Plunders Beyond the Devil’s Eye

Part one

Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas - 1719 - Pirate Town Tavern - Just Before Midnight

A striking, dark-eyed captain wiped his mouth from a final pint - this was Charles Vane - the most feared pirate commander in the Caribbean known for his cunning wit, ruthless ways, and an unwavering thirst for treasure. His ship’s crew laid about - piss drunk and mostly passed out from celebrating their latest raid. Vane’s first Mate, Cyrus, asked him,

“What do you say, Cap’n?  Should we take the new royal Governor’s pardon and stop the runnin’?”

Vane spewed loudly for all to hear, “It’s all a bluff - this is our Republic! Ye want a Governor, then call me Gov’na Vane!”

He threw his flask up to cheers. The whole tavern erupted in huzzahs and toasts.

Then - “It’s not long now…we’ll be richer than we’ve ever dreamed…” he said under his breath as he played with an old, broken-looking sextant tied around his waist. 

Cyrus caught the eye of a quiet stranger in a corner who quickly turned away, but just then a handsome young lad, Davie, rushed into the tavern from the cliff lookout.  

“Father!” he cried, correcting himself with a salute, “I mean - Cap’n! It’s the Navy - seven ships!”

“Not with the ghost stories again, boy!” Vane scoffed.

Cyrus rushed outside - Davie handed him the spyglass. The boy was right. The newly appointed Governor and a small fleet of Royal Navy ships were coming up fast on the harbor. 

“Cap’n, ye gonna wanna see this. The boy tells the truth!”

Vane threw his flask in frustration, belting one of his wavering drunken crew between the eyes. The man’s eyes crossed before he dropped to the floor with a thud. Vane quickly met them outside as Cyrus handed him the spyglass.

“Oh no you don’t, Jules…” said Vane slyly, lowering the spyglass from his eye, “You’ll need more than a Governor and a few ships to take this ol’ seadog down!” Vane yelled out the side of his mouth, “Men, get ye drunken asses down to the ship! We got a Governor who needs to know who be Cap’n of these here seas.”

Vane and his men rushed down to the harbor. Cyrus reported to Vane, “Sir, the other Captains of the fleet - they are signaling to surrender… we are completely surrounded.”

Vane yelled back as he boarded his newest prize galleon, “Those yellow-bellied bilge rats!  Signal again - follow the Phoenix or be mutineers and pay the price.  Nothing is going to keep us from our next engagement…”.

“Make ready!” he bellowed to the small drunken posse with him as he shouted to Cyrus to captain the Phoenix.  “Lead the fleet to the passage - I’ll join ye before ye hit the Narrows!”

On the Governor’s Flagship, Captain Graydon Julius watched the movement on the coast with his spyglass. “Vane will not escape this time,” Julius assured Woodes Rogers, the new Governor sent by the Crown to rid the Bahamas of the Pirate infestation.

“He’d better not,” warned the Governor, “this moon will turn to blood on tomorrow’s eve. Hopefully, not a bad omen.”  Governor Rogers smirked, “One way or another, these rogues will have to choose - a pardon and royal law or a hanging. I’d prefer the latter.” 

“Captain, the pirate fleet is setting sail! Flagship sailing straight for us and… the others are headed to the north of the bay!” the lookout from the crow’s nest shouted, interrupting the Governor.

“What is he doing? There is nowhere to run…” said Julius, taking up the glass again.  Julius’ face turned whiter than a seagull's feathers, “Your Honor, please retire to your cabin. Your safety is my utmost priority, and I don’t like the looks of this.” 

“Damned blood moon,” said the Governor to Julius with an ironic smile. “Captain,” as the Governor tipped his hat and retreated below decks.

Julius passed the spyglass to his First Mate, Cornelius, and whispered, “Fire Ship. God Damned Vane!”

Vane wasn’t about to surrender to this fluff-pillowed Governor and this scab of a Captain - Julius. He had other things in mind… other treasures in mind. Vane grabbed a full bottle of Carribean rum on a nearby barrel, took a man-sized slug, and poured the remainder on the deck. One of his crew passed by, holding a lit oil lamp. He swiped it out of his hands and slammed it on the deck, shattering the lamp and igniting the ship's deck. 

“Blast me barnacles, Cap’n!” the pirate yelled as he ran from the flames.
His latest prize galleon went up in flames - bellowing towards the navy blockade - a costly but masterful stunt.  He and his posse made fast the ropes and secured the helm’s course. They abandoned ship into a rowboat and scurried to make their way to the Phoenix.

Spotting the incoming ship in flames, Captain Julius was infuriated. He ordered the Navy ships to break formation and fall back to keep the Royal Fleet from being destroyed, but a few stragglers got caught in the wake of Vane’s genius destruction. The ship pummeled into two of the Royal Fleet as the crew abandoned the ship. “Ye best stay away from a pirate’s game, or ye find out real quick with Cap’n Vane!” he belly laughed with his crew now aboard the Phoenix. “To the Cays!” he ordered as he went covered in soot to his cabin for a drink as the rest of the pirate fleet passed through the narrow shoals, barely escaping through the rocky wreckage.