Wreck of the Yearning Heart Vehicle in Kelbonnar | World Anvil

Wreck of the Yearning Heart

One of the original 10 ships that deserted from the Imperial Navy to form the first fleet of the Kelrik Pirates, the Yearning Heart sailed for nearly 222 years under the pirate’s flag, with hundreds if not thousands of sailors serving on board the vessel and over 50 captains being voted to take the helm during its illicit life.   Successive crews of the Yearning Heart became renowned for their savagery along with their preference to barrel straight into close quarters combat and attempt to board their adversaries, rather than engaging in prolonged exchanges of fire. In order to match this, the ship itself was altered and customised over the years to match the preference of its crew, sacrificing many of its guns to lighten the weight and adding armour plating to the bow and stern to help the ship weather fire as it bore down on its prey.   Out of the original 10 ships in that first Kelrik Pirates fleet, the Yearning Heart is one of the two, along with the Siren, that have been wrecked, their legacy along with the lives of their last crew consigned to the seabed. The Yearning Heart’s number came up at the Battle of the Bloody Shoals, where an Imperial Navy fleet managed to chase down the ships last captain, Pelios Marmanal who along with his fleet had been terrorising the southern Kelrik Isles, even going so far as to sack the town of Lazan Bay.   As Marmanal’s fleet, including the crew of the Yearning Heart were resting and celebrating their victory, they were largely unprepared and suffered catastrophic losses during the battle. The Yearning Heart itself, which was effectively corralled within the shoals was unable to carry out its preferred tactic of closing in and boarding, and instead it suffered an enormous amount of damage from canon fire, crippling it and leaving it unable to move. Whilst the bombardment it suffered did not sink the ship, Captain Marmanal was one of the casualties, struck by a cannonball that reputedly took both of his legs.   Imperial Naval reports indicate that as several Imperial ships closed in on the Yearning Heart, the ship was briefly consumed by an eerie, ghostly green light, which some even went so far as to say took the form of strange creatures, which dragged the ship down beneath the waves, wrecking it at the bottom of the Bloody Shoals. Whilst the Imperial Navy's and the Imperial Bureau's records attribute this story to nothing other than stress triggered delusions and tall tales, the Kelrik Pirates themselves instead believe that is has to do with the curse that Marmanal placed on the ship and the treasure it was carrying on board with his dying breath – see below. In any case, the wreck of the Yearning Heart can still be seen on clear days on the seabed of the Bloody Shoals, though few souls visit it.  

The Treasure of the Yearning Heart

  As the flagship of Captain Marmanal’s fleet, the Yearning Heart was reputed to have a large treasure hoard in its hold at the time of its sinking, with some rumours putting its value as high as millions of Gold Crowns worth of coin and valuables. However, this hoard is widely reputed by the Kelrik Pirates and in folkloric tales from the Kelrik Isles to be cursed.   The tale is that when Marmanal was lying, bleeding to death in the ruins of his cabin, both legs having been amputated by a cannonball, he knew that the Imperial Navy would make a point of boarding his ship and towing the Yearning Heart and his ill-gotten gains back to Port Salaz, the provincial capital of Pelenar Province, to flaunt their victory over him and his fleet. Knowing that he could not allow that to happen, Marmanal called upon any power, benign or fell that might have been listening to protect his ship and his treasure for all eternity. Though it is not know with whom or what he made his bargain, he sold his soul to some foul entity from the deep to spite the Imperial authorities one last time.   It was this entity, so it is claimed that dragged the ship to the bottom of the Bloody Shoals and wrecked it and to this day any brave or foolhardy souls who attempt to claim the treasure either return empty handed, or not at all. Indeed, since the sinking of the Yearning Heart in this manner, many other crews of the Kelrik Pirates have come to the Bloody Shoals to cache hoards of gold and valuable under the protection of the creatures that guard Marmanal’s hoard, paying for the service with blood.

Weapons & Armament

Unlike most other Great Class Ships, the Yearning Heart only had thirty guns, ten of which were split across the port and starboard sides of the lower gun deck, four on the upper and lower gun deck at the stern and six spread across the upper and lower gun decks and the top deck of the bow. The majority of the upper gun deck was converted into a mustering and arming station for the ship’s large number of crew who would board enemy ships, with the gun ports for the cannons replaced with loop holes for small arms fire and large doors through which the boarders could sally forth and attack once the ship was in position.

Armor and defense

In order to facilitate the crew’s preference and reputation for getting in close and personal with their targets, and to ensure that the ship made it into the heart of the fray  in mostly one piece, armour plating was added to the bow and the stern of the ship, including curved plates that were designed to deflect cannon fire away from the ship, instead of stopping it dead, which would still have put a lot of pressure on the ship’s hull.
Owning Organization
c.1,200 tons
Top speed of 12 knots
Complement / Crew
At the time of its sinking the Yearning Heart had a crew of around 600, over half of which were referred to as being mêlée specialists or boarder, with fewer than a quarter of the crew being noted as gunners.

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


Please Login in order to comment!