The rain hammered at the door impatiently demanding entry to a small weapons shop on White Rock Outpost. A young boy of ten years sat atop a box of supplies staring at the door. He had a dagger in hand and worry racing through his eyes. Sweat had built up on his forehead and it loosened his fingers grip on the small blade. The folks of White Rock had been filling his head with unsettling fear. A dreadful pirate crew was spotted circling the island earlier that week and it was all anyone could talk about. Few had actually seen Captain Razor and the crew known as the Devil's Own, but they were known from shroud to shroud for their stealthy tactics and desire for all things shiny and everyone knew from the pitch black ship that it had to be him.
The Hodge's weapon shop had many valuable arms and a sizable chest of gold from its sales. Little Jimmy Hodge knew he couldn't let it be stolen away from him. It was just Jimmy and his father who ran the shop and his father had recently fallen dangerously ill. Jimmy needed the money to pay the Order of Souls to divine some kind of cure for his father. The deviant activities of the trading company aside, they were known to be able to get their hands on potions with magical properties, some of which were thought to be capable of healing. Nawtreaka, the Order of Souls representative of White Rock, had told Jimmy that only the Ferryman could decide the fate of the Damned. This was discouraging, but the boy's father taught him that enough gold could change anyone's mind, so he was going to see to it that he changed Nawtreaka's.
Jimmy's heard a slight scratching outside. He nervously pushed the box of supplies he had been sitting on against the wall and stood on top to cautiously peer out the window. He looked left and saw nothing. He glanced right and was met with only darkness, but then lightning struck with a blast of wind, flinging the front door open. This shock sent Jimmy sprawling onto the floor turning him into a pile of flailing limbs. He regained his stance and rushed to shut the door, escorting the noisy percipitation back outside.
The tanned boy brushed the rain out of his thick blonde hair and off his brown pants. He took in a deep breath of relief, turned and picked up his knife, then went to retake his post, but noticed a shadowy figure standing in the back of the shop.
"I see you!" Jimmy whimpered. "Come out or I'll...."
His voice trailed off as a young woman stepped out from the dimly lit corner and into the glow of the shop's lantern light. Her hands were raised with her empty palms showing no threat. She had a sad look on her chocolate colored face. Her shoulder length black hair dripped as if it was drenched in ink and her dress looked heavy carrying an extra pound of rain in its threads.
She fell to her knees and pleaded with the boy. "I'm sorry to burst in, but the rain is trying to drown me and that lightning scares me beyond my wits! Please, can I stay? Just to dry off and let the storm pass?"
Jimmy paused to think. He was disarmed by the ladies appearance. She had a few scars but looked cute in her black and bronze dress. He felt she was no danger and sensed an air of innocence emit from her. His father couldn't get out of bed and was barely able to awake from his fevered sleep more than a couple minutes at a time. He was laying in the room behind the shop desk and in no condition to make this decision so Jimmy made the choice to allow her to stay. He wanted to help her. Besides, he had been lonely since his Dad's sickness and he was scared as she was of the situation.
The two sat on the floor boards with a large lantern in between them. The girl held her hands out to capture the warmth as water fell silently from her tight sleeves. "So are you here alone?" She questioned.
"My Dad is in the other room." Jimmy replied. "This is his store. I am just trying to help protect it while he is sick."
"Wow, you are really brave." She smiled. "Is your name Hodge too then? I saw it on the sign outside. I'm Brandy."
"Thanks. I'm Jimmy Hodge. My dad is Francis Hodge." Jimmy tilted his head and asked. "So where did you come from Brandy? There aren't a lot of people on this island. I've never seen you before."
"Well you wouldn't have." Brandy said while studying the boy's expressions. "I am a travelling merchant. I was trying to sell snakes to the Order of Souls on behalf of the Merchant Alliance. I heard they use it for potions or some such thing. The storm had my sloop twisting every which way though. I thought I was a goner when I was washed overboard but was blessed to find this port while getting washed about."
Jimmy was excited by this news. "Do you know if they make healing potions? I need some for my Dad! He has some rare disease and no one says they can help. The Order of Souls is the only hope I have! Please tell me they have something!"
The woman seemed a bit uncomfortable by this. "I can't say for sure. I just deliver the ingredients and animals. I'm sorry I can't help more, little friend." Jimmy's face fell and caused Brandy to quickly add, "I don't see why not though. They can divine secrets from beyond our world. Healing should be a snap for them if anybody could."
Jimmy picked up his head and managed a weak smile. They chatted a while more in front of the lantern's flame as the sounds of thunder grew softer allowing the two to relax a bit. Brandy laid on her side and propped her head up with her arm while Jimmy leaned his back against the wall. Jimmy thought about how scary sailing in a storm would be. Aside from that he wondered if she even knew their were infamous pirates in the area. "Did you know the Devil's Own were seen around here? You are lucky they didn't find you first." Jimmy informed his guest.
"Pirates are always a worry for us at the Merchant Alliance. They chase us all the time and take all they can carry. You don't have to worry about me though, little friend. I keep my ship filled with snakes. SSsssSS!" Brandy hissed as she tickled Jimmy. He giggled and then let his body relax flat on the wooden floor as the fatigue of staying up all nite began to set in.
"Goodnite, Brandy." He said sleepily. She replied in kind as his eyes closed and the fire dwindled to a tiny spark sending him off comfortably to slumber.
A few hours later morning came with a bang. Jimmy's eyes opened wide as saucers. He hopped up only to trip back down to the wooden floor immediately. His legs were tied together, same as his wrists bound behind his back. He squirmed around and rolled over to see Brandy kneeling by the door. He took her in as his eyes adjusted to being awake. She was now wearing a wide brimmed black hat with a long silver feather in it. Her face was painted a ghastly white with thick black outlines on her eyes and lips. She had her same dress but now it was decorated with weaponry from the shop. A gold an onyx saber was resting on her side and an ebony flintlock pistol with emerald studs stood at the ready in her hand. She was peering out the window in the center of the door, but turned to meet his shocked face. Her eyes dropped with a bit of guilt. "Sorry, Kid. I'm just going to borrow these a while, honest!"
"Just like you were honest about being from the Merchant Alliance?!" He shouted.
"Hey, I've done work for them before. And I see snakes all the time! HEY! I don't have to explain myself to you, Kid!" Brandy said exasperated. "Just stay in here and you'll be fine. It's about to get dangerous out there."
"Are you Captain Razor?" Jimmy demanded.
"No. That was my old man." Brandy revealed. "I took over his trade just like you will from your father someday. I couldn't save my father from his fate when the time came, but do what I tell you, Jimmy, and you just might get the chance to save yours." With that, Brandy pushed through the door and took off into the early morning rain. Jimmy wiggled his body til he could stand. He looked outside. The sky was grey and the storm continued but he could see much more than last nite. There was a pitch black sloop by the docks. It was firing periodically into the outpost and the residents were running about in a panic. Jimmy also saw several pirates dressed in green attire chasing shop keepers and looting the outpost.
There were dozens of blades for sale hanging on the wall. Jimmy hopped over to one and rubbed his bindings against the sharp instrument until his wrists were free. He then cut away the rope on his ankles. Once free he started for the door but saw a pirate's shadow pouring through the window. He dove behind the counter to hide. The k**b turned and the door was pushed open with a deafening creak. Shivers went down the boy's spine as his worse nightmare took place. Heavy boots moved around the shop. Jimmy couldn't see anything from his hiding spot but heard the pirate rummaging through the weapons hanging against the wall. The villain then let out a gasp when he noticed the chest of gold right next to Jimmy who was frozen in terror hidden by the counter top. The pirate dropped the trinkets in his arms and scooped up the chest with a dastardly laugh. He was so enamored with his find he didn't even notice the little boy crouched next to it. The pirate took off with the gold and Jimmy crawled over to where the chest had been. He laid on the floor sobbing as he felt his heart ache. He lost all his hard work. He lost all his gold. He had lost his father's last chance to stave off the Ferryman.
"NO!" Jimmy screamed rising up from his despair with unbridled passion. He ran out of the shop with fire in his eyes, scouring the beach for the man who stole his father's future from him. He laid his eyes on him nearly about to reach the docks. Running as fast as his boots would carry him, the boy dodged fire, yelling residents, and wild pirates, as he made his way toward his target. Jimmy caught up to the pirate just as he was getting onto the black sloop to store the treasure. The boy threw himself into the man but he didn't budge at all. Full of fury as he was, Jimmy was still just ten years old. The pirate dropped the chest and turned toward the kid in his way.
"What have we here? This treasure use to be yours didn't it kid? I bet you feel some kinda way about this, but it's time to learn a lesson about how things work around here from ole Papa Wolf." Taunted the pirate as he smacked Jimmy off his leg, sprawling him against the mast. The man was wearing a long green jacket left open to show off his bare chest covered in scars and tattoos. He leaned closer to Jimmy who pulled back in disgust from the man's odorous beard and moldy eye patch. "In the Sea of Thieves, the strong take and the weak provide." He poked Jimmy as he continued his lecture. "If you are weak. You gather shiny things for the strong like me. Just accept your fate and keep your place under my boot, boy!"
The pirate raised his muddy boot to stomp on Jimmy, but a dark figure slid down the ladder from the crow's nest and pummeled into the man. Jimmy looked up to see Brandy standing on top of the pirate who was now crumpled and unconscious on the deck. "Glad to see you know your place, Gloom Wolf!" Brandy spat as she rubbed her boot into the man's back. Jimmy's jaw dropped in disbelief. "Close your mouth kid. You look like a hungry goldfish!" She joked.
"But. I thought that. I mean. Aren't you?" Muttered Jimmy.
"A pirate? Yes. With the Gloom Wolves? No. These dolts stole my ship during the storm last nite. I'm Captain Spirit of the Sea Spirits. That's the name I chose instead of the Devil's Own after inheriting the crew from my dad, Revan Spirit or Captain Razor as the public remembers him. The Devil's Own is a bit too on the nose for me. We get it Dad. You were scary." Brandy mused then sighed. "I picked a heck of a time to give my crew the nite off, didn't I?"
Jimmy's face was still blank with uncertainty when two more Gloom Wolf pirates returned to the ship with spoils. They dropped their loot and pulled their weapons when the spotted Brandy on top of their captain. "You?" The men accused. "We tossed you into the sea! What are you doing here?"
"What am I doing here? THIS IS MY SHIP! Are you serious? You know what." Brandy sighed. "Just forget it. Leave the treasure and.." She began but was interrupted.
"And what? I suppose you'll let us leave? Bug off Poppet!" Snorted the Gloom Wolf.
"I was going to say I'd make your end quick, but I think I'll enjoy humiliating you instead!" Brandy shouted as she pulled out her blade. The two pirates rushed her, but she dodged between them expertly and sliced at the men faster than they could react. They gasped as they reached the edge of the ship and felt their chests to see where they'd been cut. With relief they realized they were not harmed, but their faces turned tomato red as their belts split in two and their trousers dropped to the deck. They bent over to lift their pants and Brandy took this opportunity to kick the pirates in the behind sending them both flailing into the sea. The men swam toward the ship's rope ladder but Brandy pulled it aboard and warned the pirates, "Mind the fishy, Boys!" They turned to see a shark's fin curiously approaching. The Gloom Wolves shot for the beach as fast as they could where they were met with an angry mob of residents brandishing fire arms.
"Take your gold back to the shop, Jimmy! I will deal with the other pirates." Said Brandy as she took off into the outpost thwarting and disarming each Gloom Wolf she encountered. The young boy dragged his gold back as quickly as he could. It was slow and heavy work, but Brandy had the Gloom Wolves attention and his trek was safe. After putting the chest back behind the counter, Jimmy returned to the beach. Several Gloom Wolves were tied up in a pile surrounded by the angry residents of White Rock. He then saw two of the tavern workers drag someone out of the Order of Souls tent and take the squirming pirate to the pile of captives. Jimmy recognized the pirate as Brandy and ran to her defense. He dove in between the men and they released Brandy in confusion.
"This one is good! I promise! She saved me and my gold." Jimmy told the residents who looked at each other unsure.
Brandy took advantage of the distraction and seized Jimmy from behind putting a sword in front of him. "What are you doing, Brandy?!" Jimmy exclaimed.
"Look! No one comes near me and the boy will be fine." Brandy yelled out as she backed up to her ship and boarded with Jimmy. She raised the anchor and got ready to drop the sail for her getaway. There was still plenty of loot on board that the Gloom Wolves had gathered. The residents watched in horror from the beach worried for the young merchant boy's life. Brandy leaned in to whisper to Jimmy as she put something in his pocket from behind him. "No hard feelings, yeah? They never would have believed us. Take care, little friend, and tell your father I said hi."
With that she pushed Jimmy back onto the docks, dropping her sails. Brandy Spirit took off with the wind and the outpost was at peace once more. Jimmy watched Brandy disappear into the rain as he felt conflicted about what she had done. The shipwright came to his side and walked him back home after making sure he was alright. In his shop he reflected on Brandy and his mixed feelings then remembered she had put something in his pocket. He fished out a glass vial with red liquid inside. There was a bit of parchment tied to it that read 'Life Elixir'. Jimmy ran to his dad and held his head up to drink without hesitation. Within seconds his father's fever broke and his eyes cracked open. "Jimbo? Is that you, son?" Said his dad. They embraced warmly and though Captain Spirit would have a spotty reputation with the folks of White Rock, Jimmy would never have mixed feelings about Brandy again.