The Tournament of the Great Five

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  1. Introduction:

    ‘Tis no rarity in the pirate world for swashbucklers to have blood on their hands. To be true, if you think that the difference between merchants and pirates is black and white, you are sorely mistaken. Despite the fact that the merchant fleets often fall victim to pirate attacks, it would be an act of genuine folly to believe that these raids are purely arbitrary or coincidental. Often times one house of merchants hires pirates to attack ships of a different house. Pirates are, in effect, merely pawns in the games played by different houses in the merchant guild. The individual merchant houses tolerate being plundered, but only to a certain degree. Nevertheless, certain houses have been forced to stop selling their wares due to an opposing house’s aggressive ‘marketing’ strategies, as members of the merchant guild so delicately put it. Jobs like these are twice as lucrative for pirates as they are able to oftentimes keep or sell the goods that they ransack on their raids, all the while remaining free from obligation to any one particular guild. It’s certainly not unheard of for a crew of pirates to be hired by one merchant house to attack a second merchant house, only to be hired by the second house to attack the first a week later. In other words, pirates are merely hired guns with loyalty that can only be bought and that’s the way they’d like to keep it.

    The Houses of the Merchant Guild:

    Over the course of many years, five different houses have emerged with the most dominance and influence: First, there is House Lodos. Officially specializing in trading fish and seafood, these merchants, however, are first and foremost money lenders, who often take advantage of their monetary might. Accordingly, the animal on their coat-of-arms is a shark, which has two meanings. The shark stands for fishing and it represents Lodos’ position as an unscrupulous financial institution. House Lodos will go to any means necessary to get what they’re owed. Unsurprisingly, their motto is “Everyone has to pay.” Within the merchant guild, this house has the reputation of being extremely savvy and cunning, and no one underestimates their power and influence. Their colors are steely gray, silver and white. House Buthu, whose coat of arms is adorned by scorpion, makes its money trading herbs and spices. Its merchants are the most knowledgeable connoisseurs of spices to ever sail the seas and they know how to get the highest quality wares. Buthu ships are attacked regularly due to the high value of their freight; although, thieves often pay with their lives – behind the crew of herbologists hides a group of deadly assassins! Their motto is a very fitting “Watch your back.” Their colors are yellow, ochre and just about any other color that can be found in the desert. House Pentar has a panther on its crest and their primary source of income comes from selling and trading weapons. The members of House Pentar are considered to be world-class hunters, so attacking one of their ships always fraught with peril. Pirates are up to the challenge, though, especially considering the value of Pentar’s cargo. At guild meetings, non-Pentar members walk away with shiny new sabres or muskets. The merchants of this house are known for their elegant dress, mainly due to the luxurious furs they wear acquired from one hunt or another. The motto of this house is “Chaos begets profit” and their colors cover a broad spectrum that starts at black and ends at green and yellow. A bat can be found on the House Kirus coat-of-arms. Kirus merchants keep their money bags heavy by selling and trading rum, tobacco and other such luxuries. Their ships are a favorite target of pirates, who can smell rum drifting on an ocean breeze from miles away. Pirate ships usually have next to none of the fine goods aboard Kirus ships, which is why they are a prized target for swashbucklers. Kirus merchants are well aware of this fact and, therefore, keep their ships under constant surveillance. Their colors are crimson and purple, off-set by a smoky gray. Their motto is “Beware the things that go bump in the night.” Last but not least, there is House Sobek whose heraldic animal is the crocodile. This house earns their keep trading the loveliest lasses the world has ever seen. The women in this house are considered to be the most beautiful and are coveted the world over. House Sobek offers its clients simple escort services, as well as arranged marriages, and their ships are attacked less often than those belonging to other trade houses. The reasoning behind that is twofold. First, seamen are superstitious that women bring bad luck on the high seas. And second, the women aboard are said to distract the male crew members with their feminine wiles. It has many times come to pass that a man boards a Sobek ship, only to leave his calling behind him and settle down with one of the female passengers. Sobek’s color is primarily emerald green and its motto is “Business as usual.”

    The Tournament of the Great Five and How It All Began:

    The Tournament of the Great Five has been around for years. The five houses implemented it decades ago as an end in itself. What better way, they thought, to distinguish the good pirates from the bad, since all pirates are known to be fickle. The perfect setting for them to test their reliability and resolve was in a hotly contested tournament.

    The tournament has turned into a real spectacle over the years as it draws crowds of tens of thousands from all around. Many of the spectators gamble and make bets on the winner and it is truly a spectacle to behold. This tournament has proven to be just the platform that pirates need to display their strengths and establish a capable reputation. The most impressive teams drum up lots of lucrative (and illegal) business during the tournament and, if that weren’t enough, the best crew wins a new ship! Just as you’d imagine, they play for keeps at this pirate tournament. Victory at all costs is the name of the game. The team to sink its opponent first not only has the chance to win a new ship, but also has one less competitor nipping at their heels.
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