THE PIRATE LYEAEL'K THE CRIMSON BERSEKER

APPEARANCE - BIOGRAPHY - IMPORTANCE

Lyeael'k (878 b.S.-842 b.S)., also known as Lyeael'k the Crimson Berserker, was a ruthless pirate that raided merchant vessels along the Mithral Coast. His daunting attacks upon merchant vessels within the Adaninan Sea are legendary, and it is rumored that his looted treasure lies in the Dead Fisherman’s Grotto to this very day. His first mate, Brytai the Bold, was the only man he trusted. It was during shipboard fights that he earned his title, Lyeael'k the Crimson Berserker. He would stand alone among the enemy, wielding his two cutlasses with a ferocity that cut down any man that came near, whether he be friend or foe.

Appearance. From a distance, Lyeael'k appeared to be nothing more than a common man that stood a few palmspans below two peds. Slender with lean yet strong muscles covering his limbs, his strength was easily underestimated by his victims. His skin was kissed by the sun and weathered, the years spent at sea having marred his once fair appearance.

The Crimson Berserker

View picture in full size Picture description. The Crimson Berserker, undead horror of the Adanian Seas. Image drawn by Seeker.

His auburn hair was often pulled back into a ponytail that descended to his shoulders, with a simple leather band holding his hair in place. His clothes were tailored to fit him perfectly and were always darker shades of red. Anyone who dared to assume that he was harmless due to his nondescript appearance did not often live long enough to regret such an assumption. Closer inspection would reveal sou'cald blue eyes that raged with the fury of a winter storm upon a calm sea whenever he fought. His angular cheeks were often covered with reddish stubble, giving him the appearance of a noble that has become savage during months at sea. Pale lips slashed horizontally across his face, often with the corners turned up in a sly grin. A thin scar, turned white with age, extended from his left temple to the right side of his jaw and slashed diagonally between his eyes, offering a sharp contrast to his tanned skin.

A karikrimson leather jerkin covered
Lyeael'k's slender torso, leaving his arms bare, and his teki red pants were tucked into black boots that ascended slightly beyond his ankles. A wide black belt held the aeruillin red scabbard for his first cutlass on his right hip, and a black baldric of the same width crossed diagonally across his chest from his right shoulder to the left side of his torso and held a scabbard and cutlass both of which were identical to those held by his belt. The golden hilt of one cutlass extended above his left shoulder and it was wrapped with an a red strap of leather, and both swords were identical in their appearance. His clothes were worn and stained due to his years at sea, though most of the stains were bloodstains.
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Biography. 878 b.S.- Humble Origins. Lyeael'k was born a simple fisherman in the village of Nepris. In only a few years, he replaced his father as the provider of the family and loved each moment he spent fishing upon the open sea. He dared to sail further than any other fisherman and could not be convinced of the deadliness of the sea.

In the year 878 b.S. during the month of the Awakening Earth, a son was born to a simple fisherman within the village of Nepris. It was the first and only child Jeyriall blessed the couple with, and they loved him as dearly as they loved each other. Their life was a simple one, with the fisherman, Pielt, and his son rising each morning to row the only ducraer the family possessed out onto the Adanian Sea. They would bring home their meager catch each day, and his mother, Slys, would repair the nets. Of course, they were not always successful, and it was many a night that Lyeael'k would lay down to rest on his pallet with an empty stomach.

It has often been speculated that his lack of nutrition as a lad led to his slender frame later in life, though his strength did not suffer from the lack of weight. His boyhood was one spent on the open sea, and he promised himself that she would be his only mistress. He went to sleep each night dreaming of gentle waves and chaotic storms, for he loved the sea no matter her temper.

His role within the family changed as he grew stronger and his father grew frail, it was now his responsibility to feed the family as his father lacked the energy to fish from dawn to dusk. Lyeael'k took pride in his ability to catch fish and manage a ducraer singlehandedly, he would venture farther out to sea than any other fisherman dared and laughed when they warned him of the perils.

862 b.S. - A Young Man's Discovery. Lyeael'k dared to sail further than ever before and discovered the Dead Fisherman's Grotto (as it was later called). After spending a night within the cavern, he returned home to worried parents and told no one of his discovery.

In the year 862 b.S. during the month of the Burning Sky, Lyeael'k dared to venture further out to sea than ever before. His arms were then conditioned to the steady strokes of the oars, but even they began to tire as his village disappeared from view. He was surrounded by water and began to panic as he realized that he might not survive the trip home. The sun began to sink below the horizon, and he sought any island where he could rest for the night.

It was then that he perceived a cavern in the distance located upon a small island. His sou'cald blue eyes looked upon what no man from his village before him had ever seen, the Dead Fisherman’s Grotto. It had yet to earn such a forlorn name and was merely a cavern where the sixteen year old lad rested for a night. The stars were his last sight that night as the gentle sound of the waves lulled him to sleep.

Lyeael'k arose with the sun the next morning and was amazed as he saw the cavern for the first time in the light of day. It was much larger than he had previously believed, and he discovered that the wall he had felt in the darkness was not truly the end of the cavern. An opening extended a ped from the cavern floor, though it was slightly too narrow for a grown man to fit through, and he ducked through it to find an even larger room than the one where he had slept. The chamber ceiling vaulted high above his head, and he could not perceive the far walls in the absolute darkness.

Lyeael'k was too eager to get home to spend the hours it would require to explore the chamber fully and rushed back to the opening of the cavern where he found his ducraer, exactly as he had left it the night before. It was several hours before the village of Nepris once again came into view, and he was surprised yet pleased to learn that the village elders had sent the younger men of the village to search for him. It was the first time in his life that he realized his own importance, and he began to act more like the man he was becoming. Though he did not shirk responsibility, he told no one of the cavern he had discovered preferring to keep it as his personal secret.

858 b.S. - A Fisherman Becomes A Sailor. The village of Nepris was visited by a galleon crewed by mercenaries. After resting at the village for a night, the sailors set sail only to discover Lyeael'k stowed away below deck. The passionate words of the fisherman and the difficulty and length of time it would take to turn back convinced the captain to accept him as a member of his crew.

In the year 858 b.S. during Sleeping Dreameress, a galleon was spotted sailing near the Needle’s Eye. The elders of Nepris held council to determine what action should be taken to greet the ship as the villagers watched it sail majestically through the Adanian Sea. Lyeael'k wearied of such deliberation and set out alone in his ducraer to greet the ship.

It was the first time that he had ever seen a ship larger than a ducraer, and the young fisherman was enchanted by its beauty. It is said that Lyeael'k knew from the moment his gaze came to rest upon the "Tempest" that she would someday be his to command. The figurehead carved in the image of Baveras seemed to be a sign from the goddess herself that this was his destiny.

His diminutive ducraer sailed alongside the larger ship, and he hailed their captain with as loud a shout as he could muster. After a conversation shouted among the crashing waves, the young fisherman was soon leading them to his village of Nepris. The ducraer darted before the darek as a mithanjor fish darts before an ancythrian shark. The elders were not pleased with Lyeael'k’s rash decision, and he was not allowed to attend the meeting where the elders greeted the strangers. Their garb and manner soon revealed that they were mercenaries employed by the Avennorian king, and they could only stay in the village for a night to rest before they continued their hunt for pirate lairs.

The "Tempest" Ghostship

View picture in full size Picture description. The "Tempest", the famous ghostship of the Crimson Berserker. Image drawn by Seeker.

The "Tempest" sailed with the rising tide, her beauty clearly matching that of the heavens. Unbeknownst to the mercenaries, a young man had stowed himself below deck on the ship and was soon discovered by the cook. He was then dragged before the captain, Rytar, and asked why they should not simply throw him overboard. Lyeael'k spoke of his desire to sail the sea and be more than a simple fisherman, and the stern captain was swayed by his passionate words. It is believed that Rytar saw himself in the blue-gray eyes of the young man and could not refuse such a passionate spirit. His diligent manner soon won the hearts of the crew, and their lighthearted jokes eased his mind as he worried about the parents he had left behind.

848 b.S. - A Sailor Becomes A Pirate. The death of the captain weighed heavily upon Lyeael'k, though the crew wished to return to Marcogg and collect their meager wages. Lyeael'k convinced them to seek wealth and glory by becoming his crew as he raided vessels along the Mithral Coast.

In the year 848 b.S. during Turning Star, a decade later, Lyeael'k prospered among the men he considered to be his brethren aboard the "Tempest". It was well known among the crew that Rytar favoured Lyeael'k and looked upon him with fatherly love. It was odd how such a stern man could find love in his heart of stone, yet it seemed as though fate had a sense of humor. The captain trained Lyeael'k to wield his cutlasses with skill and speed, as Rytar was an experienced mercenary himself, and his pride for the young man clearly showed in his eyes. The simple fisherman had become a skilled sailor during his decade aboard the ship as it sailed the Adanian Sea, and he wielded his cutlasses with finesse. They had been gifts from the captain, and every member of the crew envied their golden hilts and sharp edges.

It was during the third night of this month that Baveras took the captain in a winter storm. The crew accepted his death, as they knew that life on the open sea was a gift from Baveras, one she could withdraw at any moment. Yet Lyeael'k mourned the death of Rytar, though he did not blame the goddess. He was quiet and sombre at first, blaming no one for the injustice of Rytar's death, but his thoughts slowly came to the Avennorian king. Without the orders of the king, Rytar would never have died in these cold waters. He turned his fury upon men and cursed the king, a descendant of Rekj Swanhild, for ordering the "Tempest" and her crew into these waters, searching for pirates. His hatred went beyond the king and extended to any aristocrats that believed that they could command the lives of men simply because they were wealthy. They believed that they were superior simply because they had wealth beyond that of the common man, and anger at their kind began to build within his mind. Lyeael'k did not believe the rumors that pirates sailed these waters, as he had not encountered any during his ten years aboard the ship. The crew wished to sail to Marcogg to collect their meager wages and await the day that an aristocrat would once again require their services. He leapt upon the forecastle and spoke with a passion derived from grief and defiance. A combination of greed, love for the youth he had once been, and fear of the man he had become compelled them to accept his offer to sail under him and be his crew as he raided merchant vessels along the Mithral Coast. In an ironic twist of events, they became the pirates they had searched for during the past decade.

846 b.S. - Blood Is Spilled. The pirates attacked their first well armed merchant vessel after having success against lesser merchants. Lyeael'k was consumed with greed as his eyes first looked upon piles of gold within the cabin of the merchant. Any hope he may have had of returning to his life as a fisherman was shattered as he killed the merchant in cold blood.

In the year 846 b.S. during Changing Winds, the pirates attempted to raid a well-armed merchant vessel. Previous to this, they had been raiding along the coast and stealing from lesser merchants that could not afford to hire guards. The moral of the men suffered as they discovered that trade goods were the only items these vessels carried. Even the finest silk was useless to them without a buyer, and they did not dare show their faces within the city of Marcogg.

The "Tempest" closed with the merchant vessel as death rained upon the merchants and their guards in the form of arrows fired from the forecastle of the pirate ship. The pirates did not escape unscathed as several suddenly had arrows blooming from their bodies. Lyeael'k was the second to swing across to the other ship, and the pirate that swung over before him was the first man he killed. He believed it was his right as the captain to be the first in any fight, and his anger often overcame his sense of reason. Rivers of blood stained the deck as he sent the guards into Queprur's embrace. His men were faced with their own mortality, and many wished to flee from the battle. Declaring that any man who dared to run would be killed from behind by his very blades, Lyeael'k charged toward the captain of the guards. The captain was no match for the pirate's fury, and he perished after confronting those whirling blades.

The guards' valiant efforts could not ensure their salvation, and the pirates soon found the greedy merchant stuffing his gold into the pockets of his robe in his private cabin. He begged for mercy, offering to pay a ransom for his very life. Lyeael'k merely pushed him aside and began to collect the gold that spilled from the merchant's pockets, believing the merchant to be harmless. A dagger produced by the merchant from one of his volumnous sleeves slashed downward across the face of the pirate captain, opening the wound by which people later recognized the pirate. The soul of the former fisherman became consumed with greed as his eyes stared at the gold. Such greed destroyed any remnant of the diligent youth that blood had not already washed away, and he severed the neck of the merchant without any hint of mercy in his sou'cald blue eyes.

844 b.S. - A Pirate Comes Home. Lyeael'k rediscovered the cavern where he had slept for a night during his youth. He singlehandedly conveyed the gold and jewels from his ship to the Dead Fisherman's Grotto. He welcomed Brytai the Bold as the newest member of his crew, believing that he was a kindred spirit.

In the year 844 b.S. during Fallen Leaf, Lyeael'k sailed upon the waters of the Adanian Sea where he had fished as a youth. The hold of the ship was piled high with gold and jewelry obtained from several successful raids upon merchant vessels. It was as if he were a stranger to these waters. as he could not recall the simple fisherman he had once been. A winter fog seemed to cloud his mind, and he could only dimly recall the cavern he had discovered in his youth. The arduous journey made in a small ducraer was the most memorable aspect of his discovery, and he guided the helmsman to the Dead Fisherman's Grotto (as it was later called).

It is said that as the ship neared the island his eyes looked beyond the cavern and into his glorious future. He began to lust after gold more than he did vengeance against the aristocrats, and he became suspicious of the crew. He suspected that they were plotting against him in an attempt to steal his gold, and he would defend his treasure with his very life. The crew began to unload the treasure, but Lyeael'k demanded that he be the only one to touch it. He ordered the crew to sail for the nearby village of Nepris to rest for the night, and they were to meet him at the cavern in the morning. They set sail after he spent hours carrying as much gold and jewels as his arms could hold at one time, making several trips from the ship to the interior of the cavern. Instead of sleeping under the stars as he had as a youth, he slept upon a bed of gold within the chamber he discovered decades ago.

His crew met him the next morning with a new member and reports of an elder named Pielt that had objected to their overnight stay. He did not recognize the name of his father, and he became enraged as he noticed the new recruit. It was a man who called himself Brytai the Bold and claimed to be quicker with his daggers than any man alive. He had been traveling across Southern Sarvonia, and it was luck alone that allowed him to meet the notorious pirates. Neither blinked as sou'cald blue eyes stared into those of Brytai and a sly grin crossed the face of the pirate captain. It is said that he saw the same fire that he looked upon each morn in the mirror within the eyes of Brytai and knew that he had finally met a man that he could trust.

842 b.S. - Betrayal. When moving north Lyeael'k and his crew were confronted by a fleet of the Caltharian king. Defiant to the end, he refused to surrender, but his crew betrayed him and cast aside their weapons. The dagger of Brytai the Bold was held at his throat, and each one died on the blade of the other. The crew was killed by the sailors of the fleet, who considered their deal with Brytai to have ended with his death.

The undead crew

View picture in full size Picture description. The undead crew of the legendary Crimson Berserker, which is still roaming the Adanian waters in a ghost ship in search of treasure to appease the anger of the captain they betrayed. Image drawn by Faugar.

In the year 842 b.S. during Molten Ice, the War for Anycros paused for a few years with the signing of the Declaration of Doovens and Artero the Weak (as he is later called), the Caltharian king, dedicated his diminutive navy to the hunting of the pirates whose raids had turned northward in an attempt to avoid a fleet of the Avennorian navy. Lyeael'k's men spoke of retiring from their unlawful lifestyles and mutiny loomed in their near future as escape from the two navies seemed impossible.

He would not listen to the crew, and not even the words of Brytai the Bold could sway him. His cavern held the gold, silver, and jewels of many vessels, but it was not enough. His wealth was insignificant compared to that of a king, and he desired power and wealth beyond that of any king. The "Tempest" evaded ships of both navies with ease until the day she was confronted by a fleet of the Caltharian navy. The words of Lyeael'k the Crimson Berserker were lost to the howling wind as his men cast aside their weapons and Brytai the Bold held his dagger against the throat of the pirate captain. The betrayal by the only man he trusted on that ship infuriated him beyond any rage he had previously felt, and his cutlasses impaled Brytai as the dagger slit his throat. Their blood mingled upon the wooden deck of the Tempest as the navy watched from their ships. Believing that their promises to Brytai were broken with his death, their archers fired upon the Tempest and killed each pirate as Queprur welcomed them into her embrace. The once majestic "Tempest" was left adrift in the Adanian Sea at the mercy of Baveras. - The rest is myth...
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Importance. Lyeael'k the Crimson Berserker is a figure of myth and legend among the people of the Mithral Coast. His ghost is believed to haunt the Dead Fisherman’s Grotto, forever guarding his treasure against any who would dare to steal it. Several fishermen have claimed that they saw a ghost ship crewed by the undead sailing across the Adanian Sea. It is believed that the ghost ship is the "Tempest", and that the crew sails the sea in search of treasure to appease the anger of the captain they betrayed. Outlanders consider the legend of Lyeael'k to be nothing more than a fishwife's tale, yet even they do not sail anywhere near the Cliffs of Alonnog. Few men dare to venture within the Dead Fisherman’s Grotto, and those foolish enough to do so have never returned.
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