Raiders of Śaba
We thought it another creature of the Abyss at first, right before the quarrel hit Sangeh. I've never seen a fish use a crossbow before, but I couldn't figure out how the pirates had gotten that thing to float.The Raiders of Śaba are a vicious gang of pirates and murderers that prowl the Abyss on a craft made from the corpse of some massive leviathan. Much of its flesh have long since rotted away and been replaced with planks of hattick, plates of metal and carapace, but its bones still serve well as the frame. Much larger than any boat fielded by the city-state of Dūbavum, the pirates force the carcass to move by means unknown to seek plunder and pillage across the Abyss.
No matter what votes are cast and goals decided, whatever power it is that enabled the corpse-ship to move where they want can make or break any decision.Beneath even the common crew are the juniors. Apprentice pirates, fresh boots on the boat, these unfortunate souls suffer the burden of the worst jobs of the ship with the fewest reward. There is no set period for when a junior can ascend to join the crew at full, but such a promotion usually comes at their first bloody encounter or other accomplishment. Beneath even those are the captives that the Raiders take during their bloody raids. While no active abuse is meted out upon the captives (at least not most of the time), they can expect little in the way of comforts or food. They are kept in the lowest bowels of the ship until their ransom is paid.
No one is quite sure how the Raiders began or who it was who first found the corpse of the great beast, nor what madness gripped them that saw it turned into a vessel. The first raid telling of a great beast carrying pirates came a decade or so earlier, devastating the village of Śaba and giving the pirates their name. Since then, the raiders have grown in boldness and infamy, even raiding the Old City in Dūbavum before it sunk beneath the waves. This act brought them the animosity of the Dūbavian Rangers and a dawning realization around the Abyss that there were no place truly safe from the Raiders of Śaba
Infamy and AweAs the rotting hulk of a once might leviathan breaks through the mist and smashes into the dock, its maw locked in a hideous hungry grin and its dead eyes frozen forward, one can forgive the stories that tend to follow. Across the Abyss and in Dūbavum in particular, tales the raiders are spoken in hushed tones. "They are devils from the deepest reach of the Abyss" or "the corpses of the dead, infested by malevolent fish out for revenge for all the nets and fishing lines" are popular myths that revolve around the raiders, particularly among those who have never actually suffered a raid. In theatre and plays, the pirates are played up as inhuman creatures of blasphemous intent and temperament.
The popular image of a Raider in theater playsThe raiders encourage this belief. They beat drums and light fires behind the hollow eyes of the leviathan, blowing horns that echo in the caverns. The more terrified their victims, the more likely they are to simply hand their goods over without a fight and despite their depiction in myth, such a bloodless resolution is very much what the raiders would prefer.
An actual raider of Śaba
The Captive PoorSome captives have no relatives or friends capable (or willing) of paying the ransom required to see them freed. These unfortunate souls languish in the prison-hold until such a time that the Raiders see there is little reason to keep them and are usually just dumped on the first shore the pirates come across.
Joining the CrewThe raiders do not all spend their entire life on the ship. Many go ashore in smaller crafts and spread out to a number of villages and settlements to enjoy the benefits their plunder or resupply their comrades. It is during trips like these when fresh raiders are brought back to the ships. There is no one method sanctioned by the crew with which to draw new members, but is left to the crews discretion if they run into someone they think has what it takes. There is one rule: the recruit must come of their own accord, without compromise. This has less to do with empathy and more to do with fear of treachery from coerced, unwilling crew seeking escape.
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