Kal'kamar "the Sea Pig" Character in A Shattered Empire - Vardania | World Anvil
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Kal'kamar "the Sea Pig"

His people have called the sea their home for centuries by now. You really think a few boys that can't even steer a river boat can match that?
— Soleis Avitian, Vardanian General
  A mysterious, almost mythical figure that in ages past terrorized the waters of the Great Divide and led the Lost Children of Illigara into a much brighter future.  

Chaos Breeds Opportunity

  During the first half of the second millennium DA, the waters of the Great Divide were a veritable haven for people seeking a better future. The Century of Tears had seen great disruptions on the western continent of Scetia and drove tens of thousands of people out onto the Divide. Many of them hailed from the lands of Illigara and settled on islands off the coast of Vardania. In time, they became known as the Haragutai.  

A Leader Steps Forth

  Centuries of life on and of the sea made the Haragutai excellent sailors. As the 1200s dawned, scarcely a ship sailed on the Divide without a Haragutai crew. The potential for money and power was there. It only needed the right person to be used.  

Said person would come to haunt the mind of many a trader throughout the 1220s and 1230s. A series of audacious raids had seen hundreds of ships plundered in only a few years. Even fleets protected by military squadrons fell victim. And everywhere there was left only a single sign carved into the planks of the plundered ships, the Vardanian word "apis" meaning pig.

Kal'kamar, as the pirate was really called, had made use of a simple reality. Most ships on the Divide used Haragutai in their crews and usually didn't treat them well. A few carefully chosen words in the right ears opened many doors. It helped that the "Sea Pig", as he became known, was incredibly charismatic and knew what to promise. Some say that he was unusually well read for a pirate.

As the years went by, his appetite for plunder only grew. His raids and attacks grew in scale and audacity. In 1234 DA, his band intercepted a royal fleet from Ironwood and plundered it with Kal'kamar himself stealing the flower of the Princess Violie. Three years later, he even dared to attack the Eternal City itself, his men sacking the outskirts until the Imperial Army drove them away.
  Far more impressive than any raid was what he did for the Haragutai themselves, however. Driven from their old homeland, they had been scarcely more than a collection of clans and individuals trying to survive out at sea. Kal'kamar changed that. He gave them a figure to unite behind, a purpose beyond simply living as fishermen and merchants. He showed them that, if they wanted to, the Haragutai could own the Great Divide.  

Lasting Memory

  This sense of power and the organization he had given the Haragutai would long outlast the Sea Pig himself. Sometime between 1241 and 1243 his fleet was allegedly struck by a freak wave while anchoring near Vylon. Out of over six hundred crewmen, none survived. What remained were a much empowered people.   In 1257 DA, the First Tarquinnian Hegemony attempted to drive the Haragutai off its shores. In response the sea people raised a fleet of over a thousand ships and launched a campaign that devastated most of western Vardania. The Hegemony backed off and to this day the Haragutai thrive and prosper in the Western Provinces.   Although the picture modern people have off him is somewhat confused, what with thousands of years of myths having accumulated and many scholars even disputing his existence, there is no doubt that his spirit lives on. To this day, Haragutai sailors invoke his spirit when making the journey out onto the Divide, hoping that his strength and wit may assure them success wherever they go.  
It is quite improbable that any such individual ever existed. Most likely that the "Sea Pig" was an amalgamation of multiple Haragutai leaders of the period, merged later to create a sort of founding myth.
— Livius Mercalis, Archivar of Vylon
Circumstances of Death
Crushed by a Freak Wave.
Like a Pig   The name "Sea Pig" was not an invention of Kal'kamar. Rather it was his greatest enemy that created the epithet. Hasal Levrin, known as the richest trader of that age, was quoted as refusing to call the pirate by name, instead using the term "pig".   Having taken a liking to it, Kal'kamar began to leave the Vardanian word for "pig" on every ship he had plundered and styled himself the "Pig to rule the Sea". Likely in part to humiliate his enemies, who would have to admit to being "unable to even catch a pig".   More Myth than Man   As time went on, the stories about Kal'kamar became increasingly fantastical. Some say he stole the flowers of a hundred girls in a single night. Others that he beat a fleet of a hundred warships with just one of his own.   He lived on an unknown island in the middle of the Divide, surrounded by maelstroms. Once he dragged the titanic monster Scetia from her lair and let it go after growing bored of her. He could navigate the Dead Sea and sat on the Throne of the Eternal Emperors.   A thousand deeds and tales remain to this day. Some may have their origin in real events, which may or may not have involved Kal'kamar. But for a good majority it is safe to simply hold them as legend.  

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Cover image: by Greg Rutkowski


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