Isa Rosu: Empress of the Ocean Myth in Nideon | World Anvil
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Isa Rosu: Empress of the Ocean

Isa Rosu was a 14th century pirate who captained a fleet which terrorized the western coast of the minor continent as well as its surrounding islands for eleven years before dissolving upon her retirement. It is said that her fleet consisted of several hundred ships, many of which were captured ships which she rebuilt and re-purposed to her own design. She is credited with several advances in ship building and navigation.


According to legend, Isa Rosu was born in Florarova, where she was put to work as a young woman in her mother's floating brothel, pleasing sailors and pirates who came in to their port city. Her husband fell in love with her immediately and offered to marry her after a single night. Isa Rosu agreed on the condition that she would have full partnership in their marriage--including sharing the in the power of captaining hid ship and his take of the loot. He agreed.   For several years, they captained a small fleet, with him at the head, and Isa silently controlling from the background. When he died in battle, Isa took up his sword and commanded in his stead, leading them to victory. Due to this first success, the crew continued to follow her. She carried on as her husband had, but she both excellent charisma and strategy, which allowed her to expand her fleet. She would attack both merchant ships and enemy pirate vessels, often taking them at night or when they were alone. She would keep the ships, ransom anyone of good birth, and offer those who had not brought a sword against her to join her crew. She would also raid port towns as a way of recruiting the poor and downtrodden into her crew, and she as she built her fleet stronger, she began to attack merchant ships that were escorted by her pirate enemies. In this way, she encouraged merchants to pay her for protection rather than anyone else.   Like a magnet attracting metal, she drew the loyalty of other, smaller fleets, until her fleet consisted of roughly 300 ships. As her fleet grew, so did her territory, which soon stretched all the way up the coast of the minor continent, as well as the Bathblast Islands and largler island nations such as Zenxon and Brek. She even attacked the coast of the southern continent. Part of the reason she was so successful was that she had mastered knowledge of the currents and winds in the area, as well as improved upon ship design. She is also said to have befriended mermaids. She became the bane of existence for at least half a dozen countries.   After 11 years, she grew bored of her power and retired. Her crew, loyal only to her, retired as well, and the seas were left free of pirates. Thus, Isa Rosu was the last great pirate.

Historical Basis

Though Isa Rosu was definitely a real figure, poor documentation makes it difficult to suss out truth from legend. It seems that she did meet her husband while working in a floating brothel, and she did take over command of his ship when he died, though it is unclear if he died in battle, in a storm, or of illness. The legend does not usually mention that Isa Rosu also had young son at the time, who likely would have been given command of the fleet before her, had he been more than 9 years old. It is likely that her retirement was due to her son coming of age and her knowledge that he could take the seat of power from under her.   Documents from numerous countries, however, confirm that she had a great reach, and though historians debate the number ships in her fleet, they usually put the number over 100. She did offer impoverished people from many countries a chance to join her crew, giving her leadership over members of several different ethnic and linguistic groups, and thus earning her the name, "empress of the ocean"
Date of Setting
14th Century

Cover image: by Molly Mar


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