The battered old tankard rattled slightly on the table; the golden oily liquid held within rippling with each set of vibrations, before becoming still once more upon the ancient surface of tarnished metal work and petrified wood. Once it may have sheened and taken pride of place in an office somewhere in its hey day but now it sat battered, faded and held together with one too many pieces of binding tape amongst equally as old barely held together pieces of furniture that made up the tavern’s eccentric collection. Another faint vibration and another set of ripples only this time interrupted by the tankard swinging upwards and its contents being emptied down the gullet of its owner before crashing back down again, specks of the liquid adding to the sticky marks on the tables surface besides a thousand others. The figure looked at the small set of papers lying to one side of their tankard, sketches of maps and lists of ship names sitting besides admiralty reports and hearsay from free ships passing through, another faint vibration beside swigs from the tankard, a hand subconsciously covering the top to avoid the contents spilling over the side and onto the floor. Downing the final remnants and flicking a couple of credits onto the dilapidated table as he scooped the papers up in one hand, Captain Novgar stood up and headed out from the half filled tavern he had spent the last 3 hours skimming through reports in and into the half light of one of the ports side paths, other privateers milling about with one another as they went about their livelihoods or spent some furlough away from ships that were heading to the catacombs or returning from the deeps. Drogba’s house was the last stop down and every crew knew it, the ports residing residents even more so he thought as he passed a Bunk house, two riggers smoking outside the entrance way giving him a nod as he passed. Serving as the gun captain amongst the ports gun batteries pretty much lead anyone serving with the port militia to getting out of his way sharpish, even more so that his stern demeanour called for amongst his fellows. The reports under his right arm had been giving him pause for thought more recently than most with the loss of yet more vessels below prodding at his senses in a way he didn’t like, you lost the odd newbie crew who thought they knew better every now and then, that was life and the tales filled every bar from here to Home down and back again, but those were usually cutters not full barges. Most Privateers just laughed it off as another old fart going overboard and went back to their drinking but the near martial life style in Drogba’s house put any wrinkle like that as a marker to anyone with half a brain that something was up. He cut down an alley and through the back of a warehouse onto the main dock pillions, the yawning gaps between each connected by a myriad of ducts boards, rusted metal sheets, ropes, cables and scaffolding forming the promenade of the port. Militia gang crews checked ships coming in and out whilst others patrolled in twos and threes between the furthest pillions, the two great defence batteries sat like hunched shells of metal with spines pointing out towards the darkness of the below, the great batteries of Drogba that gave the port its name. He turned and headed right towards the eastern battery, intent on getting to his ready room before some tunnel waste started bothering him from some green crew. Passing through the ring of port side defences he ducked by the portsmen on duty and headed up the stair way and over the ’gang plank’ as the new militia called it into his office and shut the door behind him, flicking a switch turning the rudimentary but effective sign outside that kept people out when he was busy. Dropping the Papers on his desk he crossed over to a series of shelves and flicked through half a dozen piles before finding the one he was interested in, slapping it down next to the original set he had brought with him before grabbing his boarding iron and popping that down next to him as well. A note sat on his desk about some captain who’d gotten himself in trouble with the admiralty from some surface excursion but he left it were it was as it was lost behind a pile of separate papers as he spread the two lots out and began to read through them, making small notes with a ink stick he kept for paperwork when he couldn’t get away with just verbalising his decisions and had to actually write them down. A few hours passed of him working through each paper looking for anything that would confirm what his gut was telling him but for each connection he could find there would be no fit to the others as if something or somethings were missing from the bigger picture as a whole, Novgar rubbed his forehead with two fingers before giving up and getting a drink from his cabinet on one side of the room. Grabbing a bottle of port he pulled the sealing tab off with his teeth and took a solid swig before heading to sit back down, placing the bottle to one side as he picked up the boarding iron and scratched the scar tissue of what used to be his cheek on the left of his face for a minute in old habit. Resting his head against the weapon he tried to think what could be missing, a missing crew, the surface squadron, missing ships, it didn’t make much sense and even with a supposed survivor it didn’t help. He was half considering just forgetting about the whole damn thing when he felt a tremor that wasn’t from the batteries of the ports guns or docking clamps on the pillions, getting up he crossed over to the window that looked out over the port and stared in disbelief as another tremor wracked the ports frame. A ship was firing its rear chasers and burning hard back up the tunnel towards the ports as it made for the safety of the ports guns, Drogba’s house returning in kind at whatever was chasing the cutter towards the port. The radio mounted to the wall squawked into life requesting fire orders in clipped tones of the duty bosun, “Full spread, fire all batteries” Novgar barked into the radio as he grabbed the port bottle and dashed for the door not catching the glimpse of light coming from the darkness far behind the cutter, the lights of ships heading for them...
Military Campaign Progress Edit
Since the dawn of the first ships when men first harnessed wind by sail and looked to the shores beyond humanity has always been drawn by its curiosity, like a innate feeling of satisfaction may only be found in the discovery of the new amongst the old, a new path from an ancient road leading to a new land amongst one well known and well worn by the feet of those that pass to and fro across its plains. With each new daring step into the unknown, the world around expands and those lands that once were fall behind as the path winds onwards into the future, dipping over the horizon out of sight where only the actions of those that dare to dream can foresee what may lie ahead. In this the lands gave way to vast oceans explored for centuries, who in turn gave way to dreams of the stars above, and even these gave way to the exploration of the void before coming full cycle to new lands underfoot lying ready for new feet to find new mysteries and new treasures below. For riggers and raiders of the raven privateers, be they combing the ruins of once prosperous homes amongst long silent towers in the lands above or gliding through the still airs of the tunnels below aboard their great ships, the thrill of discovery and the tales of the adventure pull ever more than anywhere else, giving birth to legends and stories that span each generation and in turn give birth to new tales and new stories that grows a people proud of who they are and how they live their lives to the most as each day passes into a future only they can foresee. Every song sung and tale catching on the lips of every soul, lifting them onwards as they push for their dreams to become a reality, to add to the old with the new in a culture that is shaped and shifts with the very essence of its people. The only issue is where songs that once carried warnings of old legends long past that once carried weight to a people slide into the shadows, and those legends become real once more.
For the black coats’ each success is often followed by the raising of as many impromptu taverns as there are flotillas in the armada, and as such the first couple of weeks flows with little happening beyond the sound of drinking, tales and song from its members. Raiders duelling with friends and rivals alike whilst Riggers arm wrestle and brawl amongst the larger shell taverns at the centre of the armada’s camp where the drinks flow free. One thing sits amiss though and whilst no one says much outright beyond the captains meetings, the lack of the rear admiral in charge bodes ill by some of the older crews, bad omens by some recalling old tales little sung any more about the times before the admiralty, when ship pillaged ship and ports closed their docks to all but their own blood. This sense of foreboding does not sit well with some and the black coats make themselves busy with establishing more of a semi-permanent camp as orders flow down by scutter crew that the admiralty has taken the measure to hold the armada still in its new conquest for the time being, bickering breaks out amongst the captains at the news and in one case a captains duel flits through the camp streets drawing cheers and cries from onlookers as one flotilla finds a new captain in the old ones place by the light of the next morn. By the light of the third week rough barricades line the outer limits of the surface ‘port’ as the black coats call it, a rough sign hanging by the main gate reading “Fortune’s Grave” in hasty painted letters. A few days before the end of the final month during the low eve a boarding crew arrives at the camp and heads straight for the central tents of the flotilla captains, any ship captains poking their nose in on the unexpected admiralty figures being quickly told to make themselves decent and meet in the largest tavern in the camp. The main bulk of the party splits off and closes down the ‘shills Lid’, receiving a loud cry of boos and several thrown bottles from the crews drinking before quickly retreating outside when the Bosun leading the Boarding party crew knocked a challenging bosun from the Tavern itself out cold with a large skillet lying nearby when told to get lost. Any resistance after that restricted itself to muttered insults and quiet swears whilst the boarding crew cleared the centre of the tavern into a ring of benches and then stood back outside clearly waiting for someone or some ones. They didn’t have to wait long as their leaders return with the flotilla captains in tow, slowly followed over the next hour by each ship captain in turn from the entire camp at which point two riggers more closely resembling moving piles of armour blocked the door way in and put anyone trying to sneak a listen in a headlock and chains as a warning. What the admiralty boarding captains had to say to those of the Black coats no one was quite sure but the aftermath left stern faces on some, confusion with others and a general air of vindication for the rest mixed with worry. Whilst the words remained shrouded come the end of the month less than a week later the purpose of the admiralty visit comes loud and clear to the rest of the armada, posters go up around the camp and crews finds themselves being pulled from their normal duties in response, the food situation that had begun to drop the previous few months takes a turn for the worse as the posters begin to list crews that can no longer be supported by the army outside of the homelands in the face of starvation for the rest. A brawl sparks off in one part of the black coats camp and is only broken apart by the combined effort of 4 crews and a box of stun grenades released into the seething mass of combatants, the ring leaders being drawn off to the gallows where they are hung as reminders of the cost of breaking the accords and the price of harming fellow privateers. Between this and the struck off crews, some 150 privateers return to the depths in one shape or another over the course of the flow between the end of the first month and the first week of the second, leaving blotches of ground where their tents once stood in the armada camp.
With the dawn and passing of the first week of the second month a profound sombre mood comes over the armada and camp as a whole, whilst most taverns in the camp still sound the hearty place that privateers are known for across the ruins the songs ring hollow and the tales sound false to the ears of the listener as the armada’s members feel as if something has been pulled from them. A loss through the flames of battle can be sung and the names never lost, whilst the deeds of adventures spring tales to life and those lost in its gains are heroes to all that come after them, to be rejoiced and lauded by the generations after, but death from starvation is not an enemy that can be fought or slain, wasting away into nothing without a tale for the person that was is not the right way to go no matter how good or bad a privateer a raider or rigger was, death with no glory behind it and no tale to tell sticks hard and leaves the heart wanting for something that can not be filled. Every black coat feels the same pain from this and these frustrations land more than a few close to a line that should never be crossed as their minds remind them to look to the gallows at the edge of the camp where the ring leaders of the earlier brawl which left 5 privateers close to death hung now as lifeless corpses. In an attempt to revive the armada’s morale a trio of flotilla captains stage a duelling tournament in the centre of camp whilst another sets out a small competition for the best find outside of camp for the roving picket crews that head out every few days. This lasts a few weeks until the scavenging trips come back with less and less finds and more and more reports of unchecked pillaging by surface portsmen sent to help settle the area as claims are lodged and left unchecked before they return to Home Down, resulting in huge piles of resources being trekked back with out being logged. A number of minor crews are caught out when they attempt to stop one such group, and whilst no injuries come from it and the resources are successfully logged after the crews captain finds himself being sat on by one Rigger the claim is allowed to be kept and with some annoyance the black coats have to watch their shares of the new territory slip away from them without being able to lift a finger.
Come the end of the third week of the second month this growing frustrations amongst the various crews and flotillas within the armada begins to seek other ways out, tavern fights sparking off like a powder keg as raiders look for any reason to dual with their fellows whilst Rigger wrestling matches begin to take on a more violent tone with each passing day as the armada whips round itself like a dog chasing its own tail in annoyance at its confinement. The privateer does not do well as a caged animal, their hearts longing for the tunnel air of their forefathers and lungs urging to roar their defiance into the shadows for as long as they draw breath, and as such if left to their own devices mischief and malice quickly become their out bursts depending on their temperament. The Bosuns of all crews come down hard on any actual breaking of ship board rules and a few privateers finds themselves in their own brigs for a few days to cool off as the grog rations start to become thinner and thinner besides the growing scarcity food that constantly plays on everyone's mind. The coming of the third month does offer some release but the price it asks causing even the most stoic of black coats to grind their teeth in seething anger as it comes to pass.
A few days into the first week of the new month a scutter crew sweeps into camp clearly worse for wear, the crews on guard get them to the infirmary tents to see the hacksaws as soon as possible and though it takes several hours they manage to stop any from dying of their wounds though one loses an arm to the surgeons blade in exchange for their life. Coaxed with several strong bottles of grog from the surgeons own personal stash the scutter crew retell their tale before retelling it again to the captains who arrive to see them. What they have to say is brutal and straight forward, the words cutting to each that can hear them as a fire is stoked in the belly of all, the crew had been assigned as messenger runners to the port town settled to the east of the home lands in the territory first taken 9 months before hand, working their way too and fro via the waylays the crew had picked up rumours of shadows walking amongst the ruins and had decided it better to keep to the trodden paths on the surface. A few days into their latest run they had been jumped by a band of tribals smeared in ash, oil and red paint losing half their crew in quick succession and the rest making for the safety to the south, at this point the surviving scutters all look ashamed for having run from the fight but the captain from one flotilla does his best to cheer them on for making it to the black coats and bringing this news. The scutter crew all look at the captain and say their thanks though one mutters something to the surviving Portsmen amongst the crew who nods in response, the black coats all look on quizzically before the Ports men adds something to the tale, Apparently they would have all bought it but the tribal leading the ambush at the point of the scutters being over run was taken out by a sniper shot. The scutters had no clue where it had come from but it had let them get away as the tribals dived for cover and they thank who ever it was as evidently two tribals had dashed forward after them but two further shots stood to moot testament of their result since they had seen anyone follow them. The mystery of the long nines would have to wait the captain’s decide as they rally the fleet, they may have lost brothers and sisters to these tribals before but with the frustration of the last few months upon them this fresh insult strikes home hard and lights a fire not easy extinguished. The next week sees a flurry of armed activity as the camp seems to leap from its slumber into action as the flames of revenge wash the camp anew, crews grabbing their weapons and armour before flooding northwards in a tide of rage, songs of battle washing to and fro until they can be heard across the territory and along the roads leading northwards. The black coats finally clash with the Soulful once again in the shade of a great crane that the survivors afterwards say reminded them of a harpies claw giving the battle its name; the battle of the claw, initially the tribals attempt their ambush tactics once more but find the black coat response filled with brutal full wave attacks to any kind of attacks and a series of running battles breaks out as Soulful ambushers are swarmed by vengeful Privateers, the screams of the dying and wounded meeting tribal war cries and Privateers battle songs that awash amongst the sounds of clash blades, gun fire, the zip of energy rounds and cracking sucking thump of grenades in buildings. There is no finesse here, no lapping tide of crews and no swearing wind of tribals appearing and disappearing, just carnage and slaughter. In the end by the battles end some 200 privateers laying dead or mortally wounded amongst the ruins, packs of tribals piled where they had died battling over their kins slain bodies, small rings fighting back to back with others mixed here and there with the privateers, and equal account on both sides the leaves a black fire in the eyes of the Raiders and Riggers of the Black coats that any can see only intends to grow as more blood is spilled…
The Black coats have held their position that they had previously conquered, the industrial zone lying tight in their grip, however unchecked claims and pillaging have left the territory in a state that leaves the new port town beginning to assemble there as little but a small set of huddled tents unable to grow. A top of this the food situation has now become critical as the armada loses 150 members to starvation and in ability to support them; this will continue as long as the food situation is not resolved month on month, with a further 200 claimed to a righteous piece of revenge for the previous massacre though the soulful feel the same in response this time around. (Note: 350 of the Black coats have been lost this downtime, any Privateer wishing to have taken part in this action please report to GOD before time in on Friday of E4)
Crossed Swords Edit
With the worsening of the food situation the admiralty has found itself in the situation of having to impose strict rationing amongst the various ports and free ships for the first time in 100 years, the admirals themselves spending several days in the admiralty building in Home Down arguing themselves blue in the face of the situation. The main problem with rationing is adding a whole nest of vipers to handle for the port militias as smuggling rings for food crop up and food riots begin to circle like opportunistic predators at the edges of the fire light, this all comes to ahead when a free ship attempt to withhold its own surplus of food when docked at the Wreck, a small fight breaking out until a passing barge puts a single round across the rear of the ship and comes into the dock ready to back the port militias up with readier Raiders and riggers looking for an excuse to crack heads. One thing you can say for the privateers is give them a challenge and they stick together like nobodies business, for every instance of a crew attempting to win some local political grudge or slight two more of crews sticking together catches at ears of the ports and their admirals alike. For the time being the Admiralty has the situation under control but for how long no one can safely say. Besides this two things sit on the lips over every privateer, the fate of the surface boarding party and the news coming from Drogba’s house of the lone scout and the tailing fleet of unidentified ships. In the first the Admiralty debate is split, 3 call for lose of captaincy whilst 2 argue themselves to the point of sword point between sentence to the surface or the deeps, the final sitting in silence reading through the boarding parties report from the captain of the Drake and his crew. In the end they settle upon the common voice and dispatch their outcome via scutter crew to Captain Olgierd ‘Shrapnel’ Tvardovski waiting aboard his barge the Amethyst rose, as the other matter takes precedent. An unknown fleet has appeared at the edge of Drogba’s Sensors with a lone scout ship running for the cover of Drogba’s guns, any attempt of contact has been met with screaming static whilst the fore runner move in on an attack vector. For the first time in a long while the admirals are all silent and agree on a single action, the armada must be recalled to defend the homelands, the Black coats must sail to war.
1) The Admiral for the black coats must be elected this event as a leader is required immediately, Any and all captains may stand for election and this must be complete by Friday evening and reported to the admiralty.
2) The Outcome of the Boarding party will be deliver on the Friday shortly after time in at 8:00pm, all Privateers are invited to attend
3) With the sudden appearance of an unidentified fleet in the home lands from the depths the admiralty has recalled the Black coats with immediate effect, All Privateers will be required to attend a meeting Late on Friday for an update.