The Pirate Queen and the Map
This book is titled "The Pirate Queen and the Map". It is the first book in the five part series starring the Pirate Queen as the hero.
As the bow of the ship sliced through the waves, there was no mistaking the markings on the sails. Known throughout the Shattered Lands for being a terror on the high seas, this vessel was none other than the Painted Harpy. Though notorious from Karan to D'Lere, there was only one thing more feared than this ship, and that was her captain - The Pirate Queen Alta.
Never a more daring woman, Alta was as dangerous as she was beautiful. She crewed her ship with the most dastardly men to ever walk the deck and always paid them a fair share of the plunder. But the one treasure they wanted was always off limits. For if ever a pirate were to approach her with less than honest intentions (and that's saying much for a pirate), the Pirate Queen would show them what happened to those unfortunate men.
Hanging from the main sails of the ship were the withered corpses of all the pirates who tried to woo the Queen. Challenging the swarthy pirate to a duel, the Pirate Queen would see to it that her opponent was not only defeated, but was humiliated before they died. Then, to keep the warning fresh in the crew's minds, their bodies would rot from the beams of the ship.
For you see, no matter how much gold would be plundered from other vessels that dared to brave the turbulent ocean, there was only room for one thing within the heart of this nefarious pirate. For many years, she sailed the world in search of the one thing the she desired more than gold and silver - the Rubicite Heart.
The Rubicite Heart was a gem larger than anything Norrath had ever seen before. Having first heard the tale at a tavern on the docks of Freeport many years prior, she would dismiss it as being another story told over a pint of ale. Thinking nothing of it, she continued making a living boarding other ships and taking her share of ill-gotten gains.
Not until she would plunder and scuttle a merchant ship bound for a small island outpost known as the Far Seas Trade Isle would she again hear about the Rubicite Heart. Not finding anything of value on the ship she proceeded to keelhaul the ship's captain, careful not to kill him, until he eventually confessed to the true treasure stowed away on the vessel.
The only thing him and his crew were bringing back to their headquarters was a book and a map. She ordered the crew of the ship to all walk the plank, then set fire to the schooner. Ordering her helmsman to keep sailing until they found another merchant vessel, she locked herself away within her cabin and began perusing the book.
Reading the book, she learned that it was the journal of an adventurer that lived long ago. This nameless fortune-hunter would travel far and wide looking for all manner of treasures. Though he managed to find quite a number of priceless artifacts, the only one that managed to elude him was a gem worth all of relics combined - the Rubicite Heart.
She continued to read about how he had found it in a forgotten temple deep within a dark jungle. Recording his journey, he described in detail how he overcame numerous traps and eluded the guards of this ruin. By the time she was done, Alta was convinced this gem was not only real, but it would be her ticket to retiring from her pirating ways.
Just as she closed the cover of the book, a great swell overtook the ship, rocking it violently. Not only was she knocked down, but the book flew across her desk, knocking over the lamp she used for light. The spilled lamp catching the map on fire, she was unable to put it out before it was burned to a crisp. Sadly, her one opportunity to find this priceless treasure had gone up in smoke before her very eyes.