Brolgen looked out over the harbor; the horizon was misty yellow fading to rosy pink above him. Light fluttering ribbons of pale cloud drifted by; the masts of the ships danced in the ever-shifting waters below. Adventure called again, he couldn’t leave it for long. Soon he would be at sea, ranging far and wide for what the wind and waves would show him. The open world to be his.
For now, though, he turned his sights inland to seek a tavern. There were some things best found on dry land, and a night of drunken carousing with men (and women) you’d never see again was one of them.
Down wide streets lined with pastel washed houses, rows of ornate windows speaking of generations of wealth. Brolgen was far from wealthy, but he could tell where the money was and he always tried to stay close, in case some of it fell his way.
The scoundrel captain stopped in at the temple on his way, to pay a bit of homage to Lady Luck in whatever dress she wore in this city. Then it was off to things he wouldn’t be able to recall the next day, and were likely best left to the foggy memories of the drunk.
The next morning, captain and crew rose with the dawn and set sail. Almost immediately the trouble began for them. He lost a crewman in his first encounter out of port, a messy boarding of a competing pirate ship. Many times it was easier to plunder an upstart than take on the heavily guarded trade ships. While crossing the strait to hire some sailors at a small village the Blue Fortune was attacked three times more by other pirates, and against these he stuck to the efficient cannons. His cannonballs sunk all three of the other vessels, or at least them floundering and useless. From one of these they managed to plunder a bit of silver and three cases of rum.
In the village he picked up two average sailors, a few cases of wine and eggs, and then set off again to the south. He had to get on to some new waters, he’d made too many enemies here, or at least so he felt. In truth his activities were insignifigant, and at this point Brolgen was hardly noticed by the vast majority of traffic in the strait. Ships were always being crippled or sank, dredged up, repaired, and on it went year after year. Such was commerce.
The new sailors were all talking about the merchant known as Conghua, out of one of the northern cities. It was said he’d made an unbelievable fortune running the trade routes, and was living the fattest life a man could live this very day. There was always this talk; this man or that woman rich beyond imagination, all because of something you could do too.
Soon the captain was out to sea again, the waters rushing past, looking for new adventures.
The small crew picked off other privateers as they made their way south, and for the most part did well apart from once when two scoundrels tried to defend themselves against Captain Brolgen and his six sailors. They fought so hard they killed three of Brolgen’s men before they were in turn slain. The plunder was some silver and a barrel of lime juice, quite a value to sailors out for long voyages.
A bit further, as he was pondering whether to hire new sailors as soon as possible or try to attack some more ships, the Blue Fortune was set upon by some local ship-born bandits that lay in wait around a secluded cove. These rogues fought as hard as any the Captain had ever encountered; once their cannon nearly tore a desperate hole in the Blue Fortune but for Brolgen’s quick thinking to patch it before the heaving seas and subsequent blasts worsened the damage.
They managed to return fire and soon gained the upper hand, and no more crewmen were lost in the encounter. Soon the ship was patched up and they set sail again, this time resolved to set anchor at the next village and rest awhile. The Captain also desired to see if there was any worth in his cargo of booty or if he should keep it in the hold as supplies.
He found that the wine and eggs sold at a nice little profit, but he felt attached to the rum and kept it. Then he arranged to carry crates of olives, olive oil, and cheese. Then it was off to the tavern to ease the aches and strains of seafaring.
The next voyage was nineteen days of open sea engaging pirates the whole way. They lost count of how many ships they’d sunk; it was easy, though, to count the three crewmen they’d lost along the way. What troubled Captain Brolgen was that the spoils hardly seemed worth the effort. Certainly the bravery had been there, and the glory of battle; but compared to the easy spoils the merchants seemed to be coming by it seemed a hard bargain. Perhaps he needed to go after bigger ships?
But then he’d need a bigger ship. Couldn’t afford that right now. Could he steal one? Seemed dangerous. There were a lot more factors than dealing with the small barcs and tallettes he’d been preying on.
In the small coastal town they came to next he let the sailors rest and picked up three more.
He also went to the local market to sell his cargo; the cheese and the rum doubled their worth for him. This seemed much easier than taking it by force and life.