When the pirate crews of the Revenge and the Privateer made it back to port after taking out the evil marauders of the sea the Good Captain set about returning the gold and jewels they had recovered to their rightful owners.
It went against pirate tradition for a pirate crew to be returning the chattels of another person but the Good Captain was not one to always stick to tradition. In his decades years at sea he had learnt many things he’d learnt even more through the teachings contained in his father’s ledger stories. While first and foremost in his mind was the reputation of a pirate, one that painted all pirates as evil, backstabbing bastards that would arrive in town, steal all the gold, drink all the rum and have their way with all of the wenches.
But his father’s teachings had taught him two other very important things. First a term that in later years would be translated to ‘don’t shit where you eat’ meaning that you never took from those close to you, you never treated those who one day you might require help from.
The second important thing he learnt was that you don’t take more than you need and with a cellar full of loot, jewels and gems at the castle in the air the Good Captain knew he had more than he needed for he and his crew to live long and prosperous lives.
It was for those reasons that the Good Captain cheerfully ordered the distribution of the loot they had recovered back to those who it was stolen from, his neighbours along the coast.
There was only two items that the crews had recovered from the ship that they could not locate an owner for, a scroll of paper tied with the finest of silks and a large black chest. The two items were found together in the captain’s quarters of the ship and it was assumed they belonged together so both items where given to the Good Captain to decided what their fate would be.
Looking at the black chest the Good Captain was taken by it’s beauty, sure it was just a black chest but the matt black finish somehow glimmered under the candle light in the room in which it stood. There was no gold bands, no gold bracing, there wasn’t even a brass key plate, the entire chest was black. The scroll of paper was likewise impressive but the Good Captain could not figure out exactly why. The silk band was definitely nice but there was something strangely intriguing about the discoloured paper.
He called Captain Bildgepoole into the room, not because he was scared of the contents, or the chest, but because something in his mind told him what was in the chest needed to be witnessed by another soul and with the Fair Maiden co-ordinating the return of the other loot Captain Bildgepoole was his only choice.
The two men stood in front of the chest, the Good Captain held the scroll in his hand, it had been decided that they would read the scroll before trying to open the chest. Why it was decided that they did not actually know.
The Good Captain untied the strip of silk, gently unrolled the discoloured piece of paper and started to read the slightly faded ink scribed onto it.
“Since th’ day I first heard about th’ black chest I do admit that I went a wee bit crazy ‘n wild, t’ th’ point o’ nah gettin’ any rest. I was told o’ it contents many tides afore, th’ sort o’ contents that would set up a pirate fer life. I did ‘ave a constant bead o’ sweat on me brow as I thought about it. I ‘ave a green burnin’ o’ envy runnin’ though me that said I ‘ave it. I would claw it away from whatever soul dared t’ keep it from me ‘n I would grind his bones whence I did loot it. I would wake up sweaty from dreams about it ‘n I knew that wha’ was inside was brighter than any fire ‘n colder than any ice.”
The Good Captain took a breath and read on.
“Fer years ‘n years I sought out this black chest. I hunted high, I hunted low, I followed rivers ‘n streams that went nowhere. Like a scallywag obsessed I took nigh-on every risk known t’ man. Fer more than 10 years I roamed th’ lands ‘n sailed th’ seas jus’ t’ feel its pleasures in me hands.”
“Wha’ be it’s treasures I wonder.” Captain Bildgepoole said without thought when the Good Captain took another deep breath.
The Good Captain read on.
“When I finally found th’ hallowed sight I knew it instantly, how I knew this I dunno, but I did. Wit’ me flintlock loaded I shot away th’ lock on th’ gates o’ th’ sanctum afore me ‘n walked tentatively towards th’ chest sittin’ under th’ lone palm tree seemingly as if it were waitin’ fer me ‘n me and me alone. I held me hands out, I touched th’ chest wit’ jus’ th’ tips o’ me fingers, nigh-on as if I didn’t meself believe ’twas thar. I tried t’ break it’s seal wit’ rocks, wit’ me cutlass ‘n wit’ th’ lead o’ me gun but ’twas t’ no avail, naught I had upon me person at th’ time would gain me entry. I decided instantly t’ disturb th’ chest whence it rested ‘n took it wit’ me. Th’ diamonds o’ th’ black chest which I had spent so long, risked so much, searchin’ fer would be mine one way or another.”
At the very bottom of the scroll there was a single line of text written in the same scribed ink as the rest of the page, the Good Captain read it.
“Alas me quest still has nah been fulfilled. Th’ diamonds o’ th’ black chest still remain, but I shall ne’er give up me quest t’ scuttle them from wherest they do rest.”
The two captains briefly discussed what they had just learnt and how the evil pirate captain they had only days taken down had spent years risking everything for a chest that he could not open.
The Good Captain bent down in front of the chest, took his small bladed knife from the sheath on his right hip, poked the tip of the blade into the key lock and twisted back and forth three times. Almost as if the lid of the chest was on springs it flung open instantly revealing the treasure that evil pirate had not been able to lay his hands on.
The Good Captain and Captain Bildgepoole both looked into the chest at the same time, instantly breaking into laughter as they and saw that it was…empty!
Previous Pirate story here.