Nico "Black Eyes" Salvadore terrorised the seas for the best part of a decade. All desperate sailors and trade vessels would look over their shoulders as made their voyage in the hope they did not see his ship, The Retribution, bearing down on them. Then, one day, the greatest scourge to ever menace the high seas claimed one last victim before sailing into an almighty storm, never to be seen again.
In 9BCE (Before Cataclysm's End), just as the Cataclysm War was beginning, saw the end of the most successful pirate of all time. Nico Salvadore reportedly began his career as a pirate just eleven years earlier, the first recorded mention of Captain Salvadore appearing in 20BCE. He would go on to claim the seas in which he sailed as his own. In the early days, survivors would return to land with tales seemingly filled with exaggerations and were dismissed as such. They would talk of the very waters and winds they trusted turning against them as Salvadore's ship approached, winds disappearing and becalming them or the seas churning violently and becoming impossible to fight against as The Retribution carved through them without any problem. These were just fanciful tales told in an attempt to save their reputation, surely? This would only play into Captain Salvadore's hands, of course. Eventually, they learned to not underestimate him. However, even preparing to the possibility of being hunted by Salvadore would not save them. Reports started mounting up of a man, just a man, but with eyes of black (which would become his moniker), capable of literally turning the tides against his prey. Then, one day, after another successful attack on a merchant ship, the survivors clinging to what remained of their ship all claim to have witnessed the same thing. A huge storm, massive grey clouds and rumbles of thunder, seemingly appearing out of nowhere and The Retribution sailing straight into it and then, just as Salvadore's ship disappears into the maelstrom, the clouds dissipate and nothing is there. The estimated value of the plunder he claimed during the eleven years he operated in is higher than any others' in history, even those who had an entire life of piracy. There are also rumours of items of great power and/or value that ended up in his possession. As such, many a person has set off in search of Captain Salvadore's horde, but none have ever found it.
Nico Salvadore was definitively a real person, his name appears on the Brinewatch censuses of that time. His name disappears for the census that occurred during his supposed reign as a pirate. Whilst this is proof of his existence, a lot of other documentation around this time was lost in the terrible Cataclysm Wars that followed just a few years later. With no evidence to the contrary either, however, it is believed that Salvadore was indeed a force to be reckoned with and also that he did disappear when he reportedly did. It is still debated how accurate the stories about his disappearance are. However, should the stories be true, there is potentially a very large reward for anyone who can crack the mystery.
The story of The Retribution and it's bounty is known worldwide. Naturally, it is spoken of with more fervour in coastal locations such as Brinewatch and Oakharbor, though.
Variations & Mutation
As with any tale that has lasted many years, it has been subjected to slight variations in its retelling. Some say Salvadore was seven feet talls, others believe he was an actual demon. Some say he sailed with a massive fleet and some do not talk of a storm at all and instead he was swallowed by the sea itself. However, these are aberrations, told by fanciful folk. The generally accepted version is the one accounted in Ragga Roselight's book.
The story of Nico Salvadore is covered in two well known books: A History of Piracy by Ragga Roselight, and Myths of Aldenia by the Half-Elf historian, Isarilla Verde.
- Mikarl Yolassi has a painting that hangs in his dining hall, depicting Captain Salvadore at the helm of The Retribution.
- There is a song called 'Black Eyes', which recounts the tales of his successes and disappearance.