There appeared to be no dates in the ledger that the Good Captain had received. In fact, other than the name on the first page, which to most people would have been unreadable, there was very little distinguishing about the leather bound ledger or when it was penned.
However to the Good Captain the word Cartagena revealed both a time in the past, and a person to whom that word meant so much. Before his father had left him as a child he’d told him of his great grand father and the Battle of Cartagena, a battle that was not known for the support of, or participation of pirates.
The Good Captain started reading
We were headed east, the raging seas and the howling winds slowing our progress but not our determination. I was captain, but we were a crew of many, serving each other, not one man alone. We were sailing to a land unknown to any of us.
The reports from those who sailed before us had been sketchy, the maps and charts we were using even sketchier, but we sailed on. The first reports claimed that Porto Bello fell in a single day of fighting. That’s right, after our country’s first two unsuccessful raids those heading this current battle took the port in a single day.
There was no denying that our Britannia was ruling the waves and we were a part of a thirty thousand men army that flew the red ensign. We may not have been officially part of the team, but we would not let them fight alone. My own ensign flew from the bow of the ship along side that red ensign. We may have been prepared to sail along side the armies ordered to fight, but we were not too proud to announce our pirate heritage.
By the time we joined them after Porto Bello had been claimed we were part of the greatest fleet the world had ever seen. There was no stopping us as we sailed on to fight the War of Jenkin’s Ear.
Through out the seas of the Caribbean, the waters lashed our bows, lashed our decks and threw us side to side. We were one of the larger ships within the fleet and we tried to protect the smaller among us.
When the final battle began the skies turned angry, they let us know how angry by the roaring thunder that echoed continuously around us. As the skies roared, the enemy fired upon those at the head of the fleet. Before our eyes the seas became ablaze with fire as the enemy scored direct hits upon the ships.
For every ship that went down another took it’s place, rescuing seaman and firing upon the port. If they were going down they were not going down without a fight. Across the sea lashed decks of the leading ships rescued crewman laid. We wanted our chance, we wanted to put ourselves into the fight, but Britannia’s numbers were too strong, so instead we took our chances and sailed on.
“Cartagena lies ahead. Those Spanish foe will soon be dead!” I called to the crew as we took the wind and sailed on.
Thunder claps sounded like the heavens were sighing, and with the sight of our ships sinking around Jenkin’s Ear we could not blame it if it were.
As the battle line of the Ear was engulfed in flames the sky turned a bright red. It was like an omen of dread was washing over the bay, and omen that no man could deny.
We knew at that moment that if we did not turn back we would become little more than the words written in legends. The sands of times would forever remember our names, but for the wrong reasons.
At home we were deemed not worthy to officially fight along side the the royal armies of Britannia. “Pirates will not fight under this rule!” was their words. But we sailed on in stealth, sailed on without authority, to stand proud for our land. But a good pirate knows when to fight and when to retreat. If Britannia so desperately wanted to lose the Battle of Cartagena who were we to stop them.
As the skies roared with thunder and the seas flared with the flames and debris of broken and shattered ships we set sail for safer waters. Our canons were silenced, our flags were lowered and we caught the first wind out of there.
Legends be damned. We were never there. Britannia made an enemy of us with their misguided directions of battle. History may never remember our names but we would live to fight another day.
The Good Captain stopped reading at the end of the second page. It had not escaped him just how vague the story had been. There was no persons named, no dates offered, there wasn’t even a ship named, but he knew exactly who the captain of the ship was and the battle in which he fought.
The Good Captain didn’t know exactly how he felt after reading the account of his ancestor, he couldn’t even pin point a range of emotions that described it properly. What he did know was that there was more pages with the ledger, more pages he needed to read and more pages that would help him understand his ancestors which his mother refused to tell him about.
Something else he knew was that the fair maiden and Captain Bildgepoole were waiting in the other room for his to tell them he was okay. He still could not tell them how the chest, and ledger, arrived. How the sailor knew to deliver it to him, or how he even got it, but he could tell them what it meant to him and why it would remain one of the most important things in his life.
Previous Pirate story here.