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.

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