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Where Are They Now: Heroes, Villians and Icons

by mickey_a94_a39


Case 1: A Voyage Through Misconceptions

      Hello everyone! Thank you for reading the first instalment of a brand new mini-series documenting the lives of famous, and infamous, icons in the world of Neopia after their peak in the limelight. After extensive research, phone calls, smoke signals, lunch and dinner dates, we have arranged to follow several names you probably already know through a day in their life.

     Our first day on this new journey started out searching for our first contact. After securing a cheap vessel from Mystery Island due to budgeting, we made our way to a set of coordinates provided to us via Pawkeet. Thanks to our helpful guide, a happy-go-lucky Techo named Masah, we managed to find our way to a single spot of land in the open ocean some fifty-six kilometers east of Mystery Island.

     Once there we set up a small camp and waited for our mystery guest to arrive. Night fell and as we were beginning to think we had been stood up, a mysterious chill began to crawl up our spines. Myself, my cameraman, as well as our guide, shuddered as we heard the water break to our right. With the help of Kreludor’s light we could see a ship breaching the surface. It was none other than The Revenge, and the man of the hour, standing at the bow of the ship, Captain Scarblade.

     That’s right readers, our very first encounter of this series is the infamous Captain Scarblade.

     We would like to take a moment to address the Elephante in the room. Now obviously some readers may be wondering how we could possibly be so insane as to wander out to a deserted island with no way of contacting another soul, to purposely meet the legendary pirate that twice sacked Maraqua. The short answer is—he responded to our neomail.

     The long answer is that this series would not be what it is if we didn’t seek out the best of the best, and the worst of the worst. We know what they did then, but what are they doing now? What’s their motivation? How do they pass the time? Do they have any regrets?

     There is no other way to get these answers but to speak to the Neopians themselves.

     Captain Scarblade needs little introduction. A green Lupe with a clouded past, he is the captain of The Revenge and has a reputation for commandeering vessels to add to his armada. He has succeeded once in ruining Maraqua and a second attempt led to more destruction of the beautiful underwater city before he was halted by King Kelpbeard. After disappearing for many years he has resurfaced to allow us an inside look at his daily life.

     As we boarded the ship, all preconceived notions about what a pirate ship is like were thrown overboard. What we saw before us was a machine. A well-oiled machine. It was clear to even landlubbers like ourselves that each crewmember had their duty and they stuck to it. It was late into the night but the ship was bustling.

     “Alright men, hit the sack, it’s that time!” With one swift command, Scarblade halts his men and they finish their duties before going below deck.

     We question him about why his crew has a curfew considering pirates are lawless and could probably care less about rules.

     “Ah, you don’t see the big picture Mr. Interviewer. Everyone aboard this ship knows conditions will not always be perfect, far from it. They need to conserve their energy. Aye, we need to be in tip-top shape every day for our own sake. It also helps to portion rations before we can pill…procure more.”

     Scarblade would go on to discuss the numerous variables that lead to harsh conditions for a pirate. Being out at sea, with a lack of modern commodities like we have in our homes, something as important as food storage and health becomes a trial. Constantly wet conditions, no refrigeration, and lacklustre storage techniques, among other things can lead to food and water becoming inconsumable very quickly. Hence they resort to things such as Neocrackers, juice, and other hard-to-spoil items to survive on each day. Even then, they still need to be able to subsist on this diet and maintain energy to keep going each day.

     We asked about his methods of securing the funds necessary to maintain his vessel and his crew.

     “Aye, trade secret. I will say, not everything we need to survive can be bought with silver and gold.”

     The next day we arrived at the harbour on Krawk Island. After docking, we established a small party with Scarblade and his crew to gather supplies. Surprisingly, they were greeted warmly. Encounters among pirates are not known to be so cordial, as they are all basically fighting over the same resources to continue their see another day. We followed two crewmembers who had been carrying large burlap bags to a small vendor.

     As they set down the bags, what they revealed was shocking. Each bag contained hundreds of bars of soap of varying colours. The bars were wrapped with thin cardboard labels around the midsection of each bar, delicately hand-drawn pictures on each label corresponding to the scent of each.

     “A pirate bartering away scented soaps? A fools tale they’d say.” Scarblade says as he walks up behind us. “Pirates these days are catching up with the times, slowly but surely.”

     We came to discover that the hygiene regimen of the grittier denizens of the sea were on the up and up. We have not been able to identify the beginning of this trend but it would seem that Scarblade has capitalized on the commodity and uses the soap his crew makes (he wouldn’t disclose how they got the raw materials) to sell for profit and barter with locals for better rations and daily living essentials for his crew.

     We continued our journey through the wharf until we began heading northeast through the island and came upon the Swashbuckling Academy. Upon arrival, the door suddenly swung open and we were halted by Capn’ Threelegs, owner of the academy and counterpart to Techo Master of the Mystery Island Training School.

     “I see yer back ‘ere again Scar.” The casual greeting throws us reporters for a loop, but the exchange seems rather routine.

     “I’ve got two from the mainland tailing me today so we’re going to make this quick but flashy, Threelegs.” Scarblade brandishes his sword immediately and charges.

     What ensues, dear readers can only be described as high-level combat. As we stood there in awe, watching one of the strongest pirates go toe-to-toe with one of the main training masters of Neopia, the crew members informed us that despite the difference in lifestyles and moral codes, Capn Threelegs is a long-time associate of Scarblade from before anyone began to know his name, and that they kept each other fresh through semi-regular sparring matches, but that was as much as they knew.

     Here it was folks, a sudden connection to the mysterious past of Captain Scarblade. However, even we are not foolish enough to delve down that path just yet.

     After an intense sparring session with real weapons drawn, their battle came to a close with much of the land in front of the academy scarred or carved out from the intense blows and abilities.

     “Aye, keeping limber even now are ye’? Good, it wouldn’t be quality trainin’ if ye didn’t.” Capn’ Threelegs addresses Scarblade. “Oi you two taggin’ along, don’t get in over yer heads with his one ‘ere,” pointing at Scarblade, “just ask yer questions and keep yer heads low. A lil’ notepad and a camera ain’t gonna stop a blade if ye cross him.”

     Don’t worry dear readers, we lived to tell this tale.

     “That demonstration ought to keep ‘em in line, ain’t that right?” Scarblade looked at us and we certainly realized why he displayed such a grandiose performance of skill. After witnessing a true show of strength from the infamous captain we returned to the vessel and set sail once again.

     We would be departing the next morning and had spent the rest of the day observing the crew and the captain as they went about their daily duties on the ship.

     As we watched the crew a question came to mind about life at sea. So we asked the captain what it’s like to be alone out at sea with no one to interact with but yourself and your crewmates.

     “Aye, that’s the first good question you’ve asked me all this time.” Scarblade jabs at us as he continues. “It’s something nobody but folk like us understand. It’s a lifestyle we chose but it comes as a cost. We’re cursed. We’re cursed with our thoughts and our doubts. The world thinks I’m evil for the sake of it. Aye some be like that, like that landlubber who muddled about in the sand seventeen years ago.” Referring to the incident in the ruined city of Qasala in the Lost Desert.

     “I am evil,” he states, “but I’ve had time to contemplate it. I’ve chosen this path after bein’ alone in my own head in open waters for years. Time gives you perspective. Perspective you don’t get if yer doing anything other than thinking’.”

     This revelation shocks us, but we press for more about this philosophy Scarblade has come up with. He furrows his brow, as if frustrated by the thoughts he is having.

     “Aye, what be my actions today? How am I going to live to tomorrow? Who do I have to climb over to see it? And how am I going to do it? Your thoughts get darker and darker mates, before you even realize it. Next thing you know, there’s a ship burnin’ before yer eyes with its crew in the water, their cargo tucked away with your cargo, their screams filling the air.”

     “I’ve spent more years in my head than you’ve lived on this planet. I have had a lot of time to think about my next move, my next target, the ones I need to…revisit. Oh the time I’ve spent thinking of every possible form of…”

     Scarblade stops suddenly, then he turned to us. Our camera still rolling, hand still writing.

     “You folk have made me speak a little too much of my mind, bein’ good listeners seems to be a bit of a strength ‘o yers eh?” He approached us, the chill returned once again.

     “Interview’s over, and you’ll be havin’ a good night’s rest won’tcha?” He asked us as his hand slowly caressed the handle of his blade. We quickly bid him good night and dip below deck before we were no longer able to provide a story.

     The next morning we arrived at a designated pick-up point somewhere between the mainland continent and Mystery Island to meet with a friendly old Kacheek sailor who would take us back to a port near Neopia Central.

     As we departed The Revenge, we were gifted several bars of Tigerfruit and moss scented soap, a clear combination of the native fauna of Mystery Island and Krawk Island. Each had a note attached that things written on them we do not believe will pass the editorial board.

     Our quick two day trip with Captain Scarblade was quite a revealing one. The misconceptions of pirate life, the day-to-day routine of a captain and his ship, the unique relationships he has formed and even a bit of an insight into the mind of the villain himself were all laid as bare as they could be and we would like to thank Captain Scarblade for his giving these two small-time reporters his time, and his mercy.

      To be continued…

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