A Thirst for Gold

In the dirty old town of Kilbride, at a time when life seemed simpler and the land wilder, a curious couple sat in a dark corner of a dodgy pub. She was an Irish beauty with a pretty face, blue eyes, and long red hair tied up with a black velvet band. He could be her brother for he was not hard on the eyes either, apart from his height, as he was a foot smaller than that young wan. An old Scotsman with hollow eyes entered the pub and made his way to the table where the two young people were sitting. He sat down and took a roll of parchment from his sleeve which he unrolled on the table.

"Dolores your beauty is truly astonishing, but it will not aid you in the end."He glanced at the young fella. "Nor will strength help you obtain the valuables that will pass through this mucky town, Shane."

The young man shifted in his seat.

"I know, old man, but I do not intend to use my strength for my wit will prove me superior to any man."

Shane drew his two silver lined flintlock pistols.

"These sweethearts will never let me down whatever the situation."

"You will need a lot more than pistols if you want to survive this little heist, lad."

Dolores rolled her eyes.

"Men should stop waving their weaponry around every time somebody comments on it."

The Scottish man rose from the table with his cup in his hand.

"Remember, my contacts in Dublin will only pay for the entire cargo so try not to destroy it while you are underway."

Triumphantly he raised his cup.

"Here is to you lad and lassie, be cunning , be brave, and be vigilant."

It took the Scotsman one swallow to empty his cup.

"The coach is on its way to Paris but it mustn't touch French soil, do you understand?"

He gave them a grave look and then he left the two highwaymen to their plotting.

And so with the fading of the morning dew, the coach made its way through the Irish countryside. The two coach drivers never knew what hit them, for the robbery was conducted with the utmost amount of cunning and deceit. It was as if a devil from the depths of hell came to the coach and vaporised the two poor drivers. While Shane hid the two corpses in the bushes, Dolores was inspecting the cargo.

"That Scottish git tricked us! The cargo is no gold or silver, but grain!"

Shane, who was just finished with disposing the last body, came running to the coach.

"What do you mean?"

"Look! Grain, bloody grain!"

"No, you dim wan. This is a different kind of grain. It is barley, but I don't understand why that Scottish prick needs this so badly because they ruined it by roasting everything."

Dolores kicked at one of the barrels.

"Did the two men have some valuables on their person? A filled purse perhaps?"

Shane's hand went into his pocket and held a brass trinket which he hung around Dolores' neck.

"I have only found this brass trinket. I wanted to keep it to myself but it looks better on you."

"Thank you. At least it is something."

She began examining the trinket.

"It even has got a lovely engraving of the Brian Boru's harp on it, should be worth at least a few suppers."

"The content of the cargo is not important, all that matters is that we take it to Dublin and collect our reward, then you can have as many suppers as you want."

So the two raiders continued their journey and followed the rocky road to Dublin until they stopped for mead and meat at an inn in Shankill. Near the coast, two ships lay docked and both captains were enjoying the night in the same inn. Shane, who was exhausted from the journey went to bed early, so Dolores joined the two captains in their merrymaking. There the black velvet banded Dolores secretly informed the two captains of the presence of a notorious highwayman called The Mean Leprechaun, and told them she was his hostage. The two captains had heard about this infamous thief and they both called for their first mates and by doing so they both provided Dolores with a means of escape. For both captains would set sail on the morrow, one would go to the mainland of France and the other would deliver prisoners in Van Diemen's land. Everything went according to her plan, Shane got apprehended and was put on board the ship that would sail to Australia.

The next morning, the two ships embarked on their journeys. Dolores, who was given the captain's cabin, enjoyed the comforts but she was surprised when the captain asked her what she wanted to do with the roasted barley which was taken on board by the crew. She decided to keep it, hoping she could sell it in Paris.

One week passed, when Dolores was woke up by a cry from a mariner. She clothed herself and went to the deck to see what was wrong. It was early morning when a sailor spotted a man on a piece of wood in the water. Dolores suddenly froze, for the drowning man was Shane. She tried to warn the crew but she couldn't speak. They hailed the castaway on board and took him to the infirmary. The captain, who was sick and unconscious, lay in the crew quarters and thus he never saw the new passenger. Dolores went back to the captain's cabin to get away from Shane's presence. She spent the entire day indoors until visions and horrible daydreams deprived her from her sanity.

"He wants revenge for my betrayal," she said to herself.

Dolores grabbed an iron dagger and she decided she would stick it in her former partner in crime. Before she went out of the room, she paused in front of the mirror. Her hair was messy so she tied it with her black velvet band. When she was done, she looked at herself and shed a tear. I have no choice, he has to die so I can live, she thought. After taking a deep breath, she left the captain's cabin.

While underway to the sickbay she was stopped by a man who she didn't recognise until he stepped in the moonlight. A vengeful glamour surrounded Shane, as he stood there hollowed eyed.

"I want the trinket." He said solemnly. "Give it to me now!"

"No! It is mine. You gave it to me."

"So be it." He nodded and walked away.

Numbed by his words she stood nailed to the deck. Why didn't he take the trinket from me, she thought. Then the sounds of the sea were shattered by an overwhelming blast, when the ship sank due to an explosion that originated from the armoury. All people onboard were killed in an instant.

Three weeks later on a beach near Dublin. A man in his late twenties took a walk when a glimmer of light drew his attention. He found between two washed ashore barrels a piece of black velvet cloth and a brass trinket. He tried to clean the trinket and by doing so he discovered that inside the trinket was a small piece of parchment. When he unfolded it he began to read. After a few lines he was puzzled for it was a curious recipe. He then removed the lid from one of the barrels.

"ARTHUR GUINNESS! There you are at last!"

A woman came running to the man.

"What in the name of God are you doing out here?

She took a peek at the barrels.

"What is this black stuff?"

"Mary, this is a God's gift."

High above the beach on the cliffs stood an old man with hollow eyes and he smiled.

"Aye, then Ireland it is, lad."

The End.