“Hush me lads.” The Good Captain spoke clear and loud to the crowd of pirates standing on the deck before him. “We be about t’ make land. We be chartin’ grounds that ‘ave been walked by few pirates afore us. We be nay here fer fightin’. We be nay here fer lootin’. Carry yer cutlasses sheathed ‘n yer rifles holstered. We be here seekin’ nay but a few drinks t’ see th’ evenin’ out.”

The Privateer had been at sea for two weeks, they’ve been running multiple sorties up and down the western coast line. Their tasks had been tiring but they were worthwhile, they were tasks the Good Captain knew boosted the moral of his crew and kept them in good standing with the local towns and villages along the coastal reaches of the land mass they called their own.

They were two days out of home, moored against an old jetty in a quiet bay barely big enough to keep the big ship out of sight. In fact so small was the bay that the Good Captain could only guide the Privateer in at the peak of the tide when enough water flooded into the bay allowing space for the keel to not skim the sand.

“Afore we disembark th’ ship let me tell ye th’ tale o’ th’ Black Hand Inn.” The Good Captain said.

Whether the story needed to be known before they partook in the a few relaxing drinks the Good Captain didn’t care. It was a story told to him before he ventured into the place for his first time therefore he would offer his crew the same deal.

“A scarred ‘n raffish ole seadog wit’ a mystifyin’ transparency once walked into this here grove when it weren’t naught but a wee swallow o’ water ‘n a large mass o’ trees. It’s said he lived in a phantom’s galleon while he cut down th’ massive black firs ye see around ye. Animals o’ all sorts were said t’ ‘ave scurried as tree, limbs ‘n leaves thumped t’ th’ ground.

Massive timber beams were sawn from th’ trees. Mortar, black as th’ night was mixed from a potion o’ sand, sea water ‘n th’ mysterious sap found in trees nowhere else in th’ world but here. Sawn, shaved, shaped ‘n edged black timbers were placed together t’ take shape o’ th’ Inn ye be about t’ visit. Afore ’twas even standin’ under it’s owns weight ’twas baptised th’ “Black Hand Inn”, th’ black obviously comin’ from th’ timbers ‘n mortar, but where th’ Hand comes from be anybody’s guess.”

The crowd of pirates aboard the Privateer were silent. They didn’t need to be told that when the Good Pirate was speaking there was to be silence, it done simply out of respect. The crew were tired from their time at sea, they were desperate for a relaxing evening by the bar. But no matter how anxious they were to be downing the first of many large ales each and every crew member stood silence in awe desperate to hear the Good Captain’s story.

“Th’ Black Hand Inn was opened some hundred ‘n fifty years ago, well-nigh t’ th’ day. It’s owner way back then was a scallywag by th’ name o’ Tilo Hootsman. He was th’ scallywag who built th’ Inn, he was th’ scallywag who ran th’ Inn ‘n I can guarantee ye as sure as I be standin’ here upon this ship th’ he be too th’ scallywag who will be servin’ ye drinks!

Hushed words around th’ traps say he’s got a second sight. He can see wha’ no one else can. He can tell ye tales o’ both past ‘n present, but most o’ all he can tell ye tales o’ th’ future. He does this simply t’ make ye fear, ’cause he knows a feared mind hides all ‘n he knows th’ best way fer a feared mind t’ be his is through th’ bottom o’ an empty tankard.”

A break in the speech gave the Good Captain a chance to catch his breath and thing about the words he was about to say. Even after several deep and slow drawn breaths not a single member of he crew had spoken, each and every one of them stood there waiting for the captain to finish his tale.

“I ‘ave sat here in this Inn night by night in th’ years long gone by. I ‘ave seen this here Hootsman try t’ prove his restrains. I ‘ave seen that proof in th’ fear o’ others. He stares long ‘n hard into a ball, perfect in shape ‘n made o’ glass, he stares ’til his subjects become uncomfortable fer he knows that an uncomfortable soul be only one step away from fear.

But hear me now ‘n hear me clear. I can nah tell ye wha’ this scallywag will look like, fer wha’ he looks like changes ‘n changes t’ such a degree that he may be unrecognisable. But know me words are naught but th’ truth fer ye will be welcomed into th’ Inn wit’ th’ same words everyone afore ye has been welcomed wit’. Those words shall be:

Welcome t’ me tavern here in th’ blackened grove
Where ancient sprits live ‘n ancient spirits rove
I’ll tell ye about yer troubles, ‘n all about yer sins
I’ll tell ye about th’ future welcome t’ th’ Black Hand Inn”

The hush of the crew of the Privateer suddenly turned to a collective and audible gasp as each and every pirate aboard the ship took in the Good Captain’s words. They knew the Good Captain well enough to know that he would not knowingly be leading them to their deaths, or even to danger. But they also knew that his words to be heeded and that if fear was what this mysterious barman fed off then fear was not to be shown.

Previous Pirate Story here.