28 A Fallen Legend
"A great disappointment you are, Thatch." Vane spat. "His mind's made up to stay, he says," turning to Kenway. "So sod 'im! And hang all you that follow the sorry bastard into obscurity!"
Thatch remained still until Vane had stormed away. With a raised eyebrow from Kenway, he put his hands in his pockets and turned around.
"The man's a prick." Jemima muttered.
"I know you've come to call me home." Thatch said to Kenway and his daughter. "And your faith in me is kind. But with Nassau done in, I feel I'm finished."
"I'm not of the same mind, mate." Kenway told him. "But I won't begrudge you the state of yours."
"You still looking for that Sage fellow?"
"Aye." Kenway said with a confirming nod from Jemima.
"Taking a prize a month back, I heard a man named Roberts was working a slave ship called the Princess. Might want to see about it."
"The Princess." Kenway mumbled, storing the name away for future reference. "Cheers, Thatch."
"So, is my old dad finally believing in fairy tales now then?" Jemima grinned.
"Not all fairy tales, lass." He pointed out. "Just the ones I can see before me."
"You will see it. Trust me." She promised.
"Now don't stand there like a barrel of wet fish." Thatch turned back to Kenway, sitting in silence. "We're celebrating my retirement!" He laughed. "Uncork the man's breakfast!" He yelled, calling for another bottle of rum.
As Kenway stood, both he and Jemima noticed a man stumble past the crowd, pushing people aside, casting anxious looks towards him. Almost as if he was afraid of him. Trying to get away.
"Do you know him?" Jemima asked.
"No, I don't think so." Kenway replied. "Save us a few bottles, eh?" He asked and left, stepping down, following the man.
Jemima nodded and sat down in his seat.
"So, this is the end to the infamous Blackbeard then, eh?"
Her father laughed.
"Aye, it seems so."
"You know, I heard stories of you while I was away. So many people were afraid of you, you were a nightmare, a thing to hunt them while they slept. And now, you're giving it up."
"You think I shouldn't?"
"I want you too, if I'm honest. Too much fame can be a bad thing." She smiled.
"Ah, worried about the navy coming after your old dad?"
"Aye. And besides, it's time someone else took your place." Jemima grinned, taking a swig from the bottle beside her.
"Of course, and to think it were going to be Jack Thatch that was going to continue my legacy."
"And not Jemima Thatch?"
"Jemima Thatch was going to be a well educated young lady back in England, with a husband and a family on the way. Respectable. Kind. Happy."
"Sorry to disappoint." She said, almost bitterly as she put the bottle back down.
"I'm not." He gave a warm smile and took her hand. "As long as you're happy here, I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Still want me to get a husband though, don't you?" She laughed. She could read him like a book.
"Aye, you got me. You're twenty one, love. It's a father's dream to see his wonderful daughter married." His usual demonic, brutal appearance softened to that of a loving father. "Any contenders I should be aware of?"
Thomas' image flashed in her mind, making her blush.
"You sure? I've seen the way you look at that assassin, Thomas."
Jemima bit her lip.
Suddenly, a red flare burst into the sky. All eyes turned to it, laughter and song dying away.
"What the hell is that for?" Jemima stood.
As an answer to her question, cannon fire and heavy shot tore at the island, screams and flames filling every possible space.
"Jemima!" Thatch cried, his chair crashing back as he jumped to his feet. "Get to the ship, now!"
She nodded, fear tearing at her chest as the father and daughter became separated by a barrier of fire. But she did as she was told, leaping over flaming barrels, diving to avoid cannon shot, racing for her target.
"Thomas!" She called for the assassin, seeing his white form rush from the smoke.
He turned, seeing her and ran for her. She took a step back, unsure why he ran with such speed. At the last moment, he dived into her, pulling her to the ground as heavy shot barrelled past them, slicing into gunpowder barrels behind them. The explosion ripped at everything it could touch but Thomas covered Jemima with his body.
His uniform singed and battered, Thomas climbed to his feet. Jemima stood, unscathed.
"Lets go- uh!" Thomas winced, doubling over.
Jemima gasped, seeing the burnt flesh under his torn garments.
"Oh God, Thomas!" She cried. "Come on, we've got to get you out!"
With one arm around her, the other clutching his side, Thomas tried to jog, as fast as he could, Jemima carrying the majority of his weight.
They reached the Jackdaw and Jemima placed Thomas on the ground, kneeling beside him.
"Where the hell is Kenway?" She yelled, furious and afraid.
"Note the day, lads!" Thatch shouted, sword waving in the air as Kenway jumped aboard, taking the wheel. "Today we send the King's finest to their graves!"
As the ship began to move, Jemima rushed to the captain's quarters, searching for something to help the wounded man.
"Water, water- Ah ha!" She grabbed the flask and raced back up to deck, pulling off her bandana and dousing it with water.
"This is going to sting a little-" she said and pressed the wet cloth to his burns.
Thomas cried out, contorting as it made contact. As the Jackdaw battled on with the Man O' War, Jemima battled on with Thomas' wounds.
"I'll be fine, Jemima, really, I- Ah!" He exclaimed.
"Sorry! Just hold it there." She bit her lip, knowing that the healing process was probably hurting more than the explosion.
"Thank you." He mumbled wearily, holding the wet cloth to his side.
"No, thank you." She smiled. "You saved my life."
With a cry from the crew, their opponent had been beaten. Kenway pulled the Jackdaw around to board the Man O' War. The crew swung aboard and Thomas stood, brandishing his sword.
"I can fight." He told her, tying the cloth around him.
"If you're sure."
The two followed the Jackdaw's crew, flying across from ship to ship, bursting into combat, whirling in fury as they took down as many soldiers as they could.
As Kenway climbed the rigging, Thatch battled below, roaring promises to cut each and every man down. As he did so, Jemima smiled. His last battle before retirement, this would be some way to finish. And still, all the soldiers cowered in fear at his blade. This man would become a glorious legend.
Thomas cried out, a soldier striking at his weak spot and he fell to his knees in pain. Jemima spun, terror filling her as she saw the soldier raise his sword.
He looked up, shots of excruciating pain shooting through him. As he saw the sword fall, he bowed his head and closed his eyes.
But the end didn't come.
Thomas blinked, and looking up, saw the soldier. He coughed, blood trickling from his mouth as his eyes rolled back and collapsed.
Jemima stood behind him, holding out her blood soaked wrist blade.
"This is coming in handy." She grinned and retracted it, helping Thomas to his feet.
"So I save your life, you save mine." He laughed.
But Thomas' laugh faded away as he looked past Jemima to see her father, his brutal form, fight with all his might until a pistol shot ripped through his shoulder, sending him to his knees. Following his gaze, Jemima turned.
"Father!" She screamed, racing for him.
But the flurry of soldiers were too strong and it was all she could do to protect herself as she fought on, in a desperate attempt to reach her father.
"No!" Jemima screamed again as a soldier sliced at his face. "Kenway! Help him!"
"I'm trying, lass!" He shouted back, holding up his wrist blades to protect himself from a soldier's attack.
Kenway stabbed the soldier in the stomach and threw Thatch a pistol.
"In a world without gold, we might have been heroes!" Thatch exclaimed, catching the pistol and shooting the soldier that stood over him.
He clambered to his feet and Jemima breathed a sigh of relief. But it was short lived as a sword cut at his back and the fearsome pirate stopped short.
"Thatch!" Kenway roared.
As the notorious Blackbeard fell to his knees, another soldier whipped his sword at his neck and his head fell away from his shoulders.
"Father!" Jemima's scream ripped across the ship.
Thomas saw a brute knock the stunned form of Kenway into the water. As he looked around, he knew there was no chance of winning this fight.
"Jemima! We have to go!" He yelled trying to grab her as she made a run for her father's body.
"No!" Tears ran down her face, her sword striking at anyone and anything that stood in her way.
He knew she wasn't leaving by choice so Thomas grabbed the back of her collar and pulled her away. He snatched a rope from the side of the ship and gripped Jemima's waist with the other and flung himself over board.
Thomas pulled the weeping form through the water, following Kenway as he swam for the Jackdaw. As Jemima found the strength to swim for herself, they caught up with him and pulled themselves aboard as Kenway reached the wheel and set it into motion.
"Oh God..." Jemima cried, sinking to her knees, head in hands.
Thomas bent down beside her and held her as she wept.
"What of Thatch, sir?" Adé asked Kenway, noting Jemima's disposition as they escaped conflict. "Did he fall?"
Kenway remained silent.
"He drinks damnation." Kenway said.
Adé turned to Thomas who sat beside him, still holding Jemima. He looked up to Adé and in a mutual understanding, they both bowed their heads. Blackbeard had indeed fought his last fight, but before death instead of retirement. A legend had fallen. But the story would go on.