Free Isle Pirates
We travel the sea, Staying lively and free, Drinking the rum with our chums, We keep moving forward, and never shoreward, Finding the fire in fight, Enjoying ourselfs on the sea, Living the life that is free, Excerpt from a popular shanty in the group
For a while the Free Isles were a fairly lawless and brutal place to because of the piracy. Every ship for themselves was the mentality. That was until the Pirate Lords established the Code and brought all pirates under the banner of the Free Isle Pirates. These Pirate Lord's consist of 8 infamous captains who control large fleets and crews throughout the islands. These lords don't bother being an active political body, much preferring everyone govern themselves. However, they will step in to actively do something is when there is a greater threat to the group or if someone has broken the code. The lords word is law and is backed up by their might. Even with this status as leaders of the Free Isle Pirates though, there are no special protections granted to them under the Code. If ever any of the Pirate Lords perish or, gods forbid, retire then a call is put out to all fellow pirates. The captain of the first ship to obtain a Pearl of the Ancient Mother and return it to Scoundrel's Cove will be given the title of Pirate Lord. No one but the other lords know where to obtain these special black pearls so finding one usually takes months of tracking down clues and rumors. It is meant to test the captain and crew's resolve, tenacity, and abilities out on the open sea.
While general piracy is what the Free Isle Pirates do, their purpose is freedom. Freedom to live where they want, to travel where they want, and to take what they want. With most shipping taking place by airships and waters less traveled and policed, this group has taken up the lives of the romanticized pirates from stories. Yes their arrival usually means your goods will be taken and some people may get hurt, but they are nowhere as brutal as actual pirates. Needless violence is greatly disproved of amongst them. So their reputation among the common people is that of troublemakers rather then criminals.
While not an overly organized group, they have quite a bit of naval firepower to bear. Which is why the nearby nation of Valash hasn't taken a more active stance against them. Their numbers float anywhere between 170-200 individual ships crewed by people who practically live on the ocean. Most of the pirates have their own individual hangouts and hideaways, but Scoundrel's Cove is a haven for all. A hidden settlement in the midst of a some tangled island waterways. Its hidden location is one of its greatest defenses.
The Valash government establishes regional borders and strict enforcement in order to combat supposed threats from Lemaric Confederacy spies. These new borders stifle the large elven population and many sail east to the Free Isles. The Free Isles, which was previously just settlements and port towns among the island begins to change. City-States begin to form under self proclaimed "sovereigns" and larger governments begin to form. Feeling their freedoms being taken away again, ships begin to fly the banner of piracy. Soon the seas become awash with blood as it became city-states vs pirates vs pirates. The common people begin to get caught in the crossfire and terror spread throughout the Free Isles. Eight of the most famous pirates of the Free Isles band together under one banner and send a call out to all who wish to join a new coalition. A gathering of like minded people attempting to find a way to benefit everyone. Those who heeded the call became the Free Isle Pirates and helped to establish the Code. All those who didn't and balked at the new rules were hunted down and killed. With the rules of the sea established and known to all, things improved greatly. The City-States make a concerted effort to weed out the pirates from their ports. Information is traded freely between them in order to identify the criminals. With ships being captured and crews executed, the lords sent out a call, "We must find a home". From the many islands known to the pirate group, Scoundrel's Cove was decided upon for their safe haven.
Sail or Death