Thursday, April 5, 2012

Clockspittle Lock'Orange

     Last night my wife yelled something at me from another room which sounded like "Clockspittle Lock'Orange?"
     And I said "You mean the famous gnomish pirate?"
     She did not.  She meant something entirely ordinary like "Stop leaving the bathroom light on."  But then she wanted a bedtime story.   So here it is:

     Clockspittle Lock'Orange was born into a family of industrious gnomish tinkerers with blonde hair.  The Lock'Oranges had maintained the Grand Clock of Egorian for ten generations uninterrupted, and made their home in the clock itself. Clockspittle was a remarkable child, but only in the sense that he was neither  industrious nor blonde, the hallmarks of his family.  The Lock'Orange penchant for hard work was twisted in him into a sort of brilliant cunning, and Clockspittle has always valued cleverness over hard work.  At the age of ten he could be found running the streets of Egorian with local toughs, booby-trapping the city watchmen's barracks and removing parts from anything not chained down.  When his family asked him to leave the giant clock, he graciously complied, heading to sea on the next ship that left the docks.  It took him only a few months to fall in with a crew of pirates, and not much longer to ascend to captaincy.
     Captain Clockspittle Lock'Orange has become infamous for his unconventional tactics and unparalleled success.  Early successes landed Clockspittle a large pile of gold bullion, which he invested in refitting his ship and hiring a competent, loyal crew.  His ship, the Cotter Pin, is a marvel of modern technology --- among the first refits were an experimental steam turbine which runs twin paddle wheels on the side of the galleon, giving it extra speed and maneuverability.  Rigging and sails are controlled largely by clockwork servitors, freeing the crew for combat.  More recently, Clockspittle has had all the hatches and gun ports covered in oiled leather, and has installed an adjustable ballast system.  This allows the Cotter Pin to seal itself and sink beneath the waves, sitting just below the surface to ambush merchant ships.  The twin masts have been hollowed out like giant snorkels, and an elaborate mirrored periscope allows Captain Clockspittle to watch for prey from his underwater raider.  Many a ship has surrendered quickly after the Cotter Pin rose to the surface amidships, guns trained and ready.
     Clockspittle is a successful pirate, but also remarkably fair.  He accepts surrenders in exchange for three quarters of all coin and valuables on board a ship, and will often take hostage only the captain, treating him or her to lavish hospitality until a suitable port can be found as a drop-off point.  His men are all well armed with the most modern matchlock pistols and rifles, and can generally outgun merchantmen and escape fights they can't win.  Several nations of the Inner Sea have taken to hiring the Cotter Pin to harass the shipping of their enemies, either covertly or with privateer warrants.  Clockspittle has thus retained safe ports of call throughout the Inner Sea, though he is rumored to make berth on a secret island workshop near Mediogalti island.

The Cotter Pin explores a region of the Frozen Sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment