Elfwood is the worlds largest SciFi & Fantasy community.
- 149155 members, 2 online now.
- 12903 site visitors the last 24 hours.
|Calidan the pirate. Thief, murderer, slaver and multiple rapist. The absolute worst kind of human being to walk the world or sail the seas. Join him on the voyage that ended his reign of terror abruptly, when he and the crew of his 'Viper' bit off more than they coud chew...||
I will tell you of terror, and rage.† It is a tale of rage that consumes all, for there is no rage that compares to that of one who has been powerless.† There is no rage that equals the one with a vendetta.† Let a curse fall upon those who terrorise others and create such rage in people.† †And let us hope that the gate keeper has mercy on their souls.† For no one else shall.
If you are brave enough to hear on, I will tell you this tale.† Fear not, gentle traveller.† For I am with you; a guiding hand through this tale.
I am going to tell you the tale of Calidan the Pirate. †A self proclaimed fearless man; a ruthless scourge on ships, and indeed life, for many years.† He ruled the waves through terror from his wooden throne atop his ship, the Viper.
His men were the blackest hearts at sea. I say they were men, but perhaps they were monsters; merely soulless beings who simply wore human skin.† I say again monsters.† They say that to look into the eyes of a crewman of the Viper was to stare at death.
Each man was a bloodthirsty killer, and an able seaman.† They each wore the mark of a Black Cobra with red eyes.† Some wore it on their hands, others their chests.† And some wore it on their face.† To see the mark of the Cobra was to see death.
In Calidan, the mark of the Cobra adorned his left cheek; the coils of its tail beside his nose, its long neck rising to his eye.† The hooded face of the serpent surrounded the eye, an open mouth appearing to grip it within its fangs.
The Viper preyed on merchant ships for many years, and the navies of the nations were never able to catch it.† Privateers, warships and sorcerers all failed to locate the ship; such was the power of terror that it created.†
However, history records that the reign of terror was to end abruptly, when the Viper was found by a warship, drifting out of a fog bank.† History records that there were no survivors found, not even bodies.† It was widely whispered there were signs of some kind of attack or struggle.† History records that since no warship claimed responsibility, or privateer claimed the bounty, then a rival must have slaughtered the crew and stolen the plunder of Calidan.
History is wrong.† There was a survivor found aboard ship.† This is that tale.
Calidan, as mentioned was a ruthless monster. †The Viper would mercilessly pursue merchants, privateers and even warships when the fancy took him.† None were exempt from his greed.† And whenever the Viper struck, swift as its namesake, ships were burned and crews murdered.†
That is not to say that people were never spared.† For slaves were quite lucrative to him.† And of course, his crew had needs.† Truly, those that died were the lucky ones.†
Those that did not die, and were not sold into the humiliation of slavery had a truly terrible fate to befall them.† The women, oh those poor women, were raped repeatedly by the crew.† And when they tired of them, they were branded.† A rod, whose head was fashioned into the shape of a Cobra, heated to white hot was placed on their flesh.† They were then tossed overboard, whether they lived through the branding or not.† Sometimes, they even reached shore alive to tell their tale of horror.† Sometimes, their bodies washed up on the shore with the men.
The men were treated equally badly, my friends.† Take heart, for evil such as Calidan is truly rare.† And for every one of him, there are one hundred good people who will always try and stop him.
The men were not raped.† They were starved, and hung from the yard arm.† It is said that Calidan kept an aviary aboard the Viper.† He filled it with crows.† When far out to sea, he would release his avian fiends and they would fly high looking for land.† When they did not find it, they would return; However, not before tormenting any poor unfortunate soul hanging above ship.
Few men were able to starve to death, and none survived the ordeal to be branded.† When their bodies wash ashore, I would say any man who could look upon such cruelty and not feel utter revulsion is a liar.
As our tale truly begins the Viper happened upon a merchant vessel, the Pride of Solland.† It was a standard merchant ship carrying spices and silks, preservatives and luxuries.† It was not unlike a thousand other such vessels that sail the seas.† It had a good captain, an honest crew and a good reputation.† These things made it a tempting hire for any traders; exactly the thing that made it a tempting target for Calidan, and his Cobras.
The Viper happened upon its unsuspecting prey one misty morning.† Calidan was an exceptional seaman; some say he was the equal of such legends as General Ezril, or Admiral Perinol.† To this day, no one is quite sure how he was able to flawlessly track ships through darkness and fog.† Perhaps he made pacts with devils?† We shall never know, I suspect.
When the Viper struck the Solland amidships, the crew of Solland initially thought they had run aground.† After all, who would ram a merchant vessel in fog?† Of course, their blissful ignorance was short lived.† Deathly quite sailors, wearing the mark of the Cobra swarmed over the railing of Solland.† It is said that their silence was more terrifying than that of bloodcurdling screams.† It was once even rumoured that Calidan cut the tongues of his sailors out, so that they could not speak.
Of course, this is nonsense, my ever attentive friends.† For some of Calidanís men worked not on his ship, but in port.† Though all started on the Viper at one time or another, his spies and agents were widespread; scaremongers for the dread captain.† And I daresay a missing tongue would mark them as inconspicuous.† And for those that he did not want as inconspicuous, a missing tongue could render them useless.
The silent sailors moved through the Solland, as venom flowing through a bloodstream.† The crew of the Pride of Solland valiantly defended their ship, and their captain to the dying breath.† And, die they did, sadly
When the killing was done, Calidan ordered the ship be searched for plunder.† No man was allowed any plunder except what he was given by their Captain.† No man dared to steal from Calidan, for his vengeance would be terrible.
The search for booty uncovered gold, spices and silk.† Luxuries that could all be traded to the hedonist residents of the Talwanese Kingdom.† Calidan is said to have smiled one of his rare smiles, a sight as terrifying as the open jaws of a shark.†
And then they found her.† She was the captainís daughter, hiding in the hold.† A girl in her middle teenage years; found cowering behind storage barrels as the Cobras of Calidan had murdered everyone she had ever known.
It is said that Calidan was immediately taken with the appearance of the girl, for it is said she truly was beautiful.† No record of her name survives, and only sketchy details about her appearance have been recorded.†
It was said she was tall, almost as tall as the brute Calidan.† Her hair was dark and lustrous, black as midnight on a moonless night.† Her eyes were green as the brightest emeralds, and her skin was pure and unblemished.† Calidan was smitten.
He immediately dragged her from her hiding place, and held her arm with one powerful hand.† Such was her fear, she hung limp from his grip.† Seeking to test his new playmate, he quickly divided the spoils amongst his men.† Calidan was many things; A pirate, a murderer, a slaver and a rapist.† His only virtue was his loyalty to his men.† Of course, friend, it did nothing to redeem his infamy.
Calidan dragged the young woman back to his cabin, bellowing orders to his officers.† He was not to be disturbed, unless the ship was sinking.† His men followed his orders without question.
Good friends, I will not sully your minds with the vile deeds done by Calidan.† Suffice it to say, he was no gentle lover.† He was a brute.† The girl whimpered, calling for him to stop.† He would not, such was his evil.
When Calidan was finished with his trophy, he left her tangled in his bunk.† She no longer whimpered.† She barely even breathed.† We know she was alive.† However, her mind was shattered by trauma at this point.† Her tale is truly tragic, friends.
Calidan cared not at all.† In fact, I venture to guess that he did not give the girl a second thought.† He thought of his ship, and his crew.† His thoughts took him to the next prize, for surely the Pride of Solland was long gone by now.† He strolled onto the main deck.† And he strolled into a nightmare.
The sky was black as midnight on a moonless night.† However, the clouds that blocked the guiding light of stars and moon looked odd.† There was a faint strange unearthly green glow about them.† It should not have been dark at this time!† And nothing he knew could make them glow the way they did.
Calidan looked about the deck.† He could see none of his crew.† He could hear none of his crew.† The ship did not roll with the sea.† The turbulent swell replaced with a sheet of black liquid, smooth as glass.† Not a sound could be heard.† Not even the wind.† What devilry was this?
The fearless pirate gazed left and right, trying to find what happened to his crew or indeed, what was going on.† The quiet invaded his system like a poison, slowly at first and then quicker.† He would never admit it, of course, but that numbing sensation brought on by the quiet was dread.
He heard movement from the prow.† Nothing moved on the prow.† No bird, no man and not even a shadow.†
Suddenly a man ran screaming from behind the foremast.† He was one of the missing crew.† He held out his right arm, and swatted it with his left.† Calidan could see movement.† A black cobra was coiled about the crewmanís arm darting toward his face.† The crewman screamed in terror, trying to beat the reptile away.
Calidan wasted no time.† He was at his crewman in a trice, his cutlass in hand.† He swung the keen blade in a vicious arc at the head of the cobra.†† The blade connected and the head of the reptile appeared to have been severed.† The crewman looked at him in horror, screaming even more.
The crewman drew a knife from his belt and lunged at him with it.† Calidan easily stopped the maniacal crewman with a backhand first, and then ran him through with the cutlass.† He looked at the falling body with no pity.
He decided that a search below decks may prove fruitful.† Lowering himself warily down the ladder, Calidan surveyed the belly of his Viper.† He found bodies everywhere; further crewmen lying with cutlasses and knives impaling them.† And every bladed weapon pierced a lighter patch of skin than around about.† It took Calidan a moment to realise the crewmenís tattoos were missing.
None of the men lived.† And then he heard the noise, a scraping sound from behind a barrel.† Of course he could not see anything in the dark below decks.
Imagine, my friends, a fearless man confronting terror for the first time ever?† Calidan professed to fear no man; However that did not make him brave, oh no.† The dread that had formed in the pit of his stomach was growing.† And all the while, the scratching sound became louder.††† And then he realised it was not getting louder.† Rather, it was no longer in just one place.† The noise, my friends, was everywhere.
When the first Black Cobra slithered out from its hiding place, Calidan discovered the virtue of retreat.† He clambered up the ladder to the main deck as fast as he could.†
And whilst the pirate had his back turned to the hold, another snake and then another and then another slithered from their hiding places.† Soon there were a dozen, and then a hundred or perhaps even a thousand reptiles flooding the hold.†
And they were not content to remain within the hold.† They coiled around the ladder and climbed onto the deck.† A thousand deadly vipers swamped the deck, and surrounded the pirate.† There was no escape for him.†
Calidan swung his cutlass a wide arc, trying to deter the snakes.† It was successful, for a time.† And then, it happened.† The snakes swarmed together into one great pile rising from the deck.††† At first the pile was shapeless, however it was soon apparent there was a design.† The pile took the shape of a human being; a female human being.
Snakes coiled and writhed in a mass, forming legs and torso, breasts and arms.† Even a vaguely human shaped head was formed, with many tails forming a black parody of hair.
Calidan looked at the creature in absolute horror.† Where its eyes should be were cobra heads.† Every finger had fangs and forked tongue.† And one snake reached from the mass at the gestaltís torso.† And it reached out toward Calidan.
Behind the entity the clouds were clearing.† Two green moons orbited overhead, casting a horrible glow over the entire ship.† It is said that Calidan did not know which of a thousand bites killed him.† Be it the grasping fingers or the reaching maw at his crotch; or perhaps it happened when his own tattoo rose from his face, scooping his eye out with it.† But die he did.
The warship Blackbird found the Viper adrift in an inky blackness in the middle of the ocean at high sun.† It was no mere happenstance encounter.† A powerful sorcerer of North Warden commanded the ship, and had detected an overwhelming release of magic in the area.† A sorcerer coming into their power could cause such a chaotic release, particularly if there had been some kind of traumatic trigger.† And he meant to find her.
And so they happened upon a wall of illusions.† The sorcerer called upon his own talents and banished the illusions, allowing the Blackbird to find the Viper.† Of course he recognised such an infamous ship.
They approached cautiously, but were never challenged.† They demanded the surrender of Calidan, which went unanswered, my friends.† The Blackbird pulled alongside, and the sorcerer boarded the Viper with soldiers.† And they found horror.
The crew had not disappeared as history records.† The crew were present for the most part.† And they had all died by their own hands, having stabbed and cut wherever the Black Cobra marked their skin.
Stuck to the main mast, with a cutlass thrust through his stomach and a dagger in his left eye was Calidan.† From a thousand cuts leaked his life blood.† Cuts he inflicted upon himself, it seems.† And the final act of a mad and dying man.† He had thrust another blade into his crotch.
It is said that the sorcerer, hardened by battle and wise to the world, vomited.† He searched the ship, finding more of the same horror.† These were the most bloodthirsty pirates to sail the seas, and they were torn apart by madness.
And I said they found a survivor, did I not?† They found the girl, gaunt and pale.† Dark hair matted to her head with sweat.† Exhaustion was evident across her face.††† The only thing that seemed alive was her eyes; Eyes that had seen such horror, and then visited it upon her tormentors.† Like I said, her tale is tragic.†
I feel weary now.† Leave me.† I will tell you another tale later.
|The Beggar Knight, A tale of the Aggoran Sages||Tales of The Wolf Guards, 'The Tale of Marcus Lightbringer' Part 2|
|Tales of the Wolf Guards, 'Way of the Wolf' Part 4||The Promise, A tale of the Aggoran Sages|
|The Tale of Ezril and the Rain Dancer, A tale of the Aggoran Sages||Tales of the Wolf Guards, 'The Tale of Marcus Lightbringer' Part 1|