The other day I was roaming the seas, as I often do, letting the wind be my guide, when I happened upon a big fat skull fort right before my bow. I thought to myself, "why not," so I went in full sail and tucked my little sloop close to the towering walls of Lost Gold Fort. The fort is well fortified and defended, but I set forth upon the task and waded through waves of crazed skeletons, my cutlass rending them asunder. Life was good.
Plot Twist Number One
Alas, out of the corner of my eye did I spot a pair of masts on the horizon. A brigantine and her crew, thirsty for plunder, made a beeline to the fort. I didn't need to wait for them to announce their intentions. The Jolly Roger they flew made it clear they weren't coming for tea and biscuits. I jumped back on my sloop and readied myself for battle.
I fought valiantly to defend my stake, but was overwhelmed and found myself adrift some distance from the fort. Worse, I was again within range of the island's guns. My poor sloop went down, and me along with it. My only cargo was a large number of gunpowder kegs I'd collected in my prior wanderings, which floated up and spread out upon the surface of the waves. I mention this seemingly trivial fact because it will become important later.
When I came to, I found myself standing on an island looking at a brand new sloop. Scanning the horizon, I realized I was only a few islands off from Lost Gold Fort. The wind favored me, so I thought to myself, "why not." I hastily grabbed a few supplies, which unfortunately included zero planks. (Remember this, because it will become important later.) Nevertheless, I again set sail to seek my revenge and, more importantly, my booty.
With the wind filling my golden sail, it didn't take long to return to the scene of the battle. I saw the brigantine, some distance from the fort. They clearly had spotted me, too, as they maneuvered out from the protection of the fort, ready to engage. It was roughly at this point that the aforementioned kegs of gunpowder become important. I don't know if they simply weren't paying attention, or some other mishap befell them...but somehow they ran right into a cluster of my kegs. I witnessed the brigantine sink rapidly before my eyes. When I reached the fort and dropped anchor, not a soul was left alive. Even better, I spotted the skeleton fort captain appear on the cliffs before me. He marched right into my sloop's cannons range. So I blasted him. The key was mine.
Plot Twist Number Two
I had expected to have to sail away with the key safely in my possession, returning later to claim my prize. That brigantine couldn't have given up so easily, right? So I waited a bit, scanning the horizon. Finding nothing as far as the eye could see, I finally decided to take advantage of the time and loot the vault. So I repositioned my sloop for ease of loading and dropped anchor.
At that moment, I was migrated to a new server.
Hmm. Now I knew the brigantine would not return. Nobody would be coming. I was in the clear, so I immediately ran up to the vault, key in hand. To my complete and utter surprise, I found the vault already open and full of booty. It was all there, every glorious scrap of loot, all mine...and I still had a perfectly good vault key in my hand.
I didn't know what to attribute my good fortune to, but who am I to question? I whispered a thanks to Athena and started the arduous task of hauling all that loot down to my waiting sloop. Those familiar with Lost Gold Fort will know it's no easy task, and it took a fair bit of time. But at last the work was done, and I set sail for nearby Plunder Outpost.
Plot Twist Number Three
At this point we must remember that I never really stocked up my sloop before returning to the fort. And although I did gather some supplies before I left the fort...they were to prove completely insufficient to battle the skellie ship that popped up just as I headed out into open water. Arrr!
I'm no slouch at battling skellie ships, mind you, but this particular battle never went my way. I managed to sail back to the protective waters of the fort, tucking my sloop close against the towering walls. But the skellie ship was fast and relentless, hitting me repeatedly with cursed ballast-balls, forcing me to continually bail and repair every hole, not just the lower deck as I normally would. On a normal day I probably could have withstood the onslaught and eventually turned the tide...but when I got down to only three planks, I knew I had to vamoose or the day would be lost. I waited for the skellies to turn the corner after their last pass, then dropped sail and made a frantic run for Plunder Outpost.
At last, a bit of luck. My strategy worked, and the skellies--being the poor sailors they are--ran headlong into the side of the fort. It didn't delay them long, but long enough for me to sail out of range before they could catch me.
I finally made it safely to port, where I happily sold off my hard-earned spoils. I left only two items on my sloop. One was the extra fort key. The other was a stronghold gunpowder keg, tucked away in my crow's nest. Remember this fact, as it will become important later.
After selling all that lovely loot, I set myself to my next task: finding a new skellie fort to plunder! After all, I had in my possession the key to a big fat vault, and I wouldn't even have to go to the trouble of fighting off wave after wave of defenders. What green-blooded pirate could resist? Fortune favored me yet again, as a giant skull appeared in the sky not far to the north. I thought to myself, "why not?" This time I made sure I was well-supplied before weighing anchor, dropping sails and sallying forth towards my next plunder!
Soon I approached the fort at full sail, cannonballs screaming over my bow. It was another well-defended fort, with high walls and hoards of crazed, meatless defenders. With no time to lose, I pulled in close under the guns and anchored at a small dock where I could easily load all that glorious booty.
I fought off a couple waves of skellies, until at last only one defender remained, a cutlass-waving bone-head I chose to name George. I let George live to witness my epic theft. The key fit, and again I felt the familiar tingle in my bones as the vault opened and presented me with my completely unearned spoils (the best kind!). George watched me dutifully, following me from vault to ship and back again as I collected my treasure. Naturally, I took all the big ticket items first: the chest, skull, bonedust...and the powerful mega-keg (now I had two).
Usually when I plunder a vault, I leave something behind, resting on the altar. It's a bit of a tradition, really. You could call it an offering, for good karma. Or maybe it's more of a calling card. In any event, this time I left more than usual, leaving behind a Chest of a Thousand Grogs, a decent skull, a trinket, and a seafarer's chest. I figured if anybody actually made it to the vault, they deserved something for the trouble. Besides, I really didn't want to deal with that drunken chest. I digress.
At last, the work was done and the loot was loaded into my sloop. I waved farewell to George and set sail for Plunder Outpost.
Plot Twist Number Four
Scanning the horizon, I spotted a sloop prowling around my destination. Okay, new plan. I would head for Ancient Spire, instead. I didn't really expect trouble from the sloop, considering the skull cloud still loomed over the fort. Who would go after a sloop sailing away from an active fort? Well, apparently these yahoos, since I noticed them come about to give chase. Hmm.
I had a considerable lead on them, but no wind. I set sails to stupid, but they had a better angle and gradually closed the distance. Making some tricky maneuvers through the rocks on the way to Ancient Spire bought me a little more time, but I knew I'd be hard pressed to unload everything before they caught up. Nevertheless, that was exactly what I intended to do. I really didn't want to sail on to Morrow's Peak and risk running into something even worse, and I'd already spent a considerable amount of time on my adventures. I resolved to cash in quickly and deal with the sloop when they arrived.
That time came more quickly than I'd expected. I'd only managed to turn in the stronghold chest when the sloop charged around the island straight for me. But I had a plan. I scrambled up my mast to retrieve one of my lovely stronghold gunpowder kegs. I'm pretty sure I involuntarily cackled as I grabbed the mega-keg and dove into the water.
The sloop crew was so busy hammering my sloop with cannonfire, they didn't even notice me boarding their port ladder. I found one of them at the wheel, looking more than a bit surprised to see me. I smiled and lit the keg. He panicked and tried to jump off the back of his sloop, but it was far too late. The other one never even saw it coming.
I waved at my attackers on the Ferry of the Damned. They didn't wave back. They just stood there, silently staring at me. This was one of my most satisfying moments ever.
I returned to life in time to see their sloop give its final sigh before sinking to the depths. My new friends never made it back. Shame, really. But I had no time to muse over the circumstances, as I feared my own sloop might soon be sunk. I dashed below decks expecting the worst, but found only a single bucketful of water in the hull. The nitwit on the cannon failed to put even a single cannonball below the waterline. Amateurs!
With that my story comes to an end. The loot and glory was all mine, save the few pieces I left behind for any poor sots unlucky enough to raid my plundered fort. All in all, a fine day of high adventure on the Sea of Thieves!