Today on Tales from the Crow’s Nest it is my pleasure to present to you the story of our beloved Dread Rogue Lorrance, also known as Captain Ohm of the Nautilus. Just as every ship has it’s story so too do our infamous members. Today we would like to share one of those stories with you.
In the days before the Nautilus set sail these were a few of the tales, and some of the history of the man known to us as Captain Ohm. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Captain Ohm the Dread Rogue Lorrance
My name is Lorrance. In reality, that is all I know of my true self. Oh, indeed, I go by several names, depending on the company I keep. To my closest friends, I am simply Lo. To the simple-minded, I am the Dread Rogue Lorrance. To the wenches, I oft not share my name, so that they may properly address me as m’lord. And in formal company, I am Lord Lorrance of Morehead Abbey, to give the appearance of propriety, myself knowing all too well that I am neither lord nor proper.
I’ve now seen forty summers. At least that is my best guess. My mother and father were killed in an attack by roadside bandits, so says the troupe of gypsies that found me near the wreckage of the overturned and burning carriage my family was apparently traveling in. My small body was thrown from the carriage during the attack, and is apparently the reason I survived. The bodies of my parents were found when the flames subsided, their identities unknown.
The gypsies thought me to be of three summers only, making my birth year 1660, as I could speak, and knew my given name of Lorrance. I knew not my family name nor from where I hailed. When I was discovered, I had with me a small woolen blanket, the corner of which had sewn on it a small crest, containing a flying hawk on a scarlet and yellow shield, with a small script letter “P” in the upper left corner. I still carry the small crest with me, worn and tattered though it may be. To this day, this only clue as to my heritage has led me no closer to understanding who I was or who I should have been today. But my search continues ever on, and shall ‘til the end of my years. It is this quest that has largely shaped my existence, for good and for bad.
The gypsies took me in as one of their own. All in all, there were near two score of them, wandering and traveling the countryside, living simple, though not entirely respectable lives. All of the “big folk”, as I thought of them then, were women. The children were all of varying ages. The rule of the troupe did not allow men – those that reached 15 summers – to stay with the troupe. They were caste off to seek their own destiny in whatever village was closest to them at the time they came of age. In all my days, I’ve crossed paths with but one man who grew up with the troupe as a lad. His fate was not favorable, as he was no better than a wretched drunkard – with no coin, no woman, no land, no home, and no future. All others I’d known during my childhood have been unheard from, their fates unknown.
Three of the gypsies from the troupe, Ophelia, Helena, and Magdalene, were largely responsible for my upbringing as a lad. The good news was that the choice was with them – I was not forced upon them. All were kind-hearted women, though two were more wench-like than gypsy. And the third, Magdalene, was in charge of “acquisitions”, making her the lead thief of the troupe. She always ensured that I had what I needed, and would steal anything that I may be lacking. All three were my mother, sometimes together, sometimes as individuals – doting on me as if I were their own child.
It is from their names that I’ve adopted my “family” name of Ohm – taking the first letter of each of their names as my own. But it’s also from them that I’ve learned to be a master at thievery, deception, and survival. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve gone by many names in the thirty some years since I’ve left the troupe, depending upon the company I kept and how desperate I was for money. I’ve played the con and all the roles – prince and pauper, lord, knight, and servant. The last role, back in 1702, became the source of the price that still rests upon my head – 1000 gold coin, dead or alive! Apparently Lord Lasko, who took me into his confidences as housemaster, did not take kindly to discovering that I had bedded his two young daughters – at the same time!!
Not wishing to personally experience Lasko’s wrath, or be discovered by the quickly gathering contingent of bounty hunters, I carefully found my way to the docks, seeking passage across the sea. It was there that I eyed the beautiful lady that I later learned to be Captain Tink. After an evening of drink, and a night of lust, she offered me safety aboard her ship; a 24-gun Royal Navy 5th rate still carrying the name HMS Boner (she said it was “quaint”), in exchange for my services as her Master Gunner, an offer that I eagerly accepted. In the first few months of service as a privateer, I become known amongst my crewmates as “Rammit” Ohm, an obvious reference to my superior cannoneer skills, or so they tell me.
Eighteen months had passed when, finding that a life at sea in a less-than-honorable profession agreed with me, I signed onto the crew of another ship, the Rising, led by the venerable Captain Full Moon. My skills at persuasion and thievery allowed me to rise quickly among the ranks, from crewman, to Quartermaster, and then to First Mate, all within 2 years. As Captain Tink and Captain Moon were friends, they agreed to share my services, neither wishing to give up a mate as valuable to them as I was. Since the Rising spent the majority of its time in port, due in large part to a run of extremely profitable raids on a series of ships and ports, such a “shared” arrangement allowed me to sail the open seas as frequently as I chose with the HMS Boner, but also provided the comforts of port when such amenities as drink and women were desired (as they frequently were!).
In August of 1708, Captain Moon announced to the world that he was retiring from the life of piracy, after 16 long years. In the standing tradition of pirate crews, my mates aboard the Rising elected me to serve as their Captain. I immediately selected the ship’s beautiful Bosun, Miss Daphne TartNSweet, as my First Mate.
One year later, in August of 1709, Quartermaster DD of the Rising reported that the Ship’s hold was growing empty after over 15 years in port. I therefore was forced to order the crew to prepare the ship again for sail, to leave port in late December of that year, for another round of pillaging to replenish our stores. After languishing in port for so long, she was not seaworthy, her sails torn, her rigging frayed, and her masts rotted near through. Sufficient plunder remained to pay the local artisans and carpenters for a complete restoration, and I placed my First Mate in charge of the effort. She had 4 months to make ready the ship, and I had every confidence that she would rise to the challenge.
Once the restoration was under way, I left Rogue’s Cove on another mission known to no one but myself. It was a dangerous foray into the unknown, and I knew that there was a chance I would not return. I had questions of life and faith, questions of heart and hate. Indeed, I had come to question my decisions and my profession and all that I was. And I knew that to find the answers, I had to not only seek out and ask the Gods, but I had to challenge them as they would certainly challenge me.
But the crew was told only that I was to be away for some much needed rest, relaxation, and quiet reflection. I assured my First Mate that I would be back before we were to set sail in December, but I could see that her eyes held doubt and fear and concern for my safety, though she knew nothing of what was to come.
My journey first took me to the tall mountain peaks well inland from the comfort of the sea that had long been my home, but where I could be alone with my thoughts. Or as alone as I could be, sitting there closer to the Gods than I’d ever been before and closer than any living man should ever really be. I left my conscience open to whatever the Gods would share with me, in answer to my silent questions. For the first few days, nothing came but the quiet peacefulness of solitude. Then things changed suddenly.
The days that followed became mere moments, passing without any real awareness of time. Visions coursed through me of nightmarish creatures, of cruelty, of beatings and death, of broken ships and men, piloted by the Gods for reasons unknown. I was hoping to find answers, but I could not understand the Hellish visions presented to me. I was filled with even more questions and with even more sorrow and desperation. A final vision, clear as any I’ve ever had, until or since, showed me standing upon the rocks of a distant shore, unfamiliar to me, cold and alone, screaming out to the sea. The sky was dark and the sea an odd color of green. Somehow, I knew that was to be my next destination.
I wasn’t sure how long I’d been in the mountains when I traveled back down, muddled in a fugue state and covered in grime, surely looking little better than a common beggar. In five days, I arrived in the port town of Talisman Roads, nearly 200 miles north of where I’d started my journey. I immediately set about visiting the docks, the taverns, the brothels and the inns, inquiring with everyone I encountered about the place I saw in my vision. Most thought I was crazy, some were sympathetic, but no one, it seemed, had any more knowledge of this mysterious place than I did. My unintended appearance as a beggar, however, did show me fortune, as I was offered coin from several kind folk, which allowed me food and drink and the opportunity to stay in town.
At the end of the third day, I had settled into a chair in the furthest corner of the seediest tavern in town, where even the light seemed afraid to tread. I was weary and on my fourth pint of ale. I had just taken another swig when I sensed a shadow enveloping me, a darkness even darker than that of my private corner. I looked up to see a cloaked figure standing before me, hunched over like a crippled old man, but with a face so covered in shadow it was nothing but a black void. Without a word, he (at least I think it was a he) handed me a note. The note was scribed with a shaky and feeble hand, and offered only the name of a ship and a date: Angel’s Blood, September 8th, dawn. That was the next morning. When I looked up again to inquire as to its meaning, the messenger had disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.
I didn’t fully understand, but I no longer questioned. I arrived at the Angel’s Blood at the appointed time and was brought aboard by her mangy crew (and I’m being kind in my choice of words). Just as the night before, not a word was exchanged, but their intent was clear – I was to sail away with them. The ship was large and immaculate, in contrast to her crew, and I was quickly shown to my quarters two decks below along the starboard side. Once inside my cabin, the door was politely shut behind me… and that’s when I heard the distinct click of a lock being engaged. Before I could even rush the door, the ship began to shudder, and we were underway, but to where, I could only suspect.
The cabin was sparse but comfortable, and I noticed some provisions on the table beneath the port hole. Looking out, the shadows of the ship’s masts and sails that were cast upon the calmer-than-normal seas indicated we were heading nearly due south. Momentarily, I thought perhaps they were simply taking me back home to Rogue’s Cove, but circumstances indicated that another destination was in store for me. So, I decided to settle in for the ride, knowing surely that I had already experienced far worse than this unknown voyage.
Salted meats, bread, and wine had been set out on the table. The delicious aromas had awakened my hunger, and I remember quickly devouring one of the larger chunks of meat, taking several bites of the fresh bread, and washing it all down with at least two cups of wine. I say “at least”, because that’s all that I can remember of the remainder of the voyage. When the tendrils of awareness once again began to creep into the fringes of my conscious mind, I had found myself on a beach, with the waves of the sea lapping at my feet and the sun high overhead. It had seemed just later in the day, but it could have been a month, for all I knew at the time.
It took me less than a day to fully explore the island that I was now marooned on. And though I didn’t know where I was and certain I’d never been there before, I still managed to stumble upon a spot that I was intimately familiar with – the rocky shore from my vision upon the mountain.
I had set up camp as best I could near the rocky outcrop that had become my obsession. As with the mountain top, the first few days on the island were uneventful, though I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched, by someone, or something. There was no food and no fresh water available and even the fish seemed to be missing from areas that should be teaming with them. Only the moisture from the occasional passing rainstorm kept me alive, though I was still forced to drink straight from the sea more often than I should.
In just a week, I felt my life escaping me. My clothes were ragged and stained; my skin was gaunt and thin; my mind was cloudy and spinning. On the eve of my seventh day upon the island, I made my last stand, and had climbed upon the rocky outcrop of the shoreline. I raised my arms high, and cried out to the Gods, and asked for their help while daring them to answer why they would not give it to me, given that not once had they offered an answer to any of the questions that were the foundation of my journey. And almost instantly, a tempest began to swirl the sea before me, turning it an odd shade of green – the same shade as from my vision. That was when I realized that I was actually living in the scene from the vision. And a moment later, I knew who I was dealing with, and I cried out over the sea.
“Oh Neptune, Master of the Sea, I beseech thee! I have surrendered all that I am to you. I have nothing left to give but my very heart and soul. Take me, for I am nothing without the sea!”
And then, without further thought, I threw myself into the waters.
What happened next I cannot say with certainty. It was dreamlike and otherworldly, once again existing without the awareness or constraints of time. When I came to full awareness again, I found myself once more lying upon the beach. Only this time, I was just south of Talisman Roads. I felt healthy and sated, restored to full vigor, and could stand without difficulty. And best of all, I had the answers to all of my silent questions. And more.
I had no idea how long I’d been gone, but I headed south over land as quickly as I could, making for my ship and crew in Rogue’s Cove. Four days later, I was home.
In fact, I returned to the Rising after only 40 days. Though I had overestimated the time it would take to complete my journey, I equally underestimated the danger and risk of what I had undergone. I had returned to the crew a changed person, stronger of will and determination, and more enlightened about the ways of the world, both the natural and the supernatural.
Repairs on the ship were well underway, and all was on schedule. I re-assumed command of the Rising from the First Mate, commending her progress with readying the ship for sail. Together, we oversaw the completion of the restoration and celebrated with the entire crew just two days after Christmas.
We set sail on December 29 with clear skies and a proud crew. The ship looked strong and powerful, responding well to every course change. Though the winds chose to play games with us, we made it to the evening of the second day without incident. That’s when the storm of all storms took us by surprise.
We fought the storm with all the skill of a well-honed crew, but after a time, the ship became unresponsive, almost like she was giving up. I had a decision to make if we were to stay alive, so I called all of the ship’s officers together, and told them quickly of my experience with King Neptune months before. And I told them what we needed to do and the risks involved. Without hesitation, they all agreed.
As so it came that we called upon King Neptune for help once again. His answer was to draw the Rising to the bottom of the sea in a maelstrom of his making, surrounded by a monstrous wall of water as we rested on the sea floor in an oddly serene quiet. Then Neptune appeared before all of us. I spoke to him in a foreign tongue that I wasn’t even aware that I knew, and asked him to save us, and to give us a ship unlike any other, one that can survive any storm that the seas could muster. For this, he demanded full allegiance and penance from not just me, but my entire crew. Together, we agreed to this demand. And when asked what name we wanted for our new ship, I told him “Nautilus”, which appeared to please him.
And then, before our very eyes, Neptune, King of all the Seas, transformed the Rising into the Nautilus, appearing to remove her very soul and replacing it with another more to his liking, with new colors to match. He finished his work by emblazing the ship’s new name upon her hull.
Aboard our new vessel, the seas then filled in around us, and we rose to the surface once again. The night was quiet, with no evidence of the storm that nearly killed us, and a fair wind was blowing out of the south. It was December 31, and I ordered the crew to take us home, with a ship that was now truly ours, with a soul all its own. We made it back to port by that very evening, and I celebrated the New Year with my crew, with renewed vigor and purpose, and ready to take on any challenges thrown my way, under the protection of King Neptune.
So this is my story, as brief as I can make it. I’m a rogue by nature and a pirate by need, but I’m surely a scoundrel by choice, as it is my favorite hobby.
I look forward to the adventure which lies ahead, sailing the open seas with my own ship beneath my feet, partaking of fine drink and women, comfortable in riches, and sharing it all with my superior crew – rogues, through and through.