The Seas of Blood - The Price of Fame (Chapter One)





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    The Seas of Blood - The Price of Fame (Chapter One)

    The Seas of Blood - Chapter One

    The Price of Fame


    Tavernport, located approximately one hundred kilometers south of Tersenne in what was once the great Kingdom of Verentis. The history of this port town was directly linked to the fall of the kingdom, for after King Leopold the Eight died at the hands of the great drake Pyrothraxus, the kingdom fell into petty bickering.

    Whilst the great heroes of the land ran to combat the dragon in his lair, the nobles fought petty wars of succession. At the same time as the heroes died, so did the innocence of the land. Now little more than city-states and tiny baronies or self-proclaimed Kingdoms remain, and Tavernport prospered.

    With the breakdown of law, lawlessness prevailed. Pirates flourished off the lack of a lawful force on the ocean to stop them from plundering the Tirian Coast. Some groups, like the Crimson Waves, made a great fortune in hiring mercenaries to defend merchant vessels against pirates, though they themselves were little more than hired killers.

    But of all the pirates that sailed the waters, only two could be called legendary...

    The Moon Goddess had been in port long enough to spend her ill-gotten booty on supplies, wenching, drinks, and gambling. The great three-story ediface of the Dyke and Wheelbarrow looked over the bay at the lights of the ships in port, and if anyone was sober enough to take notice, Captain Swoop's grin was worse than a cat's.

    The rest of his crew were milling about the various levels of the tavern on their own missions, enjoying what life had to offer those with enough stolen money to spend. They all knew that Swoops was smart enough to look after himself, and if there was any trouble than they'd all be ready to stand for him...staggering or no...

    Swoops pointed at a light on the horizon. "You sure?"

    Rameses dropped the spyglass for the third time. "Yes Cap'n, it's them."

    Swoops smile could've split his face in half. "Tell the others...Captain Theodore Fontane and the Silver Sovereign is coming into port."

    For years the two had been legends in the area, the two greatest pirates in the world most people whispered. Each had managed to make a small fortune across the Kingdom, and though they had seen each other in the waters many times before, both had respected the reputation of the other to avoid conflict...such things were, messy.

    Within the hour the crew of the Silver Sovereign stumbled into the tavern with golden crowns to waste, immediately plunging into games of chance, mugs of ale, and the breasts of the ladies willing to releave them of their fortune.

    Captain Theodore "Seadog" Fontane swaggered into the Wheelbarrow with his first mate at his side, a strange little midget halfling that barely stood over a foot and a half tall (no-one had ever heard him speak, but he whispered in Seadog's ears contantly). He saw Swoops, and the two's eyes drifted to a table nearby that quilckly emptied.

    There was something in the air that night. The owners of the bar thought that it would be the end for the town should a fight break out between the two of them here, but neither was interested in hostilities...

    ...there was money to be made, or lost, on this night...

    Last edited by Phoenix; Thursday, 28th July, 2005 at 05:14 PM.
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    Jonathon walks over to the table, calling out to the other Captain "I was beginging to think you weren't going to show up Captain Fontane. However, I am glad you were able to make it." He offers the other Captain his hand in greetings. "There's no thrill in beating an opponent that fails to show."

    Swoops sits down and kicks his feat up on the table, as confident grin residing on his face.

  • #3
    Ramses sat at the table next to his captain. His face a mask of indifference but his heart beat like the sea during a storm. "What's the Cap'n got up his sleeve? I don't like the idea of meeting Captain "Fortune" Fontane anywhere but at the end of an arrow. Swoops might be a man of honor but the Captain of the Silver Sovereign was more pirate than privateer." He thought to himself. The others on the Moon Goddess might not know the difference but Ramses did. His mother raised him right.

    He looked up to see Squeeks in his position in the rafters above the Captain just in case he needed to distract the enemy and could feel Siren outside eating some fresh clams she had caught.
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    The crew of the Silver Sovereign dispurse into the crowd at the Dyke and Wheelbarrow, seeking their counterparts upon the Moon Goddess. This meeting had been whispered as only a rumour for months, like a legend about to happen in people's lifetimes.

    Captain Fontane, the 'Seadog', sat to rest his old bones at the table with Swoops, looking at his feet with indignity. Raising is walking cane up to table-level, he slowly pushes Swoops feet from the table, mumbling through his long white beard: "You know, young people like you should know not to put your feet where your food rests."

    The old Seadog sighs and his first mate, the small halfling whose name was later to be learnt as Rennie, tugs at his pants leg and passes the old Captain a small pouch. Fontane gently pulls the pouch up towards the table and the sound of clinking money can be heard inside, a noise that is well known in these circles.

    "I have a proposition for you boy, and I would think that you would have at least the common curtosy to listen to an old man and take it a little seriously." Fontane spills the pouch out onto the table and several dozen golden half-crowns* slide into the centre.

    "It seems that you and I have both seen much of this in our time, though most of it has come and gone in taverns like this or shipyards along the coast. But with all the pirates in the waters these days, it just seems like there is less and less to go around, that we have to work harder to earn our keep."

    "I'm old Swoops, though don't confuse age with weakness. I think that it is nearly time for me to retire, leaving you as the only 'Living Legend' on the waters, but I have no problem with that, they have been my home for too long."

    "But it seems that in the thirty years that I've been Captain of the Silver Sovereign I have little to show for it. Sure, I could sell her and retire comfortably somewhere, but I'm not interested in comfortable. I want to live in rampant luxury."

    "That's why I called you here Swoops, we both have something that the other wants. You want me out of the waters, I want your money. But I don't just want your money, I want everyone's money, I want to wile my days away with no thought of coin whatsoever."

    "So I propose this, a Test of Captains if you would. In three months time, ninety days from now, we will meet in the Haven's Den with our respective ships. The Captain that possesses the most coin at that time will win not only the other Captain's ship, but his fortune as well."

    "The loser and his crew will be left at Haven's Den with enough food and water to survive until the next ship arrives. What say you Swoops?"

    Spoiler:
    *During the height of the Kingdom of Verentis many money-lenders and merchants found a lack of currency type of certain trading deals. There were just too many instances where a silver noble was too little and a golden crown was too much, and so the Kingdom began to mint half-crowns to suit the need of a certain merchant caste.
    Last edited by Phoenix; Thursday, 28th July, 2005 at 05:41 PM.
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    Blue-Note Bart, sitting at a table in the corner spinnin' a tale of a fabulous Veretian gold-ship that sunk somewhere along the Tirian Coast, having wrangled in a few young bloods to listen to his story.

    When the bar goes semi-quiet at the entrance of Captain Fontane, even Bart quiets down for a moment out of respect for the old pirate. He gives Fontane a head nod, as does Captain Smith, and then picks up his story where he left off once the bar goes back to a nervous level of conversation.

    Captain Smith keeps a close eye and ear to the conversation between the two captains, however.
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    Lukda, her blond hair elaborately curled and her cheeks heavily rouged in an (unsuccessful, largely) attempt to improve the greyish tone of her skin, nudges Phineus.

    "Will there be more rules?" she whispers. "So many ways to cheat!"

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    "It sounds like quite an interesting challenge, though it'd pain me take an old man's retirement away from him." Captain Swoops replies, meeting the older captain's gaze. "Did you have any special terms in mind? Any general terms? Anything off limits?"

    Jonathon listens to the murmers of the rest of his crew as he banters with the Captain Fontane. The ship was a big risk for himself and the crew, and he wouldn't want to turn his back on the Goddess's favor.

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    Fontane smiles broadly a leans forward in his seat to whisper across at Swoops and wink. "That's the beauty of the game, the rules are so simple that even an old man like meself can play."

    Leaning back in his chair once more, Fontane takes a heavy mug of ale from one of his crew and sips from it gently, his eyes burning with a cunning excitement that he cannot possibly hide.

    "At the end of the ninety days, the ships meet at Haven's Den. Only the gold and treasures onboard at that time count towards the total. The only valuables that count towards the total are coin, jewelry and gemstones. Easy?"

    "I expect though that overly aggressive actions between our ships is against the game though, we are gentlemen after all."


    At the snap of his fingers, one of Fontane's men drops a map of the Tirian Coast upon the table between the two Captains. Quickly it is weighed at each corner by a tankard, allowing the two Captains to see every inch of it clearly.

    "If you accept, which if I know you Swoops, you will. All that is left is to pick our destinations, North or South, since there be no point in going the same way. What say you?"
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    a'Shelys tosses the dice onto the table absentmindedly, his keen eyes are slightly glazed as he listens to the conversation between Swoops and Fontane.

    "Lad... Lad! Ye've won the throw, pick up yer coins." His new dwarven friend says from across the table; he'd bought the dwarf, Thargond his name was, maybe, a drink earlier and ever since the dwarf's been hailing his high praises and invited a'Shelys into a game of dice with his mates.

    "Oh, right..." He snaps out of his glazed look, although still concentrating more on the pair of Captains than on raking in the feeble winnings at the table, he antes up again and continues listening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix
    "I expect though that overly aggressive actions between our ships is against the game though, we are gentlemen after all."
    Lukda shakes her head slightly at that.

    "I'm headed back to the ship," she tells Phineus, "to watch out for sabotage. I think to trust in the honour of a pirate, gentleman or not, is the height of foolishhardiness."

    Though her lemon satin gown would suit 'swishing' far better, Lukda's exit from the Dyke and Wheelbarrow could only be described as 'striding'.

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