The young man's voice was faint, nothing but back noise compared to the raucous sounds in the tavern. Drunken sailors and merchants were full of merriment, and deep into their cups of ales and wines, drinking to their heart's content. Somewhere a group of them were singing a drunken version of A Different Kind of Fish, the ribald chantey popular with sea farers. And yet, even under the laughing in jesting, beneath the verses of the overboard sailor and the mermaid, He could still hear the young man's voice as he went through the tavern.
“Are you going to Effugios?” The young man had asked, the desperation as clear as day in his voice. “I have coin. Please, I need to get to Effugios...”
He sat in the back of the tavern, not very far from a rear exit. The dark, scarlet hood of his cloak was pulled over his head, the shadows hiding the features of his face. Only the orange glow of his pipe provided the only shed of illumination upon his face from time to time. It would do no good for Warrek Vollos to be discovered, particularly there in Pastoria with a hefty bounty upon his head. Only by the grace of greed and corruption did he manage to remain undetected while he conducted business there.
“Boy...” He growled out to the lad when he came close enough. The young man turned, searching at first for a friendly face, until his eyes laid upon the cloaked figure alone at the table.
He swallowed hard as he approached the table, his hands wringing themselves across his limber frame. “Are you going to Effugios?” He had asked, nervous and timid. It was of no surprise. Merely mentioning the name if the isle was enough to get some flogged.
For a moment, Warrek said nothing, taking a long drag of the weed that burned in his long pipe. “Mayhaps.” He said after a pause, eyeing up the young man in front of him. “What's it to you?”
Another hard swallow. The boy was nervous. He had a right to be, considering some of the stories he had heard. The Gold Throne was beginning to see reason, and the dangers such a place like Effugios could pose to their ignorant little bubble. Floggings just for asking for passage were just the tip of the iceberg, the beginning of a tightening. The boy reached into his pocket, pulling out a small, leather pouch he promptly placed upon the table Warrek occupied.
“I need to get away...” He had said. A cautious look around, glancing for eavesdroppers, for snitches and rats. “The Lord says I did something I did not do.”
From the moment he placed the small bag upon the table, Warrek knew the boy didn't have enough. Passage to the isle was never cheap, a voyage often troubled by storms, pirates, and slavers. Taking on a wanted individual, even aboard a ship run by wanted criminals and slaves, was always a risky venture. Still... That did not stop the pirate from taking the pouch to open it and examine it's contents. Only a few gold pieces, Rubars, or Kings as he and many called them, could be seen in the glow of the candle light, surrounded by silver and coppers of lesser value. Enough to buy some new boots and a few rounds, but to buy passage on a ship? His ship?
“What did you do?” He asked. When he noticed the young man about to speak, about to protest, Warrek held his hand up. “Apologies. What is it that you're accused of doing?”
The boy looked upset, displeased by remark, but at least he seemed to have the sense to bite his tongue. “They said I killed the Lord of Green Hall's son!” He said in a harsh whisper, looking around, nervous, afraid of being overheard. “I didn't do it, I swear... We were playing with swords, that's all!”
Warrek's ears perked up as he heard the young man's alleged crimes. “And you wish for me to risk my neck for this?” He said, pointing with the long end of his pipe to the bag of coin that still remained sitting upon the table. “Killing a lord's son... Greenhall, none the less... If they'd so much as catch wind you were on my ship, they'd send every vessel they had to take you captive, and hang me for the trouble.”
“Please...” The young man said as he pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. There was no mistaking the desperation in his voice. This would be his last and only chance, the only one, perhaps in all of the pubs and inns along Summer Harbor, that would listen to him. “I need to get there. I can't die... Please. I'll do anything...”
Warrek's eyes appraised the lad from under the hood, sizing him up as he took a long drag of the pipe. “And what were you planning to do on the island?”
The lad was lost for a moment. It was clear he hadn't thought so far ahead. All that had mattered was getting away from Pastoria, out of the reach of the angry, vengeful lord and all those at his command. “I've been working as a tanner along with my father.” He suggest. “Maybe I could set up my own establishment there. I could make boots and cloaks.”
A grin of amusement was just visible from under the hood at hearing the boy's remarks. He'll be whoring himself out within a week, if he's strong enough to last that long... Warrek thought to himself as he placed his pipe down upon the table, fingers covered in various rings reached out to pull the flagon of ale to his lips. “What do you know of Effugios?”
On this topic, the boy did not hesitate to respond. “It's an island... A free nation, for people trying to escape their past, to live their lives as they wish and please...”
The grin softened into a smirk of knowing. He said nothing as the boy went on, full of idealistic dreams and visions of a place he had never seen. If only it were that easy, to go and create a new life... Some were lucky, like himself, to make something out of themselves there, to rise to the top. Others were not so fortunate, living off in the jungles, struggling to survive a life they had not prepared for. If they were pretty and attractive enough, some made a living selling their own bodies. If they were talented enough, some could sell their own goods, whether of their own creation or stolen.
It was not an easy place. A den of thieves, whores, cut throats, and undesirables. Many could not wait to leave the island, dreaming of home and comforts that were difficult to find on an island ruled not by a King or Clan or the Richest, but by the people, for the people. People. The most dangerous and often most cruel of beasts in the world.
“It looks like I'm going to get myself a new pair of boots.” Warrek said casually as he took a draining sip of his flagon of ale.
The young man looked astonished, amazed. “You'll take me? You'll take me to Effugios?” He asked as Warrek rose to his feet, putting the pipe back into his mouth before seizing the pitiful bag of coins.
“Wait here. I have some business to attend to, and it would do no good to have you around.” Warrek commanded, giving the room a look around before turning his attention back to the young man. “What's your name? Your full name. If we're doing business, I want to know who I'm doing business with.”
“Darek.” The young man stated. “Darek Longbrook.”
“Darek Longbrook.” Warrek repeated, committing the name to memory. “Wait here. Talk to no one, tell no one about me, and I shall be back within the hour.”
True to his word, Warrek returned less than an hour later, yet he was not alone. From across the street, he watched as the young man named Darek Longbrook was pulled out of the tavern, dragged out by the armed men in plated armor of the Harbor Watch.
“We had a bird about him just a few days ago.” The commander of the Harbor Watch said as he stood next to Warrek. “I guess they were right about him trying to flee the country.”
“I guess they were...” Warrek said, holding out his hand.
The Harbor Watch commander made a grudging groan as he reached into the side of his pocket, pulling out a larger, hefty sack of coins that was incomparable to the one he had taken from the man named Darek. “I took my cut, Vollos.” The man said as he placed the bag in the hands of Warrek. “You better leave soon. Not all of the gold you can muster will be able to buy you protection when Lord Crake comes down from Summer Tower to look at the wretched fool.”
Warrek smiled as he placed the bag into his pocket, next to the already seized pouch of coins the boy had tried to buy him with. “I plan on sailing tonight.” He said as he began to walk way, up the streets in the dead of the cold, rainy night. “I have to see a man about a new pair of boots first.”
The Free and Independent Nation of Effugios
- Currency: There is no set money standard for Effugios. The main currency of Pastoria (Rubars, coins featuring the likeness of the former, legendary king of Pastoria, Rubar) and Malum (Mokars, coins of a dark metal featuring the image of a dragon's head) are the more prevalent in terms of currency, and the most accepted. Some coins of lesser kingdoms and places are accepted in some establishments, but that is uncommon.
- Weather: Tropical weather dominates the island. Mostly hot or warm year round. There have been hurricanes in the area from time to time.
- Religion: Effugios is a mixing pot of various religions from all around the world. There are fire worshipers who pray for the guiding light in life to lift them up and guide them. There are water worshipers, who pray for calm seas or plentiful rains to help nourish crops. Some worship Women, for the life they bring into the world. Some worship Men, for the power and strength they bring into the world. Exiles and merchants bring with them their religions from around the world.
- Governing: Largely a free and democratic nation, Effugios is ruled by a democratically elected council. The Council of Three is a democratically elected group. One seat is held by a captain, elected from the captains and crews of the various ship who call Effugios home The second seat is held by sellsword, elected from the various companies of sellswords. The third and final seat is elected from the various people in Effugios (i.e. merchants, exiles, etc).
- Men VS. Women: Effugios is primarily a patriarchal society. Men hold office and make the majority of the decisions. Women can be elected captains or commanders of their own ships or sellsword companies, however, are prohibited from taking a council seat. Some of the inhabitants look at women as good for nothing but breeding, cooking, and pleasure, while some are more open minded than that. It can be extremely difficult for a woman to gain the respect of her soldiers or crew, as most will be mocked by some of the more closed-minded for following a woman's command. Some have earned the respect of her crews and others, whether by sheer brutality in battle, or by buying her crew from one of the island's slave markets.
- Slavery: Despite having the word Free in it's official title, The Free and Independent Nation of Effugios is not free for some. One of the most profitable businesses on the island, the slave markets of Effugios has become a magnet for those looking to buy and sell human cargo. No man, woman, or child may forcibly be taken into bondage if they are citizens of Effugios. Some citizens have been known to be willing slaves, whether to find food and shelter, or because their God commands them to live their life in servitude, or in the hopes of being taken far away from the island. Raiders and Slavers who raid fishing villages and other islands often go to Effugios to make a profit on their bounty.
- Commerce: Commerce in Effugios keeps the island going. While the island is home to a great many religions, there is one above all that nearly all Effugiosi worship: money. Slavery is one of the more profitable ventures on the island, with prostitution a close second with the number of brothels and pleasure gardens. Many pirate ships come in to offload their booty and sell it to merchants, who in turn sell it in the markets of Pastoria and other nations and kingdoms.
- Magic: Magic is slowly dying from the world. The most magic people born with it can do is simple things, mostly along the lines of telekenisis. Moving things with their mind. Making things moderately weighted things levitate. Etc.
The Free and Independent Nation of Effugios
From the halls of the Great Castle of Pastoria, to the darkest dungeons of Malum, the repute of Effugios has never been questioned.
Among the nobility and common folk alike of the rich, vast lands of Pastoria, the island of Effugios is often thought of with distaste and disgust. Even along the dark lands of Malum, where all sorts of evil and dark beings reign supreme, where it is said that dragons and dark magic still rule the land, the isle of Effugios is seen as a scourge upon the Earth.
Established as a safe haven for exiles and pirates, the island had grown to become it's own independent and free kingdom. Although not recognized by either of the two major kingdoms, the isle to them nothing more than a nest of criminals and exiles, the island has fought off and defended it's proud and happy island with steel and fire. It has become a nation ruled by the people, recognizing no king or queen as their liege, a democracy in a sea of royalty.Projected Story Launch Date:
September - October 2014Who will be GM:
Myself and Black Howling for the present time.Who can join:
Anyone!What kind of game this is:
A sandbox type story, set on the island of Effugios. There will be GM events, such as raids and attacks by other nations, hurricanes, wild fires, animal attacks (realistic and mythical/fantasy creatures). Participants are encouraged to submit their ideas for island-wide events, as well as starting their own events.Character Types Allowed:
For now, only humans, including non-magical and magical. Others, such as vampires, weres, elves, dwarfs, etc., may be added later.Character Limits:
For now, the limit is going to be set at four per writer. That can, and probably will, be expanded, depending upon interest and demand.Magic:
For story purposes, I will only allow small-scale magic. No altering of the weather. No parting of the seas. No huge, elaborate fire monsters/pyromancy, etc. Think more along the lines of telekinesis, in that if you choose to do magic with your character, they will only be able to do things like moving smaller to moderate things, making things like glasses and vases break and shatter, etc. Magic is something that will be regulated and monitored by the GM(s).Weaponry:
Hand to hand weapons (i.e. swords, axes, bow-and-arrow, spears), explosives (i.e. Molotov cocktails, oil and burning pitch). Ship Weapons include scorpions, catapults, explosives, rams, cannon, etc. Firearms will be limited to cannon and pistols/flintlocks. Just keep in mind that pistols tend to be inaccurate, with a short range, and take some time to load.Technology:
Medieval / Roman Era technology, with some firearms.Sociology:
The community is decidedly sexist. Women can hold the title of captain aboard a ship, or hold rank and command over sell swords, but it can be difficult to achieve respect and command over others. To many of the men on the island, women are good for breeding, cooking, and pleasure. Not all men believe that, some have seen and believe women are no worse (and at times, no better) than men. More on sociology will be explained in Island Information post.Extreme Category:
This story will be placed within the extreme category. In doing so, I feel that it allows others to have the freedom to do what they please (within the rules of the site) in the story with their characters. If you have issue with that, I would ask that you please mind the warning/rating section of the header.Just the Island and Surrounding Waters:
If there is a large demand, and a large group base, the story could very well be expanded to include other areas, such as the other kingdoms. This is a world scale type story, and for now it is going to be focused on the island of Effugios until there is a significant need for it to be expanded beyond the surrounding waters.
That being said, the island is going to be quite large and expansive. There are hundreds of acres of jungle, caves and coves, a few
cays and small islands, a mountain (that may or may not be a volcano), old forts and abandoned castles, etc.Sex and Naughty Bits:
If it happens, it happens. This isn't going to be some GM directed orgy where everyone just gets drunk on rum and heads to the beach for a mandatory orgy. If sex happens, it happens, and will be allowed. Again, if you have a problem with seeing descriptive sexual scenes, please pay attention to headers, namely the warnings/rating field.Inspirations:
A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones, Black Sails, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, A Rouge's Fortune
Credit to Black Howling for helping devise the titleInterested in joining up? We're always looking for new recruits! Read the Game Info thread, place a face claim either here, or in the OOC thread, and get started on a character sheet! When you're done, just submit it to both Black Howling and myself, and we'll get back to you!