Immediately after the battle of the black sailed ship had finished the Good Captain and Captain Bildgepoole sent crews out in small punts to search for survivors, salvage anything of use and loot anything still floating.
In all six crews of five men rowed their punts back and forth along the cove, forming grid pattens to ensure they covered every square inch of the inlet. Each punt carried weapons as well as burning torches to light their way but after five longs hours of searching nothing was found. No survivors and no debris! A single punt was sent back to report to the two captains.
“Wha’ do ye mean thar be naught?” Captain Bildgepoole replied when told of the search results from the pirates floating in the punt below him
“Aye cap’n, naught at all, no debris, so survivors, no ship!” Sea Anchor McGirk said.
The two captains and the fair maiden looked at each other, what followed was a quick conversation which the pirates in the punt below could not hear. After a few short moments the group broke and addressed the pirates below.
“Replace one crew at a time, I wants th’ waters searched in rotatin’ rosters ’til day break.” The good Captain called. “Make yer rosters, stick t’ them make sure th’ entire bay be watched. I wants that ship found! Report back here at daybreak.”
Come day break the answer was the same, there was no sign of the black sailed ship, no sign of debris and no sign of the bodies that would have been on her. The Good Captain knew what he saw, as did every other pirate in the crew, there was no way the ship of the black sails was not sunk, they saw it go down, but that did not explain why there was no signs of it.
With little else to do the two captains and the fair maiden agreed to leave two punts searching while the rest of the crew worked in rotating rosters to repair the damage to their own ships.
Sitting in the large dinning room, where he’d last sat listening to his father’s final story the Good Captain and his Fair Maiden sat in thought. Thought about the battle of the black sailed ships, thought about where the ship had gone and thought about what their next move was.
“Wha’ be that?” The Good Captain said as he shuffled in his seat and caught a glance of the seat next to where his father was last sitting.
Stepping up to the chair the Good Captain picked up a rolled parchment from the crook of the chair. Unrolling it he realised it was from his father, reading it he realised that it had been left behind deliberately to be found after the old man had left.
“What is it dear?” The Fair Maiden asked.
“ ’tis a message from me ol’ man.” he replied.
The Fair Maiden sat in silence knowing that the Good Captain would share if he felt he needed too.
“Ye see me now a mere ghost o’ a man, once had th’ heart o’ a lion. Commanded me ship through many an ocean, me Jolly Roger a-flyin’ high.”
The Good Captain read aloud.
“Mine were a moniker that struck fear into pirates e’erywhere ‘n regret into plenty o’ lasses. How I be wishin’ fer those days again. But ’tis nah t’ be.”
The Good Captain took a breath and kept reading.
“Me ship was th’ last sight many did see. Th’ sound o’ our cannons ‘n splinterin’ wood th’ last they did hear. We looted all th’ booty ‘n sunk all th’ ships, I took me share ‘n th’ crew got th’ rest. ‘n t’ wha’ end?”
The Good Captain wiped a tear from his eye as he realised that not only was he reading the notes of an old pirate, he was reading the notes of a dead pirate that wanted him to know more of the story that surrounded him. A story that couldn’t be told in the time that remained for the old pirate. He continued to read aloud to the Fair Maiden.
“We heeded no laws, looted th’ lives o’ others so we could ‘ave more. We lived knowin’ if we were caught th’ hangman’s hempen halter was but a hair’s breadth away. I ‘ave seen many a wonder in me time, wonders ye could nah dream. I’ve taken me fair share, many a hull o’ booty me crew did happily commandeer from crews we did ensure would ne’er see a new day dawn.”
“But like all tales mine ain’t full o’ only sunshine ‘n rum. These memories o’ mine were bought wit’ th’ lives o’ good pirates, th’ lives o’ me fallen crew. So many young souls suffered o’er th’ years so that I could get drunk in me ole age ‘n swagger from brothel t’ brothel.”
The Good Captain paused and took several breaths which the Fair Maiden took to mean he’d finished reading. “It would seem wit’ his last words, words he knew he’d ne’er get t’ speak t’ ye in person, that he wanted t’ warm you away from a life like his.“
The Good Captain looked up and the Fair Maiden. “Maybe nah,” he then read the final lines of the old man’s words.
“Regrets me son, o’ course I ‘ave many, but a life without regret be a life that’s nah lived. So as these be me last words t’ ye, remember t’ live yer life while ye be young, thar be plenty o’ time fer regrets later on.”
There was one more short paragraph at the very bottom of the page, even below the old man’s scrawling name which no one but the Good Captain himself would understand.
“It must be said that if I could jus’ go back in time ‘n make me amends…I’d be sure t’ make e’ery one of those mistakes again ‘n again.”
Reading the last line the Good Captain couldn’t help but laugh and laugh loudly. His father’s message was obviously heartfelt, a short message from a father to a son about how the former lived his life. There was no orders on how to live life, no secrets of the world just a dying old man’s final words to the son he never saw grow up.
Previous Pirate Story here.