Red Riders of the Realms
The Captain had no prurient interest in his cabin boy, except the sadistic joy he got from regularly pummeling Vincenzo into a heap. His favorite pleasure came from taking a dagger to Vincenzo’s cheeks as a punishment for even the smallest slight. The wounds Vincenzo received were continuously reopened with fresh cuts from the Captain’s blade, never having the chance to heal. But Vincenzo survived life aboard the CuttSpraak for seven years. As he grew, he proved himself a capable hand and became a full member of the crew.
Although Captain Vasser allowed Vincenzo the same freedoms as other crewmembers, he did not reduce his cruelty towards him. Vasser felt that the complete corruption of Vincenzo’s spirit, turning him into a bloody, cruel pirate like himself, would fulfill his revenge against Jurandi. In this way, he would forever have taken Jurandi’s son from him. And as he grew, Vincenzo took to pirating. He was aggressive and fought hard when the CuttSpraak engaged in skirmishes. He learned to hold his own even against other members of the crew. Somehow though, Vincenzo wasn’t turned evil by the pirate’s life. He knew he was a prisoner to his circumstances and he knew he would win his freedom one day. What the Captain did not count on was the heat of Vincenzo’s own fiery revenge for the murder of his mother and the utter humiliation of the man who had lovingly kept Vincenzo always at his side. And the age of eighteen, Vincenzo found an opportunity to make Vasser break his oath against Jurandi.
The CuttSpraak regularly weighed anchor off of the less inhabited islands in the Archipelago of the Moonshae Isles and to the south among the Nelather Islands. Its crew would land to either investigate the caverns throughout the islands for booty secreted away by other pirates or to find dark hiding places for the loot the Captain wanted to stow. Vincenzo was the Captain’s first choice to check caves for traps set to secure stashed goods and Vincenzo showed he was adept at discovering the underground paths to hidden gold and jewels. It was during one of these landing parties Vincenzo was able to exact retribution upon Captain Vasser.
As usual, Vincenzo was sent into a dark chamber to search out traps and find treasure. He aptly located each trap, discovering the worst of all triggered a cave in. The cavern he searched led out into deeper chambers and to an underground river. Having been a member of the original island scouting party, Vincenzo was confident that the river fed to a waterfall which burst from a solid cliff face and fell twenty feet to a cool, broad pool several hundred yards from the ocean. Vincenzo disabled all but one of the traps. As was customary, he marked the ones he disabled with candles but left the most disastrous trap unmarked, ready to be trip by a clumsy pirate’s boot. He then returned to the CuttSpraak’s landing party, which included Captain Vasser. Vasser ordered Vincenzo to go on ahead of the crew to search deeper while the Captain and his men followed a distance behind. Vincenzo dutifully did as commanded, never giving away the plan he had hatched spontaneously to end his servitude to the Captain and the Captain’s life at the same time. As Vincenzo carefully moved into a deeper chamber, he allowed himself a satisfied grin when he heard the jarring rumble of the upper cavern’s roof giving way onto the heads of the infamous Captain Vasser and a third of his crew.
Vincenzo was confident that his quickly made plan had ended the Captain’s life and broken any of the man’s unfulfilled oaths. But his escape would not be complete until he was away from the CuttSpraak for good. Vincenzo continued searching the deeper chambers in the hopes of finding a horde of loot hidden by someone of Captain Vasser’s ilk. Though nothing was there for him to discover, he followed the rest of his plan empty handed but nonetheless free.
Vincenzo dove into the cold, dark water of the underground river. His breath nearly giving out at the same moment he was flushed from the caverns and into the bright sunlight, he rode the waterfall into the deep pool below the cliff face. Vincenzo then made his way back to the landing party’s stranded crew boat and pushed out to sea. He kept the large boat along the coastline the best he could and prayed that none of the remaining crew of the CuttSpraak would see his escape. Oddly, this was the first time Vincenzo had ever prayed.
Continued in – Isles of the Moonshae