A Tale before the game – Where My tale begins.
The warm salty breeze buffets against my skin like the gentle hand of a lover. I smile into the breeze, my eyes closed, hat in my hand as I lean over the rail, arms hanging loosely over the open sea. I hear the gulls screaming up in the rigging as they inspect my ship, the Starfall.
It’s finally mine. I earned this ship fair and square. This life, this ship, it suits me. I recollect the first time I laid eyes on this ship and learned its name. It was a beauty, owned by a skilled yet terrible Pirate Captain. The name, it rung with me, deep in my bones. I too was a fallen star, the sole survivor of my once noble family, the Seign’s. I hate to say never, but it doesn’t seem likely I’ll ever return to that life again, so I am content to reign over a crew on this ship, making a new family for myself.
At only 170, still young for an Elf, I now Captain this vessel, along with my loyal crew of various races. We make up such a diverse crew. I would like to eventually earn the trust and loyalty of the remaining pirate crew, but these things, they take time. I must keep a careful watch on them. Who knows what tendencies they might have. At least I have my own friends aboard this ship.
I crack my eyes open, spinning around and leaning my back against the rail, looking up at the sails and towers of rigging that make up the Starfall. I scan the ropes for my crew. I spot Sen’s bright red hair fluttering about in the wind from the crows nest. She too likes the wind, more so than me. I prefer the water and the salty breeze on the deck. Sen is a young Elf, only 97. She wears two strings of hair, braided with feathers of a cormorant, black as oil, in the style of our Dwarf companions. All of my loyal crew wear matching hairstyles as such, except for Timin, the Halfling. His hair is yet too short. I tilt my head and spot him dashing along the sail poles, adjusting the rigging in accordance to the wind. He’s like a monkey, jumping from sail to sail, hardly a pause to think. He’s light on his feet and highly dexterous. The others often bug him about growing a mullet so they can braid it for him. I’m sure one of these days he’ll crack.
Below deck, I’m sure I hear the faint shouts of my Quartermaster, Marine as she scolds her husband Gorgon about how spicy the food was at breakfast. They are a brash couple but they work hard and they are great influences on the younger crew members. I know I can trust Marine to keep the crew in check. She’s harsh but fair. Her short Dwarven stature takes nothing away from her authority. Gorgon is much more bubbly and friendly than his wife. His food is something of an adventure of its own out on the open waters we call home, but it reliably fills our guts and keeps up our strength for the perils we sometimes face.
I hear a loud clunk and turn to see the greyish tree like Half-Orc brothers, Bob and Bill. They are an unexpectedly friendly pair of Half-Orcs I met and instantly won them over with my fowl pirates mouth. I watch as they adjust the ropes tying down our cannons, making sure they don’t roll away during a storm. We wouldn’t want to lose a gun or damage the ship if one of those were to come loose. It costs a lot to replace a good gun. Bob and Bill are my fighters, my muscle, and I take them ashore whenever I go out in search of deals for ship equipment and weaponry. They are masters at intimidation and they know their weapons well. With them around, my sketchy competition is less likely to take advantage of a pretty little she-elf. Though, I find it amusing how they underestimate my skill with a blade. I wouldn’t want to find me at the other end of one of my rapiers. I smirk to myself, tilting my head back and letting the wind blow through my hair as it hangs over the rail.
Somewhere down below is my Half-elf friend, Tally. She’s probably in the infirmary, cleaning up her gear and reading up on spells. She’s our Druid healer. It’s surprising how often a crew member can injure themselves in the bad weather and with all the rope handling and cleaning, injuries can be prone to infection without the right treatment. Tally loves helping others. She’s kind-hearted and tender, but bold when she has to be. Refuse a healing from her and you’ll be sorry.
I close my eyes, relishing the heat of the sun on my exposed shoulders. This is the life. My thoughts are interrupted by the soft tapping of boots on the deck as they approach me. I look up, replacing my Captains hat and smiling affectionately. Frenen, our Wizard, and master illusionist walks towards me. His shoulder length dark brown hair blows sideways in the breeze, but my own blue eyes are locked on his bright green ones. Although I’m 170, I still have the reckless tendencies of a young human at times. When Frenen came aboard my vessel looking for work, I found it hard to refuse him, in more ways than one. He is human, of course, which makes him the youngest of my loyal crew, but he is not considered a youth among his people. He wears a scruffy brown beard and lets his hair hang loosely at his shoulders, framing his piercing green eyes in a sea of brown. Despite the heat, he wears his heavy cloak, chock-full of gear and books. He’s always prepared and eager to jump into action. These are some of the reasons why I find it hard to resist his charms. Perhaps it’s just a fling, but it wouldn’t be horrible if I had a half-Elf child. Perhaps Tally would have an apprentice to take over for her.
Frenen steps up to me with a flat smile as he joins me on the railing, looking out over the open sea. His right fist is clenched around a scroll tube, one I don’t recognize. “We’ve got new orders,” he says grimly.
“Why such the long face, hmm? Orders mean work, and work means money. That’s always a plus when you work on the sea,” I grin, watching his face. His expression doesn’t change. “What do they say?” I ask.
He looks at his hand with a frown. “You might want to read it yourself,” he says with caution. I lift my eyebrow curiously. He only suggests I read the orders when there’s some secret to be had and he thinks we can’t trust the old crew of the Starfall. He twists his wrist, proffering the scroll case to me. I take it curiously and pop the cap off, removing the scroll and unrolling it. It’s written in Elvish. I read it over twice, just to be sure.
“I see. Well, this should be interesting. Have we adjusted our course yet?” I ask, seeing as he’s already read it.
Frenen nods. “We can’t refuse,” he says grimly.
“Oh, stop your complaining. It’ll be fun, I’m sure of it. A new adventure just waiting to happen. Let’s just not let on right away that we don’t know the details of this job yet. It’ll have the others unsettled. I need to maintain some sense of order around here, despite the contract,” I smile. Ahh, the contract. That’s what’s got everyone’s knickers in knots. They don’t like that we can be hired off by anyone who pleases a trip across the sea. They’re used to plundering and stealing, wreaking havoc on the waters of Gozerah. But I’ll have none of that now. As Captain, what I say goes, and if I say getting money a more legal way is the way we’ll do things, then that’s how it’s going to be. We are still pirates at heart, all of us, well, except maybe Frenen. Nothing can change that. The water is ours and we’re the best crew out there, even if there are some who would think otherwise.
I roll up the scroll and replace it in the case, straightening my posture and turning to face the sea with Frenen. “If we’ve set the course, we’ll be there in less than two days. Then, it’s a waiting game. We’ll have time to re-stalk the Starfall and maybe join in on a few poker games in the town. I’m sure the rest of the crew will appreciate the ale and music. Until then, two days,” I say mischievously.
“Two days is a long time,” Frenen grumbles. I don’t think he caught my subtle hint.
I turn my face to be sure he sees me as I speak. He looks away from the sea and peers into my eyes. “It is if you’re alone. Do you not like the Sea?” I ask, dangling the hook in front of his face. I give him a wink, hidden beneath my Captains hat and he coughs, hacking over the railing like he’s going to be sick. I stifle a laugh as he regains his composure.
“Two days?!” he asks again, bewildered. I stand up and walk away, heading for my Captains rooms.
“Yup,” is all I say as I walk away. I look up at the crows nest before I enter my rooms. I catch Sen’s eye and she waves eccentrically from the sky. I wave back and slip into my rooms.
I leave the door unlocked for the moment as I step in and let my eyes wander over my possessions. I have various chests and boxes of things from the numerous lands I’ve visited during my time as a pirate. Now that I have my own quarters, I can accumulate more. I check to see everything is in the place that I’ve put it and double check the strong locks I have on my false bottom chest. Once I’m sure nothing has been disturbed, I slip behind my privacy screen to change out of my Captains attire. I hear the door creak open and shut and I hear the key locking it. I smile as I remove my family’s amulet, hanging it on a nail on the folding screen, along with my various other jewelry; including my earrings, bangles and poison signet ring. I reach down, into a chest I keep behind the screen for other smaller possessions like jewelry and hidden weapons, and I lift up a pair of iron manacles with a wide grin.
“Now, normally I don’t deal out punishment for insubordination, but desperate times call for desperate measures, wouldn’t you say?” I speak, stepping out from behind the panels and dangling the manacles from my finger.
Frenen’s jaw drops, frozen for a moment as he takes in the view. This will be an interesting two days indeed.