“Why, I’m Targon the indestructible.” And he said it as if it were a name everyone ought to know. “And if you don’t believe me, then take a seat and I’ll tell you the story of my adventures… in the clutches of The Earth Demon!”
“…And there I was… trapped in the very core of the earth… with none to aid me but my own self…” Targon narrated in hushed tones, milking the moment for all it was worth.
“How’d ya escape?” said one, wide eyed Pirate in the crowd of buccaneers that was flocked about the Dragon Master.
“Well,” said Targon. “That would be telling, now wouldn’t it?” Targon grinned. He was devouring the attention. “Another round, bar keep. Another round for these fine privateers!” This of course brought a hearty cheer from those around him and another squawk from the parrot.
“Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. Brawk!”
Targon grinned and took another drought as the crowd about him dissipated. That was when he felt the hand on his shoulder. Looking up, Targon found a tall pirate with a large moustache and a tricorn hat looking down at him.
“That’d be me.” Said Targon, a half-drunken grin on his face.
“You weave a cunning tale mister. Sounds like a load of megablox to me, but if you mean to find a kingdom I may have a business proposition for ye. We can discus it on my ship if you’re interested.”
“Well, I believe I am, good sir.” Said Targon, rising from his seat.
“Now just a minute.” Said the bartender. “This man’s got quite a bill running.”
“Here.” Said the pirate, tossing a bag of coins onto the bar and grabbing Targon’s arm. “That should cover it.”
“Aye Cap’in Strom-rider.” Said the tender, for it was indeed the captain speaking.
Soon Targon found himself out side the pub, being led down a dock, up a gang plank and onto a ship. It was a cloudless night and in spite of the mist on the water, Targon could easily make out the name on the side of the ship. The Mantis
It was almost named The Hornet II
, but that seemed a bit redundant to Burtrand, who had become fairly superstitious about such things ever since his trouble with those identical pendants. It was a good ship, if not quite the vessel it’s predecessor was. And considering his misfortune, Burtrand was lucky to have one at all. The deck was wide and mostly bare, as Targon noted the moment he stepped on board. A sensible person, of course, wouldn’t have been led so willingly onto a pirate’s ship, but Targon was indestructible right? It was part of his name, after all.
“Smythe!” Burtrand called into the mist. “Smythe, where are you?”
“Right ‘ere Cap’in,” said a wiry pirate stepping out of the mist near the back of the ship. “Something need doing?”
“Yes, light the lamps in my cabin and lay out the map. I’ll be in soon. Now,” Said Burtrand, turning to Targon. “I understand you’re in the market fer a kingdom?”
“That’s correct.” Said Targon, feigning an air of sophistication. “It is my ambition to set up an empire on one of the smaller southern isles. Amass riches and build a fine castle where I can spend the rest of my days in the lap of luxury.”
“I see,” said Burtand. “And how are ye gonna do that? The isles are across the water and that’s only the start of your problems. You’ll need a ship.”
“Ah I see. And you’ll provide it if I do you some favor.”
“You’re smarter then you look.” Said Burtrand dryly. He’d decided that he didn’t like this man much. Not because he was obviously a brute under his supposed regality, but because he seemed to think it necessary to act like a bloody aristocrat. Nothing worse then a man who acts like he’s smarter then you. Especially when he obviously isn’t. Still, this indestructible-would-be-king seemed to be perfect for the job Burtrand had in mind.
“Why don’t we go into my cabin and work out the details.”
Once inside they were greeted by the first mate. “Smythe’s the name. Sydney Smythe.”
“And I’m Targon. Targon the indestructible.”
A surprised and rather clueless look came to Sydney’s face but he quickly recovered and said: “Well there’s the map.”
“Here,” said Burtrand, pointing to a square on thew map. “Do ye know what this is?” Targon shook his head. “That dot is the city of Port Crown, capital of Crusader land and home of the King.”
“You want me to kill the king?” Targon questioned.
“No. The king’s already dead if my sources have it right. However there’s another would be king on the move. He hasn’t even been crowned yet and already he’s making trouble for us pirates. I want you to stop that coronation.”
“So, you want me to kill him.”
“No, if you did that, the people would only elect another one. We have to find a way to manipulate him. Force him to stop the coronation and let up on us pirates.”
“How do we do that?”
“Kidnapping. You kidnap his wife, son, daughter, whatever he has, just do it and bring whatever you get back here. A bargaining chip will put the pirates back in control.”
“I see…” said Targon. He was being drawn into the plot and was forgetting to act kingly. “So the king lives at Port Crown?”
“No, not this one. I don’t know where he lives but I trust ye to find that out yourself. It shouldn’t be that hard to locate. Now I’ll be in Denderham until the eighth of May. That’s the date of the coronation and I’ll expect ye back before then. Any questions?”
“Yeah. This whole business sounds kin’a risky. What if I run into trouble?”
“Well I didn’t think there was anything that could trouble ‘Targon the terrible.’”
“Of course, now off with ye. I month isn’t as long as long as ya might think and I’ll give you a fist of doubloons for every day between your return and the eighth of May.”
The thought of money spurred Targon’s imagination and after a few more words, he was running down the gangplank and hurrying off to find the King.
“What was that all about?” Sydney questioned when Targon was out of sight. “Do ye really think he’ll be able to do it?”
“I don’t know, Smythe. He does seem incompetent but somehow I think he might be able to pull it off. Anyhow, I know that I’d never find a man brave enough in our crew of water rats.”
“Humph” said Sydney. “Brave or just foolish?”
Burtrand smiled. “Too true, matey. Too true.”
Let us stop for a moment and ponder the signiture...
Ok, enough of that!