Chapter 8: Foxen Forever

Captain Bloodspatter was of course a bit bummed out by not finding any treasures in Madagascar, which is why we ended up raiding all the small villages of the African coast before we rounded the horn of Africa. By the time we anchored outside Morocco the Black Rock was barely afloat. The load of treasures had the crew sleep out in the gangways and on deck to make room for all the gold and gems we had plundered away from the good African folks. We could no longer use the lower canons since we were dipping so low int he water. In short, Bloodspatter had to come up with a plan for us to rid ourselves with some weight.

That plan included me. And Simen. As some of the youngest and probably the handsomest pirates onboard we were selected to take on the amazingly huge task that Bloodspatter had his mind set on. From the African continent we sailed quickly Northward to the Scandinavian countries. Bloodspatter invited us to a meeting in his quarters, it was the most formal thing I’d ever experienced onboard the Black Rock. The outcome shocked me. Our Captain had decided to trust me and Simen with the ships treasure. Why? I could never guess. But when we arrived in the Swedish Kingdom we were to protect the treasure for the years to come.

Since we were both blessed with the Madagascan curse of eternal life, the Captain found us best suited to protect the treasure until he returned from the next voyage to come. The treasure was to be kept safe by all mean until the Black Rock returned. After years of sailing the open ocean this was both unexpected and really not what I’d seen for my future. But then again, being in charge of the biggest treasure on earth for all eternity didn’t seem to bad of an idea at the time.

Now, this was of course hundreds of years ago, and the sea level was a tad higher back then. This meant that the Black Rock easily could sail to the inland waters that today is not as accessible. Low as a ship can be in the water – we entered the fresh water on the border of Norway and Sweden, or maybe Denmark or whatever country Norway belonged to at the time. Captain Bloodspatter had decided in this place for numerous reasons but first of all it was a seriously good choice by my thinking. The place we entered was called Foxen. It was basically just a lake in the forest. Nothing there, totally outback country, but the Captain had given us a task and that was to protect the ships treasure at any cost.

It took the crew two full days to carry the ships treasures to a secret cave that we had dug out the week before. I can’t even start to explain the values we were made responsible of. Why Bloodspatter would trust anyone with his treasure is today my mystery, but I believe the fact that we were going to live forever played a big role. About a week later the ship left us with the responsibility to take care of Bloodspatters treasure the crew’s pensions.

The party the day before the Black Rock sailed away was epic. Probably the most intense party you could get at the time, raves today wouldn’t even measure to the mushroom-soup the Goddess had cooked up. Blæik was dancing without any clothes on, using the mast as a strip pole. Captain Bloodspatter himself even took off his hat and danced with the Goddess into the long hours. They could be heard rocking the ship until the long hours.

One late morning later was the last time I’d ever see the Black Rock. The crew and everyone onboard had trusted us: Me, Simen and the monkey Balto was left behind to protect the treasure. With a pocket full of eternal life, food for like forever and an entire forest to hide in we started our lives as inland pirates.

Living an eternity is amazing. Having the chance to see nature work it’s way through all the seasons and be able to build your own home in the middle of amazing nature like the one that the land surrounding the lake Foxen provide is something pretty special. Whatever happens, whoever comes around we’ll be around to protect Bloodspatters treasure. Awaiting his return, even tree hundred years later we’re still around to protect the treasure. You can try to search for it, but let me warn you; Many have tried before you and none has made it through alive.

Let this story be a warning to you all. We will protect Captain Bloodspatters treasure with our everlasting lives for as long as it takes. Until the day that Bloodspatter himself return to collect the probably largest treasure known to mankind to this day. But the adventure of my life has just started. I’m only a 450 years old and there is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it. Captain Bloodspatter told me that.

Chapter 7: The Madagascan Curse

The Indian ocean gave us lot of merchant ships to rob for treasures and goods. Who knew there was so many ships sailing between the Indian and African continent. By the time we reached the island of Madagascar the Black Rock was so stuffed with treasures that the aft lower decks threatened to sink. Luckily we had calm waters and easy breezes all the way to the island. The crew was tired after all the plundering and Captain Bloodspatter let the crew take a whole week off before we started to trade goods in order to compact the Black Rocks load a bit.

By the end of our week off, the crew was well rested and happy to continue on. The Village we had visited was poor, but we had spent quite a bit of silver during our stay and quickly robbed everything back and sat fire on the entire village one morning before we set sail. Due to the huge treasure we had little room for food and Bloodspatter had the Goddess make everybody fish an hour a day to make up for it. I wasn’t bothered by it. Time spent fishing meant less time scrubbing the deck and over all the crew was very happy. We soon arrived in what had to be the islands largest village, it was more of a town and since we arrived at night it was a great sight, seeing thousands of lights light up our way toward the harbor.

The next morning Blæik and a few of the other men returned from a night of drinking in the towns bodegas. And not without news. A few miles inland there was stories of a tribe known to keep vast amounts of treasures hidden in the jungle. None of the locals dared to even get close to the tribes territory, it was said that their treasures was protected by a curse. Anyone trying to get close had left with nothing but death or sometimes they had simply gone mad and never returned to normal. Captain Bloodspatter who was in general not a big believer in old folklore and magic of any sort decided to take a group of men into the jungle to investigate while others stayed back to protect the ship.

We took off in the afternoon. A small crew including myself, Simen, Blæik, and our best fighters Tom and Teddy was led by Captain Bloodspatter himself and Balto the monkey toward the dense jungle in the middle of the island. We had purchased some donkeys to carry us the long way, and we didn’t expect to reach our target until late the next day. I never thought I’d get to go camping with Captain Bloodspatter, but since we didn’t find any inns or other places to take us in for the night it was decided to sleep in turn around a campfire until the early morning. It actually turned out to be kind of fun. We listened to Blæik and Bloodspatter talk about the good old days, before anyone else onboard had even begun our pirate journey. In short it was pretty much the same thing we had been doing for the last few years, but other people, and other treasures. Bloodspatter reviled to us that night, that his plan was to leave most of the huge treasure we now had accumulated behind, hide it somewhere safe, and continue on doing what he did best – namely collecting more of it. He wouldn’t say what had happened to the last treasure he had collected like this, but I gathered that it had been taken from him in some way long time ago.

Next morning we started early and by mid day we had reached the edge of the dark jungle forest we were told was the line nobody dared cross. It didn’t seem too scary compared to what we knew from previous raids and Bloodspatter ordered us to start hacking our way through bushes and bamboos growing a few inches as we passed them. Within half an hour the jungle was so dense that no sunlight got through the raging trees above us. Luckily this also meant that the smaller bushes below didn’t grow as dense and we eventually found an animal track to follow. We pushed on for another half hour until we suddenly stepped into a village. It was no people there, none that we could see, and the huts looked like they had been abandoned for centuries.

We walked in silence and checked every hut. It looked like the people living there had left in a hurry, or maybe just suddenly disappeared. But it was a long time ago and animals must have cleaned out everything edible cause all the cabinets and shelves were left a mess. As we continued through the village containing at least fifty huts and houses we ended up looking at the entrance of a large cave. It was blocked off by a wooden wall and signs in a strange language that could only indicate that we should keep away. Not really seeing any danger in still checking it out Blæik blasted through the door-lock with his gun.

Inside it was damp and dark. We made ourselves a few torches and continued through the dark tunnel. It actually wasn’t too long and we were surprised to discover that it was more of a tunnel that soon opened up to an opening. It was still dark, but above we could see the sky raging high above us. In front was a smelly swamp. In the middle of the swamp, halfway covered in dense fog, we could see an old hut placed on an island. In order to get to it, we had to jump from stone to stone in the swamp and we barely made it over without having our feet bit off by an angry alligator that had been lurking in the sump-green water surrounding us.

Safely on the other side, we walked toward the cabin. It was larger than the huts in the village, but I was thinking that it unlikely would contain any treasures of value. It looked like it had been abandoned for years, the only thing that proved otherwise was a green glimmering light from the windows. Just as we were about to check the door fountains of dirty water raised up from the sump around us. The heavy door sprang open and back-lit by the same green light was a shadow of a person with glowing red eyes and a black cape. It pointed at us with some sort of stick. Before we got the chance to introduce ourselves she had cast a spell that came out of her stick and covered all of us with a red glittering thin smoke.

We woke up hours later, just outside the cave entrance which some how had been boarded back up. It was already dark outside but surrounding us was a large circle of men with torches. Their leader stepped out and spoke to us in our own language.
“You have been cursed with eternal life for trying to steal our treasure!” He said – “You shall live forever!”

Eternal life must have meant something else for the tribe than us, cause although we didn’t as much as get to see the treasure we were happy pirates as we walked back to the Black Rock. Captain Bloodspatter was in an abnormal good mood and started loudly to fantasize about all the treasures he would find in his eternal lifetime. I wondered if this also meant we were immortal, that we couldn’t die in battle. What would happen if the planet suddenly disappeared, would we just float around among the stars forever?

Chapter 6: Captain Rawfish’s Treasure

Following our encounter with the sea monster we kept extra guards at all time, but it seemed like the ocean’s monsters had decided that we were not to be messed with. The truth of course, was one were the men onboard was unable to sleep and many kept crying into the night and when they finally fell asleep they were screaming for their moms in their sleep. Even Captain Bloodspatter kept to himself in his quarters, he didn’t step out on deck until one morning the guardsman yelled out; «Land ahoy!» and we all celebrated with the most extravagant breakfast the Goddess had ever presented. After months at sea, we were ready to spend a few days ashore and to refill our pantry with the freshest produce we could find.

The land was called Japan. And they spoke a language that none of us could comprehend as much as we tried. But food and all sort of tools and silk was brought to us at the quay, it was so cheap that Blæik didn’t even bother to barter. No point anyway, since we probably would rob the town before leaving. I felt land sick for days. And the locals food didn’t make me feel any better. It was gross at best. I was all for using the oceans sacred ingredients, but this was something else. The third day I was able to track down a cow, I showed it to Simen and we decided to buy it together and present it as a gift for the crew. The Goddess squealed with happiness as she grilled the entire thing over a burning pile of wood taken out from the ship to be replaced by Japanese workmen.

We stayed for almost a week, the last night we plundered the village which proved to be quite more profitable than expected. Who knew these poor fishermen had so many valuables. By the time we sailed away the Black Rock was dipping a half finger deeper in the water. It took a while before we understood that Japan was an island, but after having made a circle around it we finally kept heading West. Of course with our ship filled to the brim with all sort of strange fruit and food none of us had ever seen before. This of course might be part of the reason to why the entire crew got the shitters halfway across to the mainland.

The worn crew took their time to get well as Captain Bloodspatter ordered us to anchor outside a small sandy island. There were coves and palm trees with coconuts. The entire crew acted like kids on vacation until the Captain one day told us the truth about why we had come to this place. In Japan he had gotten hold of a map, it was hidden between the treasures we had stolen in our first raid in Japan. A map showing the way to a treasure belonging to a Japanese pirate called Captain Rawfish, now long dead, having suffered major depression. The map painted the way to where he and his crew buried his treasure before returning to Japan on their last voyage. At first Bloodspatter had thought that the treasure must’ve been located around Japan, but when he finally realized we were on an island he had matched it up to the waters we were now sailing.

Next morning we lined up and followed Captain Bloodspatter into the jungle. It was a warm and sunny day, like most days at this latitude, and the crew was excited about this new turn of events. If Captain Rawfish’s treasure was anything like what we had back in the Black Rock we were in for a treat. Two long hours walk into the jungle the Captain raised his hand to make us stop. We were already tired from the walk but raised our heads at this sudden stop. In front of us hovered a huge rock, shaped like a scull with eyes and everything. The mouth of the scull, half buried in the sand proved to be the entrance to a cave. It was a fairly small cave, but Bloodspatter ordered us to start digging and sure enough, not long after we struck gold.

The treasure was huge. Our biggest haul so far. It took our men two days to carry everything back to the Black Rock. By the time we had finished the treasure chamber was starting to fill up. Only halfway around the globe we were in need of more space by the end of our journey. To do this we headed for the city of Singapore were had heard that treasures could be exchanged, making our low-quality treasures to more high end treasures.

Singapore was even at this time a fairly large place. Not wanting to come forward as pirates we dressed as merchants. A smart move in these areas, since the local people didn’t really care for people like us. But with a mostly northern crew we had no trouble passing for long-way-sailors looking to build connections for our trading-company; ‘Bloodspatter trading’. We only stayed for a couple of days as we had no chance up against the huge fleet of the Singaporean coastguard. Instead we kept sailing and robbed every small village and harbor we could find on our way as usual.

As good as these times were, it was good to do some pillaging before we kept sailing west. Little did we know that we had already come a long way to circumnavigate the entire planet but we were also about to be put under the curse that have had us left alive for the past four decades. Well, some of us that is.

Chapter 5: Open Water

With extreme weather rolling in from our port side and the Pacific Ocean we needed to do some serious bunking before attempting to continue our crossing due West. Some of the men had done this crossing before and the tales they told me didn’t have me look forward to the next few months of my life. It would be weeks before we saw land and most ships never made it to the other side. I was however optimistic toward our crew after the adventures we had been through so far. Firstly we headed for the Peruvian capital of Lima where the Captain ordered to fully stock the ship to the brim with food and rum. When this was done we were ordered to make one last plunder of the city’s treasure reserve before we sailed off early one morning into the thick fog rolling in from our headed course.

To make sure we didn’t run into any worse weather, the Captain ordered a course North-West and within days we saw land that would prove to be the Galapagos islands. Not many people lived there at this time and even fewer as we had left with everything they had of food and treasures. Awaiting the winds to be in our favor we stayed at the islands for a couple of weeks. It was like being in paradise. I played with turtles, drank a whole bunch of rum and went hunting for the island’s many wild animals. We spent the time celebrating our feats so far, Blæik was giving the crew time off to explore and get drunk at will. But nothing last forever, and one evening Captain Bloodspatter announced that this day would be the last, tomorrow we would start our journey crossing the worlds largest ocean.

We had not expected any trouble on this voyage. But I should’ve known better after years spent on the Black Rock with Captain Bloodspatter and his crew. If we didn’t search out the danger the danger always found us in one way or the other. Already a few days in the crew on watch noticed that we were being followed. But not by a ship, there was something in the water. For days we were ordered to keep watch but nobody was able to make out what the strange thing following the Black Rock was.

Not until one dark night. The moon was hidden behind dark clouds warning us to cover up the hatches and and prepare for heavy rain to reach us at any minute. As we were carrying out our orders Simen discovered that the ocean around us were boiling with water. He was just about to yell out his findings when a huge monster jumped from deep dark below and made the whole ship rock. The men on deck was paralyzed by what we saw. It was twice as long as the ship and raging on top was three separate heads screaming toward the petrified pirates on deck.

Chaos was released. Blæik was yelling orders and we did our best to follow them by manning the cannons and grabbed our swords, spears, brooms or whatever else we could find. The monster shook the boat and several times we took on water. But the Black Rock is a strong ship and although the aft mast snapped we just had to trust that she would hold the attacks. For the next hour we fought back, but it didn’t seem to tire out the monster. Instead it started to pick out men, one by one and swallow them whole with one of its huge heads. When it had taken seven of our men we needed a new plan and with this Blæik ordered all men to dress up with dynamite tied to their bodies. This way, if you got eaten you were a way to blow of a head. And it worked. Every time a man was eaten, all men with muskets fired everything they had toward the responsible head. And although the monster was pretty angry two heads short, it never gave up. Not until the youngest of our men was attacked and swallowed as a treat. The poor boy was just my age when I first came onboard. Only fourteen and was one of three men we picked up while plundering their village in the Amazon.

The dead monster fell back into the deep ocean and as the storm continued to make our night one from the book of hell, we celebrated our victory with barrels of rum. No better way to mourn our fallen friends than to keep our heading and let the rum flow.

As you probably have gathered; life onboard was far from safe. Only since I joined myself more than 30 men had fallen to battles or sickness of some kind. These were the 16-hundreds and life was different back then. But there was always fresh blood willing to sail with us paid with the treasures we gathered. There was however no way out. Once a pirate always a pirate and the worst thing you could do was to leave your crew behind. That would be the ultimate insult against your Captain and his ship. Occasionally, like a few weeks after this Monster-incident we had to maroon a man on a small island in the middle of the sea. You probably couldn’t get further away from land, but the man had gone ship-crazy, and this would happen from time to time. The life as a pirate could get to you in a pretty bad way if your head wasn’t strong enough to cope with it. There was death, heaps of bad weather and long days of nothing but cleaning the deck. One day on this journey across the ocean a part of the deck just imploded from all the scrubbing we had done to it. It would be fixed the very same day, but this is how much and often we had to scrub the deck for blood and salty water.

These ocean-sailings were the worst. Day after day, nothing ever happened. If we were lucky there was enough wind to get us good speed across the water. If we were not lucky there was storms and hurricanes or even maybe worse – no wind at all. In the end of this crossing, we met a different world. It took more than three months before we saw real land again and despite having spent so much time in the Caribbean – Nothing had prepared us for our meeting with the ancient land of Asia.

Chapter 4: Discovering New Land

Our journey to the distant and inhabited land of Patagonia didn’t bring much treasures. Sailors rarely used this route unless it proved to be absolute necessary. Instead the ships were often dragged across land further North, but Captain Bloodspatter was fully motivated to take us the long way around. Me, personally was happy to make the journey. The landscape was amazing and there was no abundance of food. Plenty of fish held the Goddess and the rest of us working the galley quite busy and well fed. For the longest time we had been plundering, robbing and living the good life. This quiet part of the world offered us some time to get the Black Rock back into ship shape. New ropes were fixed and wooden damage repaired. The sails were mended and every part of the ship was washed to squeaky be clean.

By the time we were supposed to navigate around the fearful Cape Horn Bloodspatter made another decision. We were not about the head North as planned but rather keep sailing South. No ship had ever dared this journey. The seas this far South was known to be a killing one. No ship had ever returned from their try to keep navigating passed these latitudes. Some of the men were understandable concerned about our Captains plans, but none dared to speak against Bloodspatter. Blæik had the crew prepare the ship, everything was tied down and our ever growing treasure was secured in place. Over all the men was excited, for all we knew there would be gold growing on trees on the other side of this journey.

Our expectations were short lived. It took us at least two weeks to overcome the vast ocean between Cape Horn and land on the other side. As we went on the temperature plummeted to far beyond freezing and the waves stood taller than our ship. They were so huge that we disappeared in the valleys between then, lost all wind before slowly raising to the top of the next mountainous swell. Eventually the waters calmed a bit, only to be replaced by floating chunks of ice almost running us down at all times. The nights were the worst. We had half the crew working shift just to keep an eye out for the dangers ahead. But turning around was not an option. Captain Bloodspatter had put his mind on the possibility of land on the other side and it turned out he was right.

One morning we finally arrived at what we figured must’ve been land-fast ice. The disappointment among the crew to this vast landscape of only ice and nothing else but some strange walking birds we’d never seen before was given. The land we encountered had no vegetation. No nothing but ice and snow. Blæik was set to organize an expedition inland to search out any secrets this mysterious land may have to offer. I was picked to be the one managing the food for this expedition. The Goddess had to stay back along with Captain Bloodspatter to ensure that some crew and our treasure survived our arctic visit and search for larger treasures. But it was pretty clear that we were the first humans to ever see this land. There was no way anyone could survive the climate we were entering. Dressed in clothes sown from polar bear fur we started the long walk inland, only following our compass needle in a strict Southward position.

It was 1608, I had already been sailing with the Black Rock and Captain Bloodspatter for four years. Despite what you might have heard our crew were, unless there was someone before us, the first to ever visit the South Pole. We didn’t know this at the time of course but it would take another 300 years before Roald Amundsen made the journey in the year 1911. I have always been puzzled to how they didn’t find our flag on this expedition, they must have ignored it and taken the honor or it could of course have been overcome by the extreme weather this landscape at times will offer. And we didn’t find any treasures. At the point were the needle abruptly turned the other way and we was startled by what had just happened we had walked for many days without seeing anything but ice, snow and nothing else. We didn’t dare to continue and was sure the crew back at the ship had been waiting long enough, and with this our flag was planted, a solid Jolly Roger was firmly placed and we started to backtrack along our own tracks.

We reported back to Captain Bloodspatter after having been stuck in a storm for many days. Our makeshift tents barely kept us alive and one of our men walked into the white to never return. Bloodspatter didn’t seem to take to hard on us not finding any treasures. Strangely enough he seemed happy just to be the first one to cross over to this strange land of only ice and snow. While we were gone the rest of the crew had caught a whale and was busy boiling down the fat to oil we would use to strengthen the wood in our ship later. It also offered a huge feast onboard. And not having eaten for days upon our return we all indulged in the meal offered to celebrate our safe return.

The very next day we started our journey heading North. None of us were looking forward to the journey, but it seemed like the Gods had decided to be nicer to us on our return. Only some minor storms slowed us down a little otherwise it was a pretty calm journey until we finally saw land ahead to starboard and was on course toward Santiago de Chile. It was only days before we started to see other ships again, which we hunted down and plundered for all their precious silver and gold.

Chapter 3: Bloodspatters Monkey

Sharks circled our ship. The Goddess had for a moment forgotten what latitudes we were at, and had without thinking thrown a bucket of blood from our last polar bear right out the window. Sharks are known to be attracted to blood, and this must have been something very special to them, because now they were literally boiling water in the water around us. But a good pirate knows how to take advantage of any situations so quartermaster Snorre had immediately ordered all the men on deck to load the weapons. Here came the dinner served into our laps, and there was nothing left from our last bunking in Nova Scotia weeks before. The veterans around me sat in a chorus with a shanty about a lone sailor finally getting a long-awaited shark fin soup.

We had arrived in the infamous Caribbean where the plan was to plunder and take with us as large treasures as possible. Captain Bloodspatter, who most of the time stayed in his cabin, now strutted barefoot on deck in the hottest sun I had ever experienced in my life. The Captain was inspecting the work of the crew. The order was that the ship should be golden clean and ready for battle before the Goddess had finished the crew-dinner. Tonight we were going to work, the last two days we had been lying behind a large merchant ship. They had certainly discovered us a long time ago. But Bloodspatter had the great pleasure of tormenting the sailors on board the merchant ship who in the end didn’t have a chance against our proud ship and 150 dirty pirates.

Captain Bloodspatter steered our ship close to the merchant ship and the men under deck fired a series of canons that immediately put the small defense the merchant ship had out of play. Before they had sighed for themselves, our crew did what they could best and the whole crew was tied with any rope we could get around the mast on deck. A couple of men who had not survived the fight were thrown into the mirror-clear sea to the great joy of the remaining sharks who had been circling around us all day in hopes of more polar bear blood. While the merchants sat stiff with fear, held captive by twenty of our men with sabers and rags, the rest of us worked to empty the ship of goods and gold. Their ship’s crate was full of gold-coins and among the goods we found a whole bunch of exclusive goods we were to take with us and sell for gold in the first port. Our crew howled and cheered over the amazing catch, soon we would be given land leave. This meant that we finally got to go ashore and enjoy life as a free pirate for a few days.

Being some of the first pirates to roam these waters, the defense was low on the islands we visited. When at bay we acted as regular traders or merchants and nobody thought to ask questions about the filthy look of our crew. Being that we spoke a whole different language I suppose the locals thought that was how our people behaved. Or they knew the truth but didn’t dare to ask questions. Either way I truly enjoyed being free and to see the culture in the villages. The crew were given each a few pieces of silver and the men was quick to spend them in the bodegas, shops and markets. I spent my first hard earned silver on some of the local fruit and a great dinner of freshly cooked fish and strong pints of beer like I’d never tasted before. It was exciting to walk around the villages. Their huts was nothing like back home in Norway, built on stilts and with open holes as windows. The villagers were all nice, even nicer when you turned out to be a potential costumer. Our crew quickly grew popular among the locals and at the last night of our stay we were having a great party at the dock. Everyone was invited.

Months flew by, and it didn’t take long or many plunderings at all before the word of pirates in the waters had gone out and merchant ships were no longer sailing our waters. It was time to give the area a brake and move on to our next location. We headed to the South Atlantic ocean and to the land of the rain forests. Our treasure down in the cargo hull was now starting to grow for real. Our plunderings had earned us more coins than I was able to count. The Captain had now shifted focus to land based targets, besides this was the land of pearls and diamonds in plenty. For weeks the crew were set to dive for these special treats. It was a dangerous task, cause the waters were infested by sharks and other monsters the crew didn’t dear speak of.

We continued into the rivers leading to the wild forests of Amazon. Captain Bloodspatter had heard rumors that these forests was ruled by Indians who used gold for everything. We were not to leave these woods before our ship was filled with tons of their treasures. The nature here was simply extraordinary. Never have I ever experienced anything like it. Just thinking about the sounds that surrounded us as we silently rowed our ship against the rivers currents. There was no real wind in the river, our sails were rendered useless and pure muscle power was used to make any progress upstream. It was a long way, for weeks we worked our ways deeper into the forests. It was tiresome and after a while many of our men fell sick with fever. Now pressing on with a short crew it got even harder. At night we had to sit down and keep watch for large animals threatening from the dark. There was snakes long as our ship and small fish that could crawl up your butt if you jumped in without protection. But at day it was also beautiful, all the colors of the plants, birds and wildlife none of us had seen before. When we encountered a school of monkeys I even saw how Captain Bloodspatter had to fight to hold back a smile. One of those monkeys took a liking to the Captain. From that day it should be called Balto, following Captain Bloodspatter day and night.

Our new crew-mate, Balto, would prove to be quite a savior before we should leave the Amazons. One day we had finally arrived at the land of the tribes we had been seeking. We had no indication that these people were friendly and Bloodspatter had us guard the ship night and day. One morning we quickly understood that we had come to the right place. Unfortunately not in a good way. As the crew awoke we found the guards dead on deck. Seven men was shot down to warn us to stay away, all with a single tiny arrow each. There was no doubt that the arrows had been poisoned, cause no small weapon like this could cause harm like this. Although being tough men, none of us had seen poison being used this way before. This could prove that our new enemy was not as innocent as we had hoped and far more dangerous than what we had expected.

By that very afternoon, Captain Bloodspatter had come up with a plan and our crew prepared for battle. We all knew that this was a fight that not all of us would return to enjoy the treasures from – but we are pirates, and this is what we do. We knew we must have been watched so there would be no point of sending in a survey troop. Instead we had decided to attack with full force, all men was expected to be first in line. Hopefully this was the only tactical maneuver our enemy did not expect. I was not at all convinced that I would live to see another day, this was nothing like attacking a ship on the open water, here we did not have the advantage of controlling all the factors in play.

As we were sneaking through the dense jungle the constant humming of noise suddenly came to an abrupt stop as we crawled out on an open field. It was as if the world had stopped, for weeks we had heard the constant noise from all the insects, birds and animals around us. Suddenly there was nothing. Not a sound, not a movement. Minutes went by as we hid in the bushes. Then at the same time hundreds of arrows came shooting out from between the trees, followed by the equal number of half naked short men only dressed in leaf-underwear.

Captain Bloodspatter yelled out to stay hidden. We did not possess weapon to shoot or throw and were only equipped for closeup combat. As our enemy started to come toward us Balto the monkey suddenly appeared behind them. And he wasn’t alone. Hundreds of his monkey-friends was also attending the party. And they all attacked at the same time. They jumped the under-dressed enemy who got so confused and turned around by this surprise-attack that it gave us a chance to leap out from our hiding and attack from behind. Now de-fanged from their poisonous arrows and with only a few spears left to protect themselves it took no more than a few minutes for our men to slaughter a large portion of them in the most horrible pirate ways. It was a bloody fight but we had gotten the upper hand thanks to Balto the monkey and in the end we had a small group of men defeated and surrounded.

Afraid that we were going to exterminate their entire village their leader now willingly took us back to their huts and let us plunder what we could carry of their gold and precious stones. They had a whole pile of them in all kind of colors, and as you can imagine everything in the village had gold adorned to it. Even their cutlery and plates was made of shiny gold. I had never seen so many treasures in one place and by the look of it, neither had Captain Bloodspatter. Now with Balto back on his shoulder he was sitting down in the middle of the pile our men had collected in the middle of the village. It took the entire rest of the day and the next to carry it all back to our ship.

The day after this, after having stocked up on fruit and all the food from the villager’s farmland and a couple of goats, chickens and other strange animals we’d never seen before; we hoisted anchor and started on the week-long journey back down the river. Now being able to use the steady stream of water to propel us the entire crew had some amazing days onboard the Black Rock. Captain Bloodspatter was generous with food and rum as he was taking count of our haul. But despite how big of a treasure we had just filled our ship with, it was room for much more. This is after all the story of how the greatest treasure of the world came to be – and our journey was far from over.

Chapter 2: Heading West

At this time, and for the hundreds of years to come, it would be associated with bad luck to include women as part of the crew. But Captain Bloodspatter was, as I said, a man ahead of his time, and although the gender distribution was limited to a single woman on board, she had at least an officer's position as the ship's cook. Myself as the newest recruit, was immediately set to peel potatoes and turnips. This suited me very well and gave me plenty of time to get to know what it was like to work for Captain Bloodspatter on board his ship, which I quickly learned was called 'Black Blood'. It was also a great help that the chef, who the crew only called the Goddess, was exceptionally talkative when it came to life onboard.

The Goddess was a colorful person who made my first weeks on board to a little adventure in itself. She was loud and noisy. If any of the crew complained about her burnt lasagna, she gave them a slap in the face, and no one dared resist the one who served three meals a day. The blame for any burnt meal was placed on the ship's used equipment. Which, admittedly, was well used, but as a galley boy, I was constantly witnessing how the Goddess constantly dreamed herself away from her job and fell into her memories of chalk-white beaches in the warm Caribbean, which she had obviously put her love on.

Initially, the Captain had decided that we should use the Norwegian coast while we were after all on these domestic tracts. Then we were to set course for the frozen Greenland and on over to the land of the Indians, which today is known as America. No matter how long the Norwegian coast is known to be, it will be small in the big world picture. In a couple of short weeks we had passed the coast, or what at that time was worth taking with us. After passing Tromsø, a small trading town along the northern coast - where we by the way witnessed the local people conduct a series of witch burnings, as we loaded the ship full of provisions for the long trip that lay ahead of us. I noticed on the crew that the voyage we now embarked on was not a dance on roses. Only those with the greatest courage would set course Northwest before the ice had really let go in the waters to the North. The captain, on the other hand, was determined to reach the land of the Indians in good time, so we could plunder their valuable treasures while the population was still tired after a long and energy-exhausting winter.

The time aboard had probably been harder at the beginning if it wasn't for that I quickly got me a friend. The young man that the first night stood next to me proved to be my closest allies. His name was Simen and was also quite new among the crew. He had only been on board for a few months and was in many ways as new as myself. When I arrived on board I took over his job in the galley, but for dinner there was still a great need for help in the galley, and then it was the sim we called. Now, Simen was upgraded to the night watchman, that is, who was responsible for keeping a watch at night. Therefore, we shared the bunk, Me and Simen, I had the bunk at night and he had it during the day. The time in between, when we both had time off, we spent together. He was from Denmark and had been brought in to the crew the same way as myself.

The other pirates on board were also nice to me. All in all, the days went fast, and before I knew it weeks had flown by, and we had to dress in fur coats to keep warm. Having hunted a couple of polar bears in the area around Spitsbergen and Bjørnøya we sailed onto the amazing land of Greenland. Here were just a couple of places where humans would reside, and it was not necessary to plunder them. They volunteered from what they had left of both clothing and food to escape Captain Bloodspatters cruel ravages. Up there in the north, it was about surviving, and for the natives we were the biggest enemy one could ever imagine.

On our Southbound journey, it proved to be quite the adventure. The winter storms had yet to let us rest and the sea we experienced on the western side of Greenland was a furious one. The Goddess swore and had her words with the Gods above as she cooked for the crew. Not only did we get burnt food, but also plain potato soup scooped from the floor. No one dared to complain, the Goddess forbid it, and one evening she threw one of the crew overboard after having complained about hair in his polar bear meatballs. The man was never seen again and Captain Bloodspatter just laughed when he heard the news. Lesson learned; You never complain on the one that feeds you. 

Our next stretch was long, cold, and not exactly filled with a lot of events. Mostly we saw open water and ice in the distance, analytically a whale but we had no space onboard to take on such a large animal for food. Eventually we did however pass by the straight parting Europe from the American continent. The currents here was ravishing, but our crew and our proud ship held together, and not long after we entered land of Nova Scotia. Our fight-ready and hungry crewmen did what they do best by pillaging and rob the villages we encountered for anything of value. Already I could see how our storage of gold and treasures of all kinds were growing in our treasure chamber.

Simen, the Goddess and myself proved to be quite a team. In time we learned to let her know minutes before the food got burnt, and after a while she decided that I should graduate to a real cook instead of peeling potatoes. Instead we got one of the young slabs called Morten to help out with the peeling. Morten was a quiet guy, and one who was obviously not really a man, but he dressed like one and acted like one and we all treated him as one - and with that my thoughts were that he was happy. Now in the latter days we understand more of this, but at the time of the 1600-hundreds a person like Morten was perfectly normal to be part of an including crew like ours. Simen was busy doing his night shift jobs. But i was forever happy when he crawled in next to me and fell asleep holding me tight. 

At sea, our days very much was the same over and over again. I was happy the days where we had calm seas and we had good winds to take us where we wanted. Between the storms we made rapid progress toward lands I'd never even known about before my recruitment. I seldom offered my family back home a thought. It was hard to think about, but I had promised myself that I send mother and father the gratitude I'd receive. Somehow. Simen had it much in the same way, but unlike my own mother she had made resistance and Bloodspatter himself had killed her in front of his eyes. He had therefore developed a certain grudge against the Captain that would later come into play.

Blæik was keeping a tight ship. Along with his strong and musculus officers Varg and Snorre, who were twin-brothers, he made sure that everyone was taking care of their responsibilities. Varg was the strongest fighter onboard, the one responsible for training and execution of our heists as we went along. He was not a man to go against and the crew had grown a deep respect for his fearsome persona. Snorre on the other hand took care of provisions and the logistics of our long weeks at sea. He was the one to make sure that the Goddess had enough potatoes for her infamous horrible potato soup, and that enough gunpowder was stored below deck.

Knowing your place was the most important rule. And the barrels of rum didn't make it easy on long passages. Once a man I'd never talked to before picked a fight with me. And if it wasn't for Simen that night, I'd be speaking to angels that night. The drunken man jumped me as I was crawling into bed. He pushed me against the floor and said he was ready to relieve me from my pain. I hadn't felt any pain at all and was surprised by the mans accusations. But the man insisted I had a whole lot of pain and it wasn't before Simen jumped out of our bed with his knife ready to attack that I understood that the man himself was the one in pain. Sadly he never got to explore this pain further, cause both Simen and Varg himself made sure the man never lived to see another day.

Other than these minor mishaps, life onboard went on smoothly. Once you learn that your life ain't worth a thing on its own you were set up to succeed and with this I started to play my role as a pirate for real. I believe this is the first time I thought that I'd be able to off another man without feeling regret. Since then I may have killed hundreds of men and women. I've never killed a child, but then again, never been put in a situation where this was required. I was, and am to this day, a full blooded pirate. In modern times I am not necessarily proud of my doings, but not ashamed of them either. You have to live your life by the cards you are dealt, and these was mine. At the time.  

The general rule onboard was this; As long as we made more than we spent, Captain Bloodspatter was happy and the crew was well taken care of. But while sailing the stretches of nothing but nature and ourselves we started to feed on each other. Just in the first couple of months onboard I saw many a crew go down in favor of the stronger opponent. At times the crew behaved as wild animals and as part of the crew, now counting well over 150 men, I bettered be careful on how I played my game. But things were about to change, we were heading for the Caribbean, a land I'd never heard of. But since the Goddess spoke so warmly about it, I warmed up and had expectations that I never felt disappointment of. From my inexperienced and newly acquired pirate's view.

Chapter 1: Captain Bloodspatter

I was not very old the first time we were told about the ravages and warned against standing in the way of the cruel Captain Bloodspatter. He ruled all the world's oceans, and is to this day the most infamous pirate captain this world has ever seen. One could say that Bloodspatter was ahead of his time for the world had barely had time to launch its first ships before him and his pirates claimed the oceans as their dominion. That you have not heard more about this ravaging Captain has its natural explanation in that the stories I am now going to tell have been hidden away for centuries. Hidden from a world that has not been ready for the story of Bloodspatter and his men, of which I am to this day still is part of.

My name is Captain Jack. I was of course not always a Captain, and for many years I sailed under the flag of the horrific Captain Bloodspatter. To this day, I still wake up with the nightmares of the many robberies, looting, and horrific events I was made part of at the time. It is many years ago now, many more than a human life really should count. This also has its explanation, but we will return to it later. Let's start with the beginning. I was 14 years old, the year was 1604 according to the Gregorian calendar, which at this time had not really taken root yet. The world was ruled by several calendars and the year can therefore be many others. I lived with my family in the middle of a long fjord somewhere along Norway's long coastline.

Life at that time was quite different from today. Norway was a poor country, and it was a struggle to survive. On the other hand, the population was something completely different from what we could imagine in our wildest fantasies, so it often took weeks between each time we met people, or the neighbor at all. My father was a farmer, like most people in our region at the time. I had abnormally no siblings, but my mother was a seamstress and took care of the village clothes. Based on this, I worked long days in the fields and in my young life knew little about the world outside our small little fjord. In 1604, Norway was part of Denmark, so we paid little attention to life outside our small community. King Christian IV had never set foot in our part of the country, and it was unlikely that he would ever do so.

We lived so secluded that one night when we heard cannon shots as we ate our dinner, we were immediately assured that the world had come to an end. My awakened father must have understood more than he told us, because it did not take many minutes before he had housed us down in the basement and rattled the door behind us. Admittedly, we had nothing to steal, we were far from rich and hid no treasures worth stealing. With us we grew potatoes and herbs, beyond that we hunted and fished what we needed to survive the long cold winters. The basement was a small dark room we used to store the crops, but this spring there were only a few of the fjord year's potatoes left in the boxes along the wall. We therefore had plenty of space in the minutes that followed, and that would forever change my life.

After the first bang from what father now told was a cannon, there were several loud bangs. In the distance we heard men singing, and father watching the ventilation hatch kept me and mother informed of what was happening outside; A group of men had boarded a light boat and were now rowing from a large ship, larger than father had ever seen, heading for the village that lay down by the water some distance down in the fjord. Dad had always insisted that we live outside and now in retrospect I understand that it was precisely because of events like this, that had made him think in such ways.

"If we are lucky, they will not come up here," muttered mother.
She looked terrified. I was also afraid I had never seen her like this. Not father either, but unlike mother who was shaking in a corner, father looked for weapons to protect us if it should come to that.
"Who's coming?" I wanted to know.
Mother and father exchanged glances. Mom shook her head, but Dad ignored it and turned and grabbed my shoulders. I had never seen him so intense.

"The captain of the ship out there is called Captain Bloodspatter." He said, holding my gaze. "He's the worst pirate the world has seen to this day, and he's most likely come here to recruit young men to join his crew. I'm probably too old for him to want me, but you... 'He hung the rest of the sentence in the air.
Only now did I get really scared. A feared pirate had come to our fjord to kidnap me. It was my first encounter with human evil in stark contrast to our otherwise quiet everyday life.
"But, why me?"
"Look at yourself boy, you are strong and muscular and have a youthful strength that are the best qualities at sea. You're the perfect crew for Captain Bloodspatter and his men. We have to stay hidden until they move on. "
Dad returned to keep an eye on us and told us what had happened down by the sea.
'Now they have come to the pier. None of the villagers are to be seen yet. I hope they have managed to hide. If the pirates get one of them, they'll definitely talk about Jack. "
The last thing he said to my mother, but a look at me told me everything I needed to know. The fact was; that I was the only one of my age in the village who even came close to fitting the description my father had given of men who hired Captain Bloodspatter. There was simply no one else within a mile of my age. Just then it slammed again, a crash on the outside told us that our house had been hit by a cannonball.
"I forgot to blow out the light," hissed my mother. "They see us a long way from here."

We knew we had lost. There would be no point in running to the forest and we had of course left the weapons inside the house. There it was dark and forever far to the nearest good hiding place. Besides, wolves or other wild animals would either eat or reveal us. Our best opportunity was to lie hidden. But even Dad understood that the battle was lost. Fate was not challenged at this time, and we all three knew that my poor mother would not be able to run far with her health. Our best hope was to stay hidden and hope that the pirates thought we were gone - despite the light we had standing in the living room.

Mom cried and held me close to her. For twenty minutes we lay quietly and hoped that everything would pass without any further problems. Dad reported from the window. They had set fire to the inn, and we heard the screams of the villagers right up to us. Then it was quiet for a long time before a shot in the door made mother scream loudly.
"Come out right away and we'll save your lives. We're only interested in the boy, we know he's in there so do not try.
Dad looked so lost on me and mom. I got up.
"No," cried Mother.
Suddenly I had grown up. I felt in my whole being that the rest of my childhood was over and that the only thing I could do to protect my family was to take responsibility by going with the pirates. That was the only thing that could give my parents a chance. I turned to them.
'I have to go now. Father. Mother. I promise to come back. "
Even though I pretended to be tough, I could not stop any tears from pushing myself forward. We held each other's arms for a moment and then I turned towards the door, one last look behind me was the last I ever saw of those who had given birth to me and let me grow up to be the strong young man I had now become.

I opened the door and went out into the yard outside. The pirates stood in a semicircle waiting. They each held their own torch, and muskets to the side. They were not threatening while looking at me.
"Here I am." I said in an overly bright voice I did not recognize.
A tall man with a large saber in his belt took a step forward.
"What's your name, young man?" he asked
"My name is Jack," I said, which was true, "Please leave my family alone, and I will be with you." The last with a slightly clearer voice, I really had to steel myself and push everything forward against I had to be able to prevent the voice from bursting.
"You have my word." Said the man with the saber. "You seem to be as strong as we have been told. Do you agree to sail under Captain Bloodspatter until the day you die of old age or fall in battle? »
I swallowed hard. "Yes, I do."
Two men came up on both sides of me. The pirate who had spoken came walking towards me and tore my shirt open. Another came forward with a steel. A staff that had been warmed by the torches they were carrying. The glowing wand was brought to my chest. The little I had left of pride was the only thing that enabled me to bite into me the scream of the pain I felt. It smelled of scorched flesh, a smell I have unfortunately felt so many times since and seconds later the part over the heart mite was a smoldering wound of burnt skin, where one could see the contours of what today stands as my first tattoo, a letter, a red-hot B that would forever make me one of Captain Bloodsplatter's men.

Not long after, I crawled up a rope ladder, aboard the ship that would prove to be my home for years to come. I was no longer afraid that the pirates were out to hurt me, the man with the saber had kept his word and did not hurt either my mother or father. The worst thing about it all was that I now had to leave the fjord I had grown up in. The only place I knew on earth that until tonight had been a safe and good place to live.

The man with the saber climbed after me. When we got on deck, he stood to assess me from head to toe.
'You should probably do well. My name is Blæik, remember that, it's me you will answer to onboard. The captain will soon meet you, so keep your mouth shut and just answer the questions you get."
I was still a bit confused and quite exhausted after everything that had happened, but I nodded and watched while the rest of the men climbed on board. Each of them nodded to me as they climbed aboard the row.

They were hard-boiled sailors, but somehow I realized that most of them had been in the same situation as I was now. Don't get me wrong, these were top-notch pirates. The most dangerous men who would ever sail the world's oceans. But the mark on my chest, which was still hurting so bad I thought I was going to black out, must have made me already one of them. Now all that remained was to meet the Captain himself.

There was silence between the twenty men who lined up on deck while Blæik patrolled the row of pirates. When he was satisfied with the crew, he lined up and announced that the crew was ready for inspection.
I was already dumbfounded with admiration. I had always imagined that pirates like this would be wild and uncontrollable. But there was no doubt that there was strict seamanship and discipline on board.
Up the stairs from the deck we heard heavy footsteps. I saw how the crew sharpened, and the young man who seemed to be about my age next to me began to tremble a little.
A tall man with a long big beard slipped out on deck. His eyes glazed over the crew as he took heavy, slow steps across the deck. Captain Bloodsplatter, at last he stood directly in front of me and stared down at me with a watchful eye.
"So you're your new recruit?" Bloodsplatter lifted off the part of my torn shirt that covered the burn I had received just a short time ago. "I see Blæik has taken care of the inauguration already. Good."
"He was very cooperative all the way, Captain. No problems arose."
"Well. What is your name, boy? ”
'My name is Jack, sir. Captain." I managed to say in a fairly stable voice.
"So. Jack. You are, from what I understand, the only one on these funnels in this forsaken fjord who is fit for serve with me. You will follow Blæik's order, otherwise I promise to set the course directly back here and wipe out the whole village." A trembling finger in the direction of the flames from the inn told me everything I needed to know. There was no doubt that these were not empty threats. And I had no plans but to follow orders. With a final nod, the Captain went ahead and ordered Blæik to raise the anchor.

The legacy of Captain Bloodspatter

The story tell that hundreds of years ago, while pollution was not invented and the oceans water still seeped into what today is known as the inland waters of the Swedish Kingdom and Foxen – a group of pirates was left behind to guard a great treasure. They were to guard a truly unique collection of gold and glittering minerals collected from heists, robbery’s and gruesome piracy all over the world. Their fearsome Captain Bloodspatter himself had given them the task of protecting their legacy at any cost while the rest of the pirates went back out to search for even greater treasures.

Years went by without a word from Captain Bloodspatter or any of his crew. And the pirates left behind was never going to abandon their given assignment. As if the magical land of Foxen had put a curse on the inland pirates, they stopped aging, and lived to see wars come and go, experience pandemics and global warming while only making sure of the one thing Bloodspatter would forever keep them accountable for, to watch over the biggest treasure known to have ever existed.

East in the waters of Foxen, South of the Bridge to civilization – right next to West Bird Bay and to the North of the troll-fences in the South is where you might be lucky enough, but not secluded to, catch a glimpse of the inland pirates. In their very own little bay called the Super Secret Pirate Bay, you might be one of those selected few to grab a good old warm meal or a very cold pirate beer on a hot summer day from their secret hide. You can always try to call on them, but I wouldn’t put a bet on them showing up until you are truly ready to accept the consequences…

One thing is for sure. The treasure will stay hidden until the day the fearful Captain Bloodspatter return to Foxen, breathing or not – And until that day the remaining, broke and drunken pirates of Foxen will do everything in their power to protect their waters like they have done for hundreds of years.

It’s great to be back

It’s been a long time coming and we are finally back where we wanted to be, at our destination and Lake Foxen. It’s definitely still early in the year and I have seen no other boats camps around the lake for the entire week we’ve been here. We have however spent our time well, and can now pride ourselves to be owners of our very own raft measuring 4 by 7 meters and our seedlings have started to sprout. Except for yesterdays rainfall, we’ve had the best spring weather we could wish for and have already gotten our first sunburn down.

Captain Simen and Deckhand Balto enjoying the silence

Our journey from Fredrikstad to Strømstad went smooth. We did have a little wind, but it’s only a 20 mile sail and we had the day to make it happen. We then waited around in Strømstad for two nights before getting lifted up on a truck and driven the hour drive inland to the small village of Ed at the far Southern part of Lake Stora Le of which Foxen makes up the Northern part. It’s a long stretched body of water and we spent an entire day motoring our way up to Tøcksfors. This is the town were we do our shopping and connect with the outside world, and also where we bought the materials needed to build our super-raft.

The harbour of Tøcksfors

The raft is now on the water and about ready to be towed to our new Super Secret Pirate Bay at an undisclosed location. It’s a good thing we know these waters so well. Already before our arrival, we had decided on a couple of locations suitable for a summer of life in the free. A quick afternoon trip while awaiting the painted raft to dry was enough to decide on a certain bay well protected from the worst conditions the weather and civilized humans can throw at us.

Simen has started the job of repainting the hull of our beloved FF Ella. Her white coat is now getting a great fresh shade of black. It was really on time for poor old Ella to get her colors re-freshened. It will however take some time before all of the painting is done, cause at the moment we are operating under a strict budget where somehow food gets the priority. Lucky for us we have a great good stash of rice and dried beans for rainy days like these. If all goes well, we’re back in full pirate business within a few weeks anyways.

FF Ellas last lift out of water

We have also gone to the lengths of purchasing an old used canoe for sneak-attacks on nature when it seem necessary. This and new cook-plates and a grill running on expensive Swedish gas will make it easy to cook anything we want this summer. All in all we have really set ourselves up for a great wild summer in the Swedish forest and I can’t wait for the day when the trees bloom for real.

Until next time, stay dry and don’t drink and paddle.

Captain Jack