You shiver in the cold mist, wrapping your cold-weather cloak tighter about you as you watch from the crow’s nest. You gaze out over the shrouded sea, alert to any signs of danger or, really, anything other than this mass of billowing white. You can’t believe the way recent events have unfolded.
Thinking back to Sint Eustatius, you recall how blissfully warm it was. With the help of Grootmoeder, you aided Old Ironbeard in defeating the French invaders and retaking the isle. You and your mates enjoyed a great celebration, and had your pick of grateful Dutch women (or men, depending on your taste) happy to share your bed in appreciation of your valor. If only things hadn’t turned so sour.
Old Ironbeard really put the cat among the pigeons when he announced that he had enjoyed his last adventure and would be settling down in the Netherlands Antilles to grow sugar cane. He meant to consolidate his riches, and told the crew that he would give them a generous offer, should any wish to purchase any of his ships. Each would receive their share of Old Ironbeard’s hoard and be given a personal writ of commendation from the captain.
At this, Ignaas scoffed and said, “I think not, father. I will need all of our ships and supplies for our next mission. I intend to pursue the vessels of the French West India Company that escaped and capture them. I will hunt down and locate every vessel that the French Company owns and claim them as my own. I will turn each ship inside out until I locate every last one of the Leopard Seals and sacrifice them to the Millalobo.” Some of the men made gestures of protection at the mention of the name of the Mad Sea God. “This will lead us to the path I have seen in my visions. None shall stand in our way. This world will be ours! Come my men! Let us seek the cowards who eluded our attack and use their blood to invoke the power of the Great Water Spirits!”
Old Ironbeard protested, but no one listened. He was stunned as he watched Ignaas walk away with most of his men. He had been blind to the fact that loyalties among the crews had been shifting; Ignaas promised further riches and glory, while Old Ironbeard appeared to have gone soft and abandoned his leadership. Now another portion of the curse of Tinieblas had been fulfilled: his empire had crumbled away before his eyes.
The pirate who-was-once-king weighed his options, and decided to go ahead with his original plan. He took what remained to him and settled down in Saba. But no sooner had he begun planting than he learned that his son’s fleet had been decimated during a storm at sea. Upon exiting the storm, they were immediately set upon by the vessels they had pursued and suffered tremendous losses. Ignaas himself challenged Casimir Dupont to single combat, and they killed each other. There were reports of vessels he once owned being scattered all over the ocean. Those captains who survived took the loss of Ignaas as a sign and struck out to seek their fortune independently.
Old Ironbeard’s anger boiled within him. The water spirits of Chiloe had not been content to ruin him and strip him of his friends and much of his fortune, but had gone even further. They had tampered with Ignaas’s mind, sending him visions that had lead him to his death. How dare they take his son a second time?! They had mettled with him for the last time! He called together all who would follow him and set out to recover what was left of Ignaas once more: a skull mounted as a trophy. He meted death and destruction to the remainder of the French fleet who were arrogant enough to linger in the Caribbean within his reach. He took Ignaas’s skull to Grootmoeder, and had her enchant it to reveal the location of the Caleuche. He equipped weapons of power that would fortify him in his fight against supernatural beings, and traveled once more to the Pacific near the Isle of Chiloe to confront the water spirits and destroy them.
You were one of those men whose captain chose to join in this mad quest of Old Ironbeard. Now you watch for the Caleuche, in dreadful anticipation of the battle that is to come. Does the red-haired pirate of legend truly have the power to slay a god? You see the white ship loom out of the fog. You sound the alarm, and the crew makes ready. Strange scaled creatures stand at the deck, and other things are rising out of the sea. You fear that this will be the last day you spend in the mortal realm, and you wonder if anyone will ever find the journal you left behind.
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Nothing more was heard of Old Ironbeard or his men from that time forth.