(CLOSED) Official Athena's Fortune Contest Submission thread

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    Have an awesome story you want to enter into the Athena's Fortune Contest? Submit it below!

    Read more about the contest and the full Terms and Conditions here.

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    Captains log 1:
    It's a fresh new day, a new voyage, a new me. The untamed sea has welcomed a new sailor.... Aye, and welcomed him harshly it did. It all started at the outpost which I had spaw… COUGH! COUGH! I mean, awoken onto. Upon a quick scan of the island, I had found ye old trusty wooden sloop. How this sloop came to be I do not know, but what I do know is that one man's loss best be nother man's treasure! and so it goes that the ship, is now in my possession. Getting the sloop to move went without a hitch, however, not soon after, the ship started to rumble and moan. Was there an earthquake? No! Much worse, the ship had been struck! Above, the innocent white doves could be heard mocking me with their cackling. Great! So now how do we "put a plug on this bottle"?, I scan the top deck and find nothing. "Talk about smooth sailing" I comment, as I make my way to the bottom deck. Ah ha! a barrel of wood and… bananas?! Sure why not, can't plunder on an empty stomach. I take the sweet yellow delicacy in my hand, bring it close to my mouth, and... swallow it whole! Who needs to peel it anyways, a sailor needs all the proteins he can get. Alright that's enough messing around, I exclaim, as I patch up the hole. Finally it's time to start the adventure, I work up the anchor and lower the sails. "Off to..." I pause, it hadn't occurred to me until now that I had no idea where I may be going, none the less, whatever I may find will write itself as a new adventure, and more importantly, me own adventure.
    Captains log 2:
    I have been sailing these vast seas for 3 hours now, no sign of imminent danger. I have spotted so far, a 4 manned galleon and a 3 manned brigantine off into the south side of the map, near what many call "The devil's roar". I dare not approach such area, as volcanic eruptions and clouds as black as the cloak of death can be seen from where I cast sail. It seems like sailing those waters might get too heated for me, especially when under fire. Alas, it is true what they say about nature being unforgiving in these here waters! I had met a close encounter about two or three days ago with such a unrelenting storm that I have never come across before. Monstrous sea waves they may be, they rise, tumble, and toy with ships. Lightning that somehow manages to strike ye with great frequency and precision, makes one wonder if the seas are cursed or if it may be just ye own self who is cursed. And such darkness at night, unrelenting and unforgiving, leaves you blind to oncoming obstacles and deceive ye with desire to light the lanterns, lighting the way for others to find and prey upon ye own ignorance. However these experiences have made me smarter, and therefore, stronger. I have learned to expand my knowledge by sharing stories with other voyagers. It turns out that water from a bucket could be used to great lengths against many foes. For one thing water rusts golden skeleton, weakening them. But it may also be used to bucket water onto other ships, ultimately sinking them, like a slow running poison, savvy? Perhaps my trusty lantern could also be used as a tool to defeat my foes in combat. I have noticed some skellies consumed in darkness, I wonder....
    Captain log 3:
    It's the third day out at sea, give or take, and the days are beginning to blur together. Among some of me own voyages, I managed to join other pirate crews, sharing the spoils of the rewards evenly. I have amassed great rewards and can't wait to get more. Gold is never scarce in these waters, and some day, I know it all be mine. But first, I must rid myself of any close encounter with other scurvy dogs. Aye, I have met many good captains out at sea, but not every great captain has a great crew. As my reputation has increased I have learned to be weary for the sea holds many old salts, far greater than I. Perhaps I may still have use for other crews, they might help me reach the gold faster, and so far, they have been necessary to defeat the "Great beasts" hiding in the darkness. Note to self, the birds at sea seem to be leading me somewhere. In one such occasion I decided to chase them down and discovered below the surface of the water laid a fine ship wreck! I can hardly hold back me own excitement, me mouth be salivating, and me eyes, oh me eyes! They be glowing with the reflection of an amassed haul of booty!
    Captains log 4:
    I've been sailing for almost a week now, quite recently I had spotted seagulls on an uncharted island off on the horizon, the birds... I think they were calling for me. The island seemed uninhabited at first... well I was right, for at least it was uninhabited by anything living. A boney army of skeletons climbed out from their sandy grounded graves almost as if they were out for revenge. That's when it hit me, the whole island was a giant bone cemetery. I sprinted around the island, I had to get out fast, I thought to myself. "Forget a game of cat and mouse this is more like an extreme game of undead cat litter and a mice!". I was desperate to find my escape, but I had forgotten where I had docked the ship, I need to find that ship!... but... I wasn't going to leave my new found spoils go to waste! These are the words that immediately formed onto my mind as I had accidently found a full, cash hog of a chest!...not bad for my first time. "No more running, time to fight!" , with my sword in hand I hit 3 or 4 skellies with three swift slashes, and these skellies crumbled before the sword. Another 3 lightning slashes followed by a charged up sword jab and they all bite the dust. "Easy!", I thought. It's a shame though, I was so focused on those skellies in front of me that I had forgotten to check my surroundings. I hear a faint sound, something sizzling behind me, the sizzling getting louder, like a beast growling from behind. I turn my head towards the sound and then... BOOM!!!
    Captain log 5:
    I thought this was the end of the journey, the end of my life, but now I find myself in a terrifying, yet bewildering situation. I'm on board the legendary cursed ferry man ship! I had heard it spoken off only in legends, told by a few other pirates in a collection of journals in an article, found at home, called "The Sea of Thieves' community post". I miss those days out at sea, I even miss those pesky birds who mocked me. While reading the journals, I found out that some skeletons retained some intelligence upon death, giving them the ability to carry a gun powder barrel and explode themselves with many unlucky sea men. As it is a new discovery in my voyage I have decided that I will label this type of curse as "Annoying AI". It must have been one of these type of gun powder skellies that must have sent me down here. But... where is here? In here, in this cursed ship it was like being underwater but I am not drowning, it's like a different space... It's hard to explain, but the best way to describe it is that everything flows here. The captain himself, doesn't look like he is commanding the ship either, it's more like him and the ship, both, are sailing with one mind and in harmony. Even my body flows with the ambiance here, it radiates with that greenish blue glow from the ghost ship. If I remember correctly this glow is actually the cursed magic of the ferry man ship. This cursed magic is running through me but it's not harming me, why did the community journals say it was cursed then?... perhaps this cursed magic is what I'm feeling, perhaps... this IS the "flow".
    Captain log 6:
    It seemed that the captain of the cursed ship, and thereby the ship itself had granted me another chance to navigate the seas. I wasn't going to let this chance go away, it's time to bring out the big guns! I loaded myself with all the cannonballs I could carry, loaded them into the cannon and then blasted the island in a furry of cannonballs. "This is my will" Boom! one ball flies into a group of skellies. "This is my revenge" Boom!, another iron ball is volleyed through the hollow skulls of those pesky skellies. Only after I had deteriorated all iron ball ammunition would my job be done. "The plunder... all of it! It will be mine!" I demanded, as I stared at the now empty island. As the cannon on my ship smoked, the smell of gunpowder consumed the atmosphere. With haste, I brought on top of the ship my chest of valor! Up above, a bird circled above me, casting a shadow upon the surface of the sloop, my eyes might be deceiving me but I believe to have seen a gray albatross... And upon the reflection of the water I pondered, I believed, to have seen, glowing eyes coming from my reflection... perhaps it's a sea creature, I dismissed, I must be getting groggy from the hunger.
    Captain log 7:
    No salt in these seas can describe my anger, my desire for revenge. As I left the island, I sailed back to an outpost. At some point during my time sailing to the outpost, like a silent hand slowly extending itself over the seas, the night had creeped up and grabbed me, pulling me into a darkness that choked the light out of me eyes, and drowned the world in silence. In the distance I could see what seemed to be black crows, "The Outpost! it is near! The Plunder!!! It will all be mine!!!" I had began to celebrate by drinking some grog and playing horribly tuned music. Boom! A sudden hit to hull of the ship. Beside me was another sloop, with a crew of two trying to steal me own plunder, "No! I won't go out without a fight!", I rushed towards the nearest cannonball barrel and... This dark idea, like a seed implanted in me head, had bloomed into something terrifying, something that could only be described as pure, body freezing, horror! I had depleted all iron ball ammo from the cannonballs, I had nothing to fight back with! With the last resort being a race back to the island, I focused all energy on repairing, the crows could be heard crackling, they were laughing at me again! BANG! One hole from a blast to the hull of the ship, water now pouring in, despair now setting in me mind. CRACK! another hole to the hull of the ship, water drowning out the lower decks, anger drowning out me voice. "I must repair faster! I must steer the ship! I need more hands on deck!" I was so close to finishing repairs... so, so, close... when a sharp cold blade pierced me back and had connected my soul back to the cursed ferryman ship... with me last breath I said "I could have had a banana!"
    Captain log????
    I do not know how long I be stuck here, cast out of the seas and into the ferryman's ship... it seems that this time I will not escape this newly built prison of a cursed ship. I curse those who had dared take me spoils of battle. "It was mine! ALL MINE! and I will have it BACK"... As the gates to the living opened, A bright glow, embraced me from behind. The cursed ship and it's captain, had finally accepted me as one of their own. Finally... I have been reborn.

    Captain log-RePeAt ReveNge ReboRn RaVEn

    It's a fresh new day, a new voyage, a new me...
    As his eyes opened and became adjusted to the night, to the dark the first thing noticed was birds crowing from above. From the outpost on the horizon one could see and hear up above, light-devouring, black ravens dancing in flight, crowing their song. Crowing their song for their new captain, "Revenge, Reborn, Repeat! Revenge, Reborn, Repeat!". There was two things he regretted 1. His desire for revenge was not accomplished and 2. … He could have had a banana. It is said that to this day the captain could be heard singing along with the ravens. From the distance , a black ship with black sails rose from the dark tinted waters. The sails, like black raven wings behind a silhouette of a shadowy figure, a captain, were ready to take flight at his command. Glowing green eyes emanated from his face where his eyes should have been located. The cursed ship was said to sail with the flow of the sea, forevermore. The shadow figure, the pirate legend: captain and ship now share one name, one soul, one body. The Black Raven

    The moral of the story?... Well you could always use more protein, so don't forget to eat a banana...
    Oh yeah and never get too greedy, for the sea of thieves is meant to be shared.

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    @red0demon0 Bravo, sir! Excellent storytelling!

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    The Legend of The Dread Pirate Fox (comedy story)

    I haven't taken a word count yet, but I suspect that I may need to edit.

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    Can we enter more than one story? I have so many tales to tell I don't know which one to choose 😂

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    The Mighty Red Dog, & The Sea of Friends
    (Based on a true story!)

    Twas’ an unusually cold night in the Devils Roar. The Crew of the Red dog had just sold an Athena’s Chest at Morrows Peak Outpost, and were enjoying a tankard of Rum in the Tavern. Captain Beattie and his fellow crew of Pirate Legends (First Mate Nayfe Pacewell and his Crewmate Pithen).

    Captain Beattie was a tall, rugged Pirate. He sported a long Brown Beard, a long black coat, and Legendary Boots & Gloves which glowed a faint green. His Hat was wide brimmed, with a golden yellow feather in the back, plucked from the Wings of a rare Sea Falcon. He had a long scar across his left eye, from battling the Ancient One – a fearsome Great Shark, long as a galleon with a row of razor sharp teeth. He had two more scars on his right cheek, from another fierce battle with the violent Captain Warsmith and a crew of Undead Skeletons. He was a tried and tested pirate. A True Veteran of the Seas.

    His First Mate, Nayfe Pacewell, sported a silky white shirt, with black seadog’s Pants and a legendary belt. He wore a black vest on top of his white shirt, and Black boots that Glowed with hot metal, formed at the Clothing Shop at Morrows Peak. He had an unusually attractive face for a Pirate. Often being described as “The Most attractive Pirate on the Sea of Thieves". The curls of his hair shone in the light, and the stubble on his face suited him. His looks were deceiving – as he was a Fine Sailor and Pirate. Often gaining the advantage over other pirates in battle, who saw his Good Looks as a sign that he was not a seasoned swordsman. He soon proved any advisary wrong in that regard!

    Pithen was a slim, tattooed covered Pirate with a rugged beard that covered the scar on his lip. He was mute, as the Mighty megladon had slashed his throat in a battle months before, although his wounds didn't deter him in the least. He was as tough as they came. He wore a glowing green Eyepatch on his left eye, a Golden Hook on his left hand, and a Glowing Legendary Peg on his right leg – Signs of the many furious battles he had taken part in. He was the most fearsome, Battle hardened Pirate the seas had ever seen - Even rivaling the legendary Captain Zylbrad, whom he had dueled before to test his skills. He had tattoos of Swords, Anchors, and Flintlocks – Signifying bloodlust and his love for battle. He wore a Glowing Red Captains hat and belt, forged from the same hot Metal as Nayfe’s boots. He was a True Pirate Legend. Skilled at boarding other ships, and known for taking no prisoners.

    The three of them had been sailing the Seas for years together. A tight, efficient crew who had built a reputation amongst Pirates as being Cutthroat, and a force to be reckoned with!
    They sat in the Tavern, listening to Dukes drunken ramblings about the Adventurous Bilge Rats, and their escapades and games which were popular amongst sailors with free time, and a sense of Competition! Captain Beattie was in the corner, chatting to the Mysterious Stranger who often hung beside the bar at the outpost – Giving him insight into the tales of Legendary Pirates before him.
    As Pithen took a swig of his rum, something outside the tavern caught his eye. He stood up and walked to the door. He dropped his tankard, seemingly panicked! He turned to the crew and pulled out a scrunched up piece of paper from his pocket, which read "I see something in the water!!". The crew lept up and followed Pithen to the door. He pointed to the Horizon. The cloud of a fabled Skeleton fort hung in the distance! "Yarrr! Well spotted Pithen! Quick Lads, to the Red Dog!" Proclaimed Captain Beattie.
    They dropped their tankards and flipped the Tavern Owner a gold coin. They rushed down toward the dock, leaping over the Geyser in the center of the Outpost. They ran down to the dock and lept aboard the Crimson Red Galleon. Its Ghostly Green reaper figurehead reflecting off the water. "Drop Sails Boys, Mister Nayfe, Take the helm!" The Captain Cried. They dropped the dark red sails, and the Image of A Skull with Crossed Flintlocks flapped in the wind. They grabbed the rigging and turned the sails to catch full Billow, as Nayfe took the helm and steered them towards the ominous cloud in the distance.
    Within the hour, they got to a close enough distance of the Skull Fort to see what was happening. It was the fabled Crow’s Nest Fortress. Pithen stood on the bow, spyglass in hand. "What do you see, lad?" Captain Beattie yelled. Pithen ran back and pulled out another scrunched up piece of paper, with Rum stains on the sides. 'I see a ship!'. There was a galleon and a brigantine, locked in a vicious battle for the fort - and the loot within! Cannons and gunshots were exchanging quickly between the two ships. "What's our plan of attack, Captain?" Nayfe asked. Captain Beattie replied with a smirk - "Let’s take the Red Dog behind those large rocks to the north west! Take them by Surprise we will! Pithen, you shoot over and board the Galleon. I'll follow behind and board the Brigantine it’s fighting. They'll think we're both from the opposing crews, and we'll wreak havoc on them both! Be sure to get below deck to stop them from repairing any cannon holes! When I give the signal Mister Nayfe, you sail out at half sails and fire on the Galleon with everything you’ve got!". Nayfe Smiled at the Captain “This won’t be like the Battle of Discovery Ridge will it Cap?”. Captain Beattie looked back at him “I told you son, that wasn’t my Fault. How was I supposed to know they had Two Crews on One ship?!”. Nayfe Laughed “Well I’ll watch the ladders this time to make sure we don’t get boarded whilst you’re both over there!”. The Captain pulled out a Long, Black Cutlass – a Golden Unicorn Cast into its handle. It was given to him by the Ferryman long ago, and showed signs of wear from the constant battles it had been used in.
    They crept behind the Rocks, the sounds of constant cannon fire getting closer. A Pirate Legend Galleon with Ghostly Sails was lighting up the smaller, slightly green Brigantine. The Red Dog came to a halt, hidden from view. Pithen aimed the front two cannons over the rocks. As he climbed inside one, he held up another piece of paper 'Shooting myself out of a cannon!'. "Aye Lad. Nayfe, I'll shoot my flintlock when it’s time for you to sail out!" Captain Beattie said as he climbed into the cannon alongside Pithen.

    BOOM! Captain Beattie flew over the rocks and through the air, his long black coat flapping in the wind. From the great height he reached, he saw Pithen land with a Splash, right in front of the Galleon which was moored next to the fort! Moments later, a rush of cold water slowed his descent as he landed alongside the Brigantine. His heart Raced as he swam up to the ladder, Cutlass in one hand, Flintlock in the other. He climbed up the ladder slightly, and slowly waited for the right moment to strike! He could hear the wheel of the brigantine turning. It was now or never! As he Jumped onto the deck and aimed his flintlock at the Helmsman, he couldn't believe his eyes! It was none other than the notorious Dark Samurai! A good Friend of the Red Dog Crew they had sailed with on many occasions! Samurai looked shocked! He couldn’t believe his eyes. Captain Beattie lowered his flintlock and smirked at Dark Samurai.
    "YARRR! NEVER FEAR LAD, CAPTAIN BEATTIE AND THE CREW OF THE RED DOG IS HERE TO SAVE THE DAY! HA HA HARRRR!"

    He aimed his flintlock at the rocks and let off a single shot, and seconds later, the Red Dog suddenly came slamming out from behind the Rocks, its Red Skull and Crossed Flintlock sails flapping with the wind on its back! Nayfe started firing cannons at the Galleon. Captain Beattie grabbed hold of one of the Brigantine Cannons, Joining Nayfe in the Barrage against the enemy ship.
    Samurai Looked shocked at the sudden appearance of Captain Beattie and the Red Dog. "POSEIDON BE DAMNED! BEATTIE! WHERE IN THE BLAZES DID YOU AND THE RED DOG COME FROM?!?!" Samurai Yelled over the cannons. "No Time to explain! Quick, jump on a cannon Lad! Pithen’s on board that galleon keeping them busy!" Said Captain Beattie as he continued firing. The Three of them kept up the Barrage, pumping hole after hole into the side of the legendary galleon. Suddenly, it creaked and groaned. Slowly sinking in the water
    "Hold your fire!! They're done for!" The Captain Proclaimed.

    As the ship was almost deck level with the water, they watched Pithen suddenly leap furiously from the side of the Galleon into the water. “What’s he doing?” asked Samurai. “Wait for it lad…” Captain Beattie pointed at the Deck of the Sinking ship. As all four Crew members of the stricken Galleon came running out after Pithen, swords in hands - a huge fireball exploded out behind them, killing all four of them instantly! “Pithen knows just when to drop a Gunpowder Barrel son! He likes to make sure there are no survivors!”. They watched Pithen swim over with a smile on his face.
    "That takes care of those salty dogs!" Captain Beattie chuckled victoriously. He looked back at the Red Dog and pulled out his speaking trumpet. "Mister Nayfe, moor us up alongside Samurai's Brigantine!" Nayfe raised the sails up, slowing the Galleon down - then dropping anchor as it pulled up alongside the Brigantine. He jumped across to the Brig and Pithen Climbed the ladder on the right out of the water. The two of them Greeting Samurai. “Why am I not surprised to see you here?” Nayfe laughed as he shook hands with Samurai. Captain Beattie Turned to the three of them, "To be honest we didn't know it was you Samurai old friend. We were plannin' on Robbin' you blind! But now that both our ships are here – LET’S TAKE DOWN THIS FORTRESS BOYS!" The captain yelled as he raised his Cutlass. They all dove into the water, weapons in hand.

    As they swam up the shore of the derelict fort, gunshots whizzed past them. They prepared to attack a large group of Skeletons who were firing flintlocks at them, when the group suddenly exploded into piles of bones. They look to their right, Pithen holding a smoking blunderbuss. He smirked as he held up yet another scrunched up, rum-soaked note : 'Got 'em!'

    They all ran into the Fort, armed and ready. "Stay frosty lads! Fight back to back if you need too! Don’t let them surround you! Nayfe, watch the flanks, Keep them grouped together!” The Captain cried. "Pithen, Watch out for Skeletons sniping us from the towers! Samurai, stick with me!"

    Bones and blunderbuss shots were firing from every direction. Explosions rang out as the crew shot at Gunpowder barrels, swiftly destroying grouping skeletons. A second wave spawned up, and a third, and a fourth. The crew was locked into a vicious battle, for both their lives and the loot in the stronghold. Nayfe was hopping around the outskirts of the Battle, keeping the skeletons rounded up. Pithen was firing wildly with his blunderbuss, following up his shots with Sword Lunges in swift movements, cutting down Multiple Attacking Skeletons. As they finish off the Final undead pirate standing, It Suddenly fell silent. The faint sound of tribal drums could be heard as they regrouped in the center of the fortress.

    A single boney hand slammed up from the ground, with a cutlass in its hand. A skeleton in a long black coat, and a hat similar to Captain Beattie's rose up from the ground, growling at the Crew. "IT’S THE CAPTAIN LADS! TAKE HIM OUT!" A dozen other skeletons rose up behind him, and the crew charged at them with a war cry.

    As the crew each took on two skeletons, Captain Beattie ran straight to the Skeleton Captain, and started engaging him hand to hand in a fierce duel. As they locked their cutlasses, Beattie smiled through his thick beard, raising a scarred eyebrow. He grunted at the Skeleton “You're facing The Red Dog crew today you ancient pile of bones! It’s back to the Locker for you!" The skeleton growled and hissed back at him. It moved back and slashed it's sword as Captain Beattie blocked it, laughing loudly as he countered with a swing of his own. Pithen ran up behind the skeleton captain and pulled out his Blunderbuss, shooting him point blank. The Captain roared out loud at the shot, and turned around to quickly slice at Pithen’s head when at the last second, the captain and his crew all fell apart into a pile of bones, as Beattie Stabbed the Cursed Skeleton Captain straight through the chest, His ferryman cutlass still outstretched as the worn bones fell down around it as inanimate objects. A green glowing fortress key shaped like a Skull dropped to the ground where the captain had stood a moment earlier.
    Captain Beattie picked it up. "We did it lads, Good work! Let’s get the loot from the stronghold!" He cheered. They ran out of the fortress, and gathered at the door to the mighty stronghold beneath. As the Captain placed the key into the door, the ground shook. The Crew took a step back, and the door slid open, revealing a fortune worth of Chests, silks, golden Trinkets, and the Fabled Stronghold Skull and chest. “I’ll be damned… what a Haul!” exclaimed Nayfe. “Aye Lad” Captain Beattie replied. “Go Get the Row Boat off the Back of the Red Dog and Bring it to the Front of the Fort!”.

    The crew ran back and forth, loading all the loot into the small wooden rowboat. Once the stronghold was empty, Nayfe and Pithen quickly rowed it back and docked it up to the Red Dog. Captain Beattie turned to Samurai. "Well played today lad. Leave that Beat up Brigantine here. Come join our crew and we'll sail to Ancient Spire outpost to sell the lot!". "Aye Captain! Twas a fine battle indeed!" Samurai replied as they move the Loot into the Captains quarters.

    The crew dropped sails and headed for Ancient Spire, the Brigantine scuttling down into the water behind them. Pithen is transfixed on the huge stash of loot. "Pithen, come help us with the damned rigging son! There’ll be plenty of time to admire the loot when we’re selling it!" Captain Beattie cried out from the helm. Pithen ran out, quickly holding up yet another Rum soaked note ‘Sorry’. He grabbed the main sail line and adjusted the huge sails into the wind.

    The Red Dog sped into Ancient Spire, full billows, towards the wooden pier. Captain Beattie squinted as he steered it alongside. "Steady Boys…. Steady…” The crew looked at one another, confused with why they were hurtling towards the dock with no signs of slowing down. “NOW BOYS! DROP ANCHOR!" He cried. Pithen Kicked the Capstan and The large anchor dropped - bringing the Red Dog to a halt right alongside the dock. "Stop looking worried Lads, this isn’t my first Speed Moore Ha Ha Harrr! Now let’s unload this haul! Sell it all!"

    As the crew ran backwards and forwards to the Gold Hoarder and Order of Souls, the coins flowed in. Thousands of dollars’ worth. They laughed and cheered as the final Foul bounty skull was sold. "To the Tavern boys! Let’s celebrate!" Nayfe proclaimed. “Aye, well played Lads!” Captain Beattie Replied.

    They ran up to the huge ladder leading to the top of the outpost and climbed up. Within a few minutes, the crew had full tankards, and the rum flowed as the crew of the Mighty Red Dog Celebrated their grand victory against the legendary Galleon, and the undead forces of Crow’s Nest Fortress! They drank long into the night, singing Shanties and sharing their tale of victory with Duke, The Mysterious Stranger, and the Tavern owner who were all transfixed with the amazing Story!

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    @khaleesibot my lowly submission. With thanks to @FishSt1ck for being a main source of trouble for me during this true event and of course, the rest of the crew who I have named slightly differently for modesty's sake:

    A Game Of Thrones

    The Sea calls us all, whether we want her to or not, the Sea of Thieves draws us in an’ keeps us there, unwilling to let us go or to give respite. But the more crews that join the adventure, the more adventure that needs to be found, or sometimes, created. Sit back and enjoy a tale of Sshteeve and crew as they embark on an epic quest to find the Skeleton Thrones…

    ‘Twas a beautiful afternoon when I joined me crewmate FishSt1ck on Duke’s inaugural Bilge Rat adventure. That filthy rapscallion had set us on our course with riddles of where to find adventure on the Sea of Thieves. So with a handful of cryptic clues we set sail in search o’ those makeshift thrones; soggy, bony pedestals upon which a weary Pirate would be able to rest a peg leg or two. I was a mere lowly swabbie back then, nowhere near as effective at falling off a Galleon as I am now. Back then it could be seen as purely accidental that I fell off a deck, now I’ve mastered it as an art form in itself! Needless to say my lack of experience meant a guiding hand was required in workin’ out the locations for our quest.

    It didn’t take long for the crew to decipher a clue or two though, and soon enough the sea chart was covered in little inky rings remindin’ us of where each new throne might be. Far and wide those Bilge Rats had sailed it seemed, with our riddles pointin’ us to the most unlikely of places out in the ocean. It still baffles me as to who made them and how, as we never seem to see any new Bilge Rat crew out there during our adventures (and how does Duke always manage to beat me to an Outpost?? He be a thirstier Pirate than I!) Perhaps those crews flying the Scurvy Bilge Rat colours are doin’ some dirty work on their behalf… I shall have to pick old Duke’s brain again the next time I’m near a tavern.

    Trustin’ in our gut and the experience of the crew we landed upon a beautiful uncharted island: just a simple little ring of land she be, with scarce a sign of any driftwood, certainly not in any form we may call a throne in any case. The sun was setting fast, with what me ol’ man would’ve called a “lithium sunset” drenching the ocean, like gold from those Hoarders rippling towards us. Fightin’ a lack of light was hard enough, but the low distant rumbling of a storm was threatening to put a dampener on proceedings as well.

    We searched for a while, with little in the way of help from any Bilge Rat regarding what it was exactly we were looking for. But fear not we find, as many a crew joined us to search, with one plucky Pirate already in the knowledge o’ where to find our goal. Deep under the water we swam, my lungs be burstin’ for air as I forced my way through coral lined tunnels under the island herself and into a torch-lit chamber. There was little time to enjoy such a view, but on more’n one occasion I find me’self there quietly contemplatin’ how I fell of a ship again…

    There it stood in all it’s glory(well… let’s just say it stood.) Piles of driftwood, skeleton parts and roped had been entwined together into something that I suppose, if stood on yer’ peg leg, lookin’ a certain way after a fair amount o’ grog might JUST be called a throne.

    Havin’ waited me turn… or bein’ a Pirate of course actually diving straight in, I settle me backside on this curiosity with me crew clappin’ and cheerin’ at our first spell of this misadventure bein’ complete. Whether from the driftwood of ships from dearly departed crew, or the bones of those skeletons belonging to Flameheart himself, there was somehow magic in those thrones. Duke won’t tell us, no matter how much we ply him with Golden Sand’s finest tavern ale, but upon sitting down the skulls lit green and an eerie tune be heard as if comin’ from the skulls themselves, all the while a strange feelin’ be fillin’ me. Some shiny new blue coins the Bilge Rats call Doubloons had appeared in me coin purse.

    We knew little of this new currency at the time, but Duke gave us insight from his haunts within his taverns; often selling treasure for us that we might exchange for those little blue coins, rare treasure that cannot be found from any other vender out here. See the Bilge Rats supposedly have little time for Hoarder’s gold or the Order’s skulls, so instead they’ve forged their own tokens to exchange. Bein’ a Pirate of little need I be savin’ as many of these as I can, with rumours from other crew reckonin’ that the Rats have sway over the other factions and that they can actually push us for promotions if we wish… I may manage to have some legendary tales told if I can sweet talk those lads with enough of those new coins.

    Listen to an old Pirate digress though, as if someone readin’ my old notes won’t know about the Rats and their Doubloons! Getting back to me tale, the rest of the crew had taken their turn (bein’ finer folk than I at waiting and endearing good relations with other crew!) and as such we dove back through those tunnels and up to the island surface once more.

    The sight of so many masts in one place was drawing attention; especially amongst those other crew looking for the new adventure. All were friendly enough and in need of help and we were told apparently there be larger thrones out there to chase that we had marked and they need more than one crew to work together for the magic to work. Now this was in those darker days before Alliances could be so easily formed through our flags, so it was speaking trumpets and a lot of body language that would be seein’ us through this adventure on the high sea! With a point and a shout (and a few rounds of a shanty on me Hurdy Gurdy) we set our course and caught the wind… off to the North East.

    We managed to arrive at our next destination, a place that still be sending shivers down me’ back 4 months later… She be a pretty enough place I suppose for somewhere in The Wilds; with her bay and grand archway of rock jutting. Many I time I’ve fallen through that hole in the top forgettin’ me place, or dropped Chickens down to the waiting ship below. For some reason though Duke and those Bilge Rats o’ his had come upon the grand idea to build some giant monstrosity from those driftwood and skeleton parts right on the highest peak facing out to sea! I still wonder how many a plucky Bilge Rat met the Ferryman trying to get that thing up there and all I can say to each and every one o’ them is “GOOD! Serves ye’ right you daft scurvy dogs!”

    There be some short discussion amongst the crew, but the challenge being set and me feeling lucky, I aim the cannon high and lets me’self loose! My trajectory seems true enough and with excitement I begin to shout, but oh shame of shames! As soon as I touch the throne the softness of me flesh (and roundness o’ me gut no doubt) sends me bouncin’ right off into the northern shores to meet some friendly sharks. Drippin’ wet through and smellin’ o’ fish I trudge my way back across that shore under the arch, announcin’ to the crew to lower the aim a touch, which was when I heard a cannon shot…

    Well b*****e down with a Chicken feather if that lucky devil FishSt1ck didn’t use the same cannon I just set and what does he do?! He lands straight onto that blasted pile of junk without a care in the world! Much hootin’ and hollerin’ be had by the crew and yet now a real race is on – the one for the wooden peg leg if ye’ be the final unlucky soul to hit that throne! Sat smug up there on his rock, young Mr Fish with his fancy beard was keen to push his luck; announcin’ to us all the ease with which we should be landin’ up there with him. If only one of the other crew had sense to blast a cannon or two at him to teach him a lesson, that would be sur to have lightened our moods!

    One of our female crew be a foul one at times, with language I shan’t repeat here, but it has to be said that her shrieks still hang on the breeze around that archway on a quiet day, as do, it has to be said me own. See the problem we had comes back to that discussion of organisation: three crews there be now with us and little in the way of leadership and that cannon of mine had long since moved out of position, much to my own dismay with a few salty tears!

    With two of the other crew now sat on the throne Fish was happy with a few more Doubloons and a mark off his list of Bilge Rat commendations, but there be four in our crew and three of us were mightily exhausted with swimming back and forth from that cursed shore.

    Over the course of almost 4 days we aim and shoot up to that rock, FishSt1ck almost dying of thirst and starvation up there the poor lad (or perhaps laughter), but staying true to his word that he would wait for the rest of the crew. Now Mr Monkey and Mr Steady, our partners in adventure in their Sloop have waited patiently too, though it has to be said that when the lads fell off from too much grog there was much hilarity and wailing all round. When they then immediately fired themselves back up Captain Liz and I be somewhat miffed, swearing that those rocks had it in fer us and be trying to repel us like a cutlass dash!

    In a final effort to make this jump I aims the cannon as high as she may go, letting our faithful Galleon drift a little out to sea in order to get the distance I be needin’. See Liz had made it up there now and I be the holder of the wooden peg, with time driftin’ on and other thrones yet to find. So I aims the cannon high, prays to the Ferryman, Kraken and any other God or creature willin’ to help, then fire… As I sail through the air I feel a change in me luck, a slight feelin’ in me own bones that this may be the shot, the one that’ll see me true. I start comin’ down, closer, I can see the edge of the throne and feel me foot and peg reachin’ out for it, ready to cheer for sweet victory. In truth though I missed the thing, turnin’ the air blue and almost ready to send myself to the ferry for a good rest!

    One more shot saw me through though, with a curse that I would never set foot on that isle again as long as me legs would let me sail!

    The crew was exhausted from the ordeal, but a longing to complete Duke’s trial burned through us all. We managed to claw our way through the rest of the marks we made on that sea chart during the next few days. Shipwreck Bay and Plunder Outpost posed little trouble for our crews, though Cannon Cove was a hard one to find. Hidden Spring Keep, whilst quiet and without any skeleton activity for a while, saw more ships than I think it ever has pass by wanting to find that throne on top of the tower. Havin’ seen the trouble waves can make for aiming, one clever fella’ made the announcement to use the Fort’s own cannons to our advantage, firing from one end of the island to another to claim our prize was an easier shot than we had seen earlier.

    And so it was time to depart from the Sea of Thieves for a spell, a lingerin’ feeling that another world be calling to us; one where time passed in minutes and hours rather than days, where bodies were tired and in need of rest.

    So I said goodbye to the crew, with a drink at the nearest tavern and a clap, cheer and wave, Sshteeve lying down once more in the Captain’s bed, ready for a dream of another life to take hold.

  • 0

    The Tale Of 2 Brothers and 1 Roar

    A distant rumble could be heard.
    The Sea Of Thieves was changing.

    Captain Lewis woke with a start, he felt groggy mainly due to all the grog he had been drinking the night before.
    The rumble happen again and then there was an unusual quiet. Lewis sat up and grabbed his green coat from the nearby chair “where am I?” he asked no one in particular.
    “This is The Unicorn Tavern on Ancient Spire mate” whispered Duke, who always seemed to be around when you needed him no matter what tavern you found yourself.
    “Im where?” asked Lewis again slowly getting to his feet
    “The Unicorn mate...I’d get up before old Tasha catches you on her floor and try not to be sick”
    Lewis grabbed his scattered bits and left the tavern.
    As he pulled in his patchy green long coat and donned his purple and blue hat (fashioned to look like a Kraken) he looked around ‘Strange’ he thought ‘Where's my boat?’
    Captain Lewis’s ship was the famed (to him) sloop The Jolly Roge a black painted vessel with orange trim and black sails but it was nowhere to be seen.
    Then it hit him.
    He really did drink a lot last night.
    “He left me! Swine!” he said out loud as he descended to the dock.
    The swine in question was Captain Scott (yes they are both captains) Lewis’s crew mate and brother not just by bond but fortunately or unfortunately depending on who you asked by blood.
    But as he reached the shipwright Shelly, Lewis spied the familiar black sails entering the dock.
    “And where have you been?” Lewis shouted at his brother as he anchored the sloop.
    “Ahoy.. awake at last! I had to go.. There was a rumour see” shouted scott as he raised the sails
    “What rumour!?”
    “You mean you have spent 4 days in a tavern and haven’t heard a single bit of news!?” Scott said with a grin on his face.
    “No I have not.. I… I can't actually remember anything.. My purse seems to be lighter and I remember a dual.. I think I won” Lewis said returning the grin.
    “Well” Scott said “The shroud has lifted to the east… there's new lands to explore”
    “You what!?” Lewis said unconvinced
    “New lands I said they call it… get this.. They call it The Devils Roar”
    “Oh no.. That's what that rumbling was that woke me.. This day was going so well..” Lewis said looking uneasy
    “So I guess you know what I am going to suggest?” Scott asked looking at his older brother with eager eyes.
    Lewis said nothing.
    “I want us to be among the first to explore this place.. Think of the loot.. You could make back what you lost in the tavern and more if you come with me!” Scott said excitedly “come on The Roge needs a good outing and we owe a fair bit of coin to The Order Of Souls after your little mistake last month” said Scott.
    “Please don't mention that now.. I didn't mean to let the soul of Jellybeard go..” Lewis said looking around just in case Jellybeard and his boney hands were waiting for him.
    “Its settled then...come on I've already stocked up, its where I’ve been for the last few days!” said Scott as he jumped onto the ladder and climbed aboard.
    “Aye lets go then, what could go wrong?” Lewis had no idea what he was in for and he would soon regret those words.

    They spent the next 3 days at sea working their way to The Devils Roar, neither brother said much over these days and the only noises other than that of the rushing ocean and the creak of the ship was the distant rumble that seemed to get closer every day.

    On the 5th day Lewis knew they were close. The water that was so blue and clear in the Ancient Isles had now turned a grey dark colour and the sky had a tinge of orange in its black clouds.
    “We must be close now.. I heard there was an outpost there.. Established years ago by the first people to come here” Scott said
    “Wonderful… is it me or does it look like the sun is closing in on us?” Lewis asked staring at the sky.
    The sky was falling… The “sun” Lewis had seen was in fact a great lump of flaming rock that burst from the clouds and smashed the ocean next to the sloop rocking it furiously.
    “My god!” shouted Scott as The Jolly Roge regain balance.
    “I knew this was a bad idea.. Take me back to Jellybeard Scott please i'd rather die please” Lewis shouted
    “Oh shut it I see the outpost” Scott said trying to focus on the wheel
    “But that flaming rock came from the outpost!” Lewis shouted as he clung to the side of the ship for dear life.

    An hour later they had made it safe and sound apart from Lewis’s pants which he changed below before disembarking.
    The land was scorched, an inn caught Lewis’s eye but Scott grabbed his arm and pointed him to a tent
    “Gold Hoarders!” Scott said with a look in his eye that meant trouble for Lewis “Come on let's get a map and get some of this loot!”
    “Anything to get out of here Lewis said”

    The map cost them (Scott) 120 gold coins and in Lewis’s opinion wasn't worth it but they studied it anyway.
    “It says here that the gold is buried here” Scott said ponting at the map on the table
    “Flintlock Peninsular?” Lewis said concentrating on the map.

    They set off and as they did the whole ship and the land started to shake
    “Lets go before we get into more trouble and sink here.. I don't like the look of people here” Lewis said steering the sloop out of the way of the dock and onto the destination.

    The journey was uneventful, A few ships were spotted by Lewis’s keen eyes but none of them bothered The Jolly Roge as they made the journey to The Flintlock Peninsular.
    In no time they had docked just off the islands beach in the shallow water where no Galleon or anything bigger could get them.

    “Look!” Lewis said as he came ashore “A rowboat! We could use that” he jumped in it as he said this and Scott tutted
    “Fine, Keep it beached we can use it to get back to the ship later… let's find this loot.. This place gives me the creeps” said Scott

    They followed the map and dug.
    Nothing
    They moved to the west slightly
    Nothing
    “This is useless we’ve been ripped off! He just wanted out gold!! Cheeky git!” Lewis said angrily as he shoved his shovel into the ground only to be met with an almighty THUD
    “Wonderful you found it!” Scott said
    And as he started to dig a roar filled the air
    “IT’S CURSED!!” Lewis shouted “SKELLYS!”
    The skeletons rose and charged armed to the teeth with swords of all lengths and in all conditions. One of them even had a Blunderbuss.
    Lewis pulled his own pistol out and fired a shot right through the first skeleton chest.. Two of his rips shattered and the skelly looked down and laughed
    “great “ Muttered Lewis.
    The fight lasted only a few minutes as Scott hacked and slashed at them with his golden sword and Lewis fired shot after shot at them from behind the proteccion of a nearby rock.

    Half an hour later they had got the loot (a grand captain's chest with slightly melted edges from the heat of The Roar) and where running to the row boat.
    As they climbed aboard the sloop and tied the row boat up the mountain on the island exploded and there was a massive roar that filled the skies and rattled through the ears of the brothers.
    Fire rained from the sky and the water started to bubble
    “The Devil's Roar indeed” Said Scott as he used all his strength to steer The Jolly Roge through all the fire and fly debris.
    It wasn't enough.
    A boulder bigger than the ship itself struck Scott and the ship.
    Lewis scream as he watched his brothers soul leave this world to join The Ferryman
    “YOU BETTER COME BACK SCOTT! I WILL SAVE THE LOOT!”
    Lewis Jumped on the rowboat as The Jolly Roge tilted and started to go down.
    “I SURVIVED! I SAVED MYSELF AND THE LOOT!” Lewis shouted as he drifted away from the inferno and the sinking ship.
    Only he hadn't saved the loot.
    He would realize soon that the loot had been lost as the rowboat smashed into the ocean and while Lewis was busy rowing away from the danger the chest sank gently to the depths.

    In another world Scott waited silently on the Ferry Of The Damned.
    He knew he would return to save his brother (again) but he hated the journey back. It was like being sucked headfirst into the Krakens mouth and spat back into your body out the other side of the Kraken.
    It was quick and he had come back at last to find a new ship waiting for him.
    “Oh great he lost the ship...I bet he lost the loot as well.. Fool!” Scott said to himself as he sailed yet again for The Devils Roar to save his brother from the rowboat.

    5 days Lewis rowed and floated through The Roar.
    He survived on a small load of bananas he had saved and after the 3rd day resorted to eating the skins as well.
    ‘This is just brilliant’ he thought ‘I could be warm and cosy in a tavern somewhere getting drunk maybe even killing someone to get some gold’ that was a thought that warmed him as he drifted for even though he was a coward and useless at sea Lewis was still a pirate.

    After what seemed like a lifetime Scott the true captain it would seem had made it back to the roar. He was sailing toward the island where he lost his life and in the distance and saw a small speck over to the east near another island.
    “Lewis that better be you!” he said to himself.
    In no time he was gaining on the speck which did appear to be a rowboat.
    Lewis had noticed the ship and was cheering, jumping and shouting.
    He was saved.
    Or was he?
    Of course not.
    The sea is cruel and The Sea Of Thieves just as bad, worse even.
    At that moment with both concentrating on the other they had both failed to notice the Reaper's Mark appear above them.
    A gallon had come up behind The Jolly Roge and opened fire.
    Scott spun the ship round using the anchor so he could open fire on them but it was too late. The sloop was creaking and sinking again.
    Scott fired a few shots and even hit a few before he had to jump into the sea to escape being drowned.
    Lewis tried to row as fast as he could away from the fight.
    He spotted the outpost they had visited all those days ago and knew he could make it. He could get a drink… get his (Scott’s) money back and more importantly.. Not die from a blood thirsty reaper's mark crew.
    Scott on the other hand had grabbed the gallons ropes as it sailed past and had boarded.

    The gallon crew had no idea what had hit them as Scott jumped on the deck and open fire with a volley of Blunderbuss shots.
    2 crew members fell to his shots the rest advanced knowing he had no ammo left.
    Cutlesses drawn they hacked and slashed at Scott and he put up a fight. The fight of his life.
    He took down another crew member before being felled at last.
    This is a tale that the gallon crew will tell for eternity.
    The brothers tale continues however as Scott went back to The Ferryman ready to meet Lewis at the outpost and get the hell out of The Roar, Lewis rowed and rowed.
    It took days to escape the area of the gallon as the sea was rough. More volcanoes has gone off and fire had rained for seemed days. Lewis carried on. Determined to get his money back from that filthy Gold Hoarder who hadn't warned them of the danger of The Roar.
    The outpost was getting closer.
    His rowing was working.
    As he rowed on what seemed like the home stretch to Morrows Peak Lewis rowed past some rocks and spotted a glinting on on of them
    “It can't be!” he said out loud “it can’t be! LOOT!” he shouted.
    Upon one of the rocks there sat a golden chest with orange melted corners. It was as if Athena had seen the brothers troubles and gifted them their original chest.
    “Gods! Thank you so much HA HA HA!” Lewis said beside himself as he grabbed the chest and loaded it still determined to get to the outpost and get his money back.
    After more hours of rowing he made it.
    He rowed into a slight cove making sure he couldn't be seen.
    “AHOY” he shouted “AHOY ANYONE HOME?”
    No reply.
    Thinking he was alone on the outpost he hide the rowboat, grabbed his loot and made his way to The Gold Horder tent.
    “YOU!?” said the horder of gold
    “Aye me! Captain Lewis.. I have survived the roar, My brother on the other hand not so lucky and he will be wanting his gold back you filthy cheat!” Lewis said as he glared into the gold horsers golden eyes
    “But you got your loot! I'll pay you 1000 coins for that there chest” Said the horder licking his lips at the thought of the gold.
    “Oh your giving me that money and what you owe my brother! What was it another 300 coins?” Lewis said looking round for trouble.
    “You filthy pirate” Said the gold horder angrily as he dug into his purse.
    “Aye that I am now pay up!”
    With his coin purse considerably heavier Lewis made for the local tavern.
    “The Charred Parrot…. Charming” Lewis said cheerily as he looked around.
    Little did he notice that a ship had entered the dock, another sloop with no colours and bright green sails. The crew of said ship were making the journey to the tavern...to Lewis.

    Across The Sea Of Thieves Captain Scott once again aboard The Jolly Roge made his way to The Devils Roar cursing the day he had found out about it for it had been more hassle than its worth.. Or so he thought.

    He sailed slow as the wind was against him until he hit the dark seas of The WIlds, the wind changed and the sails suddenly caught.
    Now he was gathering some speed!
    But he was sailing right into the path of a storm and another ship a Brigantine.
    The brig wanted to fight, Scott did not.
    He fired a warning shot as the enemy ship closed in.
    “I HAVE NOTHING YOU FILTHY SWINE!” He shouted to no effect.
    They opened fire.
    Side by side the two ships sailed both firing shots.
    Splinters flew around, many a pirate lost their lives but not Captain Scott, he fired and fired and carried on going straight hoping to lose them in on the outskirts of the storm.
    His tacked worked.
    The brigantine severely damaged backed off at the sight of the rain and lightning.
    The Jolly Roge sailed through taking no damage and only gain some water that Captain Scott could easily bail.
    “This is more like it.. I'll be with you in no time brother” he said with hope in his heart.

    Elsewhere.
    “Drop it! There is no need for guns mate” Lewis said his own battered green pistol raised.
    “We only want a drink” The other sailor said
    “Then by all means drink.. I may even join you but guns down”
    Duke was watching, he always seemed to be around when you needed him but he wasn't in a helpful mood “Go on! Someone shoot make my day!” he slurred cheerily.
    “DUKE!” Lewis shouted “Not helping!”
    The guns stayed drawn.

    Captain Scott had finally made it to Morrows Peak or back to Morrows Peak as it were.
    He drifted in, anchored up and spotted the “hidden” rowboat assuming it was Lewis who had “hidden” it.
    He jumped ship to check it out but as he reached the boat someone called him over.
    “OI ARE YOU THAT IDIOTS BROTHER! COME AND GET HIM HE’S CAUSING TROUBLE AND WE HAVE ENOUGH OF THAT HERE ALREADY WHAT WITH ALL THE VOLCANOES AND FIRE...BLOODY PIRATES”
    It was Tallulah the inn keep for The Charred Parrot.
    “What's he done now?” Scott asked as he made his way to the inn.
    “Fighting another crew, drinking, guns.. I don't know.. I should close this place and move to Smugglers Bay.. At least its quiet” She said as they walked.
    “I thought you’d be used to pirates by now” Scott said but she shut up as Tallulah shot him an evil look
    “Sorry” he muttered and he entered the inn.

    Lewis was there.
    Head down on a table
    2 bodys lay on the floor and a liquid was running down the walls.
    “Oh great now I have to clear bodies away” Said the Innkeep
    Lewis looked up and beamed
    “BROTHER! YOU MADE IT AT LAST!.... Took your time..” Lewis said happily.
    “What have you been up to whilst ib risked life and limb more times than I can count”
    “Not risked much then.. Last time I checked you couldn't count” Lewis grinned.
    “Stuff it you! Did you kill these men...I guess that's how you paid for your grog” Said Scott looking both angry and pleased to see his older stupid brother.
    “NO these men cant handle grog! They passed out an hour ago and left me to drink Duke here under the table” Lewis said as he pointed to a snoring Duke in front of the fire.
    “So how did you pay?” Asked Scott
    “Athena gave me a gift.. Lovely and big it was.. Gold too… oh and I threatened The Gold Hoarder and he gave me our money back” Lewis said pleased with himself
    “My money!” Scott said “where is it 120 coins you can pay me back and we can get out of here”
    “Ok ok here's your 120 coins” lewis said smiling to himself
    “I still don't trust you. The next voyage is on you. And you can use the rest to pay back The Order Of Souls!” Scott said.
    “Oh come off it! I'm a pirate!”
    “A BAD ONE!” said the inn keep “NO SHOVE OFF!”
    She kicked the brothers out and slammed the door shut.
    Both brothers burst into fits of laughter.
    “Come on brother the sea is calling” Lewis said
    “I think I've had enough of the sea for a lifetime thanks” Scott said looking tired.
    “Oh come off it! Let's head to Ancient Spire and I’ll buy you a drink!” Lewis said laughing.
    “Oh go on then! Captain Lewis!”
    “Brilliant Captain Scott.. Let us go sail The Sea Of Thieves again!”

    The two brothers set off on The Jolly Roge for more adventures on The Sea Of Thieves and their names would become pirate legend… eventually.
    The End

  • 1

    My entry, based on true in-game events
    I couldn't tell you how many words :( I wrote it on my phone. xD

    Anyway here it is :)

    THE COMPASS MAN

    The night is dark as the rain is cold.
    Our lanterns so flooded, the only light to guide us is the flash of the storm.

    It is chaos on deck, Demise below.
    The storm has already taken half of my crew, those that are left throwing buckets of water in hysteria, but the damages are too great.
    Our Tea merchant vessel not set on a course but for the sea bed, after our foolish Captain. Stricken with the burden of time, desperate to come good on his deadline.
    Ignored the pleas of his questioning crew, to moor for the night and alow the mighty beast of thunder and lightning to pass. Even I, his so "well mentioned" first mate and advisor, went unheard. And now...
    ...now we are doomed.

    Our captain rides to his fate, drunken and regretfull. Locked in his captain quarters I hear him sing his last songs.

    I see no reason to leave the ship like the rest already have, only death awaits us.
    The turn of the tides was not in our favor this night, and nore mine.
    I was struck into a mind singing darkness by a toppling mast, and thrown into the hands of jagged waters.
    The only thought, as I accept deaths embrace, is in prayer to the sea.
    "What have I done to make you so angry?"
    That is all I can remember of that heartbreaking night.

    "You prayed to the sea?" Mr Hollins questioned with a raised brow.
    "Indeed, twas the only god that be in my presence at all times" Young Nayfe replied, with heavy hearted tone.
    "hm" Mr Hollins giggles lightly as he asks.
    "So what of you now, Mr Nayfe?"

    Clearing his throat, Nayfe raises his tankard with a crooked grin.
    "I DRINK!... till my woes of loss depart me. Then I'll hunt pig for the nights meal."

    Mr Hollins projects his interest.
    "Pigs you say? I need some for a delivery, could you show me where you prefer to hunt?" He said with vigor.
    "I have a still on my boat, I can supply you all the grog you desire." Hollins adds with charm.

    "Then I suppose the next round is on you, Mr Hollins" Nayfe replys with comfort.
    Shaking hands, Nayfe tips the lovely Tina and departs on what he is yet to discover, his most memorable journey.


    Upon leaving the smokey tavern, the sound of loud, drunken banter and tankards colliding with hard wooden tables is quickly replaced by a voice,
    "SLOOP ON THE HORIZON! BARING OUR TRUE COURSE!" The unfamiliar voice echos through town.
    Mr Hollins gestures to Nayfe for a speedy move threw the outpost market, as the voice crys again.
    "THEY HAVE LOOSED SAIL FOR FULL SPEED CAPTAIN! RUNNING RED FLAGS! 2 MINUTES TILL PORT SIDE!"
    Nayfe asks with timidity, "What do red flags have to do with anything? Are we under attack?"
    Mr Hollins speaks while Fiddling through a weapons box attached to the Smith shop.
    "Red flag means a fight to the death", young Nayfes eyes widen with worry
    "A fight to the death?.. but I'm no fighter! I just sell pigs and drink."
    "I dont expect you to be filled with confidence Mr Nayfe," Hollins claims.
    "I only ask you swing that cutlass. Its time to show your worth!" Mr Hollins says with an under beard grin.
    Young Nayfe is slapped in the chest with a belt of weapons as a now familiar voice screams out
    "PIRATES! EVERYONE MAN STATIONS WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!"
    Young Nayfe catches the weapon belt in his forearms and looks to his hands, thinking only of the weight carried in the instruments of death. He can hear gun fire and cannons near by, People shouting and yelling.
    "AVAST! Ye scurvy dogs!"
    Young Nayfe still finds himself lost in a paralyzing ponder of fear and uncertainty. A rogue cannonball that did not meet its intended target. Hits the roof of the smith shop young Nayfe is out the front of.
    He is knocked violently off his feet, with an all to familiar ringing, piercing his fearful thoughts.

    "Nathan C O'Brien jr...
    ...What have you gotten yourself into? Your not a fighter, and certainly not a killer. How does this sort of trouble always find you?"
    A gravelly voice, grunting and laughing under a broken breath, interrupts Young Nayfes body locking thoughts, laying on his back with his weapons belt still in hand, Young Nayfe notices a very scrappy man standing over him with a cutlass above his head, gripped tight in both hands.
    Nayfe acts on impulse and rolls aside to his feet, as the scrappy man lunges forward to where young Nayfe once lay.
    As the man turns to attack a second time Mr Hollins shouts from behind.
    "KILL HIM!"
    Nayfe, startled by the shout, falls to the ground  and looks up to a flintlock barrel pressed against his forehead.
    "Welcome to Sea of Thieves! Hahaha" the scrappy man cackles loudly as Nayfe watches his arm brace for the guns recoil. Nayfe shuts his eyes accepting his death once more.

    BANG!

    Nayfes eyes JOLT open. Knowing the gun he heard was not the gun to his head, he looks up at the scrappy man who has a pain look in his face... he drops to his knees and explodes in glowing green mist that sprinkled over Young Nayfe.
    "HOLY s**t! WHAT IN THE DEVILS SHROUD JUST HAPPENED?!"
    "I just saved your life." A voice from a man who approaches as Mr Hollins helps Nayfe to his feet. Nayfe looks around and sees a rather large gentleman in the distance, taking items out of the water where the mast of a sloop slowly vanishes under the waves.
    "Who is this sloppy young blood, Hollins?" Says A well bearded man.
    Hes dressed in black, Trimmed with green gems and a wide brimmed hat with a large yellow feather out the top.

    "Captain!" Announces Mr Hollins.
    "The new recruit. Goes by the name Nayfe" Mr Hollins explains.
    "Ah! the young blood. Explains why that scrub tossed you around a bit. No matter. Mr Nayfe" He said as he holds out his hand.
    "I am Beattie. Captain of the RED DOG." He said as he shakes Nayfes hand.

    "Me and my crew have sailed many miles on these seas. Concurred great odds for even greater riches. We are possibly the mightiest pirates on these seas...."
    "Pirates?!, you are all pirates? Like what you just killed" Nayfe preaches with concern.

    "No, haha." The Captain bellows.
    "not like what I just killed. You have a lot to learn Mr Nayfe. Come I'll introduce you to my lady." Beattie says with gusto as he gestures for Young Nayfe and Mr Hollins to follow him to his ship.


    "We should move quickly" Captain Beatie announced eagerly.
    "Hollins, you and Pithen search the island for supplies, Sanctuary should have plenty to reap."
    "Aye!" Hollins responds.
    "Mr Nayfe" the Captain calls.
    "I need you to collect our order of crates from the merchant alliance tent and stack them in the captains quarters. We make for mermaids Hideaway before the pirates return"

    "Return?, I dont understand you killed that man" Nayfe questions with great concern.
    "I'll explain on the way Mr Nayfe, now make haste!" Captain Beatie projects in desperation.
    Young Nayfe, still with weapons belt held loosely in both arms, hurries down the dock toward the Mrechant alliance tent. He is nearly stopped in his tracks by the sight of a humungous ship, making the boat he had once sailed on look like a mere canoe. With a hull coated in bright red and white with a golden lion figurehead, the deck of 8 cannons is shaded by three tall masts of black sails that flicker lightly in the wind while tight in tie.
    Nayfe cannot believe the vessel he has laid his eyes apon tho he knows time is short. So he collects himself from the amazement and proceeds along the dock towards the Merchant Tent. Along his way he is passed quickly by Mr Hollins and another larger man who stares at the passing young Nayfe with an ominous glance. Nayfe cant help but feel uneasy as the unknown man shoves past Nayfe with a heavy shoulder, nearly knocking Nayfe off his feet for a third time, sending the weapons belt to the boards of the dock at Young Nayfes feet.

    "Who in the devils shroud?" Nayfe thinks to himself before picking up his weapons belt and refocusing on his task.
    He collected 2 pig cages and a snake basket as the order had demanded and moves them onto the boat as requested.
    His first glance at the 12 piece, candle chandelier lit, captains quaters had his attention well captured. It was nothing like the Captains quaters of his old merchant vessel. This one had a bed for starters.

    To be continued
    (Maybe)

  • 0

    this story is based on a fun night me and a few friends had while playing the beta. This is my fav memory from my entire time playing the game. Although this story makes things more dramatic and realistic however i give you

    Tale of the Dammed Drunk

    The day started off like most days on the sea did, just a bunch of no good drunk pirates, trying to make a name for themselves, but Captain Deluxechin knew today wouldn't be an ordinary day. Something seemed off about this. The day started off dark and foggy, which to these pirates usually meant bad luck. Deluxe thought of heading to the closest island, and staying there to not risk the bad luck. However his first mate Wand3r convinced him otherwise and thus, the crew set forth, to find some gold chests and drink grog. There was Captain Deluxechin, his first mate Wand3r, and the 2 p**p deck sweepers, Nightwing1700 and Samthemighty123.

    They never really knew where they were heading, but a lost map told them that Cannon Cove was the place to look for buried treasure and thus they went there, digging up the chests in the matter of minutes and would definitely would be making a fortune from this voyage, Deluxe's crew mates got greedy however, insisting that they go find more treasure instead of selling it, and while Deluxe was worrisome, his crew managed to convince him that he was just being paranoid and that everything would work out in the end. He settled in doing more as long as the crew sat around and drank some grog to help relax them. Of course they agreed, their the Drunken Sailors, the ship herself is named the Dammed Drunk, why wouldn't they get drunk?

    Now the crew likes to drink, that never meant that they were responsible drunks, and they may have ran into a few rocks , but that never stopped them from drinking, and whats a few rocks going to do? They somehow ended up at Lone Cove and they decided to anchor and who knows, maybe their could be a few skeleton lords they could take, at least that's what Sam was saying to convince his crew to stop there. They were all wasted so no one really knew what he was saying, so Deluxe agreed and anchored at it, they started adventuring the island in hopes of founding treasure, not only did they find a skeleton lord, they found 4, along with a bunch of treasure chests. They quickly killed the lords, grabbed the loot. Well, Deluxe and Wand3r grabbed the loot, Nightwing and Sam decided to play "Bucket of Sick" Where they throw up into buckets and try to throw it at each other. SO many times has Deluxe thought of just abandoning his mates on an island and taking off but he needed them to much, for as much as he hated how childish they acted, they helped him sail Drunk so he relied on them.

    They had departed from the Cove and started turning around when they noticed it, i mean it was pretty hard to miss. In the sky, was a giant Skull with 2 glowing green eyes. Out of the entire day, this was about the only time Deluxe actually smiled, it seemed no one was there and he knew if he could take it out, he would be rich, no not just rich FILTHY rich. They were heading directly at, and started singing shanties about what they were going to do with all the gold

    (in tune of Bosun Bill) "With all this gold, our stories will be told, we'll be the richest pirates who ever sailed the sea, I'll buy a golden sword, and defeat the legend lord, and we'll get drunk inside the tavern and always be around"

    Granted the pirates weren't the greatest singers or song writers, but they sure were excited to be rich. Then they reached the shore, it should be obvious that being a good pirate and a drunk pirate don't go hand in hand with each other, and these pirates had never actually done a skeleton fort before. So seeing waves upon waves of skeletons seemed over whelming. "No one told us there would be this many skeletons" Proclaimed Nightwing. "Yea, Nightwing is right, i mean, defeating 4 skeleton lords is one thing, but taking out an army of skeletons is another" Exhaled Sam. "Deluxe, i think the crew has a point, maybe we shouldn't do this, i mean, we don't even know if there is treasure, plus we already have enough treasure for a cool new hat or something." Warned Wand3r. The thing is, Deluxe didn't come all this way to then sit on the side lines and wait for some crew of lesser skill to take the treasure. He pulled out his Ferryman Sword and said "What kind of pirates are you? When i formed this crew, I thought I was getting some of the most deadly pirates out there, pirates that I was hoping was wanting to get rich, Pirates that the only thing that they were afraid of was going home empty handed, put it seems to me, that my crew has gotten cold, and the only thing i want cold on my ship is Grog, so you either join me in fighting the skeletons, getting super rich, and buy anything you want, or you can give the sharks a snack." It wasn't long before the entire crew was on shore, shooting skeletons with different types of weapons, while Captain Deluxechin whacked them most of them with his sword. The crew was not experienced enough to take them all in a fast pace and went through more banana's then anything, thankfully the island supplied plenty.

    Things started looking bright for the crew, that was until on a banana run from Samthemighty. He was about to jump back to the island to continue the fight, but there was something in the distance. He couldn't tell what it was at first but he soon realized. He ran to bell and rang it like no tomorrow "SLOOP INBOUND!!"
    Deluxechin demanded his crew return to the ship immediately and raise anchor. He bolted it to the wheel and ordered Sam and Nightwing to take cannons, demanded that Wand3r go take out their cannons by killing them as he trusted him most. "FIRE!!!" Screamed Deluxe and the sky lit up with smoke and fire from multiple cannon shots going off "Direct Hit" Exclaimed Sam, "I hit one of them, i think" said Nightwing. "Alright, Sam you get a good aim and try and fire Wand3r over and get him on that ship, Nightwing you keep surpressing fi-" BOOM!!!.

    Deluxe was confused at first, what on earth were they hit with? but it didn't take for him to realize, that the boat was filling with water and fast. Sam was down, almost dead and Nightwing was badly wounded. "WAND3R, QUICK, HELP ME, YOU BAIL THE WATER, I'LL TRY REPAIRING THE BOAT" screamed Deluxe. "How on earth did they get a gun powder over here so quickly" Asked Wand3r, "No clue, but we didn't think to stock up on any from the island." It was close to losing the boat, but Deluxe was able to get the holes repaired in time but the battle was not over yet. "Wand3r, get Nightwing and Samthemighty some banana's"
    "Aye, Captain" Wand3r quickly rushed to barrel and grabed 5 banana's, gave 3 to Sam and 2 to Nightwing, they quickly got their health back and Deluxe ordered them to continuing firing at that boat as they clearly would've had enough time to repair it. Sam followed his order from earlier and shot Wand3r out of the cannon and almost missed but Wand3r was able to grab on to the latter. "DIE YOU NON DRUNK PIRATE BILGE RATS" Shouted Wand3r as he continued to shot and stab both pirates, killing them both pretty quickly. The battle after that went by fairly quickly. Sam and Nightwing proceeded to unload all of the boats cannonballs into the side of this poor sloop. It sunk within minutes. The Dammed Drunks had won, but now was not the time for celebration, they still had a skull fort to clear and thus headed back to the island.

    The fort after that went by fairly quickly and before they knew it, the skull lord himself had shown up. None other then Three Seats Neate himself. Deluxe had heard of this legendary pirate, some claimed to call him "The Talent" for reasons unknown, he just assumed he was a talented pirate, but Deluxe was about to learn for himself if this pirate was in fact as good as the stories foretold. "You guys take care of his crew, I've got Neate" Said Deluxe as he drawn his sword. This pirate however was long past being a sane pirate but then again, who's to say that this pirate was even sane to begin with? Deluxe ran at the skeleton screaming and swung his sword, but Neate blocked it, stunning Deluxe "Wha-" Neate then proceeded to decimate Deluxe, hit after hit, there was nothing Deluxe could do, no block was working it seemed that this could be the end of Deluxe. BANG!
    A gun shot went off from behind the skeleton lord, It was Wand3r with a flintlock, The skeleton took is attention off of Deluxe for a second to turn to fight his crew mate, but that's all it took for the captain to get the upper hand. He proceeded to hit him over and over and over again finally destroying the skeleton, dropping the key "I thought it looked like you needed a hand" Explained Wand3r. Deluxe just nodded, out of breath and low on health. He walked over to the door under the fort "Would you like the honors?" Asked Nightwing. Deluxe proceeded to put the key into the door with what sounded like a jingle from the door lowering, revealed piles upon piles of loot, all for the taking. "WE'RE RICH" Shouted Sam, "THINK OF ALL THE GOLDEN SWORDS!" Screamed Nightwing. "I DIDN'T THINK WE'D DO IT" Exhaled Wand3r, but Deluxe was still speechless. All he did was laugh. "come on guys, lets get this to the boat first. we still got to sell it"

    It wasn't long before all the treasure that once was untouched, was on the Dammed Drunk. "come on guys, lets get to an outpost and sell this stuff, we aren't rich until the gold is in our hand!" Told Deluxe. "Well we need to celebrate first" Explained Nightwing.

    However for how amazing things had been, something was wrong. The Grog was all gone. "What?" asked Sam. They all stood over the barrel where there once was a heavenly drink. "Did we really drink that much?" Deluxe then seemed to sense something. "Don't worry guys, we're heading to an outpost, we can get this refilled once we get ther-"
    "Shush" whispered Deluxe as he stared at the wall "Something seems off" Before Deluxechin would even finish what he was saying, the sound of a thousand guns went off. The middle and bottom deck were littered with cannonballs.

    "WERE UNDER ATTACK" Screamed Deluxe. Wand3r and Deluxe bolted it to the bottom deck, Nightwing and Samthemighty ran to the top deck to take shots back "IT'S A GALLEON" Shouted Sam, "OK, JUST TAKE SHOTS, PLEASE" Demanded Deluxe. "Cap, we only have 5 planks of wood left, we gotta make them count" Told Wand3r. He ran over and started repairing the boat and his first mate started bailing out the gallons on water that was now inside the boat. Samthemighty123 and Nightwing1700 were on top deck taking shots at their boat but were missing to much of them. Deluxe was able to repair the last few holes and ran to top deck and went to the wheel to take a moment to think "Okay, we only have limited wood planks, we need to make sure they don't fire at us. So Wand3r and Samthemighty, you guys head over to their boat and keep them off of the cannons. We have to much to lose." Ordered Deluxechin. They both nodded in agreement and off they went

    Deluxe and Nightwing stood on deck and started firing what they had left for cannonballs in hopes that at the very least, they could keep them distracted long enough for the boat to go under, but Deluxe was feeling doubtful, he knew there wasn't much hope for them this battle. He turn to Nightwing "I just want to let you know something, I don't know how this battle will turn out, but I want you to know, it's been an honor sailing the seas along side with you. I know we've had our up's and down's but at the end of the day, its been an honor"
    "Captain, your speaking like we're about to lose, don't tell me that you've gone cold, i thought you said the only thing you want cold on your boat was grog?" Answered Nightwing
    "Well that was when we had Grog" Laughed Deluxechin.

    Then there was the sound that they had heard before, a massive explosion, Deluxe knew exactly what it was, he ran down to repair the boat with what planks he had remaining. and started fixing the holes, he had 1 hole remaining when he noticed something, he was out of planks. He started panicking and ran to top deck and shouted to the other boat who clearly was also taking on water "WAN3R!? HOW MANY WOODEN PLANKS DOES THAT BOAT HAVE?" he was hoping to hear good new of something like 99 and he'd order his mates to grab some and bring them back. However the world isn't perfect "they are complete out." sighed Wand3r. Deluxe stood in shock. BANG!
    another cannon ball went flying through the bottom deck. The Dammed Drunk was going down, there was nothing to stop it.

    Then Deluxe got an idea, they have no planks either, which means they too are going down, as well. He ran to the top deck "WAND3R! HOW MUCH GROG DO THEY HAVE ON THEIR BOAT?" screamed Deluxe. "WHAT?" Asked Wand3r with shock in his voice "JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION" "UM PLENTY, WHY?" Deluxe ran to the top deck. And forced Nightwing into the cannon and launched him over before proceeding to do the same himself. He landed on perfectly on their deck and instead of rushing them with a sword or gun, he ran to the middle deck with his crew and proceeded to drink some grog. "Excuse me sir, what are you doing?" Asked the enemy captain. "Our ship is gone, we have no grog left, you can either take us a prisoners and sell all our loot, or kill us, either way, we're just going to enjoy some grog as our last drink" Deluxe 110% expected the captain to pull out a gun or sword and shoot and kill him. However, he pulled out a tankard and proceeded to join the Drunken Sailors. Before he knew it, both crews who, minutes ago, were wanting death upon each other, were all enjoying grog. Someone then decided to pull out an instrument and started playing Becalmed, soon all 8 pirates were doing the same.

    Seconds after the now 8 man drunken sailor crew started playing the music, the second deck filled up with water and the boat had too sunk. Deluxe's plan had worked, he had managed to sink the other captains ship, however, he kind of regretted it, but it was too late and now 8 pirates, drunkenly played Becalmed in the middle of the ocean. Deluxe looked at his crew and smiled, a smile that reassured them that he was glad he had gotten to know them in this life time, and that he was proud to call himself a Drunken Sailor from the Dammed Drunk.

    Tale has it that you can still hear the music being play, out in the middle of the sea, waiting for death to consume them.

  • 3

    Title: The Best Pirate I E'er Seen!

    Censoring?: For some reason, the forums are censoring a common, non-vulgar verb synonymous with 'squeeze.' Seems there's another instance of censoring as well. I'll assume mods can see the original text, but if not, please reach out to me.

    Word Count: 2,018 (Does not include summary, title, or anything else)

    Genre: Comedy

    Summary: Gathered in the tavern, good drinks in hand, a jolly fellow recounts to his crew and new captain a run-in with a pirate so daring, it had to be the best pirate he'd ever seen.

    Note: As for where I come in regarding this story, I'm the "best pirate e'er seen." And yes, it completely and unquestionably was all luck.

    or was it?


    "Ha!" rips jubilantly into the tavern, as over cracked brim spills grog from tankard slammed to table. "Sparrow?" It's with a finger under his nose that the aged pirate snorts. His leaning of husky self into a slouch over the table prompts the barmaid to finally roll her eyes, and attention drawn from all corners of the cramped place returns elsewhere. "Ain't no pirate I e'er heard ov. Wot's that, a little bird, innit? Scrawny wittle birdy best pirate ye e'er seen?" Disbelief stares him down from around the table, even from the young lass eager to prove her mettle in her maiden voyage—and who did just that in the crew's plundering now at its end. Disbelief that…he never takes note of, his large hand already wagging a limp finger. "Naw, naw naw. Lemme tell yous all 'bout a real legend."

    The eldest of their crew, a woman well into her years, hums. "Do tell, Bearden." A real classy lady, with mauve garments kempt almost as well as silvery hair drawn into ponytail rested over the shoulder. Fingertips lift daintily her tankard by the brim to her mouth, and she sips.

    There's a groan from the captain slouched over his hat atop the table. "Please, Maegan, don't egg him on." He's begun massaging his temples, under his breath a murmur about having heard enough out of the bloke today.

    "Oi!" and Bearden slams the table again, tankard spared by use of palm. "I'm speakin'! I gots the floor! An' Imma' knock them right there britches straight off! Just listen, eh!" The lass's eyes gleam, and she leans in.

    Maegan smiles. "How exciting." The captain sighs.

    "So yous know them fortresses, yeh? Big n' scary what-have-yous, floatin' over 'em n' all. Well this bloke, he comes 'round on a speedy little boat, an' just—" he catches a belch in his throat, washes it back down with what's left of the grog. "Naw, ain't no way to tell a tale. Gotta start proper from the beginnin'."

    Coins rattle near the barmaid as patrons bid their adieus.

    "Skeleton Strongholds," Maegan muses. "But worth quite the spot of booty for the trouble."

    "Aye! How's 'bout we go n' hit one right now?"

    "I believe you were telling us a story, Bearden."

    He slams the table and those walking out jolt. "Tha's right! I gots the floor!" He even juts a thumb to his chest, an oaf's smile hung ear to ear.

    "Wonderful."

    "So I woz with Gyver n' the others, yeh? Been sailin' some pretty placid seas all day, n' suddenly that there scary face takes, takes to the sky!" A tune fills the bar, courtesy the mysterious fellow near the back door. Slowly he pumps the concertina; notes drawn and low make seem the haze of dust and lantern light strangely…otherworldly. "So." Bearden sits up, huddles closer to the table and folds together his hands to prop his chin. "So like any respectful seadogs, we give the call. 'Sails starboard! Heading northeast!'" Reddened eyes dart about. "Guess wot happens next."

    The lass opens her mouth with a gasp—

    "You turn the ship around," the captain states. He checks his pocket watch, clamps his eyes tightly shut, grunts.

    "Woz the plan, n' we did. But the new Skippy dropped anchor! Me heart nearly ripped right on out me chest like the anchor almost did our ship right in half!" Bearden leans back as the music hits a high screech, stops, and resumes as a crawl. "Swear we woz gon' sink right then there. 'Raise anchor!' innit wot Gyver hollerin', n' we did an' off we went.

    "Closer n' closer we gots, yeh? Cannons start rippin' across the isle, us deckhands get to work patchin' while them swabbies scurry 'round like them rear ends on fire…!" He grabs his tankard and takes a swig of air from it, tilts it upside-down above his head and catches a drop with his tongue. "Anywhos, we gets there n' start crushin' some skulls, know what I sayin'?"

    Maegan nods. "Oh yes. One might think crushing skulls is what us pirates do best."

    "Wot with all them skellies 'round, yeh!" Bearden laughs, faceplants the table.

    "Bearden. The story."

    The pirate shoots up, "Aye!" and the music takes on a briskness. His arms spread wide. "All o' a sudden, this hu~ge ship like just comes in outta' nowhere! Gyver says, 'Raise anchor!' so we do, n' we turn away n' get ran straight into by these l*****s n' a sloop! Drunken off their rears, them ones had ta be!"

    "Oh, drunken pirates are such a handful…!"

    "Aye!" He slams the table and slouches. "Then one o' them hops onto n' blows himself right on up aboard us! The new skippy, he goes a flyin' way off somewhere in the darndest thing I almost e'er seen, trail o' smoke behind him."

    The captain shakes his head. "What?"

    "An' wouldn't ya have it, we start takin' on cannonfire from a hu~ge ship, an' it from another, not that first one! Two hu~ge ships! One firin' at us, one firin' at the other, n' us firin' at that there small one!"

    Percussion soft and quick joins the music ramping up, and Maegan catches a wink from that mysterious fellow now joined by a haggard sailor with drum. She lets slip a laugh. "Nothing quite like a wild brawl on the open seas!"

    The captain tries, "Can we go back to the part where the skipper got blown up…? Is that who I replaced?" Today had been his maiden voyage, too. Though assigned by the Merchant Alliance to their crew, along with the lass—a first mate—he did ponder just why he'd been appointed captain; after all, alongside her real name of Mae-Gin, Maegan's papers label her a veteran of twenty years.

    But Bearden raises his voice. "Gyver, he hollas, 'The captain is here, the captain is here!' and I hears them war-horns, and I jumps right off n' swim ta the isle, blunderbuss in me hand! Wot a sight," he exclaims, arms wide once more, "wot a sight! Cannons firin', barrels explodin', cutlasses a clingin'! Me mateys shoutin', their mateys shoutin', everyone's mateys shoutin'! Sharks swimin' over the isle, bits o' ship scatterin' into the sea—!"

    "Whoa!" The captain stands. "Sharks what?!"

    Bearden does too, "Oi!" and grabs and yanks the captain right over the table. "I gots the floor!" If not the whiplash of neck doing the captain in, surely the rancid breath would.

    Maegan sips her grog through a warm smile. "Please don't interrupt, Captain."

    The men separate, Bearden giving the other a stank eye. While the captain sits and fiddles with his collar, Bearden leaps onto his seat and plants a firm foot onto the table as the music reaches its euphoniously epic climax. "N' that's when I saw him!

    "On the tip o' the bowsprit, one foot on an' leaned o'er a keg o' gunpowder jus like, like this! He comes 'round on a speedy little boat, sun reflectin' off that round head bein' too rady, rady, radiant to look at! Right into the isle, he runs that speedy little thing right into it an' it ramps up like it 'bout to be flyin' over it like them sharks! Twirlin' leap he takes off the bowsprit, an' blastin' that keg with eagle eyes o' a marksman, the mad lad blows 'imself onto the isle, into this, this crazy somersault, an' he barrels on out o' it dashin' right on up to me. Ain't even realizin' I'd pull the trigger o' me gun, killin' the captain, an' he scoops up that key…!" he swings his head, slurs his laugh, "…darts right on off!"

    The high note of the music's abrupt ending rings through the dusty air, its fading echoes giving way to a starry-eyed lass squealing in twitchy excitement.

    Maegan takes another sip as the mysterious fellow and haggard sailor strike a high-five up high, down low, and complete with fistbump. "Marvelous."

    Even the captain wears excitement, though wonders aloud, "And then?"

    Bearden plops into his seat and strokes his stubble chin. "Bloke swam away with the key."

    It's quiet enough to hear the squeak from a tankard the barmaid is cleaning.

    The captain blinks. "…That's it?"

    "Aye."

    "Nobody stopped him?"

    "Arr."

    "Not even you, who was right there?"

    "Tried, but them sharks must o' thought me a tastier morsel. Couldn't even make it ta the water."

    The captain p*****s his bridge. "Right. Land sharks…and the other ships?"

    "Sank one big, one small. Mighty proud o' that feat, we woz. Other ran, rudder between their legs!"

    And p*****s harder. "Okay. And you guarded the island?"

    Bearden folds his arms and straightens. "Soundin' bit skeptical, aye, Cap? Course we did. For a fair bit o' time, too. Searched the waters n' everythin'. Thinkin' he swum to this place right 'ere. Ancient Spire."

    "Impossible." Even if it were from Crow's Nest Fortress, impossible—anchor-turning ships, kamikaze pirates, and frickin' landsharks be Davy-Jones'd.

    "And," Bearden leans in while shaking a finger, "this the crazy part. Went back later that day, n' not a thing left! Looted, the whole place!" He's nodding his head as he leans back. "Best pirate I e'er seen. Looked nothin' more than ye average sailor. A real haggard fella, if'n I'm bein' honest."

    "All right," the captain begins. He clears his throat and composes himself, runs a hand through his hair and exhales. "So your pirate got lucky. Doesn't make him the best ever."

    Her tankard tapping lightly to the table, Maegan shakes her head. "Oh, no." Eyes half-lidded land on the captain. "I've heard similar stories. A wayward fellow who accomplishes daring," she smiles, hand cradling her cheek, "and dare I say dashing, feats. Dressed always in the drabbest of rags." Her eyes close and she lifts again her tankard. "They call him 'The Eternal Sailor.'"

    The lass gasps and—

    "Aye!" Bearden raises his empty tankard and Maegan smiles, the two clinking tankards. "Stuff o' legends, that fella. Bet he plan-n*d the whole thing out. Probably sat himself a perch atop that Devil's Ridge, watchin' n' waitin' for the right moment." His finger traces odd shapes atop the table. "Maybe even did them maths an' stuff. Everythin' down to a T, eh?"

    "Or," the captain offers bitterly, "he got lucky."

    "Naw. Naw." Bearden's messy bangs flail as he shakes his head. "All skill." He pounds his chest. "Take it from someone who woz there."

    Maegan raises a finger, proceeds to dab her mouth with a handkerchief. "One moment." She clears her throat and stands as the sound of something rattling draws closer. The barmaid's eyes flick to the entrance, Maegan lifts her blunderbuss resting against the table, and as in struts a fellow with glowing treasure chest, right back on out he goes—bouncer: lead fist to the gut.

    She nods her own approval. "Excellent." And drags the dropped chest a few feet over to that mysterious fellow, where he hands her a plentiful pouch of shinies under the watch of a dabbing haggard man.

    The captain pushes from the table to stand. "That's it. I'm out." He waltzes right on out, steps heavy on the floorboards turning squishy once outside and—

    Maegan sips calmly to the sounds of horror from the ex-captain: of screaming denial and uncontrollable vomit. "Well now! What a predicament." Her chin lifts as she eyes the lass. "Would you like to be our captain?" Somehow, someway, those starry eyes brighten further, with jittery claps and vigorous nods to boot. "Splendid."

    Bearden raises his tankard, "I'll drink ta that!" and with a clinging of tankards, their laughter is lost betwixt the liveliness of a bar newly busying…

    …while just outside, sharks swarm the shores as galleons tear into one another, cannonballs flying through and lighting up the night sky—those magenta and green ones streaking its dark canvas—and overboard falls pirate after pirate, guns blazing and cutlasses swinging ceaselessly all despite the megalodon slamming a brigantine into the docks and kraken launching people over the island's spire.

  • 8

    @khaleesibot

    The Seas are Calling

    ‘The seas are calling…. the seas are calling….’

    The words from the last paragraph reverberated around her head – a demand, a reproach, a curse?
    She closed her eyes and lay the Lore book on the sand beside her. The late afternoon sun burned across her shoulders, across scars that were red and taut, healing but not yet healed, causing her to wince in discomfort.

    She scowled, but then became aware of the sound of pattering footsteps. Eyes still closed she listened intently. Above the crackle of the fire and the call of seashore birds, they were distinct. Footsteps on hard sand, the swish of bodies brushing against rich green foliage, stifled chatter... and giggles.

    She sat unmoving, waiting for them. The soft sigh of the wind was gentle against her skin. The distant flap of a sail and merriment of early tavern revellers drifted on the breeze. She sensed rather than saw the crowd of small bodies settling on the sand in front of her; arrayed around the fire but close enough to listen. Hushed whispers, fidgeting but above all, patience.

    The sun was sinking towards the horizon now. She waited, she could feel it’s fire diminishing. Just a moment longer and…. there. The green flash. She shivered and opened her eyes.

    Looking around the little group before her, she grinned.
    ‘Well now, to what do I owe this honour?’

    Smiles lit up their faces, and one spoke out. A young lad, black hair and eager blue eyes, skin tanned a deep brown by the tropical sun.

    “But Miss Kat, you know why we’re here! You promised us just yesterday that you’d be telling us more tales! We want to hear about when you fought the kraken!”

    He was interrupted by his immediate neighbour slapping him on the arm.

    “No, Davy! We don’t want tales like that!” And the slight, blonde haired waif turned to Kat and continued “Please! Tell us about the times you danced in the lightning with Lizalaroo!”

    And then the clamouring started and built to a crescendo...
    “But I want to know about Merrick and hunting Meg!”
    “Not that, that’s a scary tale, tell us about the time you found 8 Captain’s chests on one island!”
    “No, no, no – shush up you lot, let her tell us about the skeleton statues or how to get to the Throne on Marauder’s Arch!”
    “But I don’t want stories about the Wilds, that’s a freaky place full of ghosts and dead things!”
    “You’re all scaredy cats!” One shrieked “I want a story about skeleton Captains, is it true you’ve fought against even Captain Grog Mayles??”

    Looking bemused and wanting to prevent a riot, Kat raised both her hands, gesturing for silence, calm, a pause in the eager demands.

    “Now then. Whisht a moment and let me think. You do know it’ll be hard to tell a tale afore I’ve wet me whistle?” Kat looked around, meeting their eyes one by one as they fell silent, patient again.

    The smallest child, sat at the edge of the group, pointed behind and Kat turned to see a figure approaching. In her hands was a tankard fit for Flameheart himself, she observed. The figure came slowly, carefully, bearing her large burden without spilling a drop, her tongue pressed against her lip in concentration.

    “There ye be Tilda, and a fine job you’ve done of bringing that grog all this way! Be sure to tell yer mother you’ll make a fine tavernkeep one of these days!”

    Kat reached forward, took the tankard in her hands and drank deeply of the golden liquor, the scent of limes and the mellow taste of the rum was very welcome – nothing finer after a long day pondering. It was then she noticed another figure, taller and slighter following behind.

    “And here be little Oralee!”

    Oralee smiled and drew a round, green pot from her tunic pocket, offering it to Kat.
    “My studies are all done for today, Miss Kat, and Auntie said to bring you this. She says it will help the skin to stretch and not itch?” Oralee looked dubious.

    “Tell Auntie that I’m beyond grateful for this, child, and all the other healing and potions she’s given me, I don’t know what I would ha’ done without her care these past weeks.”

    Kat frowned again, the memories of those first few days when she’d returned to Golden Sands Outpost flooding back. Pain… yes, by Poseidon, yes! But the nightmares were the worst. Full of fire and flames, the roaring of molten rocks as they rained down upon ship and crew alike. The screams and shouted warnings as they tried to turn the boat. The cries of despair as the sails were torn to shreds and the deck of the ship pounded and burned. The Devil roared. Relentless and without pause, cruel and alien, the volcano spewed barrages of fiery rocks and red-hot lava with callous disregard of anything in its path and it was of this she’d dreamed. Night after night, after restless night, waking exhausted, sweating and shaken.

    She shivered and looked down at her arm, seeing the curling trail of scars, twisting, like veins, or the branches of a tree. The tissue thick and angry still. Kat broke the seal on the pot and smeared the contents across her skin, felt the heat fading again. For now.

    Kat looked up again and scanned the faces before her. These were the future of Sea of Thieves, these brave wildlings. They yearned for the day when they could set sail themselves, finding a good crew and making their fortune on the seas. Or those who didn’t have the heart, who didn’t hear that call, would make their living as traders, tailors, blacksmiths, servicing the needs of those who did. They deserved a tale or two in the glimmering twilight.

    “Right then. I was thinkin’. Tis almost the Festival of the Damned, right? How would you like to hear a tale o’ cursed ships and skeleton crews?” She looked inquiringly at her young audience. This might be too much, she thought to herself, but they need to know about the dangers as well as the exhilaration. That old goat on the Ferry, he knew what I was thinking.

    She watched their eyes widen and the glances across to Wren, who sat silently. Wren stirred uncomfortably under their gaze.
    “What do I care?” She spat at them. “This was long ago and far away, and my grandmother runs the forge now.”

    Kat gave her a long look. “I can choose another tale if it makes ye uncomfortable, Wren. There’s no shame for you in this, nor your family. It was Flameheart and his ilk and who knows what else, were the cause of it.”

    Wren looked down and pulled at a loose thread in her dress, smoothed it with both hands and met Kat’s gaze.

    “I know, Miss Kat. It’s these others that don’t. There’s too many rumours and tavern tales and secret whisperings from some. I know the story proper, but I’d like to hear of the battles.” And she smiled suddenly, her face lit with thoughts of cannon fire and the clash of swords.

    “You’ve iron in your blood, child. Battles it is!” Kat grinned back at her and gathered her thoughts. “Make yourselves comfy now, this is going to be a tale and a half!” And she looked back with her mind’s eye at the scenes she remembered. The memories flooded in.

    “I remember well. It was a blustery day, the wind to the South and the clouds scudding across the sky. We’d seen Plunder Outpost, how the island folk were left shaking and afeared after the undead came ashore and we were determined to defend the Ancient Isles! We had a brigantine, my crew and I, Eredhar and Anon and meself that day.
    We’d seen sails on the horizon and we were hoping for an alliance. There were tales of these cursed ships sailing the seas and taking everything for their own, so we needed numbers and experienced pirates at that.

    One by one ships approached. Always a tad nervous, don’t ye know. You could never tell if they’d want to sink yer ship or just drink grog in the tavern.”

    The group were hushed now, most had never journeyed beyond the warm Shores of Plenty with its azure seas.

    “We hailed them on the speaking trumpet, Eredhar taking the lead as always for he was the Captain. Anon and I, we were content with that, besides, if he misspoke we could always send him to the brig.” Kat winked at the open mouths and grinned again.
    “It turned out, they were also planning a foray out beyond Shark Bait Cove, to tackle the undead hordes. They’d heard about some fine plunder to be had. So, we agreed to form an alliance and raise the sails of the Ancient Isles together. They were a galleon too, which were a great relief to us, with its firepower and larger crew. Then a sloop came along soon after, crewed by a couple who spoke a foreign tongue, but were welcome all the same. We were set. We decided to make a rendezvous at Shark Bait Cove to gather more supplies and determine our strategy.”

    “That poor sloop!” cried Davy “I wouldn’t sail in a tiny ship like that, weren’t they afeared?”

    “Nay lad,” Kat continued “They were an experienced crew, we could see that from the pock marks on their hull, they’d already been through a battle or three and survived to tell the tale. Sloop captains know their seamanship.” She winked and continued.

    “The wind was still set fair as we sailed west and as we approached Shark Bait, yet another galleon hove into view and swelled our numbers to four ships. Four mighty ships to battle the cursed hordes! We were starting to feel confident. There were some pause as we sent the galleon off to raise the Ancient sails and then a last sloop appeared around the curve of the island towards our fleet.
    Twas a strange thing, but they feigned misunderstanding when we told them our goal and that we’d be grateful for their companionship, but they’d needs must raise the Ancient Isles sails to join us and share the plunder. They refused and still wouldn’t answer to the question. Ye all well knows to beware of treachery on the seas and we were starting to smell the merest hint of it here.”

    The gathered children nodded as one.

    “Did they not know the Pirate Code, Miss Kat?” asked Oralee, the most studious of the bunch, who, thanks to the Order of the Souls, knew a thing or two about the Code.

    “Aye, they did. But words can be broken too. It was time for us to leave and head further west, where we’d heard that the cursed ships gathered. The errant sloop shadowed us all the way there.”

    Kat took a swig of her grog and cast her mind back to the shenanigans that played out that day.
    “Now then.” She paused for effect. “These cursed ships. They don’t sail the seas like you or I might, roaming around looking for adventure. No, indeed. They lie at the bottom of the sea awaiting their prey and when they sense the presence of good, honest pirates like ourselves they rise like demons from the depths! They’re crewed by a whole swarm o’ skeletons who man the cannons loaded to the brim wi’ cursed cannonballs and are waved on by a Captain so heartless and cruel he’d put the Ferryman himself to shame!”

    The night had descended, and the flickering flames of the fire were reflected in the faces of her audience. It was a warm, humid night and lightning crackled far in the distance adding to the atmosphere. Their eyes wide as they pictured the scene drawn for them.

    “We had gunpowder aplenty, barrels stocked wi’ planks and bananas, so we weren’t afeared of a few skeletons! Our fleet meandered around the waters, keeping a close formation and then we heard it…. the fanfare, the swelling of the waters, the roar as not one but two skeleton ships broke through the surface of the sea either side of us!
    Eredhar bellowed orders and Anon and I leapt to obey! “Bring us in closer! Get one o’ those kegs down from the crow’s nest! Do it now!”

    “Our allies were already firing, and we could see the almighty flash of cannon fire in the darkness, the cannons boomed out as we sailed closer, closer. Close enough to see their eyeless skulls and hear their eerie cries. Close enough to fear that peerless aim and the glowing, enchanted shot they hurled at us.
    Anon grabbed a keg and as our bowsprit neared the hull of the skeleton ship, with a mighty leap he boarded them! Fighting the wheel, I steered us away from the impending blast, hoping beyond hope that he’d survive. Eredhar was already below decks repairing our hull as their shot tore holes along the length of the brigantine. “Bail!!” he cried as the water flooded in and filled the hull.
    An almighty detonation came from the cursed ship and we knew their end was nigh. Firing cannons when we could, we continued to blast their hull over and over.
    I remained at the wheel to ensure our safe course, then dived below deck to collect the acrid seawater. Twas then we remembered hearing that these self-same buckets o’ water might make short work o’ skeleton ships which were already damaged. From the deck it was an easy reach to empty those buckets upon our foes.
    We watched in satisfaction as they sank slowly back to the depths from which they came.”

    The rapt audience raised their fists in the air, “Yesssss,” they cried in unison. Little did they know that this was just the beginning.

    “Ah, tis not the time to be celebrating yet, ye scallywags! We knew there were more and more to come. And there were.
    We followed the progress of the battle intently, watched the galleons engage the enemy, now firing, now retreating as the mighty ships turned and span upon the seas. Their crews labouring hard to keep the ships afloat and avoid the curse of the cannonballs rained upon them.
    It was then, in a moment of recovery, a pause while we were slipping overboard to harvest some barrels, that we noticed that errant sloop. It was circling the edge of the battle arena, like a vulture circling it’s intended prey. It did not engage but avoided any place of danger, just sailing, drifting out of the cursed ship’s reach. We hatched a cunning plan. Well, it was Eredhar who hatched the cunning plan, but it was a very fine one indeed.
    The battle raged on and we brought our brig and it’s quarry nearer to the sloop. They tried to flee, but we were swifter. We turned about as the cursed ship seemed to spin in place, bearing down upon us, the sloop and our brig side by side and the cursed ship giving us it’s full broadside. We were bailing and firing as one, yelling orders and encouragements to each other and somehow, ye knows, that sloop slipped between us and the cursed ship itself. Twas a tragedy how quickly it went down.” Kat’s eyes gleamed and a smile of satisfaction crossed her face briefly.

    “They were traitors! They’d have betrayed you! Good riddance to them!” came the unanimous cries from the listeners.

    “Maybe. The sea is a cruel mistress. We couldn’t take the chance, ye see, that come the end of the fight when we were low on supplies, battle weary and spent, that they’d seek to pick us off one by one before we could reach the plunder and then sail off with it, no doubt congratulatin’ themselves on their scheme.
    Meantimes, we pushed them from our minds and continued the encounter. Our ships dove and dodged around those cursed ships, over and over again. Eredhar and Anon, leaping aboard with barrels of gunpowder and blowing them to smithereens, the clash of swords as they battled on, pistols and blunderbuss firing til they were out of ammunition. Each time they came back to the ship with tales of the spoils they’d seen below decks, the sheer numbers of the foe we fought against. Until at last, we faced the final wave, and this was to be the hardest of all – for we fought against the Warsmith herself.
    I turned the ship towards her mighty vessel. She was pounded on the far side by the galleons, weaving across the seas and valiantly bombarding her. The sun had risen, and the full horror of her crew was visible to us… skeletons by the hundreds, clattering across the deck, laughing scornfully, curses cried and carried on the winds. We saw her. The Warsmith. At the helm of the ship, her sword raised, urging on her devilish crew. One keg was not enough to take her down, they repaired too fast, this would take hand to hand combat! Fighting our way through the forest of bones, we approached her, her eyes agleam with mad treachery and malice. She countered our swords, not once but thrice, jumped after us as we tried to retreat but we pushed her back and back, raining blows upon her black, foul bones until at last, at last she gave a blood curdling cry and dissolved into… blackness.”

    Silence greeted these words. A silence that begged to be filled.

    “We had won, we had defeated them, our fine fleet and crew, but it was a hard-fought battle and we all wore the scars. Breathing a sigh of relief more than anything else, we took stock and checked over the ship, repairing where needed. Our allies sailed close and we shared our jubilation, congratulating each and every one for a grand job done. We waited and watched the waves until, eventually, the first of the plunder rose to the surface. Bobbing amidst the whitecaps there were skulls and chests, crates and all manner o’ riches to feast our eyes on. And, amidst all this celebration and relief, we heard a voice.
    “Thanks, mates, I got the commendation! I been stowed away on this galleon the whole time!”

    Kat paused there and laughed aloud.

    “That scurvy sloop captain hadn’t gone to the Ferry after all! He’d swum and boarded one o’ the fleet and kept quiet and hidden til the end!” She shook her head. “What a scallywag he was, hahahaha!”

    There was chatter and laughter as the listening children made their judgements. Admiration for the craftiness, questions asking if he was sent to the Ferry that instance, grins and declarations of “I’d have done that!”

    “And there ye have it. Cursed ship battles. Not to be taken on lightly, but a fine adventure if ye come out with yer skins whole.”

    Thoughts of the Ferryman intruded on her mind again. That look in his eyes when she’d visited that last time, did he know? She didn’t want to come back. Couldn’t face the horror of the Forsaken Shores and friends lost there. He knew, but then he opened that door for me all the same, and here I am. Do I want to be here? Do I really? What use is a scarred and broken pirate?

    “That’s the best tale ever! Better than the time you were shipwrecked or danced that jig in the middle of a fight!” Davy was ecstatic, his companions nodding in agreement.

    “Aye well, you’ll be making tales of yer own soon enough, me lad!” Kat replied sombrely. And they’ll need all the help they can get, when they venture out there, on those seas.

    Kat drained her tankard and reached for her Lore book.

    “Away with ye now! I’ve things I must be reading, and the sun is long set!”

    They scrambled to their feet, chorusing their thanks, stretching and yawning in the moonlight. But then a few of them ran forward, out of her view, chattering excitedly.

    What now? She wondered and turned to see.

    There, in the gloomy shadows, stood a pirate. She could tell by the broad brim of his hat, he was skilled, or at least wealthy but the shadows hid his face. Several of the children were hanging on his sleeves, slipping their hands into his pockets, pulling him forwards into the firelight. She recognised his wry grin immediately and gasped in surprise.

    “You? You!! Where in Poseidon’s name have you been all these months! I thought you were lost or gone beyond the Shroud!” Kat rose to her feet and glared at the familiar face of her former Captain and friend.

    He did nothing but stretched out his hand to her and spoke the words.

    “Come lass, the seas are calling.”

    And so she went.

    Finis.

  • 1

    captains log me maiden voyage I remember like it was yesterday I woke up in the bar and I went to the gold hoarders and got some treasure and I got drunk the end

  • 0

    One day sailing on the seas of the shores of plenty near Santuary Outpost I was running some gold Horder voyages in my solo sloop as usual when I had gotten to around the ninth chest on my voyage I noticed a not so distant Brigantine near by me. So, I climb the Crow's nest and try to form an alliance with them only to notice, they aren't slowing down but instead going full sail straight at me. I jump from the Crow's nest and drop the sail and turn to where the wind is in my favor and manover away from the Brigantine as their first volly of cannonballs come my way, one hits but I'm not worried about it yet. I continue toward two sea spires and make a 90 degree turn to try and further manouver away from them and it works! I gain some distance ahead of them but they are gaining.

    A good pirate I know and have done many voyages with then messaged me in the middle of my chase and asked if I wanted to do an Athena's. I told him yes but to join me on my ship because I have a hail of loot and don't want to lose it to these sea rats.

    As my mate is joining me I make a heading straight for the red Sea in a last attempt to chicken them away from me. My mate joined and didn't realize my ruse against them so he turned our sloop back toward the Shores of Plenty and away from the red Sea. As he does this I realize the Brigantine is directly behind us and coming up on our starboard side so I man the cannon with my mate at the helm, I have two limpballs and 10 standard cannons with one already loaded.

    I fire the first shot but it flies over the back of their ship. The second two shots are the limpballs which both land direct hits on their deck.

    During this my mate is steering us around the front of their ship because they aren't able to move quickly enough to put up resistance or manouver their ship.

    I fire two more shots as we pass the bow of their ship and we make an immediate break for the nearest Outpost with the wind now again in our favor.

    My mate and I both look back and sea the Brigantine sailing deep into the red Sea and eventually sleep beneath the waives taking the crew straight to The Fairy of The Damned.

    At last, we out manouvered and out gunned these pirates this day and saved our booty from falling to sea rats, and we lived to sail another day.

    A few days later...

    My mate and I had just gotten done with yet another Athena's voyage when we saw a skeleton fort was ready for a coalition of ships to decende upon it.

    After forming an alliance with one other sloop we rushed the fort. Enroute to the fort I climbed to the Crow's nest only to notice a Brigantine headed there as well and it had the same markings and sail as the one that had hunted us to no avail earlier.

    As we got closer we realized it was them, and I was ready for another round to secure this fort for our alliance; but another round with them did not occurre. When our small fleet sailed near range of the skeletons cannons the Brigantine joined our alliance and they apologized for attempting to sink us for our booty earlier.

    All three of our crews took on the fort and split the loot.

    We started as enemies but ended as a fleet.

    Long live the Sea of Thieves!

  • 9

    William H. Smith III
    Xbox Gamertag: FilibusterSG
    Discord Name: Balin #7248
    First Mate of the Cutthroats Sea of Thieves Discord Group
    Sea Of Thieves Athena’s Fortune Contest

    Chasing a Dream: Musings of an Old Salted Pirate Legend

    To anyone who finds this letter,

    I have sailed the seas for nary on 50 years come this next moon, and I find meself in a state of reflect. Maybe it’s the grog that Teri is pouring for me, bless er ‘eart, but I must think to meself what I done to get here. May this letter be a uh, last known bit of knowledge of me whereabouts, but more importantly, my story.
    I go by the name of Groovybeard, Alastair Groovybeard, and ye might find it striking that I was not a pirate when I came here! By t’under I was a merchant! And a great one at that! Me trades were spices and rum, and tings were marvelous. Me father always said to me “Great deal of money to be made in the selling of goods, tis be the future of civilization”. “Civilization”….BAH! I kept that money for meself, spent it on me ship, El Rey De Mar. Won it off a Spaniard, I was surprised that it was a lesser vessel: The daft b****r sold me a dinghy with only 6 cannon, barely ANY storage for food, drink and carrrrrgo, and half ripped sails. That sailor did not know how to manage a ship, reckoning that’s why he was found quartered on Sailors Bounty last night….ehhh I ramble.
    So Where was I? Ah Yes! El Rey De Mar! So I took the money I spent as a merchant, I resigned from my commission, and became an adventurer. I made my ship out of the hardest timbered oak, talked to the weaponsmith on uhhh….oh blast it all, the name, AHA! Golden Sands Outpost. Beauty of a place that. Paradise.
    Right, no sense rambling on eh? So timbered oak fashioned this vessel, it took 20 men to carry the timber as larger livestock like cattle were not easily found. The weaponsmith on Golden Sands fashioned me 8 16 pound guns, “easily destroy your enemy and send them howling into the abyss” she said, and sails as soft as silk but as hardy and durable as the ones them Navy type folk use. I spent a great deal of coin to make this ship, and hired some of them Cutthroat scoundrels to crew me vessel.
    Me Maiden voyage was for a group known as the Gold Hoarders, that Hugh character is definitely an ornery b****r, always got his eyes on me cause he thinks I got me eyes on that pile of gold in his tent. “Keep your hands where I can see em” He goes, “Mate, if ye pardon my plain speaking, are ye daft? You keep about your gold and I’ll best keep to me knitting, no reason to fret” I replied back. Calmed him down, but it was a hardened start. The map given to me by Hugh took me and me crew all the way to an area known as…..ummmmm……Devils Ridge, that be the spot!. Rather small map too, it only had some writing on it but it was smudged out, methinks it was other pieces to find the treasure, thought to meself if I hold it in the light I’ll find an answer.
    Six weeks passed on the seas before finally making to the blasted island where I find that some more letters were revealed! As if by some magic that Hugh fiend used to reveal the rest of the clues to the treasure. There was also a rogue cannoneer that tried to destroy me ship. I ran like the wind up a hill to find the scurvy dog. It was….a skeleton. It limped at me, growling at me, staring me down with naught but glows of green burning out of its eyes, holding a cutlass, with some of the blackest iron I seen, and it had a beauty of a design: An evil gold unicorn with emerald eyes. I HAD to have it, maybe cause of the call for gold, I could sell it, make a fortune, but I cut down that skeleton and took that sword, took out me eye but quickly patched by the ship doctor Reginald De Groute. I picked it up, and I stared in the eyes, and I got a glare from the eyes that reminded me of my father telling me: “Laddie, out in this world, there is a hidden secret, tales of great power and strife, eclipsed by the power of someone called Athena, Preposterous Hogwash that, so you need not worry about that”. I knew that this journey be a small step to something greater, though I still wondered who Athena was.
    Out of fear we might encounter some more of those skeletons, I took a shore party with me to locate with me lantern this “Devil” whose likeness was cast on a rock in a cave. Big cave that. Took us forever to find the blasted thing cause of the plants. Poor sod that got hit by that timber trap, and the one in the cage. But we found the “Devil”, it was something lads, had ten arms and was larger than ten men. The riddle asked us to find it and uh “raise a lantern”. So I took the load of metal and fire, and I raised over me shoulder, THE WHOLE TING LIT UP GREEN! BURSTING WITH LIGHT IN FRONT OF ME EYES!
    Then, the strangest thing happened, I remembered seeing a face, a man with a lion foot pegleg, he said “farewell Legend”. Woke up to me trusted first mate Charlotte St. Clair standing over me waking me up with a bucket of water. After I woke up, I brushed off the startle, paid it no mind. I finished the riddle walking ten paces from that Devil painting, and I found…a wonderful chest, the whole chest was made of gold with an amazing ruby on the top. Sold for a couple thousand coin to this delightful Gold Hoarder named Herbert, a nice guy who didna fancy too much talk. I asked him about other chests and all he said was “Different. Crying. Drunk. Lucky. Get them.” And he was right! He gave me a job to a place called Fools Lagoon that yielded a blue chest with a red face that was crying, and two barrels with gold happy faces. My friend Charlotte was with me on this voyage, and she was in shock to find these rare chests. I was rather pleased.
    And then WHOOSH! This giant skull peered over the sky with those….green eyes. Like the Devil. I knew something was wrong, but Charlotte told me that theres gold there. Well not really, she said “kill the dead, find the key, unlock the door, and untold riches shall be yours”. With wind in our sails, We sailed North to Keel Haul Fort, only to find it under attack by another small ship with black sails and a really large ship, adorned with a symbol I dinna see before: A skull with bones around it, adorned in that green color I saw before. We all fought the skeletons and each other for nearly a week, a week of fighting, repairing….it felt like an eternity. Form what I recall, I was killed with a cannonball, where I was on a ship, eerie place with an even cryptic setting. I dinna what happened, but I directed to a door by this “ferryman” as I call em.
    And somehow, when I returned, I destroyed both ships, the big ship then the small ship, using nothing more than gunpowder and my own wits of battle. Charlotte was impressed. Hope to win her affection soon. So we went to collect this massive skeleton key, only to discover another ship was already here and they took it from me. We chased them down across the map, one of their rats went off to Crescent Isle, we sunk them together and killed their crew. I was downstruck with grief, we lost the Key! But Charlotte assured we were fine, so we checked Crescent Isle and found the Key! We quickly went to the fort. Not a ship in sight. After nary on 3 months of fightin, at long last, I could feel the treasure chests and baubles and merchant crates. The riches were in me possession. I was impressed with that stronghold chest, what kinda creature was on that chest….ehh
    Days past, and I kept figuring out what that guy with the lion leg meant by “Legend”. A voice came from the George and Kraken and told me “Legend? Legend you not, until level 50 ye got”. “What?” I asked. “Mate”, the Mysterious Stranger said “Ye collect loot for all three factions, Hoarders, Order and Merchant, get to level 50, and good thing will come I portent”. So, I followed her instructions, getting loot to get closer to legend, and sometimes Charlotte helped me, beautiful woman she is, told me how she was lost and wants to find herself. Told her sometimes companionship helps. Dinna listen, stayed quiet. Shy person, but something to respect. 5 years passed, and I was near to legend, when I hear tale that there’s a beast out here that destroys ships. I needed to seek this beast out, but it came outta nowhere, destroyed me boat EL Rey De Mar, stared me down in the darkness of the water with its green eyes and smiled…..then vanished. I tossed about the sea for days, when I found myself beached, not knowing where I was or when it was. I came to what felt like a week when An old man with scars and a bald head helped me, gave me food and shelter. “She got ye too eh laddie?” he asked with a laughing toothless smile. “Aye” I responded. “Well lad, take a seat” he warmly requested, and gave me some ramshackle clothes made of sailcloth and rope. “Where are we?” I asked. “Sharrrk Bayte Cove” He sneered with fear. “Please don’t say shark”. I pleaded in fright. “Ye need a ship to fight her, and a call of great power to summon her”,
    He instructed me.
    So I sat with him on the island for nearly 4 years talking about the song, the beast and its legendary origin, waiting for someone to come by, living off crab meat and rain water, waiting for someone to save us, when a crew stopped by to give me help, I told them about the shark and the song to summon it. “SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD TIME” They all cheered. They took me aboard, gave me food and fresh water. I got the song from the man who saved me, Merrick, he called himself. Before departing I asked if he anted to join, he warned me “No More is to come, I assure ye, and we shall sail together to fight what comes our way”. The crew I was with were a rowdy buncha blaggarts, drinking, singing, carousing, loved every minute of it. The beast was seen outside of an island known as Devils Ridge, and with our 5 instruments playing the song it was a GIANT SHARK! We mustered courage and battled it for three days, it kept trying to sink our boat. We eventually defeated it, losing all our resources in the end, but even as the creature died, it still kept staring at us…..those men, one by one either died from old age or adventure took them. I never saw any of them again.
    2 years passed before a strange newcomer came by the tavern. Told us about mermaid statues, and smart skeletons, and bone thrones, he was an adventurer. “Mate” I asked him “What is happening out there?”. “Adventure!” He replied with a robust voice. “Go out there and find these new items around the world, they are new to the world and my crew and I have been trying to find them for excitement”. “Names Duke” He introduced himself. “Alastair Groovybeard, at your service laddie”. I dinna realize how much was changing, those skeletons made me concerned, carrying around gunpowder barrels, dangerous lot that. Times were really changin, I dinna pay much attention to the skeletons, but I knew somethin bad was coming from dis…..
    Wouldnja know it? Skeletons were now forming crews! Still a bit dim, they cant seem to bucket out the water from their ship. Boneheads HA!
    Time still passed, and I was driven to get to legend, to learn the secrets. Spent nearly 20 years at sea, and I made to “legend” with Charlottes help. I rushed to the Stranger on Golden Sands, and I told her I made it, she gave me a song to play, which revealed a secret entrance beneath the bar. I traversed down a huge path only to find a portal with people saying “we shall sail together”. Is this what Merrick was telling me? This is the road he was telling me about. So I went through the portal, and I saw Charlotte on the other side, as if she was waiting for me. Her pale skin turned to a green glow, and she officially welcomed me to the Legend Hideout: Athenas Fortune. “You have traversed this far, but you are not done, join the legends you see before you, seek the power of Athena and ye have won” She directed me. If ye laddies get a chance, meet Blind Bob, he is good man. But aside from jocularity, I met the man who I saw before, the person who “Farewell Legend” was the Pirate Lord! He oversees the world to make sure all piratical crimes are committed fairly. He was not a talking sort and he seemed rather annoyed by my pressing of questions, especially when asked about his name..,..
    So the adventure of a lifetime, to get the full blessing of Athena, me and Charlotte made these voyages something of an adventure, and as we sailed, she warmed up more to me, told me her story: abandoned by her parents, in and out of foster homes. I almost felt sorry for her. But she was content, and enjoyed me company. Aye, just a couple of kids with a dream that took years to come to light. We spent 10 years learned more about each other, getting me the items Athena grants all members. Then, I hear tale from Duke that a new world opened up, the DEVILS ROAR. “Sounds like fun” I thought

    Worst mistake of me life

    We went to this new world, and saw naught but fire and death. We were set to turn in the special chests, which to this day, I muse over their beauty, when on the last chest, I see Charlotte get killed and I lose me leg. Typical, I lose an eye to skeletons, and a flying fire rock cooks me leg. Dinna need to worry about blood, cause me leg was cooked, good thing that. But Charlotte was gone. Then one day, I stopped by a passing island, forget which one, and Charlotte was there! I dinna know how she lived except her words explain how “Athena choses people to live and die, we are still alive because we were chosen” she said. She saw my leg, and I only replied “You give up a few tings…..chasing a dream. I coulda been a merchant like me father, but I chose to be a pirate. I needed adventure, life, and salty air, something to show for meself and become richer than a merchant”.

    Well, 30 years of seafaring, and Athena revealed to me the secrets of the world. Laddies, this world is for the taking, and there is plenty of loot, but I fear that there will be new dangers on the horizon. But I sit here writing this letter to tell ye the words of Duke, who I tink is still alive, “Heres to the open seas!”

    In me lifetime, I have amassed great wealth, seen lesser pirates be crushed, and great pirates be rewarded. But my time is near an end. Charlotte, regrettably, has vanished again, after Athena gave me this hat. I dinna know if searching for her, now, would be wise. She vanished with no word. I….dinna know why, but I let her go. I hope for her return, but I must look ahead.
    So none of ye daft drunkards don get any bloomin ideas, me treasure is long buried. Me own personal temple of sorts is its resting place, hidden from you lot. Me body…well meself, be resting away on a unknown island, dinna be charting it either, ye wont find it well on any chart.

    Mark me: This world will be changing forever, and we shall sail together to untold riches, songs sung of our victory and strife, and tales told of our conflicts and victory. And we all shall pass into legend and amass great wealth, never to be forgotten across the seas.

    Farewell

    -Alastair Groovybeard

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    @filibustersg ! Excellent job Groovybeard! Was immersed in the story the whole time!

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    @filibustersg Wow! Bravo!!!

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    @filibustersg yes this letter is quite a tale a mere legend maybe?

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    Fort treasure and the Shroud

    It was a still evening at Galleons grave outpost and I had just setteled in the tavern after a long day of sailing in the wilds with my sloop partner. I had only been inside for a short while but I my body was already starting to warm up. Maybe thanks to the fire and my friendly conversation with Duke, or maybe it was solely because of the almost finished grogg I was drinking. A new strong experimental brew made by Tess, the taverns keeper. It was a fusion between seaweed and bananapeel recomended to me by grogsoked Ed. Either way I was feeling happy since todays haul was enough to last me four nights of drinks and food which is a lot diffrent from back when I first arrived in the Sea of Thieves. When I had first gotten here and the land was all new, I was mesmorized by its beauty and how much treasure there was to find and also frightened by of what protected it. Earning just enough to survive was what I had started with and now my life had turned rather comfortabe. "But I ain´t satisfied yet" I thought to myself as I sat down with Duke for a game of dice and threw a quick look at the mysterious stranger standing in the corner. "One day I´ll have earned enough reputation to be recognized by her, and allowed to learn the secret of Atenas Fortune."

    Our game was just about to start, I sat down, finished my drink and pulled out my money bag and put it on the table but when I did it gave of an unfamilliar sound. Surprised I opened the pouch and poured out the content on the table, quickly the warmth in my belly rose to my face in anger. Small pebbles! How could this be? But I quickly understood. It had to be lootin` Penelope. She stole back the gold she payed me for her delevery, and more, but how did I not notice? Duke looked at me and grinned. "In which part of the sea is that considered the official currency!?" he said and laughed. I was calming myself down and remembered that I had been playing on my new hurdy gurdy between the rounds back to the ship while we were unloding, she must have had her chance sometime then. As soon as I had finished that thought my crewmate slammed the door open and almost threw himself in. He saw me immedatly, calmed his breathing and while ignoring everyone elses suprised eyes he walked right up to me and whispered in my ear. Duke was trying to listen in, there is nothing else that man loves more than tavern rumors. When he finished I turned towards Duke again and said to him "Sorry Duke, but as you can see I´m short of money right now but I´ll be right back to continue our game." I stood up, walked to a barrel and grabbed a hand of bananas and stepped outside into the cool night. It was time to get to work.

    My partner loves gazing at the stars and he has this theory that the Sea of Thieves has moved us to some where mystical since there is no constellation in the sky that he recognizes from before crossing the shroud. And so he would spend some nights looking at the stars to try figure it out which of course made galleons grave an ideal place since he could climb right to the top of the very galleon that sat perched upon the mountain of this rather harsh island. But it is not that he had made a breakthrough in his theory that he came to get me, no, it was much better. He had seen activity on Shark Fin Camp through his spyglass and as we made our way to the ship he swore that he had seen a skeleton captain and his crew carry treasure into the vault. And a person in my newly found position does not so easily say no to the chance of gold, no matter the danger. But we had to move fast before someone else caught wind of this. We boarded our ship and unlocked the weapon cabinet, turned off the lanterns and sailed of. Using the night as our cover we made our way close to the fort with favorable wind, and with my partners sailing and my marksmanship we took out a tower with our cannons before it had the chance to fire at us. While impressed by how far I could aim my partner said "I think you deserrr`ve a present for your brilliant cannonering. It´s in the bottom cannon barrel for you latarrr" and smiled under his huge beard. I did not think too much about it, anything that could wait would have to do just that. Now we could make our way straight for the fort without risking to get hit and as we got there we raised the sails and stopped in the cover between two cannon towers without dropping the anchor. In case we would have to escape quickly. Then we lowered the rowboat and made our way towards the beach, the skeletons were waiting for us, I could hear them through the darkness.

    What followed was an epic battle of two pirates versus the undead. My matey sported a pistol in his one hand and his cutlass in the other while I carried a blunderbuss on my back and used both hands on my sword. And with my anger from embarresing myself in front of Duke I plowed through their ranks up to the tower until the captain revealed himself. He was holding the key in his left hand and a rusty sword in the right. While skeletons do not have faces I could still tell that he was ready to fight to the bitter end, and so was I. I ran up to him, unloded my blunderbuss at him as skillfully as I could while dodging his swings, then switched to my trusted blade and swung it so hard over his jaw that it fell of! My mate then fired a single shot from his pistol and that felled him. What was left of his crew turned into green dust and disapeared in the wind while the curse that had been holding together what was left of the captain broke, and he fell to the floor in a pile of bones and the key, THE KEY!!! That he was holding almost fell between the floorboards down into the vault but got stuck in between two planks. "Thank Neptune!" I thought while bending down to carefully pick it up. My hands were a bit shaky but I grabbed the key tightly and me and my mate looked at each others eyes and exchanged a silent moment of celebration but we were far from done here. The sun was starting to rise and we still had to return to the outpost safely and trade in our riches. So we hurried to unlock the door, but it was a mistake to not think ahead and take a look at the surrounding coast line.

    As we pushed the key in and the vault door opened itself, the hoard was revealed and we both lost a bit of our composure. The cave was filled with the bounty skulls of feared captains and chests endored with gems and crates of luxurious items I´ve never been able to afford in my life and...? What was this? Some sort of a relic, a small black box with tiny red shining stones sprouting out of it. I had never seen such a thing and never had my old friend in all of his days at sea. It felt like a bad omen to bring it with us but we were feeling greedy after fighting through the night so we carried it to the rowboat together with exactly everything else. It took a while but as we had just brought the last thing from the vault onto our rowboat, we saw a galleon heading our way and it was not far from reaching us. Chocked we pushed out the rowboat, tied it to the sloop and in a panick pulled down the sails with the ship facing east. It was good planning that we never dropped the anchor or they would have caught us, but it was a mistake to let the ship face east, nothing but he shroud in that direction. And worse yet we were not preapered for this. No resorses were left and we had no gunpowder barrels, no nothing to fight them with and now we were sailing towards a dead end but this is when my partner shined bright with an idea!

    We were going straight forward, bearly catching enough wind to keep a decent distance. I felt stressed behind the wheel when I understood what was going to happen to us but my partner said this was good, so I went with it and continued forward. He then switched places with me and told me to look in the bottom cannon ball barrel and in it I found a green glowing projectile. It was a cursed cannonball! I looked up at my sneaky mate behind the helm and called to him "How did you get this?" He only smiled under his beard, enough to show a few golden teeth. We now had a plan, it was mostly a bad bet but the only chance we had to escape and so we lured our persuers to follow us to their doom by sailing closer and closer to the shroud. They are much faster with their three masts so they were closing their distance on us quickly but then the moment of truth had arrived. As the water started to turn color we dropped the anchor and turned up a 45 degree angle towards our enemy with me behind the cannon, ready to fire. As the tension made our foreheads sweat and the salty water ran down my eyes, I could not allow myself to blink even if it burned. For even a moment of neglience would risk our lives. I heared their masts creak from all the wind their sails were catching as they got closer, straight towards us. I could not think, only let my body act and it did. At the precise time I pushed the fuse down the chamber and the gunpowder went of and the cursed ball arced through the air and hit their main deck. They immedatly started dancing an uncontrollable happy dance but their eyes were red hot with fury and they turned their necks to glare at us while they passed with dangerous speed into the shroud, missing our ship only with the length of my cutlass.

    The galleon began wailing as its hull was eaten by the blood red water and mist, and started sinking. My mate said "Let us hope the ferryman keeps them onboard for a long, long time." It was finally over but as we were raising the anchor to leave I stopped. My mate was pushing the other side and he got angry for the sudden break, "What!" he yelled and I hushed him. After calming down I could give attention to my surroundings and I swear that I had heared something, something on the other side of the shroud. The sound of the anchor going up had blurred it though but there it was again! my mate reacted to it too, it was like the sound of an explosion but muffeled, the wind changed direction all of a sudden and carried with it the smell of ashes and warm earth. We let our superstition get the best of us and we hurried away, back to the outpost to trade in our well earned treasure and the mysteriuos relic. Maybe it was telling us about something soon to come, or maybe it was a cursed objekt only bringing bad luck, any case we certanly did not have any use for it so it was sold. Strangely the Goldhoarders wanted it and bought it for a hefty sum, I thought the Order f Souls would try to get it from us since it was so strange of an objekt. But, I could finally relax and I was richer then I was the night before so I did not care. The only thing I did care about was taking my new earnings to the tavern and spend it carefully, now that I have learned to really look after what I have. So of course I decided to continue my gamble with Duke over a morning drink!

    And so the pirare life continues!

    The End

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    Kraken’s wrath

    ”Pour me another one!”

    Shouted a man sitting by the table closest to the fireplace.
    He was dressed with extraordinary looking clothes
    like each thing that was dressing him had a story to tell.

    ”There you go!”
    A scruffy looking barmaid served him a mug of warm tea.

    ”Are you sure you don’t want any grog?”
    She asked gloomily. The man covered some notes with his hand raising his sight on her.

    ”Here’s your gold.”

    He payed way more then he supposed to letting her know with his eyes that he wanted to have his order served instead of chit-chatting.
    The lady made clearly dissatisfied face expression but the gold was gold after all so she took it and went away mumbling something under her nose.
    The man picked his own hip-bottle and added some rum to the mug she brought.
    He sighed and whispered to himself while pouring.

    ”The finest goods in Sea of thieves”
    He sipped it and started writing something on the same scrap of paper he covered against the lady.

    Journal 141

    ”It’s been a long time since I’ve entered this forsaken place. I’ve already lost hope of going back to the waters I know.”

    He stopped writing and said to himself audibly.

    ”Shiver me timbers! Don’t I know these waters like me own pockets?!
    His voice dragged an attention of the barmaid and few cats that were lurking around the tavern.

    "That’s what captain Tabo would say."
    He finished his thought lowering his voice and returned to writing.

    ”The best captain I’ve ever served under. If not the captain I’d be drinking sea water on the beach now. His skills of handling the helm and sails are impressive. He’s the one who keeps the boat in order and brings the voice of reason to this crew.
    Nevertheless, everyone has some soft spot for something.
    He likes to drink with the crew after every voyage and do these funny firework shows using gunpowder barrels.”

    He sipped his tea again and looked at the fire dancing front of him.
    ”What a great man.”

    He nodded his head like he wanted to agree with himself.
    Moment later he looked at the table he was sitting by.
    Table was packed with scrolls looking like maps,
    few gold coins were falling out of the moneybag.
    He rubbed his forehead and stroked his beard like he was thinking.
    He picked up one of the scrolls checking it carefully.

    ”This one must be from this sea dog Gully.”
    He smiled slightly and picked up a chicken feather to continue his writing.

    ”Gully is like and old uncle that has seen a lot but in a contrary to Tabo he fools around way more and is absolutely an unpredictable man. He’s that type of guy who will make you laugh anytime. He’s loyal and friendly.
    He would prefer to bribe his enemies instead of killing them.
    However, if you are one of these who cover the book by it’s cover you might earn yourself a cutlass between your ribs before you even realize that his smiley face is the last thing you see. I’ve found out from him that before he had reached Sea of thieves he was an escaped convict.
    Can you imagine?”

    He was imagining Gully’s face and he just couldn’t resist smiling while looking at the fire flame for a moment again.

    ”Very fearless pirate.” He said giving the thought a warm laughter.

    ”First we thought he was just an amateur lantern collector. Now we all know he’s just afraid of dark” He wrote down another thought.

    He picked up the map and read:
    ”At Lone Cove where is no sky flash the lantern to this riddle untie”

    ”It must be the northern cave. I bet he wants me to assist him.”
    He mumbled and got back to writing again.

    ”You don’t choose your family they say. That’s what Sea of thieves brought me, except great adventures and tons of gold. I’ve got me a great crew that I wouldn’t change for any treasure. Speaking of treasuries we’ve collected plenty not even to mention the reputation. The pirate Lord himself wants us to do contracts for him. This one must be one of his”

    He packed all of his items and the moment he got ready to leave there was only his tankard left with the rest of already cold tea. He decided to take one last moment with his thoughts.

    At the same time an old, slim looking man entered the tavern flashing his lantern. His face was full of wrinkles and scars. He approached the man sitting by the table and patted his shoulder few times.

    ”Vifi! It’s about time me lad!”
    Vifi turned over to greet Gully with a smile.

    ”Ahoy there me sea dog! I guess this is what brings you here?”
    He passed the map to his crew mate.

    ”Aye, aye me lad!”
    He sat front of Vifi putting his lantern on the table. He took the map and looked at his fellow pirate. Vifi was a young well-built guy. Black ponytail hair and bushy beard along with few scars here and there gave his boy looking face a bit seriousness. Parts of his tattoos were showing through his clothes.

    ”Have ye figured it out yet me boy?”

    ”Yes I have. I’ll give you the details once we gather with the captain.”
    ”Ah! sweet, sweet.”

    Gully noticed the feather and scrap of paper being still on the table.
    ”What’s that? Another riddle?” He asked willingly.

    ”That?” Vifi picked up the paper and hid it in his pocket.
    He looked a bit shy.

    ”That’s none of your business.” He was trying to avoid Gully’s sight.

    ”Have ye found yerself a dove and now you write a bunch of lies to her? Ye? Because if you have...Well, I’ve been here and there I could tell you this and that me boy.”
    He smiled showing his black teeth and a hole where one was missing.

    ”You better tell me when do we set sails.” He changed the topic quickly pointing on the map that Gully took.

    ”Whenever you’re ready me lad.”
    Vifi nodded and stood up letting him know it was time to go.
    They left the ’Broken Tusk’ tavern and saw captain Tabo on the horizon getting the boat ready screaming to them.

    ”All men on deck! Hoist the anchor!
    She’s ready to give us full billow straight west me boys!”

    Both Vifi and Gully ran across the jetty excited for another adventure.

    Journal 142

    ”We’ve been sailing for two days since we left the ’Broken Tusk’.
    The horizon looks clear, ship’s well-supplied and the wind keeps being on our favour.
    The only thing that bothers me is we’ve ran out of rum. ”

    He cronched a banana like he was fed up with it.

    ”Ugh...another banana.
    I need to finally start cooking so they see how good and different food can be.
    Shark soup, crab soup, grilled pork with herbs, even fried chicken. Maybe this boat would finally smell a bit different then dirty men and rum.”

    He looked pretty excited writing it down.

    All of the sudden Gully’s voice broke the sounds of boat creaking on the waves.

    ”Captain! Land!” He screamed from the crow’s nest.

    ”Raise me front sails boys!” Tabo yelled.

    Pirates immediately left everything to assist captain and do the orders.
    The ship was turning gently towards the island with Tabo behind the steering wheel.

    ”We don’t need the anchor I will calm her down!”
    And so he did with focused face Tabo countered the waves slowing down the boat side to the island less then half a mile away from the northern cave entrance facing it with side cannons.

    Gully along with Vifi got into already prepared rowboat waiting for Tabo to help them lowering it on the water. Vifi sat on the front and started rowing.
    He was forced to watch Gully right front of him constantly checking his lantern like he was afraid it would break on the way.
    In the background he saw Tabo working on the deck so the boat would be ready to set sails by the time they were done.

    Finally the rowboat hit the shore. They stood front of the cave for a little while. Vifi was pulling the ropes docking the rowboat when Gully put the oars in order and shared supplies for both of them.
    They grabbed their lanterns, swords and entered a narrowed passage.
    Cold-wet air blew their beards.
    The light they brought with them scared a bunch of bats that broke the silence and flew out of the cave.
    Shortly after they got into the main chamber.

    ”Do you have the map?” Vifi asked.
    ”Aye.” Gully answered and read it quietly.

    He raised his lantern and saw the map glowing with green orbs that revealed the rest of the clue.

    ”Five paces North East.” He read again.

    With the help of compass they followed the right direction. Every step they were taking was bringing the echoes across the entire chamber.

    ”This must be it Vifi!”

    ”Give me the shovel.” Vifi asked.

    ”Aye!” He excitingly passed him an old looking spade.

    -Bang-

    They both smiled and showed their dirty teeth.

    ”Hurry up!” Gully said.
    Nervously checking the cave he heard a sound of bones breaking.

    ”I knew it couldn’t be that easy...” He mumbled.
    Hordes of skeletons started coming from the underground.

    ”Hurry up lad!” Gully screamed.
    This time keeping them away with his lantern.
    After few fancy sword swings he killed three skeletons.
    Vifi’s got the chest and they started running to the shore.
    Enemies were right behind them. Whole cave became a source of creepy sounds.

    ”Vifi what’s wrong with you?!” Gully yelled while running.

    The pirate was running from wall to wall like he was completely drunk yet somehow managed to get outside.

    -hik hik hik-

    Tabo at his station was checking the surroundings when suddenly the noises from the cave reached the ship. He spot his friends running outside with some creatures following them. He loaded the cannon with green glowing cannon ball and fired into the group of skeletons just few inches above his friends’ heads.
    All of the sudden all skeletons started dancing.

    ”Care to dance you filthy creatures!?” He shouted.

    He saw his crew mates safely getting back with a huge strange looking chest. Without waiting he went to help them with docking the rowboat.

    ”Haha! Come here me fellas.” He greeted them excitingly.

    They set sails shortly...

    Journal 143

    ”We were sailing back East to the Galleon’s grave outpost. I was sitting on the crow’s nest. I saw stormy clouds on the horizon when suddenly I noticed sails breaking the line between stormy and calm sea. I used my spyglass.

    ”I see a ship!” I yelled.

    It was a giant three mast galleon coming straight at us with the wind in their sails.

    ”Captain, they are coming from South West!” I shouted again and
    immediately rang the bell. Without delay I went down to assist on deck. Gully was already setting the angle of the front sail so I gave him a hand.
    We were trying to get more speed and for a moment we thought we were losing them and the only thing they wanted was getting out of the storm.
    The reality happened to be unfortunate to us. They corrected their heading and started chasing us.

    ”All right boys! We are outnumbered for sure but let’s use their self-confidence on our advantage!” Tabo screamed.

    The galleon was getting closer and closer. We could already hear their death threats trough their speaking trumpets.

    ”Drop me anchor lads! Now!” Captain shouted.

    Gully was loading the cannons and I was the only one able to do it.
    It wasn’t the first time I was questioning Tabo’s decisions in my head but it was a matter of seconds and he never let us down. I dropped the anchor without a word and lost my balance while the boat was turning 180 degrees. I grabbed the capstan handle looking nervously at the captain who was keeping the wheel tight for a while.

    ”Are you insane?!” I yelled.
    It sounded like everything that we had on the boat started flying around.

    ”Raise it now! Stop staring at me! Hitch up your skirt and push it like I was paying you for it!” He screamed again.

    He’s face was focused like he wasn’t bothered with the mess on deck at all. With a certain wheel movements he started on straightening the boat.
    I pushed the handle with all I had in my muscles seeing the enemies getting into a lane of fire. Cannon balls started flying and hitting the boat.
    Happily Gully was done loading the cannons and he shot once with a purple glowing cannon ball just to disable their cannon fire for a moment.
    I remember him shooting maybe two more times screaming.

    ”Peace! Haha!”

    Fortunately he noticed me having trouble with the anchor and ran up to assist me.
    I saw captain running between decks with bucket bailing water out and screaming yet keeping his nerve.

    ”Hurry up! I need to get back to the wheel. We’ve got lots of damage.
    We've gotta get out of here, now! Make sure no one boards us!
    Check the damage and patch her up before we fill up with water again and go down!”

    We raised the anchor and the boat started moving opposite direction before the enemy crew could even figure out what was happening.
    I was guarding the ladders to make sure nobody came on our ship.
    I heard Gully laughing under the deck throwing buckets of water outside and hammering wooden planks over the holes they made in our sides.
    Thankfully we didn’t encounter any boarding attempts.
    We were getting farther and farther away. Gully came out from the lower deck.

    ”How’s the situation? We’re nice and dry!”
    He laughed and poured water out of his boot.

    I was already on the top deck with Tabo checking the horizon.

    ”Captain look!” I shouted

    The sea under enemy’s ship started getting darker and darker spreading quickly. It almost reached our boat. Suddenly gigantic tentacles shot out of the water surrounding enemy’s vessel and frightening roar started coming from under the water.
    We heard screaming and begging for mercy. All of the sudden, hunters turned into a prey of mighty Kraken. Our hearts started beating faster and faster.
    I checked my cutlass and ammo situation.

    ”Captain they are trying to get out of it’s range! They are fighting it of.
    She’s well-supplied I’m sure of that. Turn starboard and shoot me there!”

    ”Are you mad boy?!” He answered.

    ”It’s not the time for randez-vous with the Ferry of the damned captain.”
    Gully added

    ”No time for explanations just do as I say. I’ll buy us more time.
    They won’t give up on chasing us once they escape.”

    I put a sniper gun over my shoulder and tightened the belt on it. I must admit I wasn’t believing in what I was doing but their faces full of concerns turned into smiley ones. They gave me courage. We started working on the boat all together right away and turned it 90 degrees. I double checked my inventory and got into the cannon.

    ”This barrel stinks...” I made sure to inform Gully who was manning the cannon.

    ”55 degrees!” Tabo screamed.
    ”Fire!They both yelled.

    I was flying across the distance separating the boats and realized I wasn’t going to reach the other ship in one go. I ended up in the water.
    I Couldn’t see anything due to the ink the Kraken was bringing.
    Maybe it’s for the better when I think of it now.
    I swam to the surface to realize that even though not everything went as I wanted I was fairly close to their boat after all. I remember I was coughing like crazy. The bitter taste of the salty water mixed with ink almost made me vomit.
    Gladly the screams and all the chaos on their deck was no less then on ours just few minutes ago. Thus no one even heard me.
    I managed to grab the ladder on the side of their boat and got onto crow’s nest shortly after absolutely unnoticed. I quickly scoped out their situation.
    They were filling up with water and to be honest it all looked to me like a group of headless chickens running around. Suddenly a huge tentacle missed me by few inches. I froze for a moment and fell next to a gunpowder barrel.

    ”What a weird place to keep it.” I thought to myself.

    Thinking no longer I lit the fuse and dropped it down only to hear a huge explosion and moans of the Kraken. They didn’t even know what happened.
    The explosion took two scallywags to the Ferry.
    I pulled out my eye of reach and took an advantage of my position.
    I aimed at one sailor just to see him being grabbed by the monster.

    ”Shoot me! Mercy!” I remember him yelling like a little babe.
    So I did shoot him right between his eyes.

    He gave it a little laugh while writing.

    One of them spot me and started shooting at me.
    Luckily he quickly ran out of ammo so I took my chance to climb down and pick up a fight.
    I saw Kraken’s tentacles wrapping around the galleon.
    The storm finally reached the fighting area.
    I faced enemy captain in one of the longest and hardest duels ever. It all felt like eternity but must have been just few minutes at best.
    After dozens of clashes, dodges and threats a lightning struck and shocked me to the point I lost my stance. I ended up on the broken, wet deck and the sword I was carrying was now under his feet. He kicked it away and started approaching me closer.

    “You should have left when you had a chance hobbledehoy.”
    He threatened me sneeringly with his hoarse voice.

    “Now you will die in here and not even your crew mates will remember you.”
    He sliced my eye laughing with joy. I screamed with pain and without any hope for surviving this encounter I started accepting the fate that was awaiting me.

    “Die!!” He yelled.

    Suddenly I heard cannon fire. It was Tabo and Gully.
    When I was busy fighting they managed to reposition the boat and correct the cannon angles. I never would have thought I’d be this happy seeing a man losing his head to a cannon ball this close to me. Rain mixed with blood was dropping from me.
    For a moment I got absolutely disoriented and was lying down like a lemon just to hear Gully shouting trough the speaking trumpet.

    ”Vifi get back to the ship!”
    Tabo was already maneuvering the boat so I had easier time coming back.
    I saw last seconds of Kraken sinking the vessel to the bottom of the sea.
    I looked at the black water full of ink then the cannons.

    ”Ugh... one way in one way out.”
    I mumbled to myself setting enemy cannon towards my own ship. I lit the fuse and got in it as fast as I could saying prayers out loud.
    That’s the last thing I remember. I woke up few days later in bed at my quarters.
    First I thought it was the tea I got in the tavern the other day or I had a huge hangover.
    However, talking to me crew later on I found out I was far from dreaming.
    I got my share of treasure, two barrels full of rum and glory that follows me till this day.

    ”Was it worth?”

    He put down his chicken feather that he was writing with and asked himself looking in the mirror with pity.
    Vifi knew he would never get his eye back. He corrected an eye patch that was dressing him now.
    The sounds of music and his crew mates singing were coming from the outside.
    He nailed his notes with a dagger to his desk and picked up his tankard smiling.

    ”It was a good fight!”

    He said and walked outside to join his friends with a jolly shanty.
    Their ship was sailing into unknown horizon. The wind was carrying their music and singing for those who dared to follow them.

    ”...we shall sail together...”

    The Kraken
    ---One of my screenshots from this adventure.
    It's one of the things that inspired me to choose exactly this voyage.
    ---

    #Sea Of Thieves Athena’s Fortune Contest
    ---3407 words---

    Happy sailing!!!

  • 2

    Michael Thomas
    Xbox Gamertag: E 1615881939
    Sea Of Thieves Athena’s Fortune Contest

    The Ballad of Captain Katie O' Nine Tails

    The constant howls of the damned surrounded her; dead pirate souls one and all trapped in the belly of the Ferry of the Damned. Captain Katie O' Nine Tails glanced up through a small crack in the ship’s boards at her captor, the Ferryman. He paid her no attention, looking forward as always, seeking new souls to collect.

    Occasionally Katie would see some of these souls walking around on deck and hear the ringing of the bell as they departed. By what right do they get to go on living while she and her crew and the hundreds of other crews and captains sat crammed in their limbo of torment. She walked the crowded hold of green ghostly images of kinsmen she had sailed or fought with. All were equal now in the Ferryman’s grasp. At times a few would suddenly vanish for a time. When it first happened the still trapped souls felt thought the time of torment was up for their kinsmen, and they were finally free, but those same souls would return with no memory of where they had been.

    Katie continued to pace, nodding at some captains huddled in a corner talking about old times, conquests and celebrations. She passed a few of her crew members and they nodded towards her. As she turned away, out of the corner of her eye she saw a few disappear in wisp of green smoke, then more. She looked around, other crews and captains took notice then she felt all eyes upon her.

    Then darkness.

    “Captain Katie O' Nine Tails, mortals’ trespass on sacred soil. Seek them out, dash them all 'n I shall scuttle a year from yer sentence on th' Ferry,” the raspy voice of the Ferryman echoed though her head and the blackness around her.

    Katie could not feel anything still, as on the Ferry, she did not breathe and felt nothing physical. Above her a tiny point of light appeared, reaching out with clawed skeleton hands she dug and pulled at the dirt around her and, with a strength she had never known, burst out of the soft ground. The light was blinding at first, it took a moment for the green grass and dirt at her feet to come into focus. The bright white sky fell aside to a beautiful blue sky with the noon day sun streaming through the trees. She looked at her new form, a skeleton draped with a purple tattered dress, cinched with an old belt which had a rusty cutlass hanging on it. On her head sat a large brimmed purple hat with a blue feather in it.

    Looking around she saw former crew members bursting from the ground holding swords or guns all wearing blue bandannas the same color as her feather. If she had lips she would have grinned, this may not be her former life or form, but it was something to be free of the Ferry of the Damned and walking out in the open once again.

    One of the crew made a raspy growl and motioned her towards a pair of cannons and pointed out towards the ocean. She walked up beside the crew member and put a skeleton arm around him, leaning in to look down his bony arm to the finger pointing at the horizon. If she had a heart it would have started beating fast; if she had skin, she would have felt a tingle flow over her; if she had muscles, she would have felt every one of them tense in anticipation.

    On the horizon, sails emblazoned with an unfamiliar emblem of three skulls and two crossed guns, a galleon pushed through the sea at full sail right towards them.

    Captain Katie turned back to her skeleton crew. From the depths of some dark place in her new form came a guttural growl. She drew her sword from her waist and raised it above her head, pointing to the approaching galleon. The crew replied in kind with their own haunting screams.

    The crew of the Slippery Eel approached Crook’s Hollow with a sense of adventure and excitement. The bottle they found wedged in the sand at Keel Haul Fort had promised six chests full of treasure and riches. Deckhand Alastair was eager for the treasure, or his small portion of it, but was more excited to get on land again and away from the rigors of the daily work. Even now, raising the mainsail on his own after raising the foresail as well, he grumbled and cursed under his breath. That was, until the he heard the cannon shot.

    At the helm, Lady Sylk watched the water carefully for sandbars and rocks, her long red hair flying in the wind around her. She took one last look at their course and jumped to the mizzen sail to raise it and slow their approach. She was watching the sail go up, the howl of the wind around her when the sound of cannon fire echoed through the warm air.

    Captain Edward “Spooky” Jones was relaxing in the captain’s cabin, his feet up on a desk that could tell a hundred stories with its many cuts, blood and grog stains on it. He was leaning back in his chair looking at the map they had found when he saw the mug of grog start to slow down its back and forth sliding over the desk. They were close to the island now. The Captain stood up, stuffed the map into his coat and pulled his shirt buttons together with the effort it would take to raise an anchor. The fabric and buttons strained but held. Taking a quick drink of grog, he grabbed his sword and pistol, stuffed them into his belt, and had just stepped outside his door onto the deck when he heard the cannon shot.

    Standing on the bowsprit the first mate Reginald de Groute stood leaning into the wind, ocean spray splashing around him and against his weathered face. He glanced back at the deckhand who was taking his good time raising the sails.

    “10 less gold fer 'im from today’s booty.” Reginald thought.

    Looking past the dirty and scrawny deckhand he saw Lady Sylk at the helm, her red hair like a torch around her head illuminated by the sun and flying in the wind. As she went aft ward to the sail he turned his attention back to the island, raising his spyglass just in time to see the cannon ball coming right at him.

    Captain Katie pulled the skeleton crew in around her and drew a rough map in the sand of the island. Pointing to groups of crew members she shared her plan to stave off the mortal invaders. Before they could disperse the crew member at the cannon called out. Katie ran back to the lookout, the ship was coming into range, she glanced back and nodded at the skeleton.

    The cannon shot to life, the sound echoed out across the valley, the skeleton crew and their captain watched from the ridge as the first shot sailed through the air towards the ship.

    Alastair’s eyes widened as he saw the cannon ball slam into the body of Reginald and turn him into a green ghost for a moment before he disappeared, his blood curdling scream carried by the wind.

    Captain Jones saw the cannon ball slam into the deck, shaking the ship the ship and sending splinters of wood flying. He looked up and saw the mainsail drop down again, deckhand Alastair was frozen in fear. The captain ran forward, grabbed the capstan and released the anchor.

    Lady Sylk felt the shudder of the cannon ball slamming into the ship. She secured the mizzen sail and grabbed the helm just in time to see the mainsail come down again. She saw the Captain running forward and spun the wheel to the right as fast as she could. Each moment felt like a lifetime as the wheel spun and then locked hard right as the anchor crashed into the seabed.

    The skeleton crew and their captain watched as the ship came fast into the bay at Crook’s Hollow. With the mainsail down the ship picked up speed but at the last moment the entire ship shook and groaned as it suddenly turned right and slammed into the dock with a bang that filled the air. They let out a cheerful scream and shook their weapons in the air, Captain Katie O' Nine Tails nodded her approval and gave the cannoneer skeleton a pat on his bony shoulder, then she turned to the crew and motioned for them to go to their spots on the island and prepare for battle. Taking one last look at her would be foes, she went of into the jungle with her crew.

    Captain Jones found himself sitting upright against the port side rail, looking around he saw Lady Sylk still clutching the wheel, the deckhand was no where to be seen. Groaning and getting up he looked over the side and saw the partially broken dock wedged into the port rear of the ship and his deckhand laying face first in the water beside it. The deckhand suddenly shot around in the water, splashing and coughing he pulled himself onto the dock.

    “Get back up here 'n check below fer holes,” Captain Jones barked down at the deckhand. He then went to the mainsail and started pulling it up, Lady Sylk joined him.

    “Wha' happened,” she stammered, “I heard a cannon shot 'n saw th' mainsail come back down!”

    “Someone on th' island took a shot at us.” Captain Jones replied, motioning toward the mainsail mast and the dark mark on it.

    “Where be Reginald?” Lady Sylk asked.

    “Gone,” the deckhand replied as he pulled himself onto the deck, “that cannonball jus' hit 'im straight on.”

    Lady Sylk shot a worried look back toward the captain.

    “Do nah worry, he will be back,” he replied, “Reginald always has his piece o' eight fer th' Ferryman.

    As if on cue, Reginald emerged from the lower decks. Pale and unsteady he looked back towards the three of them. Captain Jones stepped toward him and reached out a hand to greet him.

    “Glad t' see ye back ole heartie.” the Captain said, reaching into his pocket with his other hand and pulling out two silver coins and putting them into Reginald’s hand, “fer next time.”

    Reginald looked down at the coins, pure silver and emblazoned with a compass on one side and a skull on the other.
    He looked up into the face of his Captain, “Thank ye, but why two doubloons? Ye only gave me one afore.”

    As he turned away from his first mate the Captain spoke with a low tone, “Th' Ferryman desires more bounty each time, those that cannot pay will stay wit' 'im.”

    “How many doubloons do ye hold Captain?” asked Alastair, touching his own pant leg to ensure he had not lost his.

    “Too many t' carry deckhand, too many t' carry,” the captain replied quietly and retreated to his cabin for a quick drink of grog.

    The crew and captain composed themselves, set the ship, and then dropping onto the dock, Captain Edward Jones pulled out his compass and map.

    “We stay together, an' scuttle anythin' that moves,” the captain said to his crew as they stepped onto the sandy shore and started looking for treasure.

    Captain Katie O' Nine Tails had been pacing for a while now, the sounds of fighting had rung throughout the island, her crew was being decimated. She wondered what game this was that the Ferryman was playing at, getting them to defend this hidden treasure on the island but still allowing the mortals to come back from certain death. An explosion shook the island not far from where she was, Katie and the twelve crew with her turned toward the sound. The others had fallen. This would be the last stand for the Captain chest buried beneath them.

    Alastair’s ears were ringing, he didn’t even realize that he was sitting waist deep in the water nor hear the first mate of the Slippery Eel shouting at him. As the ringing subsided Reginald’s voice came in clearly, he was laughing and shouting, “Ye flew forty feet aft that barrel exploded!”

    Alastair stood up and checked himself out, there was a bit of dark soot on his shirt and a few new holes in his pants but nothing bleeding or broken.

    Lady Sylk approached him, and handed him a banana, “Hear eat this 'twill make ye feel better.”

    Captain Jones looked around the beach one last time and checked for more of the skeleton menace that had come upon them. Turning to his crew he said, “Alastair loot th' chest back t' th' ship ye 'ave been though enough aft that last battle, th' rest o' us will venture on t' th' last chest.”

    Alastair proceeded to finish digging the chest out of the sand and then walked towards the ship.

    “T’was a fine shot!”, Reginald exclaimed and shooting a wink to Lady Sylk.

    “Ye nigh-on loot th' head off th' deckhand,” laughed Captain Jones.

    Lady Sylk blushed at the comments and smiled.

    The trio ascended into the jungle, but their cheerful banter stopped as they entered the clearing where the final chest was buried. Fog had settled in the most haunting way, from the thick blanket a single raspy laugh echoed.
    Captain Katie O' Nine Tails cackled in the fog, she stood glaring at her three foes as they drew their swords and smiled. Smiles turned to terror as the twelve skeleton crew emerged from the jungle behind her.

    The first to shoot was a skeleton with a pistol. The shot missed Reginald’s right ear barely. The First Mate leapt sideways, drew his own pistol and shot wildly hitting the skeleton in a rib, breaking it. But the undead warrior remained standing. Lady Sylk charged the two skeletons holding swords closest to her. One shattered apart into nothing but lifeless bones on the dirt as the other deflected her attack and fell back. Captain Katie screamed at the sight of one of her crew being destroyed and lunged at the female who barely blocked the sword coming at her.

    Captain Jones charged three skeletons at the jungles edge holding blunderbuss’. He knocked two back and their shots went harmlessly into the air; the third managed a shot and shrapnel from the gun sprayed everywhere hitting Captain Jones in the leg and left arm. Blood stained his clothing, he ignored it and stabbed the skeleton in the face with his cutlass and shattered it.

    Reginald regained his footing and reloaded his pistol as the skeleton that shot at him did the same. He almost didn’t see another skeleton come racing toward him with a cutlass. Dropping his pistol, he drew his own steel just in time to block the attackers killing cut. As the two blades clashed the two fell back just as a pistol shot flew between them.

    Captain Katie slashed and pushed at Lady Sylk, but the mortal was quick with her sword and was defending herself well. The skeleton captain turned and twisted so that more of her crew could attack the female. Seeing the danger of two more skeletons behind her, Lady Sylk focused on the skeleton captain. As the sword of the undead captain swung toward her head, she ducked and rolled behind her would be assailant, drawing her pistol and firing.

    Captain Katie thought she had a killing blow but instantly knew it was a poor attack as the female mortal rolled behind her and shot. The bullet passed between the skeleton captains’ ribs and took the head off one of her crew, bones clattered to the ground.

    Captain Jones swung his sword through the chest of one of the blunderbuss skeletons and shot the other in the face with his pistol, he saw Lady Sylk roll and shoot but the Skeleton Captain was upon her. Reginald saw it too as he mistakenly reached for his pistol on the ground and the skeleton that had been attacking him saw the opening and stabbed him in the shoulder throwing him back, but the pistol was in his hand and he cocked it and shot the skeleton into pieces.

    Captain Katie slashed at the female on the ground. The mortal deflected a few swipes, but the Katie found her mark and slashed the leg of the woman. Lady Sylk cried out in pain but gathered up her wits quickly and rolled backward away from the skeleton captain and held up her sword. The captain laughed.

    The blade from the skeleton behind her pushed straight through Lady Sylk’s chest. She didn’t have time to scream. As she turned into a green ghost her eyes met Reginald’s, then looked at the ground in terror as she disappeared.

    Reginald watched her get stabbed in horror. As their eyes met, he saw the ghostly form of Lady Sylk look down at the dirt covered in blood from the cut to her leg lay a silver coin.

    Captain Jones saw his helmsmen disappear and yelled in anger. He charged at the Skeleton Captain who stepped back from him and continued to laugh as the six remaining skeletons formed a wall in front of her and charged the human captain. Reginald pulled himself off the ground and picked up his sword. The skeleton captain had turned away from Captain Jones, and she approached him.

    Captain Katie O' Nine Tails took measure of the mortal standing before her. She had seen the look in his eyes when the female was vanquished. She picked up the blood drenched coin from the ground and held it. Reginald lunged toward the captain and slashed wildly, she defended herself easily, blocking the wild slashes.

    Captain Edward Jones stared down the six foes facing him, the tips of their swords just inches away. The first skeleton attacked but Captain Jones ducked, and the blade meant for him slammed into a tree. The captain stabbed through the skeleton and into the one behind it and both broke into pieces to the ground. A skeleton behind him went for his head but Jones took him out at the knees. The last three skeletons backed off momentarily then charged all at once, Captain Jones saw red.
    Reginald continued to slash violently at the skeleton captain. In a moment of clarity, he thought he had a chance at cleaving her in two and swung his sword downward toward her skull.

    Captain Katie played with the unbalanced rage of the mortal swinging at her. She gave him a moment to think he had bested her then stepped sideways and his killing blow slammed into the ground and she kicked him to the dirt. The human was on his back defenseless. She held out the blood-soaked coin above him. His eyes turned from rage to acceptance. The skeleton captain dropped the coin toward his out stretched hand and shoved her sword into his chest. The coin passed though the green ghostly Reginald’s hand and into the dirt.

    Captain Edward Jones had seen red in the jungle behind the three skeletons attacking him, crashing between them he dove over the explosive barrel sitting there, lighting it as he did. The skeletons blindly charge at him.
    Captain Katie O' Nine Tails was thrown forward by the explosion behind her, she turned to see skeleton crew pieces falling all around her and the last mortal emerging from the jungle with soot, blood and anger on his face. The Skeleton captain screamed at the final mortal and lifted her sword. She began to charge toward him, but something stopped her.

    The cutlass blade penetrated her chest from behind, glimmering bloodless in the sunlight, the soot covered angry mortal walked towards her with purpose, he raised his sword and cut for her neck. For a moment the world spun around, then she was looking up from the dirt at her killer. As the darkness surrounded the edges of her vision, she saw a blood-soaked coin in front of her in the dirt. If she had tears, she would have shed them.

    As the skeleton captain fell to pieces, Captain Edward Jones looked upon Alastair and put his hand on the deckhand’s shoulder.

    The constant howls of the damned surrounded Captain Katie O' Nine Tails, dead pirate souls one and all trapped in the belly of the Ferry of the Damned.

    #AthenasFortuneContest

  • 0

    @e-1615881939 This is an amazing story. Good work spooky

  • 1

    The Legend of The Dread Pirate Fox: search for the perfect spyglass that’s also magical somehow maybe (contest revision)

    The following is an excerpt taken from the journal of The Dread Pirate Fox. We also took some gold, and anything else that we could find.

    So where did I leave things off ……oh right …… that blaggard Stinkglass sliced off my hand and took the magical ring that prevents me from staying dead, then fed me to the kraken. Well, I guess I’ll explain briefly how it is that I’m still not dead ………… I’m still not dead ………. There, now that the explanation’s over, I must confess that I have pondered over the subject for some time. The best thing I’ve been able to come up with so far is that I wore the ring for a great deal of time. Such a long time, that the rings magic must have infused itself with my life essence, slowly but surely building up a resilience in my body to the elements of death, until eventually my body no longer needed the ring to repel the dark energy from beyond. Then again ……… it could have also been the matching amulet that I found along with the ring?

    But I digress …….. Once I’d fitted a hook that complimented my penmanship, I assembled a new crew who were beyond material possessions, such as gold and their health, to help me pursue a noble quest of enlightenment. The only caveat was ….… I wasn’t telling them that. No, they thought we were sailing for Athena’s fortune or some such, when in actual fact I was trying to acquire a spyglass that looked bigger than anyone else’s. Please don’t misunderstand though…….my spyglass is well sized, and many people have told me so.… at sunset or sunrise it looks just as big as others …… even more so when it’s dark. Again …….. the size is more than adequate, I just needed one that “appeared” to be bigger, because obviously …….. mine’s well sized.

    First things first though, I had to get back my ship the “Conqueror’s Bad Firedrake”, because ……??????……. I wanted it. Rumour had it, that it was docked at Plunder Outpost and now belonged to a lazy self entitled Captain, who didn’t quite get how self entitlement worked when he chose “lazy”. Upon requesting the return of the ship, he informed me of an ancient mystical thingamajig whatsaname that was fiercely guarded by tribe’s people, and a lingering presence of death that surrounded the entire island with death stuff. He then said that I could only have the ship back if I agreed to take on this perilous journey in his place, returning the treasure to him once I was done. To which I agreed …..…….. then I just stole the ship instead.

    Next, I needed a treasure map that I could look at when I wanted to ignore people. But my reputation with the Gold Hoarders was low after that thing I did with their maps, I’d stolen them, so I had to visit the Order of Souls instead. I was greeted by a lady who didn’t know how to use a mirror when applying her makeup, and asked if she had an eye infection, then I felt awkward and quickly asked if she had any maps for spyglasses. She then informed me that she’d already foreseen my arrival, because she was on the pier when I arrived, and that my destiny was to be that of a great pirate legend. “The chosen thing or whoever”, who dedicated their existence to helping the Order of Souls gather lots of skulls, so they would have ………... even more skulls. I told her, “That sounds a lot like me, and reflects my character traits almost perfectly”, then I just stole the maps instead.

    Once we were back out at sea everything started to go wrong though. We heard an ominous eerie ominous wailing sound from below the ship, which was eerily ominous. At first I thought it was that blasted kraken back for more, but it turned out to be so much worse than that …….. and ominous. This thing had a look of maliciousness and hunger in its eye’s like I’d never seen before, and the stench was unbearable …………… it was Stinkglass trapped in our brig. I’d only been away from the Firedrake for a couple of days, but the stench was pretending it was years.

    He rose to his feet quickly and demanded a gentlemen’s duel, asking that if he won he’d get his freedom back, and that if I won he’d get his freedom back. But I politely decline with a condescendingly hysterical laugh, and then suggested that it would only be fair if both of us had lost a hand, and that maybe one of us should really enjoy taking the other ones. Then he began to beg, and said he’d heard things, profitable things, of monetary value, that could benefit someone, someone who was a captain ……... but I had no idea what he was talking about. “YOU, you blithering idiot, I’m saying I can make us both rich!”. I turned around to make sure no one was listening but they’d all passed out. “The Eye of Length, the legends were true …… and I just so happen to know where it is”. I said “What …..what makes you, I’m not ….. interested in that. Yeah, we’re doing skulls now, that’s are thing”. He said “Ok, fine, but I overheard the previous captain saying they’re going there right now”.

    I returned to the helm and then looked at one of the skull maps to ignore someone. We went through map after map after map, but it was no use, we couldn’t find any spyglasses because every place we visited was swarming with cursed skeletons. At this point I began to suspect that the maps might be cursed somehow, even though there was no indication on them other than a massive picture of a cursed skeleton. However my fears were later confirmed to me, when one of the crew said that he’d told me the maps were cursed hours ago, but that I’d been ignoring him. I then looked at one of the skull maps until he went away.

    After a quick visit to the brig we had a new destination for enlightenment, “Devil’s Ridge”, which was eerily ominous. I decided to let Stinkglass out because the men were complaining about the lack of air, but also mainly because ….. he wouldn’t tell me unless I did. Now, the other ship may have had a couple of day’s head start on us, a crew who weren’t demoralised by pungent adversaries, and a map leading them straight to the treasure, but we had something that they didn’t have ………. oh no wait, we’d lost that, never mind.

    It was very dark when we made our approach towards the island, but I was still able to make out their ship moored next to a waterfall through my well sized spyglass. So we circled round to the other side planning to surprise them, but when we got there Stinkglass immediately jumped ship and ran off into the darkness. We gave chase following the trail of dead snakes into the bushes and accidentally stumbled upon a cave system overlooking their ship. It was perfect, now we could watch their every move without them ever seeing us, there was only one problem ……... they saw us.

    Some of the men fled and got back to the Firedrake just in time to sail off and stop her from falling into enemy hands, while the rest of us preferred the smell of the caves. We all ran deeper into the cave system expertly picking out places to hide, but somehow they were able to find all of us in the big open spaces. We were then stripped of all our weapons and had our thumbs pulled out of our mouths as we were brought before their captain. I should have known ………... it was Jerkglass ……. and he was wearing my ring.

    I’d rather cleverly given him the name of Jerkglass, because he once pretended to be my friend and then threw all of my things in the sea …… and definitely not because I’m obsessed with spyglasses, because I’m not …….. or that I’d already given the name of Stinkglass to somebody else, because ……... Anyway, he took one look at me and instantly remembered, asking “Have we met before, because you look like a no good rotten filfy pirate, and they’re some of me bestest mates”, he just didn’t remember that well. “Oh, nah wait, I member you. Yeah, you’re the guy with the small whatsaname”, in fact he remembered quite badly. “Actually it’s well sized, but yes, I’m the Dread Pirate Fox”. Then he said “Right, well, I don’t really wanna talk to you anymore, so ………. we’re gonna have to kill ya now”.

    It seemed that they’d spent the last couple of days on the island trying to decipher an extremely cryptic riddle map, but were unable to do so, on account of them being …… well, them. So I bartered for our lives and promised to solve the riddle in exchange for our freedom, to which they agreed. But something about the way they were laughing and snickering made me think that they were lying to us, I just couldn’t put my hook on what it was.

    The first clue was easy though: “what looks like a cave, smells like a cave, and is spelt like a cave, maybe it’s a cave”. My deductive powers of reasoning lead me to believe that it might in fact be ……. “a cave” ……. and it only took me two guesses. The second clue however is where things became far more cryptic: “what you seek is bigger than most, a doorway next to a waterfall, shine a light there to witness a humble boast”. After walking around the waterfall passageway with a light held out for several hours, we finally got lucky and found it, when someone decided to put their lantern away and then pull it back out again. A segment of the cave wall then crumbled away revealing a secret chamber and some poor masonry workmanship.

    We entered the secret chamber with only one last clue keeping us from retrieving the Eye of Length: “Its gaze will amaze, its gaze is ablaze, its gaze is tempered by the nights and the days, on a fitting throne of dust and stone, it longingly awaits a sailors groan, on a fitting throne it rests alone, no words are spoken but a wailing moan”. Good thing it was another easy one, which I solved very easily, almost too easily, so easily …… that …… words can’t fully express how easy it was, it was “that” easy. I won’t even bother you with the tedium of explaining it all, because that would be insulting to your intelligence.

    Anyway, after I accidentally kicked over the banjo and mouth instrument, a bright green light shone revealing even more poor masonry work, but with it the Eye of Length. It was immaculate ……. it was pristine …… it was …… ehh …….. kind of well sized for my liking. I mean, it was ok, I guess, in the right light it looked fine, but ……. I don’t know. Then Jerkglass picked it up and extended it to its full length …. Wow ….. it was almost as big as mine, except it looked ten times bigger, accounting for the current lighting of course.

    He then sent a runner to take the Eye of Length to his ship, which I’m sure he would have done himself, except, he was far too busy snickering while his crew stacked explosive barrels next to us. I was starting to get a bad feeling similar to drinking the grog at Galleon’s Grave Outpost, so I gave the man who was guarding us one of the skull maps to read, and swiped his cutlass when he was ignoring me. “Don’t shoot, you’ll blow da boom booms”, Jerkglass exclaimed to his men, “You can’t win Fox me matey, I got this mystical thingamajig whatsaname see, grants the beholder with the power to not be killed”. I said “No”, then I sliced off his hand that was wearing the ring with my ………. trusty stolen cutlass that’s not to be questioned.

    The loud crying that followed then disorientated everyone enough that we were able to get to our weapons, and begin fighting our way out of the caves. Jerkglass then ran off in a screaming fit, and his men surrendered to us saying that we could go do a skull fort together if we wanted. But I still had to get the Eye of Length first, because ……??????……. I wanted it, and, enlightenment or whatever. So I ran out of the cave and dove through the waterfall heroically, landing safely below, then I stubbed my toe on a rock …… also heroically.

    The sun was now out, and I could clearly see Stinkglass stealing their ship through my ………. through someone else’s …….. small spyglass that I must have picked up by accident. The ship was sailing away quickly, too quickly to catch, but somehow I was able to throw my cutlass without letting go, and briefly swim through the sea like a fish holding onto a cutlass it had just thrown. I grabbed hold of the ladder and climbed up to the main deck only to hear: “Well, well, well, if it isn’t the …. DEAD …. Pirate Fox. Now I’m going to kill you in a place where we have equal footing, and this time you’re going to die …… I mean ….. you’re ..….. you’re going to die again, but, you’re going to stay dead this t …… you know what I mean”. I said “No”.

    He’d hidden the Eye of Length somewhere on the ship, but it was impossible to know exactly where, and that glaring reflection coming from the crows nest wasn’t helping me either. Then, I remembered the magical amulet that I’d never used in a narrative driven context before, and even though it was a long shot, I decided to use it to try and summon the very thing that I wanted the most at that particular moment in time ………. but instead of a blunderbuss it gave me the Eye of Length, which fell into my hand as the ship swayed.

    Stinkglass was not pleased, and vaulted down the stairs, slicing off his belt and flinging it into the sea as he drew his cutlass. Not being one to be upstaged, I drew my cutlass and then unfastened my belt, also throwing it into the sea. A menacing smile slid across his face quite unnervingly …….. I responded in kind by sticking my tongue out. Thunder and lightning then began to rain down upon us as we were enveloped by a storm ……. along with some rain …….. which also rained down upon us. Then, as our swords clashed at the exact moment of a lightning strike …….. a randomly thrown pebble skimmed into the side of the ship, igniting an explosive barrel which sent us both flying off into the sea.

    I tried to throw my cutlass again to get back to the ship but it didn’t work for some reason, so I did the next best thing I could think of, and waited to die. Then I waited some more, and some more, and some more, but I wasn’t dying. In retrospect, maybe I should have tried to drown myself instead of just floating there eating a banana. But that’s when I saw it ……. I’d seen a lot of things in my years sailing the seas, magical rings, cursed skeletons, a ship ferrying the dead, but nothing to ever make me believe in the occult …….. until …….. I saw a fish lady holding a stick …….. or maybe it was a torch. She beckoned me closer with alluring gestures, but just like most of my relationships with women, she promptly sent me away again and I somehow found myself back on the Firedrake.

    Unfortunately Stinkglass was also there, it seemed that the men had rescued him by mistake thinking that he was me, but were then captivated by an elaborately fictional tale of how he had shot me dead with a pistol. Which reminded me …..? there was still a small matter of a duel to be resolved. So I immediately plotted a course for the closest island, which was Mutineer Rock, and then realised that we were already there when somebody told me. After giving her one of the skull maps to read, I then took Stinkglass out to the island alone, knowing that one way or another, this was the last time we would be crossing paths.

    I had taken off the amulet as a sign of sporting conduct and fair play, and then promised him that if he won he’d get his freedom back. But that if I were to win, he’d only get a runner up prize of significantly lesser value. I then handed him a pistol which he immediately fired at me, but was empty. Then I explained that because I was unable to trust him, due to an extremely heightened sense of being able to tell if someone’s a blaggard, we would be walking to opposite ends of the island and only then loading our shot before turning around to fire. If someone were to load their shot sooner than that, they would more than likely be picked off by one of the sharpshooters on the Firedrake with an eye of reach ……... then, after they were dead they’d be disqualified, and we’d have to start all over again.

    Reluctantly, he agreed, and began walking slowly to his end of the island. Then, when he got there he frantically loaded his pistol as fast as he could, and turned around to see that we’d all gone. Of course, I was able to see the whole thing unfold through my extraordinarily well sized spyglass. Which according to the legend, is supposed to grant the beholder with the power to not ….. not be able to see into the future. But I think a more appropriate name for it would have been: “The magical spyglass which nobody could figure out how to get to work properly”.

    Now, there is a rumour that the original pirate legends know how to get it to work. But ……. I don’t exactly have a good reputation with them after that thing I did with some of their clothes. And …… then I did also want to visit the Devil’s Roar, which sounded eerily ominous in the description given to me by a man made of ash who couldn’t breathe properly. But, as to just what exactly I was going to do next, well, let’s just say that ……. not even somebody with a magical spyglass could see into the future. There was one thing that played on my mind however, a notion I had, that …….… as far as pistols go ……… mine only “appeared” to look well sized ……..?

  • 1

    @khaleesibot

    Brandy Spirit

    The rain hammered at the door impatiently demanding entry to a small weapons shop on White Rock Outpost. A young boy of ten years sat atop a box of supplies staring at the wooden entrance. He had a dagger in hand and worry racing through his eyes. Sweat had built up on his forehead and it loosened his fingers grip on the small blade. The folks of White Rock had been filling his head with unsettling fear. A dreadful pirate crew was spotted circling the island earlier that week and it was all anyone could talk about. Few had actually seen Captain Razor and the crew known as the Devil's Own, but they were known from shroud to shroud for their stealthy tactics and desire for all things shiny and everyone knew from the pitch black ship that it had to be him.

    The Hodge's weapon shop had many valuable arms and a sizable chest of gold from its sales. Little Jimmy Hodge knew he couldn't let it be stolen away from him. It was just Jimmy and his father who ran the shop and his father had recently fallen dangerously ill. Jimmy needed the money to pay the Order of Souls to divine some kind of cure for his father. The deviant activities of the trading company aside, they were known to be able to get their hands on potions with magical properties, some of which were thought to be capable of healing. Nawtreaka, the Order of Souls representative of White Rock, had told Jimmy that only the Ferryman could decide the fate of the Damned. This was discouraging, but the boy's father taught him that enough gold could change anyone's mind, so he was going to see to it that he changed Nawtreaka's.

    Jimmy heard a slight scratching outside. He nervously pushed the box of supplies he had been sitting on against the wall and stood on top to cautiously peer out the window. He looked left and saw nothing. He glanced right and was met with only darkness, but then lightning struck with a blast of wind, flinging the front door open. This shock sent Jimmy sprawling onto the floor turning him into a pile of flailing limbs. He regained his stance and rushed to shut the door, escorting the noisy percipitation back outside.

    The tanned boy brushed the rain out of his thick blonde hair and off his brown pants. He took in a deep breath of relief, turned and picked up his knife, then went to retake his post, but noticed a shadowy figure standing in the back of the shop.

    "I see you!" Jimmy whimpered. "Come out or I'll...."

    His voice trailed off as a young woman stepped out from the dimly lit corner and into the glow of the shop's lantern light. Her hands were raised with her empty palms showing no threat. She had a sad look on her chocolate colored face. Her shoulder length black hair dripped as if it was drenched in ink and her dress looked heavy carrying an extra pound of rain in its threads.

    She fell to her knees and pleaded with the boy. "I'm sorry to burst in, but the rain is trying to drown me and that lightning scares me beyond my wits! Please, can I stay? Just to dry off and let the storm pass?"

    Jimmy paused to think. He was disarmed by the ladies appearance. She had a few scars but looked cute in her black and bronze dress. He felt she was no danger and sensed an air of innocence emit from her. His father couldn't get out of bed and was barely able to awake from his fevered sleep more than a couple minutes at a time. He was laying in the room behind the shop desk and in no condition to make this decision so Jimmy made the choice to allow her to stay. He wanted to help her. Besides, he had been lonely since his Dad's sickness and he was scared as she was of the situation.

    The two sat on the floor boards with a large lantern in between them. The girl held her hands out to capture the warmth as water fell silently from her tight sleeves. "So are you here alone?" She questioned.

    "My Dad is in the other room." Jimmy replied. "This is his store. I am just trying to help protect it while he is sick."

    "Wow, you are really brave." She smiled. "Is your name Hodge too then? I saw it on the sign outside. I'm Brandy."

    "Thanks. I'm Jimmy Hodge. My dad is Francis Hodge." Jimmy tilted his head and asked. "So where did you come from Brandy? There aren't a lot of people on this island. I've never seen you before."

    "Well you wouldn't have." Brandy said while studying the boy's expressions. "I am a travelling merchant. I was trying to sell snakes to the Order of Souls on behalf of the Merchant Alliance. I heard they use it for potions or some such thing. The storm had my sloop twisting every which way though. I thought I was a goner when I was washed overboard but was blessed to find this port while getting thrown about."

    Jimmy was excited by this news. "Do you know if they make healing potions? I need some for my Dad! He has some rare disease and no one says they can help. The Order of Souls is the only hope I have! Please tell me they have something!"

    The woman seemed a bit uncomfortable by this. "I can't say for sure. I just deliver the ingredients and animals. I'm sorry I can't help more, little friend." Jimmy's face fell and caused Brandy to quickly add, "I don't see why not though. They can divine secrets from beyond our world. Healing should be a snap for them if anybody could."

    Jimmy picked up his head and managed a weak smile. They chatted a while more in front of the lantern's flame as the sounds of thunder grew softer allowing the two to relax a bit. Brandy laid on her side and propped her head up with her arm while Jimmy leaned his back against the wall. Jimmy thought about how scary sailing in a storm would be. Aside from that he wondered if she even knew their were infamous pirates in the area. "Did you know the Devil's Own were seen around here? You are lucky they didn't find you first." Jimmy informed his guest.

    "Pirates are always a worry for us at the Merchant Alliance. They chase us all the time and take all they can carry. You don't have to worry about me though, little friend. I keep my ship filled with snakes. SSsssSS!" Brandy hissed as she tickled Jimmy. He giggled and then let his body relax flat on the wooden floor as the fatigue of staying up all nite began to set in.

    "Goodnite, Brandy." He said sleepily. She replied in kind as his eyes closed and the fire dwindled to a tiny spark sending him off comfortably to slumber.

    A few hours later morning came with a bang. Jimmy's eyes opened wide as saucers. He hopped up only to trip back down to the wooden floor immediately. His legs were tied together, same as his wrists bound behind his back. He squirmed around and rolled over to see Brandy kneeling by the door. He took her in as his eyes adjusted to being awake. She was now wearing a wide brimmed black hat with a long silver feather in it. Her face was painted a ghastly white with thick black outlines on her eyes and lips. She had her same dress but now it was decorated with weaponry from the shop. A gold an onyx saber was resting on her side and an ebony flintlock pistol with emerald studs stood at the ready in her hand. She was peering out the window in the center of the door, but turned to meet his shocked face. Her eyes dropped with a bit of guilt. "Sorry, Kid. I'm just going to borrow these a while, honest!"

    "Just like you were honest about being from the Merchant Alliance?!" He shouted.

    "Hey, I've done work for them before. And I see snakes all the time! HEY! I don't have to explain myself to you, Kid!" Brandy said exasperated. "Just stay in here and you'll be fine. It's about to get dangerous out there."

    "Are you Captain Razor?" Jimmy demanded.

    "No. That was my old man." Brandy revealed. "I took over his trade just like you will from your father someday. I couldn't save my father from his fate when the time came, but do what I tell you, Jimmy, and you just might get the chance to save yours." With that, Brandy pushed through the door and took off into the early morning rain. Jimmy wiggled his body til he could stand. He looked outside. The sky was grey and the storm continued but he could see much more than last nite. There was a pitch black sloop by the docks. It was firing periodically into the outpost and the residents were running about in a panic. Jimmy also saw several pirates dressed in green attire chasing shop keepers and looting the outpost.

    There were dozens of blades for sale hanging on the wall. Jimmy hopped over to one and rubbed his bindings against the sharp instrument until his wrists were free. He then cut away the rope on his ankles. Once free he started for the door but saw a pirate's shadow pouring through the window. He dove behind the counter to hide. The doorknob turned and the door was pushed open with a deafening creak. Shivers went down the boy's spine as his worst nightmare took place. Heavy boots moved around the shop. Jimmy couldn't see anything from his hiding spot but heard the pirate rummaging through the weapons hanging against the wall. The villain then let out a gasp when he noticed the chest of gold right next to Jimmy who was frozen in terror hidden by the counter top. The pirate dropped the trinkets in his arms and scooped up the chest with a dastardly laugh. He was so enamored with his find he didn't even notice the little boy crouched next to it. The pirate took off with the gold and Jimmy crawled over to where the chest had been. He laid on the floor sobbing as he felt his heart ache. He lost all his hard work. He lost all his gold. He had lost his father's last chance to stave off the Ferryman.

    "NO!" Jimmy screamed rising up from his despair with unbridled passion. He ran out of the shop with fire in his eyes, scouring the beach for the man who stole his father's future from him. He laid his eyes on him nearly about to reach the docks. Running as fast as his boots would carry him, the boy dodged fire, yelling residents, and wild pirates, as he made his way toward his target. Jimmy caught up to the pirate just as he was getting onto the black sloop to store the treasure. The boy threw himself into the man but he didn't budge at all. Full of fury as he was, Jimmy was still just ten years old. The pirate dropped the chest and turned toward the kid in his way.

    "What have we here? This treasure use to be yours didn't it kid? I bet you feel some kinda way about this, but it's time to learn a lesson about how things work around here from ole Papa Wolf." Taunted the pirate as he smacked Jimmy off his leg, sprawling him against the mast. The man was wearing a long green jacket left open to show off his bare chest covered in scars and tattoos. He leaned closer to Jimmy who pulled back in disgust from the man's odorous beard and moldy eye patch. "In the Sea of Thieves, the strong take and the weak provide." He poked Jimmy as he continued his lecture. "If you are weak. You gather shiny things for the strong like me. Just accept your fate and keep your place under my boot, boy!"

    The pirate raised his muddy boot to stomp on Jimmy, but a dark figure slid down the ladder from the crow's nest and pummeled into the man. Jimmy looked up to see Brandy standing on top of the pirate who was now crumpled and unconscious on the deck. "Glad to see you know your place, Gloom Wolf!" Brandy spat as she rubbed her boot into the man's back. Jimmy's jaw dropped in disbelief. "Close your mouth kid. You look like a hungry goldfish!" She joked.

    "But. I thought that. I mean. Aren't you?" Muttered Jimmy.

    "A pirate? Yes. With the Gloom Wolves? No. These dolts stole my ship during the storm last nite. I'm Captain Spirit of the Sea Spirits. That's the name I chose instead of the Devil's Own after inheriting the crew from my dad, Revan Spirit or Captain Razor as the public remembers him. The Devil's Own is a bit too on the nose for me. We get it Dad. You were scary." Brandy mused then sighed. "I picked a heck of a time to give my crew the nite off, didn't I?"

    Jimmy's face was still blank with uncertainty when two more Gloom Wolf pirates returned to the ship with spoils. They dropped their loot and pulled their weapons when the spotted Brandy on top of their captain. "You?" The men accused. "We tossed you into the sea! What are you doing here?"

    "What am I doing here? THIS IS MY SHIP! Are you serious? You know what." Brandy sighed. "Just forget it. Leave the treasure and.." She began but was interrupted.

    "And what? I suppose you'll let us leave? Bug off Poppet!" Snorted the Gloom Wolf.

    "I was going to say I'd make your end quick, but I think I'll enjoy humiliating you instead!" Brandy shouted as she pulled out her blade. The two pirates rushed her, but she dodged between them expertly and sliced at the men faster than they could react. They gasped as they reached the edge of the ship and felt their chests to see where they'd been cut. With relief they realized they were not harmed, but their faces turned tomato red as their belts split in two and their trousers dropped to the deck. They bent over to lift their pants and Brandy took this opportunity to kick the pirates in the behind sending them both flailing into the sea. The men swam toward the ship's rope ladder but Brandy pulled it aboard and warned the pirates, "Mind the fishy, Boys!" They turned to see a shark's fin curiously approaching. The Gloom Wolves shot for the beach as fast as they could where they were met with an angry mob of residents brandishing fire arms.

    "Take your gold back to the shop, Jimmy! I will deal with the other pirates." Said Brandy as she took off into the outpost thwarting and disarming each Gloom Wolf she encountered. The young boy dragged his gold back as quickly as he could. It was slow and heavy work, but Brandy had the Gloom Wolves attention and his trek was safe. After putting the chest back behind the counter, Jimmy returned to the beach. Several Gloom Wolves were tied up in a pile surrounded by the angry residents of White Rock. He then saw two of the tavern workers drag someone out of the Order of Souls tent and take the squirming pirate to the pile of captives. Jimmy recognized the pirate as Brandy and ran to her defense. He dove in between the men and they released Brandy in confusion.

    "This one is good! I promise! She saved me and my gold." Jimmy told the residents who looked at each other unsure.

    Brandy took advantage of the distraction and seized Jimmy from behind putting a sword in front of him. "What are you doing, Brandy?!" Jimmy exclaimed.

    "Look! No one comes near me and the boy will be fine." Brandy yelled out as she backed up to her ship and boarded with Jimmy. She raised the anchor and got ready to drop the sail for her getaway. There was still plenty of loot on board that the Gloom Wolves had gathered. The residents watched in horror from the beach worried for the young merchant boy's life. Brandy leaned in to whisper to Jimmy as she put something in his pocket from behind him. "No hard feelings, yeah? They never would have believed us. Take care, little friend, and tell your father I said hi."

    With that she pushed Jimmy back onto the docks, dropping her sails. Brandy Spirit took off with the wind and the outpost was at peace once more. Jimmy watched Brandy disappear into the rain as he felt conflicted about what she had done. The shipwright came to his side and walked him back home after making sure he was alright. In his shop he reflected on Brandy and his mixed feelings then remembered she had put something in his pocket. He fished out a glass vial with red liquid inside. There was a bit of parchment tied to it that read 'Life Elixir'. Jimmy ran to his dad and held his head up to drink without hesitation. Within seconds his father's fever broke and his eyes cracked open. "Jimbo? Is that you, son?" Said his dad. They embraced warmly and though Captain Spirit would have a spotty reputation with the folks of White Rock, Jimmy would never have mixed feelings about Brandy again.

  • 0

    Blasted Lucky: A True Pirate Story

    My ol' salt of a captain used to say, “The booty belongs to the bold, the brutal and the “blasted” lucky.” Today, my friends, he was more correct than I had ever thought.

    I am Captain Karr, better known as Captain Saint Nick. Yes, I am very large, jolly, white haired, dressed in the most audacious red coat, and yes, I do bear gifts. These gifts are not only for the good, but also for the bad. The difference is in the gifts. For those scallywags who think they can claim the seas for themselves, well, my gifts come in many shapes and sizes.

    My first gift is my crew. My mates being the ever elusive saber master, Rummy, the sweet talking diplomatic ambassador known as Torches, and finally, the pessimistic jack of all trades and master of many, Luigi. Each one brings with them their own set of gifts, but the greatest is their ability to work together to bring the demise of those nasty lil' biscuit eaters who would dare sail our seas.

    My second, third and fourth gifts would be our trustworthy and faithful vessels. The sloop, The Red Rose, our Brigantine, The Vengeful Foul, and lastly, our massive Galleon known as The Happy Murder.

    Although we have many other gifts to offer, today, Luigi and I decided that we would give two very special explosive gifts to an unsuspecting Galleon sitting at a Skeleton Fort. We had seen the tempting skull cloud in the sky, and we knew that the boney Captain was trying to muster his skeleton crew to bring havoc to the lands and seas we have been destined to rule, but more importantly, we were keenly aware that within the skeleton Captain's vault were loads of booty.

    Sadly, Rummy and Torches both were unable to join us in this epic venture. They had earned a much needed and well deserved visit to the The Captain’s Head Tavern at the Golden Sands Outpost. Poor Tina, I understood they drank the place dry and left most of it as green pungent sludge upon the wooden floor. There were a few other things scattered upon the floor as well. Those things being a few rowdy pirates who thought they could insult Rummy.

    Without our mates, Luigi and I quickly prepared our sloop, The Swift Rose, for the mission by loading it with as many supplies as we could muster. The most important aspect of the mission, which needed to be loaded, was our trusty rowboat which was hoisted onto the aft of the ship. During the preparations we discussed our plans. With the ship full and our plans loosely ready, we set sail.

    Our strategy was bold and would make my ol' cap proud. It was going to take every aspect of his advice to pull it off.

    The most important factor in our brassy plan was the launching point of our rowboat. If we were too far out, the fort could be completed before we got there, and if we launched to early, they would see the plan unfolding and be prepared for us as we arrived. Once we decided on a good safe distance from the Skull Fort we loaded the rowboat with two kegs of gunpowder and carefully lowered it into the sea. I set the sails on The Swift Rose to half mast and positioned it in a safe direction, and we raised the anchor, jumped off the ship and watched it slowly sail away in the opposite direction of the Fort. I’m sure the Galleon, currently fighting the skeletons on the island, were relieved to see the ship sailing away.

    We didn't spend much time wondering if we would ever see it again. We knew we had to get over to that fort before the skeleton captain was dispatched. We then angled the rowboat towards the ominous skull in the sky, and Luigi began to row like I have never seen him row before. We fought the waves as we made our way to the fort. I played a few tunes to brighten his spirits, but he continued to mutter to himself about the odds and success of our mission. Luigi is naturally a pessimistic pirate. You know “the chest is always half empty,” type of guy. Thankfully, his natural incline to see the possibility for failure in everything never kept him from a fight. As he continued to row, the skull cloud increasingly grew in size, almost in an attempt to intimidate us.

    As soon as we reached a half a league away the skull cloud instantly disappeared, only meaning one thing. The Skeleton Captain had been defeated and it was only a matter of time before the thieving crew of the trespassing Galleon opened the vault and stole our booty! I ordered Luigi to row faster, and after thirty strokes we picked up our large gifts for them and abandoned our small vessel and began our underwater trek towards the three masted ship. We had not been spotted yet, as far as we knew. Surely they had opened the vault by now, we thought, but when we reached the ship the ever joyful and anticipatory music played signifying that the vault had just been opened. We could not believe our timing or, should I say, luck. I planned to release the powder under the boat, but Luigi protested and said we should climb aboard and set them off on the lower deck. So with Luigi leading the way, we climbed the ladder bringing our gifts with us. I thought for sure when we reached the deck of the ship we would be greeted by a very attentive watchful privateer, but none was there. The entire crew had left their ship unmanned to gather the hoards of treasure from the vault. Greedy little pirates! What we soon found out is they were wasting their own precious time for what we could only imagine was a portrait op.

    Luigi and I quickly ran below and placed the powder kegs ever so carefully on the lower deck. At the count of three we lit the fuses and turned and ran as fast as we could away from these explosive barrels of fun. We reached the mid deck and distanced ourselves and held our ears. “Kaboom!” The blast rocked the ship upwards and holes sprung all over the ship. Water sprayed in like ale from a drunken sailor. It only took fifteen seconds before the entire ship was overtaken by the sea.

    With a sense of bewilderment and surprise we laughed as we made our way out of the doomed boat. The most important step in our bold plan had been completed without a hitch. We stayed below the waterline to avoid detection, and to our utter amusement, the crew, with loot in hand, ran to the beach. Their wavy distorted selves just stood there with a dumbfounded look, staring out into the sea. They looked right and left. It was almost as if they were trying to remember where they parked their ship. They just could not figure out where their ship had gone.

    It was then that we realized the second condition for those bound for booty. We needed to be brutal. Like a hungry megalodon, we shot up out of the water and began our long and hard fought battle with this still unsuspecting crew. They fought valiantly and sent us to visit the Ferryman a few times. Which worked in our favor because it allowed us to bring our ship back which we anchored just outside of the fort's cannons, which they happened to be using very successfully on us. Once we were out of their range, we were able to cannon ourselves back to the fort over and over again. We knew that each time we sent one of these skallywags to the ferry of the damned it was one step closer for us to start loading our ship with the booty. One by one their entire crew was taken out.

    We must have lost count during the battle because when we thought they were all gone, we looked and saw our bright red sloop with it’s sails full of wind heading right for the island. There was nothing we could do as we watched our red beauty ram into the island. Luigi and I looked at each other with bafflement. I ran to our now grounded ship to discover that one of the Galleon's crew had either shot themselves over or swam to our ship and decided to try to sink it by ramming it into the fort. I was able to board and quickly punish this foolish sailor for defiling our sloop. With only seconds to spare, I repaired it. “How convenient and thoughtful of them to bring our sloop to us,” I thought.

    Now that the sound of sabers clashing ceased and the smell of gunpowder faded, we quickly ran to the front of the vault and surveyed the booty. The crew had laid it out with a beautiful precision, as if they were having a portrait painted of them with it. We also noticed they had a rowboat just sitting a few yards away. Knowing we had little time, I ordered Luigi to begin filling the small rowboat with the loot. Once it was full I pushed Luigi off and told him to row like there was no tomorrow and make his way Northwest to Plunder Outpost. I would use The Swift Rose as a distraction. Just as Luigi lowered his oars into the waiting sea, I spotted the returning Galleon in the distance. Its sails were full of vengeance.

    As soon as I boarded my sloop and dropped the sails, the Galleon began to shift its course in pursuit. Not in pursuit of the small unseen rowboat which contained all of the booty, but they shifted their course in pursuit of The Swift Rose. They had taken the bait like a hungry shark. It was then that I noticed something floating in the water where their galleon had sunk. It was a box of exquisite spices! Being taught good pirate manners, I could not allow that to be left behind. I quickly raised my sails and jumped overboard. Yes, I risked the entire plan for a box of spices, but friends, I was learning quickly, that fortune truly favors the bold.

    The Galleon was approaching fast, but I was able to get back on board with the priceless merchant loot. I couldn't let Luigi do all the work could I? I dropped sails, just as the Galleon fired several rounds off at me. Half of them hit and I quickly made my way below to repair and bail. Soon I was back on deck and maneuvering my beautiful little bait of a sloop out of their firing arc.

    I set course for Ancient Spire Outpost and did the old “jump and turn in” trick with the spices. After a quick business transaction with the merchant, I ran back to the end of the dock and waved just as the Galleon sailed past in pursuit of my now empty crew-less sloop. It was then that I heard the sneaky lil’ rat swimming up to me at the docks. The Galleon had sent over one of its crew to investigate and make me pay for their humiliation. As he climbed the dock ladder he was greeted by the barrel of my blunderbuss. He didn't even get a word out. The Galleon continued to follow my sloop into the horizon.

    By this time Luigi was already docking his petite treasure boat at Plunder Outpost and was swiftly turning in all of the glorious loot. Soon, the Galleon had given up the chase and turned and sailed slowly away. I then caught a friendly mermaid back to my sloop and promptly made my way to Plunder to meet Luigi in the Tavern. We laughed and drank till we were sick. We would never forget this day, for today was truly a day of boldness, brutality, and mostly, “blasted” luck!

  • 0

    The Chase

    “Ahh…he’s still sittin’ there. No sign of movement. Sails up. Just sittin’ there nice and quiet, just the way I like it.”, I whispered, satisfied, to myself.

    I could see the cross of his masts far off through the morning mist, at Sanctuary outpost where he was docked. It looked peaceful over there. Serene. “Must be unloading a lot”, I thought out loud. “He’s been there a while. Should be done soon, unless he’s havin’ a grog at the tavern. This early? Guess it’s never too early”, I chuckled to myself.

    I lowered my spyglass cautiously still staring into the distance. “Well, let’s get these chests on board quickly, shall we.”, I said out loud, to no one in particular. I looked down at one of the many, many holes I’d just finished digging for the last I don’t know how many hours.

    I’m a soloist. I prefer sailing and working alone as I know I can’t trust no one on these seas, and I can only rely on myself to get done what I need to get done – and I don’t like to share. I’m neither trusting of others, nor entirely trustworthy myself, if I’m to be honest. Meh, I come by my thievery honestly. But I don’t steal unless stolen from, nor fight unless threatened first. I just prefer going it alone, is all. It’s better that way. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

    I’d spent the greater part of the wee hours that morning diggin’ holes all over this tiny piece a dirt, trying to find the X’s on this tattered ole rag I have here. I was exhausted, and the day had just begun. “Damn X’s. You’d think they’d be a little more careful making these maps. The point is to find your treasure later, not hide it forever. Like a dog with a bone though, I don’t give up. I’ll spend all day if I must, and sometimes more, just digging holes. If the X says some loot should be there, some loot should be there! Some of these old rags are just that. Old jokes. Can be frustrating and disappointing sometimes”.
    At that very moment I had an intuition. “I should maybe just double check on my quiet neighbor again, to see if…”

    I raised my spyglass to my eye once again and aimed it toward the outpost in the distance.
    His main sail dropped at that exact moment. He was done. Guess I’m done too. I paused and waited. Watching his bow. “Is it turning away….?”, I quizzically whispered to myself.

    No. He’s left the dock but still pointed toward me. He’s seen me, I determined. “The. Jig. Is. Up! Let’s get crackin’”, I said aloud once again. No time to load my chests though. I rushed to hide them in the nearby bush under some palms. Out of breath, I then scurried through the sand and shallow water, up to my sloop, then climbed aboard. I spied that he was still headin’ straight for me. No doubts about it now. No change of course. I raised anchor, dropped sail, full to starboard, tick, tock, time is of the essence. Caught the wind, full sail. Heading? East. Can’t head to Golden Sands as he could cut me off, so it looks like I’m headin’ to Daggar or Galleon’s. The chase is on.

    I turned to see his sail, full billow, bow pointed right at my stern. He looked like a soloist, like me. His mast a little larger than a minute ago. He’s making gains. He’s clearly got skills, this one.
    Thankfully he didn’t notice I’d hid my chests back there. I’ll worry about them later. Right now, he means business. He wants a good chase, I’ll gives him one. Got a few skulls from some skelly Captains I killed last night, but other than that, nothing. So, let’s see what skills this fella has. Why not.

    Looking directly ahead I noticed a storm to the East South-East. Of course, it was exactly where Dagger Tooth outpost should be. That’s just peachy. If I didn’t have bad luck I’d have none. I checked out m’lady’s curves on all sides, from head to toe. She’s a big one and she seems to be getting bigger… coyly approaching me it seems… “That’s just great. Just …”, I cursed under my breath but suppressed my crude bitterness, for fear she would hear me. I’m a modest curser and wouldn’t normally use such language in front of a woman as I’d been raised a gentleman. But… she’ll just spite me anyway, I know her. T’is her nature.

    Turned the helm slightly north, attempting to subtly steer a wide course to avoid her dark and ominous presence. Let’s see if I can out run her. Adjusted sails to catch full billow. Ran below to check my map.
    I glanced a stern, over my map table. He’s keeping pace. Must shake him off somehow. Just then I realized, no…let’s head for my lovely, and keep close to her broadside. Outer edge of her dress. Let’s see if he follows.
    I turned the helm East again, seeing my dark love and I would have to cross paths once again. Once I get close, I’ll steer past her and leave my mate behind me to deal with her wrath. Adjusted the sails to full billow again. Rain’s started. There’s her thunder. She’s getting’ saucy. She has a foul mouth today. Lightening out of the corner of my eye, off to starboard. Not good. Just ignore her threats and press on.

    Ugh, too late. My compass has fallen under her spell. I locked my eye on a clearing just to her curvy side. “Keep your focus!! Come on, come on… just a little further!”, I shouted at my sloop. M’lady’s waves were slapping me around like a spurned lover by this time. My own helm was betraying me, struggling to wrest itself away from my own loyal hands. I turned to face her; “This is my child you…!!”, I shouted at her. I fought hard to steer a path along her outer edge, and finally clear of her bitter, nasty vitriol… I made some rude motions behind her back, but she didn’t see, I don’t think. I hope not at least.
    Then… my helm gave way and stopped resisting. Compass settled down. We were clear. The worst of her is behind us now. I glanced back grinning ear to ear like a little schoolboy that just got away with a prank.

    Where was he?

    He was gone. I swept my spyglass left to right, right to left and all around… 360 degrees! Where did he go? Was he caught in the torrential depths of m’lady?? I stared for a long, long time at her broiling, dark mid-section, but could see no sign of my ardent pursuer.
    “She got him. She must’ve got him.”, I whispered tentatively. Poor fella. I stood, humbled, for a moment and decided to say a prayer, feeling a little sorry.
    He’s gone. My plan worked. I felt a tinge of pride mixed with guilt, and yet also admiration for him. He was my brother after all. Not literally, but my pirate brother of the seas. He deserves some respect. A moment of silence at least.

    A silly thought occurred to me that maybe he just wanted to make contact. Be mates… or at least allies.
    Heh. Who am I kidding. No one on these forsaken seas can be mates or allies. Not true mates, I thought. Turn your back for a second, you’re done. Dead and sunk. And broke. Nope. Not me.

    “One day we will meet again, “mate””, I spurted with a sarcastic chuckle. But privately I knew my day would come too, one day. The sea spares no one, in the end.
    I turned, back to my helm, adjusted course for Galleon’s Grave Outpost. The sun was nowhere to be found, hiding behind a dark and uninviting, overcast sky. The waters were agitated, stubborn, not wanting me to move forward it seemed.

    But I could see Galleon’s bowsprit sticking skyward in the distance. I always wondered how on earth did that ship get up there. No matter. Who am I to question the fates.

    My mind turned to my plan for Galleon’s. I thought, I’ll trade in my skulls for some gold, then make the long journey west back to my chests that I hid on that island, before my long lost “mate” gave chase. I could use some sun once again, to pick up my spirits. Hopefully m’lady will be long gone now she’s claimed another poor soul.
    Galleon’s Grave is not an outpost I like spending too much time dilly dallying about. Sailors have a habit of getting shot there before they can even get back to their boat. I must be very cautious.

    There were no ships in sight anywhere. I pulled my sloop up to the dock and dropped anchor. A quick survey of the outpost revealed no suspicious activity. Finally, some good luck. This should be quick and painless. I grabbed my skulls one by one and exchanged them at the Order of Souls shop. Creepy place. Creepy women. At least they’re honest. Not sure what on earth they want with these ugly things, but who am I to question their strange beliefs. They pay well, that’s what’s important.

    Then, as I was heading up the slope to the dock to get back to my sloop, I gazed forward and froze…
    My “mate” … was NOT taken by m’lady…
    The sloop which had been pursuing me all the way from Sanctuary outpost in the west, through that storm, was anchored right beside mine, like it had been there all along. I swallowed so hard I thought I’d digested my Adam’s apple.

    I began to run down the length of the dock in a panic, still not seeing my “mate” anywhere. I looked at his boat, then mine. Where was he. WHERE WAS HE!
    I leapt across the gap between the dock and my boat, landing on the deck, searching frantically left and right. Nothing. Below deck. He’s below deck! I readied my sword, sweating with anticipation. Took a glance… nothing.

    Where was he. I came up to my helm. Looked over at his sloop. Maybe he’s trading in some loot somewhere and I missed him…

    I turned… and staring me in the face was… some big brawny sweaty ape with tattoos. Practically no clothes. Grinning like a nightmarish elf. I was in shock.
    He says, “Ahoy. Nicely played”, and I stood there stunned, and silent, like a fool. I didn’t know what to say. I honestly thought I was about to die. Then just as I was going to respond, he held out a box of rum bottles, which seemed to appear from nowhere. He dropped them at my feet, then quickly jumped overboard and swam to his ship. I stood in shock just watching him run about on his boat. He brought more crates of rum bottles, as well as an arrangement of plants and crates of silk cloth. Then he handed me what seemed like at least a dozen different types of cursed cannonballs. He also filled up my wood planks and banana barrels below deck. All this time he said nothing. I was still standing in the exact spot I had been before I had turned to see his ugly mug staring at me. Still stunned.

    I kept waiting for the moment of betrayal, but it never came.

    He then pulled out his accordion and began to play. I pulled out my hurdy-gurdy and played along. I said “Thanks”, a few times, but he was too busy playing and enjoying the music I think to notice. I wish in retrospect I had said more, but I just couldn’t find the right words. We played a few different tunes together, then a sad tune began…

    He stopped, yet I continued. He took a long look at his sloop, standing still, just staring. Then he turned to me and pointed at his sloop, as if to draw my attention to it. So, I stopped playing. Still not saying a word.

    Suddenly, his sloop broke apart and slowly sank into the sea. He then played that slow sad song, as his ship sank below the surface. For some reason I cannot explain a tear came to my eye.

    He turned to me and waved. Still saying nothing. I for some reason kept playing that sad song. He then turned, jumped over board and turned around in the water, waved one last time, and then disappeared below the waves. He never came back up.

    I wept that day more so than I ever have in my life as a pirate. I still don’t know why.

    #AthenasFortuneContest

  • 0

    You all know that feeling when you defeat a skeleton fort. You’ve finally got the fabled key and you wonder “Is it safe to open.” Well my crew mate assured us the coast was clear so we plop that bad boy onto the door and start loading up like Toys R Us kids playing the super toy run. Not 60 seconds into loading up do I hear that same crewmate say “uh guys..” I turn to see this galleon barreling towards us full speed. It was a real “CAPTAIN LOOK” moment haha. We swarm around like bees protecting their hive but I think we all knew it was too late for our vessel. Our moral was weak but I knew if we could sink their ship as well then we stood a chance. I literally hold my breath while I climb their ladder but they must have heard my heart pounding because I wasn’t fooling anyone. I make a last ditch effort by climbing up top, bringing with me all of the hope in my crew. Haha I never knew I had an evil laugh until I saw all those gunpowder barrels in their crows nest. I can hear them climbing the ladder after me so I know it’s Now or Never! Just as I light the fuse I hear my friend say “I know them don’t shoot! They say they’ll split the loot” I’m thinking “Yea right.. that rhymes and it’s way too good to be true haha” and alliances weren’t a thing yet so it was very unlikely. so I frantically keep asking him “are u sure? Because im about to blow them away.” But Before I finished the sentence I saw a head pop up from the ladder. But to my surprise it’s a friend of mine on their crew! I was so shocked that I forgot put out the fuse so we both exploded like a cherry on top of the whole fiasco haha. Belly laughing the entire way to the ferry and back. True to their word they sailed us to the outpost with them and split up the loot with us!

    Meeting a friend in matchmaking is one thing but creating a memory like this one is something that I just can’t thank Rare enough for. Looking forward to many more!!

    Also the Moral of the story is to not blindly trust someone when they say “the coast is clear” haha. Stay woke

  • 0

    On behalf of me crew, I submit a pair of entries, from the Captain's Log of the Unsinkable II.

    It's an extended and modified merge of these two Tavern Tales;
    https://www.seaofthieves.com/forum/topic/60882/the-unsinkable-ii-captain-s-log-day-31
    https://www.seaofthieves.com/forum/topic/61416/the-unsinkable-ii-captain-s-log-day-36 (I do recommend reading this one, it has pictures!).

    The story below clocks in at around 3200 words.


    The Unsinkable II, Captain's Log, day 31.

    There be many a' foe' patrolling the Sea of Thieves, and few friends.

    Aye pirates we all be, true, but there be no code against friendship. This log holds a fine tale, of friendship prevailing over enemies. Nay, dare I say villains! For these dastardly doolalies were nothing less.

    Me Helmsman, Chris, and I, though eagerly awaitin' our boson and Quartermaster, set sail after a quiet evenin' at Plunder Outpost spent in good company. A Sloop crew had finished counting their spoils there. We spent the evenin' fishin' for fresh sharks to dine upon, whom are quite plentiful these days on the Sea of Thieves, and we shared a grog to celebrate, 'afore they left for more adventures of their own.

    As dawn approached, a rumor was whispered our way, of gold aplenty to the North. Aye 'tis a hardy and difficult task to pilot a Galleon just the two of us, but a trip to the outhouse and being left handed is a Herculean task I perform daily!
    (Did I mention I lost my left hand to a Kraken, and was left with naught but a sharp hook?)

    Nevermind, we weighed anchor and set course North. But a foul storm of ten thousand thunderin' typhoons descended upon us, and our course was blown eastward, towards an unkempt hive of undead underlings and their tyraniccal Captain!

    Left with the choice of braving a storm just the two of us, abandoning our quest, or facing the Fort, we chose the most interesting option.
    And by the Pirate lords beard, my Helmsman earned his keep on this day. Never have I seen such a manouver, surely a lesser pilot would have sheared his own ship in half!

    We approached with the wind beckoning us towards the shallows and rocks surrounding the Fortress, but my Helmsman pushed on, and we worked hard to trim the sails just right, lest we crash and join the unholy ranks of undead curs.
    Nigh a shipslength was left between us and the rocks when Helmsman Chris called for the anchor, and down it went.

    A perfect landing!

    Nestled between two fortress gun towers we were, the skeletons could do nothing but taste our iron! Both Stern and Bow perfectly aligned with the towers, providing ample cover from all angles.

    It was around here that I realized we were now 2 pirates against roughly an army, and/or a horde of heavily armed undead.
    Perhaps not my finest moment as a Captain to pit a pair of swords and pistols against 100 skeletons.
    The Ferryman agreed with this sentiment after my second visit. Or was it third?

    Regardless! A cruel twist of fate, the blasted undead were no longer our concern. A Galleon, bright Green with golden accents were descending upon us rapidly, a gilded lion adorning the bow. Fortunately we'd not bothered to slay the skeletons manning the gun towers, and so, an absurd scenario played out before us. Living and dead working together to sink a common foe!

    Fought tooth and nail we did! 2 pirates, and untold undead gunners showered this accursed green monstrosity of a ship with iron and lead. Time and time again they passed us by, each time taking twice the hits they could deal to us.
    Arr the crew of the Unsinkable II may not be the best and brightest, prettiest nor most well groomed of pirates, but by the Krakens eye, we fight to the end, and we give it all!

    And our ship earned her namesake on this day, for even though we was bucketing from the mid deck on more than one occassion, still she floated! Defiant to the end, like her crew, refusing to submit.

    Alas though, the villainous Galleon got the best of us.
    A lone boarder knocked me overboard, to battle for my life amongst the skeletons and sharks, leaving Chris to fend for his, and his ships life.

    In this moment, I grasped the only chance I believed we had, and began to swim towards the fiendiesh foes Galleon, braving the toothy foes of the sea.

    By the time I reached their ladder, our ship was sailing off, no doubt more boarders had weighed our anchor and set our ship on a collision course towards hitherto nearby rock formations. I ascended the ladder, and surveyed our nemesis' ship. A lone pirate remained sporting a detestable hat and ugly beard. A swift delivery of lead through my blunderbuss fixed both those issues in a flash however!

    But my situation was hopeless. My ship was long gone, only the sea Gods would know what happened to my Helmsman, and I was left alone, surrounded by foes, above and below.

    In my infamous infinite Captain's wisdom, I decided a nap was in good order.

    Using what precious time I had before the contemptuous crew returned, I snuck behind their Captain's quarters, and laid down on the balcony, well out of sight.

    I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure what my next move would be here. 4 of them, 1 of me. My ship gone, crewmate, gone, banana count diminishing, pants chafing my.. coral reef. The sounds of battle raging was all I had for company. The enemy pirates making quick work of the skeletons.
    At one point I believed salvation was at hand! A sloop arrived, and began firing relentlessly upon the Galleon, and a hardy fight they put up.

    But alas, they sailed off. I presume, my vantage point was quite limited from my hiding spot.

    Who knows how much time passed. Oddly enough, the silence was what awoke me. The dastardly doolalies had destroyed the undead pirate Captain, and swiftly began loading their spoils. Very swiftly. Too swiftly in fact... Almost as soon as they started loading their plunder, they raised anchor.

    Before I knew it, with the sun setting after a long day's fightin', The Unsinkable II swooped in! Chris had survived, somehow! Sails billowing, and cannons roaring, they perforated these pirates from stern to bow!
    I knew my time was now; And I ran into the deck, blasted a gunner straight to the Ferryman's ship. Let loose their anchor, surely this would aid my ship's efforts I thought. Another vehement villain raced up from below deck, no doubt struggling to hold their rickety boat together, attempting to catch the anchor. But my bullets were faster! Another passenger for the Ferry.

    Now, as they were sitting ducks at the mercy of the mighty Unsinkable II, I set about to finish the job. The last remnants of these scurvy ridden landlubbers were busy below deck, desperate to hold the flow of water back. The first man I saw put up a fight at least, but I prevailed. Before the last one could be slain, their ship was well and truly sunk.

    I raced to escape the hold lest I get caught in the undertow, alongside the very last villainous pirate. A brief battle ensued, but he perished as well.

    Their ship sunk, and loot spilling into the sea, I finally had the chance to see my Helmsman again, and his tale was as fine as mine! He'd killed both boarders in a heated fight, but alas our ship still hit rocks. Took him half a day to get her seaworthy again at a nearby outpost. Upon his return journey to my rescue, who did he encounter but the friendly sloop crew we first met at Plunder Outpost! Indeed this was the same sloop who'd tussled with this Galleon before the Fort fell. And eager were they, to join us in a fine act of revenge.

    And revenge was swift and merciless!

    Our new comrades helped us load our newfound wealth, and we set course for the nearest outpost.

    Though, as we were getting underway, I noticed our haul was rather... Light. 'Twas but a few chests of gold, cursed skulls and some silks and sugar. A crate of each.
    Hardly the fortune of an undead dread Pirate captain.

    I ordered Chris to bank hard to Port, and one of our newfound crewmates fired me via cannon straight back to the Fort as they sailed on to the Outpost.
    My suspicions were correct; Those confounded doolalies of pirates had left a good chunk of the treasure behind! They'd even abandonded many of the most valuable trinkets!

    Extra treasure, no fuss. As our shiny new crew began to sell the first haul, I prepared the second one. A bit more modest sure, but there was almost 5,000 gold coins worth of items left behind!
    Before I knew it, all of us had returned to Plunder Outpost, richer and merrier!

    On this day, friendship and faith prevailed against the darkest, and meanest of pirates. And so long as the Unsinkable II sails, friendship shall prevail again, come what may!

    *PS; The sharks have started to gnaw incessantly on the keel of late though, I fear we might need to repair the hull if they keep this up...

    PPS; Other crews are also reporting abnormal shark attacks and damages to their ships. Is something afoot?*

    Captain Tundra.


    The Unsinkable II, Captain's Log, day 36.

    Shiver my timbers, shiver my bones... The grog holds my madness at bay, for now. Who'd have ever believed a fish, a fish I tells ya, could rattle the minds of hardy pirates.
    How to start such a terryifying tale?

    From the beginning I suppose...

    The Unsinkable crew, Boson Craig, Helmsman Chris, Quartermaster Bill and myself, Captain Tundra, had spent the night at Plunder Outpost, our preferred destination for some Pirate R&R; Rum and Robbery.

    Upon our entrance into the tavern, a new face greeted us. Duke he called himself, one of them Bilge Rats. Adventurer's less interested in gold and the very concept of personal hygiene, but moreso in daring quests.

    After a bit of idle chat, he bestowed upon us; A rumor.
    A rumor about something very old, and very hungry, and an unfortunate pirate bard named Merrick, last seen around Shark Bait Cove; Even today a foreboding place, riddled with the bones of the ancients, whom roamed the lands and seas about us 'afore even the Athena's Fortune set sail.

    Our crew be tough n' brave, and I can't recall time where any of my men ever let me down, except failing to replace the grog keg on our ship from time to time or passing out on my bed after depleting said keg, but even so, this rumor stirred a nervoussness in me.
    Few pirates today pay heed to the paintings on the islands we so eagerly plunder, most dismiss them as mere fancy tall tales from aeons long past. Even when the Athena's Fortune sailed these waters, the ancients were long gone, and their legends with them.

    But I've always had a fascination with them, and their strange artistic depictions of obscure and unknown beasts not found on any island I've set foot on. This fascination kept my reservations at bay, and so, we weighed anchor and set course for Shark Bait Cove!

    Wasn't hard finding ol' Merrick, drunken fool set up camp on the South West beach, relentlessly playing his drum.
    His words said he was sober, his breath told us otherwise.

    Merrick's an odd fella, two peg legs, 1 hand missing along with an eye. We inquired about his oddly extensive set o' missin' limbs. He was quite forthcoming about his eye, but his legs misadventure he would not reveal.

    At first. After a bit of encouragement, he told us he'd written journals about it, one of which he'd left near the center of Shark Bait Cove. Annoyed but our interests piqued we set off for it.
    'Twas mostly drunken ramblings, but Chris, being an accomplished Helmsman and Navigator, spotted a clue amidst the pages. A clue that would take us North, on the first part of our long journey.

    Tina, a charming redhead on Golden Sands outpost confirmed our suspicions; There was more to Merrick's tale than a mere journal, though she herself was unaware.
    Being the merry band of Pirates we are, we settled Merricks outstanding, and absurdly large bar tab, and set off for our next destination.

    Our travels, though largely unventful, took us across uncharted islands and outposts. Though at a passing through Dagger Tooth outpost we encountered a galleon, full of pirates like ourselves, who'd been investigating Merrick's tales on their own.
    An honorable and hardy bunch, we decided we should follow this quest through, together.

    The Unsinkable II was chosen as our shared vessel, fitted with fine guns, and enough supplies to accomodate the larger number of crewmen. Though sadly but 1 keg of grog was aboard. (Bill and Craig keep telling me adding more would unbalance the whole vessel...)
    But our new crew got settled in, and we set off for adventure! If only we knew...

    As we all pieced the puzzles together from Merricks scattered journals, it all became clear; Merrick had unwittingly summoned a hideous beast from the depths of the deepest, darkest seas, using his famous shanties.
    A beast far older than man, a hungry monstrosity that has lurked below waves even when the Earth was young, and mankind in its infancy.
    This misfortune had cost him his legs, his ship and his crew.

    But the journals were vague, and quite frankly too drunkenly written to read, we had no choice but to return to Merrick himself.

    Upon our arrival back to Shark Bait Cove, a single sloop approached. They too it seems, had followed Merricks trails, which had led them back to him, same as us.
    10 men strong now, Merrick had little choice but to divulge his darkest secret.

    He fashioned drums for us all, crafted from wood and shark-skin caught around Shark Bait Cove, and shared with us, the shanty he had used to summon this beast many moons ago.

    I ordered the men back to the ships, and to prepare for battle.

    1 sloop, 1 galleon, 10 men, 1 hungry beast. I felt aprehension going in, sure, but my crew, all 7 along with the sloop, remained stalwart throughout, sharing their excitement and readying themselves for the fight of a lifetime.

    I was no fool, I'd seen the monuments and paintings around Shark Bait Cove, and knowing from Merrick himself that these depictions of the monster was not merely the fancy imaginings of primitive tribes, but something tangible and all too real, my deepest fears grew. I remained as sturdy and decisive as possible; For no crew will heed the commands of a cowardly Captain.

    We sailed East, but a short distance from Merrick himself, though the sail seemed to last forever. Until we sighted the Devil's Ridge. As an evil omen sent from the darkest depths, the peak of this treacherous island resembled the frightening maw of a terrible beast. We knew we were in the right spot.

    We grabbed our drums, and in unison we played with all our hearts, and we played until the sound of crashing waves and a thundering roar completely drowned out our song.

    All held their breath, hearts dropped, spine chilling fear grasped us all, as the Hungering One rose from the depths.
    It beared the scars of countless battles, no doubt with both beast and man alike. Horrible, eldritch glowing eyes stared us down, impossibly so, for I spied no less than 2 sets of eyes! 4 in total, each one awful, full of malice and an unspeakable intelligence.

    I ordered sails in battle positions, guns loaded and angled. The battle began.

    The beast charged, and I called for a full starboard broadside. It did nothing but anger the beast.

    As it rammed us, bearing its dreadful, gaping maw, an untold stench befell the ship. The odour of untold aeons worth of decaying corpses devoured, escaped its jaws. For a brief moment, time stopped. We'd never faced a threat such as this before.
    To this day, I know not what compelled me to raise my voice; Surely madness and terror was overtaking me every bit as much as the men. But I was still their Captain, 'twas on my shoulders to save us, or die trying.

    "Fire everything!" I cried.

    It worked! For a spell at least, the beast retreated. As we regained our compusure, reloaded and patched up the ship as best we could, it set a course for the sloop crew.
    I know not what transpired on that unfortunate ship, only that both men perished, along with their boat during the battle. They lasted longer than most would have, I feel, but sadly, such ancient abonimable horrors are not so easily slain.

    The beasts attention soon turned back to us, circling our ship, seemingly just to taunt us, as our guns and cannons had little effect on it. As soon as I could order a port broadside, the beast was ramming and biting at our ship from the starboard side! I've never witnessed such speed and ferocity.
    But we fought on! Quartermaster Bill himself braved the beast, completely without fear, brandishing his trusty cutlass against the mighty monsters countless jagged teeth.

    Was Quartermaster Bill eaten moment later? Maybe.
    Did that stop him? Never!

    All day we battled, with each strike the beast claimed another victim. Altogether I count 5-6 casualties.
    But alas, as the sun began to set, we prevailed!

    The beasts death rattle shall haunt my nightmares forever more, but the cheers of my intrepid crew shall spur me on in the day.

    We all took time to contemplate, and repair after the beast fell. A few of us dove into the waters, wanting to witness our nemesis up close.
    The crew was spirited to have vanquished such a foe, as they should be, for every man fought valiantly. But my mind only rested on the beast. If such a monster could have evaded the entirety of the Sea of Thieves for so long, what in Three Sheets Neate's name could still be lurking below?
    I still see the eldritch green eyes, with their unholy glow when I close my eyes at night...

    Not long after, the beasts decrepid, oozing corpse floated down again, to the unfathomable depths from whence it had came. And our voyage back to Merrick began.

    Merrick was, to say the least, astonished that we'd destroyed this ancient evil. But initial disbelief was soon replaced with joy, elation and a night filled with drunken revelry and merriment!

    And ol' Merrick himself was only too happy to indulge with his countless, drunken bards tales and songs.

    Thus concludes this terrifying tale. Though the crew prevailed, and we all got matching tattoos (along with some matching scars...) my mind still dwells on that ancient abomonation, and what other horrors might lurk below the dark waves.
    Grog still keeps my hook n' hand steady, and me crew spurs me on to new adventures, but I fear that one day, sooner perhaps, than later, we again shall have to face and fight untold beings from ages gone by.

    But even with my mind shaken, my faith in my Unsinkable crew and fellow pirates remain!

    Captain Tundra

  • 0

    Disgruntled Guests

    Towering over me in the distance, her immense, dark, foreboding presence filled my entire field of vision.
    “M’Lady. We meet again”, I whispered at her from the upper deck of my sloop. The waters were rough and impatient. It was a stand off. I, on my ship, M’Lady between myself and my destination.

    I stared into the thickening, broiling darkness. I didn’t need my spyglass. It proved useless anyway as I could not make out Plunder Outpost through her torrential mass at all. It seemed the island was entirely subsumed by her. Helpless and thoroughly demoralized, I felt some rain drops brush my face. Thunder. Lightning flash, dead ahead striking the water, taunting me. How much bad luck can one pirate endure in a day, I lamented. I don’t have time for this, and I wasn’t in the mood for a marital dispute with M’Lady. She apparently was, however. Wouldn’t be our first, nor our last...

    “Excuse me”, a mild voice from behind beckoned.
    “Yes. What’s your gripe now?”, I grumbled.
    “I’m hungry”, the voice exclaimed, seemingly ignorant of the situation before us.
    “I just gave you a banana”.
    “Yes, one. It was delicious. But I’m still hungry”.
    “Gertrude… is that your name?”
    “Yes, you can call me Gertty”, she smiled coyly.
    A little perturbed, I responded patiently, “Look, I don’t know how many times I have to remind you, but.... You’re going to have to pace yourself. You’ll both get a tummy ache at this rate.”, I said awkwardly, paternally over my shoulder.
    Another snobbish voice piped up from behind me, but on the other side.
    “Pardon me, but, what exactly do you intend to do with us?”
    “It’s better you don’t know”, I soberly admitted, lowering my spyglass.

    I kept futilely hoping I could make out at least a rock or lantern through the writhing, deep mid-section of M’Lady. No such luck, yet. Not from here. A slightly more irritated tone from behind retorted,
    “Well, as long as you’re going to be babysitting us, you could at least have the decency to treat us humanely. I haven’t had a meal all day.”
    I spun around.
    “Look, listen up, all of you”, I uttered sternly. “I fed each of you when I brought you on board! I only have so many bananas to spare. We are going to have to ration my remaining supply!”.
    The same one sneered, “I see. An ill-prepared sailor. Typical. Whose fault is that, I wonder”.
    “Wot?! Who do you think you’re…? What are you implying?”, I said, insulted.
    “I bet you just make things up as you go along…”. A cheap shot, but he wasn’t wrong.
    “I do what I need to do to survive, in the moment! Yes.”, I shot back glaring at his beady eyes, threateningly, and suggestively.
    That shut him up, but then a third scratchy little voice squawked…
    “Mummy? What’s going to happen to us!...”, he began to moan and sniffle, at the same moment M’Lady bellowed and cursed in the background, as if to enhance and punctuate the point.
    "The last thing I need right now is an annoying chorus of whiners", I gasped to myself – out loud, and unfortunately loud enough that the little pink fella started to cry. Oh my god, I just wanted to scuttle the boat at that moment and be done with life.

    Another wonk spoke up. This last, of course, had to get in his self-righteous two cents…
    “Now that’s enough right there, mister… mister… What’s your name?!!”
    “None of your business”.
    “Yes, well, this is not acceptable, even from a kidnapper.”
    “A kidnapper? I’m a businessman…”, I said, taken aback.
    “A pirate you mean.”, he said, sarcastically.
    I ignored his valid point.
    “Look. You are pigs... I have a contract to capture and deliver four of you to Plunder Outpost by a specified time… which, as it turns out, is very soon.” I reluctantly quipped. He retorted,
    “I’m sorry, but you seem to have mistaken me for someone who cares about the business dealings of an evil kidnapper and swine smuggling PIRATE! Do you have no morals, young man? No sense of ethic?”
    Confused, I was about to respond, but he interrupted.
    “Never mind. I demand that you release us from these filthy cages right this minute and take us back to our home that you so rudely stole us from!”
    “Wut?”, I chuckled in complete and utter disbelief. “Are you seriously trying to argue with me right now?”
    “I don't see any other scallywag about... Just who exactly do you think you are. This bullying is intolerable, and with a child present! So heartless! So cruel, you are a mean, hairy…”, my fourth intolerable guest grunted like this, it seemed with no end in earshot. I decided to cut him off, abruptly.
    “All of you, be quiet! BE QUIET! Or you’ll get no more bananas!”, I warned.
    There was instant quiet, gods have mercy on my tortured soul. After a few moments of awkward silence;
    “Permission to speak?”, he quipped.
    My eyeballs rolled back into my sorry skull. Painfully, “What now…”.
    “While you stand there ruminating over what to do next, you could at least keep us all happy by feeding us another one of those delicious bananas.”
    “I told you I am in short supply. I don’t have a lot to go around.”
    “May I ask you another question”.
    “You want the truth?”
    “I’m trying very hard to be civil.”
    Mmm.. I mumbled.
    “How long do you plan to keep us captive, on your vessel? You do realize, the longer you keep us here, the more bananas you will need to keep us fed. Unless you plan to have us go hungry”.
    Mmmm... I re-mumbled.
    “You, uh, do know what happens when we are hungry, don’t you?”
    My “Mmm” began to turn into a growl.
    “One more. Each. Please?”
    I sighed a heavy sigh…
    “Okay fine. But only if you all keep quiet and let me think”. I heard giggling amongst them when I stated this, but ignored it.
    “Deal”, he said enthusiastically. The moment they realized I was about to feed them again, it was like they couldn’t care less if the world was about to end. Another banana was all that mattered. I gave each of them a banana and while they gorged down, satisfied, I checked my watch. I had less than a few hours to meet my contract deadline. I still couldn’t make out where Plunder was within M’Lady’s seething darkness.

    Quickly I ran below to check my banana stock. Very few left. A lot less than I’d realized. I ran back up to the helm.
    M’Lady was not going to permit me passage, it seemed. She hadn’t moved a foot from where she was when I first arrived, nor had she lightened up in temperament. Defiant to the last.

    A stark and foreboding realization was dawning in my consciousness; I had little choice. She wanted a confrontation. I dreaded what appeared unavoidable. There was an unnervingly long pause of quiet reckoning while I fully digested what I must do.
    Then I heard the little one behind me whisper to it’s mum, “I hope this man will protect us.”, his mother responded, “I hope so too, my love”.
    That’s it. That’s all I needed. Gods save me from my own sentimental human idiocy. I could hear M’Lady cackling with forced laughter in the distance. So derisive. There were words I could have said at that moment that no woman or child should ever hear. But I resisted the temptation, as I was raised a gentleman.

    “Anchor raised. Helm to starboard, gradually… there.”, my bowsprit pointed directly at M’Lady’s belly. Get ready my love. I’m bringing guests.
    “Sails dropped, full billow, let’s get this done!”, I growled, determinedly.
    One of my guests screeched, “Um, do you think this is wise?!”, as my sloop jolted and thrust forward into the storm.
    What’s wisdom got to do with it, I thought to myself.
    Another voice, “Sir, um, are you planning to enter that torrential storm?!”
    You’ll have your answer shortly, if it isn’t already obvious, I snickered to myself, then I screamed at the top of my lungs, wind and rain strong and steady now…
    “YOU… are NOT going to STOP ME from delivering my PIGGY’S, you wicked, evil, heartless, w***h!!”

    Then all hell broke loose. M’Lady seemed to release her fury at that exact moment, as if my words triggered it, pushing broiling waves crashing against my hull, my compass was spinning out of control, my helm tore itself from my hands…

    The chorus of piggy’s behind me began to screech and cry in unison, like never before, only now with serious justification. Their voices were drowned out by M’Lady’s booming blasts of accursed rage and foul language.
    I had lost complete control of my sloop, rolling, tossing and turning, this way and that, in every direction. I didn’t have much time. I dropped anchor and quickly grabbed the little one’s cage. He gasped desperately screaming, “Mummy!! Mummy!! No!!” …. and before she could respond…
    I stuffed another banana into his gullet to shut him up and threw myself into the broiling waves. I looked around treading water frantically, coughing and gasping, trying to get a fix on something that looked like…

    I could just then barely make out lantern light through the smothering waves and blinding sheets of rain. I swam toward that lonely beacon of hope. I was right. The shore and rock of Plunder outpost began to get clearer in my vision. When I reached land I ran, soaked and exhausted, with cage in hand, like there was no tomorrow, toward the dock where my merchant was patiently waiting. The rains were so thick I could barely see a dozen feet in front of me. I’m always surprised how these business people manage to work in all weather conditions out on their docks like this. No matter. Who was I to question. I had an emergency to attend to.

    I finally made it to the merchant, she seemed completely unfazed by either the weather or my soaked and desperate demeanor. I handed over the the cage with the little one inside and collected my gold. Professional to the last. Next.
    I ran back to the spot on shore where I swam to, from my sloop. I couldn’t see a thing through the thick mist, fog and rain. Where was my boat. WHERE?!

    I was so stupid, I thought. I should have lit my lanterns before I jumped overboard. In my state of urgency, I remembered roughly what direction I was facing when I reached shore, so I jumped into the water and began to swim in that opposite direction, re-tracing my path, taking a shot in the dark – assuming my ship was still there. I was praying M’Lady hadn’t sunk her. That she had some compassion at least for my guests, if not me or my ship.

    I swam and swam, running out of breath, looking this way and that… Finally, I spotted the cross of my masts rocking back and forth. She was still afloat!! Thank goodness. I climbed the ladder and without a second thought grabbed Gertrude, she wasted no time berating me, “Where have you taken my boy you evil scoundrel, where!! WHERE!! Answer me!!”. I stuffed a banana in her gullet to shut her up and jumped in the broiling swath again. M’Lady was not letting up one iota. “No mercy at all from this!!….”, I gasped and then bit my tongue. It was no use. Cussing and insulting her at this juncture was just making matters worse. She had the upper hand and she knew it. As did I.

    It was quite clear to me she was enjoying this, at my expense.

    All in all, I managed to swim back and forth from my sopping wet, rolling and beaten boat, to and from Plunder’s shore. Four times. Each time I reached my boat to rescue another of my guests, I was quietly thankful M’Lady at the very least had pity, for them. I’m sure I would have been a goner if it weren’t for them.
    Of course, once I had delivered the last piggy to the merchant, collected my gold, M’Lady ran out of steam. Her rain began to subside, her winds to calm, her agitated waves ceasing…

    She came to do what she came to do, as did I. I’m not sure why she tests me like this, but… who am I to question the fates.

    When I arrived back at my sloop, it was desperately in need of repair, which I began right away – after I baled the swimming hole out of my lower deck.
    It was indeed a good day’s work, well done. Contract accomplished. M’Lady’s temper appeased. My shipment delivered safe and sound. Er, well, as safe as can be expected. I tried to push out of my mind what would happen to my, uh, guests… but, um, well… let’s just not go there, shall we?

    At any rate, as I was saying, the sun was now setting calmly, beautifully, in the west. What would tomorrow bring, I wondered. Who was I to question. I set course to follow the fading light.

    #AthenasFortuneContest

  • 0

    As with the start of every voyage the colours are adorned to the ship...
    Forsaken Ashes Hull and Figurehead and the Festival of the Damned Sails. Grab some ammo, wood and a few fruits to keep me and me mates bellies full. We jump aboard and raise the Kraken Flag!
    My what a magnificent vessel!
    One cremate found a couple of messages lyin' around in strange bottles. We decided to see what they be. A treasure map and a good old scrap with them vicious dead folks. The island for treasure was near so we sailed over, found our 6 X's and hauled the booty on deck. 4 Captains chests, a Marauders chest and a Chest of a 1000 Grogs.
    We made sail for the fight but we were surprised by a Meg as we aimed for an outpost to sell our booty on the way. One poor crewmate was bitten in two and sent to be damned.
    He was the only one she got but we sent her down to Davy Jones to join the others we'd sent there on voyages past.
    A familiar face appeared before me to which I thought twas a ghost but before I could ease him with a shanty safely to the other side he spoke my name and our crew mate had returned.
    There was a strange look in his eyes. He told us of the Ferryman's torch and produced a bright blue flame glowing from his lantern. He said "We NEED to light the beacons! Then he passed around the ship lights and changed them all to blue. He grabbed the wheel and away we went knowing nothing of where we were going. My cremate as though possessed sailed us furiously from island to island. We discovered numerous beacons but some already lit. My cremate doused those beacons and lit all 12 with his lantern. When the last one was lit he came to me and his words wont be forgotten.
    "There are many ways to die but some are necessary. Do not fear death for the ferryman will return you. Before you return gather a flame from the beacon but remember one day you may never return but that day will be many voyages later."
    Then the mist in his eyes seemed to clear and his voice didn't seem so haunting.
    "Where are we? I thought we were going for a fight? Only the last thing I remember was..... I was eaten by a Meg! What's going on!"
    We explained to him what had happened but he had no memory of any of it. "It was like you were possessed." I said.
    The next words from his mouth made me laugh though.
    "So are we going for this fight or what?"
    We decided to finish the night off with a quick brawl with those vicious brutes. They were no match for us. Then back to the outpost to sell up and end the night with a rowdy old shanty and a few tankards of grog.
    As I went to me hammock me thoughts were racked with "some deaths are necessary." Maybe tomorrow we'll turn something up but for now.... "Where's me Grog!"
    As I lay in my hammock my dreams were of a strange den that music may open if the correct notes are played.
    When I awoke the next day the dream seemed to play on my mind so I decided to go to the tavern to see if some grog might clear my head.
    As I entered the tavern there seemed to be  something familiar about the room.
    I tried to recall the music from my dream to the best of my ability. I played my Hurdy Gurdy as I wandered about and suddenly I noticed a marking on the floor that I had seen in my dream. As I continued to play the mark on the floor glowed with a strange light and as it got blindingly bright I heard the words "We shall sail together!"
    The floor beneath my feet began to shudder and fall away and before me I saw a secret staircase.
    My intrigue got the better of me so I descended the stairs to see what I could find. Down, down and further down I went till I came upon a bright shining waterfall. I felt compelled to enter it.
    Appearing on the other side I was greeted by music. I followed the sound only to find that it was coming from a happy looking crew.
    The strange thing was they were no longer living!
    Nobody was alive down here but me.
    I approached the Captain and he offered me a job with untold riches.
    How could I pass up this opportunity?
    I accepted and as he gave me a large scroll he said "Tis a blessing from Athena"
    I had heard of Athena in passing from other sailors and pirates so I took this as a sign of good fortune.
    As this was all he had to offer I made my way to my ship. As I returned to the top of the secret staircase a stranger at the back of the tavern said "Come back to me with your glowing booty!" and then he nodded at me and continued his conversation with the barmaid.
    A little confused by his words I walked back to my ship.
    After a night's rest me crewmates rallied to the ship with a fever for more adventure.
    "Where to today crew? Shall it be a golden booty or are you more preferable to a fight?"
    The crew muttered between themselves and then turned to me.
    "Captain, can we do both? We have a want for something legendary!"
    I agreed as I had in my possession the Athena scroll.
    I told the crew of my dream and of meeting the ghostly crew. They seemed intrigued with the idea of "untold riches" so we stocked up with supplies and set sail.
    We are well weathered pirates with a good knowledge of the sea and with our directions clear we decided to deal with the merchants first.
    We sailed to Plunder Outpost to collect the first merchants goods and then collected the next load of goods at Krakens Fall.
    Fortune favoured us as all the goods were wanted at Ancient Spire Outpost which was but a stones throw away.
    After making our delivery we set sail for a couple of fights. One at Devils Ridge and the other at Crooks Hollow.
    As we approached Devils Ridge we heard the cannons roar into life.
    BOOM.................... SPLASH
        BOOM................... SPLASH
    BOOM.................... SPLASH
    I don't know who was firing but they were a terrible aim because we managed to sail around the island to a beach that was out of the cannons sights.
    The sun was high as we jumped ashore. We could already see skeletons covered in leaves running towards us.
    The crew, with a yell of joy, slaughtered them with ease.
    More appeared. This time they seemed to be a lot darker than the previous skeletons.
    With a volley of gunshots and a clash of swords the battle was soon finished...... Or so we thought.
    More skeletons appeared but this time the crew had more difficulty doing any damage. GOLD!
    "Captain!" I heard being yelled
    "Get the powder!"
    As my crew battled on I ran to the ship and shot up to the crows nest. I grabbed the powder keg, we had found a few days ago, and jumped towards the enemy.
    As I hit the water I saw a crew member fall.
    Then another and then my last crewmate went down.
    With no crew left I decided to end it all but I wasn't gonna die alone. The golden ghouls were coming with me!
    I ran into the middle of them as they stood at the waters edge waiting for me.
    As a skeleton slashed at me with his sword I yelled "DIE s**m!"
    BOOM................. I DIED?

    I opened my eyes to see my crew gathered around me.
    "Captain. Come with us, we can leave."
    "Leave where?"
    "Captain. We're on the ship of the damned but the  ferryman said its not our time yet so we can leave by that open door over there."
    My crewmate pointed to a door that was closed.
    "The door is closed."
    As my crew raised me to my feet the ferryman behind the wheel nodded towards me and the door opened to reveal a bright light.
    "Looks like I'm allowed to leave cos the door has just opened."
    With a cheer we ran to the door and covering our eyes to the light we exited.
    When we uncovered our eyes we were amazed to see the ferryman had returned us to our ship.
    There were no skeletons in sight. The only things that remained where the powder keg had blown were 4 shining skulls.
    We stowed them away on the ship and set sail for Crooks Hollow.
    We briefly stopped at a Fort to collect some more powder. You never know when it will come in handy!
    We arrived at our destination to another welcoming committee of skeletons.
    GOLD again. Good job we picked up the powder.
    One crewmate led them to the waters edge as another ran behind them and dropped a burning keg behind them.
    BOOM. They were gone.
    More golden skeletons crawled from beneath the sand but we dealt with them easily again with another keg.
    BOOM.
    The light began to fade quickly as the sun began to set. It was now night-time.
    Dark skeletons appeared with glowing purple eyes. My crew and I could barely see them as we slashed and shot away at them.
    Why were they still standing?
    "I can't see a thing!" I shouted to my crew.
    One crewmate produced their lantern and as they lit it there was a cry of pain from the skeletons.
    We continued to slash at the enemy.
    One died then another and another.
    "Keep that light lit." I shouted. It wasn't long before the enemy was vanquished. As the last one fell another group crawled out from beneath our feet.
    GOLD AGAIN!
    We knew how to deal with these.
    BOOM. They were gone. The skirmish was over. All that remained was to get the skulls on the ship.
    Once on board we had 2 maps left.
    TREASURE! BOOTY! PLUNDER!
    We made our way to Cannon Cove and then  Smugglers Bay.
    As we sailed to our destinations we stopped off at Plunder Outpost to sell what we had. We made a few thousand coins for our troubles which made the crew happy then we were on our way again.
    We had our master map reader with us so the booty was easy to find on both islands.
    The last treasure was found. Suddenly the scroll that I had been holding disappeared from my hand only to be replaced by a single map with a single treasure. My crew looked at me for guidance.
    "Looks like we've got one more to go and it seems to me that we're going to Wanderers Refuge for this."
    We stowed our stash and set sail once more.
    The master map reader found the dig site with ease. Each crewmate with shovel in hand began to dig furiously.
    A glowing treasure chest emerged along with a hoarde of skeletons. They were defeated as quickly as they had appeared and then the crew admired the glowing chest.
    "Now I understand the strangers words!" I exclaimed to my crew. "I know who will trade this for many gold coins."
    We set sail for the nearest outpost. Golden Sands was the nearest. A very aptly named destination for our purposes.
    We arrived as the sun started to rise on a new day. My crew and I hurriedly sold our treasure.
    " Let's finish this together!" I said as I picked up the glowing chest. "Follow me."
    We headed towards the tavern.
    There was a different stranger at the back of the tavern but wearing the same garb the other stranger had on.
    "Is that for me?" he said in a low gruff voice.
    I passed it to him and it was quickly put away. He turned and handed me the largest bag of gold coins me and my crew had ever seen.
    "You're joining the ranks of the legendary pirates below I see!" the stranger said.
    "Yes. I suppose." I replied a little confused. The stranger offered no explanation as he returned to his drink.
    I turned to my crew and shared the gold between us.
    One crewmate turned to me and said "Captain, if you can get more scrolls like that one then we could be the wealthiest pirates ever known."
    "That may be but for today we shall dine well and drink heartily and maybe another day will bring us more fortune. Let's enjoy today and think of tomorrow after a good rest."
    With a cheer the crew agreed.
    "Tomorrow is another day. Now someone play me a pirate shanty and pass my grog?"
    As the light faded on the day we had filled our bellies with the finest food the tavern had to offer and slaked our thirst with gallons of grog.
    Tomorrow is another day........

  • 1

    Tale of Yecats


    Dagger Tooth Outpost was a bustle of activity, traders selling their wares, crews coming and going, as well as the occasional scuffle, heard from the direction of the Snake Pit; the outpost’s local tavern. It was still early morning, the sun’s golden rays just penetrating through the clouds, but even in this gloomy part of the world, it was looking to be a glorious day. The region was mostly uninhabited, made up of various islands of grey granite rock and sparse vegetation, a harsh and unforgiving place, the Wilds. The Outpost was the only real site of civilisation.

    Along the jetty, a small grey cat ducked for cover as merchants hurried to get their cargo on-board. It cowered under some boxes as the heavy footsteps rushed past and simply watched, safe now from being trampled. This was life as usual for a stray. Many scavenged off the scraps left by fisherman or tasty wares left unattended; and even then there were always the rats and mice to eat, attracted by the food stores and cargo. Most people did not bother them, only shoo them away if they were somewhere they were not meant to be. The cat’s ears twitched nervously registering every sound but otherwise stayed hidden in its cosy hiding spot. Its eyes, wide windows peering out to the vast grey ocean beyond.

    The voices of the merchant crew grew louder, filling the air, becoming somewhat urgent calls.

    “Another ship approaches! Hurry lads!”

    “Get going! Come on, Come on!”

    “Heave to and raise anchor mateys, that’s it, away!”

    Their brigantine’s twin sails unfurled in unison, bearing the sign of the tankard and they were away in no time.

    Approaching the jetty the other ship made no move on the outgoing merchants; none of its crew bothered to shift the cannons. They simply had no interest in picking a fight with the departing vessel. Unlike the merchant ship whose deck was a simple unpainted wood, this galleon’s decking and hull was extravagant, ebony-black with fancy trimmings of gold. The sails were black with the sign of a golden badger and the figurehead was a black and pearl badger wielding its fearsome golden claws. This was the Bonny Badger.

    The ship raised its immense sails and glided slowly alongside the jetty. Shortly after the anchor dropped with a dull thud and a gangplank was laid out, the Captain, a big stocky man with a wooden leg, long red jacket and bright red beard was the first to disembark. “Look lively mateys” he bellowed. His crew followed his orders and made their way down the jetty. Amongst them was a scrawny fellow covered in tattoos, a solid dark-haired lad and a young blonde-haired lass bearing a deep scar across her cheek.

    They each set off with purpose into the marketplace while the Captain turned towards the tavern. The tavern was always the best place to find information and after being at sea for many days, it was a very welcoming sight.

    The little grey cat watched them playfully, mesmerised by their feet, shuffling along the jetty. His front legs hunched forward and his paws were poised. With every movement, his little head darted in a different direction, as if tracking a fly. It took a lot of his will power to stop himself from pouncing. He had learnt the hard way, not to get too close to peoples feet. He wriggled his pink nose sniffing the air, taking in the aromas. Amongst the waves of salt, fish and sweat, he recognised their scents. He sniffed again and caught another, more distant smell and without hesitation, he raced off, curiosity getting the better of him.

    The Tavern was directly in the centre of the Outpost. It was backed by tall rocky cliffs and overlooked a tiny inlet of seawater, fenced off by the scattered remains of an old shipwreck and two tall beacons either side of it, lighting the sky with fire. At the bar, Captain Redmand ordered himself a drink.

    “Teri me lovey, charming as always. What news do ye have?” Redmand asked as Teri poured the grog. “I hear disturbing rumours of late.”

    “Ha ha! Only tales or ramblings of the drunk, do I get ‘ere; though you can always ask old Blind Bob.” She replied, placing an overflowing tankard on the counter.

    The Captain turned his head to make out Bob sitting by the fireplace playing his banjo. A gangly man, skinny as ever and dressed simply, in tattered shirt and pants. The Captain contemplated whether it was worth speaking to Bob. Bob had seen many things in his life, the poor ol’ soul and was having more of his crazy fits the older he got. As a tavern regular, he always knew what was going on and always had a great tale to tell. The problem was you never could tell his facts from fiction. He was old and always got himself muddled.

    The Captain sighed, ordered more grog and took up a seat next to Blind Bob.
    “’Ere ye go Matey!” he placed the two tankards down on the table and slid one over to Bob.

    Bob stopped his playing and took up the grog gratefully. “Cap’n Redmand.” He acknowledged with a two-finger salute.

    “What rumors do ye have?” Redmand prompted.

    “Ya me’n the Devil’s Shrouds, he-he?”

    “Hmm…maybe.” Redmand paused.

    The Shroud was a fog, which had always remained on the far reaches of the map. Everyone knew the risks of sailing through it, or close by its edges, yet it seemed lately as though some evil had awakened. The mists had become more common, reaching out to other parts of the Sea of Thieves.

    “.... maybe. I hear seaports in the Wilds ‘ave reported seein’ ships an’ fog, then naught, no sound of cannons suggestin’ battle or skele-ships and then no trace of the ship nor crew after. Maybe it’s just another tale made by some crew or perhaps the Order of Souls for that matter. A means to drive their business, with promise of coin an’ treasure?” Redmand continued.

    “Aye, may well be laddy. He-he! The Order of Souls ‘ave enlisted a number of crews to aid their investigations, as ye know some ol’ bones don’ stay dead. Ha-ha!” Old Bob replied.

    Redmand pondered this then took a swig of grog. His weathered hands, silently traced the countless grooves and scratch marks on the table, left by many a pirate’s blade and dagger. His reflection was broken by an eruption from within the kitchens.

    The sound of crashing plates and cutlery was followed by yelling. “ARRRHHH, WHY YOU WEE SOD!” The cook stormed out brandishing a broom. Everyone looked up alarmed and Redmand just caught the sight of a furry grey cat scamper past with something tasty hanging from its mouth. Seeing no real danger the tavern folk went back to their drinking and the red-faced cook stomped back into his kitchen, muttering curses under his breath. Footsteps approached the table and Redmand looked up to see Fitz and Isaac.

    “Sorted Cap’n, and we have that map from the gold hoarders.” Isaac announced. “Ashton is just grabbing the last barrels of supplies. She will meet us back at the ship.”

    “Good lads.” Redmand nodded and after giving his approval, the two crew-men ordered a drink and pulled up extra seats at the table.

    Bob gave a nod as they sat down. “Ye know Captain Pasha, of the Crimson Squirrel ….” He began then paused. His blind eyes remained distant. His whole demeanour changed to a horrified stare and in a crazed, shrill voice, he blurted.

    “Flash, Flash Flasssssh! D-dddarkness creep, Ffff-fog fingers reach. N-nnnnever linger for D-dddeath ye seek.”

    He snapped back and continued his last train of thought, oblivious to the questioning looks he was receiving.

    “… he-he! Well the other day he and his crew were ‘ere reported seein’ strange lights at sea an’ nearly coming into the inky reaches of the kraken. Ha-ha!”

    They listened as Bob went on to tell other stories of skeleton ships and the like. Then, when they had finished their drinks, the three men made their way back to the ship.

    Pirates are a superstitious bunch and no more so than Captain Redmand. When all was well, it was a good omen. It was when things were amiss that usually foretold of bad things to come. Old Bob’s ramblings did not hold well with the Captain but as disturbing as they were, they could just be ramblings for all he knew.

    On-board the Bonny Badger with sails hoisted high, the crew raised anchor, turned the ship and waited for Ashton to return. She did not take long. Redmand raised his head as she came into view on the jetty, the gold feather in her hat catching the sunlight, reflecting back its amber rays. He noticed too the same little grey cat from the tavern, sitting upright and unmoving on one of the wooden pylons, soaking up the day’s warmth, a living, breathing gargoyle. He was a scruffy looking thing with patches of coarse grey fur and lighter grey on his chest, under belly, muzzle and around his different coloured eyes, one green, the other a misty blue.

    Ashton stopped by the pylon and fished something out from her pockets, then threw it at the ground. “Ashton! …” Redmand bellowed but then he stopped. What was the point? He could not deny her this small joy. They had much in common, her and the cats, both lived hard lives on the streets, thieving and begging. At least Ashton had until Redmand took her in and gave her a better life. He never knew much from her past, she rarely spoke but her story must have been a sad one, with the scar on her cheek as a constant reminder.

    Ashton glanced over with a smirk and then back to the little cat that had slunk its way down. The little cat quickly grabbed the food, eyeing her cautiously before setting about to eat it. She watched him for a bit and then picked up the barrel of supplies, making her way back to the ship.

    “Ye should stop encouraging ye cat”, the Captain barked. Ashton just shrugged and dumped the barrel down below deck. Many cats inhabited the outposts scavenging for food and she probably did not help the situation but she had grown attached to this little one.

    The little cat licked his lips, satisfied by the tasty morsel. He tottered off towards the end of the jetty, but stopped, paw raised, his attention drawn back to the black hull of the ship and a rope that hung from it, laying loose on the jetty.

    With no time wasted, the Bonny Badger set off. The crew dropped sails and the ship began to pick up pace. Each sail tilted into the breeze while Captain Redmand stood at the helm, steering a course in search of treasure. With a satisfying snap, the sails swelled and spray shot up from the hull as it neatly sliced through the waves. For the next few days their voyage was mostly uneventful, taking them down to the Ancient Isles and then back up into the high reaches of the Wilds.

    It was the fourth night at sea, far north of Marauder's Arch in the Wilds when Fitz, their tattooed lookout spied a shadowy figure streak across the deck. He raced down from the crow’s nest to raise the alarm but stopped, hand on the bell straining to hear any sound, there appeared to be nothing. Strange. He searched around the deck and then popped his head down below but all was as it should be, the others were sleeping soundly. He was about to go back to his post when he noticed a dead rat lying outside the Captain's door. A rat was nothing strange but this one was dead with fresh blood still seeping out of its neck.

    The Captain’s light was on so he knocked on the door. "Captain, something is awry. There be some sort of creature aboard" and he showed the Captain the rat. The Captain just shook his head. "YE CAT!" He fumed and stormed out of the cabin.

    On deck, the sea had calmed. The others must have awakened and noticed it too as they came up from below. The Captain forgetting his exasperation, looked up at the sky, pitch black with no stars and the occasional flash of lightening in the far distance.

    "I don' like the feeling of this."

    A fog had begun to roll in, wispy at first but soon it was thickly surrounding them.
    “Skeleton ship, Sir?” Fitz questioned.

    “Nay, I think not. Ye would see their ghosty light and we ‘ave not come under fire, yet. This be something else.” The Captain mused, deeply concerned.

    There was heaviness to the air, and a faint scent you could not quite put a finger to. Slightly burnt but with a foul tinge, almost metallic. They all felt it though, soft and soothing. It filled their senses, calmed their movement, an intoxicating lullaby.

    All of a sudden, another sound sliced through their consciousness, a high-pitched yawl. It was enough to snap the Captain back to his senses in time to grab the railing, knocking a supply barrel overboard in his haste. A little grey cat growled, undeterred by the loud splash, his concentration fixated on a dark patch of sea. The others came to and ceased their movement. They had all inched towards the edge of the ship, as if something were calling them to the water.

    In unison, they glanced down at the dark crimson depths to where the cat was staring. Something stirred below the waves, small bubbles slowly popped to the surface followed by more and more; the sea looked a pot of boiling blood. The barrel had settled on the surface but soon finger like tendrils reached up to claim it. With a glass-shattering shriek, it was pulled below the lapping waves and deep into the murky depths.

    “Block ye ears!” the Captain yelled.

    The ships sails hung limp, becalmed as they were they would not be moving fast. Time seemed to stand still, as the crew cupped their ears watching the little cat on deck. He stood tense, teeth bared, ears pulled back and tail twitching. For what seemed an eternity he remained poised, then as a breeze ruffled his fur he raised his head to sniff the air. The wind began to pick up and everyone's heads turned as the sails filled and billowed. Ashton glanced back down to where the cat had been but he was no longer there.

    Sailing for hours, they did not stop. The dark –haired lad, Isaac, eventually relieved the Captain from the wheel and he retired back to his cabin to check the maps. Ashton took over watch and Fitz went to get some rest. It was only when light began to dawn on the horizon and the familiar outline of Dagger Tooth’s towering cliffs came into view that they breathed a sigh of relief.

    After a lot of searching, Isaac found the little cat hiding down below deck. He had curled up into a tight little ball, tail resting across his nose, amongst the ships blankets. Isaac tried to lure him out but the little cat did not wish to budge, instead giving a begrudging stare and a small whiny meow to let them know he was not at all impressed by being woken. Isaac called to Ashton who eventually managed to coax him out, still somewhat put out, with a biscuit and a scratch behind the ears. Her touch was soothing and he felt calmed by her aura. Once happily purring again, they placed him in an empty wooden crate, lined with some blankets. He would be back where he belonged soon.

    Quiet and sombre they tended sails, pulling the ropes quickly. When they docked, the Captain ordered they release the little cat from the box. The sea was no place for a cat; poor thing had already had quite an adventure already.

    The little cat however, had other ideas and scampered up Ashton’s burgundy dress to sit upon her shoulders. It glared smugly at the Captain with one emerald green eye and the other a misty blue, as she rubbed his chin. Perched on her right shoulder its attention was caught by the golden feather on her darkly tanned, wide rimmed sovereign hat, which it tried to bat, falling off in the process with an undignified meow and sending the crew and Ashton into fits of laughter. It was probably the first time the Captain had heard her really laugh, the whole crew as well for that matter.

    Redmand watched them as they unloaded the chests, lugging them down to the Goldhorders tent for a cut of the profits. The cat was now wrapped snugly around Ashton’s neck, its paws draped over her shoulders, occasionally peeking through squinted eyes as some noise or movement disturbed its dozing.

    “Fine!” Redmand sighed. Perhaps this cat was a good omen after all, a lucky charm. If it chose to stay then he would not prevent it. It seemed to lift the spirits of the crew and he could not deny it had saved them from a most horrible fate. Had it not stole away and sensed the danger they surely would have all been taken by the Devil herself.

    The little cat accompanied them on many journeys after that and did a fine job of keeping the ship’s food stores free from rats. Even the Captain became somewhat fond of him. Well, until it decided to use his wooden leg as a scratching post, that is. Or the time it walked through wet paint and left its tiny red paw prints all over the decks. “YECATS!!!” he would yell, and so that is what they named him. He had a mischievousness to him and an uncanny knack for finding trouble.

    (Yecats, needlefelted by myself)


    #AthenasFortuneContest

  • 0

    @khaleesibot

    "Lost and Found"

    A Tale from the Sea of Thieves

    You do not always find the land between the folds in the map…
    … sometimes it finds you.
    ” – The First Pirate Lord

    The sun was becoming unbearable.

    Booking passage on the Saint Mary was a mistake. Birthed out of Port Royal and stopping into San Juan, my home, for one day to drop off its cargo, living or otherwise, I thought it the perfect opportunity for my daughter and I to escape the Caribbean. The captain of the ship was a seemingly trustworthy man but possessed nothing less than a trove of aliases, granted his reputation among the locals was pristine. That my beloved husband was sent to meet the Almighty on this day one year ago factored heavily into my judgment.

    My daughter was not happy. That is why we came to be in this predicament.

    Despite being baked by the fire in the sky, her smile was still as radiant as any flower I had ever happened upon and twice as cheerful. Little Heliconia, the light of my life, sat there with spirits lower than they ever had been, save for the day we received news of her father’s passing, she was the very picture of happiness and she smiled, nonetheless.
    Concealment of my own vitals was paramount to keeping my daughter calm and her spirits relatively high, given our dire place.

    We hoped to happen upon a merchant vessel or even a ship full of privateers before we were taken by the elements, although my hope was quickly fading. I did not truly appreciate that there was such misfortune in attempting to travel outside my comfort and station in life. I, like many women in San Juan had found a decent living working in one of the Inns, welcoming all sorts of travelers to our dear town and making them comfortable. My late husband, on the other hand, found his own joy in walking the edges of the statutes of the Crown, as it was truly lucrative and he cared deeply for us both.

    I, to this day, despise being called a widow. I still talk to my husband sometimes, when it’s late or I’m alone.

    My daughter will always be my Wildflower, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She was everything and, I feared, at that very moment, that I was looking at her for the last time in my life. Her little lips were chapped, cracked by the harsh sea air and sun, hanging over us like an unforgiving inferno. If I was in my right mind at the time, I would have spent more time drinking in her features, the color of her hair, her blue-flowered dress and those eyes that reminded me so much of her father.
    We were on our second day, bobbing up and down on the waves, hearing nothing but the frothy water slap against our rowboat, our only savior in this nightmare of a situation.

    Conceal I did. This day, even more importantly than the day before, I concealed the severity of our predicament. My voice was starting to sound dry, but I could still creak out the chords of a few songs she enjoyed. I couldn’t remember all of the words to Light O’ Love but I did my best and hummed what I did not remember. Heliconia, my lovely Wildflower, she smiled and beamed back at me with the joy and spirit of a child without a care in the world.

    Clasped in her hands in a way that even the devil himself could not pry free was a wooden doll, crafted by a kind man who lived at the Inn back in San Juan, given a little fabric head, buttons for eyes and fabric arms and legs. He even gave it a kind smile. It had become her favorite, inseparable in ways that only our favorite toys could become to us. She held it tight and it gave her comfort in these, what I could only assume, were our last moments together before being taken from this mortal coil by the heat and lack of fresh water.

    My wine skin was empty as of last night and despite my straining to see something, anything that could be a marker to let us know where we were, it was all for naught. I feared this would be the end of our trip, in a tragic way but common to those who booked passage on ships crewed by those accused as pirates.

    The Crown, despite what the locals said, was just being dutiful in its prosecution of those villains, and I always cheered it as morally correct. If I had known my husband was one of those in the employ of piracy, I might have reconsidered my moralistic opinion. Even when men that I had known personally stretched past the floor of the gallows… I still stared at the flag of the Kingdom in respect and love for my homeland, and that of my daughter. Alas, she would never see them, the shores of the Thames nor any of her family, still living in the East End.

    When death of my husband reached my ears, I wrote letters to my sister, Rose and our correspondence was of tremendous comfort to me, and I hoped her as well. She was all that I had, save for my little Wildflower and the meager amount I had saved from washing dishes and cleaning at the Inn. Life in San Juan wasn’t easy, especially since the most important men of the colony had only recently been declared outlaws. Now, the crown saw San Juan as a cancer on our beloved islands. The men of the city saw a lady like myself, not native, not family of the governorship to be a p******e of sorts, someone who didn’t belong, a former occupier.

    My hope was to book passage to Florida and, with any luck, find a way from the Carolinas back to England, where we’d be safe, where, despite being poor, we’d at least have family and the familiarity of home. I think my daughter would have liked that. This was not to be.

    A galleon, flying the colors of the Spanish Armada approached us in the fog and before the ship was able to come along for a broadside, it was hit with the full force of fury, blasting crew high into the air and sending the ship downwards to its fate.

    The few passengers on the Saint Mary were shown no quarter and gunned down as they tried to escape. I, in perhaps a mistake born out of passion for our own survival, grabbed my precious Wildflower and flung ourselves overboard during the volley, trying to hide below pieces of the hull. I prayed that the Spanish would not see us, as a prison in the Caribbean is not a fate a young girl should ever know, especially one as innocent and kindhearted as my Heliconia.

    The Galleon sailed away towards the sun, leaving us clinging for life onto a rowboat, adrift.

    We had nothing else other than the time we were granted by fate and whatever moments we had together to look upon each other and smile. I’d have held her close except I was genuinely terrified of having her die in my arms. Some vicious thought crept up into my mind that, perhaps, the moment I would take her into my embrace, she would expire. I could not even bear such thought. I set aside such thoughts. We sat there, reclined, in relative comfort, or so she thought, enduring the heat of the sun and just looking into each other’s eyes.

    The moments stretched out to forever and there I was with my daughter, in eternity’s embrace.

    My best efforts to not fall asleep were becoming futile. I was in a tremendous amount of pain from my side, near my hip. Something terrible had happened.
    Among the dangers of the sea, the heat has a way of dragging the spirits down and stories of castaways going mad were not uncommon.

    I had to smile at the sight of her holding her little doll, named “Syriana” after the name given to the figurehead that sat below the bowsprit of her father’s ship. That was where the body of the doll had been taken from, that figurehead. A salvager, going down to search the wreck some time after the sinking decided to try and pry the eyes of the figurehead, leafed with gold as if makeup on a beautiful woman with his knife but, instead, ended up with a chunk of wood.

    He had also found a locket, belonging to my husband, among the wrecked hull and the picture inside, a sketching of my Wildflower. When returning to San Juan, the man recognized little Heliconia, standing on the dock, hoping and praying, every day that her daddy would come over that horizon. Realizing what he was holding in his hand, a chunk of wood and a locket bearing the image of that same small child, he gave both to my daughter. It was an act of unparalleled kindness from a man who on a bad day might have been branded a criminal.

    I kept the locket, my last piece of Joseph, around my neck and my little Wildflower kept the piece of the figurehead of the Syriana with her at all times. When a dollmaker took up residence at the Inn, he complimented Heliconia on her blue-flowered dresses and offered to make her a doll from the piece of wood, to remember her father.
    My injuries were too severe. In the attack on the Saint Mary, I felt a stabbing pain in my side, a ragged piece of iron, no doubt from the rigging had found its way into me. I could smell the infection, though I did not tell my angelic Wildflower. Instead, I concealed it with the direction I lay in the rowboat. I just held my pain, deep inside and pretended all was well, for her benefit, of course. In our final hours, I would not let my precious daughter know her mother was going to soon meet her maker, even if that thought, that lingering thought of being able to rest did give me comfort. What kept me alive was her. I would not die and leave my daughter.

    My injury pained me greatly and my consciousness faded in and out since the dawn.
    My Wildflower, my most treasured possession and the light of my life held her doll up to the sky, shaking it and giggling, unaware that death would pay us a visit soon.
    I hadn’t noticed the fog drifting in around us.

    It’s common for those who are close to the final moments of life to experience unusual sights and sounds. The mind plays havoc on those drifting in and out of consciousness. In the distance, I thought I had heard strange sounds but I was awake enough to know that what I was hearing didn’t make any sense.

    My daughter kept the doll held aloft, shaking it at the fog as if it was some sort of threatening thing and the fog was a great enemy to be vanquished by her favorite wooden toy. I didn’t notice that the fog was behaving in a peculiar way. As it approached our rowboat, it seemed to part, to split down the middle as if cleaved by a butcher’s knife. It avoided us, for no real reason I could discern. It had to be the injury. Surely, I was just seeing things. That was usual before going to meet the maker, correct?

    The sounds, vague and ghost-like held onto the horizon, coming from the direction of the mist. I could hear distant gunfire, I could hear…what was it? Singing? The sound of instruments being played? The sound of laughter? I couldn’t be sure, as the heat from my spoiled wound was starting to turn my mind into a carnival of nonsense. All the while, my little Wildflower held her dolly skyward and the mist parted, as if terrified of a tiny piece of wood with buttons for eyes.

    I was sure that this was Paradise. My eyes had become too heavy to bear and I lost consciousness. I’m not sure what happened after that but suddenly, our boat had reached shore!

    Standing on the shore, a heavyset lady with a kind face and eyepatch, holding out what was perhaps the most plump and delicious piece of fruit I had ever laid eyes on in all my days.

    My daughter had already accepted the yellow fruit. It was exactly what I thought it was, a Musa fruit. It was a Muse of the Wise, a banana, and, for some bizarre reason it was being offered to me.

    I tried to rise to my feet but my injury was too severe and I already had lost quite a bit of blood, soaked up by my dress. The woman took hold of me, remarkably gently but with a firm hand, not letting me flop down onto the boat.

    I watched my daughter bite into the fruit, peel and all, with a big smile on her face, giggling between the juicy mouthfuls. The pallor and paleness of her face changed dramatically with each bite. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Her cracked lips, her chapped skin, all being replaced with the fairest skin I had ever seen. She was more vibrant than I had ever seen her. I too attempted a bite of the fruit, through the skin, right into the sweet meat of it. Oh, it was delightful beyond words. The sweetness was like something beyond the real world. This must have been what the Israelites tasted while being stranded for all those decades in the wilderness.

    I, for lack of all common logic, found my strength returning, a miracle beyond miracles and yet welcome beyond belief.

    Was this Paradise? I must have asked out loud at least once, as the kindly woman with the eye patch guffawed at my confusion.

    My daughter, my little Heliconia, my Wildflower of unparalleled beauty helped me, holding my hand as I stepped out of the boat onto the shore of white powder, sand so pure and untouched by filth that it shined like silver, or mercury. I took her into my embrace and she wrapped her arms around me, causing me to realize with no small amount of surprise that my wound, the jagged piece of iron was gone from my abdomen. Had it fallen out? I reached for the hole in my dress but that was gone as well. The sizable splotch of black blood was completely missing, as if it was all in a dream, a hazy memory, long gone.

    I couldn’t help but laugh. I stood there, on the golden sands with my daughter and the mysterious lady who turned out to be a barkeep at the nearby tavern, and we laughed. We all had a hearty laugh. I couldn’t believe my situation.

    Was this Paradise?

    ONE YEAR LATER…

    The ocean spray struck our face as we raised the sails approaching Crook’s Hollow and preparing our sloop to be tied to the dock and for us to go ashore.

    In the past year, my daughter had not aged one day. She remained as young as vibrant as the wildflowers adorning her dress. Of course, her dress had been incorporated into a rugged and useful outfit befitting a pirate and the pride of her mother. We had arrived here to hunt undead Pirate Captains, vicious, skeletal and dangerous.

    It was a Saturday, our special Mother-Daughter day.

    This is what she wanted for our special day. Who was I to argue?

    She stood, proud and powerful on the bowsprit as we approached the dock. Her doll hung on her belt, along the holster for her cutlass and belt holding her compass, spyglass and the various other tools of our trade.
    This wasn’t the world we had lived in before, instead, this was a world of infinite possibility. We had both of us, without fail become wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. In the last year, I had risen among the ranks of the most dangerous and infamous scallywags to become a Legend of the seas. We formed alliances, made friends, enemies and hardened to become a fearsome pair indeed!

    Fear no longer found our hearts as it had been replaced with bravery and the unstopping l**t for adventure. Below our bowsprit was a figurehead, identical to the one of her father’s ship, only this was our ship, the Saint Joseph.
    My locket shined in the sun as the island battery began to fire at our ship. Skeletons cackled with every lit fuse.

    Cannonballs sailed past our heads and splashed down into the azure waters surrounding the island. My little Wildflower laughed, LAUGHED in defiance of their attack! We continued our approach to the island. Nothing would stop us. Today, we were hunting the undead in our new home, somewhere in between the folds of a lost map.

    There would be no more struggling to make ends meet. There would be no more fear of death while living on the edge of the unlawful waters of the Caribbean. Some unknown force, perhaps fate itself had granted us access past the Shroud of the Devil and into the wonderous Sea of Thieves, as it was called by those who knew of it only as a story. Aren’t we all stories, in the end?

    Here, we made our home. Here, we were important. Perhaps, in the future when mothers and daughters feel desperate to escape, to find our way from the reality and finality of mortal life, they can come here. Perhaps all it takes is to sail to the edge of one of those mystical folds in a cursed map and to find the lost land of untold treasure the explorers of old only imagined in their wildest dreams. For us, all we needed was a bit of luck and a doll made from her father’s lost figurehead.

    I wonder if this land was the one my husband had written to me about, the long-lost land beyond the horizon?

    I truly hope that in the future, mothers and their children are granted passage to these shores as an escape, as a way to part with reality and find solace in being dread pirates, free of worry or consequence.

    My Wildflower drew her cutlass and held it high in the air, laughing like the Pirate Legend she was quickly becoming.

    Here we were, two people from the real world, a harsh world, a world filled with death now lost, forgotten to us, left behind, somewhere else. In this, a land of dreams and friendship, of great wonder and terrifying dangers… in this world, we will never die.
    Our story in the real world ended that day. We faded out of memory. My sister declared us “lost”, tragic victims of the mighty sea.

    This was our story now, and we shall sail together, my little Wildflower and me, forever.
    On the island nearby, just beyond the beach, blue flowers began to grow.

    Today, in this place, the sun was perfect.

  • 0

    Sea of Thieves:
    A Band of Pirates and a Chest Fool of Gold

    The day was hot, and the water was boiling. Literary. Maybe not because of the sun, but because the crew was sailing to Devils Roar. Why, you may ask? To find the legendary Ashen Captain's Chest. Worth more than one-thousand gold they've heard. A fairly new band of pirates though, had no idea of the horrors that lie on the eastern side of the Sea of Thieves. Well, it was actually just two people. “Yar’ me mates! There be land ahead!” said Captain Yorrow. Captain Yorrow was a new captain, and didn't really know what he was doing. But what Sam (Our main character) didn’t know, was that land was straight ahead. The ship suddenly rammed right into an island. The ship did a full two-seventy as the hull of the ship rammed right into the side of Flintlock Peninsula. Rocks gouged four holes in the front of the ship. Water came pouring in to Big Bertha, their sloop.
    “Cover ye’ holes!” yelled Captain Yorrow from the crow’s nest. “Yes Captain.” said Sam. She ran over to the bottom of the ship. But as she was covering the holes with their few remaining planks, an explosion rumbled from the south-east. Captain Yorrow stopped dead in his tracks. He turned slowly to Sam and dropped his bucket full of water, it splashing on the deck. “Was dat’ ou?” He asked Sam. Suddenly, a sound like a cannonball came flying through the air. Then a giant rock slammed right into their ship. Sam turned and shrieked as the front of Big Bertha was ripped off, heading straight into the water. Captain Yorrow and Sam stared at the destruction that had just occurred.
    Then more explosions came, and then they both realized what had happened. They looked at each other. “Volcano!” More explosions. Fire was raining down on them. “Get to the rowboat!” Sam yelled to her captain. “I alf’ to stay ‘ere!” he yelled back. Sam didn’t think twice. She bolted up the stairs and ran to the rowboat. She detached it and jumped in, not minding to take the treasure that they had on board. Sam picked up the oars and started rowing as fast as she could. She looked back at Big Bertha just as it sunk to Davy Jones’ Locker. She couldn’t believe it. Captain Yorrow was dead. There was no coming back.
    Sam slowly looked back and started her rowing again. Just as she thought she was safe, another explosion occurred, right above her. A giant rock covered in magma came crashing down. It fell and landed right in the rowboat. She was disintegrated right into the boiling ocean, in a cloud of green smoke. Then Sam popped into a new world. The land was green with light around her. She turned and saw that she was on a ship, a galleon! But then she realized that the boat seemed dead. Chains covered everything. Wood was chipped in ten-thousand places. Somehow, the mast was broken in two, but was still being held up. Her attention was whisked away when she heard sobbing coming from the bow. Sam turned and stepped closer to the noise. Soon she realized it was a person crouched over themselves. “Hello?” she asked calmly. As Sam suspected, the stranger didn’t reply. She started to turn away as the figure turned to her. “Sam?” Sam jumped back in surprise. Captain Yorrow was alive!
    “I thought you died!” she yelled gleefully at him. A smile from ear to ear emerged from his face. “I thought ou’ survived!” Yorrow said back. Sam was going to reply when a creaking noise came from behind her. She looked and saw that the door to the captain’s quarters was being sucked in. Her smile was wiped off and replaced by complete confusion. When the planks flew away, Sam couldn’t believe what was on the other side. It was a green, something. She starred closer, and it seemed to be some sort of transporting device. To where, she did not know. Captain Yorrow picked himself up and started shuffling to the door. Sam followed.
    Captain Yorrow stepped in first, disappearing into the portal. Sam was about to step in when she heard a voice up above her. “Captain?” The voice was creepy, if anything, dead. She looked up and saw a ghost steering the ship. Sam was scared out of her wits. Then Sams’ attention fell behind her. There was another person, a pirate. He was built into existence by more green smoke. “Ahoy! My name is Stephen.” Sam had no idea what to say. Some person right behind her just appeared out of nowhere. “Follow me! I've been here more than a few times.” Stephen said gleefully. So Sam did what Sam does best. She followed. She stepped into the, thing, with Stephen. Stephen popped out of existence. Sam stepped in. She appeared on a small island, right behind Stephen. Well it was more of a rock than anything. Then she noticed something. A beautiful galleon, gleaming in the light. New wood and sails. Pristine condition. Then she saw something else. Captain Yorrow was standing in the crow’s nest.
    “Aint’ it glorious! Yorrow yelled at Sam, a smile erupting from his face. “Ous’ that?” Sam didn’t know what he meant. “Oh!” she said “This is our new friend, I guess. His name is Stephen!” She pushed Stephen forward towards the ship. “But I’m not all there tis be to it.” Stephen pointed back at where he and Sam popped into the island. Another person popped into existence. “Ello’, ello.’ My name is First Mate Trina!” “Looks like I got meself’ a new crew then!” Captain Yorrow said. He jumped off of the crow’s nest and landed in the water. Then he popped up on the rock. “Say hello to Bigger Bertha!” Trina laughed. Stephen went along with it and jumped onto the ladder. Soon everybody was on the ship. Just as Sam went to raise the anchor, she noticed a note on one of the cannons. It was made out of old, maybe ancient, parchment. One line stood out. the rest were blurred

    You best say thank you, to the person who brought you this ship. Return it to an outpost, without a wood chip.

    Sam was utterly puzzled. She called Stephen over to look at it. “Best we go to Plunder Outpost then. It's the closest one. Let me go tell Yorrow.” Sam continued to the anchor. Captain Yorrow was outraged, but he agreed anyway. Sam pushed with all of her might, and eventually got the anchor up. Stephen and Trina raised the sails. Along the way they noticed a few different sharks and fish. They even saw a kraken in the distance. But eventually the fun was over and they got to the outpost. They very carefully tried to dock the ship. But once they hopped onto the dock. They noticed something was wrong. No one was there. “Skeleton attack?” said Trina. “No bodies.” replied Stephen. Then Captain Yorrow spoke up. “The paper, it has a new line.” He looked at the paper. One of the smudged lines was revealed in a bright green light.

    Something’s wrong, it may seem, just look for the answers, look for the stream.

    There wasn’t a stream at the outpost, Sam thought. Stream of what? “Look.” said Yorrow. He was pointing at a path of bones, heading straight into the tavern. He had a sorrow look on his face “Skeletons.” Sam said with a grimmest tone. Even though it was a bad idea, she followed the path. It led to the outpost tavern. The tavern was completely empty, just like the rest of the island. But something else was different. There was a stairway leading straight into the ground. This time, Sam lead the way. The stairway eventually ended, and a cave tunnel followed. Soon they encountered a waterfall. They realized that they just had to walk through it. But on the other side, life was completely different. A complete cavern, ghosts walked around, a town almost. The paper also grew a new line.

    Now you are here, it’s time to look. Which one of these ghosts took your hook?

    “That’s funny.” Sam said “None of us have a hook!” she looked around at the crew, and saw Captain Yorrow staring at the ground. “Maybe it was me.” He said in perfect English. He looked up. “My hook, what made you want to join my crew. My newness, my sense of youngness. She ruined it.” Captain Yorrow looked distraught “Who!” replied Sam. But she was cut off by a wailing laugh. Then a ghost started to glow brighter than the others. It started to burn her eyes. Sam reached up her face. Then the light settled. Sam slowly removed her hands from her face. In the dim cavern light, she could make out the legendary... “Athena!” she yelled. “Oh you know me?” Athena replied, a smug look on her face. Then she shot forward and grabbed Captain Yorrow. “Did you get it?” she said “Yes, just like you asked.” Athena dropped Captain Yorrow. She turned and started floating away. Then she reached up and snapped her fingers. A chest appeared in a cloud of green smoke. It landed on the ground with a thump. The symbol of Athena was stamped on the front. “Athena’s Fortune!” yelled Stephen, a look of awe on his face.
    Athena nodded her head. Then she turned to Sam. “You helped him get it. Captain Yorrow.” Sam turned to her captain. He shook his head approvingly. “I’m sorry. She was going to kill me.” Sam looked back to Athena. “Why?” Then Athena snapped her fingers again. Captain Yorrow disappeared in a cloud of green smoke. “He was my pawn, you could say. I just sent him to live eternally on the Ferry of the Damned as the captain!” Sam was speechless. Then Stephen leaped up towards Athena, grabbed her, and pulled her down. “Trina! Open that chest!”
    Trina did as she was told. She ran forward and kicked it open. Stephen threw Athena in. Sam acted fast. She went to go close the chest, but just as she began to run, Athena burst out in an explosion of green power. Trina was shot back through the waterfall. Stephen flopped over on his back. Hopefully he was just knocked out. Sam leaped at Athena. The fact that Sam was able to get to her at all was pretty impressive in and of itself. Sam unsheathed her sword and swung it at Athena, aiming for the neck. Sam screamed, fighting for her friends, for her captain. Of course it did nothing. the sword swung right through her. Somehow, Sam had to get Athena into the chest herself. Sam couldn’t do it by herself. She knew that. Who could she ask? Maybe the ghosts. Maybe! She ran pass Athena and into the small ghost town. She saw something that looked like the tavern and ran in.“Can somebody help me? Anyone? Athena, she attacked me!” One ghost stood up. “Capin’ Swinkler at your service! Here to help any mortal who comes into our world.”
    Sam was dumbfounded that someone actually said something, she had thought that Athena was an idol to them. “Athena. She’s outside. I, I need help.” Swinkler nodded. Sam ran outside. Athena had the chest upside down, shaking it. “My treasure. Where is it?!” Sam ran around the side. Swinkler did the same, on the other side. “Go!” yelled Sam. They both ran towards Athena. Swinkler grabbed Athena and dragged her down. Athena yelped and dropped the chest. Sam helped. Athena was wailing, crying almost. Sam shoved her down and into the chest. She slammed the chest down on top of her. The lock snapped in. “Thanks.” said Sam. “No Problem.” replied Swinkler. Then Sam started float. Green mist swirled around her. Black clothes started to form. An eye patch grew over her eye. new weapons filled her sheathes. Then she dropped to the ground. “Your a pirate legn’d tis it seems.” Sam looked up. “Maybe.”

    So what happened to Athena's fortune? And the rest of the crew? Well let me explain it to you. Captain Yorrow was used by Athena to steal back her treasure from the Ferry of the Damned (run by Davy Jones) and return it back to her in exchange for a small portion. Yorrow was then used and cursed to sail the Ferry of the Damned for eternity, replacing the current captain. Trina soon gave up her life as a pirate and became a bartender. You can go see her today! Sam became the female pirate legend that stands in the tavern, awaiting new pirates looking for Athena's fortune. So where is it? Remember Stephen? He found out what Yorrow was doing, so while sailing to the outpost, he emptied the treasure into the brig in Bigger Bertha. During the fight between Sam, Swinkler, and Athena, he slipped away onto Bigger Bertha and sailed to that little rock. There he hid the treasure underneath it and built himself a little shack. You can go there too! You probably guessed it, but the treasure is still hidden at Stephen’s Spoils. That's the hiding place of Athena’s Fortune and plentiful stories untold until now.

    Four Years Later
    Sam was leaning on the back door to the tavern, looking mean and knowing. A new pirate walked in. His name was 2Cool4U, and he seemed quite new to the game. 2Cool4U walked up to Sam and clicked “X.” “You don’t have what it takes,” said Sam. She scowled. 2Cool4U took a step back. She liked going off of her script every once in a while, it threw players off. Especially actual pirate legends. She laughed at every one who came. No one knew where the treasure was. Not since that night. 2Cool4U backed away and ran outside, presumably to find more treasure. “Closing time!” yelled Trina. Duke slipped off the counter. Sam pushed herself off the wall and walked to the bar. “Just one, for the night.” Trina smirked and turned. "Just one, huh?" She grabbed Sam a grogg. “Yeah, just one. And thanks,” Sam turned and left. Sam walked out to see the night sky. Then something surprising happened. The ground rumbled. The ground started shaking, and a hole started ripping through the ground. It finally settled and soon there was a hole in the ground. Sam walked over and leaned over the side. Nothing seemed to be happening, except for the fact that there was a giant hole in the ground.
    As Sam turned and decided to go tell Trina, another rumble occurred. Sam looked down, but this time there was green light, brightening. Then she knew what was happening, The Ferry of the Damned was coming from the depths of the earth. It exploded from the ground and shot up into the sky. It came down with an ear bursting splash in the water. A near tsunami crashed into Sam. Sam was completely confused. Sam recovered from her daze and starred. Then, Captain Yorrow stepped down from the ship. Sam dropped her grogg. “Athena be angry at you, and Stephen. Stephen be keepin’ the treasure for himself.” Sam gasped, how could this happen? She had no idea where the treasure went after that night, she thought that it had sunk with Bigger Bertha, if anything. “Athena's out of the chest. Let us be on our way, Samantha.” Captain Yorrow said. Sam followed.

    That concludes our story of the pirates Sam and Captain Yorrow, for now.


    Thank you all for making such a great game! It really shows how the community can work together to make such good things. Be watching, Captain Yorrow and Samantha will be back.

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