be kept alive.”
The Witch Doctor sets in the midst of the group, silent as the accusations fly around him.
“Wait,” interrupts the Wizard firmly, “Yes, we’ve seen the devastation caused by the Enchantress and the Witch Doctor. However, the Witch Doctor’s actions happened while he was under the influence of the Enchantress. He may not have been able to control his actions. Now that I have imprisoned her in another dimension, she will no longer pose a threat to anyone.”
“So you what you are saying is that the Witch Doctor was under the influence of the Enchantress, so he is not responsible for anything that happened,” asks the Marksman incredously.
“If the Enchantress had gotten ahold of any one of us, we could have done the same thing,” answers the Wizard.
“Is this true, Dr. Wolf? Is it possible that he could cause all that destruction and not be at least partially in control of his actions,” asks the Distiller.
“Well, I am a medical doctor,” begins Dr. Wolf, “I have limited experience in the field of psychology, but I do know that individuals can be manipulated through their subconscious into doing things they normally wouldn’t do. People can be put into hypnotic states and be commanded to do things, even when they appear to be ‘normal.’ The action can be triggered through a word, phrase, or sound. This can be done through a simple process, using basic household instruments, no magic involved whatsoever. I wouldn’t count out anything.”
“Is there any way to determine what his intentions are? Whether he will continue his evil ways despite the Enchantress’ abscence,” asks the Barkeep.
Dr. Wolf looks at the Witch Doctor, who continues to sit silently.
“He is powerful in dark magic,” says the Wizard, “That much is clear. I fear that his powers could cause pain and destruction if used for the wrong reasons. However, since we cannot ascertain whether he submitted to the whims of the Enchantress or not, I do not feel that we can take his life, nor imprison him in a dimension. I think it is best we leave him on a deserted island. Captain, I’m sure you know of a place that would suffice. Leave him there and let him fend for himself. He is powerful and cunning enough to survive.”
“While I believe this is far better than he deserves,” answers Captain Crimson, “I will abide by your wishes if everyone else is in agreement.”
The rest of the group shakes their head in agreement, somewhat reluctantly.
“It is settled then,” continues the Wizard, “Captain Crimson shall take the Witch Doctor to a deserted island, leaving him to fend for himself.”
The last of the provisions for the Mystic Waves’ next voyage is being lugged onto the ship. The Wizard and Gunslinger walk the Witch Doctor into the hold of the Wave. Crimson follows them in, and then locks the door as they leave.
The Wizard turns to Captain Crimson, handing him a box wrapped in parchment. “When you leave him on the island, drop him on the beach with this package. It’s enough provisions for a week. Then, he’ll be on his own. Leave him on the beach, get back to the Mystic Wave. To release his chains, whisper ‘gratis.’ His chains will fall off, once you are a safe distance away.”
“I see, well I can’t say I’m happy to have him aboard Wizard, but for you I will oblige,” answers Captain Crimson as he climbs the stairs to the poop deck. The Wizard and the Gunslinger exit the Mystic Wave. The remaining heroes cheer as the Mystic Wave’s mighty waterwheel turns, pushing the ship back out to sea.
Narrated by Brandon Warner