Commodore Gruf

The Commodore

The slow stream of smoke and ash wafting off the smoldering mess that had been the first mutineer kept swinging back into Gruf’s eyes. The resulting ash-stained tears were leaving dark grey streaks running in mostly parallel lines down his face and giving him an almost undead-like visage. His lieutenants all shifted their gazes, unable to hide their disdain for the dirty form that was the captain they had followed for so far…for so long.

They had been right to hold him in contempt, even though none had witnessed his conversion, his commitment to a new god…one who was not yet here. On the altar, no life was sacrificed, but blood was spilled. Gruf’s own blood, let from three places, wrist, chest, and neck, and into one bowl. Set on the altar, incantation recited, fire set…breath, observe. What he had been shown…changed his perspective, and his life, and gave him something to believe in.

Humble Beginnings

Gruf had surveyed the ship they had been given and it was shit. They would have to stick to coastal runs for the first few trips just to get all the repairs and upgrades that the ship needed. It would be shit wages for at least a year and that’s assuming they take at least a few shady deals along the way. The crew wouldn’t like it, but they had no choice.

This poor excuse for a ship had been used by a group of Swalduni to lure Gruf and his crew in. They had put up distress signals and flags. Of course, we came in quickly to rescue them. Once the first few of those bastards were on board, they used friggin magic and trickery to stun the crew and take over. They stole our ship, sons a bitches.

Coulda been worse though. At least they left us the wreck that had tricked us with. They sailed off in our ship leaving us no food and only one barrel of water. The three-masted ship only had two sails and it leaked enough that there was a permanent bucket crew…but we had made it to port. Expecting to be the laughingstock of town, they were bitterly relieved to find out seven ships had been taken by Swalduni pirates with this tactic in the past several months.

Rumors at Sea

Gruf ran his hand along the starboard railing reminiscing and chuckling to himself. The Sea Scar, by whatever name it was going by this week, had come a long way since it limped into Garmond all those years ago. She had done them well. From one run-down frigate to four ships, each with its own captain and all under his command.

The meeting hadn’t started yet, but most of the captains and lieutenants were present. The idle chatter seemed to convey similar stories. Someone had stirred the crew up. They all thought the fleet treasure had been stolen. That the great idea of keeping the money moving had failed and it was time to disburse what there was. Most were dejected or angry and few planned to sail with Graf again. At some point the rumor that Graf had somehow spirited away a couple of chests of treasure without any of them knowing got spread amongst the crew.

The Expected Mutiny

“Who started this whaleshit?” He asked with a calmness they all knew was a shallow cover for his brooding anger.

“Twas your captain, captain.” Squawked the parrot on Finkst’s shoulder. Most kept their composure, but a couple, Tens and especially Finkst, were obviously surprised by the revelation. Gruf turned and one at a time stared each lieutenant down. Once he was sure they would behave he summoned Arhog, his strongest captain and the culprit the parrot snitched on. Judgment would be quick.

Kill or Be Killed

Arhog walked towards the commodore's office at a reasonable pace. He wanted to delay his appointment with Gruf as long as possible but knew that moving too slowly or otherwise procrastinating would only attract more attention. Why was he being personally summoned? His lieutenant was there. Did Gruf know? It was unusual and Arhog didn’t like it. It this was what he feared, he would have one chance when he first got into Gruf’s tent…and only if no one else was there. Maybe he could take Gruf, maybe not, but he had no chance of surviving otherwise. He stepped into the commodore’s office.

It was as clean and effortless as the warlock had predicted. A quick, but decisive swipe of the blade took Arhog’s head clean off his shoulders and with that, the "traitorous captain" problem was solved. Gruf wiped his scimitar off with Arhog’s shirt while staring at each person present and explaining that the only secret treasure he had that he hadn’t told anyone about was this magic sword of ficking beheading and if any of you fuckers wanna see it up close just come ficking forward.

Too successful for their own good.

Commodore Gruf and his small fleet were rumored to carry a large load of gold and treasure. The Sea Scar pirates were legendary, or notorious, for not stashing their wealth, but taking it with them. Named after the original ship and its crew, they had gained too much notoriety.

The problem with rumors is the people and other things who believe them. If they keep the famous name, they will be targets because of it. If they use a new name, they will be in less demand and they will demand a lower price. What should they do? The debate went on into the depths of the night…long after the ale ran out.

The Short-Term Plan

The new name hadn’t been enough. The Sea Scar and the other ships had changed their names to hide…so no one would find them and steal their riches, was a new rumor. They did well enough for a couple of years, but eventually, their false reputation caught up with them. Gruf had expected this day. Maybe a couple of his command staff did too, but it still caught him off guard. Separated from the rest of the fleet and slightly damaged by a dark storm spun off the Cauldron, they were spotted by a pair of privateers. 

A Long Planned Retirement

They had lost, but so had the privateers. All three ships were burning and stuck together, bodies and flotsam littered the water around the ships. Creaking timbers and crackling wood-burning resounded over the bay. Sailors and marines from both ships were diving overboard to save themselves. Gruf strode into his commodore’s office and barred the door behind him.

He quickly pulled the large carpet out from under the desk in a strong and fast swoop revealing a brass ring on the close end of what looked like a trapdoor. Pulling on the ring lifted the old hatch with a resounding creak. Gruf smiled as he grabbed the small bag with a single leather strap and escaped the ship.

In the distance, he could see other ships headed towards the entwined burning ships to try and help only to turn away after colliding with too much flotsam. 

Gruf watched for a while, sighed, and started swimming towards the coast of Garmond occasionally ducking under water to avoid being seen by a passing ship.

Unknown and Unwanted

“I can get a crew and run a ship for ya. What’s the arrangement?” Gruf inquired.

“Get us from here to Garmond. If I’m happy with your work, we might discuss further arrangements.”

“The ship?” Gruf asked.

“Just a longship. Nothing too difficult if we keep to the coast.” Timm responded.

“Looks like all we need to settle on is a price then.”


<I'm thinking Gruf will be the first mate and crew leader of the sailors Timm hires to get the longship from Anapuna to Garmon. After years of hiding/retirement, he’s found a new area where no one knows him. Prefers to stick near the three kingdoms. Does he still have the treasure? Is Gruf even his real name? What the hell was that blood ritual? What did he see in his vision?>