Dan the Blackhand disliked the term “Grave Robber”, He preferred to be thought of as Necropolic Resournce Allocation Agent. He tried being Digging Dan, but everyone saw his hands and nails blackend but the graveyard soil nad called him blackhand.
Dan didn’t know why people thought he got rich off digging up dead people, apparently most people didn’t dig up people or at least seemed to not notice that anything of value was ususally stolen by relatives before going in the dirt. Dan was a poor man and not thought well of.
Dan finally found himself out of work. Either all the graves were empty or he would be hung if anyone found him digging up so much as an old dog. He had been driven to the very sea and trapped there be the Lord’s law. Dan tried fishing for his food, but after a night in jail for digging worms, although no one believed he was only after worms, Dan gave up fishing. Starving and alone he walked up a rocky coast to decide if he should cast himself into the sea or face the Lord’s Men.
Sobbing on the rocks, Dan heard a voice.
“What troubles your soul?”
Dan looked up into the face of a corpse. He scrambled back, but tripped on driftwood and hit his head on a rock.
Cold seawater splashed in his face and Dan woke sputtering to see the corpse face again. He screamed and scrambled again, but then he blinked away the salt water and saw the blue face belonged to a mermaid.
“Wha-What do you want?” He sputtered.
“I live beneath the salty sea, but the salt of tears floats through my home like smoke from a fire. If I don’t seek it out, it spreads. That is why I want to help stop your tears. What troubles you?”
The mermaid sat back onto the rocks and listened to Dan’s tale. At the end of his tale, she reached down and then handed Dan a gold ring with a nice sized Saphire in it.
Dan was a bit taken aback. “What’s this for? Am I to sell it and buy a kingdom?”
“Do kingdoms come so cheaply these days?”, The mermaid asked, “The reason I gave you that Toe Ring is because it keeps people from the land from drowning beneath the waves.”
“Weren’t you listening to me? I was just contemplating drowning beneath those very waves! Are you doing this to vex me?” Dan fumed
“Follow me.” the mermaid said before splashing into the incoming tide. Dan shrugged and dove in.
The mermaid came back to Dan and lifted his head above the waves and waited for him to cough the water out of his lungs.
“You need to put it on your finger.” she said with a sigh.
The next time Dan sunk to the ocean bottom, he took in a caution breath and felt fine. The ‘air’ tasted salty, but he wasn’t drowning. He followed the mermaid at a slow pace since he wasn’t really much of any kind of swimmer. She lead him where jagged black rock jutted up from the sandy sea floor. Resting on the ground was a corpse.
Well, the corpse of a ship. It had been holed through it’s bottom and the sea had flooded in. Dan walked into the wreck and saw chests with locks orange with rust and age. A stout kick later, Dan was richer than he had ever been.
Dan the Blackhand died a rich old man, his salvage company was the most successful business the port had ever seen. People were always amazed at the way Dan would go out alone to scout for salvage, then a marker barrel would appear the next day and chest of treasure would land on his decks like fish would land on the decks of other boats.
Dan the Blackhand’s funeral was the event of the town, everyone came to visit this wealthy man and pay thier respects. But, when Dan was buried, his fingers were short a few rings ...
The person who wears this ring will not drown in any fluid. The ring will resize itself to fit any finger or toe.