In the Year 3840 of the First Age, some nine hundred and eighty thousand people lived in what would come to be known as the Allied Kingdoms on the world of Fesiun. The cities of Acralis, Doronede, and Coersipde were in complete chaos as they suffered fromt the dual plagues of having no organized government and famine as farmers abandoned their fields amidst the swirling anarchy that gripped the remains of the Serphep Empire.
Recently the armies of Tugin Re Iodes and one of his rivals had engaged in a bloody battle of epic proportion in the hills west of Acralis; the southern leader had attempted to have his new tactician direct the battle to disastrous results. The two armies had met in an open, flat valley in the rolling hill country; the new tactician, young and green and facing his first true battle, was quickly overwhelmed and unable to control his various officers once they were engaged in the field. Tugin Re Iodes had tried to intervene when he saw things going awry and the chance of victory slipping away, but it was too little too late. Though many had fought valiantly, still the armies of Tugin’s rival, Jin Sunos, had won the day. The southern King was far from beaten, however, as he had lost control of none of his cities or villages and all his officers and vassals had escaped the fray, including his new tactician. This made the King especially happy, for though the strategies had failed, the tactician was his own son, and would always have a place in the court of Tugin Re Iodes regardless of his military prowess.
In the ungoverned chaos of the ever bustling city of Coerspide, meanwhile, the battle was only news of no effect. They were worried at the defeat of their current liege, but the leaders had been changing so much since the fall of the Emporer that none were too concerned. The business went on as usual; the dockworkers loading, the guards watching, the adventurers and mercenaries flooding the great plaza, dragons and riders swirling through the skies as power changed hands with violence and money more times in a day than it should in a century. Against this backdrop the small time scoundrel Brolgen nursed a bottle of pinot noir by the side of one of the city’s canals. The drink swirled in his mind, eased the ache of his muscles. He’d been working too much lately, he told himself. Doing too much honest labor. It was time for a change. In this free society, he reasoned, he should feel truly free, but every new leader had new rules and the guards were only too glad to enforce them.
He watched the dragons in the sky; mostly blues; he wondered what that would mean. He’d not had much fortune in investigating the city’s power struggles, or the empire’s for that matter. His world was more about money, alchohol, and food, with the first two taking priority most days. He’d heard reports of a pirate cove south along the coast, and wondered if he might fit in better there. To this extent he first went down to the city’s docks, to see if any ships might be headed that way today.
Down at the massive habor, with a spectacular view of the city climbing upwards behind him, Brolgen was not surprised to find that no ships openly ran to any pirate coves. The shady pickpocket decided the best way to get a feel for the lifestyle would be to live for a bit on board the vessel that ferried folk between Doronede and the elven city of Eleihua, the most important city of the Nyssyri. When they had been an Empire it had been their capital.
It was how much the ship actually swelled and swayed that caught him off guard at first. It certainly made you feel…sick. Brolgen spent a great deal of his first couple of voyages on the open sea at the rails, spilling his meals onto the waters rushing by smoothly below. He had got his heart set on joining the pirates, though, so he dealt with it and felt himself slowly grow more accustomed to life at sea.
The thing was, or so he figured, that once he had fallen in with a folk as free as the pirates, it would be easier to live. He would know the rules, because all his rules would be his own. Always on guard, sure, in case someone else’s rules didn’t agree with your own; but his own rules, his own King.
Before long he was running up and down the deck, enjoying leisurely drinks amidships, and slowly picking up the jargon of the sailors. Even these were a free lot; they paid liege to no particular kingdom, city, or ruler, and made their living by serving as ferrymen essentially. Being not so bad of a life, Brolgen slowly came to be a fixture on the busy ship.
Several months into sailing, with less and less time on shore between trips, Brolgen realized it one day sitting at the thick wooden table in the large cabin that served passengers as resting quarters and meal space. He wanted his own ship. Now there, THERE was FREEDOM. No rules whatsoever, kingdom of your own domain, just plying the high seas headed who knew where with a salty crew and a bonnie vessel. Or so he conjectured in his budding sailing vernacular. For now, he was laughably poor, and hadn’t picked a decent pocket in over a year. Brolgen needed a score, and he needed a big one to start his new life. He set about finding it as soon as he had his realization, being at the time miles out to open sea with no one around but the normal crew, not even any passengers. So…he would wait. But his freedom was coming.