The Taghmart Armada
The Taghmart Armada hail from the hot southern islands in the Silver Seas, some secret and barren deserts, others lush and dangerous jungles. They are colloquially known as the Smugglers, as they not only steal from other ships but equally any other targets of opportunity including towns, temples, and tombs. They then sell the goods on to the highest bidder. They represent the vibrant intellectual and economic energy of the islands, rather than just a gang of thugs beating on passing ships.
Alliance with the Sirens
The Taghmart Armada have formed a highly secretive alliance with the Sirens. Sirens, contrary to popular belief, are actually incorporeal wraiths, not femme fatales. They inhabit empty, rocky islands in the middle of the sea and sing unbearably sad songs. Any passing sailors who hear this heartbreaking melody find themselves drawn ever closer, unable to resist the sound, until they eventually crash on the rocks. Because few men have seen Sirens and survived, few realize that they are shades, not physical women — they have no form, only spirit. Their greatest desire is to become corporeal, and their myths tell that the bodies of humans are the best way to accomplish this. There is some debate within the Sirens as to how this will be accomplished — some believe they will inhabit the bodies of the dead, once a body has been collected for each Siren among the group, and some believe that their spirit forms will grow flesh once enough has been taken from the human world.
The Smugglers first became acquainted with the Sirens when Jarvis the Cock-Eyed landed on their shores in a drunken stupor. Because of his high level of intoxication, he didn’t even notice the singing until the next morning - and Siren song loses its power once the victim is on land. He spent several months among the Sirens, repairing his boat and learning their customs. Jarvis, upon learning the Sirens’ need for human flesh, proposed a treaty to benefit both factions: The Armada would drive their victims’ ships into Siren waters, and in return, the Sirens would allow the pirates to safely raid the wrecks for plunder.
Jarvis the Cock-Eyed’s sabbatical among the Sirens became the stuff of Taghmart legends, and the increased plunder gave the faction the resources needed to become truly competitive with the other factions of pirates. Jarvis the Cock-Eyed was changed irrevocably by the experience, and he never stopped hearing the strains of ghostly music, and he was plagued by dreams of death every night for the remainder of his life. He died in his sleep at the age of 97, and his last request was that his body be dumped off Siren shores. The legends tell that if you sail past a certain lonely island at the hour of midnight, a lower voice rises above the rest, singing a bawdy sea shanty...
Quick Ginny was once an Elvish pirate captain known as Genevra the Venomous, so called for her deadly skill with the rapier. Over the years she grew rich and popular within the Etterian Spiral, until her ambition got the better of her and she launched a failed attempt to unseat the faction's leader. In retribution, the leader burned her favorite ship (the Silver Adder) with Genevra aboard.
Ginny escaped the burning wreck and was found a few days later by an Armada vessel. She bargained some intelligence about the Spiral for safe passage and a meeting with the Smuggler King. She offered to lead a raid on an Etterian stronghold in return for a position in the Armada and first choice of the captured ships. That's how she came into possession of the Nightingale, which she renamed name to be determined for Expansion 1!.
The Elves want revenge. They call Ginny "The Ashen," an allusion to what will become of her if she ever falls into their hands again.