Pirates | Cypher

Chapter Twenty: Journey to the Underworld
Dec. 15th - 29th, 1692

The journey to the Arctic was frought with many perils, but also some successful productivity. All of the crew members spent the three weeks at sea training in various skills. However, during the third week, Tsu’s treachery was revealed: he had been stealing from the ship’s provisions in order to sustain his unnatural metabolism.

Then, upon divulging his allegiance to the Sentinels, Bomei punished him by slicing off his legs and crippling him. This lasted for all of five minutes, before Tsu’s legs began regrowing at a furious rate. Perplexed, Bomei decapitated him and dumped his body overboard. The whole endeavor left the rest of the crew on edge.

Arriving at the Arctic, the crew sailed through a narrow pass between two massive, glacial walls that encased the humongous bones of some ancient monstrosity. Reddish, inky creatures began swirling around the crew. Bronston attacked one, which led it to teleport the stalwart quartermaster hundreds of feet into the air, surrounded by dozens more of the inky creatures. He fell toward the ocean.

The Crimson Borei continued sailing forward, unable to save Bronston, coming across a swirling vortex at the center of the water-basin they had sailed into. All then went black. Meanwhile, Bronston teleported himself last minute back onto the ship. The crew members awoke in the underworld, roots from a curious tree embedded in their brains. Bomei panicked and cutted them off, but the roots, reluctant to leave hemorrhaged his head, leaving him in a vegetative state temporarily.

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Chapter Nineteen: Honor Among Pirates
Dec. 8th - 15th, 1692

With all of the teeth needed to perform the ritual, Virgil summoned forth a bloodred, nameless ghost ship to be used by the heroes of the world. They inspected it, finding it suitable for them. Bronston and Jimothy stayed on it while everyone else carried out last minute errands.

Bronston, startled by his visions in the time storm, implored Jimothy to uncover any memories that may have been hidden from him. He did so, causing the magician quartermaster to writhe in pain as his hair turned grey. Memories of a massacre he had committed some time ago flooded back into his mind. Meanwhile, Anne Marie and Shayla bought several provisions for the ship, but Anne managed to steal even more without getting caught. Jimothy discovered how to phase his hands through solid objects.

After some deliberation, a crew of sixteen individuals was ultimately assembled to man the ghost ship. This included old enemies and allies, as well as many new faces. A vote for the next captain was then held, with the new crew immediately splitting into two factions: one in support of Jimothy and the other in support of Bomei, and indirectly, Duffy. Each side began arguing for why their nominee should be captain.

During this, Bronston visited Virgil, but the time sorcerer wanted nothing to do with him. An Atlantean himself, Bronston had murdered an entire enclave of his fellow brethren a hundred years earlier. Virgil had time travelled to the enclave to investigate a massacre that had supposedly taken place there, but the only person present was Bronston, who admitted to the crime. Furious, but unable to kill his own kin, Virgil settled on wiping Bronston’s memories and casting him out to sea. A hundred years later, fate brought them together again.

Virgil grudgingly expressed a desire for Bronston to redeem himself, possibly by defeating the Sentinels. The quartermaster then left, returning to the ship just in time to throw his support behind Jimothy. It didn’t help. Bomei ended up winning the vote, thus becoming captain of the Crimson Borei – his chosen name for the ship. The crew then set sail from Virgiltown, riding the choppy waves of the Atlantic Ocean and spending some much needed leisure time practicing and training.

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Chapter Eighteen: The Sacrifice
???, 1692

Captain Duffy O’Shea awoke in a darkened bunker where he was subsequently tortured, both physically and psychologically, by the Watchers. He was interviewed by an illusory Dr. Landry Givens, whose circuitous questions dredged up old memories – in particular, ones surrounding the death of Daedas Kraggles, Jimothy’s father.

Back in the manor, Bronston had visions of a slaughtered family, but was unable to pin down what they meant. Him and the rest of the crew left to find the missing mirror objects. Vesper and Jimothy returned to the village they all awoke in, while Anne, Shayla and Bronston went to the larger town in the forest. At the village, Vesper and Jimothy found one of the objects, the painting, but discovered that it had been horribly disfigured by the Watchers – Vesper knew that this now made it completely unusable.

However, Jimothy and Vesper stumbled upon a mysterious man drinking by himself in a pub. They sat down with him and he revealed himself to be Jakob Everwrite, Vesper’s old caretaker. He reassured Vesper and Jimothy that, although the painting had been destroyed, there was still a way to escape, but it would require one of them to make the greatest sacrifice – themselves. Vesper took it upon himself to do this, resolving to ring the church bells three times, which would free his friends from the storm. He told Jimothy to meet with the others.

Back in the larger town, Anne, Shayla and Bronston found the large church and another one of the missing objects, the sextant, before being ambushed by six Watchers. Jimothy broke into the bunker and ran into Duffy, who was conversing with an echo of Daedas. Daedas appeared with scars across his face and he asked about various things, including the status of his son and the possibility of Duffy feeling guilt over his death.

When Jimothy ran toward the echo, it vanished, leaving the boy face to face with his captain. He drew his pistol and asked about his father’s death again, having been prodded by Pryce to do so. The old pirate hunter came clean. He admitted that Shayla, as a werewolf, killed Daedas during the so-called Venetian Incident a few years ago. Jimothy, infuriated, discharged a round into Duffy’s chest, but not before the world around them began fading…

Back in the church, Vesper and Jakob had arrived after fifteen minutes of running. They bolted past Anne, Shayla and Bronston, leading the Watchers in a wild chase up the spiral stairs toward the steeple. At the top, Vesper, clad in a gas mask, rang the bell three times, teleporting Duffy, Jimothy, Anne, Bronston and Shayla onto a beach. Vesper remained with Jakob, enjoying his company as the world around them collapsed.

On the beach, the surviving crew met with a stoic samurai named Bomei who requested they remove their shoes while on the island. Tensions remained high between Duffy and Jimothy. Emily Pryce also washed up on shore. Together, they were led by Bomei to Virgil, whereupon they showed the wizard the letter they had received from his future self. He told them that the fate of the world may be hinging on their survival.

A new ship could be given to them, he proclaimed, but only if he had a tooth from five Pirate Lords. Pryce’s, Aquitaine’s, Duffy’s, and Zhou Zhui’s teeth were all given to Virgil – with a revived Captain Rhys providing the final tooth for the ritual.

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Chapter Seventeen: Beyond the Mists
???, 1692

Jimothy confronted the Pumpkin King for the final time. Near the end of the transference, the Pumpkin King manifested a ghostly version of itself and began strangling the boy as a last ditch effort. However, Jimothy succeeded in the psychic showdown, fully absorbing the King’s essence and emerging from the battle with a more subdued, albeit still unsettling appearance. Pryce was somewhat seduced by this.

Vesper kindly interrogated a captured Dark Atlantean. The boy learned much about him and his race (including their language) and how they wanted to revive Atlantis in their image. The Dark Atlantean, after some convincing and seeing how strong and kind his opponents were, agreed to change his ways and work with them. He revealed his name to be Slackjaw.

The crew quickly learned that they were somewhere in the Devil’s Triangle, a day east of St. Augustine and about an hour west of Virgiltown. They decided to sail to Virgiltown. Vesper observed the moon and stars, learning that weeks and possibly months have passed since the teleportation. Jonathan the Elder found a letter in his pocket adressed to the crew. He gave it to Shayla.

The letter was written by a future Virgil who sent Jonathan back in time to spur the crew into reaching a past version of himself. An unusual seal was provided with the letter. Virgil claimed that his past self would know what it meant when showed to him. But before they could give it to him, he wrote, the crew would have to pass through a “time storm”.

Jimothy and Pryce fished off the side of the boat together. When asked what she knew of Duffy being the killer of Jimothy’s father, Pryce couldn’t confirm it. But she suspected he was hiding something, possibly from her as well. Jimothy agreed to peer into Duffy’s memories, for both of their sakes. Below deck, Fayette made amends with Anne Marie. She reluctantly forgave him, after learning that his family perished in the fire that destroyed his manor. He gave her an Atlantean steel dagger, which would have been hers had they married.

As dawn approached, the crew reached a heavy blanket of mists – what appeared to be the time storm – and held their breaths, per Virgil’s advice. Everything went black. Shayla, Vesper, Duffy, Bronston, Anne, and Jimothy all awoke in a derelict building in a time that wasn’t their own. None of their spells worked and they were wearing strange clothes.

They looked around, learning from a book that the year was at least 1904. Vesper and Jimothy spotted strange soldiers wandering through the dusty, pillaged town. They wore ghastly masks with large eyes and held very advanced guns. Wishing to avoid the majority of them in the town’s center, the crew attempted to sneak into the wildnerness, but were discovered by three of the soldiers.

Shayla, somehow maintaining her werewolf form, transformed and bit off the head of one of the soldiers. Duffy managed to kill another one with a butter knife. No longer pursued, they pushed forward to what looked like a large estate on a hill. However, artillery shells began raining from the sky, exploding all around them. Most of them made it to the estate with only minor injuries, although Anne was seriously wounded.

They happened upon a large mirror in one of the rooms. It was reflecting three objects that weren’t in the room itself: a ship in a bottle, a naval painting, and a sextant. Vesper realized that finding these objects was key to escaping the time storm. Duffy went searching for clues upstairs, but before he could, a soldier appeared behind him and teleported him to a darkened room.

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Chapter Sixteen: Hammerfall
Aug. 19th, 1692

Vesper convinced Ghurk to halt the attack on his friends and allies. He told the enormous metal man that they were also his friends and, with the help of some magic, was able to sell the fabrication as a truth. Ghurk had the Atlanteans bind Pryce, Chinwe, Samwise, Fayette, Jonthan the Elder, Anne, Duffy, Shayla, and Bronston and bring them all aboard the ship. Jimothy, however, ran away before anyone could capture him.

Ghurk promised to not harm his new “friends”, but he insisted that they be upgraded like the subservient French soldiers. Just then, an Atlantean discovered the two maps to Nereus’s treasure on Duffy’s person, angering Ghurk. He claimed that he had been ordered by his master to destroy any trace of the maps, so he confiscated them and prepared to execute Duffy with his hammer.

The maps began glowing blue, causing Anne and Shayla to writhe in pain. Vesper suspected that this meant the two girls were descendants of Nereus and that the maps, now in contact with each other, were reacting to their plight.

Meanwhile, back on the island, Jimothy threw the Atlanteans off of his trail and snuck aboard Ghurk’s flagship. Ghurk raised his hammer above Duffy, intending to grind him into a pulp, but Vesper had covertly released his allies from their binds, beginning a fight for survival on the ship. Shayla entered her werewolf form, this time of her own volition.

Jimothy and Anne made it to the bottom deck and quickly dispatched the two Atlantean guards there, coming to a room housing a pulsating brain-like structure. On the main deck, Ghurk smashed Duffy with the hammer, but was scalded in the crotch by the smaller captain as retaliation. Chinwe, still weak and wounded, hid in a barrel. Bronston opened a portal beneath Ghurk and severed his left leg after closing it, causing the metal commander to enter a howling rage.

After fending off an Atlantean witch, Vesper shattered Ghurk’s psyche by abruptly ending their friendship – the worst. Bronston delivered the killing blow to Ghurk by jumping through his own portal and onto the larger man, then stabbing him through the armor with a retractable knife. A teddy bear bomb was revealed within the hulking suit of armor, but Duffy threw it into the ocean just before it exploded.

Jimothy killed the brain-like organism, liberating all of the French soldiers who then fought against their robotic and Atlantean brainwashers. Despite this, hundreds of Atlanteans were still swarming toward the ship. Escape seemed futile. So, with the crew’s prospects looking bleak, Chinwe raised his hand into the air and teleported the ship to an unknown nighttime location. He was nowhere to be found.

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Chapter Fifteen: Armies of the Abyss, Part II
Aug. 18th - 19th, 1692

Chaos reigned over the island of O’Shea Bay. Bronston spotted what looked like a party of survivors further down the beach and opened a portal to their location. One by one, the main party passed through it, with Monsieur Fayette straggling behind them. The survivors included Chinwe and Samwise, as well as a few others from the Liberation and Victorious.

Shayla reverted from her werewolf form, shocking everyone, especially Samwise. The cat was officially out of the bag.

As nightfall approached, they made camp at a small clearing in the woods. Fayette revealed his true nature and explained how he became a pirate: after Anne ran away from him and joined the circus, a vengeful flame juggler set fire to his mansion, so he joined a convent of Hair Priests and learned of a great war being fought. He began traveling the seas to uncover the mysteries of this war.

He informed them of Virgiltown, a secluded village a day east of them that was protected by something or someone. Chinwe, somewhat injured, entered a deep trance to conceal the camp from the Atlanteans who were scouring the island.

At daybreak, the main party was faced with two options: head north or head south. Bronston created and snuck through a portal to scout the Atlanteans activities to the north. They had made an enormous beachhead and were loading cargo onto a French ship. Chinwe collapsed of exhaustion. Shortly afterward, a lone Atlantean found the camp and captured Vesper, taking him northward.

Sadly unable to retrieve him, the rest of the crew settled on going south to the town to possibly find supplies and survivors. There, they happened upon a large mound of burned corpses. Duffy found Camilla’s hat, but Anne found a quivering Jonathan beneath some of the bodies. He was twenty years older than the Jonathan they knew, and was supposedly from the future, a future in which the main party had died on this day.

They discovered a broken schooner washed ashore and resolved to fix it and use it to escape. Meanwhile, Vesper met with the commander of these Atlanteans: a hulking, 8-foot creature wearing a golden suit of armor. Vesper managed to convince him that they were good friends, so this being, calling himself Ghurk, treated him like a loved pet.

He sailed southward to the main party, just as they were being assaulted by a dozen Atlanteans, and told Vesper that he would smash all of his friends with his hammer.

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Chapter Fourteen: Armies of the Abyss, Part I
Aug. 18th, 1692

The crew of the Liberation arrived in O’Shea Bay, only to discover that it was being occupied by Emily Pryce’s forces. They called a meeting with the Pirate Queen and made way for the town proper. Jimothy, Vesper and Anne met with the keeper of the Pumpkin King’s diminutive half, which had been steadily growing weaker with each passing day.

Jimothy consumed the fetus-like creature, strengthing his bond with the original Pumpkin King. Meanwhile, Duffy, Bronston, Shayla and David prepared for the meeting with Pryce and decided to hold it within the large town hall.

Pryce and a retinue of her finest men eventually arrived on the island with two prisoners, Roland Greer and his first mate Rodrigo Alvarez, in tow (both of whom Vesper taunted). Everyone gathered in the town hall to partake in the meeting. Pryce made an offer for Duffy: the first piece of Nereus’s map for Greer and Alvarez – as well as a large sum of money. She gave him and his officers until the evening to talk it over.

Duffy made up his mind. Anne spotted her ex-betrothed, Monsieur Fayatte, now apparently a pirate, looming in the corner of the town hall. He noticed her as well. Back on the ship, Bronston fell ill and regurgitated a pulsing, purple mass with one eyeball. It claimed to be speaking on behalf of “them” and warned him that everything they treasured could be taken away in an instant. It then died.

Later in the day, Pryce and Duffy met aboard the Liberation to come to a conclusion on the offer. Duffy’s counteroffer was that he give her O’Shea Bay for her piece of the map, and Greer and Alvarez. With some persuading, she agreed and a deal was struck.

However, the entire fleet anchored near the town was abruptly attacked by mechanical sea serpents and dark-scaled, mechanical Atlanteans. Hundreds of sailors were massacred and the Liberation was snapped in half by the twisting coils of one of the serpents; everyone aboard was tossed into the sea.

Duffy, Anne, Shayla, Jimothy, Bronston and Cookie all made it relatively safely to the shore, but Vesper and Pryce were swallowed by a serpent and frantically tried fighting their way out. Shayla became a werewolf. Cookie was swiftly decapitated by a thrown Atlantean blade.

Enraged by this, Duffy and Jimothy temporarily fused their energies together to launch a vicious scythe spell toward the serpent that had eaten Vesper and Pryce and destroyed their ship. It’s head was hewn off and it collapsed, freeing the two allies.

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Chapter Thirteen: The Clockwork Men
Aug. 11 - 18th, 1692

With Aquitaine’s armies and city in ruins, Anne, Duffy, Bronston, Shayla, Bird Boy (now preferring to be called Vesper) and Jimothy utilized Camilla’s magical cabinet to teleport back to their ship. They then set sail to the Red Port and permitted the entire crew of the Liberation to plunder what was left of the city.

Jimothy, Anne, Duffy and Shayla stumbled across one of Aquitaine’s wizards, dead and strung up between two buildings. A letter on his body indicated that he had been one of Governor Moss’s many informants and spies. Willard, a glass blower, was later intimidated into joining the Liberation’s crew.

Meanwhile, Bronston explored Aquitaine’s vacant castle and found that several of the rooms had been rifled through. Noises emanated from around him. Upon entering the library, he was confronted by two clockwork men seeking information for “them”, as well as a clockwork cat scampering about.

Bronston escaped by leaping through a window, but he fell to the street ungracefully and was then injected with a strange serum by the clockwork cat.

The crew later regrouped at a destroyed smithy and salvaged many unique and exotic weapons from the rubble. Back on the ship, Bronston warned the rest of his crew about what he saw, but no one believed him. As a new day dawned, the Liberation embarked on the week-long journey to O’Shea Bay.

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Chapter Twelve: End of the Line
Aug. 10 - 11th, 1692

For Aquitaine, the end of all things had finally come. He took his soon-to-be wives Shayla and Anne to bed, but Shayla inadvertently transformed into a werewolf and attacked the nude pirate lord while Anne hid beneath the bed.

Aquitaine, after probing Shayla’s mind and seeing her troubled past, sympathized with her over the loss of her father. He surrendered and revealed himself to be a wizard named Castor Morales, and then assembled all of the other wizards for a special meeting

Beyond the citadel, Jimothy’s rebellion went exactly as planned. Many of the pirates, mercenaries and traders not directly aligned with Aquitaine’s crew were rallied behind the promise of newer and stronger leadership in the city.

They gathered their weapons and charged for the citadel, meeting Aquitaine’s wizards and bruisers head-on in a violent clash in the courtyard. Jimothy, after trying to sneak past the conflict and into the citadel, was shortly discovered by a wizard and taken to the ritual chamber underground.

Aquitaine, now as Castor, announced to his loyalists that they would not allow the city to fall to the sudden rebellion. It was made known to Duffy, Bird Boy, Anne, Bronston (who was present, but still disguised as a guard) and Shayla that Castor and the other wizards had been attempting to resurrect Aquitaine through a ritual that would bind his soul to his body again.

So far, however, the ritual had been a failure. Bird Boy astutely suggested that the ritual book could’ve been mistranslated, which led to the translator Bartimaeus being apprehended for incompetence.

Bartimaeus was forced to be sacrificed in one last attempt to perform the ritual. Him and the rest of the crew were brought to the ritual chamber, where a stone altar and Aquitaine’s desiccated corpse lay. Castor stabbed Bartimaeus upon the altar and commenced the ritual with three other wizards. For a moment, nothing happened.

Then, a crackling rift in space-time tore open above the altar and released a large, writhing mass of flesh with dozens of eyes on its head. This creature, referring to itself as the Mother of a Thousand Eyes, was ostensibly under Castor’s control, so he dismissed the other wizards to aid in the defense of the citadel. Jimothy was brought to the chamber shortly thereafter, where he was finally reunited with the captive crewmates.

Castor, however, was not pleased. He ordered the Mother to execute Duffy and Jimothy on the spot, as both of them had been the greatest thorns in his side thus far. This began a harrowing battle for survival, compelling Bird Boy, Anne, Shayla, Bronston to side with their compatriots against Castor and the eldrtich beast.

After Castor was defeated, the Mother of a Thousand Eyes relented attacking and vowed to return to this world with more of its kind. It stole Castor’s body and vanished through the rift with it. The crewmates, battered but victorious, returned to Aquitaine’s reception chamber and were met with a knocking in the closet.

They opened it, revealing an old, white-haired witch calling herself Camilla. She claimed that Bronston had saved her life two weeks ago and had been trying to search him out ever since. In Aquitaine’s office, the crew found notes on the possible location of Nereus’s third map: the frozen Arctic.

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Chapter Eleven: The Rising Tides
Aug. 10th, 1692

A day passed, with the entire crew except for Jimothy still in captivity. Duffy (dressed in a maid outfit, no less) was placed in the same cage as Bird Boy for the amusement of Aquitaine and his court, while Shayla, Anne and Bronston were locked away in the dungeons. Bronston was strapped to a spinning wheel and tortured for information, but he used his magic kill the guards and the torturer, then assumed the identity of one of the fallen guards.

Aquitaine, after being alerted of this incident, nearly executed Anne as retribution for Bronston's "escape". Bird Boy, however, convinced the quietly enraged Aquitaine to instead take both Shayla and Anne as his wives and continue the pursuit for Bronston. This simple act ended up saving Anne's life. 

Back on the Liberation, Jimothy, now acting as captain, devised a plan to rescue his captured compatriots. He ordered the ship to be docked in a nearby bay and then sailed back to the Red Port in a rowing boat with intentions of starting a riot in the city. When he arrived, he hired mercenaries to rile up the townsfolk - inspired by his formidable visage, they were committed to doing so.

Meanwhile, in Aquitaine's citadel, Greer and Rodrigo visited Duffy in his cage and began taunting him, gloating that Aquitaine was close to acquiring all of Nereus's maps. Bird Boy taunted Greer in his own way, mimicking him, but this only angered the renegade captain, who lashed out before being calmed by his first mate.

Afterward, Aquitaine peered into Duffy's mind and learned the truth about his connection to Jimothy's father – that is, that he may have been responsible for the man's death some time ago. 

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