_**‘Givin’ his hopes to a devious smile
He was feelin’ the taste of a future worthwhile,
But she left his heart to sink in the sea,
Oh, the mistress of Cap – ‘**_
The furrowed lips of the singing beggar closed shut. The accordion he was holding, its keys speckled by dried rum, fell on the dock, one rear whine announcing its landing. He felt preyed upon, seeking safety among the crowded voices beyond the fog he was surrounded by. Waving his hands erratically through the cursed mist of Bilgewater, as though trying to carve a path towards the noises, he kept wandering his eyes across the bottle of rum he had knocked over in his rush, which was now rolling on a rotten plank.
The sound of glass on wood overpowered the one of the voices, each turn of the bottle being in rhythm with the foamy waves of the dock waters. A sudden shatter impeded the man’s steps, the sea turning quiet after its occurrence – and when one could not hear the sea, he may as well take a dip with leviathans for his days were concluded. Where the bottle once lay, the man could only see a boot pressing the glass shards to dust.
but their pupils chose to speak more of the tale: their tears mirrored a green blade pointing at the man’s head.
**_‘ -Captain Odyssey’_**, murmured a rough voice, teasing the silhouette of the killer the beggar was to face.
‘You’re that filthy murderer whose name everyone in town is afraid to say aloud … the… the Bloodharbor Ripper is what they call you!’ ,roared the beggar, an extended finger pointing at the harpoon the shadow was holding.
Pyke was surprised by the nerve his prey had suddenly revealed. Most of his targets had the tendency of wailing or ending their lives themselves before he could lay his hands on them. Although he knew that this time, doing what had to be done wouldn’t bring him as much satisfaction as it usually does, he esteemed the beggar – what a shame.
‘Name, beggarman. The sea feeds today’, uttered the ripper, unknotting a parchment soaked in salt water, while keeping a firm grip on the hungering harpoon.
‘Bayers…Percival Bayers.’ ,said the beggar, sighing as he closed his eyes, brushing the salt off his face with his aged, curled eyelashes – he was awaiting his end, as though it was promised to him. His last glimpse, however, was of a bold name on the ripper’s list, one he felt so used to voice – It was untouched, but placed at the very beginning of the array of lives the stranger had taken without a shadow of remorse.
‘D-D-Denise Bayers. Where is she?! What have you done to her…?’, muttered the beggar, spitting at Pyke’s figure, only to have the breeze drizzle him with his hostile gesture.
‘Denise…’ whispered Pyke with great difficulty, the name barely rolling down his tongue.
‘She was the captain of The Forgiven – I was damned to work on that forgotten ship with my beloved sister. Velvet hair, eyes as blue as sapphilite…that’s all you’re getting. I should have let the sea’s behemoths swallow me whole… dying to the hands of a coward is all an old man will get these days.’ , said the beggar, lowering his head and awaiting his sorry end.
_Velvet hair, eyes as blue as- , Velvet -, Denise_ ,… The mist gathered around Pyke , swirling rapidly around him. Until now , he was unsure of what the names meant, thinking of himself as a deliverer, a deliverer to what the sea had tasked him to do. His entire life, or rather death, he was consumed by an irreproachable feeling of vengeance – he felt purposed to end everything he was aware of, names of his past which remained written in his very essence. But the words of the beggar had cast a storm in his mind. The memories they brought back were unclear, as though they lay sunk underwater, the shifting sands making them harder for Pyke to grasp. _Denise. Velvet. Sapphilite._
He woke up in the depths of the dock waters, a pile of seaweed tangled around him. He was unused to having to chase twice after the same prey. As he climbed back onto the docks, he was greeted by a much clearer image of Bilgewater : the fog was gone – the floating town of mischief could be seen in all its glory.
Covered in his cloak, Pyke was walking slyly along the sides of the market streets. The buildings were cheap, of wood that had felt the touch of hundreds of generations , their architecture changing like tides – from two steps away some looked like titanic towers of spruce, from each balcony escaping a mischievous fume of whatever poison its inhabitant was brewing. From one step some seemed to be tacky, old sheds with cloths as windows, mer-rats fleeing through them, each with a chunk of what they had managed to thieve. Only one thing remained the same : the damned scent of lies, salt water and a pinch of whatever made you call Bilgewater your home.
As he wandered through the crowds, Pyke dared not think of what the beggar had told him. He had chosen to remain uncertain of his past , afraid of which hurtful truths he may uncover.
**_‘-sink in the sea,
Oh, the mistress of Captain Odyssey ‘_**
The song. Pyke’s eyes began hunting for the voice of the beggar, but just as their eyes met, the words’ turn came to prey upon him. _Denise_:
The Leviathans jaw pressed against Pyke’s bruised hand, trying to devour him. The ship was at a hand’s reach, Denise waiting for him at the edge.
‘Denise, love, save me!’ ,screamed Pyke, as he extended his hand.
‘Save...you? A stranger? You don’t even look familiar…’ said Denise, grinning as she cut Pyke’s lifeline.