Sunny Sunday afternoon on an unmapped island with a single port small town that only one ship calls home. The heat borders comfortable and muggy, as the sea's mist rolls through town and gives the air that taste, smell of salt. It's a calm, quiet town, for the most part; and were it not for the ship in the harbor it would not have gotten as far as it had.
The towns people thank The Johnny Blue, a ship painted much like it's name implies, and her crew for all the resources they share... regardless of how legal they were obtained.
Out of the thousands of ships that sail Ocean Atlantica, The Johnny Blue is not very well known. She was a pirate ship pirated by an odd crew, so they say, but not a ship that really needs to be feared. Well, unless your ship holds Dominica produce. The ship's captain has a few rules, the main being civilian vessels are safe, protected, and always allowed to seek her aid. Captain Red, Big Red according to crew and company, punishes harshly if that rule is broken... be one part of her crew or not.
Rule number two? Stay out of trouble. That least thing anyone wants is dealing with problems that could have been avoided in the first place. The problem with that is, Red's Crew ain't always the sharpest.
Now Captain Red, that's someone special. A woman who grew up fighting with the boys, who spit and drank, a woman who learned every trade she could get a lackluster mentor for. A woman with red hair, a healthy dose of life's harsh lessons and one stubbornly persistent suitor. Karina, she was named by her father, Big Red to all those who know better.
"Cap'in!" A short fellow, with a wooden post for a leg, and a hatred for showering, wobbles his way down a wooden dock to where his captain stands.
Once staring off into the distance, thinking about her next goal, about a certain poem she's heard a thousand times within her life, now rubbing her forehead and groaning. "What is it, Snot?"
"It's... it's Jack, Cap'in. He... uh, kinda got inta some... um..."
"Spit it out!" She turned quickly, looking down on Snot with eyes narrowed.
"Trouble! Trouble. He got in trouble." Captain Red sighed, shaking her head and letting that hand on her head reach for the pistol at her side. Snot's gaze drifted, his eyes deliberately avoiding his captains, as a dribble of mucus started to roll down his top lip. "But! But," Snot fidgeted in effort to finish his words, "But we think the thing that got him in trouble may be worth it."
"Do you now?" Red smiled, her hand still teasing the pistol.
"Aye... Grato's got his axe good ta go, an' everything."
"Oh that man just wants to chop something up! We can't be in port less than a day without everything going to hell?"
"No ma'am... I mean, yes ma'am. I mean.."
"Relax, Snot, I'm not going to hurt you."
"I know that."
"Then," She asked with false innocence, "Why so nervous?"
"Bit too much to drink ma'am." Snot burped loudly, releasing a cloud of gas from his maw, "And you is playing with yur gun."
"Ah!" Red drew her weapon, flourishing the piece like a Wild-West TV actor, "It's new!" Her voice pitched up a brief second, "I'm eager to give it a proper test."
"Could rescue Jack with it, ya know."
Quickly holstering her weapon, and reaching out for Snot's shoulders, Red shook the poor bastard senceslessly. "You're right!" She smiled brightly, showing off some of those not-so-hygienic teeth, "Such a good little troll." Snot blushed, though with his skin so green with filth and garbage it wasn't easy to tell. "So, shall we?"
"Aye! Oh... wait," Snot held up a single finger, turned his head to the side and released a burst of yellow, red and brown liquid upon the wood beneath him.
Snot shook his head weakly, panting a bit as he swallowed. "Ain't so good ona way up."
"Not your poorly chewed food, fool. Good to go?"
"Aye... aye, rescue Jack an'all." Stepping over the vomit, Red followed Snot into town, then further, in effort to help Good'ol Jack.
Quite the bit of events had passed while Snot and Red were having their quips, and time even before that. Jack had been exploring some of the island, curious about plants and animals as he was, and happened upon something that he'd never seen before. A large green flower of red's and yellows. It was such a beautiful discovery, and the very sight of this wonder had Jack's good eye as wide as it could go. That was, at least, until this pretty flower turned out to also have teeth, anger issues and a stomach.
In a flash Jack found himself wrapped up like he was being attacked by a large constricting serpent. Vines curling around his body, tightening slowly so his muscles ached in pain and bones threatened to buckle. The gurgled scream the man made echoed through the trees, making it's way all the way to town where the town's dogs barked and howled in response.
Grato, a huge man of hugey huge-ness, heard the feint sounds of pain, but the hounds were his clue something was wrong, and the past was his clue as to who was dealing with that wrong. Wielding an axe the size of his body, wearing some common leather pants and what appeared to be a S&M vest (sans the spikes) that only covered his shoulders and lower stomach, Groto bound into the woods! "Dunt ya be afearin' now, Brudda! I'sa comin'!," He roared, "I'sa commin'!"
Of course Snot knew what his job in all of this was, so he ran as fast as his two and a half legs would let him. It would be some time before Snot returned, so it was up to Grato for now! Slashing through branches, knocking over dead and dying trees, jumping to clear long stretches of thick brush and deep swamp, "Were ya at Brudda?" Panting, eyes darting around the swampy, dank forest, knuckles white around the handle of his axe. "I can'd be hearin' ya ifn ya dun be screamin'!" Groto was going to find his brother Jack, to hell with the consequences!
Gurgles and efforts to breathe where hard enough for poor Jack, but with a push up of his body, a strain with face turning blue and eyes rolling back inside his head, he managed one small, "He-el-p." The world went dark for Jack, his eyes closed and his body went limp.
The creature had it's meal right where it wanted it, and Jack was this plants favorite flavors: quiet, docile and easy to digest. Raising the fruits of it's catch high, the plant reveled a large pod hidden behind those colors that seemed so bright and happy seconds ago. The bulb opened, showing small, sharp spinning blades of death all of them with the faintest hum of electric power behind. It was a total shop teacher's nightmare, and Jack was going head first!
Anyone there would say to you they heard fanfare of success as Grato burst through the trees. That face showing the warrior everyone knew he was; mouth wide, saliva dripping from his teeth like a wild beast, axe high above his head right where it belonged. A warrior's cry! "Rrraaaaaah!"
SKEWCK! Blade of Grato's weapon embedded deeply in the nightmarish creature's face, or at least what Grato assumed to be the beast's face as that is where all the teeth were. KRRK! SQWEESH! Twist and a jerk to free the axe, and the vegetation-creation simply stopped moving... letting Jack down with a very harsh thud upon the ground. The beast seemed dead for now, so slapping that great axe upon his back, Grato went into big-brother mode. Jack slowly opened his eyes, the world was a bit blurry, and his head in a throbbing pain. His face cut in two, a slice down the top of his head, splitting eyes to either side of a stiff Y shape, putting nose to the left and causing a hair lip of sorts where the wound seemed to stop. One eye gray, and dead, the other a hazel-green, Jack looked a sight. Grato looked upon what he saw before him, then yelled in delight as he slapped Jack firmly on the shoulder, "Lookin' good dar Brudda! Dun tink id lay bud a scratch on ya."
Slowly getting up on his feet, bracing upon a tree cautiously (never know what else might decide he looked good enough to eat), Jack nodded that mangled head of his. "Sure did less then you eva did, Brudda."
"Ah! Ya be knowin' jus how ta make ma smile Axe'n'Face!" A laughter to rock ground where this more than a mere man. Grato had risen to the challenge! Grato had done what he did best, put an axe in a face.
The bushes around the two brothers began to shake, something was close by. Something that smelled the recent kill, perhaps? Both readied themselves.. Well, Grato readied himself, Axe'n'Face Jack gathered up his scientific samples and trusted his safety would be guaranteed.
"You put that down, Grato." Red's voice came from the trees, "I don't need to end up like Jack."
"Aye! Id be da Cap, Jack. Tink she done came'a see how ya was."
Snot and Captain Red both pushed into the clearing, looking at the mess that had been made.
"Oi, Grato, ya didn't save none for the cap'in!" Snot hacked, pulling a large pit of mucus into his mouth, and spit off to the side. "An' I ran on ma good leg!"
A twist of the wrist and a quick backhand to Snot's face, sending the small fellow tumbling backwards. "Never mind that you dragged me out into the swamp for nothing. Now I'll have to wait before I try out my new gun."
"Eh.. sorry Cap'in. Ain't so good what with this," Snot knocked upon that wooden leg of his, waist high it started, like a log rammed into the socket of his hips.
"Uh huh... well if we're all done playing with our vegetables, I'd like to get started on our next little hunt."
"Tink we's done, cap'in. Ain't we Axe'n'Face?"
Collecting a few smears of juices that excreted from the slain plant, Jack gave a quick nod. "That we is, Brudda. That we is."
Rubbing his hands together, Snot filled his mind of treasure and pretty girls, "I do like hunting."
Captain Red and her crew gathered at a boarding house that welcomed them with open arms. Their usual choice of residence when The Johnny Blue was in the process of being repaired, but those repairs where almost finished and it was time the crew learn of their next adventure.
"Before I start, Mates, I want you all to hold your tongues until I give you a proper 'The End.' You all got that?" Everybody nodded with eager smiles, like children getting ready to hear their favorite bed time story. "Good. Now according to stories there is a weapon. A weapon so powerful it would make whoever holds it the most feared person on the seas! And not just this weapon, but more gold than that can be put in The Johnny Blue's hold. We're talking a lifetime's lifetime worth of riches. Enough money to fuel an entire country like the one's of old! I'm talking about Justice and Divine!" Already, her crew was antsy to ask questions. To add in their comments on the story. This was well known pirate tale, but they would let their captain continue. "We all know the story, sure. Heaven's Isle, Fire and Health alike. We've all listened to it be told us over and over, but I tell you it's true. Know how I know?" A room full of wide eyes and slowly shaking heads. "Because I know how to find it." She waited, she made them suffer a bit, made them do what they were told, and listen. "I have, in my hand, the other half of the poem." A collective intake of air, they wanted to see it with their own eyes, no matter if they could read it or not, and so she recited the poem. The first two stanzas everyone knew, so they mouthed along.
"Blade of fire,
Blade of health,
Hidden in Heaven.
Fear not Justice,
Fear not Divine,
They are one."
And then, Big Red added:
"Fear Dominica's walls,
Fear Dominica's wrath,
Find The Library.
First the book,
First the riddle,
Then the journey."
Everyone in the room knew what that meant, what they had to do, and boy did they grin over the thought. And, so, Big Red added, "The End."
"I's a lookin' forerd ta seein' dar faces when da Johnny Blue make port!"
"Brudda, you and me both."
"We leave at dawn, boys. Be well rested and well fed, this ain't going to be easy."
~End Episode One