Return of the Hydra: prologue
Captain Baelor ruled the Pirate Isles for more than a decade before the Kernian army defeated him. His treasure has never been found.
More than fifteen years have passed, and Captain Baelor Bloodbeard is almost forgotten. There was a time, however, when this infamous ‘Pirate King’ and his black-hearted crew were the bane of every vessel sailing between Shairra and Ademorra.
Not much is known about the background of Captain Baelor. The Pirate King, nicknamed ‘Bloodbeard’ for obvious reasons, tolerated no questions about his origins and those unwise enough to suggest him to be no true human, quickly met their end in a gruesome way. Because of his small and stout stature, long red beard and dark skin, many suspect him to be a member of a long forgotten folk called ‘Duergar’, a subterranean race of evil Dwarves. And, if anything, Baelor Bloodbeard certainly was evil to the core. Almost no-one survived being boarded by Bloodbeard’s crew, for the Pirate King used to say no ransom could equal the pleasure of a nice torturing session. Almost half of his own crew died by the hands of Bloodbeard himself, for the captain’s mood was as fickle as he was violent. His men only followed him out of sheer terror, although it’s said he showed a crude sense of loyalty to his many bastard sons and to his lieutenant, a powerful necromancer by the name of Straton the Abstinent.
For many years Captain Baelor preyed on every ship, traders and fellow pirates alike, until he was the undisputed ruler of the so-called ‘Pirate Isles’. The Shairran authorities, the decadent philosopher-mages, lacked the strength to erase this threat to their ships and for many years, Bloodbeard was allowed to pile treasure upon treasure.
This bloodthirsty brute had one weakness, however: women. The Pirate King was known in every brothel of the Midlands and the number of bastards he sired can only be guessed. No woman was safe, for what Bloodbeard lacked in taste, he made up in numbers.
When Trevor, a promising young Kernian General, was charged with eradicating the Pirate threat, his advisor Valeria suggested guile instead of a brutal assault. Not willing to undertake the dirty task of seducing the Pirate King herself, Valeria charged her master assassin, the Green Viper, with the task. This so-called ‘master of disguises’ proved once more his name to be true, for soon Bloodbeard was madly in love with this dazzling young ‘lady’. Lured into a trap, Bloodbeard and his lieutenant were captured and the leaderless pirate crew did not withstand the Kernian assault for long. Soon the Pirate Isles were nothing but a name and Bloodbeard was put to trial.
The accuser was a wealthy praetor called Simonides, infamous himself for the way he had bribed and corrupted his way up to the top of the Kernian political aristocracy. Simonides secretly hoped to discover the whereabouts of Bloodbeard’s treasure, which must be considered a huge fortune by all standards. Bloodbeard, however, withstood threats and torture with equal indifference, exclaiming ‘his spirit would live on’ and ‘nobody but a Bloodbeard would ever discover his treasure’. Simonides spent four years of his life torturing the Pirate King, but to no avail. After his execution, the priests burned Bloodbeard’s corpse and cleansed the ashes multiple times with holy water before spreading them to the four winds. Many a person thought there could be some truth in Bloodbeard’s words of rebirth, for he had had many a Ademorran warlock or voodoo-priest amongst his allies.
Many sailors, adventurers and former pirates set out in search for this treasure, but to no avail.
Former members of Bloodbeard’s crew: