A collection of tales and histories of Terra Aurora’s pit of darkness, The Abyss
water and bone
An empire sunk
to parts unknown
The screaming cries
The flesh that dies
And birth the monsters of the sea”
The Fall of L’Empirica - ancient poem
"Where the blood foams up from the sea
Where monsters come to take away thee
This is the place we want be
Scoundrels, pirates and all!
I dream of it all day long
Swim to the city we call home
And lift up the good ol’ skull and bones!
Pirates, that’s what we be!
We come to take the treasure
Of gods who sank our home!
We want to live forever
And live to make it home!
So yarr harr, ho ho
Arr, be as it be
We sail across acursed seas
To steal loot
Whirlpool Shanty - sang by the pirates of The Abyss
From Sen Golbridge’s personal writings:
Section 1: Memories
I can still remember my hometown.
Swelsing’s purse strings had exploded after the fall of L’Empirica. We were suddenly the most profitable coast town in the region, and only we knew how to survive the hellish Abyssian waters. We were at the top, and we were foolish to think we’d stay there. For years then we’d heard these rumors, whispers of pirates in the hell-waters, sailors seeking to avenge their empire. Sailors seeking to punish those who profited from the gods wrath. Pirates.
They came in the day. I was a boy at the time, barely twelve with a foolish heart. My head was filled of fantasies of the night attack surprise attack, my people slaying the foolish pirates and leaving them to a watery grave. Heroes swung from ship to ship and defeated thugs with cold steal. I was not prepared for the real thing. It’s a cruel thing to take away children’s dreams.
My people were not warriors, they were a poor excuse for traders anyway. My father didn’t even believe the pirates were real. When they killed him, he could do nothing but stare in disbelieve and topple over. It was a massacre. Our assailants ran into houses at random, wearing an air chaos around them. Children rounded up onto ships. Great mother I hated them. I wanted nothing more than to grab a sword and duel them open how they had my dad. I swore I wouldn’t rest until every last Abyssian pirate was dead.
Fate is strange like this. Let no one say it isn’t cruel.
Section 2: Storm and Sea
The ocean was beautiful. I don’t suppose to say that it’s appearance has declined over these long years. As a newly-orphaned, traumatized slave on the ship of my parent’s murders, it seems likely that I was emersed in so much negativity than even the smallest things pleased me. Fools and cowards call it the gateway to hell, the monument of blasphemy, a cursed land. To those who call her home, she’s the Great Mother, Lady Serenity, counterforce to the demons that await bellow.
I spent four years toiling away on a ship, touching land only to plunder supplies from the unfortunate fools who had any. We were taught to think like pirates, act like pirates, live like pirates. They were smart in that way. After losing so many of their people, the few who regrouped were not enough to rebuild a society sunken below the depths. It was better, therefore, to take children. Children can be molded, shaped, and when they grow up, trusted as brothers and sisters. There are many who look at us with disgust. They do not understand us. Once freed, we had nothing to go back to and everything to look forward to. We had the skills, and now we’d have the pay.
All paths lead to Whirlpool
Section 3: Stuff of Shanties
It’s hard not to love the spinning city. Just think about it. A bunch of peasants living on the outskirts of history’s most powerful empire made this. A feat of engineering unrivaled in all of our history. Our predecessors managed to tame the maw of the sea, to build a floating city that uses the all-destroying whirlpool against itself. Of course the eternal spinning is hellish in it’s own regard, but safety breeds sacrifice.
I understand this must be quite jarring, and for that I apologize. My first two writings were written just after my arrival in paradise, when I was still feeling quite homesick. It feels like an eternity ago, but it’s only been 3 years since I lost my journal among my other things.
Well, there’s also that head injury…
Ah, a little coma never hurt anyone!
I just can’t get over this engineering! A spinning platform-city, boats strong enough to pull away from a gaping whirlpool, and whatever it is we use to bring along the demons (we probably engineered that too!).
If only we could engineer some way to fly… I’d love to fly…
Ah, well I’m departing for my next voyage tomorrow. Captain Ohlano says my un-predictableness and wild “mood swings” (?) are an asset to any crew I’m on. First Officer Morani says if we die, I’m bound to make it entertaining
This is Sen Golbridge signing off!
I wonder if we can engineer something for that too…
Section 4: How much must we lose?
We lost Morani.
And a ship
And my hand
Each time I think about it, I have to wonder, was it worth it? Was it worth losing so much, was it worth me becoming a cripple, for some BLEEDING GOLD?! God! Ever since I was a boy I’ve felt like one of them, but I’m not. I didn’t lose everything to some pagan gods or whatever, I lost everything to them!
And what are these rumors of the pirates breaking up, forming rival sects? Ha! I wouldn’t mind forming one of my own, sea knows you need a bit of crazy to survive out here.
I still wonder though, why has this all happened. Why would the fragments of ruined society come here, design this bleeding city in the middle of a demon-infested sea? You know, I’ve heard rumors about those demons. Captain Ohlano thinks he’s some kind of world-champion alcoholic. Sometimes I like to challenge him, get him a little tipsy, see what spills out. Seems to me that he thinks those monsters are people.
Sometimes he’ll wander out onto the deck at night and softly call out to them. Sometimes he calls them by name.
Section 5: Mutiny
Over the next several months tensions continued to rise in the city. Raids were carried out at night, careless crewmen found dead in the morning. Petty thefts were on the rise. I shattered my wooden hand on one of those would-be-theives. The money on his person thankfully covered the costs for a new one.
Finally the divisions came to a boiling point. Whirlpool was divided into several districts. To my great surprise, some of the residents clawed out their own swaths of the city to reserve for non-pirate activity. Some people just didn’t have the stomach for murder.
Nonetheless, I waited day and night, waiting for the right time to strike.
One night after our usual drinking game, Captain Ohlano went out to the deck as usual. He sat down, and just stared into the water. He couldn’t have made it easier. Just push him into the water. Let him drown or be ripped apart by his “friends”.
I couldn’t do that.
I steaded myself, wondering how I could even consider such a thing. The captain never even felt my sword.
Groggy crewmates rose from the depths of the ship. For the first time in years, rays of sunshine broke through the clouds and enshrined me in their celestial beauty. Ohlano slipped off into the water behind me.
“It’s a new day, boys!” I laughed, sensing the familiar ringing in ny head. In that moment the whole situation seemed funny. “Our days of enslavement to the jelly-gutted pilagers are over! We answer to nobody! Not the sea, not the demons, not even the land of Whirlpool!”
The new first officer stepped forward. He was a poor replacement for Morani. “What’s to stop us from killing you here and taking the ship for ourselves?” at this point he turned, addressing the rest of the crew. “This man is clearly insane, and will only lead to unpleasant deaths for us all later down the line. Is this who you want to put your faith in?”
“Bastard,” I whispered. He turned in time to see my flesh-and-bone hand decend upon him. The ship erupted into chaos as men tore into their co-workers, not even sure who they were fighting for.
I tell you, I reveled in the violence. That sick little part of me that got knocked loose in the head injury is nothing but saddistic. Giddiniess and anger don’t breed passifism.
It is this reason why I choose not to share the bloody, gruemsome deaths of half the- my crew. Just know that by the time it was over, the flag was stained red.
End of Sen Golbridge’s Personal Writings
The gleaming blade that lies in front of you is of Empirican origin. In the old days it was a symbol of supreme power over the land bridge, a symbol of power over man and mortality.
Most of them were lost in the fall, but a few still remain, well maintained by their most illustrious owners, be them Pirate Masters or well-cultured historians.
Students of the blade will be quick to point out it’s imperfections, the needless sacrifices made for style.
L’Empirca was nothing if not stylish.