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the-legend

In the time of swashbucklers, pirates, and privateers there was a man known only as Death, for that is what he brought upon the world. His true name was lost to time as he rose through the tyrannical ranks of his brethren. And he eventually found himself with a rather imposing fleet of ships at his command. Wondrous beauties, each one unique and magnificent, the fastest ships to sail the seas, and they’d all come into his possession via a lifetime of commandeering the ships from their once rightful crews and captains. They were his pride, his life, his soul; he couldn’t have cared less about the men aboard his ships so long as his beauties were well cared for. It was this very lack of appreciation for human life that gave him the name Death, for even before he came to captain his own ship he was a death dealer to any and all he deemed to incompetent to be on board hisbeloved vessel.
 
In the beginning the fear his crew felt for him kept them at bay despite his needless slaughter and sick treatment of the men, but over time their fear mutated into anger and their anger drove them to mutiny. The crew made a point to acquire a rare poison, they passed it on to the cook who slipped it into the Captains food, when he lay down to sleep that night the poison took effect, paralyzing him in his sleep. He woke with a start, unable to move, unable to control his body but fully aware of the hands roughly dragging him out of his soft warm bed. He could hear his men speaking, angry words, cruel laughter, but he was unable to even open his eyes, unable to see who his attackers were. The voices were familiar though, one in particular stood out…the ships quartermaster, and the coward was making jokes about Deaths inability to fight back. He was taken out onto the main deck; he felt the sudden icy bite of the wind against his body, and then the abrasive texture of a rope being wrapped around his torso, first under his arms and then binding them to his sides. Where most men would at this point be hysterical with fear, Death felt no terror, simply a calm, controlled fury as the rope was tied off to something and he felt himself tossed over the bow of the ship. The cord dug in with a painful snap as he reached the end of the rope, now dangling about ten feet down from the railing. Were they going to keelhaul him? He didn’t know, couldn’t even open his eyes or move his head to see what was happening above him, but after some time he realized that they were content in leaving him hanging from the railing.
 
He hung there for days, slowly burning and dehydrating in the harsh sun, ropes cutting into his flesh, rubbing it raw while his limp body was bashed against the ship as it rocked back and forth. The spray of sea water setting his broken body on fire, and still the poison would not relinquish its hold on him. He could feel death coming for him, but even in his weakened state his inhuman hatred and fury never wavered. Near the end he began to… pray? I’m not sure if that’s quite the right word but it will suffice, to any and all gods who would aid him in taking revenge upon his mutinous crew. Eventually his mind began to slip, his body going numb as, finally, darkness consumed him. He believed it to be the true grim reaper that now came to claim the ruthless pirate Death, but he was pleasantly surprised to find himself mistaken. From the darkness emerged a creature, initially resembling a human to his tired eyes, but as his vision sharpened he saw the truth. He recognized the woman from legend; The Sovereign of the Sea, her torso was that of an ancient hag, thin and skeletal, her skin a scaly bluish grey, rotted, peeling back from the muscle in places, around her swam a school of bizarre little fish that nibble and peck at her flesh, and instead of hair upon her head a thick mass of seaweed swayed out from her scalp, flicking this way and that as small creatures squirmed through the strands. Her lower half was just as disturbing, from her stomach her flesh began to transform, the further down her body he looked the less her body seemed human and the more…squid like it appear; with thick and powerful tentacles writhing about beneath her. Her grotesque appearance didn’t faze him, which brought a smile to her ancient face. Her lips pulling back from rows upon rows of long pointed teeth and her black, soulless eyes seemed to glimmer with a dark and hungry anticipation. Still he showed no fear, his eyes were instead filled with anger and determination, his lips parted and weakly he whispered one single word.
“Revenge….”
The Sovereign approached him, and laying a numbing, rotted hand upon his shoulder, she leaned in to murmur in his ear strange words that were unintelligible to him. It was then that the captain known as Death was forced to face the being for which he was named, life left his body, his lungs ceased to draw breath, heart ceased to beat, and his soul… it abandoned his body, racing after a heartfelt call that pulled him into an engulfing abyss. Consciousness was suddenly returned to him, he felt himself slammed back into existence with a force that left his mind spinning. He tried to recover, to make himself aware of his surroundings but the world continued to sway before him. It took him some time before he was able to focus through the endless swaying on what lay in front of him. The sky above and the sea below, just as they should be, and his ships were all in sight, but far beneath him he could see the deck of his main ship, the one which he favored above all the others, and there stood the crew that had turned against him. Rage once more flared up within him and his hand tightened into a fist, or it tried to, he was surprised to find himself gripping a pole, he cared not what exactly was in his hand or how it got there, his attention was on the men below him.
 
His Captains were gathered around, their voices elevated as they bickered endlessly and the crew stood back, watching cautiously as they let their hands rest upon their blades and guns. The fighting eventually ended when weapons were drawn, everyone froze for a moment before the Captains dispersed, each returning to his own ship. Only once the fighting died down did Death begin to wonder where he was and how he came to be perched high upon the mast of his ship. It took him only a short time of glancing this way and that through the wavering that was his vision, but as his grip tightened on the pole in his hand and he looked over to see what it was he held… a scythe… he was shocked by what he saw, a white skeletal hand against a fluttering black background.
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