This post is part two of the three part series I’m titling ‘A Pirates Life.’
After ye’ early ventures our small crew started to pick up some momentum. We were aiming to set sail for open water, into uncharted territory in hopes of even greater treasure. Avast, we couldn’t do it along with such a small crew, so I figured I could help the Captain and Chief Mate out by recruiting some of the drunkards that frequented the tavern. Sure, they might not be the best sailors in the land, but they seemed to be a hearty bunch of fellows that had an idea what was going on. I figured instead of outright telling them to join it would be less work for me if they wanted to join on their own, so I posed some quite open ended questions to some quite open minded folks and before you knew it the crew had doubled or tripled in size. It was surprisingly easy getting people to join the crew by letting them take part in the planning for our venture into uncharted waters. To be quite frank, we could use any cartographer we could find trying to help chart our course.
Sure, we had our scuffles. One of note to this day was during one of the initial recruitment sessions (you know, where potential pirates come and right their name in the Crew Log) the Chief Mate argued strongly for a sailor he’d known who was convinced that the knots tied in our Chip Log weren’t measured correctly. Having tied them myself (and being fairly accurate with my measurement skills) I called his bluff but we let him aboard anyways. It seemed that having one mutiny-prone fellow would help keep morale from getting too high at times, wouldn’t want the crew to be overly optimistic of anything. I had to sleep with one eye open from that day on, but paying extra attention to things seemed to work well (and I could live with being a bit tired).
We set sail and made our way from port to port, borrowing what we could and looting what we couldn’t. Anything we couldn’t use we used to barter (aka sell) at the next port we landed at. Lucky we had one crew member who could sell just about anything, another one that could fix just about anything, and a few well skilled at putting junk together and making it look like silver. Turns out that’s all the people really want these days, as long as it looks good and works fine the details and composition of it don’t matter to much at all.
We picked up a few treasure maps along the way and secure some small chests, we were starting to do quite well for ourselves, collection a sizable chest and gathering much needed spices and oils to look to sail to new foreign ports. Unfortunately, like every great pirate sailing from port to port, the Royal Navy, specially one Rear admiral, seemed to take personal offense to our plunders and plots of conquest. He set out to shut down ports before we arrived, preventing both us and the “friendly” merchants from doing any business. Luckily for us, the merchants found other ways to exchanged their goods for our services; turns out they don’t like paying the queen’s tax much either.
This all culminated in a meeting with the Admiral of the Fleet actually, who took us by surprised as we docked in the Port of Tyne to do business. In retrospect, we should have expected company in the Navy’s backyard. After putting up a noteworthy fight with the Rear admiral, his commander came in to negotiate peace with us. I was glad that we were finally meeting face to face to discuss our issues, it’s much harder to sleep with the sound of cannon fire raining in than one might think. We sharpened our swords and headed to the meet, expecting an ambush of sorts. Turns out the Admiral of the Fleet is a bit too laissez faire for something like that. Instead, he conceited that the taxes they were making at the port were never going to balance the destruction we could (and already had!) caused, and we agreed to split our differences and continue on with our voyage. I suspect the Admiral of the Fleet was loosing faith in his Rear Admiral after he failed to eliminate us several times. It certainly helped having the tax-dodging merchants on our side too!
Early on as my time as Second Mate, back when we were still recruiting the crew, the Captain had pulled me aside and said that should he fall to Davy Jones’ Locker I should take the wheel and stand in his place. Knowing I had large pirate boots that I might need to fill some day I tried to stay as well informed as possible, learning as much as I could from my fellow pirates and practicing the whole navigating a large ship thing when I got a chance. I suspected I may never be fully ready to take over, but let’s face it I don’t think any captain really is.
We continued on our conquest, but it was becoming clear that the Captain’s time at the helm was nearing it’s end. He’d been cheating death for a few years now, and a permanent return to shore seemed eminent. It seemed my time to take the wheel was fast approaching, but luckily the battles were winding down as the Rear admiral obeyed his orders to stand down.