Glass shattered above her head and Timara could feel the sticky rum splash all over her, as she almost unsuccessfully tried to duck away. The man next to her exploded in laughter and several others joined in. "Hey, Zoran! That was the poorest assassination attempt on my life I have ever seen! You wasted good rum as well AND drenched our guest in it!" The noise of several drunken men and women laughing and shouting responses made Zoran's answer almost inaudible, but Timara was able to make out the clear insult towards her and Gerret, the leader of this council. She had enough.
She quickly got up, leaped over the tables of this so-called council, littered with documents, bottles, a half-eaten roasted pig and an impressive assortment of daggers and muskets. With a few nimble steps, Tamara passed several of the councilmen. Her knife in hand it took her only seconds to press the blade on Zoran's throat, pushing him back to the wall with her other hand.
The room fell silent.
"Now," she pressed through her teeth, "esteemed members of the Federation Council, can we please come back to the issue of a trade alliance with South-Rathram?"
The First United Brennian Coalition of Honorable Independent Enterprising Privateers - or, in short, the Federation of Bren is the ruling body of all islands that belong to the Independent Islands of Bren. They are comprised of twenty-seven largely independent pirate fleets that got recognition during the war for liberation from the Baradolian occupation of Bren. The captains of these fleet all make up the Captain's Council which is regularly meeting on the main Island Bren, to govern over their territory.
While the influence of the captains and their fleets vary, the council actually treats each voice as one amongst equals. At times of peace they tend to be a bit inefficient and lax when it comes to upholding the law, but if there are threats from outside, these pirates have proven themselves to be very dangerous when united together.
Their most effective tool for governing is their control over and taxation of most of the important trade routes from Rathram to Baradolia and the best routes through the islands themselves. If a trader or privateer is shunned by the council, it is almost impossible for them to do any trades by ship. Or getting out of the islands alive, for that matter.
Timara carefully counted every coin she had with her as she left the meeting. Her assistant walking next to her was completely exasperated. How could she have done such a thing - threaten a council member? "Sybill, we got our treaty. Those are pirates, no matter what fancy titles they take up - it was a mistake to treat them as something else in the first place!"
The central element of the Federation is the Captain's Council, comprised of the captains of twenty-seven fleets that each control their own territory within the islands of Bren. They work and govern together and are mostly able to keep internal conflicts and thievery at a minimum.
The Three Admirals
Head of the council are the three admirals, captains of the three most important and oldest fleets within the federation. They have highest judiciary power in all matters internal and have the right to speak with foreign powers on behalf of the whole federation.
The seven great captains
An extension of the three admirals, the seven great captains are leading the council. Membership in this inner circle of the council is usually determined by the size of the fleet. It is possible for a captain to challenge one of the lesser four members - either by calling for a vote or by challenging him to a duel. The latter happened rather irregularly. No meeting of the council is official and has no legislative power, if not at least one member of the seven great captains are present.
Twenty seven factions
The council of twenty-seven has legislative power in Bren. They also appoint the governors and judgeships on the islands. Each member of the council wears a crest with the Crowned Gazezu Skull on it, a facsimile of the coins that had been minted after Baradolia was defeated. Owning that coin and being able to present it on the yearly full gathering if so demanded determines the membership in the council. Thus, it has happened a lot that captains got replaced by clever thieves or mutineers.
The council is loosely divided into three factions, each lead by one of the three admirals. They have slightly different agendas, from improving the home economy to building up the military against Baradolian threats as well as trying to actively influence other nation's agendas through money and wealth. Ultimately all members of all factions are united in the goal of creating a wealthy lifestyle for themselves.
The council itself can meet anywhere, but always has to meet on land - so no captain can have the power over the councilmen by hosting the event on his ship. When the council is in progress, the flags of all twenty-seven fleets are raised around the meeting place. Those of the captains not in attendance are only raised on half mast.
The United Fleets
The power of the Federation of Bren comes largely from its member's fleets and the islands under their control. Currently the three largest fleets, Gazezu's Skulls
, Lost Company
and Golden Privateers
control together a fifth of the roughly 130 ships and a third of the territory of the islands of Bren.
Several Islands are rich in metal deposits, especially gold, silver, and aluminum, as well as some rich iron deposits.
Geographically a big asset is the strategic control of several passages used by trade routes from the south into the northern kingdoms. Any route from the colonies around the Basin of Ethora
or further south from Rathram has to pass the Brennian Islands. This steady stream of tax revenue keeps the economy of the Federation healthy and their citizens happy.
After the Colonization Wars that ended in 1401 AR with Baradolia declaring the islands of Bren as their colony, the Kingdom of Bren was ultimately dismantled, the heirs of the monarchy either imprisoned, executed or exiled. With their superior firepower, Baradolia had the most control over the seas. However, unrest among the population, especially those of Non-Baradolian descent, stayed high, leading to several rouge privateers harassing the Baradolian occupants.
Tensions finally erupted with the Uprising of the Pirates
. Several pirate crews, among them the Golden Privateers
, Gazezu's Skulls
and the Lost Company
, started initiating coordinated raids on Baradolian outposts and blocked several supply and trade routes. They were able to match the Baradolian firepower for the first time, after having seized several ships before. The pirate crews were made up of locals, some Affeiand
supporters, lawless privateers and a surprisingly large number of deserters.
During the following Liberation War
from 1473 AR to 1478 AR, Baradolian troops constantly lost ground against an ever-growing number of unrests and increasingly coordinated pirate fleets. In 1474 AR several Brenarie Elves joined the conflict as the Hunters of the Green Lagoon
, suddenly matching the magical firepower of Baradolia as well. With a new wave of deserters in the Dead Guards
in 1474 and the successful abduction of Baradolian's heir Gerald Camis Dartur
Baradolia finally gave in to many demands and relinquished their control over the islands of Bren.
With a common enemy suddenly gone, the pirate crews dived the Brennian islands into their own territories. The main Island of Bren was ruled by a merchant-turned-noble voted by a conclave of Merchants and Pirates. The influence of this Merchant King was laughably little and in the following years, several Merchant Kings come and go.
The division between the crews did not go unnoticed in Baradolia and in 1482 AR they start what will later be called the War of A Thousand Weeks
. During what is seen as the creation of espionage, multiple Baradolian agents purposely cause conflicts and skirmishes between the brennian crews, even pulling in raiders and sellswords from Affeiand
. This time saw the founding of many notable pirate crews, the Venomous Rovers
, the Bloody Raiders
, the Deepwater Damned
, the Redsea Raiders
, the Unlucky Bastards
and the Sunken Swords
Most of Baradolian efforts aimed at converting single islands to their purpose and to influence the Merchant King to have a loyal puppet in place. These plans got foiled, however when those plans are uncovered in 1490 AR by yet another group of deserters, the Deepnight Delvers
. At this point the War of A Thousand weeks breaks out into the open, with many new alliances between pirate crews formed and more local citizens rising up against the Baradolian plot. These crews include Teranus' Terror
, the Lurking Shadows
, the Haunted Seehawks
, the Sunset Serpents
, and finally the Shimmering Skulls
Baradolia capitulates yet again in 1501 AR but they keep some hold over the easternmost islands as well as leaving behind several magical traps in strategic places. The three main crews each form the first version of the Captain's Council, leading the newly founded Independent Islands of Bren. This triumvirate of captains had control over the largest parts of the fleets and were the de-facto equal rulers of the main island Bren as well, each having their own region of control declared as a new pirate kingdom.
While dealing with the magical traps Baradolia left behind, the citizens were not content with some Baradolian Merchants still having influence in the region. Combined with the fact of feeling left out in the council, conflicts between the pirate fleets rose and several more islands defect to Baradolia again. During these years, crews like the Wildsea Fury
, the Red Sirens
, the Iron Hammers of Treos
and Tjorben's Crew
With a declaration of a Captain's War Council, promising every Pirate captain a seat that had at least have three ships as his following, most of the aggression could be directed back to Baradolia again in 1510 AR. The so-called Bellpepper Conflicts lasted another ten years, with Baradolia having to face a now united front of pirates and growing unrest about the war at home.
With the fatal magical destruction of Zianan Harbour, public opinion in Baradolia shifts completely, the number of deserters rise to an all-time high and the Baradolian Fleet gets diminished severely. Baradolia retreats back to their easternmost islands in 1521 AR.
To commemorate this victory, the then twenty-seven Captain's of the War Council are offered a permanent seat in the Council and their fleets get united in the First United Brennian Coalition of Honorable Independent Enterprising Privateers. Each of the captains obtained their own Crowned Skull Medal of twenty-seven, minted for this special occasion.
Even though smaller conflicts remain, the following one hundred and fifty years remain free from large-scale warfare with Baradolia. It was only in 1672 AR though that an official peace treaty between the Federation and Baradolia has been signed.
At the present moment, the Federation is in no active conflict with any other nation that includes open warfare.
however is constantly complaining about several smiths and technicians that got reportedly abducted by Brennian pirates. This led to some current trade route boycotts and an occasional raid.
is in dispute with Bren over several small, inconsequential islands in the sea far off both nations.
Some colonies of South Rathram try to build their independence from their colonial masters, Baradolia, Rhomedan
and the Kingdoms of Sevelang
. To achieve this, they try to coerce Bren into a trade alliance.
Just recently a delegation from Ethoressi
invested heavily in the Federation to start some large-scale excavation of Cobalt
on the islands. The influx of money improved relations significantly.
A delegation from Legari
is demanding access to a shrine on one of the islands in the outermost southwest of Bren. Unfortunately, the residing Brenari elves, represented by the Hunters of the Green Lagoon
in the council are actively against them reaching that shrine.