he origins of Grimnest are vague, but the most persistent legend is that it all started with a pirate. The First Pirate.
The legend of Salos Lafitte is one of legendary status and is in a sense Grimnest's origin story. As far as current memory goes, Grimnest has never had a formal organization or government ruling it. Villages look after each other and "Things always have a way of working out." is the general attitude. However, rumors abound that once upon a time, Grimnest had a government. A corrupt oligarch that was topped by Grimnest's first pirate. The legends say that Lafitte was born an orphan, unaware as to if his parents were dead or alive. He grew up in an orphanage until the age of 12, when he was kicked out by the state-run orphanage for being too old. Like most ungrounded youth, he fell into a life of crime on the streets. He was caught stealing some bread from a bazaar one day and was sentenced right there on the spot by the guards. He was to be exiled out of Grimnest, like all trash. In those times this meant being tossed to sea, a virtual death sentence. The young boy pleaded, he was just hungry and had nowhere else to go yet his bellowing fell on deaf ears. No one in the government had any love for the poor.
Cleaning the House
Legend says that the rulers back then were an oligarchy by way of House Solaris. King Solaris hated the sight of the poor and of beggars. If he saw any at all, then he would often have them executed on the spot. This has lead to the King being hated in the slums, but without poor, their anger was for nothing. Often the guards would eliminate any miscreants beforehand, as to not create a disturbance. Thus when young Lafitte pleaded for his life, he didn't realize that this was his best chance to survive. The guards gathered up a wagon full of undesirables and brought them down to the southern edge where Grimnest meets The Divide. A number of poor and out of luck Grimm were taken and thrown off the southern cliff one by one. As if taking out the trash.
King Solaris hated the sight of the poor and of beggars. If he saw any at all, then he would often have them executed on the spot.
Rescue by Ravens
Lafitte managed to survive the fall of the cliff, into the surging ocean. He drifted for days on a small piece of wood he found nearby. Just when he was about to succumb to starvation, a shadow fell over him and he was lifted off of the driftwood and brought onto a makeshift raft. Aboard there was one person, his rescuer Laurent Raven. Laurent had been tossed, like so many others, into the sea but had managed to land on a small island in the Divide. The young man had spent a number of years on this island, all while building himself a makeshift raft. Laurent was on his third raft trip when he came across the boy adrift in the waves. Raven took the young boy back to his island makeshift where he nursed the severely sunburnt child back to health. When Lafitte finally awoke a few days after his rescue, he inquired to his strange savior as to why he did it. Laurent told the boy simply, "All humans should be free. But free to a home and a life. That's all."
Home Away From Home
As Lafitte slowly regained his strength, the situation he was in weighed on him increasingly. Grimnest was the only home he knew and with it stolen from him, he truly was a boy without a country. Laurent however, insisted to the orphan that he was welcome to stay; there was, after all, nowhere else to go. Lafitte wasn't too keen on the idea at first, he had been on his own for so long he really didn't know what it meant to accept kindness. However, the harsh waters of the Great Divide left him with little options. At first, things were tense, with the boy expecting a betrayal with each passing day, but no backstabbery ever happened. Laurent Raven was truly a decent human.
Eventually, the young boy would join Raven on his fishing expeditions in that dinky raft of his. Then one day, in an eerily familiar fashion, they came across a boy clinging to dear life on a piece of wreckage. As the pair nursed the newcomer back to health, Lafitte questioned Raven more about what it means to be free. That maybe if all the "trash" banded together, if they became a group, that they could truly be free. Laurent Raven was only in his mid-20's, what would have normally stood for a young adult. The years of living on the fringes of society, on a remote island of an unpredictable ocean, had aged him beyond his years. He too had longed for a home, for a place with a sense of stability but adventure and fulfillment. After a few days of thought, Laurent agreed to the idea, much to the glee of his two newfound crewmates. He wasn't so happy when they unveiled the name of their group. A play on the name of the new, and unknowing leader, The Black Ravens.
For a number of years, The Black Ravens, led by their reluctant Captain Laurent Raven, patrolled around their island. Each day looking for more survivors, scouting or floating materials to reinforce their raft and build a shelter. Every few weeks they'd come across an exiled Grimm and Lafitte began to truly learn how often Raven had come across dead people before him. However, every so often they would find someone and in the process, gain a new neighbor on the island. For a number of years, this worked out well, with The Black Ravens saving a number of stranded Grimm. It worked out well, until a fated day. The Black Ravens luck ran out when one day, their raft was spotted by a Grimnest patrol and they were run down by the huge galley. With only a few of them on the raft, it was the best they could do to survive the ramming. Laurent, Lafitte, and two other passengers were fished out the water. Waiting on the ship was none other than the King himself, the head of House Solaris.
The King had begun to notice the groups efforts to save the exiled members, and he did not like it. Trash was meant to float away and never be seen again, not floating around the Divide on a raft, picking up other trash. With thunder and malice in his voice, the King had the gentle Laurent executed right there on the boat. In front of the very souls he had rescued over the past years. Lafitte, through clenched teeth and tears, vowed revenge on the King and his House. King Solaris, simply laughed and ordered that the rest be left to rot in jail. One of the boys, mystified, asked the King why they weren't being executed. Solaris, in a sneer, merely stated that he didn't execute children. That if the trash wouldn't float anyway, then it could rot underground like true shit.
After the captain was executed, the remaining passengers were thrown into jail. The shook of his friend and mentors death almost brought Lafitte to the edge. It was his bunkmate, and fellow Black Raven, that helped snap him out if it. Jance South had been the first person Lafitte had helped save and the two had become steadfast friends. Jance helped remind Lafitte that they had to fight on in their friend's memory. They had to escape somehow and South reminded the grieving man that he knew this part of town. That out of anyone, Lafitte could figure a way out. The guards at the port prison had been given orders to extract any info from the young orphans. None of The Black Ravens had any intention of giving up information, but it made time of the essence.
The King had begun to notice the groups efforts to save the exiled members, and he did not like it. Trash was meant to float away and never be seen again, not floating around the Divide on a raft, picking up other trash.
It took several weeks of planning, but eventually, in the dead of night, Lafitte and Jance were able to escape through the wall of their cell. Lafitte knew well how the coastal waters weakened much of the sea facing cobblework. However, Lafitte knew they just couldn't run, they needed a mode of transportation. Making their way toward the docks, Lafitte started what would end up being a pirate tradition, The Black Ravens stole their first ship. Before leaving though, the budding rule breaker had one more present for the government. He unlocked every single cell in the prison, staging the largest jailbreak ever known at the time. He offered them to do as they pleased, if they wanted salvation to stay, if they wanted freedom to run and if they wanted revenge, to come with him. As Lafitte and his crew sailed away, he spotted the furious King at the dock. The two foes locked away from afar until Lafitte yelled out that he would be back for vengeance.
Upon returning home, months after their departure, the ex-prisoners worried about what they may find. However, to their surprise they found their island community doing better than ever. Though they had worried just as much about the fate of the small away team and their leader. Lafitte was the one who broke the tragic news, however, he did so with a firm order. They would build into something big enough to never be trifled with again. The young burgeoning leader promised that they would have their revenge and that they would return home when it was time to set it free. That's what they did, 4 years later when The Black Ravens returned to the coast of Grimnest. Lafitte, now a full-fledged captain, had returned with a fleet of 10 ships. The Ravens had been busy capturing ships over the years, readying them for the day they'd return home. With superior numbers and surprise tactics, the port was taken over and the rebel group, The Black Ravens, proceeded to march toward the center of Grimnest. Lafitte didn't just destroy, he liberated. The House Solaris's control was one out of power and fear, so once those bonds were broken, any allegiance went with it. In what must have been a movement of horror, Salos Lafitte, the no-name orphan had started a rebellion. King Solaris could only watch in horror from his keep has the torches of The Grimm became to encircle him.
No More Crown
On a date that has no name, in a time uncertain, the last King of House Solaris was killed. Thrust from his keep several stories high, the stories are unclear as to whether it was Lafitte himself who did the deed or the angry mob that had grown. Either way, it didn't matter, as none were sad at the despot's demise. With the ruler dead, the rest of the House was exiled from the Grimnest, the ones that hadn't already fled that is. With its old king gone and the very movement that started was led by Lafitte, the choice of a new ruler was clear. However, in a move that shocked all but his closest allies, the young leader refused the crown. Instead, he ordered it melted down right there on the spot. His aim was simple, dissolve the oligarchy that had ruled the land for so long and any sort of de facto dictatorship that came with it. He thought all Grimm should be free, that cities and towns and family and neighbors could protect each other. He then proclaimed from that day on, no Gods and no Kings would ever rule the 'Nest.
With the former kingdom dissolving, Lafitte questioned to his crew what next. The orphan had never been for settling down and in all honesty, he had enjoyed cruising the sea with his Grimm-in-arms, striking corruption as they saw it. The rest of The Black Ravens agreed, with the vast majority of the crew staying on-board as the fleet departed back out into The Divide. This would be the start of the The Black Ravens, and the legendary, possibly even mythical, crew would roam The Divide for years to come.
The legend of Lafitte is a hard way to weigh on for two basic reasons. For one, the origin history of Grimnest is likely long gone at this point. The Grimm focus on the village and tribal records, with little focus on the overall status of the nation. This means that while small pieces of the legend can be verified, such as that House Solaris was in Grimnest at one time. But as to when that time period was, or in what position of power is hard to say.
The second speedbump for verifying its authenticity is the problem with pirates. My nature, these water living miscreants absolutely despise recordkeeping. This makes it hard to ascertain if Lafitte was a pirate, for how long and to what degree. Additional the fable Black Ravens are as much of a folktale is the legend is.