THE LOST TREASURE - Part 1
written by MeadowAngel
While doing research on "The History of Ootay" for a paper, university student Brianna Treville found an old journal hidden behind some books in the library. The journal belonged to Scarlet Backblister, one of the few women pirates roaming the seas during the 1600s. As she read the journal Brianna became fascinated with Scarlet. She admired the courage it took to defy traditional women's roles and if she was completely honest with herself, she also admired Scarlet's free spirited and sometimes wild ways. As someone who had never had an adventure in her life (or even just done something because she wanted not because it was expected of her) she found herself day dreaming of being a pirate.
As she read about Scarlet's adventures attacking unsuspecting ships, battling other pirates, and romancing men from all around the Tiki Islands, Brianna became more and more fascinated with Scarlet. But it wasn't until she neared the end of the journal and read about the treasure that she knew she would have to go to Ootay and search for it. Brianna talked her professor into lending her money for a "research trip" to Ootay, packed her bags and set out to follow the clues to the treasure as laid out in Scarlet's journal.
Page 87- Scarlet's journal
... we met the others as arranged and buried the treasure tonight. After, we docked at my favorite hideout (commonly referred to as "Wenches' Booty") on the northwestern tip of the island and I sent the crew inland to the village for the night. Many of them have family there and I felt like being alone. I even turned down the offer of my first mate, William, to stay with me. As much as I would enjoy his company, I have thinking to do tonight and had he stayed my mind would be on things other than this map and what I should do with it. As per the agreement with the others, I should put my part of the map in a bottle and float it out to sea. And yet, somehow I can not bring myself to do it. I sit here staring across the water at the lookout tower and wonder if I should hide the map there...
Brianna's first step was to find Scarlet's hideout.
After a bit of searching, Brianna found what was left of Scarlet's old hideout. The remains of chests long since stripped of their treasure lay on the beach, empty barrels and old rum jugs were scattered around, and rotten wood lay in an old fire pit. Brianna sat down to rest and soon dozed off. As she slept she dreamed of being a pirate and in her dream she wandered this hideout and saw it the way it must have looked when Scarlet was here. A fire roared in the firepit, the chests were intact and full of treasure, a pirate ship floated in the water, and a female pirate with long red hair sat by the fire holding a torn piece of paper.
Page 87 (continued)- Scarlet's journal
... No, the lookout tower is not the place. It is too often used and anything buried there too easily discovered. I have a bad feeling about all this but I do not know if I am more afraid of being double crossed by the others or by my own crew. I am afraid to do as I should and send my part of the map out to sea and yet I am also afraid to keep it. I think I will tell the crew that I sent it out to sea but for now will hold on to it until I find the perfect place to hide it. The night is still young and I find myself wanting the company of a man after all. Maybe I will follow my crew to the village in search of entertainment. There is always some man in Sutter's Camp willing to entertain me.
In her dream, Brianna watched as the lady pirate stood and walked up the hill. Brianna woke with a start. What a strange dream, she thought, and it felt so real. She had never seen a picture of Scarlet but knew she would have to find one just to see if she looked like the lady in her dream.
Brianna got up and started up hill just as Scarlet did in her dream. She would follow in Scarlet's footsteps for as long as the journal told her where to go. If there was a treasure to be found at the end, great but if not she would still have a wonderful research paper to turn in. It was pretty exciting to walk where Scarlet had walked and retrace her steps.
In a cafe reputed to be an old pirate tavern, Brianna found a book about area pirates. Flipping through it, she found a picture of Scarlet who, strangely enough, looked just as she appeared in Brianna's dream. (There was extra information about Scarlet in a book "Pirates of Ootay" that was on a nearby table- that information is below)
page 88- Scarlet's journal
I arrived at Gaskill's Tavern and there found most of my crew drinking rum and playing cards. The crew moved around to make room for me at the card tables and Tom Gaskill himself brought me over a drink. I tried to act merry for the crew but I could not shake the bad feeling I had. I lost more at cards than I won this night but I just could not keep my mind on the game. I kept thinking about that map. I finally gave up on cards and decided to try my skills on the men in the room, especially the dashing young stranger at the bar. It was a good night but as I was leaving something happened that has me troubled. The stranger, I never did catch his name, ran after me and pulled me back for one last kiss. After he kissed me, he whispered that I was in danger and to trust no one. I turned to ask him more but he had disappeared into the night. I had thought at first to spend another night or two here. The crew could use the shore time but now I am having second thoughts. I will feel better I think if we move to our camp on TikiPiki sacred ground.
Brianna asked the owner of the cafe about the TikiPiki. He said they were an ancient tribe that once lived around here. He suggested she talk to John Bali, the retired owner of the Bali Hai in Maidenflight. John is a descendant of the TikiPiki tribe and the area expert on them. He can usually be found sitting in the hills behind the Bali Hai Cafe telling stories to the local children. The owner gave her a business card with a message for John vouching for her. He said that John didn't much like strangers and without the card John might not answer her questions.
As Brianna was finishing her drink, a lady came in and sat down beside her. They had a quiet conversation before Brianna left to find John Bali and continue her journey.
(Information from the Book "Pirates of Ootay":
Scarlet BackBlister, better known as the Harlot of Ootay, was one of the few women pirates who sailed these waters. She had a reputation for carousing and card playing. Many a man lost his heart (and his fortune) to Scarlet at the Gaskill's tavern, one of her favorite haunts. Scarlet was born into a wealthy family and had the best tutors growing up that money could buy. While still a young woman, barely more than a girl, she fell in love with a pirate and ran away with him. A few years later he grew tired of her and planned to leave her on a deserted island. Scarlet overheard his plan, killed him in his sleep and took over his ship and crew. She ran her ship, affectionately named "The Harlot," with a combination of honey and steel. She was quick with her favors when pleased with the crew but also quick with a sword when she wasn't. She sailed the waters around Ootay for many years before one day disappearing.)
Brianna found John Bali surrounded by a group of children, just as the cafe owner said she would. She showed him the card from Gaskill's and began asking questions. He told her that the TikiPiki tribe lived here many years before the white settlers came. The TikiPiki buried their dead in a certain area that they considered sacred ground. The TikiPiki believed this area was guarded by their ancestor spirits and anyone who harmed another there would die a terrible death. John went on to say that the pirates who roamed these waters during the 1600's were a superstitious lot who believed that ground was also sacred. Many a story was told in a tavern late at night about pirates who had seen the ghosts of the TikiPiki ancestors. One story was even told about a pirate by the name of HookHand who killed another pirate one night on those sacred grounds. The story said that the next morning, HookHand was found burned to death in his bed while the lady sleeping next to him was unharmed. Whether there was any truth to these stories made no difference, the pirates believed it and that land became a kind of scared ground for them too. A neutral territory if you will, a place to meet with other pirates without fear of treachery. When asked where to find it, he said it was located in a misty area on the western side of the island. He said that in the area were a fallen stone tiki head and a giant stone hand left over from when the TikiPiki tribe still used the land.
Brianna set out to try and find it.
Brianna found the Tiki Piki tribe's sacred ground. Looking around she found evidence of many old campfires.
Page 89- Scarlet's journal
We made camp on sacred ground tonight and I feel a little safer. The crew is restless, no doubt wondering about my strange behavior. I have turned down all offers of company and that is unusual enough in itself. I have seen the crew watching me and heard the whispers wondering if I have gone mad. Maybe I have. I can not shake the feeling of danger, even here. There is another captain and crew camping nearby, close enough to see their fire and hear their laughter. They make a strong contrast to my quiet and uneasy crew. I have seen the crew eyeing them and know it will not be long before some of them wander over to join the merry making. A few may not even return, choosing instead to sail with the others when they leave. I can not find it in me to blame them either...
... before the night was over, all the crew were drinking at the next camp. Once they all left, I was visited by the same dashing stranger from Gaskill's Tavern. He walked out of the fog, delivered a message, and then disappeared back into the fog as if he had never been there. Maybe I am going mad and this stranger is a figment of my imagination. He says he has information that can save my life and maybe he does. Or maybe it is he who is the danger. Unless I follow his directions and meet him, I'll never know. I do feel uneasy about leaving all but a skeleton crew behind. I will leave most of the crew at my favorite hideaway. They can hike into the village from there in case I don't return.
If she was going to do this the right way and retrace Scarlet's steps, Brianna knew she would need to return to Scarlet's favorite hideaway.
Page 90- Scarlet's Journal
Some of the crew were relieved to be left behind but many were concerned. All but a few argued against this course of action. They did not like the idea of me going alone. It was those who brought a tear to my eye. It is nice to know that so many are loyal to me. I will miss them if things go wrong. I told the crew that I plan to leave the "Harlot" to my first mate if something should happen to me and one or the other of us will return to pick them up as soon as possible. I watched the crew hiking to the village with a heavy heart as we sailed away. I fear I will never see them again. The next stop is the rock that looks like a crab where if the stranger is telling the truth, I should find a message telling me where to go next.
page 91- Scarlet's journal
At Crab Rock, I found a message carved into a tree just as the stranger said I would. It read "SSW to the Lost Lighthouse." I have decided to drop anchor just out of sight of the Lost Lighthouse and go ashore there with the remaining crew. We will make camp on the hill overlooking the lighthouse. I will leave the crew there and travel alone to the lighthouse. I know they will argue but I feel it is for the best.
Brianna set out to follow the directions and search for the hill where they made camp.
page 91 continued - Scarlet's journal
I judged the reaction of my remaining crew correctly. After making camp in sight of the Lost Lighthouse, I informed them that I would be going to the lighthouse alone. Every one of them argued, my first mate, William, going so far as to tell me he would follow me with or without my permission. I reminded him that if something should happen to me he would become captain. To that he responded by throwing the bottle in his hand so it hit a tree and shattered. A waste of good rum if you ask me. He informed me in no uncertain terms that he didn't want to be captain. It took a lot of convincing but I was finally able to make him understand that he would be in a better position to guard the ship if he were not with me. I can admit here that I would like nothing more than to have him go with me but I know he will be safer if he stays behind. It is with great apprehension that I go to meet this stranger...
... It is almost time to leave. I have lingered as long as I can but I wanted to write one last entry in case anything should happen to me. Earlier this evening, I slipped away while everyone was otherwise engaged to hide my part of the map. If I should meet with foul play this night, I do not want to have the map in my possession. I will leave this journal where I know it will be found if I don't return, with a clue to finding the map. I dare not write outright the location in case this journal should fall into the wrong hands. Hopefully William, knowing how my mind works better than anyone, will be able to understand it.
To find the map... Let a dead man point the way
Now I go to the Lost Lighthouse to meet a stranger and possibly my fate.
Brianna found the Lost Lighthouse and looked around. The place was full of old crates, chests, and skeletons.
page 92- Scarlet's journal
penned by William Mater, first mate of the "Harlot"
I should never have let Scarlet go alone to this meeting. As promised I waited until dawn for her return before investigating the Lost Lighthouse. When I arrived I found no trace of her. I did however find the bodies of three unknown pirates. I could find no injuries or cause of death nor could I find any way to identify them. I left the place just as I found it and began a search of the nearby waters but to no avail. A few hours ago I found this journal in my belongings and now know just how afeared Scarlet was of this meeting. I wish she would have confided in me. She was correct, I do know how she thinks and understand her clue to the map perfectly. However, I have no desire to possess that accursed map. I will leave it where it is and maybe some day some one other than I will discover it. It is with a heavy heart that I now set sail as CAPTAIN of the "Harlot."
Brianna remembered the clue to the map's location and after looking around, thought she understood it. She set out to see if she could find it.
Brianna followed the clue "Let a dead man lead the way" by wading out in the direction the skeleton pointed until she came to a small rocky island just off the coast. There she discovered Scarlet's piece of the map.
By this time Brianna was excited about the prospect of finding a treasure. She realized she couldn't do it alone so she headed back to Gaskill's to see if she could find some help discovering the location of the other 4 map pieces. Maybe from there, she could even email a friend or two back at the UOT for help.
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