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'Til Death Do Us Part - The Untimely Demise

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This story takes place two years after the time of Retribution. The threat of Alexis GhostForge has been eliminated, and a new threat has risen.
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With great haste, Marcus and Max veered away from the windlane. Their sudden approach on Royal Navy ships became a surprise to security, and high alert was had for a Bison Skiff entitled "Little Mountain." Cannons fired from the Marleybone ships upon the boys' ship. When it was brought down to nearly nothing in the ability to hold together, the boys hopped. In their fall, they unbottled a MooShu skiff. It wasn't until after 3 more ships of different lineage were flying that the two escaped on a raft.

As baffled as the Marleybonians were, they fired at the four skiffs. All four did not fire back, and sunk within a matter of minutes.

Looking towards the ships, Max at the raft's wheel, Marc saw an ally aboard the ship who had recognized the insignia on every ship. He saw, from a distance, Isabella DeathMask saluted along the side of a ship. She would be sure that the Rose was shown mercy.

When the two got to a secret docks, the night was beginning to fade away, and the sun was beginning to peak above the horizon. In their hurry, both jumped off of their ship and onto the docks. Max was agile enough to land safely, on his feet. Marcus took a tumble into various crates, having lost his balance. Both of his sparklocks fell from their holsters. Quickly, he grabbed them and put them back. One crate he landed on dumped a load of spark-weapons, and another one revealed bags of ammunition. Without a second thought, Marcus took a rifle and two bags of ammunition that would supply for 150 shots out of the rifle. Max holstered some empty spots in his jacket with three pistols, one sword, and five knives.

"What time'd the letter say?" Max asked, hurriedly worried.

"It didn't say a time," Marcus replied, opening it, "It just said sunrise at the factory." He quickly folded the letter, and put it back in his jacket, "Any idea what time that'll be?"

Looking to the horizon, Max examined and estimated. "We've got a solid hour," He said, realizing the light of the sun was beginning to hit the bottom of the thick cloud layer below, "This is the first sunrise we've ever seen in Marleybone."

"That don't mean we got time to stop and smell the roses," Marcus loaded his sparklock, "We gotta go save our own before we can smell the ones in Regent's."

"Aye," Max drew a knife, "I'll follow you." He walked towards Marcus.

~~~~~

Approximately twelve hours earlier, Marcus and Max had returned to Skull Island from a previous outing. Having had played middleman again for One-Eyed Jack and the Frogfather in some new scheme of attack plot sorts, they were incredibly tired. Having looked forward to a rest, it was to their own surprise that their docked galleon, The Wayward Rose, had been destroyed. She was in pieces, all of the usable parts scavenged, and the broken pieces and the flag partially burned and sitting on the sand. Among the shrapnel was a note.

"You think ya'll can take me down, send me to jail, and leave me to rot in Newgate? We'll see 'bout that. I took the three that were on your ship: Yardsley, Groot and Roberts. Their weapons are with me, 'long with everything else that I could take. Ya wanna save who you can? I'll make sure that you'll never see them alive in three day's time. One will be gone at sunrise each day, at the old abandoned factory on the middle-west joint of the northern island.

An old friend"

The realizing that an old threat had risen once more had reawakened Marcus and Max more than one of the strongest cups of coffee would cause another insanity in Net Amal. The realizing that Rachel, Eli and Taryn had all been taken began a heartstop, and knowing what had to be done.

Quickly, they tried to reassemble the Legendary Rose. It was unfortunate that most of the Wizards had gone to council during this time, except Andrew was back in Grizzleheim, Midori was in MooShu as an Emperor's Councilwoman, and Elijah was back in Marleybone. That eliminated 7, but the possibility of one remained. Looking towards the pirates, Nettan was with Gracie at council as a Witchdoctor and Necromancer, Jesse was hired as a pilot for some merchant in Monquista, and who knows where everyone else was?

It was soon decided: It was up to Max and Marcus to save Rachel, Taryn and Eli.

~~~~~

By the time the duo reached a small cliff overlooking the factory, it was another thirty estimated minutes 'til sunrise. The factory was lightly guarded, apparently. Two cat thugs and three thieves patrolled the area, both in familiar colors. The O'Leary gang had come back, Bubs and Pops were back in command. Pops was visible, shoving Eli towards a stone stairway. Multiple injuries shown on Eli's body, only given a pair of ragged shorts and a shirt for protection from the cold had not been enough. There were two cages that held Rachel and Taryn separately, Taryn obviously suffering from the cold in her anemic state. Nearby, her vest lay on a highly visible crate- visible enough that it could easily be guarded from many directions.

"We have an open shot," Marcus said, "I'll stay here and clear the way for ya." Pulling back the bolt on his rifle, he loaded it with several rounds of spark ammunition.

"You ain't gonna stay for long," A creepy voice said from the background.

Turning around quickly still gave no time to find out who or what was behind them. Two fists hit Max and Marcus down the small cliff, and into a collection of plants. Jumping out quickly, Max readied in a battle stance with a drawn knife. Marcus followed, rifle at the ready and loaded. Twenty-five shots in his rifle, and ten in his pistol.

Upon hearing the noise, four more cat thieves appeared from towers. The five cats that were below charged at Max and Marcus, as if they were warned in advance.

"I count no less than four above!" Max called out quickly.

"I see 'em!" Marcus aimed with his rifle. Within a matter of seconds, he fired four spark clouds, sending all four cats into paralysis; Thirty-one shots left.

Aiming back down, Marcus aimed at the oncoming cats. Realizing that they were coming in too fast, he drew his pistol and fired at the thieves and brutes. The brutes and one thief resisted, bringing in three others.

Brutes diving, Max flipped forwards and vaulted his feet upward. Both brutes received a taste of leather and metal from Max's boots, and an interruption to their dive. "Cats hate water!" The swashbuckler cried in battle, sending the two brutes flying into the thief, and into the water.

The entire sequence had taken another two minutes, with an estimation of no more than twenty-eight left. Quickly, Marcus had gotten ahold of the keys, and Taryn's vest.

"'Bout time you showed," Rachel crossed her arms, "Get us out of here! Eli convinced the ladies last, and volunteered himself first. Let's go save him!" She grabbed her stone axe, and joined the duo of boys.

Taryn held a worried look on her face, activating her vest to heat her up. "My brother... he's at risk. I can't let him die," She took hold of a massive pipe wrench; Joining the trio, she cried, "Let's get going!"

The barefoot girls took hold of some cat boots, originally worn by thieves with feet small enough that they couldn't walk right. It was comical originally to watch the cats walk, but the boots fit both Rachel and Taryn perfectly. The quartet hurried to a catwalk that crossed the river, from the barracks and to the factory itself.

Upon looking further, Eli had been taken up a set of specially designed "Gallows" that held a cage above the water. The quick flow of the river would drown anyone who was unprepared, and unable to move- A quick and easy way to kill a person, and without further harm than there needed to be.

Firing upon the crowd, Marcus emptied most of his magazine. He was down to the last four rounds, firing twenty-seven and downing eighteen cats. Pops and his personal guard were the only ones left, and had successfully caged Eli.

Coming out of the catwalk, Rachel took point and melee defense to a surprising ambush of brutes. Max held off thieves that dove straight at Marcus, Taryn fending off others that lunged for Max.

In the chaos of fighting, Marcus was granted one shot. He aimed straight for Pops.

In a reaction to seeing a rifle pointed at him, Pops ducked.

Marcus fired.

There was recoil- He knew the bullet felt odd, it was not a spark-shot. It was a lead slugger.

In a ricochet, it hit the pole, and a chain that held Eli in his hanging cage above the river.

The worst scenario that could be was happening before all the fighting eyes. As fights ceased to watch the falling cage impact in the water, the door flew open. It had given a chance of escape, had Eli seen the opportunity. He was, however, too weak to react by the time the bottom of the cage touched the surface of the water in a slapping noise.

"ELI!" Taryn screamed, "NO!" She ran to the river, attempting to dive in.

"Taryn!" Max caught up to her before she could get close to the surface of the water, "Stop! You don't know how to swim, you're anemic, you're dead too if you go in!"

The temperature of the area didn't seem much warmer than 20 degrees celcius. Anyone who dove into the waters would come out cold, being worse off than Taryn.

She stopped, hanging by her leg held by Max, Taryn watched the waters flow, and the cage flow with it, away from her... carrying her only family left in the Spiral. She silently began to cry.

Max began to slip, realizing that the only thing that held him where he hung was his foot in a loose, metal grate. Rachel and a cat thug ran to Max's aid, quickly pulling him and Taryn to safety on land. Taryn was too weak from shock to stand, and sat in a trance as Max laid her down on stone.

In the chaos, another bullet from the rifle was fired. Pops had disappeared- this definitely was no ordinary ammunition set. Quickly, Marcus threw the gun to the ground, and ran after the cage.

"He can't be dead!" Marcus thought, "He can't be! Taryn needs him!" His run circulated the thought with every step, echoing in his mind, until he finally banished the thought by screaming "ELI CAN'T BE DEAD!" before he ran out of sight.

The trail along the river provided Marcus with a tiring run. He'd reached a waterfall where the cage hung off of a rocky wall, and presumably where Eli's corpse was. Marcus took hold of a vine off the side of the cliff, and inspected- Eli was still alive. He barely clung onto life, his eyes glowing white instead of reflecting light. Eli's soul was clinging to his mortal vessel, in a panic, a desperate attempt to resolve the flesh life before moving to the after.

"You came back for me?" Eli said, weakly.

Marcus nodded, hastily.

"You're too late..." Eli hung his head, faking a death right there.

"Eli, we're gonna get you out of here," Marcus said. Having worked out a plan in his head, he quickly grabbed a loose vine, and attempted to single-handedly lasso it over Eli's cage. "We'll take you to the Marleybonian Hospital, and make sure you survive."

"Dennis, it's already been decided..." Eli said, "I'm going to die today."

"No you aren't," Marcus replied, "It's going to be alright."

"Dennis, stop yourself," Eli reached out.

"You're going to be okay."

"You are lying."

"I'm not."

"Marcus!" Eli suddenly screamed, "Shut up, god-dangit, and listen to me, just this once!"

Marcus looked in shock at Eli.

"I've disappointed my family so many times. I've broken many promises to them, including one I made my own mother on her deathbed," Eli pulled a locket out of his pocket, "I was to give this to Taryn, my twin sister at birth, if one of us were to die." His voice began to break into tears, "I chose, when I was twelve, to pawn this off so I could afford some Yum... It got me arrested. The reason why I'd been so absent for the seven years until the skull wars with GhostForge was that I was trying to track this down, hopefully restore some faith in the Groots, and return this to the family. However... Mother had died due to a breathing sickness, father had been executed by the armada, and many, many other family members have mysteriously disappeared over the past ten years." Eli fell to the floor of his cage, in tears.

Marcus, watching the breakdown of his trusted ally, began to tear up himself. There was no noise, even the waterfall had fallen silent in the sadness of the two's tears.

"I have one request..." Eli said, "This is the time of my death... Return the locket to Taryn, and tell her of my promise." He tossed the locket to Marcus.

Marcus caught the locket, with grace.

"That was not the request, however," Eli said, "Before you return to the factory... collapse the rock that holds the chain of the cage to the waterfall of the cliff. Let me plummet into the lake below."

Marcus held his gaze, locket hanging from his clenched fist. In tears, he slowly nodded, "Yes... I promise you, I will do that."

"Thank you, captain my captain..." Eli said, resting his head against the side of his cage, "I will see mother once more." Closing his eyes, he uttered his final words.

"Bless my child, oh ruler of the afterlife. be sure to let her live a long life, many times longer than mine would be. Let me come home, and hold my ancestors- my mother, my father, once more and forever until Taryn may join us." He finished, before letting his voice fall silent.

Still in tears, Marcus climbed back up the cliff. When he got to the top, and back onto the grassy path, he looked on to a tree that was nearly uprooted, and hanging off over the water. He charged at it, jumping off of it with the impact of his boots. The tree collapsed with a roar into the water, sending a massive shock of a splash that shifted the rocks of the falls' wall. The approaching mass of the tree floating in the water was pushed by the great current. It took very little force to collapse the rocks.

Marcus turned away as he let the tree, cage, and Eli fall into the lakes below. He listened for the splash, hearing not even a whimper from Eli as the great warrior fell. It would be within seconds after the splash that Marcus fell himself- Not by an outside force, but from fatigue.

~~~~~

Two days later, Marcus awoke in a hospital bed. He felt cold inside, even with the two layers of blankets he had on top- He still felt as cold as he was when he was hit by the water of the splash.

"You good, mate?" A familiar, heavy Marleybonian accent said.

Sitting up quickly, Marcus looked straight ahead. "Eli?! You're alive!?"

"'Course I am. I was at Wu's for a council yesterday. What happened to you?"

Happiness in a warm smiled told everything as Marcus' face turned cold again. This was Eli... But not Elijah Jameson Groot. This was Elijah Victor RedThistle, husband to Rachel Yardsley of one year.

"We retrieved three others yesterday," Elijah said, "We got word that the O'Learys had struck close to home."

"Did you find him?" Marcus asked.

"Nay." Elijah replied, tone depressing, "He's long gone, Cap."

Marcus began to curl up in a ball, clenching a metal item in his hand. He felt the chain, and the poke of the locket's hinge. Realizing it was still there, he had not yet given the locket to Taryn.

"Roberts... Where is she?"

"Taryn is over there," Elijah pointed to a bed down the row.

Looking around, it had somehow made out that Elijah had gotten a private room. There were 6 beds in all, and it looked rather pampered.

"The perks of being technical royalty," Elijah said, "You've got the best doctors in Westminster working on you guys. They know me and my adoptive family well."

"Let me go talk to her," Marcus said, "Where are Yardsley and Dodger?"

"Both were checked out earlier. You didn't wake until now, and Taryn's being held back for a little bit. I can talk Doc Richards into letting you stay," Elijah said "As a visitor, providing you're well enough to go."

"That'd be appreciated," Marcus said, "A moment, please."

"Kindly," Elijah walked to the door, closing it behing him, a thud and a click echoing in the room.

From her bed, Taryn sat awake. She heard Marcus' footsteps as he walked to her bed. She was hooked up to an IV unit, having been overwhelmed and needing medication in a recovering-from-weak state. "What do you want?" She said, her voice broken, to Marcus.

"I made a promise to Eli before his untimely demise..." Marcus said, "I promised him that I would fulfill something that his mother had made him swear to oath."

Taryn quickly shot up, staring at Marcus. "What was-?"

"A locket from your mother," Marcus said, in a remorseful tone, hiding his own tears and sadness as a captain, "It was promised that it would be given to you upon the death of your or Eli."

Taryn flinched, beginning to tear up as Marcus outstretched his hand with an azure sapphire crystal that shone from the center. Taryn took it with haste, viewing the contents. The locket could not be opened, but instead needed a light to shine through. As the perfect opportunity came as the sun shined beams through the window, Taryn held the locket up, letting the image shine through and into her eyes.

Taryn gasped, choking into tears. She curled into a ball, Marcus trying not to show any emotion. He, however was a curious captain. He did not take the locket, however asked: "What is it?"

Taryn lifted her head from her knees, "It's a picture... the only one of all four of us, before Eli got torn from us... and father was killed." She said, through tears. Her head jerked back into her knees, loudly crying.

Marcus had little idea of how to comfort her, however understanding of the loss of a sibling- Isabella Dennis having died two years earlier. Slowly approaching the crying Taryn, he wrapped his arms around her, to show that he cared.

-----

'Til Death Do Us Part.

In memory of Elijah Jameson Groot. Always caring, willing to get others out of harm's way.

This was also somewhat well timed in its finishing, for another purpose. This story will go in remembering of the late Robin Williams, who was an inspiration to many, including myself as a writer of many different stories. May he rest in peace. 1951-2014

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Updated 8-26-14 at 5:39:12 AM by YourToothbrush

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