In a land known as Narvidia, where the wilderness is vastly unexplored and creatures of myth and legend roam, beyond the lands and out onto the sea, there sail many ships of terror. Their captains have hearts as black as coal, and they love nothing save gold and treasure. They raid towns, generally those on the coast, and lay waste to cities. Known for their cruelty, these bands of black-hearted sailors are nothing less than pirates. Sailing the seas in search for treasure, they fear no storm, no monster. There is hardly any set course that is found to be impossible, and those that fail never sail the seas again. But one ship is most famous for her ragtag, mismatched crew. She is known as the Sea Dragon. Her captain, Captain Jack Gold, is one of the most famous pirates. He alone had the courage to face off against the dreaded pirate Blackheart, and even won the fight. Before him, his father had been the captain of the Sea Dragon, and for ten generations before, the Gold family had been owners of the ship. And still, she was unmatched for speed and strength in the seas of Narvidia.
But no ship can be run by one man alone, no matter how daring he may be, and Captain jack Gold, as all other pirates must, found himself in need of new crewmates after his latest exploit had halved his men; and his remaining men found themselves missing a few parts, too, save one; his daughter, Tarja Gold, though she claimed being crippled made her count as well. But Captain Jack Gold merely waved her statements off, claiming “Half a crew be as good as no crew” to which Tarja always replied with “Well hurry up and get a crew!”
Now before I continue my tale, some little facts about Tarja must be noted. First, she was born crippled, and so walking around using her supports is normal to her; she hardly has any trouble, and can move fairly quickly when needed. Second, she hardly ever goes on land, except when the Sea Dragon is moored offshore of an island where there is treasure or if the ship is docked at Pirate Istle to gather more crewmembers. Tarja hardly ever sees any other need to get off the ship. She was born on the Sea Dragon, and that is the only home she has ever known and ever cares to know.
Tarja’s mother disappeared in a fight between the Sea Dragon and another Pirate ship when Tarja was very little; she hardly remembers her mother, but Captain Jack Gold has told her many times that she looks very much like her mother. Tarja intends to continue her family’s heritage as pirate captains of the Sea Dragon, and will one day inherit she ship and her employed crew at that time. But that day won’t come for many years.
Back to the ship and her small crew; they were not far from Pirate Istle, and Hawkeye – who’s real name is Odin Gold – called out “Land ho!” Tarja, who had been helping a short pirate called Peg with repairing the damages recently dealt to the ship’s railing, turned to look out over the sea at the small island that served as a peaceful meeting-place for pirates and pirate-want-to-be’s. They would dock there within the day.
“Better check t' weapons and be certain t' grog's locked up.” Peg said.
“Aye.” Tarja agreed, being certain the replacement railing was secure before she turned to Peg, “Want t’ take care o’ that now before we dock?”
“Why not? We’ve finished here. I’ll just tell your father that we’ll be at Pirate’s Istle within t’ day.” Peg replied, following Tarja towards the front of the ship where Captain Jack Gold’s cabin was, as well as the entrance to the storage area below deck. Tarja went below deck while Peg knocked on Captain Jack Gold’s door.
Below the decks, Tarja gasped slightly as she stepped into the frigid seawater that had begun to pool into the lower sections of the ship. Thankfully, Gibble and Maria were patching up the hole, and had managed to drastically slow the flow of water.
“Ah, 'tis good t' be seein' ye two be havin' taken care o' that hole. Anythin' get damaged other than th' wall thar?” Tarja asked, making her way around a couple floating barrels to the Neffalite and Tatarian working on the hole. The Neffalite turned to Tarja.
“Everythin' else be fine. Jus' a couple floatin' barrels an' some water. Nothin' we canna handle.” He said. Tarja nodded in approval.
“Good, Gibble, good. Keep workin' ye two. Peg be down here soon an' he can help ye two drain th' water.”
“Aye, aye!” Maria and Gibble said. Tarja nodded once and made her way around more floating barrels to the room where the rum was kept. She made certain it was locked before turning to a heavy-set door. She locked that door as well and made her way back to the stairs just as Peg came down.
“Woa! What happened here?” Peg exclaimed when he saw the water and floating barrels.
“Hole in th' wall. Gibble an' Maria be patchin' 't up, tho. Help them get this water drained, will ye?”
“Aye, aye, Tarja!” Peg said, saluting. Tarja went up the stairs and back to the deck. As she came back into the sunlight, she took a deep breath of the crisp, salty air and smiled. This was her home; the ship, the sea, the wind and the waves…this was her life. Captain Jack Gold stood at the railing, looking out over the sea at Pirate’s Istle. Tarja made her way over to him.
“Think we can get a new dog, father?” She asked. The captain chuckled.
“We do need one. An' a cat. We’re startin' t' be havin' some rat problems …”
“Hmm. I’m sure a stray will find 't’s way onto our ship if we be havin' enough rats.” Captain Jack Gold turned to face his daughter, “I be more worried about a new crew. I`ll need yer help in findin' suitable crew members. Be havin' them gather at th' docks, an' we`ll hade t' th' Bluetooth Tavern.”
“Aye, aye.” Tarja said. Her father turned and began yelling orders.
“Alstarboard, me crew, hurry up! Get ready t' dock! Peg, ye take care o' th' anchor! Tarja, guide th' ship into th' docks! Hawkeye, help Tarja get th' ship into th' docks! Maria an' Gibble, prepare t' lower th' sails!” As he called out orders, the remaining crew members headed to their ordered positions. Maria, Gibble, and Peg hurried up from the docks and ran to their positions. Tarja climbed the stairs to the wheel as her father turned back to the island, now within swimming distance of the ship. Tarja quickly looked over the docked ships, recognizing some of them as ships she’d seen before; the Black Rose, the Rugged Blayze, the White Thorn, the Bloody Claws, and the Sea Queen were just a few in the docks. Tarja eyed the Black Rose. She was the second-fastest ship on all the seas, and the only one the Sea Dragon had yet to board. Tarja didn’t want the jet-black vessel damaged or sunk; she wanted to own it one day. Her elder brother, Odin – who was always called “Hawkeye” – would become a captain like their father, but there was only one Sea Dragon and only one Dragon Island. Tarja and Hawkeye had made an agreement, however; they would share their collected booty, but would captain different ships. The also agreed that, Hawkeye being the elder, he would inherit the Sea Dragon. It was up to Tarja to find her future ship…and she wanted the Black Rose. With the Sea Dragon and the Black Rose working together, Tarja knew that the two ships would be very hard to catch.
But the Black Rose was captained by none other than Captain Blackheart himself; the most feared pirate in all the seas. Not only that, but the Blackheart family and the Gold family had been feuding since before either family became pirates.
Tarja turned from her thoughts as they neared the harbors. The nearest space large enough for them was right next to the Black Rose. Tarja very carefully maneuvered the large ship into the space. As the ramp lined up with the harbor, Peg dropped the anchor. Tarja joined her father as Hawkeye climbed down the ropes. With a loud screech, a gold and blue hawk circled down from the mast and perched on Hawkeye’s shoulder. Tarja smiled at the bird as Peg hurried across the boat. Marie and Gibble joined the small group, and Peg lowered the ramp.
“Marie, Gibble, ye two say wi' me ship. Th' rest o' ye, come wi' me.” Captain Jack Gold ordered. Tarja, Hawkeye, and Peg followed their captain as he walked down the ramp. Once they were off the docks and on the short road heading into the town, Captain Jack Gold turned to the three, “Alstarboard, listen up! I be in dire need o' new crew members, so we`ll do somethin' a bit different this time. Tarja, Peg, ye two hade off an' sprog whoere ye find. Hawkeye, come wi' me. We`ll go in opposite directions to co'er as much land as possible. Understood?”
“Aye, aye, Cap’t’n!” Tarja, Peg, and Hawkeye said in unison. They split up at the crossroads; Tarja and Peg took the left road into the richer section of the island, while Captain Jack Gold and Hawkeye went to the right and into the poorer side of the island.