Written by Harry McKenzie, copyright 2008; posted with full permissions.
One: Off the Rakoran Coast, Cal 16th, 1329 Avard
The Dread Pirate Anthilles walked along the main deck of his flagship, Serpent's Kiss, examining the flotsam and bodies his crew had laid out. An hour ago, they had come upon wreckage from a battle, curious, he had ordered some of it retrieved for examination. After all, good intelligence about this area was hard to come by in wartime.
A lot of it was the expected debris from a sinking, barrels, crates, gratings, but a few things were unique…such as the massive body of a young hill giant that floated nearby. There were also a large amount of oars and pieces of oars. And one body laid out on his deck was dressed in the ceremonial robes of a Priest of Nabrol. Even though his head had been smashed open like a ripe melon, his robes were quite distinctive.
Putting all the pieces together in his mind, he came to the conclusion that he was looking at the wreckage of a single Nabrolian trireme…a tough customer indeed, whatever had sunk it was undoubtedly a formidable vessel, something he likely did not want to encounter without his entire fleet on hand.
“There is nothing for us here.” He finally said aloud, “Throw this garbage overboard and set course for Terras…we shall see if the pickings are better in that area.”
His crew moved quickly to obey, tossing the flotsam overboard, pausing with the bodies long enough to empty pockets and purses of anything of value. Anthilles returned to the quarterdeck, unconcerned with his crew and their robbing of the dead, the dead cared not, why should he?
He hovered on the quarterdeck for some time, insuring that the course change was made and that nothing was amiss in the normal shipboard routine. He pulled out his telescope and checked the horizon for sails, nothing to be seen. Satisfied that all was in order, he retired to his cabin.
As soon as he entered, he unbuckled his sword belt and placed it into the waiting hands of Dianta, his current consort. She quickly moved over and hung the belt on it's designated hook. Anthilles smiled in satisfaction, the girl had learned quickly to attend to her duties, or face his displeasure. He took a seat at his small desk and pulled out a map and began to examine it carefully.
As far as he could tell, the Nabrolians ranged up and down the western coast of Rakore. Just what exactly they were doing so far from their homeland only mattered as far as they made his area of operation a bit more…challenging. He knew that the Rakorans were too busy dealing with the Ogran invasion, rumor had it that the Kur Maens had invaded as well. That certainly explained their presence on the south coast, and their reduced presence closer to their homeland.
Thus far, he had only taken a few, small ships. It seemed that most of the Rakoran merchant fleet was either elsewhere, which was unlikely, or was holed up waiting for the situation to stabilize somewhat. He drummed his fingers on his desk, he hoped that there would be more to plunder near Terras, if not he would have to move back to more productive waters. Pirates needed plunder to keep their crews happy and non mutinous, if there was no plunder to be found, he would return his fleet to more familiar and profitable waters.
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched as Dianta went about her duties, preparing him a glass of wine. She was nude, save for a leather slave collar around her neck. He kept her unclothed while she was within his cabin so that he could have her whenever the urge struck him, clothing was an unwelcome annoyance for him. The collar reminded her of her status even better than keeping her unclothed. When she wasn't attentive enough, or prompt enough in her duties, she found herself on the receiving end of a lashing from the riding crop he carried. He was quite pleased with her most of the time, after her first lashing, she had bent to her taskings with vigor.
He knew it was merely because she did not want more lashings, but it pleased him nonetheless. He had not found a consort to date who was as quick to please him as she was. He hoped she didn't throw herself overboard as his last one had. It was tiresome to have to keep breaking in new ones.
She placed the wineglass before him and stepped back, keeping her eyes downcast. He seemingly ignored her as he picked up the glass and took a sip. He spent a moment savoring the taste before he spoke, “When you bring my dinner…bring one of the women back…one of the brunettes, I think.”
“Yes Lord Anthilles.” She replied softly.
He suppressed a malicious grin, having her pick out and bring him his evening's torture subject humiliated her further, and drove a wedge between her and the other female captives he had aboard. “You may dress and fetch my dinner now.”
“Yes Lord Anthilles.” She replied. She bowed slightly to him and moved over to the wardrobe that housed her few items of clothing that he allowed her. He watched a bit disinterestedly as she dressed and then left the cabin. Once she was gone, he removed his boots and stretched, he hoped that dinner was reasonably tasty tonight, he was beginning to tire of the fish they had been serving for the last few days…it just didn't seem to give him enough energy to properly enjoy inflicting pain after dinner.
Off the coast near Terras, Cal 18th, 1329 Avard
Anthilles stood on the quarterdeck of the Serpents Kiss, watching as the other three galleons that comprised his fleet broke formation and moved west. The information he had taken from the crew of the brig they had captured earlier this morning was good news indeed, a Sholin floating city. And it was moving into Rakoran waters. A rich prize indeed. Now all he had to do was find it.
Not the easiest task, given the sheer amount of ocean on Galeth. But moving into Rakoran waters…that narrowed it down considerably. Once it was spotted, it would be a simple matter to gather his fleet and attack.
He stroked his chin as he considered the tactics he would employ. Should he find and plunder one of these floating cities, his already formidable reputation would be greatly enhanced. Perhaps enough to consider convening the Brethren's Court, after all, there hadn't been a Pirate King in ages, who better to assume the title than the Pirate Lord who plundered a Sholin city?
He was concerned however, one of the surviving ship's officers had called him 'Captain Seamus'. Anthilles knew his reputation in these waters was not well known, but why would the man think him someone else? How many elven pirates could there possibly be in these waters? He shrugged and dropped the matter, it was likely that the man assumed he was this Captain Seamus simply because he was an Elf, and this Seamus fellow was one as well.