The aged parchment crinkles as you unroll it, revealing faded ink and the outline of a solitary island. You glance up from the image to the shoreline before you as your raft drifts to rest upon the sand. The double-peaked mountain towering over the deep, green jungle matches perfectly with the drawing upon the map. You've found the island. Soon the treasure will be yours.
Your feet sink into the wet, warm sand as you jump off your raft into the surf. Water swirls about your feet, a cool relief after so long at sea under the bright, tropical sun. You shade your eyes and check the map for your first landmark: two palms growing in the shape of an X.
There, a short walk up the beach, you spy them, green fronds waving in the light breeze. A stone sits beneath them, and you hurry to it.
Brightly colored birds wing away at your approach. You crouch next to the stone and brush sand away from its rough but warm surface. A carving reads, "50 PACES." You check your map and see the path turn inland, into the deep shade beneath the trees. Satisfied that you are on the right path, you continue your walk.
The fragrance of fresh earth and greenery wafts around you as you continue down a narrow path edged by trees dripping with vines and perfumed flowers. Birds sing in the distance, and you fall quiet, in your head counting steps, "Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two ..." As you approach your fiftieth step you begin to hear the sound of rushing water. It grows louder as you walk, and you note the crudely drawn waterfall that is the next landmark on your path.
You emerge from the trees to the banks of a stream. Ahead, frothing water rushes over a small cliff into a roiling pool. The rocks are dark and slick, perilous to climb, but thankfully your path does not lie here. Instead, you find another carving, directing you another twenty paces. You consult the map and turn to follow the running water, seemingly back towards the shore but at a slightly new angle.
A skull and crossbones carved into the broad trunk of a twisted tree provide both a warning and instructions to turn again. Your path now rises, growing rocky and steep, up a hill still shadowed in trees. Moss grows upon the stones here, and you spy butterflies flitting among the flowers. Ahead you see the next landmark, the ruins of an ancient temple, stones strewn haphazardly around it. Roots and vines choke the ancient walls.
You pause. A deep foreboding falls over you. This place is old and forgotten. Do you dare to tread the paths beneath its shadow?
Knowing your treasure awaits beyond, you summon your courage and enter the ruins.
The ground here is dark and rich. You can smell the herbs growing between the cracks in the old walls. Carved faces watch you as you walk towards an ancient door carved into the hill itself. A mighty archway beckons you into a dark cavern, the walls dripping.
The air cools around you as you step inside the cave. A spade leans against the wall, left there for you by the previous visitor. The tool easily cuts through the soft earth. You toss shovelfuls of dirt aside until there's a pleasing "thunk," and you hit something solid.
Scraping aside the last layer of dirt, you find an ancient chest, bound in metal. The lid appears heavy but at your touch it lifts, the hinges groaning from years of neglect. A soft glow radiates from within. Glittering diamonds and gold coins sparkle. Magically, a single candle flickers on the top of the hoard, somehow already lit. You pick it up, and your mind is immediately filled with stories and images. Hundreds of high seas adventures rush through you as if you lived them. A thousand evenings watching the sun sink into the sea, the waves on fire with its light, as a long day ends. Every thrill seeker who has ever taken to the sea has left their best memories within the magic of this candle, and that is the true treasure. You pick it up.
You are now tied to the candle, and your stories will be added to its magic. Your journey has just begun.