Captain Brass Sabre was an infamous scowler. He scowled at good news or bad, and if he was drunk or sober it didn’t stop him from scowling. He had scowled almost from birth and nary a day went by that his face wasn’t furrowed in a mixture of disgust, anger, and generally ill-disposed hostility. He was not, one might conclude, a fun guy to be around.
This isn’t to suggest that he wasn’t respected and feared. He just wasn’t liked or cared for. Long ago he had made the choice to be a tougher-than-nails man with a reputation for bloodshed and carnage. Captain Sabre swaggered with the bravado of a man that knew other men would get out of his way, and if they didn’t he would make sure any witnesses knew why they should have. Aboard his ship, the Blue Skull, Captain Sabre was more of a monster than a man. His arrival meant keeping an eye out for his temper as much as staying clear of his path. If a crewmember happened to be in his way that crewman could expect to get smacked, kicked, stabbed, or shoved overboard. Or it could be a frenzied combination of all of those things. And that was on the captain’s good days.
This was not one of the captain’s good days. It wasn’t even a better day. Today was a dreadful day because for over a week now the Blue Skull had been lurking about the seas northwest of Drepane hunting in vain for any sign of Captain Zucco and his ship the Queen Myrtle. Sabre had been trying to settle a score with Zucco for a couple of decades and thus far hadn’t ever had much luck. As capable as Captain Sabre’s crew was at sailing and fighting, Zucco was more adept at staying away from the Blue Skull entirely. It didn’t help that Captain Zucco kept switching ships, either. The man had commanded four different vessels in the last three years alone. How can you maintain a hunt for an enemy when you aren’t even sure which ship he is sailing on at that very moment? It was enough to make an angry man downright homicidal.
The kicker had been their last encounter on the high sea. In the aftermath of the failed invasion of Drepane Captain Sabre and the Blue Skull had taken advantage of the chaos to attack a large merchant ship that had been carrying vital supplies for the Fourth Imperium. The ship had been a fat target, easy to take and full of goodies for the eager pirates. There had been a bit of resistance, which only made the pirates more determined to exact their fury, when out of nowhere along comes another caravel. Captain Sabre wasn’t sure if it was coming to help the merchant ship, or if it was another pirate vessel trying to steal his prey, and before he could make any further determination the incoming caravel launched two large earthenware jars of Greek fire right on to the main deck of the Blue Skull. In the ensuing pandemonium the merchantman got away, sailing as fast as the winds would allow. The Blue Skull, however, had it’s mainmast engulfed entirely in flames, and while the damage was minimalized to some extent this was enough to stop Captain Sabre from pursuing his prize. Sabre knew who had to have been commanding that third ship. Only Captain Zucco would have pulled a stunt like that. Didn’t even offer more of a fight than that, just threw a hammer into the gears and made off like a bandit.
There had a been a delay as Captain Sabre made his way to an out of the way little port along the westernmost Illyrian territories to get his mast replaced. It was an arduous process because the main mast of any ship is not a simple fix. But with enough threats of violence and a bit of gold the work was completed and Sabre had gone in search of Captain Zucco. Sabre’s anger was close to the boiling point and he was ready to return the hostility that Zucco had so graciously delivered.