What a Lovely Skull You Have

‘Twas no easy battle, but ye an’ yer mates finally broke through the ships guarding the Gravier estate and fought past the Bokors. Hammerhead was right about them coins: they shielded ye from the spells o’ the sorcerers, and ye made short work of those who stood in yer way. Inside the estate, the dark corridors lead to a gallery. Within it are some impressive works of art and items of traditional or historical significance. At the far end of the gallery ye see a small human figure less than 5 feet tall, fashioned in the likeness of a woman and wearing feminine clothing. Atop the shapely manikin sits a skull adorned with petals, the skull of Laurelia Cariño!

Iron Beard, the great-grandson of the legendary pirate Old Ironbeard, rushes forward to seize the skull. But a sword snakes out and he throws himself to the side to avoid bein’ sliced open. Red Beard leaps from the shadows, a wicked grin across his face. The battle of the Beards commences! The two pirates exchange blows, each seekin’ to best the other in a series o’ deadly maneuvers. At last, Red Beard delivers a vicious blow that sends his opponent to the ground. He faces the skull grinning back at him from atop its woman-like pedestal.

He sweeps his hat from his head, saying, “Fancy meeting a woman like ye in a place like this!” He performs a graceful bow. “And if I may say, madam…what a lovely skull ye have!”

Red Beard gently touches his fingers to the cheekbone of the skull in an intimate fashion. “Pardon me roughness, madam, but I’ve a grim task to complete. Bein’ a pirate an’ all, I’m sure ye understand.” Then he tears the skull from the manikin and carries it under one arm.

Leaving the room, ye find the Pope performin’ an inquisition on one o’ the Bokors. The dark sorcerer is bein’ held down on his back by four men. The Pope looks pityingly upon the Haitian. “Thy refusals gain thee nothing.” says the Pope as a pirate grinds his boot into the Haitian’s face. “Thou shalt reveal unto me the location of the final skull.”

The Bokor, a dark-skinned man of middle years, says, “Souple, I cannot! I be curse if I speak!”

“Oh, a curse he fears? I think thy mind aught be harried up by more pressing concerns. Perhaps thou needest a bit more distraction from thy preoccupation.”

The Bokor cries out as he experiences further unpleasantness.

“Dey puneesh us all, ou konprann? De water spirits curse me ‘ole family!”

The Pope considers this. He says, “Well, then, allow me to remove so trifling a worry from thy mind. Thou shalt have no family to be cursed if thou holdest thy tongue! We shall hunt down each and slay them!”

The Bokor looks distressed and moans, closing his eyes. Then he says in a low voice, “Rete. I tell. You find de skull on de Dutch isle Sint Eustatius. Speak to Grootmoeder. Now, ki te’m anrepo’m!”

“As thou desirest,” says the Pope, and he gestures for the man to be released. The Haitian scurries away as the Pope turns to Red Beard. He asks, “Art thou ready, brother? Oh, and kudos on gaining the second skull.”

Red Beard looks at him earnestly, saying, “I may not ‘o been the only suitor to vie for the lass, but I finally won Laurelia’s affections.” He withdraws a pipe and lights it, offering some of his leaf to the Pope, who declines.

The Pope says, “I’m sure the two of thee shall find much bliss together.” Then they both smile and lead the way to the final skull.

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