The Free Brethren Alliance Julius Ap Camelot
: While Julius remains a scrawny physical specimen and a decidedly middling-mediocre fighter, he continues to survive as first amongst equals in an environment where the average crew reacts to a anything that sparkles with profit like a shark entering a feeding frenzy (admittedly all that scurvy does cut the risk posed by teeth something fierce, but they make up for it with knuckles and nails) due to something more than any fondness inspired by those vaingloriously acidulous put-downs of his or even his notoriously super-competent crew (a good deal less piratical than their lord and master, regarded with affection to the point where they can get away with the occasional "M'Lord" when addressing their employer … IN PUBLIC).
To be blunt what Julius may lack in physical endowments ("Not completely lacking" - The Commandant) he compensates for with his preternatural psychic might (even Mrs and Mr Cosmic can't get away with lying to his face, which says something) and his entirely-natural ice-cold genius - an intellect so cool that even when he's most enjoying his chance to swashbuckle across the stage of history his mind is still turning over every single variable in play and factoring it into commands, deductions and plans that have to date kept him at least on a par with the most superb schemers and more than move ahead of the best of the rest.
Not to mention kept him so terrified of pitch-dark core of cynicism underpinning his genius that he'd rather work to foment a revolution and play pirate than own up to the responsibility that is his birthright and bounden duty by all his training and Law - mostly because he knows that what he would feel obliged to do for the sake of the Star Kingdom in Percy's position would make that Patricide look just about as dangerous as the only Blackadder desperate enough to let Baldrick do his thinking for him in comparison. The Commandant
: Has yet to meet Columbia and this is a very good thing for the safety of that part of the cosmos that used to be misgoverned by The Sovius - quite frankly the two of them would get on like a card-shark and a stacked deck, which might well finally give the Black Arbitrators the fleet they need to do some SERIOUS crusading or worse yet result in The Alliance of Free Brethren obliged to defend themselves against one of the most deadly companies of killers in the Nexus (even Goldtoof Rog would think a bit before starting a fight with them, if only so he could work out how to kill them fast enough to leave him with MOST of a ship and a skeleton crew) with the inevitable butcher's bill likely to grow horribly high before they could be stopped, even if they were beaten.
There also remains the fact that Columbia and Julius would make an ASTONISHINGLY cute couple, which might leave The Commandant in an almost hilariously bad mood (how's she going to get Legendary in her … on her side if the primary peacemaker is busy with some other dame?), albeit probably only just long enough for her training as a conscienceless killer aristocrat OF DOOM to kick in.
The Terror Brigade, currently serving as her premier marines, are entirely comfortable with the current state of affairs - which allows them long-desired freedom to fight for a cause that would not reduce them to shells left hollow by meaningless victory won in the name of a society that did rather worse than spit on them (not to mention loot and pillage at discretion - they can take or leave the burning, but anything shiny falls firmly into the 'Keep' category so long as explosion remains potential rather than imminent).
Julius regards them as a mighty reassurance that he's unlikely to lose his paramour to anything less than the war machine of a full-blown hyper power, but tends to remain at arm's length (if only because he wants to keep both his baubles AND all his limbs).
: How can Bonnie Annie be as Irish as the average John Ford picture despite never having so much as set foot on any version of that island? (so far as we can tell, which isn't very far at all because Annie is MAGNIFICENTLY sneaky) - simple; she grew to womanhood within the confines of Waterdelve, a city notorious for boozing, blarney, dancing, firewater MOSTLY derived from potatoes, eating potatoes, storied eloquence, tall stories, trading, smuggling, running away with the fairies, harpers, having conquered their almost invincible conqueror (a frigging dragon!) after centuries of living underground, becoming fragmented into factions based on grudges so old even mutual triumph couldn't keep them struggling together (rather than against one another), for a peculiar mixture of implacable piety and incorrigible mischief (not to mention somehow uncovering relatives in the furthest reaches of Middle-Zoth, to the point where even the local Jews have been known to make the odd joke about The Tribe of Israel being one of the Twelve Tribes of Waterdelve) - also for being one and all invariably thirsty at all times.
Quite frankly they're so Irish they don't even NEED the rain, redheads or freckles (amusingly the locals look more Hispanic than anything, but more Galician than Castilian or Columbian), although it might interest you to know that Waterdelve sits on top of a series of sea-caves on the Isle of Esmeralda, because apparently the designer of Middle-Zoth had a peculiar sense of humour.
Also a still more peculiar fondness for pseudo-Irish rogues and swashbucklers. Lord Chester XIII Stevens
(called 'The Insensible'): If you came within twenty-four hours and a wake-up of marrying your own sister YOU would swear off the influence of Master John Thompson too BIGAD! (now if only he could persuade Annie to help him convince Foster-Mamma and Papa to stop dragging him along on their … ESCAPADES as catnip to ladies of a certain age, he could sleep soundly AND solo in his bed at nights - come to that he should probably start convincing Annie to let him quietly gentrify himself before he's too old to be anything but a curmudgeon rather than a sporadically-charming cad …).
'hem, haw-haw. On a more serious note Lord Chester does his best to stick with skulduggery rather than blatant piracy, partly because his natural aptitudes tend toward dirty sneaking tricks in the approved Rathbone manner and mainly because while he LOVES being celebrated, he really would love to avoid the sort of media scrutiny that paints any pirate that labours under it with the words "WANTED - DEAD OR ALIVE" in neon lights visible entire parsecs distant.
With this in mind he does his best to avoid working alongside The Free Brethren council (ESPECIALLY Goldtooth - he's learned his lesson BIGAD!) and will tend to construct creative excuses in a series of increasingly desperate bids for freedom while the high road out of town remains free and clear of pursuing lawmen - as a result of these fine displays of survival instinct, he's only become EVEN MORE popular company (Pirates appreciating his finely-honed talent for fighting to run away).
Sometimes you just can't win, even if you beat the other losers to the escape hatch. Captain Wendy Mitchell, Queen Mother of Pirates
: It must be noted that Julius was more astonished to learn that King Liam actually took the time to MARRY one of his paramours (being something of a love-them-and-leave-while-they're-still-smiling sort of Merry Monarch) rather than the revaluation that Papa had fathered ANOTHER quiver of part-siblings (although thankfully these half-siblings seem closer to being wholly loveable than those others, mostly because they're rather a collection of mildly piratical Victorian Fairy Tale environmentalists and therefore have a better chance of turning the Pope protestant than they do of claiming Arthur's Seat).
To the astonishment of all, Captain Mitchell's long-term slightly-elvish buccaneer beau has revealed himself to be a full-grown man-child whose only ambitions in Life seem to be reducing EVIL pirates to screaming fits of impotent rage, pulling off still more implausible feats of physical skill and acting his shoe-size rather than his age; he's also quite convinced that as a grown-up he grows further and further past his prime by the day, exercising vigorously in a bid to keep at bay the ravages of time he subconsciously expects to manifest any day now.
Despite his youthful paranoia, he continues to look JUST young enough to be forbidden fruit and JUST old enough to be jailbait; the sight of him exercising with his shirt off was enough to reduce Mrs Cosmic to such a state that Mr Cosmic had to manfully carry her off.
I am reliably informed that long grass will never be the same again!
Cap'n Wendy, being a practiced hand when it comes to her eternally-youthful shadow and his antics, just does her best to avoid being caught eating the eye candy on those rare occasions when she's not hard at work keeping her extensive retinue to adoptive children and grandchildren happy, her charity cases alive and that miserable excuse for a sibling of hers less than happy whenever possible.
Also keeping her hands off Lord Chester, because she still has a thing for any fine Byronic figure of a man, even if this one is a touch on the weedy side. Goldtooth Rog
: Amusingly classical music is just as effective as keeping his crew in line as 'footie' but the Crew tend to feel a vague embarrassment afterwards that leaves them just a wee bit moved to mad prodigies of hooliganism afterwards, in order to overcompensate for their pacific conduct.
It should be noted that I have some thoughts concerning Middle-Zoth which I hope to share at some point before the Heat Death of the Universe, but which are better addressed at some other time.
On another subject, Mrs and Mr Cosmic tend to regard Rog as letting the side down a bit ("Any Orc who sounds more Mummerset than monkey is letting the side down!" "WAAAARGH me hearties!"), especially in comparison to that True Companion and Warrior-Poet Earl the Bard, the only member of the Four that would be Free who remains on Middle-Zoth and who seems doomed to the happy fate of any Adventurer who has outlived his adventuring days - which is to say he enjoys all the satisfaction of knowing he changed the world for the better, made a pile of loot in the process AND still gets to grumble at the mess The Youth of Today, those overgrown kids, are making of the present.
He's also chronicling a clash between those Enlightened Orcs (and others) who obsess over 'Progress' before proceeding to bull their way through any obstructions and those sentient obstructions who fear that this progress can only end in illumination all the resources of the world - noble relic or natural resource - are put to the flame and are on the whole fully prepared to lash out in defiance.
It's a struggle that will redefine Middle-Zoth for centuries to come and Goldtooth Rog is STILL glad he missed it (because all that wretched politics and philosophy leaves him feeling like a friggin' elf AND gets in the way of a good professional pillage to boot!).
Goldtooth Rog on the other hand, is entirely happy to loot, rob, mangle and menace anyone who catches his attention for being especially Elvish … or formidably wealthy or richly formidable or just because they moved at EXACTLY the wrong time; Mrs and Mr Cosmic have exploited and can respect his muscle, but they DO wish he had an attention span exceeding that of a goldfish experiencing a feeding frenzy.
Goldtooth, on the other hand, just wants a shot at The Arbitrator, preferably straight into the unmentionables; instinct can be a deeply peculiar thing. The Revolutionary
: The Revolutionary is a smug, obnoxious git with a knack for losing individual fights disgracefully that has won him more than his fair share of challenges in the end:- it frequently astonishes those of his companions who have become aware of this fact that he was born in a version of Quebec rather than Paris, because frankly he challenges Charles de Gaulle for the title of 'Most Aggravating Ally in the history of humankind'.
If it weren't for the fact that he's a majestically principled ideologue and a MIRACULOUS cook in kitchen or field he'd have probably been marooned on some outrageously British isle a very long time ago, but in the meantime he continues to fight for Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and the American Way.
This tends to confuse those of us who do not happen to come from mysteriously Francophile home worlds.
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!
Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!
Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.