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Category Archives: Rogue Backstories

TftCN: Lady Mayhem: Mistress of the Hounds

Today we have a special  treat  for you. Here is the story  of  Lady  Mayhem newly  revised for your  enjoyment.

  

 

Lady Mayhem: Mistress of the Hounds

“I was sent on a mission to procure certain official documents for my lord, and I was told the person I should seek was known only as Lady Mayhem. I was sent to the Harbour and told to seek her upon a vessel known as the Raging Saint Mae. When I arrived I was greeted by the Topwatch Kitsune and told the lady in question was a shore on leave this night. I was given directions to a wooded clearing upon the island and as I approached I heard rythmic chanting and the beat of several drums. I could see shadows upon the hillside like those produced by dancers by a large fire, but before I could move any further to get a better veiw of the clearing I was greeted by an arrow a mere handspan from my face and the lyrical voice of the sentry asking me my business. I quickly rummaged through my memory for the correct response which my lord had bade me to speak. “I search for mischief and Mayhem, sirrah” Behind me I heard the low growl of a hound, and saw the shadow of yet another rather large greyhound to my side.

A hooded woman entered into my veiw but all that I could see was her eyes which were the color of the sky. They glowed in the light of the firelight as she approached me carrying a bow. “Show me your gold, sir. I removed a bag of gold from my belt and made as if to approach the lady. But the greyhound was in front of me taking the bag from my hand and the other circled as if looking for a reason to attack. I know of your business sir, and this may take a few moments, please come into the clearing whist I take care of this. As I entered the clearing I saw several people dancing with wild abandon to the chants and the beat of the drums. The Rum and Mead flowed freely and as I waited I found that I could not resist the urge to join in. It was if I was compelled and could not say no. I have no memory of the events that followed the next thing I knew I awoke with two gold coins placed upon my eyes and a document in a scroll case placed upon my chest. There was no sign of people or even evidence of the revelry from the night before and if not for the document which I now held and my missing coin purse I would believe that I had dreamed it all. I stood to find that I had removed all my clothing and left them strewn from several trees, and yet I felt more alive that day than I had in many a year.” 

Henry Butler former manservant of Lord Blackwater

Year of the Summer Storms

Excerpt from The Tavern of the Lost Souls, Tales of the Lost

Lady Mayhem was always the child of two worlds. Daughter of a Viking warlord, and her mother a lady in waiting upon the english court, she always had one foot on sea and the other firmly  planted on land. At home in both, when she came of age she left home in search of fortune and adventure and found both in a group known as the Rogues.

For many a year the sea was her home, and she served proudly aboard a ship known as the Raging Saint Mae. There she found adventure and camaraderie but as the years passed  she found that she longed for her other love more and more. Over the years she purchased an estate on the  Eilean er Coayl Grayse, and there she would spend her shore leave. But in the Year of the Broken Mast, she decided to take a position as Certified Intoxicologist (Brewmeister) to “The House” and put down some roots for awhile. And now new adventures await,  but there will be plenty of time for those tales…

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Rogue Backstories

 

TftCN – Daphne Tart N Sweet: First Mate of the Nautilus

Today on Tales from the Crow’s Nest it is my pleasure to present to you the story of Daphne Tart N Sweet, First Mate of The Nautilus.

Daphne is a multi talented  member of The Colorado Rogues. First Mate of the Nautilus, she has won over many a sailor with her winning smile, and quick wit. Please enjoy the story of :

 

Daphne Tart N Sweet: First Mate of the Nautilus

Photo By: Chris Gilstrap

I am Daphne TartNSweet. I was born in County Cork, Ireland, the daughter of modest but loving parents. My da was fond o’ music and drink, and not necessarily in that order. My mam met him in the county hall where they was having a rousing session, and fell in love with his playing as much as his face. They were young and foolish, and married soon. Some would say t’was suspect the speed with which I appeared and made whispers behind their hands.

Their marriage was like a piecrust; easily made, and easily broken. After concocting stories of my da’s untimely demise, my mam found herself in want of work and struck out to the fields, leaving me in the care of a strange old woman, who looked different and spoke with the tongue of a foreigner. My nan, (who I later learned was from Spain) told me exciting tales of oversea journeys and lands far away, instilling in me a great desire to see more of the world than my green isle and stony fielded future. I spent the first 5 years of my life happy at the hearth.

By a stroke of fate, my mam was promoted to be the housemistress of our towns only well-off family, and there met the Steward, whose heart she captured easily with her fair face, able mind and sharp wit. Over the next few years, they courted and married. My life would ne’er be the same. From famine to feast overnight. We moved into a large respectable home on the outskirts of town and settled into our new life.

As the years passed, it became apparent that me and my mam’s husband were bound to interact as oil and water, with the mix getting slicker the taller I got. By the summer of my fourteenth year, interactions between me and him and were taut to the breaking point. One evening after we had traded blows verbal and physical, I overheard the folks speaking of sending me off to convent, so I ran away.

I was blessed with my real da’s voice and penchant for music, so I busked my way to Dublin. Over the next 10 years, I discovered that his love for music wasn’t the only thing I inherited, and danced with the Mistress O’ Whiskey until I found myself on the doorstep of the bowery brothel. That time was hard and the lessons were a bitter, but necessary tincture. I was one of the ‘parlour girls’ who brought men in with a flash of smile, a flash of knickers, and a promise. I knew it was only a matter of time before I was ‘promoted’ to a chamber girl, where that promise was fulfilled if the caller had the bankers blessing. I promised myself that I would not go down that path.

I began singing in the parlour to entertain the clientele and was noticed by the Osteler, a man that upon first meeting I found to be unbearably cocksure, but with time, I softened my gaze. He vowed to lift me from the quagmire and turn my life around. Being naïve, I agreed to marry, but soon found that his idea of a better life was a far cry from my own. In a heated argument late one night, he advanced on me with fists raised in fury, and I slew him. I buried him in the garden under the moonlight and covered his absence with the tale of a pregnant mistress in Munster. It wasn’t till after his terrible ‘accident’ that I’d found he’d left me with child.

I headed for the docks, where I stowed aboard The Goode Ship Mourning Glory , and hid my femaleness under rough breechcloth and short hair until my burgeoning belly made trickery nigh impossible. I was discovered by Captain DeVallier and his wife Jeanette. They were kind folk who took a shine to me and through their tutelage, I learned to crew, fight, and sail, courting the harsh mistress o’ the sea and seeing faraway lands and peoples until the call of The Celt thundered above the beckon of her salty voice. So I left the land of Dragonspine and returned to Dublin once again with Ayslynn the Dreamer, the child I had borne whilst aboard.

Shortly thereafter, I met a man named Bardkin in a pub where I was working. We drank the evening away and traded songs and stories. Now I’ve been told I have a large voice for such a small mouth, and ne’er thought I’d meet one who was louder than me, but Bardkin could give me a run for my ploughman’s notes. You’d a thought we were reuniting and not just meeting fer the first time, but sometimes folk are like that. You just know you’ve known them before, and you welcome them with open arms.

We decided to throw our lot in together and formed a band, taking the name of his old act, The River Wynde. We performed throughout the countryside for two years, earning a modest income, drinking some fine mead and making good music. After a while we realized that as a band, we were missing something, and put the call to the universe to aid us in filling this need. We chanced to hear of a couple who had retired from the gypsy road. Strings and Sasha. As luck would have it, they were in search of a band to join, and so we decided to meet. We played reels, ballads and whirling jigs. It was magical, that first time we four made music.

During this time, I met one of Bardkin’s dear friends, a striking woman by the name of Traveler Hawk. Behind the fence of a traveling fair, Miss Hawk and I would steal behind the scenes and sing together, culminating in me inviting her to perform onstage with us. She was powerful shy at first, but you just knew there was something brilliant inside her waiting to be set free. I hear tales of Captain Hawk starting a band of her own and pleasing the masses with her enchanting melodies, and it makes my heart smile.

After a few years more playing the local taverns and faires, I got to be fast friends with a rowdy group of pubcrawlers and discovered that they were pirates who had vowed to drink all the gold they had hoarded, and so took up residence at The Pirates Pub! Captain Full Moon of the Rising, loved the music we made so much, he invited me onboard as his bard. At that time I’d found I was once again blessed with child, and being that my own family had turned their backs on me, I readily accepted, and I met her crew. Among them were Sachiko, her First Mate, Merlot, her scribe and Boutz, an able crew member. I discovered that there were ships of this fleet that were on the ocean, that my dear ‘mate Bardkin was a crewmember of one vessel called the Raging St. Mae and that my other dear friend Traveler was her Captain! It seems I was destined to be involved with this group. The Captain’s and crews, my new brothers and sisters, supported me through a long and trying pregnancy that year. And that fall we all welcomed Ava. Captain Moon christened her Blue Moon, saying babies that sweet only come along once in a blue moon. He also welcomed Ayslynn with open arms and dubbed her New Moon, for she holds the moon in her hand, even when it isn’t visible to the naked eye.

After a time, I heard tales in the pub of a ship that had been in a terrific battle, and in the course of her sinking, the souls of her crew brought the Japanese ship that had defeated it back to port, whereupon Captain Moon gifted her to his First Mate, and made Sachiko Zetsumei her Captain. It was a proud and wonderful day when Captain Moon introduced Captain Zetsumei and her fine vessel, The Koumori. Three cheers for the Purple and Black.

Captain Zetsumei, accounting for how deftly I handled drunken patrons at the pub, knowing of my years sailing, my thirst for adventure, and the secret I had confided to her, made me her Quartermaster. I loved my new crew and my home vessel. We had many adventures, our first year was truly a thing of beauty to behold. The winds were steady, the chop was calm, and stars were out. Now I was the one who cracked the whip.

I sailed with The Koumori as her Quartermaster for a year and three-quarter, until my first Captain, Captain Moon sent an urgent message that stated he needed me back aboard the Rising. I had given my oath when I departed that all he need do was beckon and I would answer his call, and true to my word, I returned to the crew I began with on the Rising and took my place as her Coxun where I remained for three fortnights before being promoted to Bosun.

After a time on board as Bosun, Captain Moon made the decision to retire, whereupon his First Mate was voted by the crew of the Rising into her new Captain. When Lorrance Ohm was promoted, he gave me the honour and privilege of making me his First Mate. We sailed with pride, integrity and a lust for fun and adventure.

Our first year was trying and more difficult than any of us could have imagined. I grew increasingly worried over my Captain’s health and waning energy when he announced that he was taking a sabbatical and seeking a skilled surgeon to remedy his ailing health. He took his leave and made me her acting-Captain until he had healed, and also ordered me to have the ship completely refit and made sea-worthy once again, for after over a decade of languishing in port, she was in dire need of a carpenter’s kiss. Upon his return, we were to set sail. He mended quickly and returned sooner than expected to a beautifully redone ship and an eager crew.

We weighed anchor on the morning of December 29th and left the Harbour on a calm sea. I was excited and giddy to be out on the open waters once again. We sailed joyously for a few brilliant hours, our hearts light and our heads buzzing with the thought of holds to plunder and coffers to refill, until we came headlong into a terrible storm. Though I will admit I try not to be as superstitious as many on the ocean, it seemed that our ship, our livelihood and sanctuary on the waves, was not responding as she should have. I pride myself on being more empathetic than your average cutthroat, and I swear the hesitancy was coming from The Rising herself.

I placed my hands on her trusted wooden wheel and was jolted with the vision of the night sky with a thousand winking stars dotting the inky stillness. Hanging in the distance in the center of it all was a clear and bright full moon. The vision continued and though my eyes were open on deck, all I could see was the calm and gentle night-scape. The sounds of tense hollers from the crew, howling wind and whipping sheets were replaced by a gentle keening wail, a sound full of piteous despair and longing. As quickly as it had begun, the vision ended, leaving me a bit dizzy and struggling for footing on this plane. I shook of the effects of the trance and went to find my Captain.

We gathered all the other officers and went to Ohm’s quarters, where I relayed my strange vision and we parsed out what it meant. The ship we were upon was still connected to her former Captain and her melancholy was the reason we were battling not only the storm, but the vessel herself. Without the efforts of our ship behind us, we were doomed to The Locker and we all knew it.

Captain Ohm crossed the cozy but finely appointed room, his boot heels clicking on the well-made planks muffling only as he crossed the lush throw rug in front of the heavily decorated trunk that held his personal possessions. Withdrawing a well-loved weather beaten tome, he turned to us and bid each of us present to open our hearts and minds. He reasoned that because love and all of its aspects, positive and negative, were what had us in our quandary, that logically, love and its wild and magical properties would be our only saving grace.

We performed a ritual to request an audience with the Ruler of The Sea. We were found worthy and granted reprieve from the pounding surf and shrieking winds of watery dissent. We emerged stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever before.

All my life I have been given great opportunities to grow and challenge myself. To choose strength, integrity and love when other seemingly easier options presented themselves. Now I know, without doubt, I am nestled safe in the bosom of perfection. I am a humble student of the multi-verse. I am The Naultilus.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Rogue Backstories

 

TftCN – Captain David Morgan: The Other Captain Morgan

Today on Tales from the Crow’s Nest it is my pleasure to present to you the story of The Other Captain Morgan , Captain of The Crimson Storm.

Known for his kind heart and prowess in fighting Captain Morgan has been a member of The Colorado Rogues for many  a year. Below is the tale of his youth. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Captain David Morgan: The Other Captain Morgan

David Morgan was the youngest son of Robert Morgan. Robert Morgan was a squire of Llanrhymny in Glamorgan, Wales. He and his wife had four sons, Henry, Charles, Samuel, and David. In David’s ninth year he accompanied his father on a voyage to England. On the return trip home the ship they were traveling on, The Circe, was attacked by pirates. During the battle David was sent below decks to hide, however he never made it back to his cabin. As he was ready to go below decks he turned to see his father fall beneath the sword of one of the pirate invaders. He ran back to avenge his father picking up a sword from one of the fallen men along the way. However his gaze was so intent on making his way to his father side that he neglected to watch his back. He never saw the man behind him who cold cocked him and dragged him away. A fierce battle ensued and many losses were suffered by all people aboard. In the end the pirates set The Circe aflame, as they left. Robert Morgan was dragged to one of the row boats and when he regained consciousness it was to see the ship aflame and no David among the survivors. His son was presumed dead among the wreckage.

When David revived to find himself in the hold of the Pirate ship, his first thought was the memory of his father whom he failed to avenge. How could he ever face his family, his Mother and his brothers with news of his Fathers death and his failure? At that moment he wished that he had died along side the crew of the Circe. He had no way of knowing that the wounds his father sustained were not mortal injuries. When the Captain came to the hold to gather information on their prisoners he told them only that his name was David and that he was an orphan. During the battle several of the pirates had been injured including the ship’s cook, who demanded some help in the galley. The Captain selected David due to the fact that his wounds were superficial, and he would be of little use as a hostage, until they could recoup their losses at the slave auction. He was found to be a good assistant. The cook convinced the Captain to keep the young lad on for awhile until his usefulness wore out.

During this time David had become acquainted with the basic chores of ship life, in addition to his kitchen duties. After about 11 months back at sea the ship was involved in a horrific battle in which both ships were destroyed. David had now taken to spending a bit of time each day in the crows nest covering for the lookout, who, would sleep most of the afternoon if allowed. When the battle began David was still in the crows nest when he heard a loud crack as the mast was hit by a cannonball. As he plunged into the ocean depths the last thing he remembered was a thunderous explosion of the powder kegs as they caught fire, and the brilliant hue of the evening sky which appeared to be aflame even through the filter of the ocean water which enveloped him. When he awoke he found himself adrift on a piece of railing from the ship. There was ultimate carnage all around him and as he struggled to find a better makeshift life raft. As he paddled among the debris he spotted another small form struggling in the water. He arrived just as it began to slip beneath the water for a second time. David was able to reach the small form before it went under the water again and pull it up onto his piece of wood. It wasn’t until he had the form on the raft that he realized it was a girl.

When the girl finally awoke David was glad to have some company. David and the small girl named Missy began trying to collect supplies form the pieces left of both ships. They lucked out and found several water barrels that were still full of water and others that were full of rum. They lashed these to the raft and continued to gather anything of use and then tried to figure out what they were going to do to find land. They floated for two more days before they saw anything else on the horizon. On the sunrise of the third day they watched as a shape crested on the horizon, it seemed to take forever to come close to them. It was a ship from the Far East known as The Shadow Dragon.

The captain had seen the smoke caused by the battle had come to render aid in the battle or to search for survivors. As they approached the grisly scene the Captain Li was very surprised to find the two children alive and well on their well stocked raft. Both children were rescued from the waters and taken aboard. The Captain soon developed a strong fondness for both of the children as they filled a spot in his heart that had been hollow since the death of his own family. The captain raised the two children as if they were his own, he taught them to be good sailors and good people but also he taught them the ways of the Far East and their ways of Fighting. Both children grew into confident leaders, and strong fighters. After several years there was a battle with a pirate ship off the coast of Africa. The Sea wolf, Captained by Charles Grey, who was well known to be a ruthless pirate and slave trader, was encountered on one of the Shadow Dragons many voyages. The encounter turned out to be a terrible encounter for Captain Charles Grey in fact. David having grown to manhood was eager to prove his skills and as the battle began David decided he would be the one to challenge Captain Charles Grey. So it was David who slew the Captain and took the Sea Wolf as his own ship. The Captain of the Shadow Dragon agreed it was time for David to have command of the ship he had won and what was left of her crew.

 What crew that was left of the Sea Wolf, were all given the option to sail under the new captain or be set upon an island, most chose to stay aboard as they felt no one could be as bad as Charles Grey had been. The ship was re-christened The Wolfsbane to commemorate the defeat of such a vile pirate. The Wolfsbane set off on its own, separating David and Missy for the first time in over ten years. Among the remaining members of the crew, was Charles Grey’s mistress, Scarlett. She stayed on vowing to be the best crew member Captain D. Morgan could ever hope to have. While also thinking that in time she would be able to wrest control of the ship from Captain Morgan, as she was the only rightful captain for this ship. Scarlett provided much excitement on board ship in her attempts to turn the crew against Captain Morgan. In a final power play, she tried to incite a mutiny and was given her choice of walking the plank or being cast adrift in a row boat for her treachery. Captain Morgan was loathe to commit cruelty to a woman even one who would act in the way she did, which is the only reason why she was even given the option of a row boat. She opted to be cast adrift. There were a few members of the crew who also wished to leave and they were set upon a deserted Isle. Shortly afterward The Wolfsbane set sail for Eilean er Coayl Grayse , or The Isle of Lost Grace. Originally there only to take on supplies and make repairs after the battle, when he made port he found several comrades among the Captains of other ships which had also found their way to the isle. They decided to band together and form a fleet of sorts run under the command of a pirate named Captain Amon of the Sungod. He became their Commodore.

After a few years David was reunited with his brother Henry who was all to happy to find him alive and well. But during his time away he found that his Mother had fallen ill and died and his Father had remarried and started a new family. He made the decision that for the time being it was best that the rest of the family still believed him dead. He returned to the sea which was now more home to David than land and his crew more family to him than his blood. One evening in a pub Captain Morgan came across someone who was very familiar to him, it was his childhood friend Missy now known as Mistress Blade. They reminisced for hours and in time he convinced her to leave her current post aboard The Rising and join him as his first mate. His crew was battle hardened and feared across the seven seas. They supplemented their voyages with cargos of rum delivered to the islands. Captain Morgan found love with his Navigator Stargazer, and family with his crew.

 But the story doesn’t end there,   just this part of the tale.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Rogue Backstories

 

TftCN – Captain Ohm the Dread Rogue Lorrance

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

Chapter 1

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.

Chapter 2

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.

Chapter 3

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.

Chapter 4

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.

Epilogue

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.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Rogue Backstories