Grandfather’s Tale

The old man puffed on his pipe, thick smoke encircling his bald and wrinkled head.  Rain beat steadily on the roof and windows.  “Thank you Sally,”   he said as the serving girl brought him another mug of ale.  “Of course grandfather,” she smiled as she pulled his blanket tight over his shoulders again and took his plate.  It clattered when she collected it, the chicken bones and half eaten bread rolling around, the old dog next to the chair looking up in anticipation of some leftover treat.  He was not her grandfather but that is what everyone called him.  He had his chair by the fire, every night he was there plate of whatever Sally’s mother had cooked a few mugs of strong beer; to keep the cold and sea spray out of his old bones he would say.  Then he would light his pipe and puff away.  Some nights he would tell a story to guests others he would just listen.  Passing bards would never deny him the seat by the fire.  He had good coin and paid for songs and tales to cheer the nights.  

There was no bard to sing songs tonight and the old man stared into the fire.  the Inn was busy tonight travelers came and went through this small port and fishing village, and the rain made a nice dry bed all the more  “The old house on the hill overlooking the sea?” he said to no one in particular.  “Oh yes I know that house well, quite haunted.”  He puffed his pipe a few more times and took a long pull from his mug.  “That house used to be owned by a man that claimed to be a pirate,   said he was the last of the crew of a great pirate lord.   They had sailed and plundered and pillaged for years and years, usually one step ahead of their enemies.    They had gained and lost comrades.   All the time their cache of plunder greater each year they would sail to this very shoreline to hide their treasure.  Finally when they had their fill of running and started to feel the creaking in their bones.  They decided each man could take his share and live out his days in comfort.  Though you know how this sort of story turns out. Some say it was the first mate some say the boatswain others the cook nobody really knows.”  He took another long pull on his drink and puffed a few rings of smoke from the old pipe in his hand.  “Swords and magic were drawn and the battle was fiercer than any they had ever faced on the seas.  When the smoke cleared and the echoes of battle were ringing from their hidden cove the Captain lay mortally wounded.  The last of the crew, the cabin boy, knelt at his side.”  “Give me a drink boy,” the captain whispered.   “The boy ran and fetched a cup for his captain.”  ”You stayed true boy ready to serve and ever faithful.  The treasure is yours make a good life.  The hells are a special place for mutineers and traitors.  They will now spend all time guarding the treasure they tried to steal and serving with those they betrayed.”  A shiver fell over the old man; Sally tucked his blanket over his shoulders again and stirred the fire.  “As the Captain breathed his last a cold light entered his eyes and he rose calling his crew to stations.”

“The boy fled but did not go too far.  The claimed his share of the treasure small amounts at a time build a nice house, comfortable and lived a nice life, or so I’m told.   There was far more than any man could spend in a lifetime.”   He took another drink draining the mug. “He lived up there a long time never bothering anyone but no one could figure out where he got his money from.   Occasionally a servant would go missing.  He always said they should not have gone looking for what was not theirs. Finally before he died he dismissed his servants and it’s said he went back to join his captain and shipmates.”   ” No one has lived up there in years and the weather takes its toll.  Sometimes strange sounds come from the place.  Treasure hunters have tried to find the gold but they usually come back with nothing, or they don’t come back at all.”   “They say wild things have taken over the house.  Some say the boy set traps and secrets to keep his Captain’s treasure safe. Others say the ghosts still roam to keep safe what was theirs.  ”He stretched a bit and tapped his now empty pipe on the fireplace. “Maybe someone will find that treasure or maybe the house will fall into the sea one day taking its secrets with it.”    The rain had stopped but the common room was silent.  He stood up and called, “Sally helps me to my room please.”  “Of course Grandfather,” she responded already at his elbow.  He slowly climbed the stairs old bones creaking along with the stairs of the inn.   Slowly sounds of discussion returned to the common room.  Some talked of the possibility of treasure.  Some talked of the evil of that house.   A few started making plans.  

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