A Pirate's Life
- All who lack courage are free to leave this ship for solid earth. There is no glory or honor in this battle, and it will rage on until you have gained or lost all you have ever desired.
- Yet I have faith that even without our king, you shall achieve honor through your companions. Even should you end up in an early grave, your friends will pass on the tales of your glory until time's end. - Notes from an address by the corsair Luzaf
The valiant corsairs were once the scourge of the Near Eastern seas. Attired in a dignified frac and tricorne, and wielding the distinctive six-barreled weapon known as a "hexagun," any descendant of the legendary pirates is an impressive sight. Despite the positive whisperings of the corsairs’ actions and ideals in the streets of Al Zahbi, the Imperial Army seeks the corsairs' arrest on charges of insurrection. What tragic events lie in their past? And what secrets hide within the lighthearted games they play?
A Tragic Past
Early Corsairs & the Black Coffin
- The Black Coffin'...a ship aptly named.
- Tis often said that numbers and strength will win a war.
- So how could a single vessel have sent our invincible fleet to the bottom of the sea? Its dark name speaks true... The ship has become our coffin. -From the memoirs of a Battle of Arrapago veteran
Around 200 years ago, there was a nation in the Near East that flourished through the strength of its navy. This kingdom was called the Kingdom of Ephramad. The Empire of Aht Urhgan engaged in several disputes with the kingdom over territorial waters. Eventually, the Empire forged an alliance with the Mamool Ja Savagelands and invaded the Kingdom of Ephramad, which fell in a mere eight days.
The kingdom's prince, Luzaf, received the news of his nation's demise on the return trip from his studies in Bastok. He immediately changed course to the Arrapago Islands, where he established a provisional government. Rallying the remnants of Ephramad's fleet, he began ardently harrowing the Aht Urhgan Empire using guerilla warfare. Thus were the corsairs born. Luzaf took his graceful ship, the "Ebony Queen," and remodeled it for war, renaming it the "Black Coffin." Luzaf then continued his campaign against the Empire as the corsairs' captain.
The Empire suffered so many defeats to the elusive corsairs that she nearly lost jurisdiction over the sea. However, the situation was reversed when the Imperial Army discovered the corsairs' location. The army devised a plan to gather the corsairs at their home port and destroy them in a trap. The plan succeeded, and the fight raged on until only the Black Coffin was left. Luzaf and his crew are recorded to have fought valiantly despite the overwhelming odds, but ultimately went down with his ship into a watery grave.
Many of the surviving corsairs refused to acknowledge the death of Luzaf, and carried on the rebellion against the Empire in smaller groups. Even today, their proud descendants are still continuing the battle against the Imperial Army.
A Risky Game
Illustration by Mitsuhiro Arita
- Battle is much like a game. You must know your enemy, formulate a strategy, and then pray to the gods of providence. The only difference is that on the battlefield, you're wagering your life. It's one game where folding is not an option. - Last words of Ironclaw Safharg after his capture (792-837)
Games play an indispensable role in the lives of the corsairs, who use games to break the monotony of everyday life, to raise capital, and occasionally to solve disputes between crew members.
This preoccupation led the corsairs to discover ways to use the principles of games in battle, and techniques like "Phantom Roll" and "Quick Draw" were devised. "Phantom Roll" utilizes dice to control the luck of one's companions, while "Quick Draw" allows the corsair to strike the enemy with a card that contains elemental power. Perhaps the corsairs' fascination with such battle games reflects the precariousness inherent to their own lives, which are often spent one step ahead of the reaper.
Only those who possess an iron resolve and innate luck for weathering great risks have the necessary qualities to walk the path of one who wages his own life for justice--the corsair.