Blog, The Fantasy Realm

A Fantasy Realm Tale: A Pirate’s Life


*The following is a transcript of a WHUS Radio FM broadcast aired on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 from 1-2 PM along with the music used to accompany the story*


{Legends of Azeroth (Main Title) – Tracy Bush – World of Warcraft}

Ahoy, traveler! You have stepped into a portal here on WHUS Storrs and are now in the Fantasy Realm. Welcome. I am your guide, The Sage. Today, our tale will take us out to sea to live the life of a pirate. For your enjoyment, I recommend creating a character to follow along. What is your pirate name? Are you fully tattooed, or do you prefer a parrot on your shoulder? How do you treat your precious gold and rum? You get to decide, and best think quick traveler. Your story is about to begin.

{The Islander – Nightwish – EP}

Welcome aboard The Calypso’s Pride, traveler. She’s a sturdy Spanish Galleon who has not seen land in over thirty days. The moon is high overhead, and the sea’s a bit rocky tonight.

That doesn’t stop your crewmates from sipping on some grog and playing some games. You sit on your own down below, perhaps sipping on some grog yourself. The ship’s rocking far too much for you to write in your journal, so you look trhough some of your belongings.

You begin to miss your family and friends. The feeling is worse than the sea sickness you’ve grown numb to. It’s been far too long since you’ve seen or spoken with your loved ones, and though you desperately wish you can go back home, you cannot. Captain’s orders.

Captain Barlow runs the ship, and he is a sea-lover at his core. The water in his body is saltier than the sea itself, they say, and he loves gold just as much as the waves and his ship.

The Calypso’s Pride has seen many adventures; her hull overflows with the chests of gold the crew has acquired. However, she has yet to reach port where the crew can enjoy the irches. Captain Barlow sticks to the sea like a barnacle on a rock. He only sails for harbors when supplies run low, and even then, he will turn a blind eye when supplies are low, until Knotley gets drunk enough to yell at him for it.

Knotley is Captain Barlow’s first mate and most loyal companion. Though he drinks the most, he is the reason the crew is still alive. He charts the maps, checks the inventory, and he keeps everyone entertained when moods are low. He is a good lad, and you’ve heard whispters from the crew that most wish he were the captain instead.

You are particularly close with Cecilia, the first female on board and the most feared, for being a woman, she is bad luck for the ship. She has thick, black curls for hair. The top of her head is hidden by her yellow bandana that reminds her of home, Cartagena of the Spanish Main. She spends most of her time in the crow’s nest where the men won’t bother her.

Captain Barlow is an unusual captain of his time, allowing her to sail with them, but since spending time with you, you’ve learned she beat the captain in a game of cards in Tortuga, and along with winning the game, she won a spot on his crew.

The captain says tomorrow, you will reach the Black Bay in search of a pirate’s treasure chest, a pirate by th ename of Alcott Vayne. If the captain be satisfied, it’s possible you’ll head to Port Royal in Jamaica to see your loved ones again, but the crackling sounds of the thunder tells you that may not be the case.

The thunder grows stronger in the night. Something tells you the tides may be turning for the crew on The Calypso’s Pride.

{The Storm – Alan Menken – The Little Mermaid (An Original Walt Disney Records Sountrack) [Special Edition]}

Seagulls soar over the Caribbean sea as the sun sends sweat down your neck. The usual hum of idle chatter hovers over the deck as you and the rest of the crew work.

Captain Barlow and Knotley are in the captain’s quarters. The winds are calm, and The Calypso’s Pride rocks like a baby’s cradle. What is your task on the ship, traveler?

“Land ho!” Cecilia from the crow’s nest points at the island. You cast a glance to the starboard side.

There lies The Black Bay: a massive dark cave on the side of the inhabitable island. Fog starts to crawl up the sides of the ship, sending chills through the hairs on your arms, despite the heat. You notice the jagged rocks near the entrance. They almost look like the crooked teeth of a wide open mouth.

“Quit gaping and get to work, ya bilge rats!” yells Captain Barlow. With his pirate hat and impressive coat, he strolls over to the ship wheel and directs the ship to the entrance.

Like the inner workings of a grand old clock, you and the rest of the crew scatter across the deck to prepare for the drop of the anchor.

You walk around lighting the torches and lanterns of the ship. Soon, you feel the jolt of the anchor’s crash, and within minutes, the ship settles next to the shore.

Like everyone else, you gather a few things for the visit before Captain Barlow orders you off the ship to search for the treasure.

How will you get to show, traveler? Will you swim until you feel the sand under your boots, or will you join the few on the small row boat used to get the chest back on board?

As you traverse your way to land, you feel ghostly whispers scratch your ears. This place has seen the inside of Davy Jones’ locker and smells like it too.

{Discovering Atlantis – Andrew Lockington – Journey 2: The Mysterious Island OST}

The sand sticks to your wet, leather boots as you walk deeper into the cave. You hear Knotley consult the map aloud, but you walk into the darkness alone with your torch.

You then see something glitter in the sand just a few feet away. Maybe it’s a ruby or even a rhinestone? You go to investigate only to find it hop away and down a small crevice.

You call out to your crewmates, then go through the hole in the wall.

Tall, proud towers of golden goods welcome you. The hopping glittering light, a small firefly, hops around the room. Your eye catches every gold coin and locket, every goblet and jewel, every trinket worth more than your service on the ships.

All the other crewmates join you in releasing an overwhelmed gasp. Skeletons and bones lay amongst it all. You can almost hear the twinkling of the riches as you pace around. Your fingers tingle at the feel of gems and coins like a true pirate.

“Before you go grabbing with your grubby hands, don’t forget to thank Alcott Vayne for leaving us his treasure.” And with that, Captian Barlow sends you all off.

You have limited space for carrying, traveler. What will you be taking?

Captain Barlow heads toward the back of the room. You can almost feel the stitches of your trousers stretching with how much you’ve stuffed your pockets.

You see the captain remove his heat and bow to the skeleton sitting on a boulder, its arm draped over the largest chest in the room. You, Knotley, and Cecilia head over his way. You see Captain Barlow’s fingers, weighed down with precious rings, graze the engraved plate on the chest which reads, “Alcott Vayne: Captain of The Haunted Harpoon.”

The captain kneels, plants a kiss on the chest and then pulls out a key. He tests the key, but he does not open it. Instead, he puts it back in his breast pocket.

“Knotley!” He calls, “Get the boys ready. We carry this aboard.”

You join those helping to carry the chest, but as soon as you all heave, a loud click sound reverberates against the cave’s walls.

You all pause a moment, waiting.

The air turns thick like a heavy spray of ocean waves. It smells midly rotting and the mood in the room turns anxious. Your hands start to slip with nervous sweat on the chest. The black ground begins to rumble, as if you weren;t the only pirates on the island.

All the pirates of The Calypso’s Pride pull out their weapons, hands at the ready whether it be with a cutlass or a revolver. Your own weapons begin to feel heavier than the gold on your person. Your eyes dart to a boulder on your left, a little hiding nook.

So, what will you do? Will you hide with all your acquired treasure, or will you prepare for a fight?

{Up is Down – Hans Zimmer – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End OST}

Skeleton pirates that litter the room come to life, ready to defend the treausre. Some still have attire from their past lives like leather belts hanging from the pelvis bones, or boots on only one foot, or even an eye patch or two covering eyeless skulls.

The skeletons adjust their bones and for a second, simply stare at all the living; but once they feel the loss of their treasure, they yell, swords overhead and bolt toward the crew.

Captain Barlow fights elegantly with his cutlass, but when needed, he will pull an unfair trick to make sure he wins.

Knotley takes a generous swig of his rum and charges into battle, revolver in hand.

Cecilia is quick as if she were a Spanish dancer who knew how to hold a weapon as well as a fan.

You watch them all fight the pirate’s fight, hoping to make a path back to the ship.

Have you decided to hide, traveler, or are you joining the brawl?

The captain tells all, “Back to the ship! We’ll lose them at sea! And forget not the chest!” Captain Barlow commands, and the crew obeys.

You help Knotley with the treasure chest, and you all rush back to the ship with an army of skeleton pirates at your hell.

When you reach the shore, you fend off a few skeletons, kicking the row boat with your foot. You make it onto the row boat and are almost giddy, until you see the skeletons pull out a cannon onto shore. You warn the captain with a loud cry.

{Why Do We Fight? – Russell Brower – World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria OST}

The captain says, “Cannons at the ready! Starboard side!”

You reach for a cannon and start to aim at the skeletons. The stomping of boots and the heavy breathing of rushing pirates fill your ears. The cannon blows. You reload as the air turns smokey.

Knotley yells to the captain, “Let’s head to open sea, cap’n. They’ll no way of reaching us there!”

The captain orders the anchor to be raised. A few other crewmates head down the the hull to begin repairs.

Another battle aboard The Calypso’s Pride.

You continue to aim at the skeletons until you notice a cease fire on their end. The captain looks to the skeleton army and see that Alcott Vayne himself had risen. Captain Vayne raised his hat to Captain Barlow to which Barlow did the same.

As the ship began to turn back toward the open ocean, you witnessed the powerful beauty of piracy. For though a pirate may plunder, fight, drown a ship and conquer, a pirate understands when he has won or lost, when his time has come and gone, when it’s time to be greedy and when it’s time to contribute to the Golden Age of Piracy.

Above all, a pirate honors the Pirate Code.

{Before Time – Thomas Bergersen – Sun}

Another successful raid for treasure leads to a night of drunken singing and a full feast of drinks. Bubbly laughter colors the ship as it sits lull on the ocean.

Talk of home emerges. With more treasure than anyone can count, all are convinced the next heading will be set for Port Royal. You think of your loved ones, and just like the rest, homesickness begins to consume you.

Captain Barlow leaves his quarters to join the fun when he hears this talk of going home.

He has a dry laugh, “No, we won’t be returning home yet. There’s another treasure not far from here, just a few weeks. That is not something we will pass up.”

“Cap’n,” Knotley says, “The crew is tired. We miss home. We want to spend our riches. We have to resupply; we are running out of food. We are all in agreement. It is time we head home.”

The captain glances at each of his crew members. All their eyes eyarn for the Jamaican sun again. Captain Barlow understood that though he may be captain, the crew gets a say in where they head to next.Majority wins, and here, he was anything but in the majority.

The laws of piracy were as heavy as chains pulling him down to the ocean floor but with each wave, he felt the desite to stay on his ship.

With a thick gulp in his throat and a nervous sweat on his brow, he shook his head. “When did my crew become a group of landlubbers? We head east tomorrow, away from Port Royal.” He leaves behind an uncomfortable silence as he heads back to his quarters.

{Simulation – Clint Eastwood, Christian Jacob & The Tierney Sutton Band – Sully OST}

The night is particularly dark this evening. Though the stars still shine, the moon is nowhere to be seen. And so, when the lanterns were put out, the ship became another crease in the velvety fabric of the night.

After journaling another entry of your adventures, you head to bed. You did not expect for the lantern near your cot to turn ablaze again or for the entire crew to stand around you with serious looks on their faces. Even Knotley himself, though hungover, stood with the crowd.

You ask what is happening. Has the captain given orders?

Cecilia chimes in. “No,” she says, “and we hope never will again.”

You are unsure of how to respond.

She continues, “Captain Barlow knows we would like to return home, and yet he refused. We have close to no food, little clean water or grog, even cannon balls. If we cross paths with another ship, especially those sailing with the Spanish or English flag, we’ll be lucky if we stay afloat more than an hour. He is leading us to our doom and our treasures along with us. Captain Barlow is no longer fit to be captain.”

“What’re you saying exactly?” You ask.

“Mutiny,” Knotley whispers.

“Aye,” murmur the other crew membres.

“Knotley’s checked the map,” Cecilia says, “There’s a spit of land just a day’s sail away. Johnny’s being put at the helm tomorrow. We steer the ship and keep the Cap’n distracted.”

“He’s smarter than that,” Knotley warns.

Another pirate pulls out his cutlass. “A crew’s worth of blades against one captain…”

“Aye,” Cecilia agrees, “He’s no Blackbeard. We can take him.”

“Once we leave him on the island,” the pirate says, “with a pistol in hand, we set our heading for Port Royal.”

“Under whose command?” You ask.

Knotley hiccups. “Yours.”

Your eyes widen. “Mine?”

Cecilia explains, “The majority agree that Knotley is too much of a drunkard to take command. You, we’ve seen fight. You’re a pirate; there’s no doubt about it. We’d be proud to be the crew under your sails.”

For a moment, you’re unsure of how to respond. You’ve never even been first mate on this ship. Though you’ve sailed on many seas, both calm and treacherous, you are hesitant to take the captain’s hat.

“If you do not want the command, you can sell the ship once we reach Port Royal,” Cecilia says. “We just need you to get us home.”

You ask, “What if we talk to the captain again? Try to make him see reason?”

Cecilia shakes her head before you even finish asking your questions. “He won’t listen. He’s a greedy pirate. That doesn’t make him a bad pirate, just a bad captain. Knotley can talk all he wants, but Barlow’s ready to ignore our votes, like he did last night. We need a new captian.”

“Why not you, Cecilia?”

“My home’s the crow’s nest. I don’t want that post of mine to change.”

Knotley leans forward to look at you closely. “Are you against the mutiny?”

Tension tightens. You stare at your belongings near an empty barrel and then the chatter of the Port Royal harbor starts to fill your memory. You are ready to go home.

“No,” you reassure Knotley, but you say you’d like to leave the role of captain for after the mutiny.

The musky air for the hull goes cold. The crew all depart for their own cots. The creaking of the ship starts to echo loudly in your ears as you’re thinking of the next day, for a mutiny can be the start of a new era on a ship or that day can be your last.

{The Black Pearl – Klaus Badelt – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl OST}

The flatest island with only a single palm tree lies dead ahead. Your heart beats an unsteady rhythm like the waves. The captain has been in his quarters all day. The crew has prepared the plank and the dinghy. You await Cecilia’s call.

“Land ho!”

The captain comes out. His eyes dart to the island. “Who’s steered us wrong?” He asks.

Cecilia pulls her cutlass at him. “You have.”

With a speedy draw, the captain pulls his weapon, but the shot misses. The crew inches forward with sneering frowns. Do you join the mutiny, traveler? Or will you stay by the wayside?

What would a captain do?

The captain has been captured. Hands bounded by rope, Barlow is put in the dinghy. You help lower it. A defeated man, he allows the current to take him to shore.

The pirate Johnny takes the wheel as all the crew shouts in celebration. The heading is set for home, but before you can reach for the grog, Knotley approaches you with the captain’s hat.

Congratulations, traveler. A mere pirate at the start of this tale, now a captain.

{Adventure Found Me – Jason Graves – Tomb Raider OST}

You join Johnny at the wheel, now with a captain’s hat, coat, and compass. As the sunset dims to nightfall, you start to feel a mysterious chill in your bones.

Something be stirring in these waters.

{Ailen Duinn (Theme of Roby Roy) – Méav – Méav}

An alluring voice cocoons The Calypso’s Pride. The waters turn to an enchanting turquoise glow that put the stars to shame. The air tastes of home with only a hint of salt. A breeze catches you as you begin to way.

You check the port side, as do some of the other crewmates, and see bobbing heads of singing mermaids.

More than a dozen sea maidens sing collectively. Their eyes beg you to join them in the water. Their voices call to you.

Though well aware of many a sailor’s death after encountering amermaid and of the warnings of their fatal song, you cannot seem to bring your hands up to cover your ears. You can’t seem to stop your feet from inching toward the ship’s edge.

You are mesmerized…

Knotley comes over to you as a few drops of rainwater fall and as the mermaids swim away.

“Best be careful, Cap’n,” he says.

“Why’s that?” You ask.

He says, “Where there’s one beast, there’s always another lurking nearby.”

The ship jolts and though you think it’s the pod of mermaids passing through underneath, you soon realize it is another beast entirely.

{Barbossa is Hungry – Klaus Badelt – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl OST}

Tentacles spurt out of the sea. A monstrous shriek shatters the night. The ship jerks and shakes as the beast starts to grab the ship’s sides.

It’s a kraken!

All the crew looks to you as they shake in their boots. The rain starts to pour as the storm grows as loud as the beast itself. You are so close to home.

Well, Captain? How will you defeat the kraken? How will you protect your crew?

You’ve used up what little you had left. No more cannonballs. Close to no bullets. Even the cutlasses are losing their edge, and your crew their hope. You’ve lost men. Knotley has downed all the grog he could find on deck. Cecilia fights what seems to be a losing battle. Johnny is frozen at the wheel.

You think quickly. How can you defeat the beast?

You’ve done all you could! The ship is taking on water. The kraken is hungry for more.

This may be the last day The Calypso’s Pride stays above water. This may be the day you say hello to Davy Jones.

Your first day as captain may be your last.

{Hoist the Colours – Hans Zimmer – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End OST}

{Finding the Nautilus – Andrew Lockington – Journey 2: The Mysterious Island OST}

Cecilia shakes your shoulders. “Don’t lose hope, Captain! The kraken is injured. He needs just one more kick to the throat and he’ll release. Then, we sail.”

“Aye,” you say, nodding yourself back to reality.

You reach up to feel the leather of your captain’s hat. As loud as you can over the rain, you tell the crew, “You three! Down below deck. Repair what you can! Grab a bucket and return the water back to sea. Cecilia, you and two others find what you can in the captain’s quarters. Anything that fits in a cannon. Knotley, you and Johnny prepare to drop that anchor at my command! The rest of ya’s, keet at it with your swords.”

The crew springs to action. You grab the wheel and keep her steady as best you can. The kraken starts to lose its grip on the ship. Its cry turns hopeless and somber but quickly recovers to dangerously angry.

You check your compass to see that thanks to the kraken, the ship’s been completely turned around. You check your map and with the help of a sudden lightening crack, you find the heading you neeed to get back to Port Royal.

You look up to check on the crew. Kraken blood splatters the wooden deck. Johnny and KNotley are ready with the anchor. Just then, Cecilia comes out, arms full of utensils, candle holders, parts of picture frams, and even a lantern. Two other pirates follow her, arms just as filled.

“Which cannon, Cap’n?” They ask.

You check both side of the ship. On the port side, the head of the kraken starts to emerge from the treacherous waters. You tell them it’s the port side. They start loading the cannon.

Like a whip, a tentacle slams onto deck. The attack sends you all to the ground. Shivering cold from the rain, you find it difficult to get back up, but you do, for the sake of your crew.

You grab hold of the wheel again. You look at Knotley. “On my command, not a moment sooner!” You tell him.

You turn the wheel slightly, to see if the kraken has lost its grip. It has. The Calypso’s Pride gives way ever so slightly.

It’s almost time.

You eye the kraken like the hand of an enemy, ready for a twitch. He’s preparing himself, and you know it. Your hands tremble, and you’re not sure if it’s just the cold that makes them shake.

As you wait, you notice the smell. Something rotten and putrid flares your nostrils. You go nauseous. Your eyes start to blur. You lose your grip. You face is numb and all you hear is the storm overhead. You almost miss it…

The kraken roars as it shows the teeth above water. You give the command.

The cannon blows and shatters every tooth in the beast’s mouth. Time stills as you watch.

{King Louie Kablooey – Two Steps From Hell – Nero Anthology}

The kraken falls back. The water splashes. A bold wave thrusts the ship away.

You signal Knotley. The anchor drops and within seconds, the ship swerves east. You signal to raise the anchor and with all that, the ship heads in the right direction. The rain starts to lighten up.

“The sails!” You yell. Like a ship sailing under a proper pirate’s flag, the crew gets to work. The sails drop. With all hands on deck, you steer The Calypso’s Pride right.

{Ship to Shore – David Arnold – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader OST}

The sunrise turns the sky a blushing pink as Jamaica is spotted on the horizon. Bold green jungle covers the island like splendid hair. As you get closer, you see the busy harbor, just as you remember it. Ships of all sorts fill the island’s harbor.

The chatter of islanders turns your eyes wet with tears. Music and parrots add to the symphony as you start to find a place for the ship.

All the treasures split evenly, the crew is ready for a long sty on the island before heading off to the next adventure. You speak to the dock master and arrange The Calypso’s Pride’s stay.

Then, you head inland. You notice the vendors eager to have a word with you. You notice all the folk in the town’s swuare and their smiles. There is so much to do on the island, especially for a pirate with newly-found riches.

How will you celebrate your return home, Captain?

Strolling through, you notice a figure that’s oddly familiar. Then, the person is clear as day.

You have reunited with your loved ones.

After a few months, you start to miss the sea, as any pirate would. After reuniting with Cecilia and Knotley, you recruit your crew for voyage on The Calypso’s Pride, as a captain would.

After all, it’s a pirate’s life you’re living, savvy?

{He’s a Pirate (From “Pirates of the Caribbean”) – Taylor Davis – Legendary Movie Music}

That is the end of our tale for today. Thank you for joining me, but it’s now time for you to step back through the portal to WHUS Storrs. I hope you join me next week for another adventure. Until then, fairfarren, traveler.


Fairfarren, Friends


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