Blood in the Water

Decimus 21, 1667

The Second Death of Reis

Decimus 21, 1667

We sailed onward toward that terrible ship and came within their canon’s range. We returned fire, doing some damage to their foresail as they attempted to turn broadside. Luckily Roderick proved not only capable, but wholly consummate in his control of the Black Rose and we were able to avoid much damage to the ship. I doubt even I could have steered her better had I been in my youthful days as a captain. To protect ourselves and our identities I passed masks to all in our party save Albrecht, to whom I gave a simple plain masque not in line with the theme the Count had picked. Had we remained in a peaceful Montaigne he had been planning to through a masquerade, but it never came to pass.

Instead I donned the masque of a fox, Noella the mouse, my Gallia the cat, Roderick the raccoon, Roy the bear, the Castillian became the wolf, while Alonso became the stork, the good doctor Gage became the raven, Isabella became the owl, and Albrecht the faceless mask.

Tied to their mainsail’s mast was Allende, and he was one of our foremost targets. This being the second time we have secured his rescue from the Crimson Roger. I am of course going to have to speak to him about his terrible habits. The plan was simple, ram the ship, focus on Reis, kill every man board, and rescue Allende. Again. I spoke the plan swiftly, but it hardly mattered. They had no men below decks as I had assumed, but rather their crew remained entirely on their top deck. The fighting moved swiftly.

The Little Mouse was the first to draw blood, firing at range to remove their long gunman. She did well, and he was killed before we boarded. The wolf was the first aboard, jumping directly to Reis. The main Reis I mean, for it appeared that he had many look alikes. If I remember correctly I counted four bearing his countenance. It seems that the art of disguise has become wholly common among men. I the Fox, with the Cat following, swung to the rigging to rescue Allende, while the others fought below us. I provided what aid I could shooting my pistol from above, but it seemed that Reis was wholly impervious to being hit with weapons or touched by bullets.

When the Wolf jumped aboard the men manning the canons fired upon him, being excellent marksmen, and he was whisked away according to that prophecy of the Sidhe that we had been foretold – that they would save his life one day and that it would involve a canon. The fighting continued in his absence. The Raven Doctor proved quite capable with his alchemical grenades, and between his proficiencies and the Stork’s arts we soon had the canon operators wholly destroyed. Their assault continued unrelentingly as I climbed toward Allende.

I saw the Owl secure the kill shot of the whelp Javier, which caused me to have hope that we may indeed win this conflict, or at the very least come out of it alive. Those hopes fell as I saw the Bear fall, nearly the whole of the crew rushing him as he landed aboard. One of whom bore the legendary axe that Reis had stolen earlier. My hopes were encouraged when the Wolf returned from Bryn Bresail, wielding the sword that Galina had described from her dreams, a blade made of water. Of all things it alone seemed capable of damaging Reis, and it alone seemed able to bypass or defend against his terrible scythe.

I watched in horror as the wolf fell beneath Ries’ scythe, and I drew my breath inward as I realized what needed to be done. Leaping down from the Allende’s side on the mast and its riggings I landed with cunning grace, and reaching down picked up the fallen sword, and swung at Reis myself. I may not have much skill with such blades, but the sword’s magic seemed to compensate for my shortcomings. I was at the least, lucky enough to avoid most of his blows, though I took more than I would have liked. I knew that if he struck once more, I would be finished, and my chance for justice lost. The battle raged on, but I do not recall much of it. The Raven was quite effective, as was the Mouse, and those who struck at a range while our melee combatants were either fallen or falling. Grande fought bravely, we all did, except for Reis.

With his comrades fallen and the efforts of the Raccoon and the Fox tearing away at him bit by bit, he attempted to escape by smashing his way through the floor, to no avail. Our blades struck him as he fell, and with the sword I bore I removed his shoulders of their tiresome burden. The battle was not yet ended, though only two of the crew remained, and much to my anger one of them escaped, fleeing into the water. Mutated beyond what I might have thought possible and no longer fit to be called a man the apparently amphibious creature disappeared into the waters of the river beyond the range of our guns.

The costs of the battle were great. Albrecht and Gregorio laid fallen by Reis, whose head I tied to my belt. Albrecht was beyond care, but the good doctor was able to revive Gregorio and Royston, though they were gravely wounded. I wrote a letter to Albrecht’s mother to inform her and his father of their loss. For all of it, I am glad I was able to kill Albrecht by the pirate’s hands. I was planning on doing it by the hands of Montague’s soldiers, but this seemed more expedient. He showed bravery, and his customary… corruption, but remains the last vestige of their old lives to be taken from them. I was also glad that we proved able to rescue Allende, and that the good doctor was able to stabilize him. Hopefully he is on the road to recovery under the good doctor’s care.

We set about securing the loot from the ship and discovered two things: The first that when any of us touched the hat, coat, or scythe, we were transported to a creature who asked us if we wanted immortality. Thinking it to be Sidhe, I asked what the price of the trade was, and when it told me there was no cost I knew it to be lying. I did not take the deal, nor did the good doctor who also picked up the garb. Using Alonso’s art I saw the hat and coat destroyed. The scythe however, proved more complicated. This in addition with Roderick’s insistence that the head I bore was actually Riant’s and not Reis’ has led me to believe that any man who dons these things becomes the immortal legend himself, and while the men may be mortal, the legend is that which cannot die. I hope that the legend persists in history only now, spoken in stories told to children by the fireside, and how the despicable pirate met his end at the hand of the heroic Fox and his crew.

In our searching we also discovered that the Crimson Roger had been scuttled by our long since departed enemy, Coral. We ran the ship aground, and I hung the bodies of its crew from its sides. Justice for the town of Durk and its fallen townspeople. We burned the ship, and determined that Royston, Galina, and I should venture to Bryn Bresail in an attempt to negotiate the destruction of the Scythe – and with luck – the permanent end to the legend of the immortal Captain Reis. We succeeded in arriving there, but the brothers would not touch the thing, and after having touched it myself I determined the thing that was offering the deal was no Sidhe, though it used its words craftily it had none of the ignorance or innocence that the Sidhe bear. For all their cunning and higher intelligences the Sidhe prove with each visit to be less and less fey and more and more contrary.

Of course the Sidhe brothers, nor their mother with whom we met, seemed to be able to take direct action. It seems that for all of it the only men or women on this earth capable of taking direct action in the course of human events to some degree of success is I and my crew or the villains whom we work against. They could not destroy it, nor could they safe keep it, nor could they do anything of use. The lady was however capable of encasing it in ice so that we could carry it more proficiently than by oar. A great help indeed. It was agreed that we should throw it into a volcano as that was the only thing that could destroy it according to the Lady. Her son however implied that it was not destroyed, only kept from the reach of others by the lava. It seems even the realm of the fey is but lies and shadows. I’ve no doubt that there exits some creature of the like of Coral, or of worse make, that shall soon fetch it out again.

We bargained with the lady that we should be transported to Charouse in return for throwing the Scythe into the molten pit of the volcano, but the Sidhe went back on that deal and demanded another price. So I gave them the mask of the Fox, for the younger wanted a face, which he in turn gave to his larger brother. I bought a new one shortly thereafter when were in Charouse and looked forward to the reunion of my crew when they arrive, for it seems that we have arrived ahead of them, on the same day in which we fought the Crimson Roger.

I think for my part I shall make no more entreaties or deals with the Sidhe for they have proven to be betrayers of their words, and have dashed my hopes of finding something more honorable than men. It seems that I have always been correct; and whether it be here or in Bryn Bresail, this world is nothing more than shadows and lies.

- R

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