Greetings, readers. This story is set in the universe of the Uncharted video game series. Though it does not feature the characters of those games, it does tell of the events leading up to the first game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. However, a familiarity with the video game is not at all needed to fully enjoy and appreciate this story, though fans of the game will find some Easter Eggs hidden within the text. I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I hope you enjoy it. As always, feedback and comments are welcome and appreciated, positive, negative, or otherwise. Thanks for reading!
“Keep on ‘em, men! Do not let those Spanish dogs escape!”
Standing at the helm of his beloved ship, Sir Francis Drake sailed with the skills and determination befitting the most seasoned veteran of the British Navy. The Spanish galleon he now trailed was fast, faster than most, but was still no match for the legendary Golden Hind. As the winds remained in his favor, Drake was easily able to keep his ship directly on course, constantly gaining ground on the Spaniards. All the while, his men fired their cannons, peppering the water around the opposing ship with gunfire.
“Mr. Hawkins, report!” Drake called out, seeing their target slow.
“Direct hit, Captain!” John Hawkins replied. “Their rudder has been disabled. It shall not be long now!”
“Well done, First Mate!” Drake said with a smile. “I’ll bring us alongside; prepare the boarding party!”
Now closing the distance between the two ships, Drake could now make out the name of the ship they pursued: Esperanza. He barked out orders to his crew, ensuring the broadside gunners were ready for the chaos that would certainly ensue in mere moments. Still, he was not worried; these were strong, intelligent men, and this was far from their first plunder. It was the primary means of employment for a privateer crew, after all. Now approaching the Esperanza, Drake prepared for the impact of their retaliation.
“FIRE!!!” he shouted to his men.
Almost simultaneously, the two ships fired upon each other, inflicting heavy damage with their broadside shots. Still, it became immediately clear that the Golden Hind possessed the superior firepower. As the Spaniards struggled to defend against the assault of gunfire, Drake’s elite men assembled on deck, grappling hooks at the ready. In near unison, the twelve sailors latched their hooks onto the opposing ship and swung over, taking the Spanish crew completely by surprise. While ten of the men began tearing into the sailors spread across the deck, two of Drake’s men made immediately for the Esperanza’s mast, beginning to slice into it with a two-person saw. After a minute or two, the structure began to creak and splinter, finally toppling down and landing partly on the Golden Hind, creating a bridge for Drake and the rest of his crew. The English poured onto the ship, restraining the downed Spaniards in record time. Finally, Sir Francis Drake himself boarded, approaching their prisoners.
“Greetings! I am Sir Francis Drake, loyal servant of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Who among you is captain?”
“I. Captain Alejandro Montoya,” said a man of about thirty.
The man and his crew seemed petrified with terror, as Drake’s reputation was feared throughout the oceans of the world. After fifty-four years, he was easily the most successful privateer Queen Elizabeth had ever employed, which came as no surprise, considering the trouble he gave her navy in his days as a pirate. Still, Drake was not without a soul, and always prided himself on granting mercy to his beaten opponents.
“Greetings, Captain Montoya. I thank you for graciously allowing me permission to come aboard,” Drake said jovially, his crew laughing all the while.
“Cease your taunting, English scum,” Montoya seethed. “You are here to kill us, so be done with it. We go into the hands of God.” Montoya and most of his crew bowed their heads and traced the cross with their hands.
“Very well. Gentlemen, give ‘em the usual treatment!” Drake said to his crew. Before they could react, Alejandro Montoya and his men found themselves bound and their faces blinded by burlap sacks.
“Welcome to the Golden Hind, and my grand feast!” Drake said, removing the sack from Captain Montoya’s face.
“I ... do not understand?” the man stammered. He suddenly found himself cut free of his bonds and seated at a grand dining table with his top officers, a spread of succulent food adorning the table.
“Oh, my dear Captain Montoya, I may be a privateer bent on looting you of your treasure store, but we English remain civilized gentlemen, even to the Spanish,” Drake replied, taking a seat at the head of the table. “After all, I have no desire to murder my fellow Christians in cold blood, even if you are Catholic.” This elicited a murmur of laughter from Drake’s men guarding the room.
Smiling, Montoya replied, “That is exceedingly generous of you, El Draque.” Raising a glass, Montoya indicated to his men to do the same, which they reluctantly did. “I suppose I should thank you for granting my officers the courtesy of life, though I must also confirm the safety of the rest of my crew.”
“They are perfectly safe,” Drake answered. “They got a bit rowdy, so we had to lock them in the brig, but they are all unharmed ... well, at least the ones who survived our boarding, you understand.”
“Of course, of course. Occupational hazard.” Taking a sip of the delectable wine in front of him, Montoya realized now that Drake was indeed a man of exquisite taste. “Sir Francis Drake, what will you do now?” he asked. “We were followed not even a day prior by another of my countrymen’s ships. You know they will find us, sooner or later.”
“And that is our full intent, Captain Montoya,” Drake replied. “Once our feast has concluded, you and your crew shall be escorted back to the Esperanza. Obviously, you will be unable to travel anywhere, what with that unfortunate accident involving your mast, but your countrymen should easily find you before long. We shall leave you a week’s worth of food and supplies, just to be certain. Now, as for your treasure, it shall be returning to England with me, for it is being loaded onto my ship as we speak.”
“Once a pirate, always a pirate,” Montoya mused.
“Privateer, if you please,” Drake corrected him. “I am, of course, fully sanctioned by Her Majesty.” Standing from his chair, Drake slowly walked the length of the table towards his honored guest, seated at the foot. “Still, in all my years of sailing, I have long learned that, if a treasure is truly of the utmost importance ... it is to be kept on one’s person, not in some treasure vault. This, for instance.”
As Drake withdrew a piece of paper from his coat pocket, Montoya suddenly stood in anger. “Where did you get that?!”
“From your coat pocket, of course. Fascinating document, I must say.”
“Give it back! That is for King Phillip’s eyes only!” Montoya’s officers rose to back him, but were quickly silenced by the sound of Drake’s guards drawing their swords.
“Not anymore,” Drake replied calmly with a grin. Placing the paper on the table and taking a seat next to Montoya, Drake began to inspect it, showing it to be a map of a portion of Brazil. “I do not pretend to be an expert in translating your Spanish language, but I have picked up just enough over the years. Of course, some words translate across all manner of tongues ... such as this.” Pointing at a spot on the map, it was accompanied by only two words.
“You know not of which you speak,” Montoya sneered defiantly. “I believe you are too confident in your translation capabilities.”
“Really? Because, if I am not mistaken, this appears to be a map of the wilds of Brazil, leading to perhaps the greatest treasure the world has ever known: the mythical City of Gold.”
“Filthy English pig!” Montoya spat. “You are unworthy of El Dorado! We shall find it, for we are destined to rule this world! God Himself has decreed it!”
“Ah ... so you are saying that you have not yet found it?” Drake asked knowingly.
Montoya’s eyes went wide, his mouth wordlessly moving. He knew he had given away their secret mission, not just to an Englishman, but also to the best sailor in the entire world.
“You needn’t say anything more, my good boy,” Drake assured him. “It is now time for you and your crew to depart back to your ship. My first mate, John Hawkins, shall escort you.”
Sitting alone in his cabin, Francis excitedly worked in his journal, a small, leather-bound book. Though unassuming, he had carried it throughout all of his journeys and noted all of his most incredible discoveries within it. In truth, that book likely contained information on all of the most valuable secrets the world over, and it now included a map to the legendary El Dorado, sketched by Sir Francis Drake himself. As he continued to study the map, a knock came at his door.
As the door opened, a man near Drake’s age entered, similar in appearance, though more balding. “Good evening, Sir Francis.”
“Good evening, John. Are we away?”
“Indeed we are, the Spaniards are safely back on their ship ... or what’s left of it, anyway. Damn, we did a number on it!”
.... There is more of this story ...