The Corsairs


Overview

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The raiders and reavers who have long troubled the western coast of Eikeren, the Corsairs call themselves the Waverunner. They are expert sailors and fierce fighters, having forced Rhaedan and Taniford to set aside their differences or risk being overrun in 1297 when they attacked in force.

They sail in tight-knit crews of 20-50, each one crewing a longship, and supported by 100-200 civilians and slaves back in their lands to the west. The captain of their longship is also the chieftain of their crew, but only for so long as he or she remains unchallenged. Any member of the crew may challenge the chieftain at any time — except during battle or during a storm, when unquestioned leadership is needed.

Their raiding ways, lack of any noble class, and other unpleasant habits makes most Eikerenin view the Corsairs as barbarians, and the feeling is definitely mutual.

History & Culture

The meritocracy of the Corsairs ensures that the wisest, most brutal, or most charismatic leaders gather multiple crews to their command, forming formidable raiding parties or even large enough groups to wage war — against one another or even against larger enemies such as Eikeren entire.

Such was the case in 1297, when hundreds of longships came ashore all along the west coast. They were led by a cunning woman who commanded under the sign of crossed axes. Although her name was never discovered, it is said that she was killed in the midst of the war, and that her husband fought the necessary challenges to take over leadership of the Corsairs after her death. It was only after his death in late 1326 that the alliance of crews fell apart, and the Corsairs were driven back to their ships.

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At the start of the war, the Corsairs would send forth a champion, who would revile and curse whichever champion the Eikerenin would send forth, and then face them in single combat. Oddly enough, if the Corsair champion was defeated, at least early in the war, the Corsairs would retreat, giving up the field of battle. As the war dragged on, however, while they still fought the challenge of champions, they ceased to retreat if they lost, fighting instead to the end and beyond.

Corsairs have never held with any difference between Rhaedan and Taniford — they're all dishonorable Eikerenin to the Corsairs.

There are rumors that the Corsairs wield power over the air, sea, and the mists between, changing wind and tide to suit them, and calling up mists to hide their approach and retreat. Most scoff at such tales, for Stilltha and Altheara command air and water, but the captains of ships along the western coast have been known to turn and go around an approaching fog bank.

Customs

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The Challenge

If a chieftain is challenged, whomever wins the challenge becomes the chieftain. The old chieftain either follows the commands of the new, is killed during the challenge, or goes into exile in another crew. These challenges can be martial, mental, or any other sort, and are decided upon by the majority vote of the warriors of the crew.

Skalds

The Corsairs have no written language, but instead pass down the history of their people through oral traditions. The keepers of these histories are the skalds, advisors of their chieftains. The apprentices of the skalds are chosen through their own sets of challenges, but those challenges are chosen by the skald, and are never to the death.

Slavery

Slaves of the Corsairs are taken in raids or in battle. Both men and women are taken back to their lands and made to do whatever labor the Corsairs see as beneath them. The children of these slaves, however, are raised communally with the Corsairs' own children, and when they reach adulthood, become Corsairs themselves. In this way, the Corsairs continue to take in new blood, but also need to continually raid to take in new slaves.

Equality

Every Corsair is considered equal to all others, with only chieftains standing above, and then only until they are challenged. Men and women are treated equally, and either can become a chieftain.

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Wanted

Corsairs are currently not open for application.

Political Relations

thumbnail.jpg The Kingdom of Taniford: All of these Eikerenin are the same. They talk of honor, but they would not understand the concept if it bit them on the nose.
thumbnail.jpg The Kingdom of Rhaedan: All of these Eikerenin are the same. They talk of honor, but they would not understand the concept if it bit them on the nose.
thumbnail.jpg House Riedel of Brivey: Their knights are swift, and their archers skilled, but these low sheep never sent their full weight against us.
thumbnail.jpg House Varghem of Wolveshire: Brave and fierce, these wolves are still dishonorable cretins.
thumbnail.jpg House Lohstren of Estermarch: Their horses cannot hurt us if we stay together, but if caught alone, they are to be feared.
thumbnail.jpg House Auldholme of Malgrave: Their iron men do not bend, it's always easier to go around these dishonorable Eikerenin.
thumbnail.jpg House Westmark of Sipdon Tower: These are the worst of the bad lot. They have no concept of honor or bravery, always striking in the shadows. Luckily, their ships burn as bright as any.
thumbnail.jpg House Sollinger of Tharnham: Their ships are among the few who can threaten our own at sea, but they are not born to the water as we are.
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