“Good sir, I was told that if I accepted this job I would be shown proof of the existence of this treasure.”
He walked over and sat down next to me and put his massive hand on my shoulder. “And so you shall mate. What I have,” he turned and addressed us all now, “is the journal of the first mate of the Black Rock. It details exactly what happened to the ship along with the place he and others hid the gold.”
A man whose name I did not know spoke up. “Ah, I remember now. I heard tell of an auction not long ago of such a log. Do you mean to say you obtained it?”
“No, mate, not so. The log you refer to did indeed sell at auction and I was there when it happened. We were given a chance to view it before hand and I saw at once it was a fake though I kept that to myself. I have knowledge of such matters and it set me to thinking. Why would someone go to such lengths unless the original held information of greater value?”
He stood up and began pacing. “It took me more than a year to trace the original. Its owner was reluctant to part with it as it did indeed reveal the whereabouts of the treasure and the truth about the Black Rock. Through persistent negotiation I persuaded him to part with it for a princely sum. So it is that we have embarked on this journey.”
He looked around at the sea of nodding heads and smiled. “I will show the journal to each of you in turn if you desire but the exact location we are heading for will remain with the captain and I until we get closer to our destination.”
With that he bade us good day and headed back topside. The galley erupted into low murmuring and the captain waited for it to die down before speaking.
“Alright men, now you know what we’re about. The first mate will give duty assignments to those of you who haven’t received them yet. We’ve a long journey ahead of us.”
That was our first morning at sea. I had signed on as a deck hand and set about my duties with ease, having been in the life for a long time. I noted that we had set a southwesterly course so it was fair to assume we were headed to the area he had alluded to as the last known position of the Black Rock. The only question was where within the region.
I thought over the information he had given us. He said the ship did not sink. Had it been attacked by pirates? How had it come to be that the first mate and some others had come into possession of the gold? Mutiny then. So many unanswered questions, and they would remain unanswered for a while to come, that was for certain.
I thought too about the scar on Isaac’s neck. Broad as it was there was only one way he could have acquired it. He had swung by the neck I would have wagered. How he had escaped death would be a story worth hearing but no man aboard would dare to ask and he knew it.
Much time to think there is on a ship traversing the Pacific Ocean and a dangerous thing that can be. I put my thoughts aside and got my back into my work. There would be many days ahead for learning.
Part 4 Tomorrow