The Seven Tides
Alejandro de Taz
Scoundrel, Swashbuckler, Bard, Poet
“Old ladies are grumpy, young ladies are moody. When I look at your bosom, I get a woody.”
“The orcs snuck through the village, their axes gleamed in the moonlight. The villagers slept, content in their beds, under the moonlight.”
“Elana, you have a lot of explaina’, about the maya’.”
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Alejandro, a gentleman of the high seas, a swashbuckler as it were. Please don’t call me a pirate, because that is such a nasty word. And never use the word “rogue” to describe me, for I am a gentleman adventurer, and not a common cutpurse slinking in dark alleys.
I was born in the warehouse district of Niesma. My father I never knew. My mother and I lived alone in a small roach infested room above a tannery. My mother’s “work” kept her busy at night and during the day she drank until she fell into a drunken stupor. In between drinking binges she worked hard to teach me manners. I was never allowed to curse or swear, or show disrespect to ladies, or use street slang. My mother had fallen into a disreputable life, but in her youth she had lived in a nobleman’s house, and she never let me forget it..
My mother’s earnings in her “profession” was not enough to support us, so I learned ways to make extra coppers with my wits, charm and glib tongue. I became a spy and go-between the rival gangs in the warehouse district. In my spare time I ran confidence games that made me quite prosperous. I began to dress like a gentleman. I acquired a taste for fancy food, fine wine, and lovely ladies. Occasionally my spending excesses would leave me short of funds. One day I learned from an associate that I was marked for death by a gang that I’d double-crossed once too often.
I stowed away on a merchant ship that very night, for I had long had dreams of travelling the high seas to distant lands. Soon after the ship set sail, I was discovered in my hiding place. Captain Winsley had me lashed and then put me to work as a seaman. I learned the skills of the sailor, but never took a liking to it. The harsh discipline of Captain Winsley was like a yoke on my neck, and I earned more lashings because of my rebellious spirit and sharp tongue.
A month out to sea, our ship was overtaken by pirates (eh, swashbucklers). Our crew was outnumbered and we gave up without a fight. Captain Bluebottle gave us all the choice to join his crew or die. I joined the pirate crew and my first job was to make Captain Winsley walk the plank. (Sorry old chap, nothing personal). Captain Bluebottle was a fine captain to work for and I had grand adventures for the next year. I learned the skills of fighting at sea and gained a bit of wealth. I was still unenthusiastic about the mundane tasks of seamanship, and usually talked my way out of the hard jobs. Whenever we captured a ship, I would persuade Captain Bluebottle to spare the lives and honor of the ladies. I made it a practice to check up on the ladies late at night to make sure they were safe and comfortable. Some of the ladies were grateful for my concern. Some of the ladies were ungrateful and threw things at me and screamed. I was always a gentleman when this happened, and I gained ranks in my dodging and running skills.
During the voyage, we discovered many islands, and found many underground caverns to explore. One fateful day we came upon a small island, upon which was an ancient ivy covered temple of a demigod named Desmus. There was a secret passage underneath the altar that led to an underground cavern. There was a many-headed monster in the cavern, guarding a rich treasure-trove. We slew the foul creature and carried away the treasure (it took 40 large bags and 10 chests). I am afraid this last adventure brought misfortune, for Desmus went to his mother Isabeq and demanded revenge. (I learned this in a dream). Isabeq gave into his demands and sent a storm that wrecked our ship on a cursed island.
This island was ruled by a vengeful witch doctor who commanded an army of undead. Every night, zombies attacked our camp, killing one or two of us and then fading back into the darkness. Our dead comrades were dragged away before dawn and the next night we would see them among the zombies. In this way our numbers were gradually whittled down until there was only me and Captain Bluebottle himself. No doubt Bluebottle and I would have joined our unfortunate shipmates in death, but that night we were rescued by a passing merchant ship.
I had to bury my share of the treasure because I could not bring it with me or be discovered as a pirate. I am sure Captain Bluebottle did the same. I do not know what happened to the treasure of the men who were killed and became zombies. The ship’s next destination was the elven city of Ullad, and I decided to try my fortune on land for a while. When we arrived at port, I took leave of my old captain and we went our separate ways. I am sure Bluebottle will waste no time rounding up a ship and crew and returning to the cursed island to recover his treasure. As for me, I have had enough of the sea for a while…