The Curse 
by Debby Graham

Part One: The Execution of Philippe Des Mondes
 - Chapter 1: Jacques sacrifices his brother
 - Chapter 2: Susanne pleads for Philippe’s life
 - Chapter 3: The Death of Philippe Des Mondes

Part Two: The New World
 - Chapter 1: Jacques and the Skull
 - Chapter 2: The Takeover Of An Island
 - Chapter 3: Back To France 

Part Three: Family life on Maljardin 
 - Chapter 1: Jacques marries
 - Chapter 2: Death Comes To Maljardin
 - Chapter 3: Funeral Rites

Part Four: Island of Voodoo
 - Chapter 1: Raua tries to escape
 - Chapter 2: D’Antons refusal
 - Chapter 3: Conjure Man

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Part One: Chapter 1. Jacques sacrifices his brother

Raxl Len’Twair the housekeeper for the Des Mondes family enters the library to speak to her employer Jacques Eloi Des Mondes. “Monsieur Des Mondes I have information concerning your brother Philippe. He was seen consorting with members of a witch’s coven.”

Jacques laughs. “My brother, I can’t imagine him doing anything of the sort.”

“I have proof.” Raxl takes a document from her pocket. “He put his mark on this document.”

“My brother knows how to read and write. Why would he leave a mark?” 

“I don’t know sir, I just know he and his friends are involved. If you turn him in you are the next in line to inherit the Des Mondes lands and wealth.”

“I will hear no more. Leave me!” Jacques says to her angrily.

Raxl walks from the room with a smile upon her face.


As night falls Jacques goes out and meets his friends for drinking and partying. He tells them about Raxl’s accusations.

“Jacques I have heard there are threats against the King’s life. Do you think your brother is involved?” D’Anton asked.

“I can’t imagine Philippe being involved with any murder plots.” Jacques says to him.

Merchants from town enter and there is talk about the threats against the King. Jacques hears his brother’s name mentioned and approaches the group. One of the men starts to taunt and tease Jacques. Jacques takes a swing and knocks the man down. Rising from the floor the man pulls a knife and lunges towards Jacques. Jacques grabs his arm and twists until the sound of a bone cracks in the man’s wrist. The man screams and Jacques releases him with a smile and bids goodbye to his friends who have gathered around to watch.

Entering the Des Mondes mansion he finds Raxl waiting in his room. “Raxl what are you doing here this late at night?”

“Master I have been waiting for you.”

Jacques turns from her and starts to unbutton his shirt. “I have no need of your services tonight.”

Raxl raises her hand. “Jacques Eloi Des Mondes you will do as I say.”

Jacques turns towards Raxl lowering his hands and stares ahead.

Raxl raises the document in front of him. “With this document I bind you to me in the name of Satan. Tomorrow evening you will go to the King and accuse your brother Philippe Des Mondes of being in league with the devil and that his circle are plotting to murder him.” Raxl lowers the document to Jacques dresser. “Place your right hand on the document.” 

In a trance Jacques does as he is told.

“From this time on you will do the bidding of the Master. Now go to bed.”

Jacques raises his hand from the document and turns towards the bed.


In another part of town Susanne O’Claire dreams about Philippe Des Mondes and the life they will lead after they are married. The dream changes and she sees her beloved tied to a stake and flames reaching up to engulf him. Susanne cries out in her sleep and the dream changes. Now she sees Jacques Philippe's brother speaking to the King. She listens to the accusations that Jacques is making against his brother. Again she cries out and the dream fades.

As the morning light streams through her window Susanne wakes and dresses for the outdoors. She calls for her carriage and asks the driver to take her to Madame Len’Twaire’s cottage. Arriving at the cottage she steps from the coach and rushes to the door and knocks. 

Raxl opens the door. “Mademoiselle O’Claire I was just leaving.”

“Raxl I came as fast as my carriage would carry me.” Susanne says then she kneels. 
“Raxl I beg you on my knees to stop your Master from what he plans.”

“Mademoiselle Susanne you have come to the wrong person. Jacques Eloi Des Mondes is his own master. I am only his servant.”

“If he pursues his plans tonight he will bring eternal evil upon his family.” Susanne says to her as she stands.

“My Master follows a lucky star. He is safe from evil.”

“No one is safe from evil. He is a cruel and wicked man who carries death with him.”

“The evil is carried by you Susanne O’Claire. By you to men who cannot control their passion you arouse in them. Leave my Master alone!” Raxl says gripping Susanne by the shoulders and shakes her. She releases Susanne and takes a step back. 

“If you do not prevent Jacques Eloi Des Mondes from carrying out his plans tonight his line will be cursed through out time. Where ever it goes it will be pursued by the star you call his lucky star.” Susanne says then she turns and walks to her carriage.


As evening approaches Jacques calls for his carriage and directs his driver to take him to the palace. Entering the palace he asks for an appointment to see the King. It is granted and Jacques tells his lies.


The King’s soldiers arrive at the Des Mondes mansion and pound on the door. Philippe Des Mondes is arrested for plotting the death of the King through the use of witchcraft.

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Part 1: Chapter 2. Susanne pleads for Philippe’s life

Word has spread through France of the arrest of Philippe Des Mondes. The trial was to take place in two days. That night Susanne dreams about Raxl’s involvement with the accusations against Philippe.. As the morning sun shines Susanne wakes and calls for her carriage. She instructs the driver to take her to Raxl’s cottage. Stepping from the carriage Susanne walks to the door and pounds on it with her fist. Receiving no answer she discovers it is unlocked and enters the cottager to find Raxl standing next to the stove. Susanne accuses her of being the influence behind Jacques accusations against his brother. She also accuses Raxl of plotting against the King 

“I’ll go to the King himself. I will stop you Raxl.” 

“You cannot stop what fate has already put in motion.” Raxl tells Susanne.

“You will die on the guillotine.”

“The guillotine is for humans.”

“You are a witch and a member of the Devil’s circle.

“It is your lover Philippe Des Mondes who is being brought to trial, not I.” Raxl says as she walks around Susanne.

“You have set brother against brother and Noble against Noble in a plot to kill the King.”

“Susanne O’Claire the fate of your lover has already been decided. It only requires the form of decree from his Majesty.”

“Philippe Des Mondes is a good man.”

“Good or bad he means nothing to me.”

“Please Raxl convince Jacques Eloi Des Mondes to withdraw his accusations before it is too late. Philippe is innocent.” Susanne says as she steps in front of Raxl.

“The Gods will welcome him into his eternal peace.”

“There will be no eternal peace for any of the heirs of Jacques Eloi Des Mondes if his brother burns at the stake.”

“My Master’s heirs will be safe as long as they keep me in their service.” Raxl says then pushes past Susanne and walks out the door.

Susanne notices a scroll lying on a bench. She picks it up and glances at it. Susanne steps outside but does not see Raxl anywhere. She walks back to the carriage and asks to be taken to the palace.

They enter the courtyard and Susanne asks to see Philippe. Permission is granted and Susanne enters Philippe’s cell and approaches him.

“Susanne what are you dong here?” 

“I cannot rest. Not until you are free Philippe. Not until the King sets you free.”

“Don’t be distressed Susanne. The king will set me free. I am innocent.” Philippe says as he holds Susanne in his arms.

“But what about your brother?”

“Jacques knows I’m innocent. He will help me.”

“He has already betrayed you.” 

“I don’t believe it.”

Susanne shows him a scroll.

“What is this?” Philippe asks and reads it silently. ‘MY LORD AND MASTER LUCIFER. I ACKNOWLEDGE THEE AS PRINCE AND PROMISE TO SERVE AND OBEY THEE EVEN BEYOND MY LIFE ON EARTH. I WILL PERFORM YOUR EVIL AND DRAW OTHERS INTO YOU SERVICE.’ 

“It is a copy of the pact they say you made with the devil.”

“Who said that?”

“Your brother will swear to it tomorrow.”

Philippe looks away. “It’s not true.”

Susanne turns from him. “They will torture you until you admit it.”

“Why am I accused of this?”

“Your brother wishes you dead.”

“No not Jacques.”

Susanne turns towards him. “He has already secretly testified that you plotted with Madame Desmondton to poison the King.”

“Lies, lies all lies!” Philippe says as he steps away from Susanne.

“And tomorrow his housekeeper Madame Len’Twair will bring the original of the document and testify that she found it among your papers.”

“I will throw myself on the mercy of his Majesty.”

“The King has already been convinced by this sign that you are in league with the devil.” Susanne says as she points to a blood red sign shaped like the letter v with a line in the center and a tail under it that curves.

“Susanne go to Jacques and speak to him. Tell him I am innocent. Please convince him.” Philippe says as he holds Susanne by the shoulders.”

“I will try.” Susanne says as she rolls the document.

Philippe takes her in his arms and kisses her then releases her as he calls for the guard.


Susanne leaves the palace grounds and instructs her driver to take her to the Des Mondes mansion. She steps from the carriage and knocks on the door. It is opened by Madame Gabrielle Le’Contes.

“Mademoiselle O’ Claire it is kind of you to visit.”

“Madame Le’Contes is your son Jacques in?”

“Yes he’s in the library.”

“May I speak to him?” 

Gabrielle steps back from the door allowing Susanne to enter. She closes the door and leads the way to the library. “I will leave you to speak to him alone.” 

Susanne knocks at the door.

“Yes?” A voice calls from inside

“Monsieur Des Mondes I must speak to you.”

Jacques opens the door. “Mademoiselle O’Claire come in. To what do I owe the pleasure?” He asks as he saunters over to the wine decanters and pours a drink. “Would you like a drink?”

“No thank you. I have been to see Philippe and he has asked me to speak to you on his behalf.”

“That was very foolish of you.“

Susanne walks around him. “I had no choice Jacques.”

“I would prefer if you were not drawn into my affairs.”

“I’m part of it if you like it or not. I love Philippe.”

“My brother will die.”

“Not if you tell the truth.”

Jacques laughs. “Well the truth is rather difficult to judge in matters like these.”

Susanne turns away. “False accusations will send him to burn at the stake.”

Jacques laughs and turns away from her.

“Stop it! Why do you laugh?”

“I laugh my pretty Susanne because you are so naive, so tender, and so innocent.” Jacques says then turns away from her.

“Why do you despise me?” Susanne asks.

“Because you are pure in a depraved world. You and my brother.”

“Philippe is a good man.”

“The good are better off in heaven. They belong there. I belong here with his land and fortunes.”

“But he will give them to you.”

“I prefer to take them.”

“He did not choose to be the eldest son.”

“We do not choose to be what we are my dear child. We must make the best of what nature gives us. And I can use my talents to the best of my capabilities in the wilderness of the New World.”

Susanne turns towards him and grabs his wrist. “Oh please withdraw your accusations! Tell the King it was all a plot.”

Jacques grips her hands. “And set my handsome head upon the block? No my dear Susanne I love life too much to risk it for your precious Philippe.”

“You will never be free of this hideous crime.” Susanne tells him.

Jacques jerks his hands away from hers. “I live moment to moment. Do not threaten me with the future.” He says then smiles.

Susanne walks around him and faces him. “Where ever you go through eternity your brother’s blood will be upon your hands and a curse upon your head.”

Jacques laughs at her and Susanne rushes angrily from the room. As she reaches the door to the outside Gabrielle stops her from leaving.

“Mademoiselle please you must help me.”

“I am powerless to help you Madame Le’Contes.” Susanne says to her.

“I implore you. If you care for any of us.”

“No one will listen to me.”

“Oh we Des Mondes are an old family. Our pride blinds us from the lives of young people and I beg your forgiveness on my knees.” Gabrielle says as she kneels in front of Susanne.

“Do not humble yourself before me Madame.“ Susanne says as she helps the other woman to her feet.

“Susanne only you know why Jacques is so dreadful to his brother.”

Susanne steps away from her. “He is an evil man.”

“I refuse to believe that.’ Gabrielle says to her.

“He’s turning the King against his own brother.”

Gabrielle turns away from Susan. “I cannot listen.”

Susanne turns and grabs Gabrielle’s hands. “Oh please go to Madame Des Mondestan. Tell her your younger son accuses his brother of witchcraft so that he will inherit the Des Mondes fortune.”

“I certainly cannot degrade myself before that courtesan.” Gabrielle says as she pulls her hands from Susanne and turns away.

“When she engaged the pleasure of the King you did not object.”

“You forget your place Mademoiselle O’Claire.”

“And you forget your son Madame. There is still time to intercede with the King. You can save your family from a scandal that will stain his life forever.”

“Do you think a Des Mondes would confess to looting? That one brother is turning against another. You do not understand the pride of family, which has made us what we are.” Gabrielle says then turns and starts to walk away.

“Philippe’s life is more important than you pride. Listen to me! Please listen to me!” Susan cries out.

Gabrielle looks back at her. “No I can do nothing. I can think of only one other that might be able to help, Monsieur Victoire Le”Counte.”

“I will try to see him.” Susanne says then walks out the door. She boards her carriage and asks to be taken back to the palace. Entering the palace grounds she asks to speak to Monsieur Le’ Counte and is shown to his suite of rooms. After being announced Susan enters and approaches. “I came to you Monsieur Le Conte because all else failed.”

Victoire turns away from her. “We must leave the final judgment in higher hands.”

“But you cannot allow your grandson to destroy his brother.”

“The decision is in the hands of the tribunal.”

Susanne grabs his arm. “But you can persuade them to free Philippe. You’re the Grand Magistrate.”

“I cannot come between two young men.” He turns and looks at her. “My own flesh and blood, my daughter’s sons.”

“Well choose the truth then.” Susanne says.

“Whose truth, yours Susanne O’Claire? Philippe or Jacques, who is telling the truth?””

Susanne turns away from him. “In your heart you know Philippe is.”

“I am an old man near the end of my life. You’re a girl in love in the beginning of yours. We do not find the truth in the same place.”

Susanne glances at him. “You refuse to take sides.”

He turns away. “I am sworn to the King to judge only the evidence.” Victoire glances at her. “We must put our faith in that, not in our hearts.”

“But the evidence lies.”

“Can you testify to that?”

Susanne turns away. “I know it to be true.”

Victoire steps closer to her. “My child take the stand at the tribunal tomorrow, deny the accusations of the woman Len’Twaire against my Grandson Philippe Des Mondes. Have documents to prove her wrong.”

Susanne shakes her head. “I have none and she forged hers.” She says with a sob as she turns towards Victoire.

“Philippe has confessed.” Victoire tells her.

“But that was only under the torture of the rack.”

Victore holds Susanne by her shoulders. “You do not understand the subtle ways of the Des Mondes. You are too young, too pure. Shut your innocence up in a convent where the corrupt world cannot reach it. Leave the man you love to his fate. You cannot help him.”

Susanne shakes her head. “I shall never leave him. I am linked to him forever.”

“Then may the Lord take pity on both of you.” Victoire tells her as he takes her arm and leads her to the door. He calls for someone to take her back to her carriage.

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Part 1: Chapter 3. The Death of Philippe Des Mondes

Gabrielle Le’ Contes Des Mondes calls for a carriage to take her to the palace. When she arrives she asks to speak to Victoire. Gabrielle is escorted to his rooms. She approaches him. “I cannot, I will not endure this anymore!” she tells him.

“We have no choice but to endure what life brings us Gabrielle.”

“Tomorrow you judge my son your grandson. You will decide if he lives or dies.”

“For that I beg your forgiveness.”

Gabrielle turns from him. “Free him!”

“Either Philippe or Jacques goes free. The choice is theirs not mine.”

Turning towards him Gabrielle touches his arm. “But Jacques is weak. He would do anything to save his own life.”

“Philippe will die to save his brother.” Victoire tells her.

Gabrielle looks up at him. “You’re hiding the truth from me. You know that Philippe is not guilty of witchcraft.”

Do not demand the truth from me or your son Gabrielle.’

“Is it so terrible?”

“So terrible that the King will take our lands, our titles and banish us to the New World as paupers.”

Gabrielle turns and takes a couple of steps away. “All because of Jacques friends. Because he was led astray by disreputable companions.”

“His greed led him astray my Gabrielle. The greed that is the legacy of the Des Mondes.”

“But Philippe is not greedy.” Gabrielle says with a sob.

“Philippe is not a Des Mondes.”

Gabrielle turns towards him. “They are both my sons.”

“But only one of them is a Des Mondes. He knows it and so do I.”

“Can you prove that?”

“His life has proved it.”

“And you let my husband your son believe it to his grave that they were both his.”

“Come come my dear Gabrielle in this time there are a lot of families who are not certain of the purity of their line.”

Gabrielle turns away. “And this is how my sin is to be punished with Philippe’s death at the stake.”

:Philippe will lead the Des Mondes to salvation. We have had our sinners your Jacques and myself even but we have never had a saint before.”

“You could save him if you chose.” Gabrielle says glancing back at him.

Victoire steps towards her. “Only by exposing the fact of his brother. By letting Jacques die instead and destroy forever my name. A name that is honored by the king and his people. All for the sin of your careless youth. It is too large a price to pay.”

“Then I accept it.” Gabrielle says as she lowers her head.

“Then go home and let fate take its course.”

Gabrielle walks from the room with tears running down her face.


As the sun begins to rise Philippe des Mondes is led from his cell and brought before the tribunal. With his confession and the testimony of Jacques and Raxl Len’Twair he is found guilty. The magistrate reads the verdict. 

“Philippe Des Mondes you have been found guilty of using witchcraft in an attempt to kill the King. You are to be burned at the stake tomorrow in the Town Square. May God have mercy on your soul.”

Philippe is led back to his cell as the church bells begin to ring. Later that afternoon Victoire Des Mondes enters the cell to find Philippe sitting in a chair glancing up at the ceiling.

“What is it grandson?”

“Those bells again.”

“Do you fear judgment?”

“No I fear death but not judgment. I don’t want to die and I don’t want to leave Susanne.”

“Then tell the truth, it’s not too late.”

“Grand pe’re Le’ Counte shall I purchase my happiness at the price of your name?” Philippe asks as he stands.

“It is your name as well.”

“You and I know better than that Monsieur Le’Counte. I am not a Des Mondes, I am the son of the king.”

“I don’t want to hear it.” Victoire says as he turns away from Philippe.

“You see, it is to be better to be known as the son of a demon witch rather than the bastard son of the King.“ Philippe says as he sits down.

“Jacques knows doesn’t he?”

“Forgive my brother Monsieur Le’Counte it is not an easy life to be the younger brother of the mysterious favorite of the King. If Jacques has chosen to forget my illegitimacy by embracing corruption it is my fault.”

Victoire turns towards Philippe. “Yours?’

“For being what I am, who I am. My life has been a penance from my birth. I didn’t realize that it was Jacques who is being punished not I.”

“Is that why you do not deny his accusations?”

“His accusations save my by giving me a martyr’s death.”

The door swings open and Jacques stands in the doorway. He walks towards his grandfather. “I can‘t desert Philippe.”.

“You don’t have to pretend any longer.” Victoire tells him.

“Pretend what?”

“Out side they are erecting a scaffold. Tomorrow it is over and you will live with this knowledge forever.”

Jacques turns away and Philippe glances at them. “Grand pe’re Le’Counte leave Jacques alone.”

“If you won’t save yourself Philippe it is my duty to do it.” Victore tells him.

Philippe walks towards them. “Only my death saves me.”

“Your mother interceded with me to keep you alive.”

“I have made a decision to free me from this life and Jacques from the responsibility for the charges he has made so recklessly against me.”

Jacques grabs Philippe’s shoulder. “I will retract it all!”

“Brother do not deprive me from my passport to eternity.”

Jacques releases him. “You are executing yourself. Why?”

“To save you from infamy and the Des Mondes from scandal and disgrace.”

“Poor deluded Philippe. That pact was a covenant with the devil.” Victore tells him.

“Men no longer recognize the difference of the devil and God.” Philippe says as he glances away.

“Those very men who you despise have sentenced you to burn at the stake tomorrow.” Victoire tells him.

“Philippe are you sure this is what you want to do? I can go to the King now!” Jacques says as he grabs Philippe’s arm.

“It is eternal salvation that I seek. Now leave me to my fate! I’ll bless you forever.”

“I want to help you!” 

“Go I tell you, my life is in my own hands. Take him from here Grand pe’re.”

“Come Jacques.” Victoire says as he takes Jacques by the arm and leads him from the cell.


Later that evening Susanne enters Philippe’s cell. She walks up to him and Philippe glances away from her. “I’m doomed forever.”

“No I won’t let it happen to you.” Susanne tells him as she touches his arm.

“My sweet Susanne there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s why they have let you come to see me for the last time.”

“No I won’t let them take you to the stake.” Susanne says as she throws herself into his arms. “I won’t let them light the fire beneath you, I won’t!” Susanne says as she begins to sob.

“Oh my Susanne don’t think of that. Think of our love and remember me.” Philippe tells her as he sets her away from him. "I will remember and so will you. I will keep you in my heart throughout eternity.”

“And I shall spend eternity searching for those that betrayed you. I’ll find them one by one and avenge you.” Susanne tells him then kisses him.

Philippe pulls back from her. “Susanne you must promise me only one thing, don’t keep hatred in your heart only love. Because if you don’t we will never be able to meet again where there is no evil and no pain.”

“I’ll force them to retract their accusations. I’ll clear your name through Jacques if it takes me forever.”

“Not through hatred. Promise me only through love.”

“Oh he doesn’t recognize love.” Susanne says as she looks away from him.

“Because he has never known it. Even now I am the luckier of the brothers because I’ve known it. Susanne it’s time for you to go now.” Philippe tells her then he holds her hands. “Tomorrow don’t come to the market place. I’d rather you go to the cathedral and pray that we will be together again and find eternal happiness.”

She looks at him sadly then turns and walks to the door. “I won’t say goodbye because I know we will be together again.” Susanne says as she glances back at him then calls for the guard.


As the sun rises the guards take Philippe from his cell and lead him outdoors. Philippe walks in front leading the way to the place of his execution. He is bound to a large stake that is surrounded by wood and kindling. People begin to gather as the executioner approaches with a torch and lights the kindling. The flames begin to spread and climb up his body. Philippe smiles as the church bells begin to ring.

Standing alone from the crowd Jacques watches without expression until the smoke and flames obscure the sight of his brother. The crowd begins to disperse when nothing but ashes remain. Jacques takes a snuffbox from his pocket and fills it with Philippe’s smoldering ashes then walks away.


Raxl had stood in the crowd to watch Philippe’s execution then walks back to her cottage. She enters and retrieves the document and places it in the center of her table. She collects four black candles and places them around the document. She lights them and holds her hands in front of the altar. “Oh Lord and Master I have done as you have bid. I ask for the reward of eternal life that was promised me.” Raxl glances at the document as words are added. “IF I FAIL IN THIS PLEDGE I GIVE YOU AS HOSTAGE ANY MALE DESCENDANTS YOU SHALL NAME IN PERPETUITY.” Raxl reads loud as the candled blow out. She picks up a quill and dips it in ink then signs the name Victoire Des Monde to the document. Raxl lifts the document and places it in her bag then glances around the cottage and walks out the door.


Jacques enters the shipping yard where his friends wait for him. As he begins to board his ship Raxl rushes onto the dock. Jaques stops half way up the plank and glances at Raxl. “Raxl you’ll have the devil to pay for what you have done.”

“Please Master do not leave me here. My actions will be found out and I will be punished.”

“Do you give me your word that you will do as I say?”

“Yes I will obey only you.” Raxl tells him as thunder rumbles overhead.

“Very well.“ Jacques says as he turns and walks onto the deck of the ship. 

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Part 2: Chapter 1. Jacques and the Skull

After sailing at sea for weeks Jacques calls D’ Anton to his cabin. D’ Anton knocks and enters. “You may leave us.” Jacques says to Raxl.
Raxl bows and walks out the door.

“Jacques we need to head into the nearest port and stock up on supplies. Leaving France as we did there was no time to prepare for a long voyage.”

“Well there are plenty of ships on the sea. I am very sure we can persuade them to part with their goods.”

“Are we going to try our hand at pirating?” D’Anton asks.

“What better way to learn a new trade. I have also renamed our ship The Skull.” Jacques tells him with a smile.

D”Anton walks towards the door. 

“Inform the men that we will be coming upon a ship and to be prepared.”

D’Anton nods and walks out the door.


The sky begins to darken as a storm brews over the horizon. The Skull comes upon a merchant ship bearing the English flag. D’Anton calls to the men to arm the cannons. As they near the ship they pull the French flag down and raise the flag bearing the sign of the skull. Thunder rumbles and lightening flashes as the storm intensifies, they begin to fire upon the merchant ship. . The other ship begins to return fire. Jacques calls for the boats to be lowered as the English ship begins to burn. Jacques orders the raffling hooks to be thrown and his crew begins to board the English ship. He asks for volunteers from the English ship to join his crew. When they refuse he sets them afloat in the rowboats and orders his men to load the ship’s cargo to their ship. Jacques and his men watch from the Skull as the English ship sinks beneath the waves as the wind and rain begin. Jacques asks for Raxl to be sent to his cabin.

Raxl enters. “Monsieur Des Mondes you wanted to see me.”

“Your vision was correct, the ship was where you said it would be. I have decided to let you guide us to the ships, which carry the most in riches.”

Raxl bows and turns to leave the cabin.

Jacques grabs her arm. “Raxl don’t try to cross me or you will never see land again.”

Raxl glances at him and Jacques releases her arm. She walks from the cabin.


For the next six months Jacques and his crew rob and raid Merchant ships along the Caribbean coast. Word has spread of the Pirate ship named the Skull. An English Fleet is sent out to stop them.

D’Anton knocks and enters Jacques cabin. “Jacques we have three ships approaching bearing the English flag.”

Jacques comes to his feet as the ship rocks as they are fired upon. The two men rush on deck to see the English Fleet gaining on them. Jacques orders his crew to man the cannons and return fire. The battle rages and the Skull begins to take on water, fire erupts burning the masts and spreading across the ship. 

Jacques rushes to Raxl’s cabin and enters. “Raxl you must get us to safety.”

Raxl places black candles on her table and lights them. Also on the table are a goblet and a dagger. “Master the Evil One asks for you to provide a sacrifice.”

“A sacrifice?”

“Yes only then will I be able to help you.” The ship rocks and shudders from another direct hit. “Do you agree?”

“Yes!” Jacques shouts as he is thrown against the table.

“Take this knife and slice across the palm of your hand.” Raxl tells him as she hands him a jeweled dagger.

Jacques does it as Raxl holds the goblet under his bleeding hand. “Now repeat after me.” Raxl tells him.

“I pledge absolute obedience to my Lord and Master Lucifer. I will do his bidding and willingly give up my soul to him. I pledge upon my life and beyond to follow where he leads.”

Lightening flashes through the cabin and a strong wind blows through the cabin extinguishing the candles. Jacques glances at his hand and notices a blood red ruby ring upon his finger.

“He accepts your sacrifice Master.” Raxl says to him.

Jacques turns and rushes from the cabin and stands on the deck. The sky darkens and rain pours upon his ship extinguishing the flames. He sends men below to seal the holes that the cannon balls had made. Jacques watches as giant waves rise up over the English Fleet sinking them to the bottom of the sea. A strong wind comes up and blows their ship close to an Island in the Caribbean. Jacques orders his men to launch boats as Jacques leads the way through the reefs and whirlpools that surround the Island. They disembark on a sandy beach of what appears to be a tropical paradise.

===================

Part 2: Chapter 2. The Takeover Of An Island

Raxl had stayed on the ship to tend to the wounded as Jacques and his men step onto the sandy beach. They begin to walk through the jungle like growth and notice that the island is inhabited with deer, fox and rabbits. Also they see flowers, grass and trees in abundance. They stop when they come upon a stone staircase. Glancing up they notice a beautiful mansion on the higher ground. They begin the climb with Jacques leading the way. They stop as they near the top of the staircase. 

"Shall we see if anyone is home?" Jacques says as he leads the way to the mansion

Jacques steps up to the door and pounds upon it. His men stand back and wait quietly.

The door opens and a giant of a man stands in the doorway.

"We have come to ask for shelter." Jacques says to him.

"I am sorry but the Master is in the village."

"The village?"

"Follow that path." The servant says and points to a path leading away from the mansion.

Jacques turns towards his men. "Welcome to our new home." Jacques says as he draws his sword.

The servant begins to shut the door. Jacques steps forward and stops the door with his boot. He pushes on the door and pins the servant against it with the sword point touching the servant's throat. "Go find your Master and tell him Jacques Eloi Des Mondes wishes to speak to him" 

Jacques lowers the sword and the servant nods and steps towards the pirates.

"What is your name?" Jacques asks.

The servant stops and glances at Jacques. "Quito." He says then turns and rushes down the path leading to the village.

Quito enters the building where the villagers have gathered. He asks for Monsieur Richard Bardett his Master. 

Richard walks out of a side room accompanied by four of his merchant friends. "Quito what is it?" Richard asks.

"Monsieur there are men with weapons waiting for you. The leader told me his name is Jacques Eloi Des Mondes."

"Jacques Eloi Des Mondes?" Richard repeats

"Pirates!" Says a voice from behind him.

Richard turns towards his friends. 

"He and his crew have been raiding our ships for the last six months. His ship is the Skull." Says one of the merchants.

Richard and his friends rush out the door followed by Quito. Richard stops as he nears the mansion. 

Jacques watches as they approach and draws his sword.". "I am taking over ownership of the mansion and Island." Jacques says to Richard.

Richard draws his sword and his friends follow his lead. Quito has no weapon and stands in the brush and watches.

Jacques steps forward and swings his sword as Richard blocks him. The pirates pull their swords and advance upon the merchants. The fight begins but the merchants are no match for the pirates. Two lay dead on the ground and the other two are wounded as they drop their swords and sit upon the ground admitting defeat... Richard holds his own against Jacques. Richard raises his sword as he blocks Jacques strike and sends Jacques sword flying from his hand. He holds the tip of the sword to Jacques throat and Jacques smiles as he holds a gun in his hand and pulls the trigger. Richard drops his sword and falls dead at Jacques feet.

Jacques glances at Quito. "It looks like you have a new Master. Take your wounded to the village. Then send some men to bury the dead."

Quito glances at Jacques angrily then helps the two wounded men to their feet. He helps them down the path that leads to the village.

"D'Anton take two men and scout the Island for a place to store the treasure from the ship." Jacques tells his first mate then bends down and picks up his sword. He signals to the remaining men to accompany him into the mansion.

They enter the mansion and discover the servants are hiding as word got around of their Master's death. 

The pirates gather the servants in the Great Hall and Jacques stands in front of them. "I am the new Master of this Island. From this day on it will be known as Maljardin. I give you a choice; you may stay and serve me or go back to the village."

The servants glance at each other then walk out the door.

D'Anton enters the mansion and walks to the Great Hall. "Jacques we found caves under the cliffs that are not visible."

"Lead the way." Jacques tells him then walks with D'Anton out the door. The men follow them to the caves. Jacques turns to his men. "Let's go back to the Skull and start transporting. "

Jacques leads the way as they row back to the Skull. Jacques enters the room where the wounded are being tended. "Raxl we have a new home. Welcome to Maljardin."

Raxl nods and turns back to the men in her care. 

"We will bring the men over first and you will continue to tend to them. There is a mansion ready for our occupancy but I am afraid the servants have left. I leave it in your competent hands."

"Yes Master." Raxl says and bows her head. "I must tell you that you only have three days before your ship sinks under the water.

For the next few days the pirates unload the ship salvaging everything they can. As the last load reaches the shore the Skull begin to list towards the whirlpools It is pulled under the water and debris is pushed towards the shore.

===================

Part 2: Chapter 3. Back To France

For the next six months life on Maljardin has quieted down. Jacques has made himself Master over the Island. The people that live on the Island continue to work the land as farmers and the others as fishermen supplying the mansion with fresh fruit and vegetables while the pirates hunted for meat and fowl. 

The pirates have started to become restless and have asked D’Anton to speak to Jacques. D’Anton knocks on Jacques bedroom door and enters the room. “Jacques the men would like to know what plans you have.”

There is another knock at the door. 

“Yes?” Jacques calls out.

“It’s Raxl, may I come in?”

“Enter.” 

Opening the door Raxl steps inside. “Master I must speak to you alone.”

“D’Anton I will speak to the men later.’ Jacques tells him.

D’Anton walks from the room as Raxl closes the door and turns towards Jacques. “Master you must contact your grandfather.”

“Why?”

“I have received word that there has been a death in your family, your mother.” Raxl says as she lowers her head.

Jacques sits on the edge of the bed and looks away.

“Master I am so sorry.” Raxl says as she places her hand on his shoulder.

Jacques glances up at her. “Ask D’Anton to come to my room then prepare to go back to France.”

Raxl bows then walks from the room.

D’Anton knocks and enters Jacques room. “ What wrong?” He asks when he sees Jacques face.

“I have received word that my mother has died.” Jacques stands. “Gather the men, I will speak to them then I am going to the mainland and book passage for France.”

“But you arte a wanted man.”

“It does not matter.” Jacques says then walks out the door. He walks down the staircase and out the door to walk along the cliffs in solitude.


D’Anton has gathered the men in the Great Hall and tells them of the death of Gabrielle Des Mondes. He also tells them of Jacques plan for going home to France.

“And what about us?” One of the men ask.

Jacques steps into the Great Hall. “Go with D’Anton and collect your part of the treasure my pirate days are over. You may stay or go I leave the choice to you.” Jacques says then turns from the men and walks up the staircase to his room.

Entering the room he discovers Raxl packing his cloths. Raxl glances at him. “I have asked Quito to row us across to the mainland.

Jacques nods his head then turns as D’Anton comes into the room. “The men are packing and leaving the Island.”

“I will have some of the villagers take them across to the Mainland.”

“Jacques I am going with you.”

Jacques puts his hand on his friend’s shoulder in thanks then turns away.


A few weeks later they arrive and disembark at the French Port. Jacques hires a carriage to take them to the Des Mondes house. Entering Raxl walks up the staircase to prepare rooms for Jacques and D’Anton. D’Anton follows her carrying the luggage.

Jacques enters the Drawing Room to discover his grandfather sitting near the fireplace

“Grandfather I have come home.”

Victoir glances up then stands. “How dare you come here!” He says angrily

“Grandfather is it true about Mother?”

Victoir turns away. “You are not welcome here.”

“This is my home.”

“Not any longer. When your brother died your mother became a recluse refusing to eat slowly killing herself. And what did you do? You ran away.”

Jacques turns away with tears in his eyes.

“You’re not wanted here.” Victoir tells him. “Because of you the Des Mondes family is gone.”

Jacques turns towards him. “If my brother mattered so much to you here is what’s left of him!” Jacques says angrily then hurls the small box with his brother’s ashes at his grandfather. He turns and walks from the room and shouts for Raxl.

Raxl rushes down the staircase followed by D’Anton.

“We are leaving now!” Jacques says angrily.

“But Master this is your house.”

“I want nothing to do with the Des Mondes estate.” Jacques says then walks out the door.

D’Anton glances at Raxl. “I will collect our cases and we will find lodging in town.”

Raxl nods and follows Jacques out the door.

A carriage takes them to town where they find lodging for the night.

“Tomorrow we will book passage back to Maljardin.” Jacques says to D’Anton.

“Jacques you are the last of the Des Mondes don’t you think we should stay for a few days?”

“No we leave tomorrow.” Jacques says then walks away from D’Anton.


The next morning Jacques calls for a coach to take him to the Des Mondes mausoleum. Entering he kneels next to his mother’s tomb and places a flower at the base of it.

“Jacques.” A voice calls his name. .

Jacques glances behind to discover his grandfather standing in the doorway. “Grandfather please I don’t want to fight.” Jacques says with tears in his eyes.

“I haven’t come to fight.” Victoir says as he places his hand on Jacques shoulder. “I spoke to the King and he has granted a pardon to you and D’Anton for your pirating crimes. I explained that after the death of your brother you became ill and had a breakdown. I told him that D’Anton went with you to watch over you but couldn’t stop you.”

Jacques stands and glances at the evil ring that he acquired when he made the pact with the devil.

“Please come home.”

“The Des Mondes house is no longer my home.”

“It is yours through the family title. You have inherited all the lands and the house and the Des Mondes fortune.”

“No Grandfather I no longer want it. My home is now Maljardin.”

“An Island of evil?” 

“No it is a place of beauty grandfather.”

“At least stay for the party that is in your honor.”

“A party?”

“Yes the King is welcoming you as the new heir to the Des Mondes family.”

“But what about you Grandfather? You are the eldest member of our family.”

“I gave my title away when I became a member of the Royal tribunal.”

“I’ll think about it.” Jacques tells him then walks away.

===================

Part Three: Chapter 1. Jacques marries


Arriving at his place of lodging Jacques tells D’Anton about the invitation to the party.

“Jacques it is your right and duty as the Des Mondes heir.”

Raxl enters the room after listening at the door. . “Master I don’t think you should attend especially after the pact you made.”

“Raxl it is not your place to interfere with my plans.” Jacques tells her.

Raxl lowers her gaze.

“What pact?” D’Anton asks.

“It is nothing. I will think it over. Goodnight D’Anton. Raxl you may leave me.” Jacques tells them as he steps to the door and holds it open for them.

 

The next morning Raxl enters Jacques room. “Raxl have my best cloths pressed for tonight. I have decided to attend the King’s party.”

“Yes Master.” Raxl replies as she looks through Jacques luggage. Jacques leaves the room to speak to D’ Anton.

 

Later that evening the King’s carriage arrives to take him to the palace. Jacques enter a large room and greets his grandfather. Victoire presents him to the king.

“Your Majesty I am honored to be here.” Jacques tells him as he bows.

“Jacques Eloi Des Mondes I would like to present you to my guests. They are all members of Royalty.” The King walks to his throne and faces the crowd as the guests quiet down. “I would like to present the new heir to the Des Mondes House, Jacques Eloi Des Mondes.” Jacques and Victoire stand next to the King as the guest walk by and present themselves. After the formal ceremony is over the King announces that the music may begin and the food to be set out.

Jacques glances across the room as a young woman enters. “Grandfather who is that lovely girl?”

“Her name is Huaco Montrese. Would you like me to introduce you?”

Not answering Jacques saunters over to the girl. Victoire follows him.

Mademoiselle Montrese I would like to present my grandson Jacques Eloi Des Mondes.”

“Bon soir Mademoiselle,” Jacques tells her as he takes her hand then kisses it. . “May I have this dance?”

Huaco curtsies then steps into his arms. After the dance he watches her not taking his eyes from her as she dances with others. Huaco also watches Jacques as he partners other girls. When the last dance is announced Jacques again asks her to dance. “May I see you again?” Jacques asks.

“Oui Monsieur Des Mondes.”

“My name is Jacques.” He says as he takes her hand and walks her back to her attendants.

“Oui Jacques and I am Huaco.” She says with a smile.

“I will call on you tomorrow afternoon.” Jacques says and kisses her hand then walks away.

Jacques moves back to the Des Mondes house and begins to court Huaco. A month later he asks for her hand in marriage. She agrees and they make the announcement to the King. The wedding is planned in two days.

 

Late that evening Huaco receives a visitor, her best friend Beth.

“Huaco please think about this marriage. There are rumors that Jacques is a pirate and he was involved with the death of his brother.”

“Beth I love him. And I don’t listen to rumors.”

“But I know he will not be faithful. He is at the Inn every night with a different woman.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“It’s true.”

“Please Beth do not ruin my chance of happiness.”

“Then I will wish you luck.” Beth says as she hugs Huaco then walks to the door. She stops and looks back. “I hope you know what you are doing.” She says then walks out the door.

Huaco turns from the door. “I know he loves me.” She says then rushes up the staircase to her room and throws herself on her bed. She buries her face in the comforter as she thinks over what Beth had told her.

 

The marriage takes place in the same square of Philippe‘s execution. Many people from the city joined with the Royal family to wish the couple a happy life while glancing at the place where Jacque’s brother had died. After the ceremony they take the carriage back to the Des Mondes house. Huaco steps away from Jacques. “Jacques I am sad.”

“Sad my love? This should be the happiest day of your life.”

“My sister Raua was not able to attend.”

“I will send for her to join us on Maljardin.”

“Maljardin?”

“Yes it is my home.”

“But darling this is your home.”

“No Huaco I have been away from my Island long enough. We set sail in the morning.”

“But Jacques I want to stay here.”

“I must get back. Maljardin is a beautiful Island made for a princess.” He tells her then takes her into his arms and kisses her. Jacques takes her hand and they enter the house.

 

The next morning the carriage arrives and Jacques, Huaco and D’ Anton say goodbye to Victoire. Raxl rides with the second coach with their luggage as Jacques, Huaco and D’Anton take the King’s coach to the docks. Their luggage is loaded as Jacques tells Huaco about her new home. Entering their cabin Jacques holds Huaco in his arms. “I have a surprise for you my love; my friends have a party planned in celebration of our marriage.”

“It sounds wonderful.’ Huaco says with a look of sadness.

“Darling you’ll fall in love with the Island. And my friends can’t wait to meet you.” Jacques pulls her closer and kisses her.

 

The ship arrives at the French Leaf Port. Quito waits on the docks. “Monsieur Des Mondes your friends have returned in celebration of your marriage.”

“Yes Quito I know Raxl informed me as we set sail.”

“Raxl informed you. How could she know?”

“She has friends in many places.” Jacques tells him as Huaco steps up to them. “May I present my wife Huaco Des Mondes .”

Quito bows. “Madame Des Mondes I would like to welcome you. I am called Quito. “ Quito glances at Jacques. “Monsieur Des Mondes we will be ready after your baggage is stowed.”

“Jacques I thought this is your Island.”

“No my dove we have to cross the channel.”

“In those boats?” Huaco asks as she points at the row boats.

“You will be very safe Huaco.” Jacques says as he helps her into the first boat.

 

Raxl and D’ Anton climb into the second boat and Quito follows in the third with the luggage. The three men struggle through the whirlpools as Huaco hangs onto the side of the boat with her eyes closed. They arrive on Maljardin and Huaco.is helped from the boat by one of Jacques friends; Jacques climbs out after her.

“Oh Jacques where have you brought me. I will never cross that water again.” She says as she throws herself into Jacques arms.

“Darling there is nothing to fear, You were never in danger.” He takes her by the arm and walk up to the mansion. Jacques friends from his pirate days greet them. They enter the mansion and Jacques takes Huaco on a tour of the mansion. He leaves her in their room to change for the party and excuses himself to talk to Raxl about the party.

 

Later that evening the guests stand in the Great Hall as Jacques takes Huaco by the hand and walks down the staircase and present her as the new Mistress of Maljardin. The music starts and the party begins. After the wedding feast Jacques pours a goblet of wine and stands by himself and watches his guests. He hears his name called and turns as D’Anton and Huaco approach him.

“Here now Monsieur Jacques Eloi Des Mondes you are a poor chevalier. You marry a young beauty like this but stand off in a corner drinking by yourself, that’s damned unchivalrous.” D’Anton says as he holds Huaco’s hand.

D’Anton releases her as Huaco glances at Jacques and fans herself. “And unromantic.” She adds.

Jacques steps towards her and takes her hand. “You do me wrong my pigion.” He leads her away from D’ Anton and kisses her hand. “To question your husbands devotion.” He says as glances up to watch one of the woman guests walk by.

“How could I not when my eyes see your eyes on every woman in the room. Huaco says as she looks away from him.

“To compare my dove. Your loveliness is so far above theirs.” Jacques says as he pulls her back towards him.

“Is it then my turn to bed.” Huaco asks with a smile as she leans towards him.

“First let me show you the cliff heights at sunset.” Jacques says as he leads her towards the doorway. He stops and glances at her. “And then my undying love.” They walk out the door of the mansion.

“But the Master’s bed is the other way.” D’Anton says as he and the other guest laugh.

 

Huaco and Jacques walk along the cliffs. They stop at the top and Jacques takes her into his arms and kisses her while glancing at the edge. A shiver runs down Huaco’s back. Jacques releases her and takes her hand as he leads her back to the mansion. They bid their guest goodnight and Jacques lifts her into his arms and carries her up the staircase as they guests cheer him on.

 

===================

Part Three: Chapter 2. Death Comes To Maljardin


In the next few months Huaco works at decorating the Great Hall with tapestries and portraits of Jacques ancestors. Jacques has everything shipped from the Des Mondes house in France. Huaco enters the Great Hall to find Jacques sitting in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine. She sits on his lap and puts her arms around him. “Jacques you must have your portrait painted and placed above the fireplace.”.

“Huaco my love only the dead grace the walls of the mansion.”

“But Jacques you are the Master of Maljardin.”

Jacques glances at the empty space above the fireplace. “I will think about it.” He sets his glass down and rising he carries his wife up the staircase to their room.

 

Jacques commissions a painter from France and pays his fare to Maljardin. Six weeks later a new portrait hangs in the Great Hall. Huaco enters the room to find her husband standing in front of it. She steps close to him. “You look so gallant Jacques and yet there is something that disturbs me about the portrait.”

“Jacques turns and smiles at her as Huaco feels a chill go through her. She steps away and turning she sits on the divan. “Darling please come and sit next to me. I have something very important to tell you.”

Jacques walks to the wine decanter and pours a drink. Turning he joins her. “Jacques I am going to have a baby.”

Jacques looks at her and pulls her into his arms. “My love that is wonderful news.”.”

 

As Huaco enters the later months of her pregnancy Jacques begins to visit the women in the village ignoring his young wife. One evening Huaco enters the Great Hall as Jacques plans to leave for the village. “Jacques I have heard the most horrible news. I was in the village visiting Lou-Anne and she told me that you have not been faithful to me, is it true?” She asks as she touches his arm.

“My dove with a jewel like you why would I seek my pleasure elsewhere?”

“Jacques you have not touched me in ages.”

“I would not want anything to happen to the baby.”

“But what of me?”

Jacques takes her into his arms. “My dear I cherish you above all other women.” Jacques kisses her on the forehead then pulls away from her and walks out the door. Huaco watches as tears stream down her cheeks.

 

As the time grows near for the baby to arrive Jacques waits for Huaco in the Great Hall. Huaco joins him. “I have a surprise, your sister Raua will be arriving on the Mainland later today.”

“Oh Jacques that makes me so happy.” Huaco tells him as she steps into his arms.

Jacques kisses her then steps away. “I will take Quito with me and wait for the ship to arrive.” He tells her then steps away.

“Jacques.” Huaco calls out his name.

Jacques stops and looks back at her.

“Thank you.”

Jacques bows then steps out the door.

 

Raua steps onto the pier as Jacques steps forward. “Mademoiselle Montrese?”

“Yes.” Raua answers as she walks towards him.

“I am Jacques Eloi Des Mondes, husband of your sister.”

“Monsieur Des Mondes is my sister with you?”

“No she is waiting on Maljardin for us.” Jacques says as he takes her hand and leads her to his boat. “Quito please collect the ladies luggage.”

“Oui Monsieur Des Mondes.” He replies as he steps onto the planks of the boat that has brought Raua. Quito loads their boat and Jacques sits next to Raua as Quito guides the boat across the channel. Arriving on Maljardin Jacques helps Raua onto the sandy beach. Quito follows them to the mansion carrying the luggage.

 

They enter the mansion and Huaco rushes to her sister from the Great Hall. “Oh sister I am so happy to see you.” Huaco says as she hugs Raua.

“Huaco I am so glad to be with you especially now that you are having a baby.”

“Quito take Mademoiselle Montrese’s luggage to her room. Raxl will show you the way.” Jacques says as Raxl stands on the staircase.

“Oui Monsieur Des Mondes.” Quito replies then follows Raxl up the staircase.

“Darling I want to show you the mansion.” Huaco tells her sister.

“No my dove you must get some rest.” Jacques tells his wife.”

“But Jacques I am not tired.”

“You must rest. Now go to your room and I will show your sister around the mansion.” Jacques says as he puts his arm around Huaco’s shoulder and leads her to the staircase.

Huaco turns and looks at Jacques then glances at her sister. “Yes please excuse me Jacques is right.”

Jacques kisses her on the forehead and Huaco turns and walks up the staircase.

“Come Mademoiselle Montrese I will take you on a tour of the mansion.” Jacques says as he touches her arm.

“Please call me Raua.”

“Thank you Raua and you must call me Jacques.” He says as he leads her around the mansion then steps outdoors with her.

 

“As evening approaches Raxl rushes into the Great Hall. “Master it is Huaco’s time, your son is on the way.”

“That is good news Raxl. Where is Madame Des Mondes sister?”

“She is with the Mistress.”

“Very good please inform me when the infant arrives.”

“Yes Master.” Raxl replies then rushes back up the staircase.

 

As morning arrives Raxl finds Jacques sitting in front of his portrait with a glass of wine in his hand. “Master you have a son.”

Jacques stands and sets the drink down. He walks toward the staircase. “Raxl I would like to see my son.”

“Go up Master but quietly the Mistress and child are sleeping .”

Jacques rushes up the staircase and stands in the doorway of his room. “Huaco?” Jacques calls quietly.

“Come in darling and meet your son.”

Jacques enters and approaches the bed. He looks at his son then kisses Huaco. “Thank you my darling.” He glances up and notices Raua sitting in a chair. “ Raua come we must let my wife rest.” He takes her by the hand and leads her out as Huaco falls asleep.

 

As the week passes Jacques spends his days with Raua only visiting his wife and son in the evenings for a few minutes.

 

One week after the baby’s birth Huaco plans on a quiet dinner party inviting D’Anton.

Raxl enters the Great Hall. “The guests are in the Dining room Master. Shall I have the dinner served?”

“By all mean and pour some wine for a toast.” Jacques tells her as he walks into the Dining Room.

Raxl pours the wine as Jacques stands at the head of the table. Huaco, Raua and D’Anton stand they touch glasses. “To the intrigue of the future.’ Jacques says.

They sit and D’Anton raises his glass. “Now a toast to our charming hostess.”

Jacques raises his glass. “And to her especially charming sister.”

“Here here, to our two charming ladies.” D’Anton adds.

Raxl orders the help to serve the meal. Jacques glances at Huaco. “My love you eat like a bird. Now she should be hungry enough for two.” Jacques says with a laugh as he glances at D’Anton and Huaco.

“I’m tired tonight Jacques.” Huaco says as she places her napkin on her plate.

“Small wonder when she has so recently born you a son.” D’Anton says to Jacques.

“Well I don’t need you to tell me that D’Anton.” Jacques replies as he throws down his napkin.

“I didn’t mean to interfere.”

“Of course you didn’t.”. Jacques says as he looks at D’Anton. “ Raxl more wine.”

“Yes master.” Raxl says then picks up the wine decanter.

“None for me. I must take care of my son.”

“But the boy is asleep.” Jacques says to Huaco.

“He’s my son and I want to see him.”

“Let me sister so that you can finish dinner.” Raua says to Huaco.

“No Raua there is no need, stay.” Jacques says to her then turns towards Huaco. “Must you be off my love?”

Huaco smiles and touches Jacques hand. “He’s a baby not a man and right now he needs me more than you.”

“Very well but I will see you up.”

“No need to leave your wine Jacques Eloi. I must get back to the ship at dawn and I need some rest. I will light Madame Des Mondes way.” D’Anton says as he stands and bows to Huaco

“You are very kind.” Huaco tells him as she stands.

D’Anton takes the candle from Raxl. “Thank you Raxl.”

Huaco holds D’Anton’s arm then turns toward Jacques. “Finish your wine then come and say goodnight to our boy and we will to bed.”

“I will Cherie.”

D’Anton and Huaco walk from the room as Jacques turns towards Raua. “You may leave us Raxl.”

“Yes Master.” Raxl says as she steps towards them with a candle.

“That will be all.” Jacques tells her.

 

Raxl walks from the room and Jacques stands and steps to the doorway. He watches as Raxl climbs the staircase. Walking back to Raua he pulls her chair out for her.

Raua steps away and Jacques grabs her arm and kisses her shoulder. Raua turns towards him and puts her arms around him and they kiss.

Jacques holds her in his arms. “To sit through supper without touching you is enough to drive a man mad.”

“How can I love you so when you are my sister’s husband.”

“Don’t question it. Don’t question love, welcome it. Some people never receive love.”

“But I haven’t the right to it.” Raua tells Jacques.

“The right belongs to those that take it. If you find it take it or it may be lost forever.” Jacques tells her before kissing her again.

Raua pulls away. “It is not right. We are only hurting my sister.” Raua says as she turns away from him.

“Huaco will never know.”

”Jacques we cannot continue deceiving her.”

Jacques puts his hands on her shoulders, Raua pulls away and rushes up the staircase.

 

Jacques enters the Great Hall and pours a brandy then sits in front of his portrait. He finishes the drink then drops the glass as his eyes close and he falls asleep.

“Jacques Eloi Des Mondes.” A voice calls his name.

Jacques opens his eyes and glances around, he is alone. Glancing at his portrait he sees a sign appear upon it. It has three parallel lines that meet at the bottom then curves with a tail.

“Jacques Eloi Des Mondes your wife has served her purpose. If you desire the sister you must kill your wife. With her death you pledge your devotion to me as your Master.”

“Raxl will stop me. She has become very fond of my wife.”

“By your pledge to me Madame Len’Twaire cannot stop you. She has betrayed me and her powers have been taken away. I will give you life eternal if you obey me.”

Jacques stands and bows to the portrait then walks up the staircase

 

One week later as evening approaches Huaco is sitting in the Great Hall when she hears Jacques enter the room.

“My dove I would ask that you join me for a walk upon the cliffs to watch the sunset.”

“But Jacques I must see to our boy.”

“Nonsense Raxl will see to him.”

”I am his mother and he needs me.”

“My love for a little while your husband needs you.” Jacques says as he pulls her up and takes her in his arms and kisses her. “Please say yes.”

Huaco looks into his eyes. “Yes oh yes. But first I must get my cloak.” She pulls away and walks towards the staircase.

Raua is coming down the stairs. She stops at the bottom and faces her sister.

“Raua could you check on my son, Jacques and I are taking a walk.”

“Yes sister.” Raua says then glances at Jacques.

Jacques saunters to his wife side and helps her with her cape then takes her arm as he leads her to the door. Before stepping outside Jacques glances at Raua.

With a hurt look Raua turns and walks back up the staircase.

Raxl had been watching from the kitchen . Grabbing her cape she follows the Master and her Mistress of Maljardin outdoors.

 

Jacques and Huaco walk hand in hand until they reach the top of the cliffs. Jacques takes her in his arms and kisses her while looking over the edge at the crashing water below. He pulls back. “Huaco look there is a boat that is being swept towards the rocks!” Jacques says with a sound of panic in his voice.

Huaco turns and steps towards the edge. “Darling I don’t see anything.”

Jacques steps behind her and gives her a push.

Huaco screams as she goes over the edge.

Jacques steps forward then hears something behind him. He turns to find Raxl behind him.

“You murderer, the Mistress was my friend. You will pay for this.”

Jacques laughs. “There is nothing you can do. The Master has taken your powers.”

From across the Island a drum beat begins to sound. “I have powers you know nothing about.” Raxl raises her arms as winds begin to grow strong on the cliff top. Dark clouds begin to cover the sky and thunder booms through the air. “I have rejected your Master! I have found my birthright as Priestess of the Serpent God!” Raxl shouts to be heard above the sound of the storm.

The wind pushes Jacques closer to the edge. “Master you made a promise to me! I now hold you to it!” Jacques shouts as he is pushed over the edge.

 

===================

Part Three: Chapter 3. Funeral Rites


Raxl lowers her arms and bows her head. The wind dies down as the clouds roll away. “Forgive me little Mistress for not protecting you.” Raxl says then turns and slowly walks back to the mansion. Entering she climbs the back staircase leading to the servant’s quarters and knocks on Quito’s door.

Quito opens it and stands in the doorway. “ Raxl what’s wrong?”

“It’s the Master and Mistress they are dead.”

“Dead?” Quito says in a whisper.

“The Master pushed the Mistress to her death. I called upon the Serpent God to destroy the Master.”

“It is better that he is gone for he was an evil man.”

“It is my fault; I caused the Master to be what he became.”

“Raxl I don’t understand. How could you be the cause of his evil?”

“I cannot speak of it. I need you to go to the village and get volunteers to retrieve their bodies.”

Quito places his hand on her shoulder then walks past her. He turns back to her before walking to the outside door. “I will contact Monsieur D’Anton to come to Maljardin. His ship is due to arrive on the Mainland tomorrow night.”

Raxl nods her head and Quito walks out the door.

 

Raxl stops in the nursery door and gazes at the baby. “Little one your parents are both gone and now I must inform your Aunt of the tragedy.” She steps to the baby and touched his head. “What will become of us, especially you?” She turns and walks out the door then down the hallway to Raua’s door. Raising her hand she knocks.

The door opens and Raua stands in the doorway. “Yes Raxl what is it?”

“Mademoiselle Montrese I have terrible news. The Master and my Mistress are dead. They were swept off the cliffs into the sea.”

“Raxl what are you saying?”

“I am afraid they are dead.”

“Dead.” Raua repeats as she sways on her feet. “No it can’t be true!” She says getting upset.

“I have sent Quito to the village to gather help to bring the bodies to the mansion.”

“No!” Raua says as she begins to sob.

Raxl places her arm around Raua’s shoulder and leads her back into her room. “You must rest.”

The sound of a baby’s cry comes from down the hallway.

“Huaco’s baby I must go to him.” Raua says.

“I will tend to him.” Raxl tells her as she leads Raua to the bed. “I will bring you a drink .” Raxl tells her as she helps Raua take a seat on the bed. She leaves the room and tends to the baby then walks downstairs.

 

Entering the Great Hall Raxl watches as the front door opens and one of the villagers holds the door as Quito carries Huaco’s body inside. “I am afraid we only found the Mistress’s body. The Master must have been swept out to sea.”

“Quito takes her to the crypt. I will tend to her body after getting a drink for the Mistress’s sister to help her rest.” Raxl lifts the decanter and fills a glass full of brandy then rushes up the staircase. Entering Raua’s room she adds a pinch of powder from a pouch in her pocket. “Here Mademoiselle Montrese this will help you sleep.”

“Raxl I heard voices from downstairs. Is there any news?”

“The Mistress’s body has been found.”

“And Monsieur Des Mondes?”

Raxl shakes her head then walks from the room.

 

D’Anton arrives on Maljardin with his crew and friends of the Des Mondes. He has also brought the priest from the Mainland. Raxl opens the door to D’Antons knock. “Monsieur please go to the Great Hall Mademoiselle Montrese will join you shortly.”

As they enter Raua joins them and walks into D’Anton’s arms. “I can’t believe that they are gone.” D’Anton says to her.

“Oh D’Anton Jacques body still has not been found.” Raua tells him with a sob.

Raxl steps into the doorway from the crypt. “Mademoiselle Montrese please come we are ready for the service to begin.”

D’Anton and Raua lead the way into the crypt. Torches have been lit through the passage. Huaco’s body lies upon a marble slab near an open tomb with her name upon it. Surrounding her body are four candles two near her head and two at her feet. Raua rushes to her sister‘s body and lays across her sobbing. D‘Anton reaches for Raua and coaxes her to move back as the priest steps forward.

 

After the funeral rites are over the priest approaches Raua and D’ Anton and tells them it’s time to say their last farewell to Madame Des Mondes. D’Anton leads Raua from the crypt and the others follow.

In the crypt Quito approaches Raxl who had been standing back from the mourners. “Quito we will give the Mistress the last right of the Serpent God then you will seal Madame Des Mondes body in its final resting-place.”

Quito places two bowls on an altar near Huaco’s body. Raxl pour liquid in one bowl and grain in the other. Quito steps into the shadows and retrieves the drum that was hidden there. He places it near the altar then begins to beat it slowly. Raxl lights the liquid and stands near the altar as flames shoot towards the ceiling. Raxl and Quito bow before the altar.

“I call to the Serpent God and offer as a sacrifice grain from the finest wheat.” Raxl says as she sprinkles the grain over the flames. “Please give my Mistress eternal peace as her spirit passes on.”

Quito begins to beat the drum faster as Raxl again sprinkles more grain into the flames. “And as to that demon Jacques Eloi Des Mondes may he burn in hell forever trapped in the fires of eternal damnation!” The fire flares then goes out.

Quito stops pounding on the drum and looks at Raxl. “Raxl I feel something is wrong.”

Raxl stares at the altar then collects the bowls. “I don’t know Quito but I hope not. I will leave you now to finish what needs to be done.” She places the bowls in an alcove then leaves the crypt.

 

Raua and D’Anton leads the way to the Great Hall as the others assemble around them. The Priest approaches them and holds Raua’s hand. “Father thank you for coming on such short notice.”

“Mademoiselle Montrese your sister and her husband have been a very welcome addition on the Island. I have heard some very nice things about your sister even though I did not know her personally. And her husband Jacques Eloi Des Mondes has contributed to those that were in need.” He releases her hand and glances at D’Anton. “If you could find someone to take me back to the Mainland I must get back to my church.”

“I will walk with you outside and summon one of the villagers.”

They walk out the door and D’Anton calls to one of the fishermen. “Please see that the Father gets back to the Mainland.”

The fisherman nods and the Priest grasps D’Anton’s arm. “Goodbye Monsieur D’Anton.” He feels a chill go through his body and looks into D’Anton’s eyes. “Beware Monsieur I feel evil is approaching.”

D’Anton pulls away from him. “What do you mean evil?”

“I do not know. It was just a feeling that swept over me.” The Priest says then follows the fisherman to the beach.

Turning D’Anton enters the mansion and sits next to Raua in the Great Hall.

Raxl enters the room and approaches Raua. “Mademoiselle the baby is asleep. Is there anything I can get you?”

“Yes Raxl would you serve tea for our guests.” Raua asks her.

Raxl bows then walks from the room.

D’Anton takes Raua’a hand. “Raua the men must get back to the ship. We sail in the morning.”

“Can‘t you stay for a few days?”

“No, Jacques Grandfather is in bad health and I must break the news to him personally.”

“You must tell him about his great grandson.” Raua says then begins to sob.

D’Anton takes her into his arms and lets her cry against him.

Raxl enters the Great Hall with a tray as the front door blows open. Raxl screams and drops the tray.

“Why Raxl you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.” Jacques says as he stands in the doorway.

“Jacques!” Raua cries out as she pulls away from D’Anton and rushes into Jacques arms.

“Jacques we thought you were dead.” D’Anton says as he comes to his feet.

“No I fell upon a ledge and managed to crawl into one of the caves.”

“It is wonderful that you survived.” D’Anton tells him as he walks towards him then remembers the words of the Priest.

“Well D’Anton as you can see I am well.”

Raua glances up at him. “Jacques I am afraid we went ahead with the funeral rites for my sister and she is already entombed.”

The others gather around to offer their condolences.”

Jacques notices Raxl cleaning up the tea service. “Raxl bring wine for my guests and have Quito clean that up.”

Raxl bows and calls Quito from the kitchen.

Qiuito enters the Great Hall and glances at Jacques. Standing next to Raxl he whispers. “How? I thought you killed him?”

Raxl shakes her head then walks to the table to collect the wine and glasses. As Quito collects the broken china and carries it from the room Raxl pour the wine. Jacques approaches her. “Burn in hell in eternal damnation? Oh really Raxl I would think you know who is Master here.” He says quietly as he reaches for a glass.

Raxl steps away and Jacques grabs her by the arm. “I will speak to you later.” He releases her when he sees D’Anton approaching him.

“Jacques the men and I must get underway. I will leave it to you to contact your Grandfather.”

“About what?” Jacques asks as he takes a sip from the glass.

“Why the death of your wife.”

“Oh yes my wife.” He says then glances at Raua. “My dear you should go to your room and get some rest.”

“Jacques is right it‘s been a long morning .“ D’Anton says as he steps next to her and kisses her on the cheek then follows the others outside.

“Oh Jacques she’s gone. “ Raua says as she again begins to sob.

“Do not fret Raua I will make everything all right for us. Now go to your room.”

“For us? How can it ever be?”

Jacques kisses her then turns her towards the stairs.

Raua turns back towards him.

“Raua get some rest. I must speak to Raxl.”

Raua nods and climbs the staircase.

Jacques watches her then walks into the kitchen.

===================

Part Four: Chapter 1. Raua tries to escape


 

Jacques enters the kitchen as Raxl and Quito stand next to each other. "Quito I wish to speak to Raxl alone."

"Go Quito I will be fine." Raxl tells him as he glances at her.

Quito walks to the doorway. "I will be in the next room if you need me." He says to Raxl.

"Leave us!" Jacques commands.

Quito steps from the room as Jacques closes the door behind him then turns and faces Raxl.

"I don't fear you." Raxl says to him.

"Really Raxl you act as if you have done something wrong." He says as he walks towards her.

Raxl backs away from him until she bumps into the cupboard. "What you have done is monstrous."

"And what have you done Raxl?"

"I tried to right a wrong."

Jacques stops in front of her. "Raxl did you really think the Master would allow you to interfere with my plans?"

Raxl tries to dash around him. Jacques grabs her arm and Raxl screams as she is engulfed in flames.

Quito pounds on the door shouting when he discovers he cannot enter the kitchen "Raxl let me in! Jacques Eloi Des Mondes open this door!"

Jacques glances down as Raxl. "I am the Master here and if you want to live you will obey me! Isn`t that right!" Jacques says to her.

"Yes." Raxl sobs.

 "Yes what?"

"Yes Master."

Jacques releases her then steps to the door and opens it. Quito steps back. "Quito Raxl doesn't feel well. Perhaps you can help her to her room" He says then steps past him and walks away.

Quito enters the kitchen and touches her shoulder. " Raxl what did he do to you?"

"Nothing Quito it is as he said, I don't feel well." Raxl replies then rushes from the room.

 

The next day Raua enters the crypt and seeing Jacques she steps back to give him his privacy. As she starts up the staircase she stops as she hears him speak.

"Well my lovely Huaco it is too bad that you cannot be here to witness the marriage between your sister and myself. After all it was you that asked me to bring her to you after our wedding ceremony. You might be alive today but for that request."

Raua lets out a small gasp.

Jacques turns towards the staircase. "Come join us Raua."

Raua walks back down the stairs and joins him. "How can you be so cruel?"

"Cruel? Why my dear I did it for us."

"Did what, Jacques what did you do?"

"Your sister was not needed any longer so I helped her leave."

"Leave ?" Raua glances at her sister's tomb. "No you couldn't have!" She cries out as she glances at Jacques.

Jacques smiles then begins to laugh.

Raua turns and runs from the crypt sobbing. She runs into the kitchen to find Raxl next to the stove. "Mademoiselle what is wrong?"

Raxl asks.

"Raxl he killed her! Jacques killed my sister!"

"Oh Miss Raua I had hoped you would never learned the truth of your sister's death."

"Raxl you knew?"

"I came upon them as he pushed her to her death."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I could not."

"Raxl we must inform the authorities. "

"And how do you plan to get off the Island my dear?" Jacques asks as he stands in the doorway.

Raua gives a cry as she turns and sees him.

"Come now Raua I have no reason to harm you. Come we will talk."

"No! Raxl help me!" Raua says as she turns back to Raxl.

"I am sorry but I cannot." Raxl says then turns her back to Raua.

Jacques grips Raua by the arm and drags her from the room. He enters the Great Hall and releases her.

Raua rushes across the room and stands behind a chair.

"Please sit down."

Raua shakes her head no.

"Very well until you sit with me and listen, you will remain on the Island. I will leave orders that no one is to travel to the Mainland."

With a sob Raua rushes to the staircase and up to her room.

Jacques pours a glass of wine and sits with a smile of contentment upon his face.

 

Later that day Raua enters the servants quarters and knocks on Quito's door.

Opening the door Quito stands in the doorway. "Mademoiselle is something wrong?"

"Quito help me, I want to leave the Island."

"Mademoiselle Raua it will be dark soon. We cannot cross until morning."

"No I want to leave now!"

"I'm sorry."

Raua turns away with a sob and rushes down the hallway.

Quito runs after her. "Please Mademoiselle wait."

Raua rushes down the staircase and out the door.

Quito runs down the stairs as Raxl steps into the Great Hall.

"Quito what's wrong?"

"Mademoiselle Raua is very upset and begged me to take her away from Maljardin."

"Quito go after her."

Quito rushes out the door as Raxl follows and stands in the doorway.

 

Rushing to the beach Quito watches as Raua climbs into a row boat. He races to the boat and grabs her arm. "Please Mademoiselle come back to the mansion."

"Quito he killed my sister I can't stay here!" Raua sobs as she tries to pull away from him.

"I promise I will help you leave but not now, the tides are turning."

"I don't care!" Raua shouts as she pulls free and dives into the water and begins to swim.

Quito climbs into the boat and rows after her. He sees her go under and dives in after her. He doesn't find her and comes up for air. He goes back under diving deeper until he spots her. He grabs her and

gets them to the surface then pushes her into the boat rowing them to shore.

Raxl waits on the beach as Quito carries Raua to her. He places her in the sand as Raxl kneels next to her. She looks up at Quito.

"She's gone."

"He will pay for this Raxl. I swear upon our God that she will be avenged." Quito says then races towards the mansion.

"Quito stop you don't know who you are facing!" Raxl cries out as she stands and runs after him.

Jacques steps outside as Quito reaches the mansion.

"You murderer!" Quito shouts then grasps Jacques by the throat.

Reaching down Jacques pulls a dagger from his cloak and strikes Quito in the chest with it.

With a shocked look upon his face Quito releases Jacques and clutches his chest as he falls to the ground at Jacques feet.

"Oh no my friend you will not get away from me that easily."

Jacques places his hand upon Quito's chest. "I call upon the Master to grant me the power to keep this man in the shadows between life and death and forever will he be silenced and do only my bidding."

Jacques straightens and steps back as Quito lumbers to his feet and stands before him.

Raxl had stopped near the tree line and watches in horror as Quito comes to his feet.

"Now go and bring Raua's body to the mansion." Jacques orders Quito.

Quito lumbers away as Jacques looks at Raxl. "Raxl come here." Jacques says.

Raxl shakes her head no.

"I said come here!" Jacques shouts at her.

Raxl walks towards him trembling.

"You will help Quito and take Raua`s body to the crypt.

"Yes Master." Raxl replies then enters the mansion.

Quito carries Raua's body to where Jacques stands. "Take her to the crypt Raxl waits for you."

Quito nods then steps around Jacques and enters the mansion. Quito enters the crypt and lies Raua upon the same marble table that her sister had lain upon before being put in her grave.

Raxl steps up to Quito. "Oh Quito what has he done to you?" She places her hand upon his chest but feels no heartbeat. "We must contact the Conjure Man he is our only hope."

Quito stands just staring ahead.

"Quito look at me." Raxl tell him.

Quito does not move as heavy footsteps are heard upon the staircase. Raxl turns to see Jacques enter the crypt.

"Why Raxl what ever is the matter?" Jacques says as he steps closer to her.

Raxl backs away from him.

"The infant cries go take care of him." Jacques orders.

Raxl races past him and up the staircase.

Jacques watches her then turns towards Quito. "I am sending for D'Anton and informing him of the death of Mademoiselle Raua. I am sure he will want to pay his last respects. Now go to your room and clean yourself up. We can't have visitors arriving and you looking like that." He says as he looks at Quito's bloody cloths.

Again Quito stands not moving.

"I said go!"

Quito nods and lumbers up the staircase.

Jacques turns to Raua's body and touches her hair. "Poor Raua I told you that you couldn't leave the island." He kisses her cheek and walks from the crypt.

 

===================

Part Four: Chapter 2. D’Anton's refusal


Three days later D’Antons’ ship pulls into port. D’Anton gives orders for the men to stay aboard then he rows to the docks. He enters the Inn and sees Jacques waiting for him. D”Anton walks up to his table. “Jacques I received an urgent message to come to Maljardin. What has happened?”

Jacques picks up his drink and glances up at D’Anton. “There has been an accident on the Island Raua is dead.”

“Dead ?”

“She decided to take a swim and drowned.”

“What do you mean she decided to take a swim? Jacques I don’t understand, Raua was afraid of the waters around Maljardin.”

“I can only tell you what happened. Are you ready to go to Maljardin?”

“Yes of course.”

Jacques leads the way to the dock where Quito stands next to Jacques boat.

“Hello Quito.” D’Anton greets him.

Quito doesn’t answer as he stands and stares at him.

“What's wrong with him?” D’Anton asks Jacques.

“He’s not himself anymore after he tried to save Raua.”

“Not himself?” D’Anton asks as he glances at Jacques.

“Quito help Monsieur D’Anton aboard.”

“I am more than capable of climbing into the boat without assistance.”

Quito grabs D’Anton’s arm and drags him into the rowboat.

“Quito stop. Let go of me!” D’Anton shouts as he struggles.

Quito releases him and turns towards Jacques.

“You may get us underway.” Jacques says as he climbs aboard and sits next to D’Anton.

“What’s happened to you two?” D’Anton asks as he rubs his arm.

“Why nothing, Quito has discovered who his true Master is.”

“True master, Jacques I think you need to get away from Maljardin.“

“No one is leaving Maljardin.”

“Jacques you are talking crazy.”

Jacques turns away with a smile as Quito rows the boat to the Island. As the boat nears the beach Jacques steps into the shallow water. D’Anton follows and glances around at the changes of the island.

“What has happened here? The trees and flowers are dying.”

“Changes are coming my friend. Come I will take you to Raua.”

“I still don’t understand any of this.” D’Anton says as he follows Jacques to the mansion.

“Raxl!” Jacques shouts as he enters.

Raxl steps out from the kitchen. “Yes Master.”

“Our guest has arrived. Is his room prepared?”

“Yes Master.”

“Come D’Anton we can visit with Raua then you can go to your room and rest.”

“Visit? Is this some kind of joke?”

“No joke my friend, come.” Jacques says to him then leads the way to the crypt.

D’Anton approaches Raua’s body. “Why would she want to take a swim?”

“She decided she wanted to leave.”

“By swimming?”

“It was getting towards evening and the tides began to turn.”

“Jacques that doesn’t make sense.”

“As I said there is a change coming.”

“Jacques you talk in riddles that I don’t understand.”

“You will, now come.”

“I must send for some men to transport Raua’s body to the ship.”

“Why?”

“Jacques I must take her back to France to be buried near her family.”

“She is home and now so are you. I sent your ship back to France after informing them you wanted to stay with me in my grief.”

“You sent the ship back to France?”

“Come I will have Raxl take you to your room.”

“I will not stay here.”

“You have no choice.”

“We will see about that.” D’Anton tells him then rushes out the door.

Jacques walks behind him and laughs.

D’Anton runs outside to the beach. He sees no sign of his ship and the rowboat that brought them to the Island is gone. He turns as Jacques walks up to him. “Why?”

“You are needed here, now come back to the mansion.”

D’Anton turns and looks at the water.

“Do you plan to join Raua?”

“Damn you Jacques.”

“Too late my friend. Now are you coming back with me or do you need Quito's help.”

D’Anton angrily strides past Jacques and walks up to the mansion. Entering he sees Raxl standing near the staircase in the Great Hall.

“Come Monsieur I will show you to your room.” Raxl says as she steps towards the staircase.

D’Anton grasps Raxl by the arm and she stops and looks back at him. “Raxl what has happened here?”

“There is evil here Monsieur D’Anton. I fear for anyone that comes to the Island.”

“What evil?”

“I can say no more, come.”

He releases her arm and follows Raxl up the staircase.

 

Jacques enters the Great Hall and pours himself a drink. He walks to his favorite chair and sits in front of his portrait.

The Mark of Death appears on the portrait. “Well done Jacques Eloi Des Mondes. I am very pleased with you. We are in need of your friend’s strength and vitality if you are to remain alive. But he must join us willingly.”

Jacques glances at the portrait then away as he takes a gulp from his glass.

Raxl stands in the shadows and watches as the Mark Of Death disappears. She steps out and stands near Jacques. “Master you cannot do this vile thing.”

“You will not interfere Raxl.”

“But I know what he asks and it is not in your heart to harm Monsieur D’Anton your friend since childhood .“

“Go away Raxl.”

Raxl stands looking at him.

”I told you to leave me!” Jacques says angrily.

Raxl bows her head and walks from the room.

 

The next morning D’Anton rises early and walks down the staircase to see Jacques asleep in the chair. He walks to the outside door as Jacques opens his eyes.

‘Going somewhere my friend?”

D’Anton turns back towards Jacques. “Yes away from you.”

“I offer you your freedom if you give your soul over to the Master.”

“Jacques your behavior becomes stranger and stranger.”

“Nonsense D’Anton it’s very simple give yourself over to my Master then you can be free.”

“Jacques you need to be locked up.” D’Anton tells him then turns and walks out the door.

As evening approaches Jacques sits in his chair sipping a drink. He glances up as he sees D’Anton enter the room.

D’Anton approaches Jacques and draws his sword. “You will bring the rowboat back or I will kill you.” He says as he places the tip of the sword against Jacques throat.

The room darkens as thunder rumbles and lightning flashes around the room.

The Mark Of Death appears upon Jacques portrait. “Monsieur D’Anton friend of Jacques Eloi Des Mondes join us.” A loud booming voice says as it echoes around the room.

D’Anton begins to shake as he glances around the room.

“All you have to do is pick up the glass that sits upon the table and drink from it and all of your troubles will be over.” Jacques says to him.

“No!” D’Anton shouts as he drops the sword and backs away.

Quito stands in the doorway behind D’Anton. “Quito hold Monsieur D’Anton.”

Quito grabs D’Anton and holds him as Jacques comes to his feet and approaches them. “Last chance my friend join us.”

D’Anton shakes his head.

“Quito take him to the secret room beyond the crypt.”

Quito forces D’Anton from the room as Jacques faces the portrait. “He will join us or die.’ Jacques promises then follows Quito below.

 

Quito pushes D’Anton into a room with thick rock walls. D’Anton looks around and notices tools of torture lying upon benches. Jacques steps into the room as Quito guards the doorway.

“D’Anton I ask you again to join us and drink from the glass that sits near your hand.”

D‘Anton looks at the swirling green liquid and lashes out with his hand knocking it to the floor spilling the contents.

“You fool.” Jacques says to him.

D’Anton turns and rushes Jacques. He tackles him and they roll around the floor. D’Anton pulls a dagger from his boot as they both come to their feet. He stabs Jacques in the arm. Jacques stumbles back and D’Anton watches in amazement as Jacques arm stops bleeding and the wound seals itself.

“Quito hold him.” Jacques orders in anger.

Quito lumbers towards him and D’Anton takes a swing at his face with his fist. As D’Anton swings again Quito stops his hand and grasps him in a bear hug as he swings him around.

“My friend you should have taken the easy way out.” Jacques says to D”Anton as he collects a rope that has a six-inch slim metal rod with a point on the end.

D’Anton begins to thrash around as Jacques steps towards him. "Jacques in the name of God please stop.” D’Anton cries out to him.

“Your god does not exist on this Island. Last chance my friend.”

D’Anton tries to kick at Jacques.

 Jacques begins to push the rod through D’Anton’s jawbone.

D‘Anton begins to scream as blood pour from his face. He collapses in a faint as the rod comes out the other side followed by the rope.

Jacques throws the end of the rope over a beam that is embedded into the rock ceiling. He pulls D’Anton onto his toes tying the rope off then lashes his hands behind his back. “Come Quito it is time for dinner.” Jacques steps to the door then glances back at D”Anton. “Goodbye my friend .” Jacques says then steps from the room as Quito closes the door and stops next to Raua’s body. “If you be patient my love our friend D’Anton will soon be joining you.” Jacques says with a smile then walks from the crypt.

 

As Jacques enters the Great Hall Raxl steps out of the kitchen. “Raxl Monsieur D’Anton will not be joining me for dinner.”

“Master should I take a tray to his room?”

“No I don’t think he could eat a bite. You may begin to serve.” Jacques tells her as he walks into the dining room.

 

Before Raxl retires for the night she stops at D’Anton’s door and knocks. Receiving no answer she opens the door and looks inside. The room is empty and she closes the door behind her. Raxl walks to the servants quarters and enters Quito’s room.

“Quito have you seen Monsieur d’Anton?”

Quito nods.

“Take me to him.”

Quito shuffles to the door and steps into the hallway. Raxl follows as he leads the way to the crypt then opens a door in the shadows hidden in the stone walls. Raxl screams when she sees her master’s friend. “Oh Quito the Master has killed him.” She turns towards Quito. “Quito cut him down and bring him to the crypt. I will wait for you there.” Raxl walks from the room and stands next to Raua’s body.

Quito carries the body into the crypt.

“Quito lay him next to the Mistress‘s sister’s body.

Quito places the body on the floor.

“We will bury him later Quito but now we must stop that demon. I must summon the Conjure Man from the Mainland .”

Quito just stands and stares straight ahead.

“Quito collect your drum.”

Quito continues to stand in one place.

“Quito if there is any spark of awareness left in you please help me.”

Quito walks into the shadows of the room and picks up his drum and carries it over to Raxl.

Raxl begins to set up the altar.

 

===================

Part Four: Chapter 3. Conjure Man


Raxl strikes a match and applies it to the bowl. Flames erupt and as they die down Quito begins to beat the drum.

"I call upon the Prince of Light. Let the quickening fire burn out the darkness. Oh Priest of the Serpent free us from the curse of the demon. Free us before the binds that hold us together tighten and destroy the will to resist. I Raxl one of your Priestess of the Serpent look for a miracle that is only in the power of those that are greater than I." Raxl calls out as she raises her arms.

 

On the Mainland in a small house the Conjure Man hears Raxl's call for help and crosses his arms. "If the Great Serpent wills it may I be lifted to the Island of evil to help my Priestess fight against the evil that has come upon us." The Conjure man is surrounded by light then he fades from sight.

 

Quito stops beating the drum as he watches a column of light appear next to the altar. The Conjure man appears and Raxl drops to her knees and bows her head. The Conjure man touches her shoulder and Raxl raises her head.

"Stand Priestess."

Raxl comes to her feet as the Conjure man looks at Quito.

"The devil has made my friend his slave." Raxl says to the Conjure Man.

"Come with me I will take you both to a place where our people have worshipped for many, many years." The Conjure Man tells them then walks to a solid wall of stone. "Quito push on the wall at this spot." The Conjure Man says as he touches the wall.

Quito touches the wall then turns and uses his back to push against the hidden doorway.

"This is the passage to our Sacred Temple."The Conjure man tells them as he lifts a torch from the wall. They follow him through a passage to another door. The Conjure man pushes it open then steps inside. He bows towards a golden staff engraved with a winding snake. Raxl also bows then the Conjure Man hands the torch to Raxl then raises his arms in front of Quito.

"I give you back awareness but I cannot restore your life to you." The Conjure Man says as a white shimmering light surround Quito's body.

Quito falls to his knees as his body becomes engulfed in pain.

"I am sorry faithful follower but there is no other way." The Conjure Man tells him.

Quito raises his head then stands and looks at Raxl.

"Quito you are no longer under the control of that demon." Raxl says to him.

Quito nods and they both face the Conjure Man.

"Conjure Man the devil has entered the Master. He has come back from the dead after being punished for killing his wife."

"Priestess an image must be made of Jacques Eloi Des Mondes in the form of a doll. Once that is done a silver rod must be driven through the temple of the doll. Through the power of the Serpent God Jacques Eloi Des Mondes spirit will be trapped forever. Then you must find a place to hide the doll where it can never be found so he can never be released again." A faint glow surrounds the Conjure Man. "I grow weak; it is time for me to go."

Raxl bows and Quito drops to his knees as the Conjure Man crosses his arms as the white light surrounds him and he disappears.

Raxl glances around as Quito stands, she walks to the sacrificial table and touches it. "Quito we must collect cloth and hair from the Master's clothing but first I must contact Monsieur D'Anton's ship and have Mademoiselle Raua and Monsieur D"Anton's bodies collected to take back to France for a proper burial."

Quito nods and follows Raxl from the Temple. Quito closes the door as Raxl places the torch back in a holder in the crypt. "Place Monsieur D'Anton's body on the marble table next to Mademoiselle Raua."

Quito nods and steps towards D"Anton as Raxl walks form the crypt.

 

Entering the Great Hall Raxl finds Jacques sitting in front of his portrait. "Raxl we shall have a funeral feast in honor of Mademoiselle Raua and my friend D'Anton."

"Master this is not right."

"Right Raxl, what is not right?"

"For you to be celebrating the deaths of your best friend and the Mistress's sister."

"Their deaths have given me life Raxl .so why shouldn't I celebrate? Now go to the kitchen and prepare dinner."

Raxl walks towards the kitchen as Jacques turns away. Raxl stops and glances at him then quickly rushes up the staircase.

 

Raxl stops in front of Jacques bedroom door and uses her key to unlock it. Entering she picks up his brush and pulls hair from it. Next she walks to his wardrobe and tears the lining from Jacques cloths then gathers other personal items from his room. Wrapping the items in the cloth she steps to the door and glances out into the hallway. Stepping out she rushes to the servant's quarters where she hides the items in her room. Raxl steps from her room and uses the back staircase to enter the kitchen.

That evening after Jacques retires for the night Raxl enters her room. She takes the items she took from Jacques room and forms a doll. Next she sews a costume to match the one that Jacques had wore in his portrait. Once it is done she hides the doll in the bottom of her wardrobe.

 

As the sun begins to rise Raxl wakes and leaves her room. She knocks on Quito's door. The door opens and Quito stands in the doorway.

"Quito are you ready?" She asks.

Quito nods when he sees the doll in her hand. He steps into the hallway and closes the door behind him. They quietly walk down the staircase. As they walk towards the crypt the sunlight disappears and the house grows dark. Thunder shakes the mansion as lightening flashes through the windows.

"Quickly Quito we must hurry and do it now before that demon wakes and tries to stop us."

Quito nods and they rush to the crypt. Raxl stops at the place that D'Anton's body had been. The body no longer was on the marble slab. "Quito the Master has taken the body. We must call for the Conjure Man before that demon's power grows stronger.

Quito walks to the wall where the door to the Temple is hidden. He pushes it open as Raxl collects a torch. She steps inside as Quito closes the door. Once in the Temple she hands the torch to Quito. They steps forward and bow in front of the staff of the Serpent God,

 

As Jacques sleeps a voice calls out to him. "Jacques Eloi Des Mondes you must awaken. The witch is going to destroy you if she is not stopped."

Jacques opens his eyes and climbs from the bed and grabs his sword. "Where do I go Master?"

"Go to the crypt. The witch must be stopped."

As Jacques rushes to the crypt Quito closes the door to the temple. Jacques glances around then shouts. "Raxl I command that you come here before me now!"

"Jacques call Quito to you." The devil tells him.

Jacques raises his hand. "Quito I call you to come to me." A dark shadow of light is released from Jacques hand.

 

In the Temple Quito stiffens.

"No Quito do not listen to him. The Conjure Man gave you back your spirit of free will. You must fight against the demon's influence."

A shiver shakes his body then Quito walks to his drum. He sits on a barrel and begins to beat the drum.

Raxl collect a bowl and fills it with liquid. As she lights the liquid flames shoot up towards the ceiling. As the flame dies down she raises the Conjure Doll above the bowl. "I call upon the Conjure Man to help me destroy the evil that lives on Maljardin."

As she looks upon the altar a silver pin appears. "Priestess Raxl you must push the pin through the temple and call to the Great Serpent to stop Jacques Eloi Des Mondes." The voice of the Conjure Man echoes around the room.

Raxl holds the doll in one hand and raises the pin in her other hand. "I Raxl call upon my Serpent God to trap the demon that is Master of Maljardin. I ask for his punishment for his crimes as a murderer." Raxl pushes the pin through the temple of the doll.

 

Jacques screams and clutches his head in agony. He falls to the ground and his body fades away. All that is left upon the floor is salt water as his body is sent back to the sea. The storm that had been raging outside has stopped.

 

"It is done Priestess, the evil is gone." The Conjure Man's voice is heard in the room.

Raxl bows to the staff then turns to Quito. "Come we must wait for the ship that is to take Mademoiselle Raua's body to France."

Quito pulls upon the secret door and enters the passage. Raxl follows him into the crypt. "Go to the beach and wait." Raxl tells Quito.

Quito nods and walks from the crypt.

 

As evening arrives Raxl enters the Great Hall ands stops in front of Jacques portrait. "Your evil has been destroyed Jacques Eloi Des Mondes. May only goodness come to Maljardin."

The Mark of Death appears on the portrait. "You have betrayed me Madame Le'Twaire. You asked for everlasting life now you shall have it. Look out the window." A heartbeat begins to pound through the room. "I command that you walk to the window!" The voice shouts.

Raxl begins to shake as she turns to the window. She glances at the sky and sees a single red star that seems to be pulsating.

"From this day on through eternity you will bring to me from each generation a male descendant of Jacques Eloi Des Mondes to do my bidding."

Raxl glances at her hand as the Mark of Death appears upon it.

THE END



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