Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sterkvark the Pirate (Part XII and Last Call)

Sterkvark the Pirate went ever deeper into the Swamp, where he went native for a while...

He wandered in a nightmare until one day he reached the very heart of darkness...

...the Grim Guzzler, where not even the floorshow could arouse him from the depths of despair.

With no s
hip and no crew his life was without purpose, as empty as Shattrath after WotLK.

So he drank...

...and he brawled...

...until even the Dark
Iron Dwarves got sick of him and booted him to Booty Bay...

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white cloud
s flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over"
- John Masefield

Finally, he got wind of a ship, a grand ship, the finest pirateship ever built, and what is more he was offered command of her!

"At last!" though Sterkvark, "Me luck has finally come around!"

The ship was everything he ha
d been told and more...

But she was also underground, in a remarkable oversight of engineering that meant she would never put to sea.

It was the final indignity.

"I have done with roving!" swore Sterkvark. "
Time to hang up me cutlass."

So he t
ook out his hearthstone and bade good-bye to the pirate life...

For old pirates never die...

They just go home to Momma!

The End

Sterkvark the Pirate (Part XI)

What goes up, must come down. The "Hindenburg" crashed and burned in a tropic latitude, and Sterkvark was lucky to walk away with the shirt on his back. He was short on provisions, short on gear and short in general.

He made his way downslope to where through a miasmal gloom he could see an oily sea. This could only be the Swamp of Sorrows, a pestilent mire much like the bayou where his maternal Grandfather, Jean LaFait Accompli, used to bluster and filibuster in olden times.

There are worse things than being stuck on a beach with nothing to do but fish. But when all you catch is malaria it tends to lose its allure.

To make matters worse, Sterkvark was up to his eye in crocodiles.

Perhaps he had lost his nerve along with nearly all his worldly possessions. Perhaps the fever clouded his judgment. Whatever
the reason, Sterkvark determined to turn his back to the sea and head inland to make his escape.

Not since Morgan took the Silver Train at Panama had a pirate
attempted such a swamp romp, but Sterkvark reasoned that he had had such disastrous luck with ships that it was time to look to his feet for his deliverance. Let us hope that his little piggies make it to market, and nothing makes him squeal like a pig...

(To be continued...)

Sterkvark the Pirate (Part X)

Having cheated Death, Sterkvark found he was still in Limbo when it came to finding a way out of Northrend.

There was not a boat on the water that did not already have a Captain, and the only "watercraft" he
could find unattended did not look as if it would last long on the open sea, let alone a few feet from the wharf.

Nor was he eager to tempt fate by trying to take over another
pirate ship (and then sail her single handed).

If he was going to return to Southern Seas,
he would need to book passage on one of the regular transports, and to do that he would need gold.

He took a job m
ucking out the Stables of Augeas, but found that Northrend livestock were prodigious dung producers...

were always looking for lumberjacks in the Grizzly Hills who still had all their limbs, but a mishap with an axe left him one step away from a peg leg...

Finally, he made his way to the Argent Tournament, and because none of the factions were taking on freebooters as valiants, he decided to joust for the dubious honor of the Booty Bay Bruisers...

He performed brilliantly...too well, in fact, for
as Champions of Stormwind and Ironforge fell like a barometer in a typhoon, he soon came to the attention of the authorities, who seized him as an undesirable and sentenced him to hard labor in the Saronite mines. But Sterkvark was through with manual labor, and just as they were shackling him to a chain gang, Sterkvark burst free of his guards and dashed for a nearby unattended vessel. He cast off the bowlines and laughed as the ship pulled away from the dock....

...and then to his astonishment rose straight up into the air!

As he d
rifted out over the icy sea,
Sterkvark though his luck was finally looking up. This was a sturdy craft, as smooth a ride as Goblin Engineering could make her.

e even liked the name of the airship: "Hindenberg" had a lucky ring to it...

(To be continued...)

Sterkvark the Pirate (Part IX)

All things considered, the life of an undead pirate on a Ship of the Damned was not the worst way to spend one's time.

It certainly beat some of the other jobs Sterkvark had done before he traded in his landsman's clothes for an eyepatch and a

He used to be the head chef for the
Valiance Expedition, but developed Carpel Tunnel Syndrome after his 497th mead basted caribou.

He had tried his hand at pros
pecting in the Hellfire Peninsula, but since all he found there were demons, that didn't pan out...

While he loved to fish, it was
a hard way to make a living, especially when his main source of income had come from hooking coins at the bottom of the Dalaran Fountain...

Compared to thos
e occupations, sea roving with all its hazards was a grand adventure. And aside from the fact that his shipmates were skeletons, and he himself appeared to be numbered among the ranks of the undead and doomed to sail for all eternity, he had to admire their priorities...

The trouble was that because he was de
ad, he was unable to taste the rum nor partake of the promised wenches who were presumably frolicking ashore. Nor was there ever any plunder.

fter weeks of battling the same foes and sailing the same short loops around the ice floes, the reality of Limbo began to hit home.

It was worse than doing Dailies!
It was worse than farming hyacinth macaws!
It was worse than having Trade Chat on every channel!

Oh, the humanity! The horror, the horror!

So it continued, until one day after endless days he noticed a small island not away, and on it a shimmering shade and a few rude graves.

s it!" cried the Sterkvark, suddenly recalling that the thing to do when you died was to return to the Spirit Healer and then run back to your corpse. He must have done it a thousand times before this, yet somehow had been misdirected to this phantom ship instead of the graveyard. Without wasting another moment he plunged over the side and swam to the island...

...where as he waded ashore he found only the ghost of the pirate who had run him through, scabbing during a spirit healer strike and in no mood for granting Sterkvark a rez. This left our hero in a blue funk...

No, that's not quite right. It made him get funky! Time for the big payback!

"Hey! Gotta gotta pay back!! (The big payback)
Revenge!! I'm mad (the big payback)
Got to get back! Need some get back!! Pay Back! (the big payback)
That's it!! Payback!!! Revenge!!!
I'm mad!!"

I can do wheelin', I can do dealin' (yes you can!!) But I don't do no damn squealin'!
I can dig rappin', I'm ready, I can dig scrappin'
But I can't dig no backstabbin (Oh No!!)

The brother get ready!! That's a fact!!
Get ready you Mother, for the big payback (The big Payback!!)
Let me hit em!! Hey Hey!! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

There is nothing like Soul Power to really open up a can of whup ass on the undead. Sterkvark got up for the down stroke, blew the roof off the sucka, and started to feel good (like he knew that he would).

His non corporeal adversary didn't h
ave a ghost of a chance, and as the veil between the world of the dead and the World of Warcraft lifted, Sterkvark and his no longer ex-parrot (a Norwegian Blue) were back in the land of the living!

(To be continued...)

Sterkvark the Pirate (Part VIII)

Sterkvark came to his senses, only to conclude he must have taken leave of them. He was lying in a ship's cabin, which was normal enough, and his wounds had been dressed, though he wasn't sure he wanted to look under the bandages just yet in case his insides were more outside than in.

No, it was the broom busily sweeping the floor by itself that seemed out of place. No pirate ship he had ever known had had such amenities. He got to his feet, pulled on his bloodstained shirt, and unsteadily made his way out of the cabin to get his bearings.

He found there were spirits freely flowing in the galley, but while he was bone dry Sterkvark didn't have the stomach to join in.

On deck he found a skeleton crew...

While the Captain at the helm was an old aquaintance...Sterkvark had only just killed the fellow, or else his Doppelgänger.

Either he was the only man alive on a ghost ship, or else he was doomed to haunt the seas as one of the damned and dead. There ought to be a way to test this, thought Sterkvark, but in a time when the best defense against accusations of witchcraft was to drown instead of float, the standard proofs of undeath did him no good if they proved fatal. He decided to develop his own metaphysical argument to prove his existence:

1. I exist.

2. My existence must have a cause.

3. The cause must be either:

a. myself
b. my always having existed
c. my parents
d. something less perfect than Blizz
e. Blizz

4. Not a. If I had created myself, I would have made myself perfect. Not undead and stuck on a ship full of skeletons with not a wench among the lot.

5. Not b. This does not solve the problem. If I am a dependent being, I need to be continually sustained by another. Like the $13 bucks Blizz collects each month to keep me animate.

6. Not c. This leads to an infinite regress.

7. Not d. The idea of perfection that exists in me cannot have originated from a non-perfect being.

8. Therefore, e. Blizz does not exist. But the guy who pays for my account does.

"Arr, bugger philosophy and philosophers!" shouted an exasperated Sterkvark. "Rene Descartes was a drunken fart! I drink, therefore, I am!"

So declaring, he raised a tankard of insubstantial grog to his ego, and ignored where it streamed onto the deck through the rapier holes beneath the bandages. It was not as if he hadn't died many times before in this game. He might as well enjoy himself while waiting for a rez....

(To be continued...)

Sterkvark the Pirate (VII)

Throughout his nefarious career, Sterkvark the Pirate had had many a near death experience. Now, as he swooned on the deck with a rapier through the guts and his life flashing before his misting eyes (or rather, eye, as he had but one), images of the past filled his fevered mind.

He recalled his many deeds of daring do, such as the time he slaughtered the Southsea Freebooters while liquored up Don Carlos Tequila.

And the time he survived a dish of bad clams. And
the time he shot that albatross with his crossbow...that had been a mistake!

"I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away ;

I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay. "

There was the time he had taken on the Theramore Marines, scaling the highest wall of the highest tower only to discover that not every gun in their arsenal had been silenced.

Then t
oo, he recalled his escape from the gibbet at Gadgetstan, when his parrot brought some silver, he brought a little gold, and saved him from the gallows pole.

the time when his magical crawdad suspected he was destined for the gumbo pot and made a preemptive strike...

But never before had Sterkvark been in such mortal peril, and as he drifted toward the light, it seemed to him that an angel descended to
his aid, or what passes for angels among pirates: a wench with a a bottle of rum. But would even these thoughts of the sweet life be enough to keep him from slipping his cable and shuffling off this mortal coil?

Could this be....the end?

(To be continued...)

Sterkvark the Pirate (Part VI)

A plethora of penguins but a paucity of plunder. Sterkvark the Pirate was heartily sick of the frozen North. He hadn't had a decent mug of cherry grog since Booty Bay, and the flimsy material of his swashbuckler shirt did nothing to keep out the icy blasts.

The local pirates, however, seemed content to swill their tepid draughts and shake their boo
ty instead of looting it.

Enough was enough. Sterkvark decided if you can't join 'em, beat 'em!

With a blood curdling "Arr!" he fell
upon the Northrend Pirates, laying them low like a mechanical harvester on Goblin Rocket Fuel. Like a cannonball among ninepins. Like Spanish Fly in the ointment at a Club Med massage table. None could withstand his furious blows, his expert swordplay, or his vitriolic verbal abuse:

"Avast, ye flea-bitten Elwynn lambs! I've seen kobolds swing cutlasses better than you orlop slops, by thunder. Ye call that a parrot? More like a tickbird, to be sure, and you may lay to that! Stand still, damme, and let me kill ye proper, ye skulking muckbreaths! And quit bleeding on the deck, or you'll be holystoning it in Hellfire, me hearties!"

Finally he came to the Pira
te Commander, who bore a startling resemblance to others Sterkvark had met before. By his count there were half a dozen look-alikes for this foppish freebooter from Booty Bay to Westfall, and not one of them ever dropped his scarlet coat or pirate hat when slain.

"Let's see if yer any different from those jaunty jellyfish!" snarled Sterkvark as the claret ran and another cutthroat captain bit the dust. Sterkvark strode triumphantly across the deck of his new ship, and advanced on the helmsman.

"Alright, you hogbacked water rat, let's see some spit and polish here. I want this ship scoured so bright I can see me handsome mug in it! You've had a soft cruise, but this ain't the Love Boat! Straighten those shoulders! Chin Up, you misbegotten murloc! Let me inspect your weapons! Present Arms!"

Which the pirate did, with unfortunate consequences...

(To be continued...)