Reflections: Captain Scarblade
Blast it, that’s not a very good introduction.
It was a dark and stormy night—
No, no, no. That’s not what I wanted to say. I’m no good at this sort of thing. It’s... not something one learns, in my profession. Let’s start with my name. I’m Captain Scarblade.
So maybe you’ve heard of me. I can’t say I’m surprised. I guess I am rather famous. Or infamous, as the case may be. But, in my defense, I didn’t ask to be put in the Gallery of Evil.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m just another villain complaining that his actions were just results of his embittered childhood or something. Well, I’m not. Going to complain, I mean.
I’m glad I chose this life. Being a pirate isn’t so bad. Sure, people think we’re villains, but I don’t care. I have my ship, I have the sea, and that’s all I really ever needed.
It was my father who started me on this path. He wasn’t home much when he was little, but when he was I’d always beg him to tell me stories about what he’d done. He’d tell me about navigating through the Strait of Roo, about the magnificent haul he’d found off the shores of the Lost Desert, about evading a sea monster near Mystery Island. I loved it. I believed everything he said.
I suppose, thinking about it, that he probably exaggerated a little, but back then I didn’t know and wouldn’t have cared if I had known. Those stories were my image of him. It didn’t matter if they were real or not—they built for me a father of whom I could boast, a father whom I could strive to imitate. I was so proud, so proud of who and what he was. And I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to be just as daring as he was. I wanted to make him proud, proud of me, his son.
He was killed while on a raid off the shores Krawk Island. Attacked one fellow pirate ship too many, I guess. Prey became predator, chased down his ship, and he and his entire crew drowned. I named my ship for that. The Revenge. My revenge upon the pirating world. The Revenge, the ship in which I would match his daring and build a legacy of terror to make his spirit proud.
I guess, in a way, I surpassed my father. As far as I know he never dared to mount a full-scale invasion on Maraqua.
Ah, Maraqua. Such a tale. Heartbreak and hope and gallant sacrifice. No, I’m not talking about those insufferable Maraquans. And I’m not talking about the crew of the Black Pawkeet. I’m talking about the crew of the Revenge. My crew.
They worked so hard to reach our goal. So loyal to me, so eager to do my bidding. When we rushed into battle, ah, the battle-fury that raged in their eyes! We struck as one, driving into the depths of the city with raging force. Such devotion I have never seen before and will never see again. Loyal, valiant, unquestioning, they trusted me.
And I failed them.
It still haunts me. It’s one of the few things that does, actually. They did everything right! Everything! And by the wings of the Faerie Queen herself, it should have worked!
Arr, I get so frustrated every time I talk about it. If I could only have defeated that fat little tadpole the Maraquans presume to call a king—!
Well, I mustn’t dwell on that. I’ll be back—I owe that much to my crew. I will win Maraqua. I won’t let them down again. That’s why I’ll be back. Because my crew have served me, and I must serve them in this.
And that’s the reason why I will see Maraqua again.
...at least, it’s most of the reason.
Almost all of it, really.
Although Maraqua was a pretty interesting place. Scenery, you know. And the natives were... um... quaint. And... and...
...there was this Aisha...
The Maraquan Aisha who was at the battle. Not Caylis—Isca. I found out her name afterwards (I don’t stay at taverns just for the grog). She was kind of pretty. Prettier than her sister, I think—brighter, somehow. I saw her during the battle, when she was leading the reinforcements in.
Such fire she had! The wrath of her, as she battled against my crew! The righteous fury that burned in her determined eyes! I remember her eyes. Very large—very blue—very young. I caught only a glimpse of them as I passed, but there was a harsh contempt in them, contempt for me and all that I stood for. They were beautiful anyway, but they were beautiful in contempt. It makes me upset for some reason. I’m not sure why. It’s very odd, really. I wonder if maybe... but that’s silly.
I would have liked to fight beside her. I would have liked to be beside those flashing, righteous eyes, and not on their receiving end. If things had worked out differently and I had been fighting with the Maraquans, and not against them, I might not have minded too much.
But of course, she had to go and get stuck on that airheaded, cavaliering Usul. What does she see in him?! What does anyone see in him? He’s a pirate, for Fyora’s sake! Just like I am!
But do people see it that way? They look at the Revenge and they see pirates, they see evil, they see wrong. And they condemn us for stealing and robbing and murdering and Fyora knows what else, and meanwhile Garin and his crew are sailing merrily along pirating and everyone says, “But he’s really good at heart! And he helped the Maraquans, so he can’t be bad!”
Ugh, it makes me sick.
And the Maraquans adore him, of course.
Isca probably likes him too.
Not that I care. Not in the least. I mean, if she saw me, she’d probably attack me, and then half of Maraqua would be after me, but it’s not like I care what she thinks. Because I don’t. Care, I mean. I mean, why would I give a Snarhook’s tail feather what she thinks of me? She’s just another Maraquan to me, nothing more. Well, maybe a little bit more. She did have nice-looking eyes. Sort of pretty. Very blue. I wonder what they would look like if they weren’t busy hating me. I would have liked to see that.
Just curiosity, though. I don’t really care one way or another.
Still... it would have been interesting. They were pretty. And blue.
I think I’m going soft. Benny must never, never know about this.
But if I went to Maraqua, I’d see her again. Isca. I’m sure of it. She lives in the palace, from what I’ve heard—she’d have to be there. Maybe I’d only catch a glimpse, but that’s all I want. I’d like to see her fight again. She wasn’t half bad, actually. I mean, for a civilian.
If I went to Maraqua, I could see her.
And the only way I can go to Maraqua now is as Captain Scarblade.
Captain Scarblade of the Revenge, come to destroy the city of Maraqua.
But if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it. If I have to fight them again, I will.
And that’s why I’ll be back. To show my father that I too can master the sea. To claim that city for myself, to claim it for my crew. And to watch the contempt blaze in those blue eyes again.