The Tale of Captain Gorifice Smoot and the Booty Snoot
Legend tells of a great sea captain who turned rogue and plundered the coasts and seas without check for years, but legend always likes to spice up all its stories, as you know, and every time it tells the one about that fish it's this big instead of this big, you know how it is. The name of Smoot's pirate fleet was constantly in flux, altered and augmented in every telling, but was always instantly identifiable by its very silly nature and by Smoot's loud and insistent declamations of its erroneousness echoing thunderously above the din of slaughter and mayhem at sea.
Captain Smoot, formerly an ensign on the very freighter which brought Fingerprick the Golden north from Criminea, had his first charge of duty aboard the Sporange in the seas between the Isles of Respite and Criminea to transport cartridges of biological specimens from the research outposts on the lesser-known Isles to the mainland and to supply those outposts. He made no secret that he thought his captaincy deserved greater import and prestige than carrying bits of plants and frogs, and so he went rogue. Asserting receipt of secret orders from his direct superior, Gorifice commanded his crew set heading for the Corkscrew Islands by the eastern route, and they began facing hostile opposition in ports along their way until an armed cruiser flying a Frochois flag fired upon the Sporange, shouting that they were repelling invaders. Smoot and his crew fought back bravely, eventually boarding and by guile utterly overtaking the enemy vessel, one Bette Poullon, and so equipped amended their former avoidance of conflict to openly welcoming the chance to fight. The crew began to lust for the plunder which new conquests afforded, and by the time the Bette Poullon came within sight of the Corkscrews, the only crewmen left were those completely at home in the role of corsair. The reputation of Smoot's ship, shortly augmented by conquests and volunteers to a small fleet, grew rapidly, and when they moved to the more dangerous and fruitful waters of Occalia and then back to the Isles, they were a force to be feared. It was rumored that Smoot had a bird which he could command to eat the wind in a ship's sails, and a dog or demon or consort whose snout, tentacles, or nose could smell treasure miles away (thus the name "Booty Snoot", the adoption of which a rare firsthand report avers that the Captain absolutely rejected, to no avail). Trade was constricted by fear of capture, and colonists began to suffer for want of marine supply. Finally a great fleet was banded at Shillingsford in the bay of Panagra, and a maritime host shortly scoured the seas for Smoot's corsairs. Smoot acted quickly, concealing his ships from first notice in an acute bay in one of the lesser-known Isles, and by cover of night made a daring blind escape to the west right through the blockade, whose attention was turned further east by the stratagem. From Cape Hope, before any fleet could be raised to waylay him, Smoot sailed north into the Interstitial in or about the year F.T. 2015. He then began his legendary reign in the Crotch. Legendary because the facts of the case seem to be insufficient to the story. See below. Anyhow, Smoot is credited with ransacking Peacetown, burning Watertown, robbing the mighty twin freighters Dependable and Adaptable in the same day, finding and then losing the Crossbow of Day, briefly holding the Pedunkle of Crowsand hostage, and burying the revered body of Twoom the Very Aged which he discovered on Otte Island. Smoot is said to have used his wind-eating bird to capture the last Crotchian Blue, Anathemax, and his Booty Snoot to root
ootout the Strelling Topf, an enigmatic and vague treasure whose mention in the story is itself enigmatic. He robbed Hanseltown and Westfort of everything, down to the bricks of their foundations, and then stole the bricks.
Though his success in the bays of Not Holbia seem to have been great, Smoot then inexplicably concluded his depredations in 2021, leaving his fleet to disband and his legend to persist and grow for all eternity. He reportedly disappeared in his smallest ship, sailing out of sight of his former companions with only a brief word of goodbye, and was never seen nor heard of again.
The events leading up to the capture of the Bette Poullon are documented in the diary of one Harry Armstrong-Pitt who fled the fighting for that vessel by jumping overboard and swimming into port. The fellow said that there was a curse or a madness which suddenly took his captain, and that his unwholesome ambition came from an unknown but certainly alien psychical influence other than just the man's own desire for glory and wealth. Beyond this point, the dates of raids are well-established, though virtually every instance of port or maritime violence for the next two years was attributed to Smoot's Booty Snoot's Scooty Sloops, the alliterative augmentations to which name seemed to mount ever greater and sillier the less actual firsthand evidence of a sighting was documented. Smoot's flight west and penetration of the Criminean screen is attested by the fact that one of his vessels, the Codependent, evidently ran aground during the blind flight in the dark. It was found abandoned the next morning by the mainland sailors. Further firm evidence of the date of Smoot's voyage to the Crotch is given by the fact that the fleet made a sequence of depredations along Panagra on their way to Cape Hope. The story starts to shed verissimilitude upon Smoot's arrival in The Crotch. The documents and stories no longer line up much if at all, and there's absolutely no basis for some of the claims of Smoots actions there. Further, the few actual events known to involve the Booty Snoot Troop seem to result in non-combat or some sort of almost comical relief of tensions or flight of the corsairs from the scene. See Apocrypha, below.
Certain sightings of Smooty's Rooty Tooty Loopy Sloop Troop are absolutely confirmed to have occurred in The Crotch up until 2021 which are not related in any of the popular tellings of Smoot's tale, even in a highly derived state. It seems that these records somehow were never attached to the idea of Smoot, that they fell away from the story such that only scholars remember them. This enigmatic omission is doubly strange because the majority of Smoot's alleged activities have absolutely no basis in period reports or else conflict outright with trusted records from the period. Some of these anomalies will be recorded below.
- No record of anyplace called Peacetown, nor can any stretch of the imagination propose a way by which a Bloodmarsh town could have ever got such a name.
- Watertown, now abandoned and lost, was a Locathah village. It's unclear whether it was at the bottom of the Red Bay or the Bay of Bones. It's also unclear why this part of the legend persists.
- The Dependable and Adaptable were indeed waylaid in the same day, but the cargoes were not badly diminished by their contact. The Dependable, even boarded and held at anchor, was released when Smoot discovered his long-lost childhood friend, Blaety Blowhole, to be the first mate thereupon. A little gold, a bottle of wine, and several choice cigars where the only losses to the crew. On the other hand, when the Adaptable was finally at bay, but then an albatross crashed into Smoot's first mate, who dropped his scimitar and wounded the captain. In the baffled silence that followed, the VIP guest of the Adaptable emerged from his cabins, and he turned out to be PLS14R bearing the legendary Orthops of Kourn, and the spirit of the corsairs was broken. They fled with only small loot, leaving totally untouched the valuable shipment of saffron and Felip's salts.
- Smoot might have actually found the Crossbow of Day, which was reported by the wizard and diarist Crosswise Sarah to have been moved to dockside storage in the correct year and subsequently stolen. However, as any scholar of the Crossbow will know, it was not fired. It has been traced to the Sutyr region by about 2019. Either Smoot never took it, or, coming into possession of this terrible object, never thought it wise to attempt its employment.
- Holding the Pedunkle of Crowsand hostage is actually impossible, as the respected potentate was sighted every day in public throughout Smoot's career. However, the other chanters of Crowsand dress almost identically, distinguishable only by voice and personal habits, and so it's quite probable that, by sheer happenstance, Smoot mistakenly captured an understudy who filled in for the Pedunkle at the Spinning Hour on the exact day of Smoot's raid on the Island of Bodies, and never realized or admitted his mistake when boasting.
- Twoom the Very Aged died on Otte Island according to his Magnificent Flying Diary, but the full story of his burial is only related third hand from the Captain's mouth. He did find the body, and, toting it aboard to attempt to identify it and preserve any of its effects for economic reintroduction. However, having discovered nothing but a long beard and a tattered tunic on the corpse, he returned it to the shore with a few shovels of sand to discourage gulls. On his way away from the island, three of his ships developed Coastal Exploding Syndrome (CES).
- Anathemax, last of the blue dragons sighted, did indeed disappear during the correct period. While Smoot did commence to claim privviness to lore deeper than mortal ken from his interrogations, it is unlikely that the source thereof was actually the wayward dragon. It is suspected by scholars and the Ghurduun that Anathemax, being noted for his relative caution (cowardice), fled the Crotch as a late response to the turn of the tides during the War of Cons and Souls.
- Nobody knows what a Strelling Topf is, nor what's so good about one. Is there only one? Is it always strelling, or is that a transient state? Can one eat a topf? The world may never know, and the story tellers certainly don't, whatever they fabricate to answer the kiddies.
- Hanseltown was actually just renamed to Heathtown, and Westfort he raided but left almost unharmed, having by accident missed the one locked building where was sequestered all valuable materiel stored at the fort. The place was razed by dragonfire a month later, is all.
Date of First Recording
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