October 31, 1990. Halloween night in Tortuga; it was just as rowdy as it was at any other time with rum bottles flying across the streets, blood being spilt at the drop of a hat, and the sounds of laughter and faces being broken against fists permeating the air. It was just outside of this haven for heathens that the Shadow sailed from, a pirate ship of unrivaled brutality and one of the few that boldly showed off its red Jolly Roger.
Captain Benjamin strode from his quarters and looked up into the rising moon. It was a crescent with its points dipped towards the ocean. Benjamin wore a similar expression on his own face. He could never stand this ridiculous time of year, especially not in Tortuga. He was a serious man, a man infamous amongst his crew and even other rival pirate ships for never having cracked a smile in the past several years. It was rumored that the furrowed brow beneath his tri-corner captain's hat had been petrified as it was, as it never gave indication to any emotion except anger. He was also a ruthless fighter, not giving any quarter to his enemies (he had no friends to speak of). Because of his habit of licking all of the blood off of his saturated sword after battles, he had gained himself the nickname of Benjamin the Bloodthirsty.
As his ship sailed through the two points encasing the bay of Tortuga, cutting a silent swath through the sea, he took out a map that held the routes for several ships of the Crown. He had recorded these from his previous assaults upon these very ships. Despite his vicious tendencies, he kept some people alive alongside one or two of his crew to keep that particular ship on its course. It was an easy operation, but the enormous hauls it brought in kept the crew satisfied and out of the mutiny mindset.
The ship they were sailing for was a vessel known as HMS Oyster. "'Twas a fairly stupid name to give 'dat ship," Benjamin groaned. "'Dey might as well 'ave named 'er HMS Please Pillage Me." Still, a little more gold in the hull was always welcome. It was one of the few mannerisms he did treasure about Halloween: the Trick-or-Treating.
It was close to midnight, he guessed, when the lookout caught sight of the Oyster. This man, Jackson, had the eyes of a hawk and was one of the few men aboard who respected Benjamin more than he feared him. "Target sighted off 'de port bow!" he called.
The report was music for the captain, even if his face didn't show it. His spy aboard had succeeded in keeping the ship on its regular schedule. He drew his sword and readied himself for the festivities to begin. He could already taste success.
As they approached, something struck him as odd. Usually it went that at least a few rounds of cannon fire would meet his ship as he approached, especially when the opportunity for broadsides was so apparent. The fact that they were getting so close undaunted meant that something was wrong. "Draw yer swords, men," Benjamin bellowed. "Some'tin' foul be afoot 'dis night."
"Aye, aye, captain," the rest of the crew called, Jackson louder than most of the rest. A scraping of steel blades being drawn slit the air like nails on a blackboard.
Benjamin didn't rightfully pay the din any mind; in fact, he added to it as he drew his own cutlass. "Tonight we satisfy all our desires."
As the Shadow approached the Oyster, the only sounds that could be heard were the lazy wakes of the two ships and the heavy, expectant breathing of the pirates. The boarding lines were thrown and secured the two ships together. Benjamin scanned the deck of the other ship, but no movement met his or Jackson's eyes. "What do ye suggest, captain?" the first mate asked.
"Follow me," Benjamin replied. He boldly (but quietly) stepped up to the Shadow's railing and bounded over it onto the other deck.
Jackson soon followed, standing close to Benjamin. "What do ye 'tink's up?" he asked.
"Whate'er it be," the captain replied, "we'll deal wit' it."
A barrel close to the aft deck shifted slightly. The two pirates turned towards it. "Show yerself," Jackson called.
"Don't bring trouble upon yerself," warned Benjamin in a growled whisper. "Let trouble find ye on its own." He took a step towards the barrels, cutlass extended.
All of a sudden, a shadowy figure darted from the cover of the barrels. By its appearance, Benjamin guessed, it was a figure taller than its hunched appearance indicated. He didn't back down an inch as it approached him head-on, even though his opponent was undeterred by his sword. Anyone brave enough to show themselves with him on deck was a fool without cowardice. He stepped forward with a swipe of his cutlass, but the shadow evaded the strike with a change in direction. With Benjamin unbalanced, two more figures appeared from the barrels' darkness, equally as swift as their scout. Benjamin righted himself immediately, sensing the growing danger. Surely this was the reason why there hadn't been a fight upon approaching the Oyster. They were crafty, without a doubt; but what was their purpose?
The cloaked beings swarmed around them, as a cyclone did around a ship lost a sea. As their forms blurred, a familiar scent played around them. Benjamin recognized it first; it was a scent he always relished: the scent of blood. His black eyes dropped to their feet. Sure enough, a dark streak had appeared that reeked of blood. May the gods rest their poor souls
"It's not working," he heard one of them hiss. The three figures stopped in front of him. They stood up to their full height, allowing Benjamin to fully scrutinize them. He had been right; all three of them were as tall as he was (still being pretty tall) with their dress identical in being dark hooded cloaks. However, there was something different about the center figure, specifically the body structure. It was distinctly feminine.
All three of the figures drew back their hoods, revealing three deathly-pale faces. The woman was flanked by two slender men. Something about their faces gave another similarity away. All three sets of lips had a pair of fangs protruding from them, and all these sets resembled artist's brushes dipped in a fresh coat of red paint. A quick glance at his lookout revealed that it was this detail that Jackson was worried about.
Benjamin, on the other hand, had his focus on something else. The female vampire, that being what they all were, was a definite beauty. He had heard stories in Tortuga (when he craved any other drink besides blood) that vampires were ugly monsters hardly resembling humans in either looks or habits. Even now he regarded their stories as drunken fantasies or fits of fear. How could anyone regard such a beautiful woman as a monster?
"It takes a man of great spine to hold his tongue and countenance in the presence of a vampire," the woman said. At least the stories got the Transylvanian accent right. "What is your name, pirate?"
"Me name be Captain Benjamin 'de Bloodthirsty," he replied. "This be me lookout, Jackson." Benjamin shoved the smaller man out of his shadow and into the moonlight. "I see I ain't 'de only one 'dat enjoys such a rare delicacy o' drinks as be quite apparent on yer lips."
A smile curled the vampiress's lips. "You noticed."
"Valencia," one of the vampire males hissed, "Keep your mind on the mission. We're under orders from Jack Skellington himself!"
Valencia turned on him and growled, "Then I'll leave the orders in your capable hands, Vladimir." She walked over to Benjamin gracefully and took his arm. "I'll see if I can't get this big, strong man to scream yet." She led the captain through the other two vampires and into the captain's quarters.
"Well, what do we do now, Vladimir?"
"What do you think, Victor? We scare people senseless."
"Start with this guy?" Victor asked, pointing to Jackson. The lookout was slowly sneaking away towards his ship, but he stopped when attention was called back to him.
Vladimir smiled and replied, "Why not?"
Valencia swept across the room as gracefully as any dancer. The candles had been put out on her last visit, but a snap of her fingers brought them to life again. "Romantic, isn't it?" she asked.
"I guess ye could say 'dat," Benjamin grunted. "Confusin' be more 'de word fer it. What would a group o' vampires be doin' all 'de way out to sea like 'dis? I've only 'eard stories from drunken idiots in bars."
Valencia's shoulders sagged under her slender dress. "That's all people seem to know of vampires nowadays: simple stories, no facts to back them up besides minute details only relevant to one particular vampire. One of our brood was allergic to garlic, and people immediately assume it kills all of us. Another was too full of herself, putting on too much makeup; the person she scared passed on the tale that all vampires sparkle. Yet another was attacked by a priest who drowned him in holy water. Then again, vampires either kill their victims, scare them senseless, or else they are killed when seen."
Benjamin raised an eyebrow. "By stakes to 'de 'eart?"
Valencia turned to him and replied, "I guess that's one way to put it. Have you ever heard of the fable that vampires can't stand crosses?"
"Aye, 'dat and sunlight."
"Well, most swords bear a resemblance to crosses, and it only makes sense to stab someone in the heart to kill them. As for sunlight, as you can see we're a very pale-skinned race and burn in the sun easily."
"I wonder if I can't bring a little color to 'em cheeks," Benjamin offered. He took a step towards her, but she didn't back down. Instead, she drew the curtain of the previous captain's bed aside and invited Benjamin in.
(To keep this as G-rated as possible and to offer a tinge of privacy, I shall refrain from elaborating on the details of the obvious sex scene. Instead, I shall skip to the afterward
Benjamin sat on the edge of the bed, casually dressing himself. It had been a long time since he had any relations with a woman, and most of those other ones had had other customers waiting and didn't look half as good as Valencia.
Speaking of her, she was happily moaning under the covers while redressing herself. "That was the most fun I've had in centuries," she cooed with a sigh.
"Wish I could say 'de same 'ting, but I'm only mortal."
Fully dressed again, Valencia stood up from the bed and said, "Well, I must be going. Victor and Vladimir must be bored out of their minds by now."
"Goin'? Where to?"
"Back to Halloween Town, where all vampires are from. I only travel from there on Halloween night, when we're given our sites of scaring. The vampires had the lucky pick of Port Royal this year." A smile curled her lips.
"No wonder few people tell tales o' vampires
Valencia held one of her pale hands to his cheek. "I'm sure that your tale will be one worth telling." She walked into the center of the room and held her hands out to her sides. She breathed outwards and closed her eyes in concentration.
She stood there for a few seconds before breaking her stance and looking around. Finally, her gaze sank down to her midriff. "Oh no, don't tell me
"What? What is it?" Benjamin gently demanded.
"I can't go back," she whispered, turning towards him.
She held the middle of her dress and answered, "I'm pregnant, Benjamin."
"'Ow can ye tell? It's unheard of fer anyone to know some'tin' like 'dat not fifteen minutes after conception, if ye 'ave conceived."
"It's the law of the worlds," she explained, taking a seat at the desk behind her. "When a child is conceived between beings of different worlds, the parents can't leave that world until the child is born. The child stays in the world of birth; it's always been that way, and it's a law that can't be broken."
"So ye be serious about bein' pregnant."
Valencia sheepishly nodded.
"If 'dat be 'de case, so be it. I ain't about to leave such a beautiful woman alone and wit' child, me child." He boldly strode through the doors leading out onto the deck, noticing the darkness still about.
His eyes swept the deck, but the only sight was Jackson curled up, convulsing madly. "Will he be okay?" Valencia asked. "It looks like Victor and Vladimir did quite a number on him."
"Ah, 'dat would be not'in'," Benjamin replied, "not'in' a little rum and convincin' it was all a nightmare wouldn't cure. It worked when 'e was rescued after bein' eaten by a sea serpent." He strode over to his fallen lookout, his vampire vixen on his arm.
July 15, 1991. To make a long story short, Valencia was hidden aboard the Shadow, Jackson was convinced that his torture was only a rum-induced nightmare, and the Oyster prospect was abandoned. Benjamin kept Valencia a well-kept secret until the big night when he was forced to pull into Port Royal. He did so in the middle of a warm summer night when the men were asleep and Valencia could be snuck out without much risk.
The two travelled (with some difficulty) to one of the local doctors. This physician was well-known among pirates for being indifferent towards the nature of his patients and close-lipped about it as well. He was quite surprised when Benjamin and Valencia barged into his office when he was about to close shop. "I'm sorry," he said with a yawn, "but I'm drowsy and closed. Please come back in the morning."
"Out o' 'de question, doctor," Benjamin barked. "'Dis be an emergency. She be in labor, DeVaul." He indicated Valncia, who was breathing heavily while clutching her swollen womb.
Dr. DeVaul's eyes widened when he heard this. "Is that so? That's another matter entirely! Come with me to my back room." He opened the door behind him with a key from his pocket and led the two inside.
Valencia was settled at a large table in a candle-lit room. Dr. DeVaul instructed her to lie down. "Good, good, she's coming along nicely. I'm going to need you to wait in the lobby, though, Benjamin, while I work." The captain left the room as the doctor lifted back Valencia's dress.
Benjamin seated himself in the lobby, but he couldn't keep still. He stood up at intervals and paced around the room. His hands fidgeted at his sides as he listened to what was going on in the next room: the instructions to breathe and push, the panting, the moans, grunts, and screams
All went silent suddenly before a soft whimpering could be heard. Dr. DeVaul opened the door at that time, a smile on his face. "Congratulations, Benjamin," he announced. "It's a healthy baby boy."
(For those of you who get your information on vampire mating intricacies from VanHellsing, live, active cells beget live, active children. Period.)
Benjamin walked into the room where his (decently-covered) partner was seated with their son nestled in her arms. He was sleeping now, taking a rest after the ordeal that he and his mother just underwent. Benjamin walked over to the bed and sat down in a chair beside her. "What shall we name 'im?" he asked, gazing at the baby.
"What about Francis?" asked Valencia.
Benjamin shrugged with a smile and answered, "It be as good a name as any I could come up wit'. A perfect endin' fer 'dis 'appy Halloween tale."
October 31, 2008. As it went, Valencia returned to Halloween Town, entrusting the baby to Benjamin. To keep the truth hidden, he kept the baby in his own quarters and raised it to the best of his abilities. True, he might have been stern to his crew and nearly everyone else, and he wasn't exactly the most experienced in raising kids. But then again, even he wasn't willing to break the promise to the woman of his dreams.
Valencia returned to the Shadow once a year on Halloween night to check on Benjamin and Francis. She had received permission from Jack Skellington to do so, once she explained the complete situation. Of course by this time Jack's and Sally's relationship had hit a similar point and he was more than happy to allow another romance to grow.
Francis grew up to be one of the crew; hardly anyone noticed him as he grew up amongst their ranks, save for his black and teal hair. Ever since he was old enough to hold a sword he learned swordplay from both his father and the other pirates; he had practically mastered duel-wielding his favorite two cutlasses by the time he was twelve.
He liked visiting the blacksmith with his father when he went to pick up a repaired sword or other piece of metalwork. On occasion when the Shadow was docked in harbor he would sneak out to the blacksmith's shop and forge for himself a trinket of some sort, nothing fancy but still his own. He had a chain of these trinkets that he wore under his clothes.
Francis was equally tight-lipped when listening to the veteran pirates' tales of infiltrating other ships. All the while he was aware of his training to one day become one of his father's network of infiltration agents.
Pretty soon the day came when Francis was to be snuck aboard an English ship of his own.
It was another night when the winds began to grow colder instead of warmer. Fall was approaching. The Shadow was harbored on the other side of the cliffs bordering Port Royal. Benjamin and Francis skirted these cliffs along the beach and made their way towards the Port Royal docks. The boardwalk was deathly silent; it had been so for hours. An occasional creak from a board below their feet or a tavern sign off in the town was the only sound.
"Remember what I told ye," Benjamin said to his son, "keep yer 'ead down and don't say too much to anyone. Keep 'dis journal if ye need any confessional time." He handed Francis a leather-bound book with the mark of a ship in front of a sunset branded on it. "'Dis be one o' our most profitable ventures but also one o' 'de most precarious fer our spies, namely ye, so utmost precautions be required. Remember what ye've been taught."
"I will, father," Francis answered.
"Remember," Benjamin added sternly, "I'm yer captain, and ye shall address me as such."
"Aye, aye, captain," Francis corrected.
When they stood before the HMS Dover, the two turned to it, eyeing the four-mast beauty intently. All of its battle scars from its previous pillaging by the Shadow had been cleaned away. Benjamin handed Francis a grappling line and watched as his son succeeded in latching it and climbing aboard. He caught the line as Francis threw it down again and looked up into his son's blue eyes, blue like his mother's.
Benjamin walked away as Francis found himself a room. As his feet traded boards for sands, he thought, "'Dat be right, Valencia comes tonight." He smiled as he reminisced what she had meant the first time she wanted to "catch up on old business."
When he made it back to his silent ship, she was already on the deck waiting for him. "Hello, captain," she cooed.
"'Ello, indeed, Valencia." He walked over and met her in a warm embrace and a romantic bit of making-out.
When the two separated, Valencia asked, "Where is Francis?"
"I sent 'im aboard 'de HMS Dover," Benjamin replied.
"Another ship?" A playful smile curled her lips. "So busy, you must be."
"Such be 'de pirate's life," Benjamin shrugged.
Valencia seemed distracted by something for a second, peering at something over Benjamin's shoulder. "Would that be the ship?" she asked, pointing over to it.
Benjamin turned around to see what she was indicating, seeing a large ship leaving port. He caught sight of the British Union Jack and replied, "Aye, 'dat be 'er. We be scheduled to pillage 'er tomorrow; a perfect practice session fer 'im." The two of them watched the ship as it gracefully crossed the waters, like a hot knife through butter, an ax through soft wood. It was always a sight to see a ship going out to sea.
Suddenly, a large flash of fire scorched the deck of the Dover and caught her sails on fire! Dark smoke joined the storm clouds already billowing into view; the threat of a storm was just as real as the threat of the fire on the Dover. Both Valencia and Benjamin staggered back a step at the sudden sight. "'Dat wasn't part o' 'de plan!" roared Benjamin. "Valencia, 'ead to me quarters; we be goin' to investigate."
Valencia nodded and ran towards the cabin in the rear of the ship.
Benjamin ran below deck, shouting to his sleeping crew, "Up, ye blasted idjits! 'Dere be trouble on one o' our target ships! Off yer asses or face a serious cut in wages!" Disoriented, the other pirates scrambled from their bunks and hastily got dressed. They snatched their weapons and filed into their positions.
Benjamin took the helm and steered the ship away from the cliffs. As they narrowed in on the Dover, he demanded in a loud bellow, "What's happenin' out 'dere?"
"'De Dover be under attack!" Jackson replied. "Dark creatures be 'dere!"
"Full speed ahead!" Benjamin commanded. "Set 'de sails!"
His eyes bridged the gap of water to the other ship. They were closing fast; but by the looks of the spreading flames and sailors pouring over the sides covered in black shapes, they wouldn't make it in time.
Valencia realized this same fact, leaning out of the window of Benjamin's room. She staggered back at the horrific sight, a spectacle too despicable for a citizen of Halloween Town dedicated to harmless, scary fun. She stood in the center of the room, her eyes turned the direction of the ship's movement and murmured a spell. She disappeared instantly in a wisp of mist.
When she reappeared, she felt the blazing heat of an inferno on her face. Screams and crackles resounded in the air, and embers flew about like autumn leaves. Her blue eyes darted around the flames, looking for her son. Sailors dressed in red coats and red flames ran to the railings and flung themselves over them to get away from the other creatures that inhabited the deck: waist-high black insect-like creatures with wide, pale eyes but no other colors to be seen, even when illuminated by the flames engulfing the ship or the full moon above. These creatures she knew followed Oogie Boogie, vicious creatures called Heartless.
There was one fighter against this tide of darkness: her son, Francis. She recognized him instantly by his teal and black hair. He stood near the prow of the ship, hacking away at the shadows with his two cutlasses. They came upon him almost like a wave, but he held his own. He cleaved two in half with a single blow while stabbing another in the head, retracting his swords and cutting another three apart with a pair of downward slashes.
Valencia skirted the flames as she quickly approached him, determined to reach him. A chill wind blew around her, almost shielding her from the heat. As she neared Francis, her nails grew longer, as did her teeth. A red hue betook the color of her eyes. She lashed out at the rear of the Heartless flank by stabbing Heartless with her nails and delivering a quick series of kicks. One or two of them she even sank her teeth deep into them, biting them in half. Francis caught sight of her and smiled, a new thought of hope bringing new strength to his attack. Now the fight was fair.
Both fighters lost all of their mercy for their attackers; they were completely focused in wiping out the horde of enemies and saving the other. No amount of these enemies would keep them apart.
Neither mother nor child knew of the threat sneaking up the ship's figurehead, though, until it had its hand sunk into Francis's chest. Valencia and Francis froze instantly, turning towards the wound. A black hand had poked out of Francis's chest, holding a red heart-shaped gem in its slender fingers. Francis sank to his knees as the hand retracted out his back with its prize and escaped. His previous strength escaped him, and he collapsed to the deck. His swords slid from his hands.
Valencia's heart froze when she saw this happen, and her scream loosed from her deepest being a torrent of rage, a twister of terror. She viciously ripped the wall of Heatless apart as she got closer to her son.
When it was only her, Francis, and fire left on the deck, she knelt down and held her son close. Despite the brutality he had been put through, she could detect some lingering fragments of life. She whispered another spell into his ear and held her hand to his forehead. Her hand glowed with a red aura that sank into his skin. "Receive this last gift from your mother
" she breathed.
He looked up to her, the life draining from his blue eyes. "Mother
" His gaze wandered until it beheld another figure standing next to her. "Father
"Aye, yer father's 'ere," Benjamin said softly, kneeling down to him. "Ye fought well, me boy. Ye fought real well." He took off his hat and laid it on Francis's head. "A man among men ye be."
"'Tanks, dad," Francis said with a smile. With a sigh he closed his eyes and fell into final sleep.
Valencia and Benjamin stood up, tears in their eyes. "Valencia," Benjamin started, "If I had known 'dat 'dis was goin' to 'appen"
"No, it's my fault," Valencia interrupted. "I should have been more careful when coming here. Oogie Boogie must have sent those Heartless after me." She broke into a fit of tears, collapsing into Benjamin's arms.
"'Dere be not'in' more to be done 'ere," said Benjamin. His dismal tone reflected their moods. "Ye should report back to Jack Skellington."
"Yes, yes I should," Valencia agreed. With tears still streaming down her cheeks and similar streaks falling from the sky, she wandered into the patch of damp boards in the center of the flames and disappeared in another cloud of mist.
Benjamin looked up, just noticing the clouds showing their sorrow as well. A thunderous wail bellowed across the sky as Benjamin stepped from the Dover to the Shadow. "Weigh anchor, men," he shouted as he retook the helm, his misery still apparent.
" Jackson said, "What about 'de Dover's bounty? We were scheduled to pillage 'er tomorrow."
Benjamin looked to the ship, to where his son lay. "It all belongs to yer fallen comrade now," he answered. He turned the helm, and the Shadow fell away from the Dover. "We'll just attack a new target tomorrow."
As the shadows departed and moonlight once more flooded the deck, a figure walked over the ash-covered battleground, his blue eyes sweeping over the boards. His hands were lazily held in his pockets, and his stance was casual. A smile was on his face, though, as he mused, "Nice to return to the old stomping grounds for a spell."
He caught sight of something close to the prow, a pair of gleams before a fallen form. The dark-clad figure walked over to both and looked them over. "Obviously a pirate," he thought aloud, scrutinizing the body. He knelt down and felt his chest. He shook his head slowly as he added, "Poor dude, another victim of the Heartless." He ran his fingers through the tan streaks in his otherwise brown hair as he stood up with a sigh. "It is weird how he hasn't deformed into a lesser Nobody, though, at the very least." He nudged the boy's foot once with his own boot.
The closed eyelids of the body tightened once before opening. Blue eyes looked around as he sat up, holding his chest. He caught sight of the stranger and roughly asked, "Who be ye?"
"The name's Machelix," he replied. "Now what do they call you?"
Machelix seemed to think to himself a little bit before snapping his fingers and announcing, "Scarnfix."
"What?" Francis was not amused.
"Oh, boy, do I have my work cut out for me," Machelix sighed to himself. "So this is what Xigbar and them had to go through
" He turned his attention back to Francis and said, "You're a Nobody, now."
"I'm a what?" Instead of becoming angrier, he was becoming more confused.
"You're someone who lost a strong heart," Machelix elaborated. "Only someone who lost a strong heart can retain their form when they become a Nobody. You did lose your heart, right?"
Francis held his hand to his chest, but a worried expression overtook him. "Am I dead?"
Machelix shook his head. "Like I said, you're a Nobody, one without a heart but still alive. Traditionally, as a sort of baptismal tradition, a person receives a new name that's just an anagram of their original name with an X in it somewhere. I thought that you would be happy with Scarnfix."
The newly-named Scarnfix staggered back a step with all of this news. "'Ow do ye know all 'dis?"
"Well, how do you think?" Machelix answered. "I'm a Nobody as well. And as a Nobody, I can do this." He held out his hand in front of himself, and a staff appeared there in a flash of black and white. The staff was cross-shaped and comprised of different shades of green and blue with purple fabric crossing the top half. A deep blue crystal ball with a weird symbol within it rested at the top.
He used this staff to scoop up Scarnfix's two cutlasses and threw them to their owner. When Scarnfix took hold of them, they flashed with a light similar to what had brought forth Machelix's weapon. The guards grew spike-like, and the pommel formed a fixture like the wings of a bird in flight. Both of these changes tinged the metal a different shade of dark blue. "What be 'dis
Machelix simply smiled. "Ah, a metal elemental."
"Yeah," Machelix answered. "Every Nobody comes pre-equipped with a weapon (or weapons) and an element.
"Of course, every Nobody also comes with minions." He clicked his fingers, and another figure arose next to him. This one was knelt down on one knee and dressed in a brown cloak that enshrouded most of its body. A purple scarf was wrapped around its neck with the same symbol as on Machelix's staff on it. Its red-haired head was bowed.
'You called, my liege?' it asked in a whisper.
"You see?" Machelix asked Scarnfix. "These are my Ninjas. Can you summon your minion? They don't have to look like him."
Scarnfix closed his eyes. He had no idea how to summon any minions, if that's what they truly were. He had no idea about any of his new powers, if he really had obtained any new powers. His mind throbbed as he tried to contain all of this new information. It just seemed too unreal.
Suddenly, echoing from the back of his mind, he heard them. They were whispers slightly higher-pitched than the Ninja, but he heard them. 'Call us,' they said. 'Call us to yer side, we beseech ye.'
"Alright," Scarnfix heard himself say. "Ye may come."
He opened his eyes, but what he saw wasn't someone (or something) simply standing in front of him. There were no less than three new figures climbing over the sides of the ship. Each of them was wearing a black musketeer hat with a green feather in each of them. They all wore a navy-blue long-sleeve shirt with an open chest along with metal blades on the shoulders and dark pants covering their legs. Both were embellished with a light-blue cross work at the ends of the garments. As the first one brought itself onboard and approached Scarnfix, he made out a red bandanna covering one of its eyes and an eye patch covering the other. It was a miracle to him that they were able to keep a ruler-straight path. They all knelt before Scarnfix in the same way that Machelix's Ninja did. 'We are the Traitors, traitors to all except to our master.'
The first Traitor held a billfold contained in brown leather before Scarnfix. Scarnfix took it and read the cover. "Letters o' Marque," he realized.
Machelix smiled again. "From what I can gather, I have the perfect title for you: the Turncoat Privateer. Don't worry, I'll explain as we get going." He snapped his fingers again, and several more Ninjas appeared. "I'll leave you guys to get acquainted." He turned to his regiment of Nobody minions and started giving them orders on sailing the ship.
Scarnfix faced his Traitors, all of them still bent on one knee. He lifted his swords before him, gazing upon their new look. All of this was definitely a change, but change was just another name for adventure. He smiled in spite of himself and sat down in front of the Traitors, picking up his fallen journal. This book would be filled with anecdotes of this adventure, a record for himself and his family. All of this was perfect to fuel his revenge against the one who had called the attack upon him. His vendetta against Oogie Boogie would soon be granted.