It all begins with a captain’s journal we recovered, back when my crew and I left Algiers for Athens. It was among the items my crews retrieved from ship wreckage off coast Tunisia.
The content of the journal, to my amazement, pinpointed a treasure location; -355, -351. The Black Sea, not far from the city of Istanbul, home of the Ottoman. I thought to myself, that’s not so far from here, we can make a side trip, and return to Athens before noon of the day after.
All cheered when I announced we will not be returning to Algiers directly, but treasure hunting instead. It has been a good six months since our last adventure. But it was not without concerns and worries. My navigation officer, Gus Johnson, and four of the senior sea dogs came knocking on my quarter three pass midnight.
Gus was very concerned about the location of this treasure. Black Sea, over the past thirty years, has been home to dangerous and powerful pirates. The senior mates raise their concerns as well, because many of them, as younger man, were survivors from such attack.
But the treasure was too tempting. The wealth and riches buried in the journal, in pen and ink, was too overwhelming for me to resist. I gave my order to set sail.
We reached the destination a day after leaving Athens, and Istanbul just three hours behind us. That’s when things went wrong. Horrible ship wreckages from almost every known nation were floating there, like a massive fortress made of dead ships. It hit me then; of course, this is the treasure house. The treasure house of Black Sea pirates and the wealth accumulated for the last thirty years. How did I not see this?
As luck would have it, it was not over yet.
“Red sail pirates! It’s a Hades!” the watch shouted.
Everything after that was fuzzy, and hazy. In the dusk sun her enormous size was extra terrifying, and it was clear she had already seen us. Battle ensured, though it was a lost cause to begin with. The massive Hades was too much to bear for my Light Frigate. In the heat of battle I lost consciousness, and as if swimming in the deepest ocean I only saw blackness.
I woke up in a bed, I saw Gus napping on the chair next to me. I was in Istanbul infirmary; my eyes could see many of my crew lying in bed like me. I imagine those who are not present are with the ocean floor now. Gus informs me the crew surrendered when I passed out. Amazingly, the pirates spared our lives, and took only our valuables and that journal. From what Gus could gather, the journal probably belonged to one of the Black Sea pirates who had turned on his kind.
As I sat here, in Istanbul beach, I said to me- “It’s good to be alive”.