Open Pirates of the Hard Nox

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Hard Nox

In a world powered by magic, governed by aristocratic faeries, you either go by their rules or get sentenced to a life of disgrace - if not death. There is an alternative, however. You could find a community of other outcasts, whether because you enjoy living on the thrill of the steal or because there was no other option for you. That’s right: We’re talking piracy.

Welcome to the Hard Nox, a skyship of some reputation, not necessarily a good one. The ship has been operating in some capacity for at least a decade. Perhaps you've been there along, or perhaps you're new. Whatever it is you do, you're fairly good at it, as this ship isn't likely to accept just anyone - but they do have a flair for fitting in unusual talents.

As long as your skills are good and your morals are loose, you can fit right in. It isn't a life of ease, but there's a good amount of ease between the moments of life-threatening terror. Anything that can be bought, bargained, or stolen is fair game. After all, none of you are upstanding citizens.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Illirica and I will be running this and the plan is to sail smoothly, with daily posts if possible. Take it into consideration when you join, though it’s not a set in stone rule, if you hold us back you’ll be thrown out at sea (not really, you can swim back if you want, but we will go on without you if you’re slacking!)


Time on the crew:
The Whore Of The Horizon
Sinéad Oíche, the Captain

There was a story. It began as many stories do:

Once upon a time, there was a fairy maiden, lovely as the dawn. She wanted for nothing, and was beloved by all who knew her.

This was the beginning of the story... but it was not the end.

It ends like this:

And so, with ichor running in rivulets from the wounds left behind by the shearing of her wings, she fell from the sky.

And so begins another story.

Sinéad and the Hard Nox are more or less synonymous at this time - the Captain and the Vessel: Both a bit worse for the wear, but patched up and refusing to give in. They surfaced around the same time, a decade ago, and there's no real knowing which came first. Some would say whatever it takes to survive, but Sinéad isn't interested in merely surviving. She had everything once, after all - and she intends to have it again.

A trail of abandoned beds and cut throats lies in her wake, sometimes both in the same place. She was beautiful once, after all - and in many ways is beautiful still, despite her scars or because of them, depending on the preferences of those involved. She has no loyalty to anyone save herself and her crew, and her burning passion to take back what should be hers, or at the very least keep anyone else from having it.

Name: Sinéad Oíche
Age: She appears perhaps in her late twenties, perhaps in her early thirties, perhaps something else. Sometimes she seems to age at will. Her true age is anyone's guess.
Race: A fairy, once.
Time on the crew: a bit over a decade, since it began
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The Deadly Shot
Caleb O'Cain, the Quartermaster

Unlike some might think, not all fairies are born in wealth. In Caleb's case, he was the son of a butler and a maid working for the royal family. His mistake? Looking at their daughter the wrong way. One look at the princess and he was sentenced to death, with no chance to defend himself, no trial whatsoever.

If it hadn’t been for Sinéad and her crew he’d be hanged to death, and since then he’s been a part of the Hard Nox’s crew, rising in the ranks as those above him left - one way or another - and eventually becoming the captain’s right hand man. At some point he lost his right eye, but it only made his aim more accurate, earning him a reputation of only ever needing one bullet.

Caleb was born with no one expecting much of him, but the life Sinéad gave him got him to taste a little bit of power. And he was getting tired of following orders.

Name: Caleb O'Cain
Age: 26
Race: Fairy
Time on the crew: 10 years
The Whisper of the Night
Nessa Mae Rinn, The Thief
He was watching, Mae knew. His eyes did not leave her as she walked through the store. She knew why -- of course. Her clothing was threadbear, patched so many times that little remained of the fabric that had once been. Her age, and the dirt upon her skin were likewise hindrances that marked her for what she was. A starving peasant girl in a room full of food.

And Mae knew full well she didn't have to steal it, her mother had given her a spare coin after all. Yet, the way the merchant’s eyes followed her every move made her feel vindictive. Who was he to judge her? He was not the Goddess, so he had no right.

With a loaf of bread in hand Mae walked to the counter and held it up for the man to take, which he did with a grunt. She did not do it when the man looked away to place the bread onto the scale. It would have been easy to claim her prize then, the basket was resting just to her left, but that wasn't the point.

The merchant turned back, and held out his hand. “One copper.” With a nod, Mae reached into her pocket and drew out the smaller coin. Her next movements were fluid; she drew her right hand out of her pocket as she lifted herself up onto her tippy toes. She held the coin between her thumb and forefinger, and when the man’s eyes moved to the coin, so did her left hand to the basket at her hip. It was a slight movement, her index finger rolled the object to her palm and her remaining fingers closed tight. It took only the beat of a heart for her prize to vanish into the loose fabric of her shirt. Mae pressed the coin into the man’s palm, and took the bread as the merchant passed it back.

Wordless, Mae turned to the door, the faint lump in her clothing now shielded by her thin frame, and left the store. The man uttered no goodbye, so neither did she. She squinted against the sun, and slid into a nearby alley. It wasn't smart, she knew, but she could not wait, and it felt like one final snub to the merchant. From her pocket she drew her prize. She lifted it to her mouth and her teeth crunched through its skin. The apple was so sweet she nearly cried.

Nessa Mae Rinn


Elf, Vampire
One before the other

Time on the crew:
About half a decade, maybe a little more.

A poor girl from a poor place, with a mother who was just barely scraping by and a father long out of the picture. It bloomed in her heart from an early age a certain distaste for those with means who gathered their wealth and scoffed at the poor who lived on the streets. So, from an early age she learned the art of taking what she wanted from those who didn’t wish to give. There’s a story there, of course, but I’m sure we can all understand it’s ups and downs.

No, life offered her a more interesting wrinkle when she was seventeen. It was night, as these things go, and Nessa found herself following a man she did not know. See, he was new in town, loose with coin but heavy with drink, which together offered Nessa an opportunity she could scarcely pass up. But, unfortunately for her, the man was not a simple man nor was he as drunk as he let on. When Nessa reached for his purse, he turned to her, a mouth full of fangs and amber eyes that glittered in the moonlight.

When she awoke sometime later the sun’s light was hot on her skin and a deep hunger gnawed at the pit of her stomach.

The Gentle Breeze
Emer, the Wisewoman

Her people had a home, once. Some time, long ago, told through hushed words that never touched parchment. To write it down was to bind it, you see, and the past - to them - was as fluid as the future, sometimes changed, often embellished. Stories all had a little bit of truth to them, the seed that was planted, but it was the leafy boughs that brought the tree life. It was said - in these whispered tales - that they lived above the sky. Dancing in crystal halls made from the rain, sleeping in beds made of clouds. It was a beautiful life, a carefree life, a life they would have happily shared with any who cared to join them.

There were some, though, who felt the sky too small to share. Their Name was stolen. Not the simple name, the sort we call each other, but their Name - that of their People, that of their Home. Without it, they were lost, unsure of who they were, absent in memory of the paths of their ancestors. They were driven from the sky, bereft of being, and forced to wander aimlessly on the earth below. They were unto the wind, travelling from place to place, never staying long, never finding peace. You cannot, you know, without a Name. Without it, you are little more than a shadow. Without it, you are meaningless.

Yet - they kept themselves alive in stories. Stories told, stories spun, stories that may be all true - or mostly false - but what does it matter? Without a Name, it is your right to Name yourself, and Name yourself they did.

Emer was born into this life. Her mother was a wisewoman, and hers before, and so she learned the trade. She learned what herbs to place on a wound, how to properly set a broken bone, little spells and muttered poems to treat the body and to help it heal. But most of all, she learned stories. From a young age, she was taught about the sky, taught about the Name that had been lost. While she learned her medicinal rights with studious attention, she learned the stories with a rapt soul and an open heart. In her dreams, she saw it. She tasted the dew still-hung in the air, felt the sun so close on her skin. Every moment of her life, she yearned to travel a little higher, to try and see if echoes of the Name still hung beneath the firmament walls.

It's a strange thing, how opportunities come.

Her kind garnered little favors, and were rarely welcome. Without a Name of their own, how could anyone call land theirs? Itinerants are rarely cared for - beggars and thieves, others claimed, come in the night and slipping away the next with anything they could pilfer. Some of the harsher rumors said it wasn't only goods they took, but children as well. As they say - all stories have a bit of truth - and the more a story is told, the more true it becomes, if only in the minds of those who tell it. On her twentieth year, her camp was put to flame. Emer had been in the forest, gathering herbs at her mother's request. She thought nothing of the smell of smoke - it was nearing supper, after all - but the screams and shouts came after. By the time she'd ran back, the ash was settling.

At first, she didn't know what to do. Her home had been stolen twice over - the Name she had lost with her ancestors, and the Name she had made with her family. Names were what you make, though, and once the ash had again settled - this time in her heart - she began to wander once more. She wandered town to town, selling remedies and giving treatments, wandered through the wild, learning stories of trees caked in moss and rocks overturned with millions of beetles beneath them. Were they the ones that told them? Well, she'd say they were, and all stories have a bit of truth. After near a decade alone, she'd learned every story the earth could tell, learned every tale from every farmer's wife and drunken sop and chitlins playing sack outside their home. Then, her path crossed with the Hard Nox - and there was one more story before her. Pirates weren't the most welcome sorts, but she knew a thing or two about being unwelcome. A ship wasn't much of a home, but she was used to having no place to call one. But most of all -

She couldn't resist the sky. She still thought of the echoes that might lurk there, of the Name stolen so long ago.

And so, she flew.

Name: Emer

Age: 38

Race: Aos Gaotha

Time on the Crew: 9 years
The Tempest Reforged

Ciarán Airgetlám, the Master Gunner

Skyfolk hardly ever look down, so why would they ever notice the Fir Bolg? In the few early interactions between those from the Floating Isles and forest dwellers, Fairies called the Fir Bolg clans “unremarkable” and “easily missed” - not that the Fir Bolg minded, they liked their privacy and found the winged outsiders funny in their own way.

However, subsequent visits were less dismissive - especially after they discovered the Fir Bolg’s natural sense for metals and the ease in which they could lift heavy weights. Opportunists “uplifted” the clans with modern accoutrements and sciences, but made it clear these gifts were not charity. Soon entire clans were taken from their homelands with the promise of metal and advancement in exchange for work. They would be sent to mining colonies and to serve as labourers and servants for the wealthy. The new age would be built upon the backs of this neo-working class.

Ciarán was born into this time. He never grew up on the plains or valleys, he was born in the sulfur mining town of Brimstone. His parents always spoke of the lands before, the one with no name where the sky was clear and the people only worked to live, not the other way around. Seeing the state of his family, he sought to uplift them however he could, but they couldn't escape Brimstone on a miner's salary. 

When the massive sky-galleons loomed overhead and the officers came recruiting, Ciarán was first in line to board. The pay was only a smidgen higher, the food was awful, and the days were long - but it was a chance to get away for a time and to try and build something new for his family. Ciarán served for three years aboard that ship, the Intrepid Dawn in all manner of roles that kept him and the other Fir Bolgs far enough away from the officers to feel comfortable - swabbie, cargo hand, and eventually powder monkey. It was here, hauling black powder from the lower decks to the cannons where his talent and drive was noticed, and when the Intrepid's gunnery officer transferred to a new vessel, he requested Ciarán to follow him as a gunner. 

The next seven years of his life were spent aboard Our Lady Tempest, a massive man-o'-war fresh from the shipyards. During his time aboard he rose through the ranks, eventually replacing his sponsor as Master Gunner - responsible for the operation, upkeep, and training of cannons and firearms aboard his ship. His pay continued to go home to Brimstone (or at least that's what the purser told him) and he continued to strive for greatness, but the resentment against his race continued and no matter how hard he tried to break down the barriers between him and the officers, they would never see him as an equal. 

His life's work aboard the Tempest came crashing down along with her. During a patrol of the eastern horizon, their ship came under fire by a pair of fast pirate brigantines. The officers struggled to react fast enough, and by the time they committed to a retreat, they'd been boarded. Ciarán rallied the marines and managed to push off their boarders, but their defiance was met with destruction. The brigantines came around, and broadsided her from both sides.

Ciarán was left adrift on a piece of barely floating debris, alone and broken. 

He floated for days, the magic on the mast about to dissipate when the Hard Nox found him. He was pulled aboard and healed by their Wisewoman. She set his bones, cleaned his wounds, and managed to salvage what was left of his left arm, his sword arm. 

When he awoke he was quite alarmed to find he was in the company of pirates, but when he did not recognize them as the band who had scuttled his ship he thanked them. With nothing of value to trade for the medical care and food, they offered to let him work until they made next port - or take a long walk off the plank. 

Slowly he grew more comfortable with the crew, making friends with their healer as she'd insist on checking his wounds, and found himself assisting the Quartermaster with the upkeep of their weapons. He found himself comfortable and even welcomed amongst such a motley crew, quite unlike the strict and homogenous crew aboard the Royal Navy ships he had served previously. When time came to make port, Ciarán instead chose to speak to the captain and make a case to keep him aboard. 

A day past seven years have passed now, a day longer than he'd been aboard Lady Tempest. He's found himself in the role Master Gunner, where he finds himself in charge of the weapons compliment aboard the Hard Nox, ensuring the cannons are clean, rifles fire straight, and the crew are ready for engagement. Most of the time he can be found drilling newer crew on proper weapons usage and conduct.

Gods know this ship could use the discipline. 

Name: Ciarán Airgetlám

Age: 37

Race: Fir Bolg

Time on the crew: 7 years
The Man-Shaped Monster
Lucien Kilta, the Navigator

Once there was a man. Aristocratic, elegant. A man of wealth and taste. Life was a task, and the only worthwhile pursuit was collecting coin. That, and using said coin to find ways to extend one’s own life. For when you have a fortune that would take multiple lifetimes to spend, you naturally seek to acquire those lifetimes.

Thus the man lived in fear of death, of the unknown. He sought elixirs, rituals, whatever may be used to grant him immortality. His quest consumed him, friends slipping away, any reference to him diluting to the rich hermit, locked away in his castle. Some even whispered that his journey had ended in his own death, twisting him into some terrible monster.

Until one evening, the man emerged.

He never returned.

None knew where he had gone, but the figure that returned, stepping foot into the man’s home was certainly not him. A shock of white ran through his hair, and he held himself in a distinguished manner the man had never held himself in. But he bore the same scar, slashed across his left cheek. None dared look close enough, but they would have noticed two distinct marks on his neck, a couple inches apart.

Thus Lucien Kilta was born.

He no longer feared death, he no longer craved wealth. He saw the tedium of his old life, and desired nothing more than to get rid of it. Coin remained unspent, doors remained locked, and most thought the recluse had simply returned to his ways. Only a few knew of what would truly happen on dark nights, when the clouds blanketed the sky. The bodies were always found though. What were they going to do, when corpses were discovered with vicious wounds, torn flesh, and bloody smears?

Lucien didn’t know, nor did he care. His hunger was insatiable, and thus the blood ran thicker and thicker. Bounties were offered, and those who were foolish enough to take them were added to the feast. The lawmen stopped coming, the bounty hunters cowed, the citizens terrified. An intolerable feeling crept upon Lucien, an itch that needed to be scratched, a hunger that needed to be fed, lest it consume him. Not his bloodlust, no, but a desire for risk, for danger.

His salvation came with the thunder of cannons and the scream of the commoners. The Hard Nox had come for treasure. His treasure. And in those moments of fending off the filth, dancing with the death they brought to his doorstep, the hunger was filled, the itch was scratched. He needed more. Stowing his blade, Lucien struck a bargain with the captain. His treasure was theirs, in exchange for a position aboard the ship. His years of time spent cooped up had given him a keen eye for charts and maps in his quest for eternal life, and he intended to put them to use. That is, when he wasn’t slaking his thirst on the deck of another vessel, a whirlwind of steel and claw, blood and fang.

Name: Lucien Kilta

Age: Appears to be in his mid-40s. The crew has been given ages ranging from 45 to 500, with no consistency between stories.

Race: Vampire, that much he's honest about

Time on the crew: 7 years
The Gravewalker




Vasil Gavril Vukašin.

Dhampir (Parasitic Origin).
Half-changeling | Half-faery (formerly).
One can guess.

None | N/A.
Silver | Pupilless red w/ black schlera.
6'2" (188 cm) | 170 lbs (77 kg).


Professional Killer.
Perhaps, a long time ago, a cursed tryst between royalty and concubine ended with an illegitimate child. One that was sold to slavers and done away with in an act of ironic cruelty. The child grew to be a slave and fighter, either to as cannon fodder or entertainment. The child, now man, had no name. Never given one and one would not be needed for his pitiful existence.

Until the cursed beasts of the night arrived. Slaughtering left and right. The slave thought perhaps he would be safe inside of his cage. If he held his breathe still long enough. But no such blessing of mercy had been granted to him. Such is the cruelty of nature as its tongue pierced into his neck.

It had bled him until he managed the last vestige of strength to remove parasitic tongue from hook. Clutching at his neck, the slave could only clutch at his throat. He couldn't remove the hook.

The break of daytime should have brought solace to him. It drove the beasts away. But the pains grew inside of him. The bones in his wings squeezed and seized up until they fell off his back in bloodied lumps. Hair fell out and teeth became dried up inside his mouth to be pierced and replaced by more predatory fangs. The hook dug itself deeper into his neck, almost alive as it began crawling towards his heart.

That cancerous hook eventually dissipated, although he never noticed amongst the pain and changes. The hook had spread all throughout his bloodstream, infecting every part of him. Claws, fangs, tongue, muscle and sinew, even new eyes.

Days passed. He had not eaten or drank in days. In his stupor he watched as another small group came upon the campsite. They thought him a dead body until he began to seize in front of them. They opened his cage. They should not have. He was playing possum. He'd see them play dead until moving before playing dead again.

It helped he did not need to breath much either. His heart nearing to a still. And when they turned their backs, thinking him finally dead, every ichor of theirs was his.

He was a killer. A fighter. One who sought his own survival above all else. No pack to call his own. Always a half-breed. Even in this new and parasitic unlife. His mind and memories not entirely his own, but not belonging to an eldritch parasitic flesh, no collective. They, no, he was something new. Maybe it was his halfblood nature, but he never became the mindless beasts that attacked and stalked the jungles nor did he need to fear the light like they did.

No, he was a different kind of predator. Not just some parasite. He was different than the others.

Always different, always alone.

And there would be more that wished to enslave or kill him. It helped he was harder to kill now too, but he still had to better at killing others. So much better as he lacked much. Money. He needed money too. And he needed to learn how to hide. Not in only the shadows but also among people. He needed to adopt their mannerisms, adapt to the large society and social ecosystem. He needed to blend in as well. Embrace shadow and darkness like so many other killers have to receive their coin, their lifeblood. In time, he would take the lifeblood of others, both in coin and more, while sharpening his claws.

Clients, yes, clients refusing payment was never an issue when he could suck the marrow of their bones and chew on their skull. Payment was never an issue. More than simple blood fed him, and consuming a person gave him a little more insight into how to blend in. He would take the clothes and names and manners of those he respected or pitied most. Yes that would do. He would do so much better with what they had than they ever did. Crafting an identity was no easy task, tsk tsk.

He even found someone with silver eyes. He liked those. He would take them too. An accent that sounded particular pleasing. He took that as well. A soul filled with bluster and bravado and raucous laughter. He took that and made it his own. Made his life his own with what everyone else had that he didn't. He could never change his true nature on the outside, but those little things made life a little sweeter. All those changes to him on the inside, watching, learning, growing. Taking.

With time, it was worth it to finally be his own. He shall never give his real new name. Oh, no, no. Faeries and monsters and little tricksters could use those names. So he took one last name he liked. A name most fake. One to shield him to never be enslaved again. That magic had kept him shackled for years, forced him into that cage, and dug scars into his flesh that no amount of feasting would heal.

He needed a pack. Without a pack, he was exposed. Open. Alone. If he was not taken by tricks, than by brute force or overwhelming numbers. A pack would protect him until he could find new hunting grounds or until his presence was forgotten in the minds and hearts of people.

Together with a pack.
He would be hidden among shadow and blood, forevermore.

It was only a matter of time and patience to find the right one.
Once you have tasted courage, you have tasted poison.
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