Karen Blixen informs you that the reading is Friday at noon. The rest of the week drags by, with everyone trying to cash in on the sudden Blackbeard craze. Renowned collector Armand Ballpeen announces that he has just acquired several of the pirate’s personal belongings. The Maryland Maritime Museum opens an exhibit called “Blackbeard’s Last Stand.” And on and on.
At last Friday comes. You (and the other 426 potential heirs) are crammed into a stuffy auditorium, listening to a stuffy lawyer. He advises all of you that the law firm is looking into the authenticity and legality of the will, and that you may be contacted again as events warrant.
The lawyer hits a switch, and a yellowed parchment is displayed on a screen behind him. You follow the lawyer’s reading with growing bewilderment:
I, Edward Teach, being of sound Mind and Body, do declare this to be my last Will & Testament. My Wife being as yet childless and underage, I hereby bequeath all my worldly Goods & Possessions to that Unknown who can follow me to find them.
Being a Man of constant Travel, I have in fact accumulated few Possessions—tho much Wealth. My ship, I fear, will die with me; and apart from her, all I value is a Map presented to me by a Friend. This I shall keep with me till the end, for he who knows where to look will find the place of my Treasure within its confines.
Tho the next is too vital for common speech, the Name of my good Ship will unlock it.
QIWZ SEMTACBTVJ SUXM N PVQN DMMMEO, NJMNV DFNG DTMTPM LWNRZYA VW HLRCN VPJ GFFLUM YS DJ NTMFWLCY:
QVJ SE MUES TJ R CIY WK XZWYU IY XYP WCZWMRRY FMUSK
ZHG QS GRYPCA BMKS AGWWKV RITLTR
FYY KV XXFYY KV MSCJ GCLTRELM EMRIKLLA
WSI ZY QQWI SE EBG BMSLDUPL-DIRC ICS
To whomever you are: I may mislead you, but I do not lie. Good luck and Godspeed.
Signed by my own Hand this 17th Day of November, in the Year of Our Lord 1718.
And witnessed by
So the treasure is up for grabs! Well, not for long. This is one challenge you are determined to meet.