Prologue: “A place called home” part 1

How long have i been away from home?
How long me and my boys haven’t seen our homeland? Long. Maybe too long.

‘Twould have been nice if, back in Tortuga after our castillan adventure, somebody was waiting on the dock with a good excuse to sail to vodacce and porto spicia.

That somebody is Knaeru, scholar and know-it-all of my crew, but at the moment, landlogged on the island. The excuse is good¬† news about a fragment of a map that i have had in my pocket so long that i don’t really remember how i got hold of it.

Knaeru has found another piece of this puzzle, and has information on how to find the other pieces… in spicia.

And you’d be no pirate, if you don’t follow a map to a treasure!
We take land in MY port, walk on MY roads, and first off, we join an old friend, Pasquale, the official de Falcovia tailor. He’s older now, but still sharp, and, after dressing us to the nines, he sends us off to another old friend of mine, Mauro, now the owner of the best courtesan house in town. Always been a luxury-loving scallywag, Mauro.

Spicia is still like i remembered it, but there’s a new shadow over the city: a shadow which i will soon find to be the one of my family’s ancient enemies, a rival family whose cruelty put an end to the great man who was lord of the city before i was.

My father.

That family is called the Mondavi, but now, says Mauro, they have changed. They’re not minding the old rivalries anymore, and would love to ally with the newfound lord of Spicia. I have no love for the Mondavi, How could i, but i trust mauro and his business sense, which has not lost its edge over the years, seeing the beauty of his workplace and of his girls.
About the girls… Ortica has made a new friend, some Maria Rosa; i only hope that the boy has understood what a courtesan is, (not at all an “easy” girl) and what exactly their job entails, and does not treat his new friend like he treats the others he meets in ports and taverns.

Only another thing to do: Come back Home. Home is not that cozy since i went away, but there’s someone who missed me so much. Well, i’ve been married over twenty years!

It was an arranged marriage, of course, little before my father died. We were both kids, i wasn’t older than ortica is now, and she was just out of the bubble of infancy.

It wasn’t my first time back: but the last time was years ago, and she wasn’t pleased.¬† Her welcome wasn’t the warmest.
Dame Tillia Solenero di Falcovia rules the city in my stead since i took to the sea, but she can only do it from the shadows, since in Vodacce women can not have a seat of power… or an instruction.. or even their own ideas; they are forbidden to speak their mind, due to some magic powers that the noble ladies have wielded for a time as ancient as our land.

Witches of fate, they are called. A power that allows them to see, cut and weave the “threads of destiny” everyone of us is tied to. I think Ortica had a bit of a trauma with that.

Inga held her own better than the boy, and her and dame Tillia might even hit it off, even if there was already word on the street that my good friend and officer and myself were lovers, in spite of my wife, and were so foolish as to show up before her together. Folly, indeed.

Tillia wasn’t so glad to see me, but the resentment she matured in the years did not stay her to put me on my guard about Mauro and his plans with the Mondavi, which, she says, would love to see us both in the family cemetery and have spicia freed for their taking. Sure, Mauro would say the same of my wife.
Won’t be hard to see who, of the two, wants to betray me. I already have an idea.

Tillia has asked to speak to Ortica, who wasnt’t so into that. That scallywag went round saying he’s a Di Falcovia to make himself pretty in the eyes of his new friend at Mauro’s.
I didn’t choke him, but the fear my wife put into him nearly did; being a fate witch means few secrets exist for you. And few secrets exist for me in my house: i discovered that Ortica has something pursuing him, something not entirely human, a young woman that looks for him to “reprimand” him for having fled her… and the child she bears.
Now, to be fair to the kid, it was manifest he did know nothing about the state of his girl… she’s going to come soon, “wreathed in flame”. I only hope the kid’s ready for her.

Last thing, i got some mail! It had been some time. But the sender might have been a better one.
Captain Reis wrote to me. He greeted me, with a letter stained in blood and all that i have sworn never to be: Cruel, crazy, twisted, a black spot on the sea. He wanted to tell me that i have his attention, and one day, will be on his “trophy wall”.
Many enemies bring much honor.
The wind is changing, and this honor, it says, is about to enter the legend.
I’m looking forward to it.

Gord of Falcovia, Captain.