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The Legend of Sorona

"Come take a seat, have a drink, me boys, Put yer blades up and call a truce, I'll tell ye the tale of Sorona, And the ship called the Hangman's Noose..."
  S     o begins a popular Lannitan tavern song written about the legend of Sorona. A popular tale both aboard ship and on land, nearly every child in Lannita grows up hearing the story of Sorona and her fearful scarlet ship, the Hangman's Noose....but how much truth is there to the tale?

Summary

Sorona Sinnet, or, in some versions, Sinnest, is described as the beautiful young daughter of a Lannitan general. Her love of the sea led her to meet a handsome young pirate named Rayne, with whom she soon fell in love.   Sorona's doting father, in keeping with the Lannitan tradition of arranged marriage, promised his daughter to a wealthy young army commander, Joral Greenhall. Upon learning of her love for the sailor, however, he dissolved the betrothal and promised that Sorona could marry Rayne instead.   Stung by the rejection, Joral waited patiently until the day of the wedding, then informed the authorities on the young pirate's location. Rayne, as Lannitan law dictated, was arrested.   In the trial that followed, a grief-stricken Sorona pleaded for mercy for her true love, but the court was unyielding, sentencing Rayne to death. The execution was carried out the following morning.   That very night, Sorona, wild with grief and rage, broke into Joral's home, dragged him from his bed, and killed him with her bare hands. Some versions of the myth claim she went mad after this event, while others say what happened next was Sorona's own choice and not the product of lunacy.   Sorona vowed to create her own justice system to replace the one that had so wounded her. She took some of her father's wealth and purchased the ship on which Rayne had sailed, painting it a brilliant red and rechristening it the Hangman's Noose. She then dressed herself in the clothing of a pirate, hired Rayne's old crew as her own, and set sail, never to set foot upon the land again.   Unlike other pirates, the myth concludes, Sorona raids not other ships, but towns and villages all over Lannita, kidnapping as many people as she can. These hapless victims are confined in the belly of the ship for the grueling voyage back to Sorona's dark, rocky island.   Once there, the surviving prisoners are charged with whatever crimes Sorona chooses to accuse them of, whether or not they've committed any crime at all. The deranged young woman sentences her victims to lifetime slave labor, torture, or death, depending on the severity of the "crime." Sorona's island is said to be a cruel, horrific place, inhabited by hordes of her miserable prisoners.   And over it all is Sorona, watching for the next wrongdoer who dares to unbalance the scales.

Historical Basis

Though some old sailors swear that the legend of Sorona is true, the only evidence is an ancient, abandoned manor house said to be her family home. Two unmarked graves can still be visited on the property, and the legend states that they belong to Rayne and Joral. Sorona is rumored to watch over law proceedings in Lannita, ready to spring if the guilty one goes free...but no one knows for sure.

Spread

The legend of Sorona is widespread all across the country. It is particularly prevalent in coastal areas.

Variations & Mutation

The legend of Sorona, due to its popularity, has remained mostly unchanged. Sorona's surname changes from Sinnet to Sinnest and back again, and other small details, such as the number of assassins and whether Sorona was mad or not, may vary as well. One enterprising storyteller tried to retell the myth with a male Sorona and a female Joral and Rayne, but this version is scorned by most of the population.

Cultural Reception

While Sorona's story was at one time loved by all, in recent years it has fallen out of favor with politicians and government officials who feel the story paints them as unjust.

In Literature

A few books detailing Sorona's story do exist. For the most part, however, the myth is limited to oral retellings and the lively tavern song written about it.

In Art

Some old courthouses and places of meeting have a tapestry of Sorona on the walls as a deterrent to witnesses to lie.

Date of First Recording
The precise date of the first written record of Sorona is unknown.
Date of Setting
The years when Sorona supposedly lived are unknown. She is considered by many to be nearly immortal.
Related Ethnicities
Related Locations

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