Tales from Spéir: Corsairs

Before the fall, Corsair, Privateer, and Pirate were names The Nations gave to sailors who got on the wrong side of their wars. They talked about them like they were all raiders and thieves. It’s true that many who became Corsairs turned to raiding and thieving once they lost their nation’s graces, but most started as ships that had suddenly lost their fleets and had no ports to call home.

Of course we don’t have nations anymore. Today a Corsair is any Sky Jack that sails without the blessing of the Red Feathers. Just like the pirates who came before them, Corsairs sometimes turn to desperate measure to stay in the sky. It’s also true that they attack Red Feather ships. Red Feathers would have you think that Corsairs are just Mariners who took to the sky.

Now I might be just a lucky old Sky Jack who just happened to avoid the worst of them, but in my years I’ve shared drinks and an Illimat with more than a few Corsairs. They didn’t seem too different from your average Sky Jack to me. The largest difference probably being that they’re a bit more worn for their years. That and the stories.

If you ever get the fortune to sit at an Illimat with a Corsair you do yourself two favors: Don’t bet too much, and ask em for a story. Most Sky Jacks just get to go wherever the Red Feathers tell them, but Corsairs don’t have to go anywhere. They get to sail to places Red Feathers won’t even bother to chart. Some have even seen places that The Nations never even knew about. It’s not a popular opinion, but I’m fond of em.

Of course I never seen The Tempest. The first ship to be named a crew of corsairs.  But I know it’s real, and no matter what The Red Feathers tell you, I know she’s still out there, and even The Mariner might think twice about crossing swords with them.

I been around long enough to know that if someone tells you that any folk are monsters, they have a reason to do that what got nothing to do with their concern for your wellbeing. Even if The Red Feathers pay the checks that keep this belly fat they ain’t earned the right to tell me who’s a monster.

The only monsters on the Speir come from the sea. If you don’t remember any of my other stories, you’d do well to remember that.

Tales from Spéir: The Mariner

Long ago, when the stars shone in greater number than any could hope to count, the seasons came in sequence, and the sea was tame, the people of Spéir divided the earth into things called nations. Vast collections of cities that gave fealty to a few powerful rulers. Nations used the seas to make trade and war. They spread their power across Spéir to places no one has seen in a hundred years.

Then the stars fell, the seasons went feral, and the sea turned foul.

There are none alive today who remember the world before the fall, but we tell the stories of those who heard stories from those who did.

They say there is an island that makes its home in any place a sailor can no longer see land. It is made not form the bones of Spéir, the rocks and soil you and I call home. It is built from the bones of ships and dead men.

It calls to sailors, lost, hungry and homesick. It offers them the promise of firm ground, green grasses, and dry air. Some say it calls with songs. Whatever temptation a sailor needs to abandon their senses and change course from the Starwatcher’s chart. Most who see the island are drawn to crash upon its shores and rot away to join the rest of the bones that make up that foul place.

Those clever few who escape The Island’s call bear The Mariner’s Mark. A black spot upon their palm. Those foolish enough to return to sea after seeing The Island never return.

It was upon this cruel mockery of the land that The Mariner was born. It walks and talks like a creature of the land but do not be fooled The Mariner comes from the sea. Its blood is bryne, its flesh is foam, and its bones are the flotsam of 10,000 ships that met their end on that hateful island.

The Mariner is a prophet of dark revels. Calling men from the land to the waves. Today those who bear The Mariner’s Mark hear call. The lucky ones end their lives trying to drown out the voice. The rest slip into the sea. They join the legion of half-men who sail the endless sea and devour all the water can touch.

There are none alive that know what  The Mariner wants. We know it hates the land. We know it hates the sky. So when we see sails on the water, we close the gates, we bar the doors, and kiss the dirt that it might stay beneath our feet another day.

“Duet Musette”
Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Tales from Spéir: Sky Jacks

I can see you’re curious. Lucky for you this old Ariner has had more than enough drink needed to tell a tale.