Join Date: Jan 2007
Name: Isah Lee
A Moon Full of Wine or else, Where it all Began
A Moon Full of Wine or else, Where it All Began
“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.“
-Henry Louis Mencken
In a world as large as Telon an' a continent so prosperous as Thestra be, certainly there be a few o’ those stories so interestin’ and varied as to keep ye and yer seat inseparable and ye ears open fer the duration o’ the tellin’. These sorts o’ stories often be those o’ grave danger, great sacrifice an’ deeds o’ distinction n’ honor. The very hearin' o’ these sorts o’ tales be makin’ a man’s pride swell up and the tears well in ‘is eyes.
This then, decidedly, ain’t one o’ those noble tales o’ valiant heroes risking life n’ limb fer the greater good. What it be, is the story o’ assorted crooks n’ thieves, riskin’ all they e’er had er shall e’er have in the persuit o’ the one true n’ universal motivator: booty. There’s darin’ n’ a fair share o’ valiant behavior ter be had out on the open seas, but `tis little to do with honor, nobility (unless ye count the nobility whose purses are the lighter fer the experience) in the doin’ of it! Mayhaps it be these sorts o’ tales that really be keepin' arses in seats. Sally forth at yer own peril n’ demise!
Any villain will tell you, the greatest day for a crook is the one on which he makes the largest score. That day, and on the days followed it, the Brigands were full of glory over a big swindle gone in their favor. Any self respecting ruffian would likely do the same; swill grog, carouse with the “Beauties of meager repute” in the nearest port town and other such pastimes. However, as life most cruelly instructs, the downfall of scoundrels is often attributable to the need to drink and carouse when they ought to be hiding and evading. Boasting and bragging also fall among the list of vices most commonly associated with the characters of privateers, pirates and other similar crooked livers. The fate of the Brigands followed these lines and to both destruction first, then inspired resurgence later.
The story opens some years ago, on the open sea. Bau Lin, the Captain of one among a small fleet of vessels, sailing briskly, stood, pacing anxiously on his deck, watching the undulation of the water around him. The Brigands had laid waste to the trade lanes on which they then were for years, but there had simply never been the sort of cargo of this size and plenty before. The captain was clearly on edge over the prospects of such excessive profits. New Targanor, the largest Northern Thestrian Metropolis, was making a significant “investment” in the government of Three Rivers Village, a smaller and needier municipality on the continent’s southern tip. Food, drink, clothing, weapons, ammunition, wealthy and prosperous people and money; all to be had and all in one convoy headed south along a familiar and remote trade lane. It was enough to make a Privateer’s mouth water, and salivate they did. The Captain was amazed that the Government would be as bold as to send so important an envoy along a trade lane so famously digested by his band of verminous rascals, even with a military escort.
By any determination, it was an ambitious undertaking, even for rapscallions of the degree and magnitude of the Brigands. To assault a Government convoy with military escort was simply not done. An investigation would follow. There would be pursuers in ever port. Bounties larger than the take of the heist would be placed on the heads of the pirates. All governments of Telon perhaps and Thestra for certain would be on the watch for those who flew the Brigand flag. To a man, every Brigand decided the risks were outweighed by the loot and fame associated with success, even if the price was their lives. A unanimous vote of every incorrigible knave found on the joint vessels of the Brigands was proof positive of this. Not one voice dissented. The Captain had consensus; absolute trust and support of the crew of three vessels. “Thick as thieves” did not come close to describing the resolve of this motley gathering of Brigands.
It was under these conditions and at such a time as the heist was nearby, that the story started above, truly commences…
“Cap’n,” the first mate muttered, approaching with appropriate reservation, “a word?”
“Aye,” quick and terse, that was the old Cap’s method, which is a trait too few superintendents employ in the administration of duties.
“We be so close as we dare,” The Quartermaster paused briefly. “T’night we make our go, less ye gotsa reservation.”
Captain Lin turned his back to his Mate and peered lazily out at the ocean, his hands clasped behind his back. His lips pursed into a light scowl as he nodded slowly and turned at the waist, then at the neck, to his right, feet planted firmly. “T’night it be.”
The officer winked and smiled. “Aye, Aye!” He turned and paced himself back to the bridge. The captain continued his lazy gaze off of the starboard bow, lost in his thoughts for some long time thereafter. The ship was unusually quiet this afternoon. The men were in a determined state of preparation. Cannons and proper ammunition to fire them were being rolled to the port side. Rifles and shot were being stacked behind all port battlements, the shot in neat tin buckets procured specifically for the duty. Scabbards, in twos, were neatly placed, points first, in crossed fashion in the deck all along the port. The placement was as much for intimidation as for utility. A particularly useful Dark Elf was overseeing the placement of shot and rifles, another officer was seeing to the blades. An unusually ugly dwarf insisted on organizing the cannons to port on the mid-deck. He was meticulous in the placements, “No ye gits!” he was overheard shouting, “if ye brace em so snugly there’ll be no rollin’ back n’ the blasted thing’ll shake apart! Leave a gap fer the recoil!” He then went to organizing the boarding party. The first mate oversaw the entire operation. The Captain never so much as turned until the meal whistle sounded and the scuttle behind him distracted his concentration.
“Extra rum rations fer each o’ the crew,” was Bao Lin’s lone command as he entered the galley and took his seat, “sans water, Cook!” Cheers were loud and plentiful.
**This is installment one of a multi-part back history of the Blood Moon Brigands**