I awoke on the beach of a deserted inlet. After taking a moment to cough up a pint of sea water, and pick seaweed from my beard, I stood, and took stock of the situation. I realised that if I were to escape this place, I would have to locate some cultists, and commandeer one of their rafts. I headed off into the jungle, looking all around for signs that my compatriots had survived, and perhaps come this way.
Unfortunately, as I was looking over my shoulder, I tripped over something, and fell headlong into the jungle. As I slid to a halt, I gave out a little yelp - I was face to face with a grinning skull! I recoiled back in horror, sprawling to the ground, only to be confronted with another. Again, I recoiled in horror, then I realised - waitaminute. There's skulls lying around all over the place here. I could be recoiling all day. Instead, I picked one up. It rattled.
Turning it over in my hands, I realised that this wasn't just a skull. Someone had cut the top off, attached it with a hinge at the back, and held it shut with a locking clasp at the front, converting it into a grisly, yet somehow charming little object d'art, such as one might pick up in the souvenier shops of Cnossos to keep one's baccy in. Drawing my poinard, I inserted first the tip, then the little sharp spiky bits on the hilt into the lock, attempting to jiggle or prise it open, but it stayed firm. Not to be deterred, I bashed the thing against a nearby rock, but with similar lack of progress. While these cultists were clearly ghoulish headhunters of the worst kind, you had to admire the craftsmanship.
Appraising it with a craftsman's eye, I realised that nothing was going to open one of these things, short of the kind of heavy blacksmithing equipment that one can only find in a port. Fortunately for me, however, I always carry such equipment with me. I reached over my shoulder and drew my Ban-O-Matic 5000 Blacksmithing Maul from its sling, and placed the skull on the rock before me. With a mighty, overarm blow, I brought the hammer down on the skull with all my might.
For a moment, the skull stood, unmoved. Then, - bee-yoing - the lid flipped open, with a noise like a ruler twanged on a school desk. Looking inside, with some trepidation, I discovered... fifty three pieces of eight! Neat!
My eyes cast over the clearing. Now I knew what I was looking for, I could see that this place alone was the final resting place of some ten or twelve poor pirates. I gathered them together on the rocks, their sightless eyes imploring me, a mute testament to the terrible fate that had befallen them at the hands of the cult.
I jingled the pieces of eight in my hand, and did a quick bit of mental arithmetic...
Buy the time my grisly task was done, I was up to four hundred and twelve pieces of eight, and in two of the skulls, I'd found a fetching aquamarine bandana, and a pair of stripy pants.
Hephaestus' Log. Date, 25th November. Bedtime.
Have found the remains of previous explorers of the isles. It seems the cultists have beheaded them, converted their skulls into caskets for their personal effects, and left them in clearings and groves across the island. A ruthless freebooter might find it quite lucrative to loot these burial grounds... but had best be careful, lest he find his pants being stuffed where his brain ought to be...