Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Special Report: Pirate Problem Widespread in Port Population

The infamous Port Bloodwater, viewed from the sea

Anyone living on the western coast of Abevorn, especially in the regions of Sevennia, the Shadow Wastes and the Western Isles, will be familiar with the day-to-day reality of piracy. Port Bloodwater is an infamous base of piratical gangs, inhabited by buccaneers and thieves and malcontents of every kind. Violent acts against honest trade are a common and high-profile danger to shipping from the border of Caefro right down to Khaevorn. What is less well-known, is that a low-grade culture of piracy and smuggling has infiltrated the lives of many otherwise law-abiding citizens who live in coastal regions.

It is a problem rarely spoken of in the Royal City or along the sun-drenched Eastern coast, but piracy receives tacit support from folk in all sections of society in the Western Isles and the coastal communities along the mainland. It is perfectly common for the inhabitants of small port towns to collude with smugglers, participate in unofficial salvage operations, and buy illegally obtained goods. With this kind of widespread background support it is no wonder that piracy blooms on our shores and officials have had little luck in rooting out this menace.


  • In the last year there have been only 2 official reports of shipwrecks in the entirety of the Western Isles, despite the hazardous currents and many jagged rocks that test even experienced sailors. In both of these reports the wrecked ships appear to have been mostly empty and curiously under-provisioned. 
  • On a visit to Dunnell, the largest town in the Western Isles, I discovered ship-builders with no links to either naval forces or established trading companies. None took kindly to my questions about their credentials and burly members of staff speedily saw me off the premises. 
  • Marketplaces provide more than just the necessities local folk need. Stalls regularly sell finely-made goods of unknown origin alongside the usual assorted bric-a-brac.  
  • Even the humblest homes in the smallest fishing villages have fences, sheds, and even extra rooms constructed from timber salvaged from the sea. Local fisher-folk do not respond well to questions about where they get their building materials.


When speaking to locals I found that people were generally unconcerned about where their purchases came from, and whether they had been obtained legally. Some even went so far as to offer support for the smugglers and unlicensed merchants who sell their stock so cheaply.

“It's better than you can get from the trading companies for the same price,” observed Ned Barnacle (56), a fisherman. “If you want anything decent round here it's best not to ask where it comes from.”

The local gentry do publicly speak out against piracy and smuggling, and support legal traders for their daily needs. However I was told that many rich and respectable members of community will instruct their servants to buy luxury goods as cheaply as possible, with no question as to their origin. I'm was also informed that there is a flourishing black market trade in specialist products, with middlemen arranging thefts to order for those who can afford to pay for such services.


My attempts to contact the Governer of the Western Isles and the powerful Conclave of Dunnell about this matter have been met with bland statements of intent that suggest no real action is being taken.
A spokesman for Governor Bathsheba Threpley said that the Governor took all instances of piracy, smuggling and illegal trading very seriously. He added the she plans to form a committee to investigate the matter just as soon as she recovers from the strenuous bout of relationship-building she undertook over the mid-winter banqueting season.

A representative from the Conclave of Dunnell listened carefully to all I had to say and seemed to understand my concerns. When asked for a response she said that these material problems are a symptom of moral decay, no doubt imported from the godless and heretical population of the mainland. She explained that the Conclave members are each busily working to better the spiritual lives of the inhabitants of the Western Isles. From what she said there seems to be little consensus on how best to accomplish this, but it's clearly a project the Conclave are devoting most of their energies to.


While the authorities take no action the wider population continues to support illegal activites. Honest traders find themselves priced out the market and even the bigger trading companies are less willing to trade in the region, which only gives pirates, smugglers and fences a greater foothold. Unless someone takes drastic action soon it will be impossible to reverse the wide-ranging affects of illegal trade.

Petunia Plumtree

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