Piracy, A History
—A brief history of the “Golden Age” of Piracy, along with some rumors and reports of pirate hauls of the time the author finds notable.
Aut: Hakim ‘Losarzoby
Dt: 837 A.T.
Just over a century ago, scholars now believe the “Golden Age of Piracy” came to a conclusion with the death of the avoc pirate captain Ce’Tus. Though the scourge and threat of Omneuttian piracy has not completely vanished with the avoc’s passing as evidenced by the recent attacks across the area shared by Pale Shores, Parallelium, and The Blade, this “Golden Age” has ended. It has been said that throughout this period of roughly one hundred and fifty years there was a notable pirate crew in each Omneuttian space, on average. In reality, there were five to ten dangerous pirate crews at any given time in Omneutta, and likely near 100 crews total across the Known Universe at any given time.
Piracy is agreed to have begun in the 400s After Time, when space travel became more affordable, widespread, and a notable part of multiple cultures. Advances in many different kinds of technology meant that space travel happened more frequently, which helped piracy twofold: wealthy Omneuttians and their goods traveled at an increased frequency, and average Omneuttians depended on goods that required space travel more frequently. All told, there was more wealth traveling through space than at any point previously.
Despite overwhelming agreement that what we now define as piracy began in the 400s, there is much disagreement amongst academics over how to categorize the Rexes of early xiruen history. For this writing I will not do so, but a brief description of the academic discussion will be provided. On one hand, Ruxes fit some of the definitions of piracy—acquiring wealth and territory by whatever means necessary, often using violence, intimidation, and other methods deemed illegal in other parts of Omneutta. However, they are seen across Omneutta as governing bodies of The Outcropping, similar to Reigns in The Blade. This allows the Ruxes to operate with impunity in The Outcropping by declaring their controlled celestial bodies and surrounding spaces unwelcome to travelers. As long as they only act on local vessels (usually other xiruens), they face no danger from OLAH as being categorized as pirates.
The only recorded events of piracy come through cultural and historic institutions own loss reports. It bears worth noting that these reports too—like the many unsubstantiated rumors of certain hauls over the same time period—these reports must be examined with a critical eye. Some of these institutions cannot (financially and otherwise) afford to admit what they had, what they have lost, or that their defenses were weak enough to be breached by pirates.
The most notable—yet least documented—haul of the Golden Age is that of Porrair’s Crown. The various descriptions of the event mostly agree on the general circumstance and setting. Allegedly, Porrair’s Crown was uncovered as part of an excavation to clear or flatten land in the early 600s. Some retellings of the events have Ce’Tus and his crew landing on the celestial body—an unusual approach for pirates of the time—and others instead have the attack in space. There is almost no agreement on what planet-star or star-planet the attack occurred on, or near for the retellings in space. There are various descriptions—likely to be theories of each storyteller—of how the crew made off with an artifact larger than a xiruen and capable of burning even pori alive.
A personal favourite of the author is the rumor of the pirate Lasni-Bohat-Podah, a shani known for ships and flags dyed bright and extravagant colours. The pirate’s ships are always well described in rumors and official correspondence, but there is a dearth in the literature of their actual hauls. Perhaps because of, or despite this, a rumor persists that the crew and/or its captain made use of what we know now as a Wayfarer’s map. The pirate is rumored to have stolen an early map or perhaps a prototype—long before they were sold—sometime in the early 500s. There is some conjecture that this map could detect any ship within a certain range, enabling evasion for the pirates or making evasion impossible for their targets.
One of few notable pori pirates, Elardi Hizredin was notable for a few reasons. Chiefly, they were (likely) born Hizir dul Elardi-Edin but changed names for unknown reasons. In terms of piracy, they allegedly began the fall of Rux dominance in terms of violence in space. Though the event predates the Golden Age—happening in the late 400s—and their crew presumably had hauls within the Golden Age, there is significant academic debate that the decline of the Ruxes in the late 400s actually allowed more pirates to flourish. If this is indeed the case, and the rumors prove to be true – I have digressed. The rumors allege that in an attempt to ambush an OLAH mining expedition—specifically one in and around Divine Forge—to get the raw material Lott is made with, some unidentified force that was not hostile to the OLAH miners was a foreboding enough presence to scare off a pirate crew. Rather than try to fight through this force to attack the miners, Hizredin’s pirates chose instead to attack one of the largest flagships of a Rux at the time, and won. There is no clear or credible guesses as to what the unidentified force is or was.
One of few stories partially corroborated through official channels and documentation is that of what happened to Vasae 211. One of many pori ships to have disappeared only to reappear as a pirate vessel, documentation on 211’s disappearance is plentiful. We know there is a two day window in Apuvas 568 where the ship departed on time and did not report arriving on time. In an account published in 591, an alleged survivor of the ship’s disappearance recounts that the landing party for the colony ship departed, but instead pirates returned disguised as the landing party and overtook the ship. There are no claimed hauls by any crew known to have used the ship that was once Vasae 211, nor any rumors associating known crews or pirates with the ship.
One persistent report from several different sources throughout almost the entire Golden Age—the first report coming in 542 and the last coming in 658—are of charred husks of ships floating about in space. Like the rumors surrounding Vasae 211, no pirate crew has taken credit for these brutal attacks, but there are 42 documented events over the 126-year span. There are several plausible explanations ranging from pirates abandoning ships and razing to cover their tracks, and brutal accidents that are entirely unconnected. It is—in several academics’ view—that the ships are almost entirely unconnected, but the sight of a charred ship with no conclusive details about when, why, or how, is a foreboding sight as conferred by many of these reports.