As I ponder on my potential fantasy pirate story, I think about the evolution of real life pirates. Sadly, pirates are broken shadows of their former selves in the modern world. Today, a pirate is either a petty thief who steals DVDs or undisciplined rabble with machine guns. Between the 1700s and 1800s, pirates possessed a sense of style and class that made them strangely charismatic despite the crimes they committed. There was always something to admire about their morally ambiguous nature, which made them heroes and villains at the same time. They were men who were bound by no laws, limits, or boundaries. This made pirates the ultimate personification of maritime freedom. This absolute sense of freedom, their insatiable lust for gold, and their brutal ferocity were so extreme that pirates wielded the power to challenge entire nations such as the British Empire and the Spanish Empire. All of this is what made pirates a force to be feared and respected. It is thanks to the pirates of the past that we have the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise and ride, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and One Piece (the longest running anime and manga in recent history). Now, modern pirates are more of a nuisance and hardly the stuff of legend.