Captain K entered the dark cave, a cave by the sea, a cave that only the low tide allowed a man to enter. He had hear the legends, he had heard of the warnings, he had heard of the treasure that lay within.
His dying shipmate had given him a map, a map to untold treasure located on a lonely Isle in the Caribbean. The map was clear enough as to where the treasure would be found on the lonely Isle, unfortunately in the legend as to the location of the lonely Isle, there were only these words: "The Skull of Hephaestus is the Key."
For years, Captain K held the map close and safe. At every occasion he would inquire of wayward seaman if any knew of the Skull of Hephaestus. For years his inquiries remained unanswered, until a night four months ago in a tavern in Barbados. Captain K sat at a table drinking when an old drunkard, known as "Fishface" by the locals, sat down beside him. The locals called him "Fishface", not only because his face did resemble that of a fish complete with eyes that seemed to bulge out of his skull, but more accurately because he tended to drink rum like a fish drinks water.
"I hear tell, ye seek the Skull of Hephaestus." Captain K recalled the old mariner say.
"Aye, what know ye of the Skull?"
Fishface smiled for he knew the rum was soon to flow down his gullet and into his belly.
"For a bottle of rum I shall tell ye the tale of where the skull can be found."
Captain K obliged and then some for he bought two bottles of rum and placed them both on the table before Fishface.
"I sailed these waters for most of my life. I served on the Princess Margaret with Captain John Finnigan, the finest man to ever raise the Black Flag in these waters. He came into possession of the Skull back in the year of 1698. The legend that it was the Key to a treasure became an obsession for the man. No more did he seek to plunder, all he sought was for the map for he had the Key! As the years passed on the crew became enraged for the want of silver and gold. Ya canna blame them, for pirates without silver and gold is more sad than old Fishface without a bottle of rum!" the old sailor laughed an took another long swig from the bottle.
"I am a loyal man, but I must confess that even I was surely tested by Captain Finnigan's obsession. And seeing as I was the last of his loyal men, the crew left it to me to end the madness, and end the madness I did. We were in the Bahamas in the port of Nassau when my opportunity came. See, being as the only man left who Captain Finnigan trusted he left the key to his quarters with me while he had gone ashore, seeking more information about the elusive map for which he had the Key. That night I did steal my way into his quarters, and did steal the Skull. If I had been of a better mind, I would have simply tossed the skull overboard and left it to the Sea. It was the thought of the treasure that kept me from that course. Ye never know when some fool might find the map and have need of the Key. Do ye know such a fool, Captain K?"
Fishface took another long swig from the bottle of rum clearing its contents. He removed the cork on the second bottle of rum while staring Captain K awaiting a reply. The silence between the two men was deafening and did remain for what seemed an eternity. Captain K smiled.
"Aye, I may know such a fool."
"Well it shall take more than rum to loosen my tongue as to where the skull may found." Fishface replied while rubbing his fingers together, indicating the desire for something a little more weighty.
Captain K tossed a small bag of Spanish silver upon the table.
"Nice down payment, but I had something of a different color in mind, something liken unto the Sun."
Captain K hesitated for a brief moment, trying to size up the seaman. Twas then that the thought of the treasure seized his mind, not even thinking anymore he reached into his pocket and pulled forth three gold pieces of eight.
"Now tell me where the skull does lie or I shall gut ye like the fish ye are!"
Fishface snatched the gold and silver from the table.
"Do ye know the harbor of Nassau?"
"As ye enter the harbor, along the port ye shall spy a small atholl. At high tide it be almost completely submerged, but at the low tide on the north side ye shall find an entrance to a cave. Walk all the way to the back of the cave, there be a small section where the water never touches. There ye shall find the Skull. But take ye heed, tis a cursed thing from which madness doth spring into the mind of any who take it."
As Captain K walked back into the cave, he noticed that sand below his feet had become dry for the tide never reached this far back. He lifted his torch up high and scanned the walls of the cave. A glimmer of the light reflected back into his eyes, the glimmer of metal, the glimmer cast out from the sunken eyes of the Skull of Hephaestus.
Captain K lurched forward and snatched the Skull from its perch upon the back wall of the cave. He did not stop to even examine the skull. He quickly tucked it into his shirt and exited the cave. His heart pounded for he had the Key. The Key to his map. The Key to an untold fortune in treasure. He raced out of the darkness of the cave and into the light of the day. He spoke not a word to his crew, who had waited by a small long boat upon the beach of the small atholl. He sat in the back of the boat while his crew stared at their Captain. He had changed, his eyes were frenzied and he seemd almost unaware of their presence. He just sat in the boat looking at the heavens. A gull flew by overhead and gave a loud call, loud enough to break the seeming trance that had held the Captain.
"Time to shove off and return to the ship!"
End of Part 1