He stared out the window at the swelling indigo waves and dispassionately fingered the small skull tethered at his neck. Cruz was bored. He slowly stood and stretched his thin limbs like a cat. ‘...fuck me,’ he said to nothing in particular and walked out of his cabin.
Up on deck the crew was coming to life.
Land Ho and that meant fun. D'Merici was one of their more favorite port o'calls and Cruz always left them time to exploit their every whim. All in all, the opinion they had of their captain was one of grudging acceptance. Sure, he was a crude, debauched, murderous pig with a sexual appetite for children; who wasn't?
But Cruz very rarely flogged or killed his own crew and that was tough to find in this line of business. Yes, they were pirates, goddamn them all; and no finer example of filthy, hedonistic, soul-scarred, semi-human vermin could be found sailing these waters.
Cruz traded mainly in opium and arms but they also shipped slaves to Ahktav, and that's why they were in D'Merici. Children. They flocked here by the thousands, hoping to find work and food. Some of them did, but most fell prey to pimps, drug dealers and slave traders.
Cruz stood on the bow and smiled. There was something else about D'Merici that appealed to Cruz, its large population of elves. Cruz hated elves. He hated the way they looked. He hated their music. He hated the way they lived in harmony. But the thing that pushed him over the edge about elves was their life span.
Elves lived ten times as long as humans. Jealousy had long ago infested his mind about this. Cruz wasn't in the greatest physical shape, in fact, he was getting sicker every year. He was an amateur alchemist and try though he did to improve his weak constitution the desired results never lasted.
D'Merici was crawling with the offending species and every time he came here he made sure he killed a few. Pregnant ones were the best. The skull he wore on a leather strap around his neck was from an elf fetus. He liked to cut them out and give their necks a nice little twist before he killed the mother. Give her a going away present. He snickered, to himself, ran his sweaty hands through his thick, dyed black hair and coughed up some blood.
‘Shit.’ He went below to do another dose.
Up in his western tower Vekna watched the black ship in the harbor. Well his information network had been correct. Guns coming in - which means Cruz had just been in Evinthia down the coast. He'll probably load up with street rats then head out to Ahktav.
Vekna had just been presented with a gift he'd been wanting for a long time. Only one small favor in return: Deal with Cruz.
Late afternoon the day before, his message service had told him of Cruz and Company's imminent arrival; he paid a social call to the castle of Lord Hectal. These weak fucking elves, they had been begging him for years to kill Cruz, being too afraid to endanger their long lives themselves, yet unwilling to pay his price.
Vekna didn't want some cast-off orphan either, he wanted royalty. The pure white skin and straw colored hair of the Elvin elite. He figured eventually Cruz's appetite for their deaths would crush their sense of morality and he was right. She had been delivered to him this morning.
The slave market was such a treat for Cruz. He picked the youngest most innocent little things he could find. This evening he had made a particularly nice bargain. A little boy maybe twelve. Long black eyelashes and a beautiful mouth. He told the dealer to deliver this one to his cabin. He needed new pet; but first things first. Cruz had to pursue his favorite hobby and his crew needed to hit the port bars like a wrecking ball. All their favorite D'Merici haunts were old friends laying in wait. They drank themselves into oblivion, started a dozen fights and got head from the prostitutes.
Meanwhile back at the shipyard: Vekna was walking lightly, whistling a happy little ditty. Yes, he'd outdone himself this time. The perfect demise for this hideously, demented, lecherous bastard. Yea, in many ways Vekna admired Cruz, King of the Sea's that he was, but business was business and Vekna couldn't wait to get home and rape his reward.
Hiding behind a chest in Cruz's cabin, the Boy that the slave trader delivered had seen him enter. Almost like a shadow, Vekna had made no noise. He went to the cabinet of vials and potions for a moment, fiddled around with a couple of bottles and left as quickly and quietly as he had come.
The Boy was scared, but interested. He had a pretty good idea of what was in store for him when the captain of this ship returned. But drugs...all those potions beckoned to him. Drugs might make it easier; maybe if he got really wasted he wouldn't care what happened to him.
He picked up the vial Vekna had left and drank its contents. Then he sat down on the bed. He wished he had some food, he was so hungry. But sleepy too…first a little nap.
Cruz sat outside the theatre biding his time. These elfin bitches liked their music. Yea, he could hear it, droning away in there...and now...finally. He watched her leave the theatre and walk briskly to her horse. He followed her down the winding hill, cutting neatly through the alleys as she let her steed pick his way slowly down the steep cobblestone street.
He waited for it - making it last was foreplay – then made his move. Running up behind her, he grabbed her hair and jerked her backwards off the saddle. She landed in a heap on the pavement. Semi-conscious she moaned softly. He slit her throat.
Too easy. He needed another one. He took her horse and turned back up the hill.
He rode for another half hour and had just decided to head back to the shipyard when he saw Her. It was too good to believe. A young Elvin angel running through a garden. She seemed distraught; Mad almost. She nearly ran headlong into him.
me sir! I beg you!’ She had tears in her eyes.
On the way back to the ship he listened with glee to her sad story of treachery and deceit. Seems her family had literally sold her off as a mistress to an evil, sadistic man - a ridiculous human - as she put it.
all behind you my dear, you're with me now, and I’ll take care
The Black Ship left the harbor that morning with the tide. They were missing a couple of crewmen, which was annoying, but not all that surprising. Pirates were often lost at port, murdered by a pimp or simply beaten senseless in a barroom brawl. Cruz knew he could easily find replacements in Ahktav, only a week away.
He patted the sleeping boy on the head. Strangely docile this one, he mused.
Vekna was in a rage. When he found her - and he would find her - he'd teach that blue-blood, pointed-ear brat a lesson. He went into her rooms and scurried around until he found a strand of her hair then went to his tower and prepared his ‘Seek and Find’ spell.
The boy woke. His eyes were swollen and his mouth bruised. He stumbled out of bed and groped around retrieving his clothing. He smelled food from the galley and it compelled him to leave the cabin and search. He was in the process of dipping his hand into a vat of gruel when the cook cuffed him across the back of his head.
It was the last thing Cookie ever did.
Down in the cargo hold the princess shivered and cried. She was an arrogant, spoiled brat, used to the finest things. These last twenty four hours were too much for her young mind to handle. Desperately struggling to maintain her sanity, she finally snapped when the navigator came down and molested her.
In the smoke from the cauldron Vekna watched. The outrage of it. This dirty, miserable excuse having his new toy. He quickly prepared another spell.
The morning drew on. Nobody noticed the remains of Cookie lying under the oven and nobody paid any attention to screaming from the cargo hold. (slaves scream a lot, you learn to tune them out) The starving Boy - the result of Vekna's poison - devoured the navigator and a couple slaves before he fell back to sleep, satiated.
That evening Vekna materialized on deck.
Easily dispatching the crew members on watch, he crept down to the cargo hold to find his child prize.
The Boy, insane with hunger, crawled out of the cabin on his hands and knees and headed for the crew's sleeping quarters.
Cruz woke to the shrill, piercing shrieks of the princess. ‘Fucking Elf!’ He snarled and headed for the cargo hold. Cruz stumbled over the half devoured body of one of his men and turned quickly to see Vekna raising his sword to strike. The blade carved into the wall as Cruz ducked.
He yelled for his crew...no response. Cruz turned and ran to the galley where he saw the Boy in a corner gnawing the head of one of his men.
to contemplate this though - Vekna, dragging the screaming princess
by the hair was close behind him. Cruz picked up a cleaver and caught
Vekna across the eyes as he ran through the door, splitting his skull.
The girl fell lifeless to the floor.
The Boy leaped. Attaching himself to Cruz's leg he managed to gnaw out a hefty chunk of flesh before Cruz could sever his head with the cleaver. He pried open the boy's jaws and threw the head down the hallway. What a night!
the princess by the nape of her neck and towed her back to his cabin.
Cruz applied a thick black sludgy solution to his wounded leg. ‘For fucks sake,’ he mumbled and tossed the mindless girl onto his bed.
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