Fable - Ask The Court of Tides

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Edward Lorain

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"Angus, stop laying about and get that keg to the bar. It's a packed house tonight, we're busting at the seems." Hilda kicked at the young lad before hurrying off to pour more tankards, the sounds of merry music and more than a few small brawls could be heard from the other room.

The young boy looked almost worried as he struggled with the much too large keg, "It's like that everywhere Hil, what's going on? The outer docks are so full that there are ships just casting anchors just outside the island."

Of course, she already knew that. Every tavern was filled to capacity and had even spilled onto the streets...and Teth had a lot of taverns. It seemed like every pirate on this side of Arethil was docked at Teth for the evening. She couldn't remember the last time the place was like this. It must've been years. Casting one more glance at Angus, she hurried back into the main room where she was met with a wall of noise. There was music, fighting, gambling, and plenty of other cardinal sins out and about. She quickly pointed her plump, slightly crooked finger at a man reaching for a blade.

"Buffoon, you know the rules. Fight all ye like, but if you so much as jiggle that sword I'll kill ye myself."

Hurrying back behind the bar, she looked at one of the barmaids who looked exhausted. They were going to make more money tonight than they did the entire month before. Almost to emphasize the positive idea, the room was beginning to sync into one of their beloved sea shanties.

Ignoring the song, Hilda took a chance to glance outside through one of the open windows. Lights dotted the city of Teth as a sign that their home was truly alive. High above the city, the full moon hung like the eternal lighthouse that it was.

The sound of broken glass brought her back to the attention of the tavern and as she hurried off to give some drunk a piece of her mind, she could not help but wonder why the city was so full. There was only one answer.

The Council of Crews, the Brethren Court, The Court of Tides had been called to order....
 
Sitting as one of the largest ships in the bay, The Black Heart lay moored on the outer edges of the great floating docks of Teth. Watch lights lit the galleons outer railings, and the half-orc in the crows nest stood watching the dozens of nearby vessels with a careful and practiced eye. The sailors on board milled about back and forth, some cleaning, others moving through the rigging to adjust the ships massive sails, while still others simply chatted and enjoyed the warms night air.

It was rare for the bay of buccaneers to be so full.

Teth was lively sort of place even at the worst of times, but every soul in the city knew exactly why the place was now teeming with every low-life and upstart who called himself a pirate. The court had been called, and that was exciting even to those who had only ever read the stories.

The last time anyone had brought together a Council of Captain's they had overthrown a man who had called himself the Pirate King. Whether deserved or not, many still remembered the ripples of those days, and more than a few were eager to see if something as momentous would be happening again.

That includes the crew of the Black Heart, though, perhaps not all of them.

”I'm not wearing the jacket, Peyt!” Lucius declared, throwing the billowing cloak like coat over the back of his chair. Shaking his head as he dodged a scathing look from the beautiful woman standing across the desk from him.

”They already think we're upstarts.” Though they'd both been pirates for pretty much the whole of they're lives, neither of them had been Captains for very long. Mark that with the fact that they'd captured an Anirian Galleon, and more than a few of their fellow Pirates thought them to be a little too ambitious for their briches. That was why Lucius had set such a heavy guard, why he was half paranoid. Pirates rarely liked being shown up. ”I think if I show up with that coat they'll mark me as trying to be the next King!”

He complained, having absolutely no desire for such a thing. ”Captain Lucius can go as he is. A shirt, a couple of daggers, and maybe some of Torrins explosives tucked into my pants.”

Just in case things got bad.

Peyton
 
The benefits of an airship was that finding a place to dock was never an issue.

"MIND DOWN BELOW!" bellowed the boson over the rails of The Storm Breaker. Most of the gathered pirates, whores and other unpleasant company Teth attracted knew what the call meant and hastily dove out of the way as the ships anchor was launched. A couple who had been too busy discovering what was hidden under their skirts and briefs had the unfortunate misery of being soaked when the anchor crashed into the harbour right next to the wall on which they sat. The woman shrieked and the man turned to shout something, when his eyes followed the anchor line up into the clouds then realised who exactly he had been about to shout at. By the time the coil of rope had been thrown over the side, both waifs had vanished.

Kaeli'i's boots hit the stony dockside a moment later.

"Remember the Code," she said in her lilting accent as others from her crew began to join her as she double - triple - checked the various wicked blades on her person. Her crew did much the same though technically most would be on leave that night, free to enjoy the pleasures of Teth without their Captain's eye upon them. A whore was as likely to put a knife in your gut as a pirate here, though. It was always advised two types of protection were worn inside a brothel here.

"And see if you can find a buyer for the Lightning we just harvested. Might as well make something while we're here."
 
Peyton's eyes rolled. "Captain Lucius can find himself some taste in fashion." she muttered and strode to snatch the jacket from his chair to hang it with the others. Peyton loved clothes, she'd always loved them, but she could not for the life of her get Luc to smarten up at all. "It's called power dressing." she muttered with a gesture to her own attire of well fitted leggings and military jacket.

"Maybe a hat?" she grinned, knowing well enough what his answer would be. "Ugh. Fine. Handsome gutter pirate with his pants full of explosives it is." she huffed, slipping her father's twin daggers into their sheaths.

"Whatever you're wearing, we're going to be late. Lets see what the fuss is about, hm?"

Lucius
 
Frantic footsteps hurried across the deck of The Heron. First mate, Barnum Crouch rolled his eyes at the antics of the man before him.

"I don't wanna go. It's embarrassing!"

Edward Lorain complained as he pressed down the wide-brimmed hat further down on his head like it would stop anyone from seeing his face. Around him, the rest of the sailors largely ignored him as they focused on guiding the ship into Teth around all the other vessels docked.

"I mean look at us. This ketch is so small. Hell, can I even be called a Captain?"

Barnum grumbled, there were countless reasons why this man should not be a Captain, but none had to do with the size of the ship.

"We had to pick something that we could sail with our numbers. We did not have a lot of sailors left after the shitshow off the coast of Cortos. Besides, they gave you some pretty nice clothes as compensation."

Edward was still mad. They had offered him one of the abandoned Galleons but they would have needed more men for that. Instead, they had given him a nice handmade green frock coat.

"It is a nice coat isn't it?"

Not waiting for an answer, Edward through his hat on and left from the boat at the nearest dock. He wanted to make sure he got a chance to stop for a drink before this meeting.

"I'll find you lot later, enjoy yourselves."

Barnum watched their so-called Captain walk off into the city with a wide grin and sighed. That meant he was going to have to ensure everything was taken care of and the men received their share of pay...Great.
 
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"Handsome I can do all day." Lucius said with a grin, taking a hand through his hair to slide it back over his ears. Offering the love of his life a brief wink before he grabbed the belt of daggers from the side of his desk and swung it around his shoulder.

Like all good pirates, he was expecting this to turn into a shit-show.

Just a few seconds later, the two Captains of the Black Heart left their cabine and headed down onto the floating docks of Teth. Half a dozen orders were quickly barked out, Turok and Calder left in charge of the Vanguard, and Fodrick told to make sure they had everything in place in case there was a tustle. Ferg and Chris were told to stay away from the alchemist fire, as was tradition, and with that set Peyt and Lucius headed into the city proper.

Even with all the commotion, getting to the meeting place wasn't too hard. Although the city of Pirates was practically bursting at the seams with people, everyone knew the intent of those Captains heading to the Court. Only a fool got in the way, and most of the fools in Teth had already been keel-hauled or thrown Into the nearest barrel.

Though oddly enough, some had snaked their way into the meeting.

Hardly the first to arrive, Lucius and Peyton stepped into the Tavern already teeming with people. Dozens upon dozens of captains had invited themselves to the new calling of the court. Within seconds he spotted Freck and his band of Gnoll-Cutters, Xurgic and his Orcish Raiders, he even caught sight of Amara De'Ris, her long blonde hair tucked under the wide brimmed hat she wore at all times.

Avoiding the former two, Lucius sent up a polite nod the to latter. Amara returning the gesture much more kindly when she spotted Peyton at his side. Waving for the two of them to come up and join her as the party started.
 
Everyone was, of course, attempting to speak over one another.

Once upon a time they had had a King, and though pirates didn't particularly care for order, they had at least respected it enough to decide it was only right that the King spoke first. Unfortunately, now every pirate deemed it imperative that they speak first. Oh there were loads of reasons a Captain might think they should speak first. Biggest ship, biggest armada, biggest cock, biggest hat. The list was impossibly endless. So a pirate Captain would begin to speak, as they only thought was proper, only for another to decide they ranked above them, and speak over the top. Sometimes they ignored one another and just continued to say what they wanted to say, other times they would descend into arguments over who should respect who.

Two such fights had already broken out. One was still going on. Some stupid brawl where the Captains had resorted to fisty cuffs and rolling about on the floor whilst a group of Captains cheered them on. Another had ended with one less Captain in the room.

Keali'i sighed as the noise only grew worse the more Captain's filled into the large long hall of the tavern. There was a rumour that once this long hall had been made by Northern Pirates several centuries before. A fearsome type that put the Nordwiir pirates who operated now to shame. Most agreed it was only right such a historic meeting be held in such a historic place. That and it was the only bloody room large enough to fit all the egos in.

In the end, the witch had had enough of bickering.

She climbed on to the table - which in of itself was nothing to batter an eye out - but then she opened the cannister at her hip. Lightning, untamed and yet unprocessed, exploded into the room. The light and noise and fear of immeninent death stopped all conversation for the three seconds Keali'i kept the cannister unopened. Into the silence that followed she asked:

"Who exactly called this fucking meeting? I think it best they start it, no?"
 
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Edward was late. That was not going to look good, but he wanted to stop by and grab a bottle of brandy from the Sea Hag's Tit, it was his favorite. He hustled through the crowd simply following the loudest noise, as Captains could not help themselves. Edward made it just in time to open the door to the tavern only for bright crack of lightning to flash about and burn his retinas.

Damn it, Keali'i!

Edward rubbed at his eyes trying to push away the after images now in his vision. With the complete silence in the room, Edward grumbled out "That would actually be me."

He still stood in the doorway, before blindly walking through the room spilling nearly a third of his open bottle of brandy on some unfortunate few. Finally, his vision returned and he looked around the room with a big smile on his face. Some people he knew and other's he didn't, but for just a moment all eyes were on him.

"I, Edward Lorain, have called the Court to order to discuss the end of the world."


And just like that, the silence in the room was destroyed as the tavern erupted once again, all bit with the much quieter mumblings and discussions.

Lucius Peyton Keali'i
 
Peyton's dark eyes swept over the bustling room, narrowing as she assessed each face. Some familiar figures earned a sharp, calculating glance, while others received a warmer, more inviting smile. Her gaze softened noticeably at the sight of Amara. She tugged Lucius' hand, guiding him through the throng, only releasing him to throw her arms around Amara in a warm greeting.

“You look as stunning as ever. Ah, and Emilie!" she said, her smile broad and genuine as she noticed the younger girl who it seemed had taken well to a life of piracy. They each exchanged quick pleasantries, Peyton's laughter mingling with Amara's, a rare moment of female camaraderie that she missed so dearly. They each turned to the woman climbing onto the table, as shocked as everyone else at the explosion she caused and the crassness that followed.

"Oh, I like her." Peyton grinned, to which the two other women quickly nodded.

Peyton's eyes turned, along with everyone else's, to the speaker claiming to have called the meeting. The anticipation was palpable, the room buzzing with unspoken questions and the weight of old rivalries.

When the speaker finally began, Peyton listened intently, her brow quirking as she glanced to Lucius.
"Well... that sounds dramatic." she said, her tone laced with dry amusement, but her eyes remained sharp, scanning the room for any signs of impending chaos.
 
Lucius gaze flickered down towards Edward Lorain. The amusement on his face still plain, his eyes switching from the rafters above where he had watched one of the serving goblins attempt to put out a fire started by Keali'i's lightning.

The brief entertainment over as the newly come captain declared the coming end of the world.

Almost immediately, Lucius' hand slapped gently against his face. The tavern erupting into a new round of complete chaos. Men, women, and everything in between beginning to shout at one another as they made this claim and that. Some calling out that they'd 'known' it all along, while others called Edward a quack. Others outright began to leave.

Deciding that this was an utter waste of time.

As Peyton quirked her brow at him, Lucius could only begin to laugh. The absurdity of the situation, and the claim, bringing a deep chuckle to his chest that he couldn't help but raise. "Better than declaring himself the new King."

He finally remarked, quelling his laughter long enough to take a breath. Shaking his head and catching Amara's eyes for a moment, the other Captain clearly sharing his amusement.

"OI!" A voice rang through the tavern, it's deep baritone echoing out even above the din of Chaos. Most of the eyes in the tavern drawing to the man who had shouted. An ancient, bearded orc who sat in one of the corner booths of the tavern; shockingly alone in the crowded sea of people.

Lucius recognized him instantly, as would dozens others; Gotrick Ilmir; a man who was said to have once faced down the Allirian Navy and won.

Dozens of rumors circled around the man, calling him everything from a hero to a drunken lout. In truth, the latter had been more the fact of things in the last decade, but Gotrick still carried the respect of many and his echoing tone at least drew the attention of the crowd. "Let the lad speak, will ya? Can hardly hear him over the lot of you gabbing like a gaggle of fresh geese drowning in a tub."

The Captain of the Black Heart grinned at Gotrick's words, ever amused at the odd idioms the old drunk came up with.

"It's nice that some things stay the same." Lucius mused to himself, attention turning back towards Edward.

Keali'i | Edward Lorain | Peyton
 
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The Bayou Witches' daughter gave a deep sigh as Edward ruined the peace she had managed to wrangle from the chaos. The look of irritation she shot his way no doubt more to do with that than the fact it was he who had called the meeting in the first place. As the arguing rose to an even higher height her fingers twitched once more to the cannister at her hip though halted when the orc's booming voice cut through the noise.

Keali'i hopped off the table once the room once more lapsed into silence, every eye in the room now turned upon young Lorain. She landed on the seat of her chair into which she collapsed in one graceful movement a moment later. The gargoyle-esq man who had been stood beside it leaned down to murmur in her ear

"How long has he been a Captain for again?" Keali'i gave a quiet snort of amusement at her Second's joke. Most struggled to understand the Oni's sense of humour due to their rasping, gravel like voices, but she had known Jizou for nigh on ten years and had learnt how to understand every subtle nuance to his tone. It had taken her a few years but once she had mastered it she had learnt he was sinfully humorous.

"Come on then, Lorain. You had the balls to call the meeting - don't suck them back up inside you now you're here."
 
Edward would be the first to admit that he kind of did that on purpose. He loved the theater of it all, but even more so he loved Captain Gotrick's command of the room. He nodded in thanks to the old pirate legend that spent most of his time in Teth.

He then cast a broad smile toward Keali'i, not taking the jab personally, that was just the way pirates talked. Besides, he did better with confrontation. His demeanor grew more serious as he looked around at the once again silent room.

"Teth is bustling with so many ships at the docks, but I couldn't help but notice we are missing several known faces."

It was true, that several Captains that typically held sway in Teth were still absent. Gilda Graystone and her dwarves were missing. Alabaster Jack and his crew had been found dead with their entire ship intact. Polmeroy Hart was keeping his crew bottled up in Oban, afraid to even go out to see.

"Teth, no all sailors of the known world have taken the brunt of the damages from a rise in creatures from the depths. Abyssal monstrosities invade all lands and are fiercely guarding access to the sea. Hell, just last month I helped kill an island sized Kraken that I thought was a myth."

The syzygy as it was being called, but Ed did not care what it was called. It was bad for business and more importantly bad for anyone wanting to keep their lives.

"We all need to come to a decision on how to deal with this problem together, or they will continue to take us down one by one."

Peyton Lucius Keali'i
 
Izzetta Rex was drunk. She had probably been drunk even before the Crimson Lady docked at Teth, but she wore it well. It added a swagger to her hips and a loose grin to her lips. It was necessary, she told herself. Anyone who knew her knew she drank like a man dying of thirst. She couldn't exactly show up to her first Court Of Tides meeting and not live up to that expectation could she? But when she entered the long hall full of pirate Captains later that night, she supposed it wasn't as big of a deal- the room was loud and crowded and no one paid her any mind (she didn't count the wandering eyes of some men).

Izzy was freshly Captain, and the blood had yet to dry on her hands. Her ship, the Crimson Lady, was decently sized (nothing like some of the other larger ships here; but jealousy was unattractive), and her crew was fiercely loyal. Or at least they pretended to be. She liked to consider herself a better captain than her previous captain, but she was still human after all. Mostly, anyway.

When Edward Lorain appeared, declaring the end of the world nigh, Izzy merely raised a brow. She remembered him- he had helped her mutiny to become Captain. It was why she actually considered his notion of pirates working together to take back the seas. Otherwise, she would have been more inclined to go with "every man and woman for themselves".

The whole scene was all rather interesting (Izzy was in awe of the woman with the lightning), but she was a bit disappointed that there seemed to be no rum on hand. It had either been drunk already or spilled. Izzy craned her neck to look for any bottles of the good stuff. If the world was going to end, forcing the pirates to work together, she might as well be drunk for it.

Edward Lorain Lucius Keali'i Peyton
 
Peyton sat back and drank in the ale and the atmosphere with a grin, though it was when Edward was finally given enough quiet to speak that her grin faltered and she sat up, her attention clearly captured.

An island-sized kraken.

She looked to Luc wordlessly. Nervously. Because they already knew that it had not been myth..
 
Lucius nearly coughed up some of his ale, only faltering for a moment as he shook his head and caught Peyton's eye. Lips pressed to a thin line, and he slowly raised his shoulders as he tried to play as innocent as he could.

Their own run in with the kraken had not been pleasant, though at least they'd made it out alive.

The 'conversation' he'd had with the beast had been eye opening, but he'd not repeated it by choice. As voiced clamored all over themselves, Lucius frowned, glancing at his beloved. After a moment more he bellowed down into the open tavern below.

"So what's your solution, Lorain?" He asked, simply bellowing the question he and Peyton had been searching for an answer for. "Because we haven't exactly found a portal to hell or anything in the sea lately."

A few chuckles rose into the rafters, but it was true!

The Black Heart had looked.
 
Keali'i rolled her eyes - as did a few of the other Captains who were not strictly speaking human.

"The sea is their home, as much as it is ours, what difference is it for a kraken to defend its nest from your noisy bellyaching to one of us firing on the other," she waved a hand at a particular Captain who sat opposite her. He sported a thin moustache which he had spent time oiling and twisting into an elaborate curl, and sported a rather thin and reedy frame. He certainly didn't look as though he spent time at sea regularly or at least he wouldn't have if it were not for the pointed ears and sharp canines - a kelpie walking in his human form.

Anyone who had been paying attention to the Captain since she had stood on the table would have seen the other Captain's stare having never left her. In fact he had begun to rather violently dig his knife into the table before him. It was clear she was referring to this man when she spoke of Captains firing on one another.
 
Edward's gaze swiftly whipped around to linger on Keali'i now looking far more serious. There lay the problem, there was no difference to Edward, both were bad. However, Edward could outrun a fellow pirate. It was not as easy to outrun a Kraken.

"The Kraken and the abyssal are no longer simply defending their home. They are expanding...attacking."


He waited a moment to let that sink in before he capitalized on the dramatic pause and turned to Lucius. A glint in his eye.

"While I can not track the Kraken, I have a way of finding the abyssal if I am close enough. With our combined might, we can fight back, at least make it not worth bothering us. And for that..."

Another dramatic pause, this one far more crucial as the next suggestion would surely bring about several different responses.

"I am calling for the election of a new King of the Court of Tides, along with all other official positions...to coordinate this endeavor."
 
The room fell into a heavy silence, the weight of Edward's words hanging in the air for just a few long seconds before chaos erupted once more. Voices clashed in a cacophony of shouts, accusations, and laughter, the tavern bursting with the heated energy of disagreement.

Some captains yelled in outrage, others in support, while a few simply shook their heads, bemused by the audacity of the suggestion. Peyton glanced at Lucius, a bemused smirk tugging at her lips as she shook her head. She laughed, finishing her drink and slamming the empty vessel down on the table a few times to hush the din slightly, if only so that Edward could hear her.

"So what, Lorain? You fancy yourself the new Pirate King? Have you ever witnessed a pirate vote?" she called out, her voice cutting through the noise with a wide grin and a tilt of her head, studying him with keen interest and a sparkle of mischief in her gaze. The uproar recommenced almost immediately, but Peyton's challenge lingered in the air, sparking new debates and arguments.

"Well, this just got even more interesting," she murmured to Luc. "Told you, you should have worn the jacket." her lips twisted, stifling a laugh.

The noise level in the tavern continued to rise, captains jostling for position and shouting over one another.
"Who made you the authority on this, Lorain?" a burly captain roared, pounding his fist on a table.
"He's got a point, though," another argued."I'll be takin' yer votes now!"
"And what about us Queens in the room, exactly?"
"A FUCKING WOMAN?!? ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT!!"

Peyton winced.. Whoever said that would no doubt pay..

"A king? Fuck the king!" another voice scoffed, met with a round of drunken laughter and agreement.

Peyton kept her gaze on Edward, curious to see how he would respond to the maelstrom he had unleashed. Despite the chaos, she couldn't help but admire his boldness. If nothing else, he had managed to capture everyone's attention, sort of—and that was no small feat in a room full of pirates.
 
"If I'd worn the jacket one of these fucking morons would throw my name out for the crown." Lucius murmured back to Peyton, frowning as he scanned the crowd.

Truth was, a part of him, a small part, wanted his name thrown out there.

He was pretty sure that was true for every single person in this room, including the woman he loved. There wasn't a pirate in this world who didn't want to claim the title of 'King', even if it didn't really mean all that much. Their kind was by and large, ornery, angry, and different to control.

A man could call himself Emperor, directly control half a continent, and a boy with a dingy calling himself a pirate could say that man is naught but a fool. That was the beauty of who they were, of what they chose to be. Piracy was freedom.

None of them wanted to give that up. "OKAY THEN! WHAT ABOUT ME!"

Lucius poignant thoughts were interrupted as Mad Dog Dolly Danger stood up from her table.

"I been 'ere long, I got a fleet. Twenty seven ships! All of em fit!" Mad Dog said, her boasts carrying through the room as Lucius gently let himself list to the side. "I can be 'ur King. I can bring down these beasties, an 'en, 'en I can lead us into a new golden age. I got this witch you see. Mermaid, you see. Captured her out near Kiva. Got 'er chained back on the Cistern. Ya'll elect me, and I promise you, Teth won't ever be richer."

Slowly he glanced over to his beloved, shaking his head in signal that they would not be voting for Mad Dog Dolly. If only because he still had the poignant memory of her trying to once steal one of his and the old crews old successes.

The bitch was a hound for glory. "We could be here all week."

He murmured.

"Everyone is going to vote for themselves." Lucius knew that he would. "Or for a joke. We might as well get out of here."

Least they could still have some fun, there were a few more bars nearby.
 
"Captured?" roared one of the other captains. He had a thick red beard that looked as though it had recently been singed. He stood up and slammed his hands on the table. "Mermaids ain't no slaves. Ye'll bring down far worse 'en Krakens on us all!"

"Aye Jack's right!"

"Mermaids are as bad as Krakens - should kill the whole lo' o' 'em. Anything not human... ah... I mean," the over zealous youngster who had been sat next to Keali'i seemed to shrivel up further in his chair at her dark look. There were several others in the room shooting dark looks his way.

"If some of you humans remembered the sea does not belong to you, maybe this mess wouldn't be happening," an older woman at the far end said in a voice that was some how soft and a threat all wrapped in one. Keali'i shuddered; Andromeda was a Siren not to be trifled with.

"Let's not start that argument," Keali'i purred before anyone else could reply. "Let's do this stupid fucking vote so we can get back to actual pirate work, shall we? I vote for Keali'i Strix."