I entered the captain’s study, dust dancing in the sunbeam coming in through the window across from the door. Outside, the hustle and bustle of our hidden haven, and our mighty vessel lying at anchor in the quiet cove. The Captain was aboard her I knew, directing the unloading of our latest haul.

He had asked me to ready a bottle of rum for his return to this sunny, dusty refuge from the grim reality of pirate life. The room is neat, but full; artifacts from the Captain’s adventures, as well as books and tomes filling the shelves that line the walls. Beside the paper-choked desk lies a locked sea chest, atop which sits a folded jolly roger.

Beside a bag of gold coins I place the rum, noticing a stack of letters sitting in the only clear space on the desk, the space just in front of the chair. Curiosity overtakes me, overriding my better judgement. I am an unusual pirate, I can read and do so at every opportunity. I pick up the first yellowed page and read the incredibly faded lettering:

To my dearest love,

I feel it again. The Curse is upon me. Though it is the thought of you and our reunion that keeps me grounded and my eyes on the end goal of this quest. I already have one of the blades I was sent for; its emerald blade gleams and reflects at me the gaunt face of a man I have never before seen.

And now, I have found it! At last, the next blade is mine! A blade of deepest black, to match the darkness inside.

This blade was held by a native warrior of great renown. I joined a small army of Spanish Conquistadors who intended to end this threat to their occupation of these islands. The warrior I was looking for was a giant of a man, over six feet tall and built like a mountain. Every swing cleaved trees in half, and sent men flying backward in twos and threes; no blow could so much as turn him from his slaughter, he felt nothing. I managed to corner him and fought him man to man.

His swings were mighty, and his defenses strong, but I did overcome him, escaping from the natives and Spanish alike with my prize. The most wonderous sword of the set, this weapon has a blade of onyx as black as the deepest circle of hell, and a curse as powerful to match.

I will write to you again soon when I find the next sword in the set.

Yours forever and always,

The signature is faded to the point of oblivion. Intrigued, I set down the letter and pick up the next one…