“To hell with it.” You heft you pitchfork in one hand and keep the book that Virgil gave you in your other. “Let’s board us a goddamned pirate ship.”
“Someone is feeling feisty,” Victoria notes, falling into step alongside you as you leave the sand and step onto the pier.
“Someone is feeling tired, and scared, and way to sober for this late on a Halloween. I’m just out of fucks to give. If something is going to kill us, so be it. I’m not going to give these pricks the satisfaction of making me run around in terror.”
“Hells yeah!” Jim declares. He yanks a blade from his belt. It’s wickedly sharp and polished in the moonlight, either an amazing prop or the genuine article.
“Is that thing real?” You ask Victoria, since she’s the one who prepared Jim’s costume in the first place.
“Ordinarily, no, but tonight the lines are a bit more blurred than usual,” she replied. “Let’s just say it’s as real as it needs to be.”
“Oh, yeah, it’s totally real,” Jim says. You glance over to see him sucking blood from a fresh wound on his palm. Based on the dripping red liquid falling from his blade, the cause of the injury seems quite clear-cut.
“Not even on the ship yet and one of us is already bleeding,” you sigh. “There’s no way that’s a good sign.”
“To be fair, it’s somewhat miraculous that Jim had made it this long without injuring himself,” Victoria points out.
You don’t have a comeback for that one, so instead you focus on the scenery around you, bracing for something to leap out and attack. Nothing does as you walk down the long dock, nor when you first begin to climb the worn wooden plank that rises up to the ship’s deck. Part of you wonders if the plank will even hold, or if it will suddenly snap and send you into the cold October waters below. If that’s the case, then odds are you won’t be alone the dark water, and that thought sends a chill up your spine. The plank does hold, though as you crest the top and see what’s on the deck, suddenly the black waters below don’t seem so bad.
The corpses of a dozen or more pirates are milling about, lashing things and hoisting and… wow you just don’t know shit about boats, do you? Shit man, take a course or something, this is embarrassing for all involved. Anyway the pirate corpses are playing with ropes, as far as you can tell, as well as mopping the deck, and sharpening what seem like already quite well-honed blades. Near the edge you can see a pale lantern being held by one as he scurries about frantically. Now you know where the light was coming from, at least.
“You see what I mean about these people?” Victoria says at your side. “Fad-jumpers, the lot of them. A movie comes out with dead pirates and suddenly there’s a cove attraction. No respect for the traditions or classics.” She practically spits those words, making no effort to keep her voice quiet, and the entire deck looks over at all of you.
“Well, well, seems we got more thieves out to steal our treasure.” This voice comes from the other side of the mast, and as the owner of it steps into view you reassess how thick said mast must be to have hidden him. He’s a towering fellow, shorter than The Warden but not by as much as you’d prefer. Nearly-translucent skin and clouded eyes tell you he’s as dead as the other, but that doesn’t seem to stop him from clomping across the deck all the same.
“Our treasure is in the brig below, but to find it you’ll have to choose between navigating quite the dangerous array of-”
“I fucking hated Pirates of Penance!” Jim, of course, screams as he leaps forward and slams his shoulder into the nearest corpse, who topples over more from surprise than the force of Jim’s attack.
“What the hell?” you shriek.
“Oh, aren’t we trying to kick some ass? I was totally getting that vibe from you,” Jim replies.
“You were kind of giving off that vibe,” Victoria adds.
You’re bicker with them more, but Jim’s attack has triggered a change in the dead pirates, who are now glaring at you all and picking up weapons. The big one, who you’re assuming is the captain of this undead crew, yanks a massive cutlass out of his belt and begins advancing.
“So you choose the second: fight us for our booty.” His broad grin shows his cracked jaws and red-stained teeth, and you begin to wonder if the sword is the only thing you have to watch out for.
“This, by the way, is why the attendant follows,” Victoria says. “Ah well. The die is cast, best to make the most of it.” She leaps forward, slipping her oh-so-sharp nails into the nearest dead pirate’s throat and opening his neck into a rotted smile.
You take the cue, slamming the tip of your pitchfork into the nearest corpse. It’s hard to say if you or he are more surprised when he bursts into flames, but after a few seconds of concentrated burning the corpse no long has any opinion other than what it’s like to be ashes. Barreling forward, you stab another corpse, then another, igniting each one as you go. For a few wonderful moments, you think that perhaps you can pull this off and get out of here safely. Then a massive thud shakes the boat and you remember there’s the captain to deal with.
A single glance tells you all that your need to know. Jim was flung across the boat and smacked into the mast, where he’s slumped over on the ground. His eyes are open and he’s groaning, so at least your roommate isn’t dead, but from the way the captain is advancing on him that seems like a temporary condition at best.
It’s too far for you to rush over there, and you don’t have any practice throwing pitchforks, so a ranged attack is out of the question. You quickly fling open the book Virgil gave you, the one that supposedly summons pieces of your life. While you’re not sure what exactly that means, casting some shitshow of a spell can’t be worse than seeing your friend carved into pieces.
The words in the pages are mostly gibberish, written over in layers and oriented in all manner of direction. With no time to be picky, your eyes search the first page you see. There are three phrases in there, and Jim is getting short on time. Yell one of these bastards and see what happens.