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.
“My treasure? If you want it, I’ll grant it! Search on! All the world had to offer, I left in that place!“
Gol D. Roger, One Piece
A pirate’s lust for gold has always been legendary. They would raid merchant ships and towns of all their wealth and goods. I once went to a museum exhibit that talked about what the pirate Blackbeard pillaged, which mostly consisted of trade goods like crops and silks. Blackbeard and his crew would sell these stolen items to the black market, which was when they would get to roll in gold. Sometimes, pirates would hide and hoard their treasure in a location only they knew. A rare few pirates possessed a sense of avarice that was so extreme that they would never want to part with their treasure even in death or let anyone else have it. An intriguing example of a pirate’s booty would be that of Olivier Levasseur AKA La Buse or “The Buzzard”. La Buse was known to have collected and hidden one of the largest treasure hoards in pirate history. The crown jewel of his booty was a seven-foot-tall crucifix made of solid gold and decorated with rubies. By today’s standards, La Buse’s treasure hoard would be worth well over 160,000,000 English pounds or $221,533,600. The main ambition of the pirate king in my spin-off fantasy story will be to collect a treasure hoard that shamed all others. This hoard will not just be created to enjoy every vice and necessity the world has to offer. It will also serve as the ultimate symbol and monument to his status as the greatest pirate the empire has ever known.
“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.”
Pirates of the Caribbean
I just had an intriguing idea for the future of my fantasy series. I am thinking of doing a spin-off series that talks about the origin story of my fantasy world’s most legendary and feared pirate king. I will be drawing inspiration from real life pirates such as Blackbeard, Charles Vane, and Olivier Levasseur. I will also be drawing inspiration from fictional pirates such as Captain Flint and Long John Silver from Treasure Island. My character will become so infamous that even the mystically and politically powerful Imperial Dynasty will fear him.
Pirates have always been a popular theme in both film and literature for many years. They have gained a healthy reputation as raiders, plunderers, and reavers who like to fight, drink rum, and swim in their loot. I am thinking of including pirates in my fantasy trilogy, but they will be nothing like the ones that existed in the 17th and early 18th centuries. They will not have the gunpowder weapons such as pistols or cannons, but will have cutlass swords while their ships will not be the classic war galleys but Viking-style longships.