Prologue

August 8th 1812

1:25am

 

          The initial barrage of gunfire lit up the pirate-filled cove, popping and fizzing like an explosion of fireworks.  The boats that were launching the attack had extinguished their lanterns and coasted silently around the headland, taking maximum advantage of the new moon to creep up unnoticed.
          Men were scrambling now, racing for cover among the confusion, diving behind boulders and into the caves that pot-marked the cove’s walls.  The two boats made for shore to force home their advantage, but the waters were sharp with rocks and further progress was soon impossible.  Forced to wade the last twenty yards the initiative was lost, but the six bodies that lay dead on the sand pointed to the success of their plan.
          Four pirates huddled in a narrow cave where they were temporarily protected, shots now being returned from the beach that were slowing the aggressors’ approach.  “Jenkins, Riley, cover the entrance.  Highland, with me.”  The man with the tattoo of a winged horse on his forearm turned into the near complete darkness, Highland following behind.
          Ducking down for a few steps, a gap appeared in the cave ceiling and the man stood up straight so that his upper body emerged into a room above that was a part of the cliff itself, a flickering torch dimly lighting the cavern and the seven bulging sacks of treasure that had been stashed there.  Pulling himself through, he then reached back for Highland, who yelped in pain as he struggled up.  “It’s nothing Captain, just a scratch,” but the blood that was now soaking his once-white shirt argued otherwise.
          The sounds of battle were booming through, a man’s scream echoing around the walls that was followed by a clashing of metal.  “Hurry, we’ve got to get out of here.  Stand away from the slab.”  The tattooed man had his hand on a small metal bar that was part of a pulley system on the wall, and despite a minor head shake from Highland, he moved aside.  Without hesitation the bar was pulled from its latch, the slab slammed shut over their entrance, and the sounds beyond were reduced to nothing more than faint murmurs.