Living Pirate Ship

Let me tell you about the pirate ship Clairvoyance. It’s crewed entirely by a hodge-podge of bush mages who are bringing together a wide diversity of magical talents. None of them are exceptionally powerful and as individuals any of them can have circles run around them by any Royal Navy Wizard. But, when working together they are incredibly effective. Unmatched at sea when it comes to tracking their quarry, laying ambushes at sea, and then disappearing without a trace.

The best part is that they have accidentally discovered a style of magic that few have ever performed. It is so rare that no one has ever managed it deliberately. By a wide diversity of magic users using the ship as a magical focus combined with each of them having an emotional connection to it, they have brought the ship to life. Clair, as she is affectionately called by the crew, first manifested as an apparition of an infant on deck.

After some confusion, the crew realized that she was the manifestation of the ship itself. The apparition then progressed through childhood at a normal human rate. The crew all treated her as a family (she was created out of their love for the vessel in the first place) with the captain fulfilling the father figure role. As she grew older, she gained more and more independence until the point where the ship was basically autonomous and the crew was more about conducting maintenance (and pirate raids) than actually operating the ship. The aging appeared to stop when her manifestation reached full maturity.

Eventually, the old crew all either died or retired and new crewmembers were recruited to replace them. It got to the point where instead of being like a daughter or little sister to the crew, she was an imposing matriarch. Even though there was always a captain who was officially in command of the ship, everyone knew that the ship itself was in charge. Over time, it became too difficult to solely recruit mages for the crew. It got to the point where sometimes there would not be any mages at all. However, by the time it got to this Clair was a powerful enough mage in her own right to stand against the best in the world.

Of course, being an immortal who has known nothing but piracy your entire life can put you in a bit of a pickle as the world moves on from the Golden Age of Piracy. In later years, the Clairvoyance would act more as a mercenary and occasionally enlisted in different navies for certain conflicts (being a part of the US Navy during the Revolution and the War of 1812). She retired for good on the outbreak of the First World War due to personal reasons leaving her unwilling to fight for either side of the conflict.

Her previous experiences with the Royal Navy had left her with a hatred of the organization that ran deep enough so that even hundreds of years later she could not bring herself to ally with them. In her mind, they were forever the enemy. The same could not be said of her two daughters. Younger ships born from trysts with powerful enough mages, they had fought against the British from time to time but never saw them as a perpetual enemy the way their mother did. When World War One broke out, Dracula (the father of one daughter and acknowledged as a step-father by the other) persuaded them to join the war on the side of the Allies. Because the Royal Navy was by far the naval powerhouse of the faction, they approached the British Admiralty about enlisting.

This broke Clair’s heart and left her completely unwilling to join the war. In the years since she has not fought in a single conflict and has only worked as a private civilian charter vessel. Her relationship with her daughters became so strained that she barely ever speaks to them. She also broke up with Dracula and refuses to speak with him at all. He still fondly refers to her as his wife and considers the past century simply an especially long “Off” period of their on-again/off-again relationship.

2 thoughts on “Living Pirate Ship

  1. This is really good. I like the idea that Clair has a mind of her own and hang ups with joining the British. It’s a funny image to think of a tiny shipbaby with a bunch of pirates taking care of her. I wonder how many swear words she knows. The part about her growing old and having children is really interesting, I wonder how Dracula got involved in ship building, especially with all the water involved. Do you have any idea what the powers and weaknesses of vampires are in this setting? Good post.

    1. For this setting, I’m not using the water weakness that many settings have for vampires. My initial introduction to getting deep into vampire lore was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and vampires there were only weak to Holy Water but not any other form of water. I’m doing something similar with vampires here. I’ve actually got notes for a clan of vampires who hides from the sun by living underwater and surfacing to hunt. I’ve got the full details on how vampires work in my notes, as a “to-do” for typing up.

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