The Misadventures of the Sky Pirate
In the very outskirts of Faerieland there lived a legend, an infamous hero of the dark side of the Faerie world known and feared throughout the skies for his wit and cunning. The creature in question was Rehv, Faerie Tonu and Sky Pirate extraordinaire! The unfortunate souls who hadn't met or heard of him might make the mistake of thinking that hey, he's just a cute little Tonu, what harm could he do? Or worse... What harm could she do.
For you see, Rehv was blessed with a glorious colouring of pink and purple and oh-so-pretty light blue, a combination not really conducive to being immediately recognised as a boy or to the profession of sky-pirating, which rather required a more menacing appearance! Nevertheless, Rehv was well known amongst the inhabitants of Faerieland, and so long as he pillaged only within its borders there was no risk of anyone making the grave mistake of underestimating him. Alas though, this tale recounts the events of the fateful day that Rehv did stray from the land he knew so well, all for the want of glory and treasure...
It was a peaceful morning in Faerieland; the sun was slowly rising over a deserted corner of the city in the clouds, and the streets were empty save for a certain Tonu who lay upside down on the roof of a quaint pink house, one leg hanging over the edge and mouth wide open, snoring none-too-quietly. Out of nowhere his slumber was rudely interrupted by an almighty wail, followed by an incoherent string of panicked squealing, all coming from an incredibly bright pink Snorkle flitting erratically around the building on which Rehv slept. In his shock he was jolted awake, and promptly flailed off of the roof and crashed ungracefully to the ground below, grunting in surprise and annoyance at his rude awakening. He was immediately followed by the Snorkle, still babbling nonsense. Rehv glared at the intruder, before recognition dawned; it was his old friend Benga, some time partner in crime.
“What is it?” Rehv barked, still groggy with sleep. “This better be pretty darn important for you to wake me up like that! You’re lucky I knew it was you straight away or you would have been in trouble,” he lied, trying to redeem some dignity after his embarrassing fall.
“Rehvrehvrehv!” the Snorkle squeaked. “Something dreadful has happened! Oh my oh my oh my what am I going to do? It’s gone, I don’t what happened, I don’t know who took it, one minute it was there, the next it wasn’t, WHAT WILL I DO WITHOUT IT, REHV? I’m in so much trouble now, it’s so important, they’re going to be so angry!” He continued mumbling about “it” for some time before Rehv eventually butted in.
“BENGA,” he yelled, stopping the frightened Snorkle mid-sentence. “What on earth are you talking about? Something has been stolen from you? What is it?”
Benga thought for a moment, a contemplative expression on his face. “I don’t really know.”
Rehv eyed him incredulously then exploded, “What do you mean you don’t know?! You come barging up here, waking me up and you say you’ve lost something that you don’t know what it is? Why, I ought’ta...”
“No, Rehv, you misunderstand me! I know what they took is very important and we need it, we really do! But I don’t know what it is called. It’s very rare and expensive; it’s a treasure, Rehv!”
At the sound of the word treasure, his ears perked up. Benga’s problem became far more interesting to Rehv when there might be riches involved! Immediately, the treasure-hungry Tonu changed his tone. “Well then! This is an outrage! I will not stand by and let someone wrong you like this, Benga! We’ll find the thieves, get back your treasure and give them a piece of our minds! Are you with me?”
Benga clapped his trotters happily and squealed, “I knew you’d come through for me, Rehv! The other Snorkles will be so happy when they hear that you’re going to get the treasure back for us, then they’ll forgive me for letting it get stolen in the first place!”
Rehv sprang into the air, pointing into the distance with a flourish as he said, to no one in particular, “I, Rehv, world’s greatest Sky Pirate, shall not let this travesty go unchallenged! I shall return the Snorkle treasure if it’s the last thing I do! Come, Benga let’s go!”
With that he jetted towards the edge of the great cloud of Faerieland, Benga flapping furiously behind him in a bid to keep up with his old friend and new hero.
Now, Rehv was not normally the hero in tales about himself. Normally he was the bad guy, thieving and cheating his way to riches, and although he thought of himself as rather a Robin Hood type of bad guy since he did share some of his loot with his friends, he was really the only one who did see the Sky Pirate in such a romantic light. As such, Rehv was not used to being expected to help others without there being anything in it for himself; although he did figure that where there was one treasure, there’d be more, right? So, to find the treasure, Rehv would have to think like a detective instead of a pirate... Unfortunately he didn’t have any leads, so he decided to check out the scene of the crime.
The scene was at the home of the Snorkles, who resided on a small island just west of Faerieland that was inhabited entirely by petpets. The Snorkles’ home was a small copse, with one vast old tree in the centre, whose weathered trunk held many hollows in which the Snorkles kept their stash. Rehv hoped that by examining the store he would find some clue as to who could have taken Benga’s treasure. This turned out to be more difficult than he’d thought however, since the Snorkles had installed tighter security following the robbery- A Mutant and Tyrannian Snorkle now patrolled around the base of the tree, and the mutant was eyeing Rehv suspiciously.
Cautiously Rehv began to approach the crime scene, but was halted almost immediately by a rather gruesome snort and a surprisingly loud bellow from the mutant Snorkle, “STOP RIGHT THERE!”
Benga leapt to Rehv’s defence, squealing, “It’s alright! This is Rehv; he’s a... a detective, and he’s going to get our treasure back!”
The mutant grunted again, unconvinced, and the hairy Tyrannian Snorkle spoke up. “It’s your fault it’s gone, Benga, you fell asleep when you were supposed to be guarding the tree! Why should we trust you or any friend of yours with trying to get it back?”
Rather insulted by this, Rehv barked, “Look you, I’m the only hope you’ve got of getting back your treasure, so I’d watch your tongue if I were you! Besides, looks to me like you’re not doing much to try and recover what was stolen, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.” With that, he strode haughtily past the taken aback Snorkles, followed by Benga who triumphantly stuck out his tongue at the pair on his way past.
Inside the hollow was an array of treasures, some very rare and eye-catching, others worthless to anyone but the Snorkles with their strange tastes. Much of it was food, but stashed in the corner was a pile of rare trinkets which immediately caught Rehv’s attention. Benga followed his line of sight and piped up, “That’s where the treasure was; maybe we should look over there?”
Together they began rummaging around and about the glittering pile of goodies searching for any clue which would allow them to find the treasure Benga was so desperate to recover. Eventually it was the Snorkle who found the clue; his excellent sense of smell detected an unusual briny scent, and when he tracked down the source Rehv knew straight away who the culprit was. A strand of seaweed left at the scene was enough to determine their next destination.
“AHA!” Rehv yelled. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of these scoundrels straight away!” Noticing the blank look on Benga’s face, he brandished the limp strand of seaweed and continued, “This means that the thieves were seafarers, and who from the seas would have the skill and the nerve to steal the Snorkles’ treasures? Those wily Krawks, of course! Sea pirates... Bleh,” he concluded, wrinkling his nose in disgust.
Benga nodded feverishly. “So we’ll go get it back now, Rehv, yes?! Where do you think it could be?”
“Smuggler’s Cove!” Rehv announced. “Let’s go!”
The winds over the sea bore the excited duo quickly towards their goal, and before long they were covertly scoping out the situation on Krawk Island. It seemed quite quiet, with little activity around Smuggler’s Cove, which surprised Rehv; usually if they had new treasures in the place would be heaving with wealthy Islanders wanting to add to their collections. Nevertheless the clue pointed squarely to the pirates and Rehv and Benga decided to approach the Cove in the guise of buyers. Rehv was not so well known on the land as in the skies, so it was unlikely that he would be caught out.
The pair casually sauntered into the sandy cove which was dimly lit by candles placed in alcoves in the cave’s walls. The merchandise was sparse and not particularly interesting, and Rehv was fast losing hope of finding the treasure there as he looked down at Benga who looked thoroughly disheartened. He was conscious that they were being watched by the treasures’ keeper, a weatherworn old Techo with a peg-leg and one eye which was narrowed in suspicion at the unusual visitors. Suddenly he spoke. “Can I help yer there, fellers?” he said, sounding menacing despite his helpful message.
Benga whispered quickly to Rehv, “It’s not here... Let’s go.”
Rehv turned to the Techo. “No, no... Nothing’s caught my eye here. Thanks anyway...”
“Aye, well... If there’s anything yer need, let me know,” he replied before hobbling around the cove to shift his wares into different positions, fruitlessly in Benga’s opinion. The little Snorkle was rather scared of the intimidating smuggler and was making a move towards the exit with Rehv in tow when he spoke again. “If yer lookin’ fer treasures, I hear the Krawks in the caves have a little something... Not selling, though. Might want ter give ‘em a taste o’ their own medicine if yer know what I mean. Young rapscallions give a bad name ter the Island they do. I’d give ‘em a piece o’ my mind if I were ten years younger...”
He continued to ramble in this way but Rehv had stopped listening. This could be just the lead they needed! He knew the Krawks lived in the Fungus Caves, so that would have to be their next port of call. He wasn’t sure how their dealings could give the Island any worse a name than it already had, but they were obviously up to something shady if it was enough to anger the smugglers themselves. He nodded to Benga with a grin and they took flight, leaving behind the old seadog and his persistent grumblings.
Rehv had been to the Fungus Caves only once before and he had never wanted to return there again. In one of his few pirating ventures outside of Faerieland he had ventured there in search of the Krawk’s bounty, but had escaped with no riches, and almost with no tail as the Krawks had chased him out brandishing their Emerald and Ruby Krawk Swords. He was, as ever, confident that such a shambles would not occur again, however, as surely the none-too-bright inhabitants of the Fungus Caves would have forgotten him by now.
Shortly after leaving Smuggler’s Cove, the crime-solving duo found themselves perched over the mouth of the infamous Fungus Cave, optimistic about finding the Snorkles’ treasure within but quietly terrified at the thought of entering the dark, pirate filled cave. There was a pair of torches lighting the cave’s opening, but Rehv and Benga could see nothing beyond that, and the rushing of the sea in and out of the darkness sounded like a dreadful roaring as it echoed off the dank walls. With one deep, calming breath, they resolved to go in and reclaim what was the Snorkles', and with one last nervous look at each other, they floated in the cave.
It was lit by further torches within, but the shadows cast by the lumps of fungus all over the walls made it even scarier than when it had looked to be pitch black. They had to fly carefully to avoid the stalactites hanging from above, and they didn’t want to risk walking in case they should slip from the wet gangplanks installed for the Krawks’ use; Faerielanders don’t generally get taught how to swim, and Rehv and Benga were no exception. They proceeded slowly through the twisting cave, following the route to the treasure store as Rehv remembered it, and thankfully not encountering any other signs of life on the way through.
Finally they spotted a light at the end of the tunnel, emanating from a larger opening in the cave in which Rehv was sure they would find what they were looking for. They cautiously fluttered to the opening, staying high up in the shadows of the cave roof, and found a convenient perch on which they could scope out the area before doing anything drastic. Rehv peered down into the dimly lit cavern, surprised to see not the gold and jewels he had expected but a heap of multicoloured clothes and trinkets which he was vaguely aware were related to that Altador Cup thing he heard so much about. Rehv didn’t care for sports enough to know much about it; too much camaraderie and teamwork for his liking. Thus, he determined that they had yet again come to the wrong place in search of Benga’s lost treasure, that is until he turned to see that the little Snorkle was hopping from trotter to trotter excitedly and desperately trying to stop himself squealing in joy.
He had spotted what he was looking for all that time. There at the very back of the dark treasure trove was a mound of pink and purple Faerieland supporters’ items, and at the very top was the Snorkles’ pride and joy. Benga turned to indicate this to Rehv, but was wise enough to keep his mouth shut when he saw the look of disbelief and annoyance etched on his friend’s face.
“Are you telling me... That we came all the way down here... for a T-shirt!?” he hissed, struggling to keep his voice down to avoid alerting the Krawks to their presence. Yes, the Snorkles’ precious thing was a Faerieland Team Jersey. Not exactly the Sky Pirate’s idea of treasure.
“No!” Benga squeaked with indignantly, “It’s not just that... It’s a signed jersey! Signed by Kakoni Worrill; she’s the captain of our team, Rehv! It’s one of a kind; it’s worth a fortune... And it’s right down there. We can get it back now,” he concluded happily, content that Rehv would now understand the reason for their lengthy journey to gather the precious Altador Cup relic... He didn’t.
Unable to restrain his temper any longer, he yelled, “I CANNOT BELIEVE WE CAME ALL THIS WAY FOR THAT! I don’t care if it’s signed by Karono Willro or whatever; it’s still JUST A TOP! Benga, you’ve done some stupid things in your time, but this is really the icing on the cake...”
Benga was about to reply, when all at once there came a distant rumbling, which seemed to the pair’s dismay to be getting louder and closer by the second. Rehv prepared to take off, but he was stopped by Benga who had grasped his tail as he turned away. “We can’t leave without it now; like you said, we’ve come all this way!” he whispered, ushering him back against the wall so they’d still be in shadow.
Soon enough the source of the rumbling became clear; creepy shadows cast on the walls by the torches preceded the arrival of fifteen large Krawks, evidently angry at being disturbed from their lunch, one of them still brandishing a half-eaten chicken drumstick. They were looking round suspiciously, and Rehv was dismayed to see that some of them had their weapons in hand. A pair of particularly big ugly brutes went towards the exit of the cave seeking the intruders, effectively blocking the way out for the pair of overly intrepid adventurers. Rehv spoke to Benga as quietly as he could. “Benga, we really have to go... These guys don’t joke around. If we’re quick, we can get past those two and out of here. For good this time,” he added as an afterthought.
Benga sniffed and replied, “You go if you want, Rehv. But I came to get back our treasure and that’s what I’m going to do. The other Snorkles will never talk to me again if I don’t! Besides... I want to know just what is going on here. I mean, pirates like riches, right? And this is all Altador Cup merchandise, which isn’t worth much. Except our one, of course! So... Why is it all here? Just what are the Krawks up t...” He was cut short as an Emerald Krawk Sword sailed over their heads, severing a few of the hairs in Rehv’s mane before lodging in the wall behind them.
“Well, well! If it ain’t a pair o’ scurvy Faerielanders! Get down here, yer sky dogs!” shouted a Krawk from below. He appeared to be the leader of the band of pirates, who were now all glaring at the duo who they had managed to surround on the ground below; there was no escape now. They glanced at each other anxiously then floated down to stand in front of the lead Krawk.
He was vast and bulky, and had the symbol of the Krawk Island Altador Cup team tattooed on one arm. He eyed the pair maliciously, satisfied at his victory. All at once recognition dawned on him, and he grinned toothily at Rehv. “I remember you!” He guffawed. “Ye were the joke o’ a pirate who were down here before! What did yer call yerself..? The Sky Pirate! Back fer another round are yer, Sky Pirate? Ha!” The other Krawks joined in his mocking laughter, and Rehv bristled with anger.
“Why would I want your pathetic treasure anyway?! A couple of rags and plastic trinkets are not worth my time. Only that of a bunch of scummy Krawks like yourselves.”
The head honcho Krawk stopped laughing and glared at him. “Yer don’t know the half of it, Faerielanders. This haul is the greatest treasure we could o’ found, I tell yer!”
Rehv sneered at the heap of items, which were, in his eyes, worthless, and replied, “That junk? What good is that to anyone?”
“Well,” the Krawk said, “since yer not goin’ anywhere soon I’ll tells yer. As yer puny brain may know, right now the Altador Cup is goin’ on down here on the land. As yer may also know, Krawk Island, the greatest team in history...” He turned to his followers, earning a rowdy cheer before looking back at Rehv, “is a playin’ in the cup once again. And, despite them being the greatest, Krawk Island have never won the cup before.” This earned a disapproving boo from the onlookers who, Rehv noticed, were completely focused on their leader.
“Now,” the Krawk continued, “Why do yer suppose that is, Sky Pirate? Why is it that the teams that have got nothing on ours win the cup? I’ll tell yer... It’s because o’ this!” he cried, pointing accusingly at the mound of souvenirs behind them. “All this disgusting merchandise encourages those losers ‘n’ gives ‘em the impression that they can actually win! It’s some kind o’ witchcraft, I’m sure of it! And what would happen if yer were to take away the magic, hm? Well, I can tell yer, Sky Pirate, ‘cause we’ve done it!” he said, raising his arms triumphantly at the group who again cheered and clapped in response.
Sensing an opportunity arising from the Krawk's rambling explanation, Rehv nudged Benga and nodded towards the stolen Faerieland jersey as subtly as he could. Thankfully Benga understood, and even better, the Krawks didn’t notice the gesture.
“We take away all the key rings, ‘n’ hands, ‘n’ jerseys o’ all the Shenkuus, Roo Islands ‘n’ Haunted Woods, ‘n’ what are they left with? Nothing!” The crowd cheered again, caught up in the moment the leader was now addressing them more than his captives, and so did not notice the little Snorkle silently whisking off towards the back of the cave.
“Without support from their sadly misguided fans, the other teams’ve got no chance of beating the mighty Krawk Island! We’ll be the only team in the cup! No one will stand in our way!” By this point Benga had grabbed the jersey in his snout, and looked to Rehv for the next step in their improvised plan.
“... It’s genius!” the enthusiastic Krawk concluded. “Now, Faerielanders, what do yer say ter that!” His grinning face fell as he noticed that Benga had vanished, but, not really being the genius he claimed to be, didn’t react fast enough.
“To that I say... See ya!” shouted Rehv, then with the strongest flap of his wings he could muster, he darted towards the exit, Benga hot on his heels.
“GET ‘EM!” the Krawk roared, unsheathing his sword and leading the angry pirates in the chase. There was very little advantage to the pair being in the air and they weren’t out of the woods yet. The cave was low, and any one of the Krawks could have reached them without difficulty, then there was the added problem of the stalactites slowing down their progress as they had to swerve to avoid them. The Krawks were gaining, and the furious leader almost caught Rehv several times as he swung his Ruby Krawk Sword ferociously at his tail.
Finally though they saw the exit, and the pair made one last feverish effort to get away. As they escaped the mouth of the cave, they cheered to themselves as they soared upwards into the safety of the skies, treasure safely received. The stampeding Krawks charged into the sea at the mouth of the cave, unable to stop in time. The enraged Krawk leader shook his fist at the retreating duo and yelled, “I’LL GET YER SOME DAY, SKY PIRATE!”
Safely out of danger, the exhausted Benga and Rehv slowed down their flight, and gave each other a triumphant high-five, anger from earlier completely forgotten.
“You were pretty good back there, Benga! Maybe we should go into this crime fighting thing full time. We’ll have to go back for the rest of the stuff tomorrow,” said Rehv. Benga looked at him incredulously, and he guffawed happily. “I’m just kidding, I’m making a vow right now to never go back to Krawk Island again. And Benga...”
“Yeah?” the Snorkle replied.
“Promise me you won’t fall asleep on guard duty again, ok?”
And so, the Sky Pirate turned detective retrieved the Snorkles’ treasure and was named their hero, and at the same time uncovered the mystery of the missing Altador Cup merchandise, which he was, of course, completely unaware of. The authorities were alerted to the whereabouts of the missing items, and the Krawks’ plan was foiled. But the biggest victory of all was that Rehv learned that actually... He kind of liked this good guy stuff!