Queen of the Pirates Myth in Erisdaire | World Anvil

Queen of the Pirates

"Of course she's a myth, a legend told about the Age of Bloody Seas by romantics who weren't alive in those years and pine for ideas of freedom and adventure. With a healthy dose of anger against authority, of course. The Queen of the Pirates, the Dread Captain, the Fleet of Black Sails, all of these things have no basis in fact. But of course, don't try to disabuse the common rabble of their dreams and delusions - you might as well order the wind not to blow."
— Lord Carron Marseine

The Age of Bloody Seas is an era often talked about with myth and legend, one of the periods where the Empire hadn't constructed or trained a naval force while other smaller kingdoms had grown wealthy off trade and exploiting distant lands for profitable goods. Piracy is a grave and very messy crime in reality, but in legends it is held as a noble pursuit against corrupt merchants or kings. There are many stories which are told, but one which endures and stands above the rest of the collection of such is that of Loanna Penderos, the Queen of the Pirates.


Loanna Penderos was a very charismatic and capable young woman who grew up among the various pirate crews which prowled the Greater Seas. When time and chance permitted, she challenged the captain of a ship for command and won using a simple knife and patience to outlast her boisterous and older opponent. From there, she steadily grew more fearsome to the merchant vessels and beloved by pirates for a tough but fair handling of her crew. She eventually drew many crews together and raised a citadel on an island far in the east which became known as Pirate's Landing. There she built a throne out of pieces of rivals' ships and called it the Flotsam Throne, and declared herself the Queen of Pirates. She ruled the island, bringing it almost to the point of becoming its own nation - the only reason it never became one was due to the personalized nature of her power and the capricious nature of pirates.
Legends are told with various pieces, and there are many hundreds of lesser stories woven through the myth. It is said she ruled for almost thirty years, and a dominant coastal nation called Sargasse tried to hunt her down with its navy. In turn she baited the ships repeatedly into ambushes and ransomed back their sailors for gold. This leads into various versions of the legend telling of uncountable amounts of wealth held at Pirate's Landing during this period.
But all things must end. According to the legend, the Dread Queen was brought low in her lair by divine wrath. A lesser pirate queen strode into the hall unaccompanied and fearlessly demanded a duel over having her activities interfered with. Loanna laughed and derisively declared if she lost to a nobody like this she would quit altogether. However, once the dueling blades were brought it was apparent the stranger was not what she seemed as a strong wind blew out the torches and candles, leaving only a few lanterns lit. She revealed herself as a handmaiden of Lorelei the Sea Witch, by the name of Ratanna, arriving because of an invocation in Her name by one of the victims of Loanna. The duel was practically a farce, with no blows landing and Loanna soon pinned under a boot and ordered to surrender and own up to her oath. When the pirate queen refused, Ratanna severed a hand and asked again. With a second refusal, the demigoddess claimed a left eye and offered one final chance to surrender. Anger, spite, and rage drove Loanna to screech she would never bow when a duel was called under false pretenses. Another gale of wind shattered the lantern glass, and shook the hall as dark storms rolled outside. In the deep darkness which fell, one lightning strike illuminated a sudden flash of a blade. When a light was fetched, the body of the pirate queen was left pinned by the thin sword to the Flotsam Throne without the head.

Historical Basis

It's difficult for historians to precisely nail down which parts of the myth are truth, or have a basis in reality. Divination magic has been used, but due to the nature of such spells there is often much which needs to be interpreted rather than recorded as absolute fact. However, there are enough truths to bring up which suggest there is a nugget of truth amidst the piles of mythological "truths" which are spoken of. Lord Marseine of Sancoral, one of the major coastal ports, has made it a personal project to investigate the legends and myths, often paying adventurers well for recovery of objects which can help shed light on the Age of Bloody Seas. But that is only the reason there is any knowledge of the Dread Queen and Pirate's Landing, let alone hints such a place may actually exist.
There is indeed a Penderos family which is known for being mariners by trade and tradition, but research has shown the surname may have been attached at some point as an acknowledgement of such a long tradition of service to the sea. The symbol of the Dread Queen, a coin being cut in half by a thin-bladed knife, is never used by pirates nor has it been connected to any known nobility - yet there are flags and objects bearing this sigil which can be traced back to the Age of Bloody Seas. Magical investigation confirmed this to be valid and genuine, so someone in the early generations of the Empire did make use of the sigil enough for it to have been spread and survived into the current years.
There are constant attempts to locate Pirate's Landing over the concept of vast mountains of treasure and valuable goods waiting to be uncovered. Saner heads believe such a place would have long ago been picked clean either by pirates disbanding and leaving or fierce storms. There has been no confirmed location of the Flotsam Throne, nor has it ever been confirmed to exist outside of a curious entry in journals and ledgers recovered from one of the failed moneylenders of that time.


The popularity of the 'noble pirate' concept in the common folk and lower classes has genuinely helped the myth stay alive and spread across Erisdaire in many forms. Young children who grow up within a day of the ocean often hear various versions of the story or associated legends, and the material has given many bards inspiration for songs, poems, and books over the years. With these books, however, the ability to sort fact from fiction has been made ever murkier with each new addition to the tales of the Queen of the Pirates.

Variations & Mutation

Over the years, many smaller tales have been added into the life of the Dread Queen, often co-opted from other pirate tales to use her myth's popularity to give them wider spread. As such, nearly every tale about pirates in the Age of Bloody Seas has a variation where the Dread Queen is either involved, is the central figure, or the reason for something happening. So many songs, poems, and stories have been thus adjusted and rewritten there is an impossible tangle of what's really about Loanna Penderos and what's about other pirates attributed to her out of admiration or more popular renown.

Cultural Reception

Among the younger seafarers who chafe under authority, tales of the Queen of the Pirates are often traded as lighthearted banter or things to pass the time during dull work. Songs of her are often adapted to a rhythm which matches work being done in order to make time pass easier. This is obviously frowned upon by many employers, but trying to prevent it never works. Whole generations have gone by in cycles with individuals wanting to reignite the legacy of the Flotsam Throne or locating it with adventuring friends and allies (often failing in both accounts, mostly spectacularly).


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