Freeport: City of Adventure
“The most amazing thing about Freeport is that it continues to exist at all. The feuding pirates should have torn it apart two hundred years ago. The Continental nations should have wiped it from the map long ago. Barbarians should have razed it to the ground. Some storm or fire should have laid it low. Somehow though Freeport has survived each crisis. More than that, the city has prospered. The gods must truly have a sense of humor.”—Admiral Hrothy
Cities do not spring up overnight. Every place is defined and shaped by its history—and it cannot escape the legacy of past events. Before the Pirate’s Guide to Freeport delves into the secrets of the City of Adventure, some light must be shed on its history. The roots of the city lie deeper in the past than most Freeporters suspect.
|Time Before Present||Notable Events|
|2,005 years||The serpent People’s Empire of Valossa destroyed in cataclysm; Serpent’s Teeth is formed.|
|805 years||The future city of Freeport is founded on island of A’Val.|
|375 years||The Golden Age of Piracy begins.|
|205 years||Drac and Francisco lead the Great Raid.|
|195 years||Civil War breaks out in Freeport; Drac betrays Captain Francisco and becomes sole ruler of the city.|
|165 years||Drac dies and is succeeded by Captain Cromey.|
|133 years||Manipulated by Antonio Grossette, Sea Lord Corliss increases the Captains’ Council to twelve members.|
|110 years||Marquetta becomes fourth Sea Lord and first woman to hold the post.|
|109 years||The Back Alley War begins.|
|106 years||Sea Lord Marquetta wins the Back Alley War, and the Thieves’ Guild is destroyed.|
|99 years||The Year of Three Sea Lords.|
|94 years||The Freeport-Mazarin War begins.|
|86 years||Battle of the Burning Torches.|
|85 years||The Freeport-Mazarin War ends with Freeport victorious.|
|55 years||Marten Drac becomes Sea Lord, nearly bankrupting Freeport—institutes Drac Succession Law.|
|41 years||Anton Drac succeeds Marten and repairs much of the damage. Crucially, he does not repeal succession law.|
|16 years||Anton Drac assassinated by unknown forces; Milton Drac becomes Sea Lord of Freeport.|
|15 years||Construction begins on Lighthouse of Drac.|
|5 years|| Lighthouse is completed; Milton Drac is killed; the
succession crisis begins.
|4 years||Barbarian invasion; Succession Law revoked; Soderheim’s treachery; hurricane blasts Freeport; Marilise Maeorgan becomes the new Sea Lord.|
|3 years ago||Great Green Fire ravages A’Val; Libertyville is refounded.|
|2 years ago||The Reclamation Project begins; Bloodsalt District is founded.|
The Empire of the Serpents
While the current city of Freeport is only a few hundred years old, the site has been inhabited for much longer. Some two thousand years ago, the area was part of a larger island known as Valossa. Stretching a thousand miles south to north and eight hundred miles east to west, Valossa was the heart of the serpent people’s empire. These sorcerous reptiles ruled vast swaths of territory when humanity was young, and they pioneered magic and science when the elves still hid in the woods.
Scholars today often refer to Valossa as an evil empire. While it is true their sorcerers used questionable methods to advance their art, Valossa was no ally of dark powers. The mindset of the serpent people is difficult for humans or elves to understand, so malfeasance is often used to explain misunderstood evidence. For instance, although highly civilized, the Valossans had no concept of individual rights. If a high sorcerer required one hundred living test subjects to use in magical experiments, his request was fulfilled as long as the experiments were judged to be of importance to the empire as a whole.
The Rotting Heart of the Empire
No matter the moral compass used to judge the serpent people, their achievements cannot be denied. Valossa flourished for over a millennium, and its influence spread, even into the planes. The empire resisted every outside threat, from barbarian incursions to infernal plagues to planar invaders. In the end, the true threat was internal.
The serpent people had long been worshippers of Yig, the great snake god. In the latter days of the empire, a cult dedicated to the worship of the Unspeakable One, a dread alien power, sprang up in the serpent people cities. Called the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign, the cult spurned the worship of Yig and embraced the madness of the Unspeakable One. The leaders of the serpent people, too arrogant and vain to see past their high towers, allowed the cult to fester among the discontented. By the time the priests of Yig were roused to action, it was too late. The Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign enacted a ritual to summon their dark god, and the Valossan Empire was smashed for all time.
Wrath of the Mad God
No witnesses survived to tell of the Great Old One’s appearance, but evidence of his destruction abounds. The mighty island of Valossa was rent asunder, and seawater rushed in to drown the serpent people by the millions. Those who survived were driven mad, losing their civilization and magic in one terrible moment. Nearly all of Valossa slipped beneath the waves, leaving only scattered islands as a testimony to the once-great empire.
The mad serpent people fled underground, where their degenerate descendants currently live. A small number of sorcerers and priests of Yig survived the Unspeakable One’s wrath with their sanity intact. These few retreated into the shadows as the younger races created their own kingdoms and empires. As the centuries passed, few remembered the Valossan Empire or that serpent people had once been a civilized race.
The Rise of Freeport
The largest surviving bit of Valossa is an island chain known as the Serpent’s Teeth. The name may be a distant echo of the Valossan Empire, though locals ascribe it to the shape of the islands. The main island of the Serpent’s Teeth, A’Val, has a natural harbor that is easily defended. As the younger races took to the seas, roving captains quickly found A’Val. At first, it was just a place to rest, get fresh water, and refit. Before long, a village sprang up, which as the years passed, turned into a town. It was able to thrive by offering services to passing ships and providing refuge to those unwelcome elsewhere. The sailors took to calling it Freeport, and the name stuck.
A Corsair Haven
With its relatively isolated location and natural attributes, Freeport quickly became a magnet for pirates and ne’er-do-wells of all types. It didn’t take long for buccaneers to take over the town, and Freeport became perhaps the most notorious pirate haven in the world.
What made Freeport work in the early days was a simple pirate code. Do whatever you want on the high seas, but don’t go against your brothers and sisters in port. That meant no stealing, no killing, and no kidnapping while there. Duels did occur on occasion, but they were formal affairs done outside the walls. Most of the crew confined their fighting to drunken brawls, of which there were plenty. By and large, though, the peace in Freeport was kept.
This era is often referred to as the “Golden Age in Freeport”. Pirates ruled the waves decade after decade. Although individual captains and crews suffered setbacks, piracy as a whole flourished. This was a time of legendary deeds, when brave buccaneers seemed larger than life.
Tales of captains like Bedwyr the Black, Sigurd Trolldottir, and Three-hands Chan have passed into maritime mythology. They may never have been more than local folklore if not for the efforts of one man, though. Captain Johannsen was a second-rate pirate but a first-class writer. After retiring from the high seas, he penned an outlandish history of Freeport’s finest buccaneers. Titled A True History of Freeporte Pyrates, this volume established the romantic pirate in the public imagination more than anything else. The book went through six printings in less than two years and gained Captain Johannsen more fame than his years at sea ever had.
Golden No Longer
The Golden Age couldn’t last forever. About two hundred years ago, the era of the rogue buccaneer came to an end. Lone ships faced increasing threats from organized navies. Where once a single ship could hunt merchantmen with impunity, now that same ship was a fox to the hounds of the naval squadrons. As crew after crew was hunted down and neutralized, the pirates of Freeport knew they had to change their ways.
The people of Freeport realized it would take a navy to fight a navy, so the pirate captains decided to form a force of their own and raid en masse. But who should lead this great raid? After much bickering, the pirates settled on two captains for the fleet. Captains Drac and Francisco were fierce rivals, and the assembled captains believed anything the two could agree on would be a good decision. It was not an ideal situation, but the pirates had surprise and numbers on their side. The combined fleet went on a three-month raid that netted more money, valuables, foodstuffs, and booze than Freeport had ever seen. The Great Raid, as it was called, was a spectacular success, still remembered in the yearly celebration of Swagfest, and neither Drac nor Francisco was slow in claiming credit. Before long, each had declared himself a Sea Lord of Freeport.
War in Freeport
The next ten years were tense ones in Freeport. The Great Raid set off a panic amongst the maritime nations. They spent vast amounts of money and resources building up larger navies, and the Sea Lords were forced to fight battle after battle against determined foes. Freeport was assaulted on three separate occasions, but its defenses proved too strong for the attacking ships.
This undeclared war had no clear victor. Freeport defended itself and inflicted several stinging defeats on its enemies, but attrition was high on both sides. In the end, the conflict petered out as the warring navies ran out of ships and men to hurl into battle. After ten long years of fighting, there was a lull, during which each side licked its wounds.
During the war, adversity had kept the pirates united, but when the pressure eased, trouble was not slow in coming. The Sea Lords had long hated each other, which ended in deadly consequences. After a series of provocations, fighting broke out in Freeport for the first time in its history. The men of Drac and Francisco killed one another in the streets, shattering the pirate code that had bound Freeport together.
Neither Sea Lord gained an upper hand during the fighting. Before it could be resolved, word came of yet another fleet bound for the city. The pirates called a truce to defend the city, and the fleet sailed out, united once again. Or so it seemed.
The Big Sellout
Captain Drac had realized this was a war they could not win. The only chance for him and his men was to become a part of the system that was trying to destroy them. Drac entered secret negotiations with the nations set to destroy Freeport. He agreed to betray Francisco in exchange for a truce and recognition of Freeport as a sovereign city-state. The enemy leaders were only too happy to sign such an agreement, so they could end the ruinously expensive war.
With no knowledge of his comrade’s duplicity, Captain Francisco led his fleet to the attack. Once he was engaged, the ships of Captain Drac simply sailed away. Exposed and without support, Francisco’s fleet was surrounded and destroyed. In the meantime, Drac sailed back to Freeport to announce the new city-state and his new regime.
Freeport Goes Legitimate
Captain Drac quickly consolidated his power over the city. He declared himself the only Sea Lord of Freeport and moved against his remaining enemies before they could organize against him. Some of the remaining pirate captains left Freeport rather than serve Drac. They blamed him for the ruination of the pirate code and for the betrayal of Francisco. The majority of the captains, however, seeing which way the salty wind was blowing, chose to remain in Freeport and ride out the storm.
As it turned out, Captain Drac’s rule was considerably less bloody than anyone had believed possible. Drac was not joking about going legitimate. He set up trade routes with former enemies, cracked down on rogue pirates, and organized a Captains’ Council for the governance of the city. Drac’s word was still law, but the Captains’ Council was in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the city and also advised Drac on matters of import.
Captain Drac ruled Freeport with a firm hand for the next thirty years. In that time, he succeeded in turning a pirate haven into a trading hub of substantial importance. Freeport had always enjoyed a fortuitous position, and Drac was not slow in making the most of it. Merchants used Freeport as a base for trade with the distant islands, and brave captains explored savage coasts. Gold, spices, and exotica flowed through Freeport, and Drac made sure the city got its cut.
A Question of Succession
One question above all others haunted Drac throughout his reign. Could Freeport carry on after his death, or would civil war tear the city apart? Freeport meant money, and money made people crazy. Drac knew he had to take steps to safeguard the city’s future. While Drac fancied himself a king, he resisted the urge to take the title. He knew the people of Freeport would not submit to a monarch. It was too contrary to what they were. Similarly, he knew he could not found a dynasty. The rough and ready men of the Captains’ Council would not submit to Drac’s son. The boy lacked the experience of the salty dogs of the council.
So Captain Drac chose another old hand, Captain Cromey, to be his successor. He even set into law that the Sea Lord’s successor had to be approved by the Captains’ Council. He did this to ensure the survival of Freeport as an independent city-state. At the end of his life, he chose the interests of the city over his own glory, and for this, he is remembered as a great man in Freeport.
Growth and Crises
The next hundred years were profitable ones for Freeport. The city continued to grow, which necessitated the building of a newer and larger city wall. Merchants opened trade routes to the east, making Freeport even more important in the maritime world. When wars broke out on the Continent, Freeport was largely able to stay out of them, though the city did cement alliances with several important powers. All in all, it was a period of stability and growth, with a succession of competent Sea Lords assuring the continued importance of the city. Only two incidents threatened Freeport’s future.
Checks and Balances
The first crisis began thirty-two two years after Drac’s death. The city—which had almost doubled in size—was in danger. A war raged on the Continent, disrupting trade and drawing away much of the city’s navy. Freeport was in turmoil as food and other essential supplies became scarce, and angry riots were common. The Sea Lord Corliss, Cromey’s successor, could barely keep order in the streets, even with the complete cooperation of the Captains’ Council. An ambitious and popular councilor named Antonio Grossette used this opportunity to increase the power and influence of the council. He politically outmaneuvered Sea Lord Corliss and was able to expand the size of the Captains’ Council to twelve members. Corliss realized he had no choice but to agree to Grossette’s plan if he wanted the councilors’ help in stabilizing the city, but he insisted on personally choosing the men who would be added to the Captains’ Council. Since this incident, the size of the council has remained at twelve.
The Back Alley War
Once Freeport turned from pirate haven into city-state, changes in its population and makeup were quick in coming. The number of pirates decreased, while the number of merchants and tradesmen increased. Many of these new citizens brought their institutions with them. Primary among them were the guilds. These trade and craft groups were new to Freeport, and the Captains’ Council was initially suspicious of them. The council was won over in time, though, once they saw the benefits the guilds brought to the city.
There was never a problem with a guild until the reign of the fourth Sea Lord, Marquetta. The first woman to become Sea Lord, Marquetta had made her name as a privateer. She was known as a tough but honorable combatant. Her honor was to be sorely tested during the first years of her reign by a new force in Freeport: the Thieves’ Guild.
No Honor among Thieves
Thieves were certainly nothing new to Freeport, but in the early days, the pirate code had kept crime within the city to a minimum. Larceny was practiced largely at sea. When a gang of thieves from the Continent established a true guild in Freeport, it was a new experience. The city had known gangs before but not very organized ones. This group was experienced, professional, and ruthless. Inside ten years, they had gained complete control of Freeport’s underworld.
At first, the Captains’ Council was unconcerned. The Thieves’ Guild was paying off most of the councilors, and the guildsmen kept their activities in the shadows. Soon after Marquetta’s rise to power, she uncovered an operation run by the Thieves’ Guild—in conjunction with a gang of orc pirates, the thieves had established a slave ring.
In the beginning, Sea Lord Marquetta attempted to deal with the problem diplomatically. She sent word through discreet channels that slavery was forbidden in Freeport and that the guild had best cease its activities. They supposedly assented to the request, but several months later, Marquetta learned the slave ring was still quite active. In fact, its scope seemed to have expanded even further than before. Again, Marquetta sent word to the guild. This time, the guild openly defied Marquetta, daring her to take action. With the Captains’ Council in their pocket, the guild thought they were immune to the Sea Lord’s meddling.
They were quite wrong.
A War on Crime
Marquetta quickly began an undeclared war. Her guard began arresting known guildsmen and rooting out safehouses, while she sent a squadron of ships to hunt down the orc pirates. The Thieves’ Guild was caught by surprise and lost many of their number in the initial attacks, but they soon struck back. Three councilors on their payroll were assassinated for their failure to stop Marquetta. Several attempts also were made on the Sea Lord’s life, all of which she survived with the aid of her bodyguards.
The conflict, soon known as the Back Alley War, raged for three years. Marquetta proved herself an implacable foe. She attacked again and again until she broke the back of the Thieves’ Guild. All of its leaders were killed or imprisoned, and slavery was forever snuffed out in Freeport.
Since the end of the Back Alley War, no single criminal organization has dominated Freeport.
The Year of the Three Sea Lords
The Sea Lords up through Marquetta were blessed with long reigns. Some on the Continent inferred they were improbably long considering pirates founded Freeport. It was all the more shocking, therefore, when Freeport saw three new Sea Lords in the year after Marquetta’s death. The first, Rowland Furrock, decided to celebrate his elevation by participating in the Great Hunt a mere month after becoming Sea Lord; he was mauled to death by a giant boar. The second, Giles Wymer, was Sea Lord for six months until he fell victim to poison at a feast in his honor. The circumstances around his poisoning are still a mystery. The man destined to be Marquetta’s true successor, Miles Caxton, took power after Giles’ named heir fled the city rather than risking death as the Sea Lord.
The Freeport-Mazin War
During the reign of Miles Caxton, Freeport’s merchants began exploring farther across the sea and trying to set up new trade routes. Several convoys disappeared in the south, and at first, it was thought they were simply lost at sea. Then a surviving ship made it back and reported that the convoys had been to the city of Mazin. This was a major port in the southlands and a center of the slave trade. The Freeport ships were set upon and seized there, and their crews sold into slavery.
Sea Lord Caxton would not abide by this treatment of his citizens, for nothing is more of an anathema to the people of Freeport than slavery. He first sent an armed expedition to deliver a message to the Mazini slavers: return the Freeporters or face the consequences. He was told if he wanted his people, he should come and buy them in the slave markets.
The now-infuriated Caxton built up the Admiralty and waged war on Mazin for nearly ten years. It was a difficult war to fight, with Mazin some distance from Freeport, but the Sea Lord would not be dissuaded. Finally, Freeport’s fleet was able to lure out that of Mazin and defeat the slavers in a huge clash. This became known as Battle of the Burning Torches, named for the burning masts of the Mazini ships against the night sky. While the city was too distant to outright conquer, it was made to pay Freeport reparations and return those citizens that survived. Since the end of the Freeport-Mazin War, the two cities have had little contact. Mazini slavers have become mythical ogres to frighten the young children of Freeport.
A New Drac for a New Era
Fifty-five years ago, a descendent of Captain Drac succeeded the outgoing Sea Lord. Captain Marten Drac is rumored to have used blackmail and assassination in his rise to power, and he most certainly used them to maintain his position once he had it. Marten ruled for only fourteen years, but the damage he did to the city was substantial. A series of duties and taxes fattened his coffers but drove away many merchants. More ominously, he drove a new law through the Captains’ Council that required the Sea Lord of Freeport to be a descendent of the original Captain Drac.
Marten’s youngest brother, Anton, who became the next Sea Lord, saved the city from complete disaster. Captain Anton Drac proved to be cut from the same cloth as his illustrious ancestor, and he was able to undo the worst excesses of Marten’s reign. The unfair duties were abolished, and Anton provided a series of incentives to win back the trade the city had lost. He also provided limited military aid to several important nations, earning their thanks and their business.
Anton’s one failing was he did not abolish Marten’s succession law. He was regularly urged to do so by the Captains’ Council, but Anton could never bring himself to do it. When the councilors realized Anton would not budge on the succession issue, they changed tactics. Since the reign of the original Drac, the Sea Lord had had the power to nominate new members to the council. Although the council voted to confirm these nominees, they were never able to put up their own candidates. This was a power they desperately wanted, and they put the question to Anton.
The Sea Lord was initially against the idea. He knew this would further diminish the powers of his office. He also knew the sting of Marten’s hideous regime was still in everyone’s mind, so he proposed a compromise. The council would gain the ability to nominate councilors. In return for this power, the Sea Lord would be allowed to cast two votes for his nominee and break all ties. To elect their own nominee, at least seven councilors would thus have to vote against the Sea Lord.
The councilors were not pleased with Anton’s suggestion and held out against it for many years. They kept hoping Anton would have a change of heart. Despite his enlightened rule, however, Anton considered Freeport his family’s property. This notion would be his undoing.
Decade of Deceit
Sixteen years ago, a great war broke out on the Continent, involving nearly every nation. Sea Lord Anton Drac stayed out of it at first, but he knew he had to honor the treaties he had signed. He announced to the Captains’ Council that the Freeport navy would go to the aid of its allies in the spring. This was to be the first time the full fleet had sailed to war since the days of Drac and Francisco. The Captains’ Council was torn on the issue, approving the move by only a single vote.
Anton had made the announcement, so preparations could be made throughout the winter. The unfortunate side effect of this was it gave his enemies several months to plot a course of action. They used the time wisely, concocting an ambitious plan. In fact, it was so ambitious that rumors continue to circulate that they had outside help from the agents of governments who wanted Freeport to stay neutral.
The Captains’ Council also decided to use the time granted them. They feared Anton might die in this war, and they would never gain the power to nominate new councilors. After years of impasse, the Captains’ Council finally accepted Anton’s offer and gained the power they craved. This has come to be known as “Anton’s Gift.” As matters transpired, the gift was given just in time.
Anton Pays the Ferryman
Towards the end of winter, Sea Lord Anton was inspecting the fleet on the docks. A single yellow-feathered arrow flew from the crow’s nest of an anchored ship, piercing Anton’s chest. The wound should not have been mortal, but the arrow was enchanted with vile, deadly magic. Anton was slain as soon as the arrow hit him, and Freeport was without a Sea Lord for the first time in two hundred years.
The assassin was cornered and killed before he could talk. The body was then stolen before priests could try to speak with the dead man. The assassin was dismissed as a lone renegade, and the magical nature of the attack was hushed up. The Captains’ Council had more pressing business to attend to, after all—who would succeed Anton?
Milton Takes the Helm
At this juncture, Captain Milton Drac stepped onto the stage of history. A distant cousin of Anton, Milton appeared as if from nowhere. He was not a member of the Captains’ Council, but somehow he enjoyed tremendous support there. Those most likely to oppose him were strangely silent, as if they feared the consequences of such action. In a matter of weeks, this unknown Drac had become the new Sea Lord of Freeport.
Milton’s first act as Sea Lord was to cancel all military aid to allied nations. The fleet was to restrict its activities to guarding merchantmen, and that was all. As war raged on the Continent, Freeport stood neutral. The nations counting on Freeport’s navy were gravely disappointed and branded Milton a traitor. He was accused of being the puppet of foreign agents or a religious cult. Captain Milton ignored the accusations and continued his rule of Freeport with little opposition.
The Sea Lord’s goal was to make Freeport the preeminent maritime power of the world. After canceling the action of the fleet, he took the war chest and spent it on a monument to his ambition. The Lighthouse of Drac was meant to be one of the wonders of the age. It took ten years to complete and nearly bankrupted the city. Most citizens of Freeport took to calling the lighthouse “Milton’s Folly.”
The Madness of Milton Drac
What no one knew was that Milton Drac was secretly a member of the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign. This malefic organization had somehow survived since the breaking of Valossa, biding its time until it could strike once again. They had found a dark prodigy in Milton Drac and aided him in his ruthless rise to power.
The lighthouse was the centerpiece of Drac’s scheme. It had been specially constructed to channel the energy of the Unspeakable One, the terrible power worshipped by the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign. As part of his plan, Milton had announced a gala celebration for the lighthouse’s unveiling. He wanted ships from all the world’s nations to choke the harbor. When the time was right, he and the Brotherhood planned to enact a magical ritual that would use the lighthouse to project the Yellow Sign into the night sky above Freeport. Charged with the power of the Unspeakable One, the Yellow Sign was to drive the assembled throngs mad, and from Freeport, the madness was to spread across the world.
Such was Drac’s plan. Luckily for Freeport, a small group of heroes foiled it five years ago, Milton Drac was slain, and the Brotherhood thwarted. Heroism, it seemed, was a match for the madness of the Unspeakable One.
The Succession Crisis
Freeport’s succession law required a descendent of the original Sea Lord Drac to take over, and this bloodline seemingly ended with the death of Milton Drac. To make matters worse, Drac had murdered Councilor Verlaine, Councilors Melkior Maeorgan and Brock Wallace died defending the mad Sea Lord, and the Privateer Seat (the only council seat with a term limit) was soon to be up for grabs as well. This meant Freeport was lacking a Sea Lord and three of its twelve members of the Captains’ Council. Marilise Maeorgan took over the seat of her slain brother Melkior (as permitted by the law), but the larger issues remained. The city had not seen such a power vacuum since its early days.
Candidates claiming to be members of Drac’s bloodline were everywhere. Their claims ranged from the dubious to the ridiculous, but the council tried its best to vet all the candidates while debating internally about whether the succession law should simply be abolished. The candidate with the best claim was Drak Sockit, a half-orc bastard son of Milton Drac who led a militant group of orcs (the Sons of Krom) responsible for several riots.
A Very Bad Year
Freeporters who hoped Drac’s death would lead to renewed peace and prosperity were sorely disappointed as multiple disasters rocked the city over the following year. First, another war erupted on the Continent, this time between the elves and the barbarians. When the war went against the barbarians, they tried to save face by sacking Freeport. The citizens rose up to defend their homes, and a vicious battle raged in the streets. Drak Sockit led the city’s orcs against the barbarians, aiding Freeport in its hour of need, but he lost his life in the battle. After much bitter fighting, the barbarians were expelled and the city saved.
Months of rebuilding followed, and the political crisis continued. Finally, the Captains’ Council made its decision: the succession law would be revoked. To the shock and horror of the councilors, the city erupted in violence. The gangs of Freeport used the announcement as an excuse to stir up the populace, which blossomed into full-fledged rioting. While the gangs had hoped for a certain amount of anarchy to enjoy a crime spree, the rioting spun out of control. The Sea Lord’s Guard was unleashed to quash the rioters, and blood ran in the city gutters once again. The Commissioner of the Sea Lord’s Guard was killed by an angry mob, and in return, the forces of law and order went on a rampage of their own. The two dominant gangs of the city, the Buccaneers and the Cutthroats, were utterly smashed, drastically changing the politics of Freeport’s underworld.
During the riots, Councilor Arias Soderheim had his rival, Councilor Elise Grossette, kidnapped and whisked out of Freeport. He wanted her out of the way so he could make his move and become Sea Lord. In turn, this traitor was betrayed by a Continental agent who bribed the kidnapper into torturing and killing Grossette and pinning the blame on Soderheim. Grossette was rescued but only after suffering terribly at the hands of her kidnapper. The whole ugly mess went public, and Councilor Marilise Maeorgan called for Soderheim’s blood, which she received in short order, ending the whole affair. Elise Grossette, disgusted with politics and traumatized by the torture she endured, resigned from the Captains’ Council and quit politics forever.
And then, just to keep things interesting in the City of Adventure, a hurricane slammed into Freeport and caused yet more destruction.
A New Sea Lord
After the failure of Arias Soderheim’s bid for power, the Captains’ Council knew it must stabilize Freeport or face a full-fledged civil war. Councilor Marilise Maeorgan argued the empty seats must be filled before a new Sea Lord could be chosen. The other members saw this as an opportunity to get new blood on the Captains’ Council without interference from a Sea Lord, so they agreed with Maeorgan’s suggestion. At this point, the Captains’ Council consisted of the following members: Captain Garth Varellion, Captain Hector Torian, Dirwin “Nimblefingers” Arnig, Sister Gwendolyn, Liam Blackhammer, Captain Marcus Roberts, and Marilise Maeorgan, with Captain Xavier Gordon in the Privateer’s Seat.
Since Xavier Gordon’s term in the Privateer Seat was almost up, he resigned and offered up his candidacy for a regular seat on the council. This was gladly accepted. Peg-Leg Peligro, the high priest of [[Religion | the Pirate], took over the Privateer Seat at the councils’ urging because they wanted someone they could trust. The council was filled out with three new members: Captain Jacob Lydon, Nathan Grymes, and Enoch Holliver. The roguish Lydon was a former pirate whose merchant shipping company had seen better days. Nathan Grymes was a powerful merchant who was said to run an extensive smuggling ring on the Continent. Enoch Holliver was a retired mercenary captain with many influential friends and enough gold to keep his fingers in many pies.
With the council back to its required twelve members, debates on who should take over as Sea Lord began in earnest. With Lady Elise Grossette and Arias Soderheim out of contention, the field was wide open. Captain Garth Varellion put himself forward, as did Liam Blackhammer and several outside candidates. In a surprise move, Marilise Maeorgan advanced her own claim, despite her youth and the shortness of time served on the Captains’ Council. Even more surprising, she quickly became the leading candidate. Despite her deceased brother’s involvement with Milton Drac, she had three things going for her. First, her family had been prominent in Freeport’s affairs for over a century. Second, her family fortune gave her a lot of money to spread around. Third, her vehemence in punishing the treachery of Arias Soderheim won her many public accolades.
So it was that Marilise Maeorgan became the second female Sea Lord. While this was not greeted with enthusiasm in all corners of Freeport, neither did it cause an uproar. While most folks understood that Marilise was almost certain to be corrupt, plain old corruption was preferable to the insanity of Milton Drac or a prolonged civil war.
The new Sea Lord was quick to make her mark on the city. With the Commissioner of the Sea Lord’s Guard, Xander Williams, slain during the recent rioting, there was an important vacancy to fill. She split The Sea Lord’s Guard in two. She made her father, Marshal Maeorgan, Commander of the Sea Lord’s Guard. His men were given two primary duties: protecting the Sea Lord and defending the city from outside threats. The policing of the city was made the purview of the new Freeport Watch, whose appointed commissioner was none other than Enoch Holliver. By giving important positions to her father and a councilor who supported her bid for Sea Lord, Marilise Maeorgan made clear that nepotism was back and better than ever in Freeport.
With Marilise Maeorgan’s ascension to the Sea Lordship, there was yet another vacancy on the Captains’ Council. Liam Blackhammer nominated Tarmon, the High Wizard, in a move that caught the Sea Lord and the Council off guard. Tarmon had advised the council for many years but had never had a desire to serve on it. The Sea Lord did not want to make an enemy of the High Wizard, so she supported the nomination, and Tarmon joined the Captains’ Council. This was the first time a powerful wizard served on the Captains’ Council, and it made many in Freeport uneasy.
The first year of Maeorgan’s regime was trying. First, the Great Green Fire nearly destroyed everything. In a freakish supernatural event, the island of A’Val was set ablaze, and Freeport was nearly wiped off the map. The Wizards’ Guild finally squelched the fire but not before half the island was turned to ash. Second, the town of Libertyville was re-founded and began competing commercially with Freeport.
The past two years have—at long last—been back to business as usual for Freeport. Marilise Maeorgan has been a stronger leader than expected, and her distinct lack of grandiose plans has made most citizens sigh in relief. Freeporters know how to deal with the business of corruption, and in that the Maeorgan regime excels. Marilise has power, and through that power, she and her friends make money. She sees her job as maintaining the status quo, and by and large, this has been achieved. Nothing, however, stops the bubbling cauldron of the City of Adventure, and current events in Freeport are the subject of the remainder of this book.