Recent Statuses

5 hrs ago
Current I actually find the status bar to be rather refreshing. Normally people feel compelled to talk about the weather or something trite, here people say what is actually on their minds.
2 days ago
Necromancy Idea - There is no reason you cant reanimate the turkey once it is cooked to spice up Thanksgiving.
2 days ago
Troll unto others as you would have them troll unto you
2 days ago
We can definitely have a Karl Marx style fairy god mother, peasants of this world unite!
2 days ago
Kind of love the idea of an anti-Cinderella tale. The prince had a wonderful night at the ball but it turns out his beau is a jacobin necromantic sorceress bent on destroying the kingdom.


Early 30's. I know just enough about everything to be dangerous.

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This is older work I stumbled across

Jessica grinned, she supposed she could point out that her crew could take whatever they wanted but seeing the Starborn was being helpful, their didn't seem to be much harm in allowing her to have her own possessions. Jacobis came forward holding a pair of low powered engineering communicators. Powerful communications gear might be detected by the Hegemony Warship outside, but these units were designed for away teams and engineering crew to keep in contact. Jessica took them gratefully and handed one to Neesa, then she twisted the small circles apart and attached one to her throat and one to her temple close to her ear. The design would induce a vibration in her bone which would translate as sound.

"So we can talk in vacumn," she explained and then slipped her helmet back into place. The air in the suit already smelt better than it had in days, having had a chance to exchange with the atmosphere in the escape pod. She pulled her pocket watch from her pouch and checked the time against a sheet of paper.

"We have about thirty minutes till our ride gets here," she told Neesa and then tucked the time piece away again. That should be plenty of time if nothing went wrong.

"The rest of you gather up anything that is small and valuable, see if you can pull the memory core from the main terminal as well, might be some clues there."

I mean, I was clearly born to be a 1920s dilettante that comes to a bad end.
Emmaline sidestepped to avoid the spray of blood and brain, struggling mightily to avoid sneezing in the cloud of powder smoke. Though dozens of pistols and blunderbuss were pointed at them the pirates seemed not particularly upset by the murder. Either they had a very cavalier attitude toward slaughter or they took a dim view of their underlings attempting to speak for them. Or both of course. For a moment there was relative silence, broken only by the dull roar of festivities outside and the sycopating booms of fireworks. All eyes were drawn to the severed head. The dark elves were a scourge upon the sea, a peril to pirates as well as to merchants and costal communities. Their cruelty was legendary, but so was their seamanship and skill at arms.

It was unlikely that Emmaline would be able to get out of here alive if the pirates decided just to shoot the interlopers, though there was a good deal of metal in the room. There was a murmur among the assembled lords as they considered the situation. One of the Imperial captains stood up, pipesmoke jetting from his nostrils like a dragon preparing to breathe fire.

“Will we hear this claim brethren?” he demanded with drunken solemnity. One of the Arabyians gazed at the severed head for a moment then made a gesture to ward off evil and spat on the floor.

“Timar the Red will hear the claim,” he spoke in heavily accented Tilean. Riekspiel appeared to be the exception rather than the rule in these parts where Tilean cultural influence ran deep.

“And who will second this?” the Imperial demanded. There was a stony silence from the remaining captains. All eyes were on Markus and his grisly trophy save for one of the Brettonian captains who was eyeing Emmaline speculatively. She gave him a lascivious wink and cocked her head slightly the direction of Markus. The Brettonian stroked his long musache, twirling the end of it around a finger tip and then stood.

“Gaston L’Favrre will hear the claim!” the Brettonian declared theatrically. All eyes left Markus and settled on Jaego Roth, who gave an almost imperceptible nod.

“Make your claim then,” the Imperial demanded, “and bring the implements!” A small frail looking man scampered forward carrying a leather bag. He was naked save for a loin cloth and a turban of rich cloth of gold that was long soiled and stained. Emmaline vaguely recalled that the sultan of one of the Araybian principalities had sworn to destroy the pirates and set out with a great expedition which had been destroyed by storms and the pirates attacks. The sultan himself had been captured and had been allowed to live as a slave of the pirates. The slave drew a black and white bead from a leather bag and set them before each captain.

“Speak your claim and then we will vote,” the Imperial declared, “white for life, black for death.”
Sartosa was a riot of color and noise. Construction could best be described as ramshackle, largely from light tropical wood which time and salt air turned gray. Architectural style, to the extend the term could be applies, varied dramatically from building to building with roofs of thatch, tile and wood shingle competing to channel the frequent rains into the indifferently maintained streets. Rickety chandleries sprawled onto patios with coils of ropes and greased blocks. Pawnshops were stacked with cutlasses, pistols and cast of fineries. Here and there a cartographer protected rolled maps and charts behind dirty glass panels. Most of the stores appeared to be serving beer or rum from casks though the purpose of this seemed to be to attract a few men to dissuade would be thieves rather than a serious attempt at commerce. Taverns were much more violent affairs in which drunken revelers shouted and cheered beneath brightly painted signs. As Emmaline and Markus walked past one such bar, a pair of men crashed out over the wooden railing striking and kicking at each other. The brawl spread like a rhyme of ice over a window as onlookers were struck by flying fists and feet or otherwise jostled. Chop houses sizzled joints of meat on open fire pits, or boiled thick fish stews in iron cauldrons on beds of gleaming coals. Grinning chefs slapped food onto wooden bowls or platters in exchange for a few coins without even seeming to count them, indeed given the dozens of different nationality of coinage that were exchanged it was unlikely anyone could have kept track. Bawdy houses were almost as prevalent as pubs, usually two story buildings which gave the prostitutes a raised platform to wave bare breasts are call lewd suggestions and insults down to the street. Once Emmaline saw a man throw an earthenware bottle up at a particularly buxom girl, snarling an insult. The prostitute caught the bottle, drained the dregs from it and then hurled it back at the fellow, striking him across the back of the head and sending him sprawling to the street to the delighted cheers of onlookers.

It didn’t seem to Emmaline like there was much in the way of housing in the city, though many a shopkeeper probably slept in his shop or on the second story above it. She supposed that most of the inhabitants of the city at any given time were sailors who slept aboard ship. The variety of humanity was staggering, Emmaline who had grown up in the slums of Altdorf thought of herself as cosmopolitan, but here were Arabyians in silk turbans, Norscans in furs despite the warmth of the night. There were Tilean’s in striped pantaloons and Estilian bravos with long pointed shoes. Brettonian sailors staggered drunkenly in their cheap wool smocks, jostling Imperials with their carefully tended mustaches. There were even dark skinned men from the Southlands and stranger features yet from Kush or perhaps Cathay. Emmaline even thought she saw a few hooded and cloaked elves slipping quietly through the milling throngs.

Everywhere there was noise and confusion. Men shouted and cursed in a dozen languages. Hoarse throated sailors bawled drunken shanties and stamped their feet to the music of fiddles and the pounding of improvised drums. Hawkers cried their wares, standing on barrels or crates to lift themselves above the crowd. The latter was a dangerous choice as bored sailors would occasionally target the shouting salesmen with bottles or fruit, though the criers appeared to accept this as the price of doing business and dodged adroitly. Whores cried from their balconies, though a few could be seen playing their trade on the floors of shops or in alleys, there was even an ambitious dark haired Brettonian who appeared to be getting a group rate.

Over everything hung a dizzying miasma of scents. Sweat and stale beer, salt and tar, cooking meat and boiling soup. Perfumes of dozen of styles cloyed the nostrils and there was an aftertaste of sulphur from burnt gunpowder from the fireworks or the more or less constant pop of exuberant pirates firing into the air. Smoke from a thousand guttering torches mingled with that from the cook fires, all overlaid with the ever present scent of the bay below. Surprisingly the smell of human effluvium, a constant in most cities seemed to be completely absent, perhaps owing to the proximity of the bay and the strong pull of outgoing tides which made the city so difficult to reach.

Emmaline and Markus climbed upwards, seeming to emerge out of the slight haze of smoke to what was clearly the ‘keep’. The structure had clearly begun life as a coliseum during the golden age of Tilea. The decay of years had tumbled down sections which had been replaced with a hodgepodge of wooden construction, most of which had been shaped to look like parts of ships, complete with jutting bow sprits and masts from which lines draped with brightly colored pennons depended. Fallen stones had been gathered up and repurposed to add extensions, crude looking by comparison to the original masonry, which formed low walled paths to various outbuildings including what must have began life as a villa built around a volcanic spring. Cunning use of stone had converted it into a series of baths from which steam rose in soft trails. Some of the baths were covered by simple roofs of layered palm leaves. Overflowing water had been channeled into a culvert of grey rock which vanished below ground.

“Dawi work,” Sketti grunted in approval, “nice to see manlings not living in their own shit for once.” Emmaline found that she couldn’t disagree with the sentiment. The sewers of the city below were swept by the overflow of the spring, presumably out into the bay where the tide disposed of it.

As the approached the ‘keep’ the concentration of drunken pirates increased. There was a flat area off to one side in which soot covered men were thrusting lit fireworks into the ground, moments before they screamed skyward to burst overhead. The acrid taste of gunpowder on the air, perversely, made Emmaline feel at home, putting her in mind of the alchemical labs of the Gold College. A group of pirates armed with long boarding axes stood around a stone gatehouse which gave entry to the keep. They didn’t seem to be interested in keeping people out, though they kept the drunken idlers moving with more or less good natured blows with the butts of their weapons. In truth Emmaline doubted that the keep could be defended from anything more than a drunken mob despite several rusted cannons that seemed to be more or less decorative.

“The Brethern Court is in session!” one of the guards bawled through a trumpet of rolled brass.

“If you don’t have business bugger off!” he added, though the final statement was all but drowned out by a particularly loud series of bursting fireworks.

Emmaline gazed up in wonder at the bursting lights. She had seen a firework display once before, a celebration of Karl Franz’ birthday, though that seemed a tame and orderly thing compared to the exuberant pyrotechnics she was witnessing now.

“Cast the line you scutts!” Morgan snapped, drawing his eyes back to the leadsman standing on the prow. The gawping sailor cast his leaded line into the water, allowing the knots to run through his hands.

“Four fathom! Four fathom to this this line!” Morgan grunted and peered up at one of the towers, before backing them a point away from the eye of the breeze. The leadsman repeated his task with a splash.

“Five fathoms, five fathoms to his line!” Morgan breathed a sigh of relief and then glared at Emmaline for witnessing it. Most of the crew seemed to share his feelings. Despite her attempts to obscure the fact, it seemed that the crew had decided, rightly as it turned out that she was a woman. Carrying a woman, and a witch was a double offense against the gods of fortune which were never far from a sailor’s mind. Welkins, a squirrely runt of a man who seemed to have come from Marienburg originally, was making a small fortune selling scrimshawed talismans that he claim protected the wearer against ‘witch craft’. So far as Emmaline could tell they had no effect whatever, but it didn’t prevent her from respecting a good hustle when she saw one. The best she could expect was suspicious looks and it was a good thing her sleep quarters had moved aft or she might have found herself over the side some dark night.

“Three fathoms!” Three fathoms and yellow sand!” the leadsman squeaked. Morgan made another small adjustment to the wheel, baring his teeth. Sartosa, famous as a den of pirates and cut throats survived for a trio of reasons. One was topographical, as Markus and Morgan were demonstrating the approach was extremely perilous, a labyrinth of razor sharp reefs and shoal that made any approaching ship extremely cautious. The channel was not marked and it was an offense punishable by blinding for any man to act as a pilot. The channel could easily be blocked with wrecks or guns could be laid to cover the approaches, raining heated shot down from the heights on enemy vessels. The second reason was political, Tliea, Estalia and Araby were too fractious to unite to destroy the nest, the Brettonians were incapable, and since Marienburg purchased its independence it was too far from any Imperial harbor to be worth crushing. The final reason was economic. A scourge they might be, but pirates provided slaves and resold goods the captured, there would always be merchants who would trade for the spoils of bucaneering and so even if Sartosa were to be burned to the ground, which had happened several times, the lure of gold would always resurrect it.

“Ten fathoms! Ten fathoms to this line!” the leadsman yelled, the relief evident in his face and the face of every sailor on deck. Before them opened up a deep lagoon with high walls of black basalt. Emmaline though it must have once been the caldera of a volcano before the sea battered its way inside. The flooded caldera provided a remarkable natural harbor deep and calm. On the far side the passage of ages had worn down the steep slopes to a sandy strand from which protruded dozens of warfs and jetties. A score of ships lay at anchor, tied up to pilings or moored out in the deeper water. Water taxis simple rafts of green timber, ferried booze, fresh food and prostitutes out to ships. All were drapped in garish fabrics and held torches at bow and stern giving the whole scene a garish magnificence. The settlement itself climbed the gentle slopes into a tropical forest, the city had no plan that Emmaline could determine, some of the buildings were rather grand but for the most part they seemed a wild tangle of many disparate construction techniques and architectural styles, as diverse as the ships which littered the harbor.
A Starborn! Jessica had never seen such a creature in the flesh before. Aliens were, as a rule, unlikely to interface with humans. Differences in biology, diet and metabolic requirements meant that competition between species was rare. Methane breathers were not particularly interested in earth type planets which were as lethal to them as volcanic sulpur worlds were to humans, but their were exceptions. Jess watched with further amazement as the strange pet which seemed to have been frozen with the alien also thawed out.

“Well I’ll be buggered,” Jess muttered.

“Not be my last I asked,” one of her crew complained. Jess stuck her tongue out at the spacer and turned back to the reheated slave.

“Captain, we got a problem,” Jacobis called, pointing out beyond the lifeboats containment field. To where another pirate was manhandling what was pretty clearly a frozen corpse.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Jess cursed pulling a printed flimsy from a pouch on her suit. The picture was grainy and from a poor angle, but the identification with the frozen cadaver was clear. Jess felt her heart sink, there wasn’t any doubt that this was Fevere Shin, the insane explorer who was rumored to know the route to the fabled treasure of Kadith Shaw. Shaw had been one of the early explorers who charted this region of space and its treasure house of ancient and vanished alien technology. His writings, now considered to be largely fanciful, had sparked the first tech rush, in which humans and other species, having finally found something worth fighting over, had flocked to the newly named Nexus. Much of what Shaw had described had turned out to be based in fact, but some of his most outlandish claims, claims of technology which would grant magical powers, or of great crystal engines which could turn back time, were considered to be ravings. At least they had until Fevere had shown up in Saint John’s Port having been miraculously healed of a missing arm. Unfortunately it seemed that whatever Fevere had known had died with him when Hegemony rail cannons had gutted the slave ship, puncturing his cryo tube.

“Shit,” Jess repeated on more time with feeling and then sat back looking defeated. Finally she turned to the slave, apparently one of the few who had avoided a flash freeze when the light speed projectiles had smashed the hull of the ship open and sent a sleet of metal and burning gas through the hold.

“Well the good new is, my name is Jessica Scarlett and I’m no slaver, hung my fair shair of them for the Hedge the truth be told. The bad news is, the people who are coming to pick me up, are probably going to kill when we cant deliver the contents of a dead mans brain,” she sighed.
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