"I never thought I would have to don this mask again, but I will if that's what it takes to save my crew." A man behind a table sighs sadly, holding a golden mask in his hands. "I thought I had been rid of you after all these years, but it always circles back to you doesn't it? If a monster of a man has taken my crew, then a monster I will once again become to get them back safely. The Reaper's Mark will taste blood once more, hopefully for the last time…" The man looks over at a picture on the wall, a painting of four individuals. "Angel, Spanky, forgive me. I will do whatever it takes to get you all back..."

17 Months Earlier

A man wakes up, sunlight striking his eyes. He groans, shielding his vision with the blankets on his bed. He sits up in his bed after a few moments, yawning loudly. He reaches over to a hook on the wall next to him, grabbing his shirt and jacket off it. He slips them on as he stands up, grabbing his hat off the table next to the door. Once he steps out of his quarters he feels something brush against his leg. He looks down and sees that it was his cat Jack, who was now purring against his legs. He crouches down and scratches the feline behind the ears, grabbing his boots. He steps into them, looking around the deck to see the rest of his crew doing their morning jobs.

An elderly man walks up from below deck, checking things off a list. The man would be Spanky, the ship's cook and the man in charge of keeping the ship's supplies in order. The older man looks up from his list and gives a small grin to his Captain. He puts the list away in a pouch at his waist, giving a faux salute to the man across from him.

"Morning Cap, didn't expect to see you up and around this early. We didn't wake you up did we?" The man grins, letting out a small laugh. "Have you by any chance seen Little Gael? That bird never seems to stay in one place for too long. He always seems to sneak away whenever I move my eyes away from him." The older man scratches his head, running his hand through his white hair. "Maybe I should be thinking about buying a cage or a perch for him to sit on?" Spanky shakes his head before going back to work.

Walker smiles to himself as he watches Spanky walk away, knowing that the man's pet bird would most likely be in the last place it was last seen. His eyes wander over to across the main deck of the ship, seeing another of his crew members standing in front of him. It was his personal assistant and the woman in charge of the contracts as well as the repairs to the ship. Angel was standing in front of him, Jack now resting on her right shoulder like a parrot.

"Good morning Captain, I hope you slept well because we have a long day ahead of us. The Gold Hoarders and the Merchant Alliance have supplied us with plenty of contracts to keep us busy for a while. I know how much you dislike the Merchants but I think you will enjoy these contracts. These contracts aren't the normal delivery runs, we will be delivering cargo from one Outpost to another today," said Angel with a small laugh. She scratches Jack under the chin, earning a purr and her head getting nuzzled by the small feline. "Now if you'll excuse me I have to make sure that the ship is fully repaired and I'll set the contracts in your quarters soon. I hope that you don't choose the Hoarders based on bias, at least give the contracts a proper look before choosing one." Angel turns around and walks down the stairs to the lower decks, taking Jack with her. The ship has been having a small rat problem on the lower decks so Jack would be a good help down there.

Walker laughs lightly as he walks up the stairs behind him to the wheel of the ship. He looks over at the calm waters of the Sea of Thieves, wondering what adventures will befall his crew today. Maybe they will sink some enemy crews and take their treasure? He smirks to himself, thinking that maybe they could find and fight against the legendary Kraken or the elusive imaginary Megalodan. That would be the day, to fight against legends, creatures from nothing but stories. He notices that they are close to an Outpost already, Plunder Outpost to be specific. He would sail the Galleon over there then send Spanky and Angel onto the island with a few storage crates to get some more supplies for the ship. It always pays to have plenty of wood, food and ammo for the cannons after all.

Walker watches his crew, including the new deckhand pull the anchor up so they can get moving. He walks to the sails behind him, unfurling the sails so they can start catching the wind. It would take a few minutes to arrive at the dock of the Outpost so he goes back to the wheel. He moves the wheel a bit from left and right when needed, just to keep the ship on a straight course to the dock. The dekhand continues cleaning the topdeck as the ship starts moving, only stopping to adjust the sails when need be. Captain Walker places a hand on his head to stop his hat from flying off after a strong gust of wind hits the ship. He pays the strong winds no mind until he notices the smell of smoke on the breeze.

The man's eyes widen as he looks towards Plunder Outpost, seeing that the island is in ruins. Buildings burning, the dock blown to pieces and no one in sight. Something happened here, something awful...

"Get above deck all of you! We have trouble!" Captain Walker shouts the order to his two crew members below deck and to the deckhand, getting all of their attention.

"What's the matter Captain, do you see another crew in the dis-, by the Seven Seas! What happened here?" Spanky looks over at the devastated Outpost, horror filling his eyes at the destruction. Throughout all the years he had been at sea Spanky had never seen an Outpost get attacked, or this amount of destruction.

Angel covers her mouth with her hands, not knowing what to think of the sight in front of the four. She had been friends with quite a few of the shopkeepers on the island, so she was filled with fear for her friend's lives. "What happened Captain, do you see anyone?"

Walker had pulled out a telescope already and was looking for anyone on the island by the time Angel spoke. He waves over to Spanky to drop the ship's anchor as they get closer to the dock. Spanky nods, running over and pulling the lever on the capstan, dropping the anchor. The ship lurches to a sudden stop, the bow of the ship almost touching the smoldering docks.

"Angel you stay with the deckhand and keep a lookout for anyone that could have done this. Spanky and I are going to look for anyone that could have survived. If we find anyone we're bringing them back to the ship. Spanky go grab a blunderbuss and a sword, I don't know what we are dealing with here," said Captain Walker.

Spanky nods, doing as his Captain says and coming back a few moments later, cutlass at his waist and a blunderbuss in his hands. Walker and Spanky step onto the smoldering planks of the dock, testing to see if the wood will hold their weight in its current condition. The wood creaks dangerously but doesn't break under their feet so they press on to the island. The duo passes by the demolished Shipwright shack and the Merchant Alliance booth. Both were burning, but there were bloodstains on the floor of the Merchant booth. Tattered parchment flies through the air, passing by Spanky's head.

The men arrive at the Gold Hoarder's tent, seeing the gold littering the colorful tent's floor covered with blood. Walker looks around, noticing the eyepatch of the Gold Hoarder here at this island in tatters. The two continue walking, finally approaching the tavern. There were burn marks on the floor and the walls, as well as holes like someone fired through the door. Spanky leads the way with his blunderbuss, ready to fire at anyone or anything that could be a threat to them.

The tavern is empty, the barkeep nowhere to be found. The Mysterious Stranger and Duke were gone as well, something was very wrong here. Walker walks over to where Duke would be sitting in the Tavern and notices a small piece of parchment on the table. He picks it up and looks at the strange runes on it, trying to figure out what they are. His eyes widen in fear as he realizes what they are, his mind filled with memories of skeletons, a person with a warped voice, and a strange golden mask.

"-tain, Captain!" Spanky's hoarse voice brings Walker back to reality. "Captain are you alright? You looked at the parchment and seem like you're gonna pass out. Maybe you need to sit down and take a minute to calm down."

Walker shakes his head, clearing his head of the memories of his past. This is no time to travel down memory lane, but now he knew who did this. His hands shake as he sets the roll of tattered parchment down, looking into Spanky's eyes.

"I know who did this, and there won't be any survivors," Walker says sorrowfully.

"You know who did this? Who was it, and what do you mean there won't be any survivors? Don't say that, there could be someone hiding after what happened here," said Spanky.

"Spanky there aren't any survivors here on the island, this Outpost was attacked by the Reaper's Bones. Let's return to the ship, we need to warn the other Outposts. Everyone needs to know what we're dealing with, and they all need to run if they can," Walker walks out of the lifeless tavern after speaking. He leads the way back to the ship, his eyes now filled with sadness and anger at what happened here. His eyes wander to the shops, now noticing the runes carved into the wood of the door frames and into the sand. If there was anyone left alive, he hopes that they are given a quick death. He does not want anyone to suffer through what those people, the Reapers, were capable of doing to others.

The walk back to the ship is a quiet one, neither man wanting to speak after witnessing what happened here. The deckhand and Angel are waiting for the two near the wheel. Once the duo step onto the ship Angel starts to bombard them with questions, wanting to know what they saw and if anyone was there on the island. Both men shake their heads at the questions, getting the anchor up. Walker pulls the ship away from the island, steering towards the next nearest Outpost, which happens to be Ancient Spire. Hopefully they could get some answers of their own once they arrived at Ancient Spire, and be able to warn everyone there of the incoming threat to the Sea of Thieves as a whole.

No one speaks as the Galleon moves along the waves, heading towards Ancient Spire Outpost. Worry flashes through Walker's head, worry for everyone at each Outpost. The last he had heard of the Reaper's Bones, they had never been brave enough to attack any of the Outposts before. His teeth grind together behind his lips, anger flooding his mind. He knew he should have taken that man out all those years ago, but there was nothing he could do now except warn the other outposts. It would take a few days to get from Plunder Outpost to Ancient Spire, so he just hopes that they could arrive there in time. By the looks of the amount of destruction at Plunder, the Reapers had maybe a day long headstart. They would have to push the ship the fastest they could go if they wanted to beat those people.

Once Walker told everyone the news about Plunder Outpost everyone would be taking up arms against the Reapers. The news would spread like a wildfire to the other Outposts, and most likely drive the Reaper's Bones back.

"Captain, what did we see back there? Who are these Reaper's Bones individuals you were talking about?" Spanky asked Walker.

Walker looks over to his right, seeing the clearly upset Spanky holding his list. He sighs as he rubs his face, not in a good mood after seeing the devastation. He forces a smile, not that anyone would notice. He had always been good at acting one way when he felt a different way when he was with his crew. Spanky, the man who has been with Walker the longest could not even tell, and they had been on the same crew for almost five years together.

"I'll explain everything you need to know about the Reaper's Bones when we arrive at Ancient Spire. I will answer any questions you may have about what you saw when we get there. Just please keep it to yourself for right now, Angel doesn't need the stress right now. The poor girl gets enough stress dealing with the repairs daily, let's not give her any more," Walker says to Spanky.

Spanky hesitates, but nods after a moment. He did not want to get into an argument with his Captain. He heads down below deck once again, going back to checking the supplies. Walker lets out another sigh, reaching over to Jack who had been sitting on the wooden rail in front of the wheel. He rubs his gloved hand along the feline's head, drawing a soft purr from the cat.

"No matter what comes our way, I'll make sure that nothing even takes you all away. I can't lose another crew to those monsters. If I have to bloody my blade to keep you all safe then I will, I just hope you all can forgive me…" Walker whispers to himself.

Unknown to Walker, the deckhand was standing underneath him. The man was jotting down notes in a small book, writing in the same runes that Duke had on the parchment in the destroyed tavern. A small sinister smile crosses the man's face, a crazed look coming onto his face as he finishes writing. He closes the book, putting it away in one of the many pouches at his waist.

"The Reaper's Bones will rise again, and take the Sea of Thieves as ours. You thought you may have escaped us Walker, but we always find the deserters. You will regret ever betraying us to those damn Pirate Lords," the man lets out a mad cackle before getting back to work on cleaning the top deck. He hates his undercover job, but the Warden had given him this task because he trusted him. He was not going to let the Warden of Flame down, he was going to bring the betrayer down.