Book II: Rise of the Pirate King

Prologue

Prologue

Prologue

Behold the vast, infinite blue! The sea is silent this day, only the sounds of the wind and the waves are audible. Its absolute peace is disturbed only by a great, grey cloud that sits heavily upon the water. As you approach, a strange acrid smell odor assaults your nostrils; the smell of smoke. As you slowly make your way into the cloud of smoke your ears take in the sounds of yelling, of clashing steel, and of those dying in agony. Before your eyes sits two ships of wood and tar, their sails billowing in the breeze.

The first is a small cog; it is crawling with dozens of humanoid figures. Most of them are the dark-skinned citizens of the Empire of the Crescent Moon, a fact only enforced by the flag flying a crescent shape flapping at the top of the mast. Beside it, sits a dark giant, smoke rising from several small openings in its great side, revealing that its cannons have been recently fired. It has three great masts, atop the tallest flutters, the mark of the Blue Cloak Pirates. The name on the side of the ship read El Rey del Azul, the King of the Blue.

One by one, the dark-skinned Crescents are killed. There are only about twenty of them aboard the ship, and they are quickly overwhelmed by the lighter skinned pirates. As the last Crescent falls to the deck dead, a cry of celebration reverberates through both ships. The captain of the pirates walks up to the railing of his ship. He is a giant of a man, his facial features (what few that are revealed) along with his tanned skin reveals him to be a Castillian. He wears a great blue cloak that flows all the way down to his boots, the collar set high and starched to hide the sides of his head. Over his nose and mouth he wears a scarf of purple, its effect, to hide any sign of emotion. All topped with a black tri-corn hat, the overall effect to create the image of a great blue shadow, still at one moment, and quick to explode into action.
He leaps over to the Crescent ship. Upon landing, he crouches for a few moments, quickly looking around to make sure all of the Crescents are dead. When all meets with his satisfaction, he quickly gives the orders to begin looting the ship. Behind him comes a young man, closer to being a boy than being an adult man. His olive complexion gives away his Vodacce heritage. The giant blue-cloaked man turns to him and in an accented Avalon says, “Vigo, head to the Captain’s Quarters and take any maps and charts you can find. Also, I want the captain’s log. I want to know every place this ship has been.” Vigo quickly nods and heads for the ship’s aft. Looking up, the giant shouts, “Alright you scabrous dogs! Hurry up with the loot! As soon as she’s clean, leave a keg of powder with a long fuse, we’re sending her into the deep!”

A few minutes later, Vigo returns, several rolled up pieces of parchment, and small book. “This is all of it Blue Cloak.” Blue Cloak merely shrugs, indicating that Vigo return to their ship. Blue Cloak turns and heads back to his ship, but before he leaps over, he catches some movement out of the corner of his right eye. He turns to take in the sight of a pale white man, with eyes of blue and long red hair. Though shorter than Blue Cloak by only a few inches, his body bulges with well-toned muscle. His clothing, mostly furs and leather, marks him as a member of the Vestenmannavnjar, or more commonly known as the Vesten, the brutal barbarians of the Trade Sea. He picks up the body of a Crescent, rifles through the pockets, then rips the weapons belt from it, and tosses the body into the sea. Quickly inspecting the weapons, he snorts in annoyance. “Bah! Nothing even worth throwing lots over.” He says in a thickly accented Avalon.

Blue Cloak seems to smile under his scarf and chuckles. “As if you need any more weapons Amero.” Referring to the fact that Amero is a member of the warrior class known as Bearsarkers or Berserkers. In battle, Amero can quickly put himself into a bloody thirsty rage, and cut swaths through entire regiments of enemies. Amero merely grins at the comment then returns to searching the bodies. Blue Cloak leaps onto his ship.

Another Castillian of slight build approaches him. He wears bright red robes, and completely looks out of place aboard the ship. His black hair is streaked with red. “Anything magical aboard?” He asks in their native Castillian.

“How the hell should I know?”

“Come now, Blue Cloak. You are like me, an El Fuego Adentro. You should be able to sense it as easily as I.” He clicks his tongue like a disappointed teacher.

Blue Cloak glares at the Castillian, his orange eyes locking with him. “Nothing but some enchanted weapons, Carlito.” Carlito de Juan, an El Fuego Adentro mage, manipulator of the element of fire. In the last six months, since learning of Blue Cloak’s abilities, he had tried hard to teach the pirate. But Blue Cloak, like most men of the Vaticine religion, was bothered by sorcery. The fact that it now flowed in his own veins, only further vexed him. Six months ago, Blue Cloak had lain upon the floor of the Duahmel estate, dead. They had all been helping their friend, Periwinkle von Fontlebottom, a nobleman from Avalon, who had travelled to Montaigne, to claim his ancient birthright, the Duahmel estate. Through several misadventures, they had learned of a plot that would’ve ended in Periwinkle’s, or as he was better known, Peri’s death. When they discovered who the mastermind was behind the plot, they raced to the estate, only to be met by a regiment of Eisen mercenaries. While Peri and Carlito went after the mastermind, Tartuffe; Blue Cloak, along with Vigo and Amero had fought against the mercenaries. But a lucky shot by one of the mercenaries had ended up killing Blue Cloak.

Later, when Tartuffe had been slain, Peri and Carlito had returned to the estate’s great hall. Even with Blue Cloak dead, Amero, Vigo, and the Duahmel house guard had defeated the Eisens. They mourned the loss of a good friend, and brave warrior, and decided to deal quickly with the bodies. And so, only an hour later, the corpses of the slain dragged out into the front yard of the estate, they built a great pyre and began to burn the bodies. They finally arrived at Blue Cloak’s body and placed it atop the already burning pyre with as much reverence as their exhausted bodies could muster. They sat in silence, each remembering in their own way the Castillian pirate. Suddenly, they heard a great “whoosh” and Blue Cloak’s body no longer lay upon the pyre. It stood, the flames licking at him, but not burning. Even his great blue cloak and tri-corn hat seemed impervious to the flame’s touch. The bright orange flames could not hide his now glowing red eyes. He stepped down from the pyre, his body smoking, but his flesh untouched. He stared at his arms and hands for several minutes, searching for any damage. Even the wounds caused by the Eisen mercenaries’ giant zweihanders had closed completely, leaving no scars or marks. It was Carlito who was first to recognize what had happened. Somewhere in Blue Cloak’s bloodline, one of his ancestors had made a pact with the Bargainers. This pact had created the El Fuego Adentro bloodline, as well as every other sorcerous bloodline now inhabiting Théah today. Thankfully, Blue Cloak had not needed to dwell upon it, as thanks to Vigo, he had other things to concentrate on. Tartuffe had not worked alone, and his plots had included the aid of Ezekiel Blight, Blue Cloak’s former captain.

All these events had led to the founding of the Blue Cloak Pirates. Though it wasn’t an official name for their group, it was what they all called themselves, in an attempt to compare themselves to the other famous pirate nations, such as The Sea Dogs and Crimson Rogers. But now, even six months after discovering his hidden powers, Blue Cloak never practiced his magic. It was a part of him that was anathema, forbidden. But when angry, it seemed to come to him naturally, several times, he had nearly burned his ship to the timbers by losing his temper. Though there was a danger, it had never caused many problems, other than panic, but with Carlito onboard, he could quickly use his own powers to extinguish the flames. Blue Cloak’s temper had come in handy on several occasions, when they had been outgunned and outmanned, his temper had saved a dire situation, going so far as to destroy a ship by focusing his power on an enemy’s powder room.

Blue Cloak gave Carlito one final withering stare, before finally turning and heading towards the ship’s helm. That was Blue Cloak for you, whenever he was confronted with a personal problem; he was more likely to hide behind his own self-created enigma, than discuss it with others. Finally, after all the valuable loot had been removed from the Crescent ship, and all of the pirates back aboard the El Rey, they sailed away, leaving only the abandoned ship. When they were roughly half-a-knot away, the Crescent ship exploded from the primed powder keg that had been left in her powder room. The concussion wave from the explosion was enough to fill the sails and help propel the ship onwards to their destination of Kroner’s Folly.

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