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The Great Hunt (Part I)

[This story is written by guest-author Carnivus Kickassius]


Part I: “Everybody comes to Costa’s”

It was a quiet time for me, that summer of ’87. The American Revolution was over. The French Revolution hadn’t started yet. Back then I was into helping out governments in war matters. Not fighting so much, you understand. More of the supply side. Need a 1000 muskets, and need them by Monday? I’m the troll you go to.

But without a major war, things were slow. Oh, there was still a conflict here and there to dabble in, but that was temp work, at best. In the meantime I—and my two partners—hung out a lot at Costa’s. Why? Because Everybody comes to Costa’s.

First, let me describe my companions. One was none other than Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, otherwise known as Marquis de Lafayette. I’d met him in the Colonies during the war; you may have heard of his exploits. (The Marquis liked press more than I, which is why you probably didn’t hear about me, not to mention G-Dub’s reluctance to acknowledge his soldiers were aided by a troll.)

Anyway, after the war Marquis fell out of favor back in France and ended up knocking around with me. I tried to convince him that the smart play was to pick an entirely new name (other than the 12 he had), but Marquis had too much pride to completely abandon his old identity. During the war Marquis had been known as the ”Swamp Fox,” so he shortened that to come up with “Swax.”

My other comrade was a lad by the name of Kelly LeCroix. In reality he was Kelly LaCrosse, form the British Territories above The United States of America, but for some reason Kelly wanted to pass as French. (Why anyone would want to pretend to be a Frog is beyond me.)

Kelly was obviously running from something, and had a few more secrets besides, but the lad worked hard, followed orders, and kept his head in a fight, so who was I to complain?

The only peculiarity (other than Kelly’s atrociously bad French accent), was that he was always eating these jellied beans, so much so that for a while Swax called him “Kelly Beans.” It didn’t take.

Now let me describe Costa’s: It was an inn and a tavern and a restaurant and a casino and a military headquarters and a pirate hangout and anything else you can think of. Located in Sagres, on the southern tip of Portugal, on a big cliff overlooking the harbor. In fact, many a fight at Costa’s ended with the loser thrown out the back fenestration, which was flush with the cliff face.
It was a pretty cool place. Basically everyone sat around getting drunk and telling stories, waiting for something to happen. I’m not just talking about Costa’s here: that was the entire country!

Even Portugal’s name was alcohol fueled. Some Frenchie once brought Merlot to the King, who got pissed and said, “No; I want Port, you Gaul!” (For those of you who spent history class scoping Mindy McCreedy’s legs in the 4th row, France used to be called Gaul, and was then still used as a put down for the Froggies.)

So where was I? Oh yeah: Costa’s. It was the happening place in Sagres, or all of Portugal for that matter. Anybody who was anybody came there. Benny Franklin showed up once for a drinking and whoring contest. That man had a hollow everything. Wolfgang Mozart sauntered in once and tried to join the band. (He didn’t have enough talent, but they let him be a roadie.) This chick named Sea Hag was a regular whenever she wasn’t out pirating. Pirates were a big deal in Sagres, as well as any coastal town, though they didn’t call themselves as such. (More on that in a minute.)

The proprietress of Costa’s was Deolinda Costa. As many rumors flew around about her as did about ships passing on the open seas. Some said her husband used to run the place until one day he “jumped” out the back. Others said she won the tavern in a poker game, putting up her own ship the Maria Cristina in a fiercely contested hand. No one knew for sure.

What was certain was that Deolinda was beautiful. The woman had more curves than the King’s Highway (and the detours weren’t too bad either, or so I’d heard). Besides a body from the gods, Deolinda had long shimmery hair, dark as midnight, eyes that would drink you in, and exotic skin; “lightly spiced,” Swax used to say.

The coolest thing about Costa’s was how there was always something new and exciting going on. This one time a Danish dude (they called him Crenny Dane) offended Sea Hag, and the two decided to shoot it out with muskets. Being a gentleman, Crenny Dane offered Sea Hag got the first two shots. Big mistake.
Blam! Sea Hag shot Crenny Dane’s left ear off!

Blam! She shot his right one off too!

We all waited for Crenny to start shooting, and when he didn’t someone called out, “Hey Crenny! Ain’t you gonna shoot?”

“Naw.” Said Crenny Dane.

“How come?”

“Can’t see.”

“Why can’t you see?”

“My ears were holding up my hat!”

And on it went. Another time there was this real scoundrel, name of Carolina Willy. He used to go to operas and plays and whisper the ending to anyone in listening range. One night, Deolinda heard him talking about the end of a new play, “The Mongrel Prince,” the same night she was planning on attending. This angered Deolinda a bit (You know Portuguese chicks), and she decided to hang ol’ Carolina Willy.

Willy didn’t handle the news too well. He started whimpering, “I must die with my boots on! I must die with my boots on!! I must die with my boots on!!!”

Finally in disgust (and to shut him up), Deolinda asked Carolina Willy, “Why must you die with your boots on?”

“Because I have a hole in my sock!”

That’s how it went at Costa’s.


We had a mayor in Sagres by the name of Al Garve, but nobody called him that. They all called him “The King of Jellies.” Why? That’s another tale.
The King of Jellies, he was a character. I remember this time Swax and I were having a contest who could drink the most rum in six hours. (Well, Kelly was originally in the contest too, but he’d passed out after ten tankards.)

At the next table the King of Jellies is talking to some Asian girl, trying to impress her with his Mayoral Medallion. Some local woman bursts in all upset: “King of Jellies. King of Jellies. You have to help me!”

“What seems to be the problem, Senhora?”

“The cattle rustlers. They took all my prime steers and bulls. If you don’t do something they will come back and pinch my calves too!”

The King of Jellies looks her up and down, lingering on the woman’s legs. Finally he says, “I don’t think you have to worry too much, Senhora. I don’t see how anyone would want to grab those skinny legs.”

Just another day at Costa’s.

So one day, about August 12, Swax and I were arguing the merits of sea food when Kelly comes running in all flush, excited, and out of breath.

“Gweff wap!” Kelly says, or tries to. (French accents are tough under the best of conditions, but especially hard when one is breathless.)

“Slow down kid.” I say. “Be easy and take in some air and tell us about it.” Kelly sits down and takes a long swallow of rum and collects himself and then starts in again.

“The King of Jellies is down at the docks talking to ship Captains. From what I overheard, it sounds like they are calling the Great Hunt!”

Even Swax perked up at this. The Great Hunt hadn’t been called for some 80 years now, before Swax was even alive, although he’d heard the stories.

Everyone had.

Let me explain: at the time the only real power in the world was naval power. Armies were well and good and all, but if you couldn’t move troops, food, arms, and other supplies quickly on the water, you were nothing.

As such, there were many who invested heavily in ships to carry these items—and more—all over the known world. And there were other would-be entrepreneurs who invested in other ships, ships whose purpose was to take the goods of the first ships.

Today you would call the second group Pirates. That term was used back then, but there were other terms too, many of them. The one the best of them preferred was “The Liberals.” At the time Liberals were a small political party in England that believed in redistributing wealth. These “pirates” liked that idea as egalitarian and noble, and so they co-opted the name for themselves.

(Of course, the Sea-faring Liberals weren’t into the redistribution part of the equation as much as they were of taking the booty, but then again, the same could be said of the political party.)

Anyway, these Liberals were a guild of sorts, complete with a rule book called Roger’s Rules of Order. (It was similar to Robert’s Rules of Order, which many of you may have used in Student Councils, but for pirates. You will recall that the traditional pirate flag is called the “Jolly Roger.” Same dude.)

Some of the rules dealt with who the Liberals could plunder. Some focused on how they handled each other on the open seas. And a big portion was devoted to the Great Hunt. Every so many years one would be called, and all the Liberal Ships across the world would set out in search of Treasure. There were myriad things they would look for, but there was always one thing, one big thing that was the same. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When Kelly told us about the Great Hunt, Swax immediately wanted to be a part of it. I guess he was just dying for some excitement. In truth, we all were. As luck would have it, the Sandpiper Express, captained by the infamous Mullinatti, in was in port, and Swax suggested we hire ourselves out.

It was tempting. While Mullinatti was known for some underhanded trading in his time, we knew he would treat us well. I had somewhat of a reputation, after all, and no one crosses a troll lightly.

But I, I had bigger ideas. I looked at my two partners and said, “I agree we should be in this Hunt, lads, but not as lackeys for some other captain. We need to get our own ship.”

Kelly’s eyes about popped out of his head. “That would be sweeter than my jellied beans.” He said.

Swax was more realistic. “It’s a great idea, Carny, but we ain’t exactly livin’ the life of Reilly here. How we gonna float enough jack to swing our own ship?”

“Perhaps I can help.” Came a voice. As one we looked up to see Deolinda Costa, staring at us with her hazel-chocolaty eyes. After what seemed like an eternity of us just gazing at each other, Deolinda beckoned me.

“Come Senhor Carnivus. We must talk.”

August 12, 2005


Lust Bear said...

Where can I send Carny fan emails or naked photos?

Sea hag said...

Where's part 2? I demand more Carny!



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