Powers of the Windemere Seas: Pesky Pirates

Black Sails

Can’t talk about the good guys without touching the bad guys, but these aren’t always the bad guys.  Close enough though.  Pirates are a favorite enemy in adventure stories.  Either they’re the main villains, the opposing army, the minions, or a momentary problem that the heroes stumbled into.  For some reason, fantasy stories have oceans full of wandering pirates that pray they never run into a protagonist.  Let’s be serious here.  If they do run into a main character then their fate is a choice between death and noble heroism.  That second option only happens if they have lines beyond ‘Arrrrr!’.  ‘Tis a difficult life for a buccaneer in fantasy.

Seriously though, it is always a lot of fun to write pirates in a fantasy setting.  They have such a hodgepodge of personalities, quirks, and gear.  Think about how they loot ships for money and resupplying.  The collection of magical items alone makes them a fairly unpredictable force.  You don’t know if you’re getting a swashbuckler with a regular sword, enchanted sword, magic boots, or a wand of fire wasps up their sleeve.  This is a reason why the navy hasn’t wiped out the pirates too.  It’s difficult to plan against a force that isn’t a unified group.  Every ship for herself with some flimsy alliances and nothing more than common rules to join them.

Now, I am making pirates seem rather goofy and random here.  They can always be that sometimes.  Yet, they are a major threat or a great ally depending on what happens.  Most times, a pirate will be selfish and become a hindrance if they join a team.  Their nature is to look out for themselves, their crew mates, and their ship.  So there is a loyalty similar to what the navy has.  Both have a foundation of family in a way, but they deal with betrayal a lot differently.  Navy will fire or jail you while pirates will kill you.  Usually since they could also turn a traitorous crewman over to the authorities for the reward by using a middleman that gets a cut.  In this way, the Windemere pirates are very cunning and most of those that rise up the ranks study the history of their profession.  These aren’t stupid or lazy people.

My pirates do tend to be more like the ones you see on TV and in movies.  If they show up as bad guys then they’re fairly aggressive and most will fight to the last man.  Those that show up as good guys are jovial, tough, and will leave as soon as they lose interest in the adventure.  I should say typically because there are a few series that involve pirates to some extent.  One has them in a closed off area and the ‘crew’ are people taken from various worlds.  Still trying to figure that one out or see if I should simply make them all different types of pirates.  Another has a character who decides to become the pirate captain of a ship and crews it with elementals.  So, it’s hard to put them into the same category as the standards.

I would say as far as power and influence goes, the pirates have a leg up on the navy because they travel everywhere.  With no kingdom to control them, they only have their whims and desires to restrain their travels.  Probably makes them rather appealing to people in that world too.  Also, it’s the big reason you will see them turn up more often in my stories.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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17 Responses to Powers of the Windemere Seas: Pesky Pirates

  1. noelleg44 says:

    Dang, wish I could get a pirate into one of my books, but I’m thinking of a more modern day one for the next time around. My post for your book went up today – sorry for the delay, I had to teach this week and it exhausts me!

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  2. That’s kind of funny, I’ve had a pirates ringtone for about four years now. I’ll write a sea adventure or a pirate story one day. I just need the Muse to clarify some things for me.

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  3. The swashbuckling fictional pirate is the stuff of romance. Who wouldn’t want to have a crew of pals roaming the seas plundering the commercial traffic and drinking rum? Pirates in a story means pure adventure. I always think of Johnny Depp as my ideal pirate.

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    • I think I’ve come to prefer the Black Sails ones. Sparrow is cool, but a little goofy in the previous movies. That or I’m just getting grittier in thought. The rum is important no matter what.

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  4. Pirates are something I think nearly everyone is fascinated in. The history of pirates is a long and storied one too, I did some research on them a few years ago, the stories of pirates from the past is amazing!
    Great post, I’m looking forward to learning more about your pirates, hopefully I’ll get enough time soon to catch up on your books.

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    • Sadly, I couldn’t add much of the pirates into this series. They show up more in a later one and I’m still working on a way to do a pirate series or one-shot. They make for interesting supporting characters.

      I did some research long ago, but forgot most of what I read. Seems the fictional side of things has romanticized them a lot. Even the gritty ones are probably off when compared to reality.

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      • I’ll look forward to the later series than, plus the one shot when you get to it.
        You could always do a Windmere version of treasure island, just add magic, make the treasure some kind of magical artifacts and set it from the pirates perspective.
        It’s easy to forget stuff you research, I do that all the time myself. I’m sure you’re right about the fictional stories changing the facts a lot.

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      • Hopefully I can get to it some day. Feels like I have more projects than lifetimes to do them in. The original idea was having the pirates work with a mapper (post tomorrow) to explore an uncharted region. They were promised the treasures they found, but they run into a lot more trouble.

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  5. L. Marie says:

    I can’t help loving pirates, ever since I read TREASURE ISLAND when I was a kid. 🙂 So I’m glad pirates sail the Windemere seas.

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  6. People so often treat piracy and banditry as something fun and even romantic. It kind of irks me. Hello — they’re thieves! Do you think it’s fun if your house is burglarized? So you can probably tell what I think of those Caribbean movies.

    Anyway, a ship crewed by elementals? I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about paying them, or feeding them. They wouldn’t mutiny. You’d just have to be really careful to keep up your summoning and control spells, though.

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    • I think a lot of it stems from an interest in anti-heroes. Since pirates are thieves, they can save the day using more colorful methods than your boy scout heroes. It also allows for them to shift between good and bad over the course of a story. Fiction does love its noble thieves too since you have Robin Hood.

      I’m still working out how an elemental crew would work. Too much control and they lack free thought needed to handle emergencies. Maybe there would be some kind of payment in energy or whatever element they’re composed of.

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