THE LOST TREASURE - Part 5
Rob N. Reckonwith
written by NyteLyte
Amanda sat down under the picnic canopy near the UOT gym (wireless comes in great there) to type in her farewell blog post. She didn't think she'd have time for such things once she was a working girl.
Amanda R Designs Blog Entry
August 20th, 2008
Tomorrow is graduation! I've finally made it. Can't believe they made me stay for summer school just for the one physics class! It did turn out to be a lot of fun! And graduating in the summer has its advantages... like graduating top of the class (no matter it’s a class of only 4). Hopefully, with a degree from the UoT Design School in hand, those stuffy nuns and everyone else who's ever told me "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" will let me leave my past behind. Don't get me wrong faithful blog readers, the nuns of Comet Cove took this poor hopeless orphan in and edumicated her. But it always felt like everyone was waiting for me to do something wrong, until I started doing so well at the design school that is!
After graduation, I'll begin a temp job as a junior designer for Cosmo Girl Village! How exciting is that! I haven't even been off of Comet since father died and now I get to spend 4 months away on the Tiki Islands. I sure hope I can visit dad's old haunts while I'm over there. (Don't mention this to the nuns!)
Oh! I just got an IM from the Dean; he wants me to meet him over at the Design School Sign right away. I hope he doesn't want to hear my speech for the graduation ceremony again! I'd best sign out and see what he wants.
Amanda snaps shut her lap top and heads south to the design school. Just as she is passing the museum her phone beeps.
Amanda stops in front of the museum and shuffles through her backpack to find her phone. Of course it’s at the bottom. She flips the phone open to find she has a new text message:
Subject: TRAP AHEAD
Msg: IF U VALUE UR FREEDOM DON'T GO ANOTHER STEP! - CS, UR MATE
'Funny,' she says to herself wondering who would play such a silly practical joke. She quickly texts back: lol cute joke! Which is answered before she can even flip her phone closed.
Subject: NO JOKE
Msg: LOOK DOWN THE HILL, QUICK!
Amanda looks down the hill. The UoT Dean is standing by the Design School Sign looking up the path which leads from the dorms to the Design School. Four There_Police are standing with him. No one looks happy. Why does the Dean have There_Police with him? And what did he...they want with Amanda?
Amanda's phone beeps again causing her to nearly jump out of her super bunnies. Another message... Amanda doesn’t really want to read it. And yet she has to know what it says before going down to meet those police.
Subject: U Ben Setup
Msg: RUN! DORM NOT SAFE. MEET AT BST CACTI
Amanda doesn’t know what to do. She hasn't done anything wrong, but as the daughter of one of the last pirates to sail the Tiki Seas, she can't afford to be too careful. Maybe this was nothing... maybe...
She looks back down at the Dean…he doesn't look happy. The police look worse. Amanda hadn't replied to the Dean's IM... so if she didn't show up she could say she missed the message. She turns around and runs back up the hill, pulls out a buggy and heads to the BST.
When she arrives, the place is deserted except for an old donkey. Luckily, it’s too hot for many people to be interested in the desert exhibit. She carefully looks around all the cactus. A shiver runs up her spine as a thought occurs to her… Maybe the Dean and the police had been planning to warn her...maybe this was the trap!
As Amanda cautiously snoops around her, she stumbles upon an envelope with her inicials - A.R. printed on the front in carefully formed calligraphy. She ducks into the stone pen by the donkey to read the letter.
My Dearest A,
You can't know how much R.K. and I have missed you all these years. We wanted to keep you for our own when your father died but lives like ours are not easy ones. The nuns offered a better life for you. Until now.
You've been set up my dear! Three of your former design students are claiming that you purchased your textures from them. Each was able to produce files matching designs in your portfolio with creation dates of before you began at the University. It's already hit the news. You are a wanted woman. There Police are searching all over Comet for you.
In the donkey’s pen you will find a disguise, a flaming banana and a few tbux. Rest there for the night, then put on the disguise and make your way to your fathers home away from… home. You were 9 the last time you were there, so I hope you still remember. The owner is still named Tom, he will keep you safe until R.K. and I can arrive.
Amanda can not believe all that is happening. She has no idea who R.K or C.S. are. Maybe old friends of her fathers? Can she trust them? She pulls out her phone and calls her physics TA and friend, Peter.
"Amanda, is that you?!?" he says. "What’s going on? There_Police are all over campus and they say you stole some textures." Without mentioning C.S. or R.K., Amanda tells Peter she's innocent and she has no idea what is going on. Peter recommends she turn herself in but promises to keep quiet until she decides what to do.
Amanda says she'll think about it and hangs up but in her heart she knows she could never take a chance on losing her freedom. In the morning she will make her way to the Gaskill's Tavern, the place her father called his home away from ‘ship’.
Amanda is awake before the sun rises. She puts on the disguise. It is an old version of the outfit the nuns hand out to poor people - an orange shirt with a collar and white Capri pants. Dressed like this, no one would look at her twice, let alone speak to her. It is perfect!
She walks to the nearest port and uses some of the tbux to purchase ferry ride to Ootay and from there walks to the Gaskill’s Tavern. It is midday by the time she arrives and the cafe is almost empty. A man behind the bar who looks slightly familiar to her. He is talking with a boyishly handsome man who must be 3 or 4 years younger than Amanda. The young man isn’t drinking or eating. Instead he is clutching several maps and a leather bound book and talking to the owner in a low but animated manner.
Amanda looks around to be sure no one else is in the bar and then quietly takes a seat in the corner so that she has a clear view of the door.
It isn’t long before the young man leaves the cafe. The man behind the bar comes over to Amanda’s table. He studies Amanda’s newbie clothing and weary glaze and doubtfully asks if she needs a menu.
"I've got tbux" Amanda says defensively. "But I'm waiting for some …um friends."
"Of course Lass, of course." replies the man. "If you're only waiting, you can wait outside. If you'd like to order, I'm Tom, just give me a holler" and he turns to go.
"Tom Gaskill?" Amanda questions. "You knew my father..."
"Ohhh?" says Tom giving Amanda a closer look. "What be his name lass?"
Amanda quietly replied, "His name was Capt. Rob N. Reckonwith"
"Amanda! Lordy, but you’r all grow’d up! Oh Lass, it isn't safe for you here at all. Rusty and Constance have been by and explained everything. They are waiting for you at my home. It's just up the hill. Quick you’d best go now!"
Amanda finds Tom’s home to be little more than a lean-to with a few crates of stores for the tavern piled outside the door. She steps inside the door to find herself instantly pulled off her feet and crushed in the arms of a very round shaped woman.
“Oh child! Oh Child!” The woman sobs while rocking Amanda back and forth like a rag doll. “You safe now. Your safe. Never you worry, Rusty and I will protect you.”
Finally the woman sets Amanda down and pushes her into one of Tom’s few chairs. From behind the rotund woman peers a hawk faced man, a tall thin contrasting form. He tips his head to Amanda pulling a red sash off his grey and balding head.
“I’m sorry,” Amanda cries. “You look a bit familiar but I don’t have a clue who you are…
The woman flops down onto another chair and bursts into tears. “I told you so Rusty, I did. Doesn’t remember us. Brainwashed by those nuns. Can’t remember her true family.” The woman’s sobs become incomprehensible.
Rusty pats the woman on the shoulder and says to Amanda, “It’s alright, we didn’t expect you’d remember much. What with your pa, arr the Captain I mean, visiting Davy Jones’ locker when you was just 9 (beggin your pardon for being so crud Miss)… Still we hoped you’d know us. I be Rusty Keys. I was your pa, arr the Captain I mean’s First Mate. And this be my woman, Constance Sweat. She was the cook on Capt. Reckonwith’s ship. We’arr all that’s left o’the crew o’r the Pixel Pillager, dat be your pa, arr the Captain I mean’s ship. Here let’s all have a drink and I’ll tell you all we know”
With that Tom hands Amanda a ginger beer. She sips it slowly while listening to Rusty’s story and Constance’s constant sniffling.
“Captain Rob N. Reckonwith was one of the greatest pirates to ever sale the Tiki Seas lass and if that ain’t the truth let a sea serpent drag me down to the deepest trench and eat me for dinner. You come from a long line of pirate captains going all the way back to the original Captain Rob U. Reckonwith. One of the 5 infamous Pirate Captains of the golden age some 300 or more years ago, who having terrorized the Tiki islands for decades with their feuding ways, one day made a pact. Constance and I think it’s that very pact and the curse set upon it which is causing you so much trouble now.”
Constance sniffs and nods reassuringly at Amanda as Rusty continues…
“They say, and no I don’t rightly know who ‘they’ are…but there was talk aboard ship just before your father’s untimely death what say that those 5 pirates made their pact in blood. They put all their treasure into one hidden place, each taking a copy of the map. They vowed to each man put his own map in a bottle and set it out to sea. Then the last Captain alive, not needing the map (as he’d have been one of those who hid it) would go and get the treasure and retire to a life of luxury as no single pirate ever could. And if by happenstance they all died before reaching the treasure, well then there would be 5 bottles set out to sea which could each lead some lucky soul to the booty.”
“The original Captain Reckonwith was as unlucky as your own pa. He wasn’t the first of the 5 great captains to die, but he wasn’t the last either. And so your family’s part in the vow should rightly have ended. Except, well… the pact WAS made in BLOOD and blood has power. It’s terrible bad luck to cross a blood pact. (Constance shivers and nods her head). But that must be exactly what your great ancestor did. He didn’t put the map in a bottle. He kept it close. He broke the pact. And every Reckonwith on down the line to YOU has been cursed to sail the Tiki Seas as an outlaw ever since. Your pa didn’t WANT to be a pirate Miss; he was cursed to be one. It’s the same with you. But don’t fear. Constance and I will stick with you. We’ll see you through.”
“Yes dear” adds Constance. We were you pa’s most loyal crew. We knew something like this would happen eventually. We’ve got your ship waiting for you. It’s harbored at the board walk. We’ll take you to her in the morning.”
Amanda is overwhelmed and dozens of questions run through her head, but can ask none of them. The activities of the last two days and the ginger beer have made her very sleepy. It’s all she can do to nod her head and whisper a thank you to Rusty and Constance before falling asleep. Her last thought is that tomorrow she will return to her father’s ship.
The next morning was grey and gloomy with a light rain. Amanda woke with a headache and a groggy feeling that would not leave her. Constance insists she eat a hearty breakfast of eggs and pancakes before they set out and Amanda doesn’t argue. Just as they are about to leave, Tom comes in the door. He hands her a bundle and mutters “good luck”, then slips out again. It’s a long brown leather coat with a black and silver sash, brown jeans, black pirate boots and one of his own crisp white shirts. Amanda quickly changes before they set off for her father’s old ship. Something about the feel of the boots and the coat feel just… right. Like she was meant to wear them.
Fog surrounds the board walk, so Amanda doesn’t see the ship until she’s standing at the landing plank. The black mast and white sails are exactly as she remembers. Amanda’s mother had died in childbirth. So it had been just she and her dad for the first 9 years of her life. Those years at sea had been like a fairy tale to her. Then her father had died and she’d been shipped off to the orphanage. It hadn’t been a bad life, but it had been a different one. Now the fairy tale had come back. As she stepped onto the deck, Amanda felt as if she were finally coming home.
Rusty quickly introduces Amanda to the rest of the crew. They all bow to her politely and follow Rusty’s orders to the letter. ‘What a good first mate,’ Amanda thinks to herself. ‘I won’t have to know anything about sailing.’ Rusty immedatly has the ship made ready to sail. Constance disappears to the kitchen below deck and will accept none of Amanda’s offers of help. “You’re the Captain now dear, the crew needs to see you above deck.” Constance comes out of her noisy kitchen (it sounds like she’s beating the food to death before cooking it) every couple of hours with a snack of one kind or another. “Specialty for the Capt.” She says, offering nothing to the crew but a few limes and crackers.
Amanda can’t help herself, despite her constant headache (she hopes she isn’t going to get seasick) she is enjoying every minute on board. She watches everything the crew does, quickly remembering the names of the different masts and rigs. At night she sings herself to sleep with an old tune her father used to sing to her.
Rusty keeps them along the coasts of the Tiki islands for 2 full days before dropping anchor to the west of a burned out light house. The light house is surely abandoned. But that night as Amanda watches it under the light of the full moon, she could swear she sees lights and movement inside. She makes a mental note to ask Rusty the story of the lighthouse in the morning and then goes to her cabin. She sings herself to sleep again but this night her slumber is fitful and interrupted by dreams of a screaming man.
Amanda wakes feeling worse than ever. Her head feels as if it is about to explode. And Constance keeps offering her more food as if that is the cure. At least she didn’t actually get sea sick.
Rusty comes to her at breakfast and says it’s time to talk.
“Well Amanda, arr Captain I mean”
Amanda interrupts him, “You can call me Amanda.”
“It’ll be Captain on board the ship lass,” he replies. “Only one captain on board any ship and we can’t have the crew wondering who that might be. So now as I was saying. It’s time to make some decisions. You’ve done well so far and I am sure you’re going to be a right fine Captain after I show you a bit more o’the ropes. But the question be… well do you want to spend your life as sea, an outlaw, an outcast?”
Right at that moment Constance sits down at the table beside Amanda and pats her on the hand. “Well sure she does, as there isn’t any choice Rusty, don’t be silly.”
“Well now,” says Rusty. “I ain’t so sure that’s true. This curse is all cause the gals ancestor broke a blood pact. But… and now I don’t know that we have a butterflies chance in a hurricane of doing it…but what if we could set the pact to rights?”
“Ohh, and just how could we do that?” squealed Constance.
“Well, let’s think on it. The original Capt. Reckonwith was supposed to put his part of the map into a bottle and set it out to see. If we could find that map and put it to sea in a bottle of our own....well if Amanda could…she being of Reckonwith blood would be finishing the pact. And then as I see it… she’d be free.”
Constance nodded thoughtfully. “Well *if* we knew where to find the map.”
“That is the rub,” Rusty quickly replied. “Your pa, the Captain I mean, didn’t tell you where the map was by any chance, did he Amanda?”
Amanda blinked. In the last week she had gone from top of the class design student to outlaw pirate captain. She loved being at sea, but she didn’t at all wish to remain an outlaw and she desperately wanted to clear her name. If there was a chance to free herself she would take it. But her father HADN’T told her where to find the map. For all she knew he had never had it.
“He never mentioned the map.” She said lamely.
Out of the corner of her eye Amanda thought she saw Constance frown, but when she looked over the portly woman patted her hand again. “No worried dear. We’ll think of a way to find the map.”
“But in the mean time don’t mention this to the crew,” said Rusty. “They are all new to the ship and we can’t trust a one of them with news like this. The wrong person find out about the map and they’d want to use it to find the treasure instead of helping you.”
Constance nodded at Rusty and Amanda. “Quick dear, finish your eggs. We’re moving the ship to the due west until we’re south of Paiz Island today. We can’t take a chance on staying in any one place too long.”
The day was as enjoyable as can be with a headache that feels like an anchor landed on your head. Amanda was trying to get to know the crew. They were all polite enough but seemed to shy away from her. Even today women captains were few and far between. Amanda wondered how Scarlett Backblister, the only woman in the group of pirates who made the pact with her ancestor had stayed sane back then. Just after noon Rusty had the crew drop anchor again and gave the crew shore leave. Amanda, as an outlaw is forced to stay aboard ship. Constance stays to keep her company and together they discuss Amanda’s father and his old adventures. Several times Constance asks if anything they’d discussed gives Amanda any ideas of where the map is.
Finally it’s dark. Amanda takes her late night snack to her cabin, promising Constance she’ll eat it. Instead she falls into another fitful sleep.
Amanda wakes covered in sweat. Her dreams were dark and disturbing…she can’t quiet remember but something about a man being tortured. It’s still dark outside and the ship is quiet except for the sound of the rigging creaking. She can’t sleep, so she lights the small bedside candle. Next to it, her midnight snack from Constance sits uneaten.
‘That woman is determined to fatten me up!’ she thinks and slips the snack into the rubbish bin. Then she slips out onto the deck to get some fresh air. Surprisingly, her headache is almost gone. Which is good. Amanda has some hard thinking to do. The crew is obviously not going to accept her. Every time she asks for something all eyes turn to Rusty. Amanda is lost in her own thoughts until a loud groan followed by a thump and a yelp startle her.
The sounds came from below deck. Amanda pulls her dark brown jacket close about her and slips from shadow to shadow across the deck. Down below she finds it difficult to make her way. “Why haven’t I ever come below deck? Shouldn’t I have taken a tour of the entire ship?” She thinks to herself. Suddenly she comes to a door where she hears voices.
Amanda hears Constance’s voice say, "The daughter, will lead us to the map, she just needs more time."
"You’ve been drugging her for almost 2 weeks and she hasn’t remembered a thing.. If you hadn't have poisoned the father all those years ago, we wouldn't need the girl."
“I didn’t know about the treasure then Rust. I only found that part out from reading Rob’s old journal and Tom gave me that after I got out of prison.” Constance replied defensively.
“Well, I say she doesn’t know anything. I say we use her name to do a couple more raids and if she hasn’t proven useful by then we turn her in to “pay for her crimes” or better yet slit her throat and throw her overboard. She’s asking too many questions of the crew and they LIKE her too much.”
At this point there was another groan followed again by a thump.
“Shut up you! We’re only keeping you alive because I’m not soooo convinced the Captain didn’t tell you where the map was. Don’t be more trouble than my belief in your possible usefulness. Rust go up and check on things above deck.”
Amanda quickly back tracks her steps, crawls into her bed and pretends to be asleep. It was all a lie. Constance had killed her father and was keeping someone locked up in the scullery. Amanda pretends to be sick all the next day. She pretended to eat the food Constance left her and pretended to trust Rusty. And as the ship sailed from south of Paiz to west of the little island of Cangrejo, she plots her revenge.
Three days later, the ship is anchored just a little way off from Cangrejo. As Rusty prepares the crew for shore leave, Amanda throws a minor fit.
“But I can’t stand it Uncle Rusty” She cries. “I’ve been stuck on this ship for all this time. All I have to wear is this horrid brown outfit. I’m a fashion designer…you know what that means? I need to look good. Please let me go ashore and shop!”
Just then Constance shows up on deck holding a rolling pin somewhat menacingly. Amanda runs up to her and grasps her in a hug. “Save me Constance! Save me from these worn out rags! Please, if Uncle Rusty won’t take me ashore, then you go and pick me up some new pants and some bright colored material...something with red and gold and something in blue and something in green. And a sewing machine. I’ll make the whole crew new outfits! Please! I can’t stand this drab brown. And I need something to do besides pace the deck. I’ll go insane.” And she kisses Constance on the cheek. Completely falling for Amanda’s performance, Constance agrees to go.
As soon as she and Rusty are off the ship, Amanda offers her morning snack to the 2 ship’s mates left to ‘protect her’. She convinces them to open a cask of ale too and soon they are fast asleep.
Amanda hurries down stairs and into the scullery. At first she doesn’t see anything amiss. Then she hears a small movement under the table. There she finds a grizzled old man in a cage barely big enough to hold him. She hacks at the rusty lock with a meat cleaver until it breaks and helps the man out.
He’s battered and bruised but overall in good health. After a few sips of water he explains that his name is Bacchus Stabber. While Constance had really been the cook on Captain Reckonworth’s ship, Bacchus had been the real first mate. Rusty was a pirate want-a-be who’d met Constance during her stint in prison and had never even met the Captain. Just another lie that Amanda had easily believed while under the influence of Constance’s cunning cooking.
After the Captain’s death, Bacchus had taken the Pixel Pillager to Aurora and kept it as his retirement house boat. He’d been mostly happy (a little restless at times), until a little over three months ago. Constance had looked him up. She told him about the research she and Rusty had done while in prison and laid out a plan to use Amanda to get the Reckonwith map. Bacchus would have nothing of it, so they locked him up, stole the ship, hired a new crew and set Amanda up for texture piracy.
Now that she had met him, Amanda remembered Stabby (as she’s called him in her childhood). She quickly tells old Stabby her side of the story, all that has happened to her since the day before she was to graduate. Ending with the sad statement “If only *I* did know where the map was, maybe we could use it and your story to clear my name.”
“Oh but Amanda, together I think we DO know where the map is.” Stabby smiles a toothy grin. He takes her back to her cabin and produces a journal from a hidden compartment in the floor. He quickly flips through the journal to the back cover, which reads:
==Dearest daughter, remember well the song of your youth for within the song you will find a treasure worth more than words.==
“Do you remember the song you father used to sing to you at night? I heard him every night but I must admit I never paid it any mind even after I found this book, until Constance came that is.”
Amanda quickly recited the song for Stabby and he immediately knew where to go. She and Stabby load the still sleeping crew into a dingy and leave them a drift at sea. Then she and Stabby sail off to the north. Stabby at the helm and Amanda singing loudly…
“The points of the Compass are more than your guide.
An island that leads in each cardinal direction.
Second point right of True North and sail on until land fall.
It’s a small sandy beach that escapes most detection.”
In a little over a day Amanda and Stabby reach Compass Island, count 2 points to the right and head due east toward Congrejo.
They find a tiny sandy beach hidden in the lava beds. Amanda digs down into the sand and quickly finds a small chest. Inside is a portion but not all of a map. The map piece has an X, but there isn’t enough of the island chains to offer any point of reference and the only words mean nothing to her. Stabby doesn’t know what the map could mean either but suggests that they return to the Gaskill Café and see if Tom or one of his regulars can be of any help. Amanda remembers the boy with all the maps and thinks this is a good idea.
Along the way, Amanda does a thorough search of Constance’s kitchen. She discovers a disk with her original texture files, copies with backdated origin dates and amazingly a text file outlining Rusty and Constance’s plan. As they pass by Zona, Stabby volunteers to take the evidence ashore and leave it in the hands of a Greeter. While he’s on this mission he discovers that Rusty and Constance are already in jail. While away from the ship, they had robbed several establishments (mostly antique shops) and sought the quick escape of the ship... which of course wasn’t there upon their return!
Amanda and Stabby make their way to Gaskill’s in full knowledge that the death Captain Rob N Reckonwith has been avenged and Amanda Reckonwith is a woman free to pursue her own goals and ambitions.
Five stories all told and five parts of the map found. Now you are ready to find the lost treasure of the Captain’s of old. You’ve almost reached the end of your journey. View the map part below and put it together with the other 5 pieces. Return to the Gaskill’s Tavern and to join our adventurers as they finish the quest!
Continue the story