Age of the Dragons
Sir Aldus Locke
Aldus sits in his cabin, scribbling notes, the muscles in his face twitch angrily, and his eye flashes. His nightmares and memories torment him with every waking moment. How did such an esteemed member of society get here? It all started with a man named, Nehemiah Slade. The candles fill the cabin with haunting silhouettes as the ship creeks and groans, as if its body ached from long hard miles it has sailed, begging to make port, on to rest for a short while. Aldus writes faster and with more fury as his notes progress. However to understand his predicament, we must travel back, back to better times.
Aldus’s father, Richard Locke – Lord of Greyport, was always stern with Aldus. He was to become the head of the house and continue the the Locke Legacy, and if he was going to do that, he would not be a blight on the name or its heritage. Aldus was schooled in etiquette and tradition. He had to attend these events to learn how to eat, drink, and speak properly in the proper company. Aldus absorbed all these teachings, knowing that if he disappointed his Father, he would pay the price.
Aldus grew older and his mind began to wander, Aldus dreamt of adventure and glory. He no longer found solace in the confines of the manor and his noble claims. Of which, by this time they were few. In his older age, Richard had become a greedy, gambling, womanizing drunk. As if he himself had forgotten what being nobility meant. Or perhaps the meaning of a being a noble had changed, either way Aldus was to be sent to study at the Emerald Tower as soon as he was to become of age. Aldus feared he may have only 2 years of freedom left.
Aldus spent these years with a “dance instructor”, Cerrano. It was here the Aldus became extremely skilled in fencing. There were few who could hold a candle to his skill with a rapier. Cerrano once said it was like trying to stab air or water, impossible. Aldus won countless tournaments and medals for his fencing. People travelled from all over just to watch him fence. However, the time had come, for him to go to the Emerald Tower. He would leave his fame behind to study magic…or so he thought.
Upon reaching his destination, staring up at the bright burning flame that crowns the tower he could already hear whisperings around him. His name and deeds definitely proceeded him. He made his way to his dorm. While unpacking his things, he could still hear the whispers, and rumors. Aldus let out a exasperated sigh, slammed his books closed and turned, only to see a slender figure in front of him.
“So, you’re the infamous Aldus Locke?”, his lips curled. “Not much to look at it, but your feats and deeds travel far and wide.”
“Well its obviously you know me, but I do not know you…..care to enlighten me?”, Aldus retorted.
“I am Jaque Aubrey and forgive my lack of manners.”
“Well Jaque, I appreciate the introduction, but if you don’t have any pressing matters, I’d like to be alone.” Aldus flopped back on to the bed.
“You obviously doesn’t know how this works, do you Aldus? You can only get so far on your own here. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think that you’d make me famous, if i was to mentor you, and also lying if I didn’t say that was my purpose for coming here. However, I will say, I am the lesser of many evils that will approach you. Just keep that in mind.” Jaque turned and left the room.
Weeks and months went by Aldus kept to his studies. Many though he never ate, slept, or pretty much anything else, but study. He would stop to read the occasional update from home. Aldus grew more and more frustrated with his ability to comprehend and use magic and with every passing day, Jaque’s words became truer and truer. Different mentors approached Aldus, trying to weasel their way with webs of lies, trying to get a piece of fame and fortune, but Aldus never heard from Jaque. It was like he was a ghost. So, he sought him out. He found him in a tavern in the surround town. Enjoy himself with ale and women.
“Weeeelllllll, if it isn’t ol’ Aldus Locke?!”, he turned to one of the women, “Famous Aldus Locke, worlds greatest fencer and decorated as so, but I assure you, world’s worst mage!”
They all let out a laugh. Aldus gritted he teeth, “I’ve come to seek your mentorship, I cannot grasp this on my own.”
“Yes, I know, I’ve watched your struggle, but it builds character my friend, and now you’ll appreciate my help all the more, but first, we drink and hopefully, fuck!! Ha ha, right ladies?!”
The women giggled and and cheered. Once sauntered over to Aldus and draped herself on him like a cloak.
“I’ll keep you warm tonight, Sir Locke.”, she slid a hand up his back, and a mug into his hand, with a grin.
“I guess….one night off will not hurt…”, he said in a very unsure tone.
“Ah HA, that’s my boy!! Drink Up!”, Jaque egged im on.
The next morning, Jaque jumped on Aldus’s bed, “Ready to get started?!” Aldus winced as the nights debauchery came scream back and he groaned.
“C’mon no time to waste…”, Jaque chuckled.
Another year passed, and more letters from home came, but they were fewer and fewer. Aldus’s father was out of control and the estate was dwindling, and the one thing holding it together, Aldus’s Mother, was sick and dying. Jaque stressed how incredibly important it was for him to stay and study. “The manor will be there when you are done. I assure you.” So, he stayed.
Iarno Albrek was another student at the tower, they studied together when Jaque was, “unavailable”, and he always tried to warn Aldus to watch out for Jaque, its not always at it seems. However, Jaque was Aldus’s first and only friend since coming here, he was blinded by loyalty.
Another year passed, but with this was a stranger year than last. Jaque was very sporadic, he would come and go, at will. It was in the last month, that a letter came, his mother was dead, and the estate was lost. Aldus packed his things, he hadn’t seen Jaque in at least 6 weeks, but that didn’t matter anymore. Aldus was set for home, and nothing was going to stop him.
He rode into town, the people looked upon him with sad eyes. They were moving hurriedly towards his manor. He leapt from horseback as he got to the gates, and ran through, he bound up the stairs 3 and 4 stairs at a time, until he came to a screeching halt. His father was on his knees, facing the crowd, and standing over him, a slender figure, dark flowing hair.
The man spoke in a very authoritative voice, “I believe Master Locke wants to address his people, he has something he wishes to share.”
Richard stood, “My people, I know, I haven’t always been the best Lord, shite I haven’t even been a good father, much less human being. I’ve lost my wife, my son is estranged, and now I’ve lost my home. I have lost my way, I gambled and borrowed myself out of a home and disgraced the name Locke. It is, with great regret, that to settle my debts, and spare my life, I will be giving the manor and all its assets to Lord Aubrey.”
Aldus nearly doubled over, as the slender man pushed Richard down onto his face. “Thank you for that, touching, speech. So, yes, Gentleman and Ladies, I am you new Lord, Gregoire Aubrey, and may I present to you my son, Jaque.” He appeared out of what seemed like no where. Jaque, Aldus’s mentor, grinning that devious grin.
“Thank you Father,” he chuckled, “And thank you my people, I assure you, you have nothing to fear from us. I assure you we will keep our town prosperous and happy.”
He is interrupted, “You cannot do this, we are loyal to Sir Locke and his lineage!”, a villager stormed up the steps passed Aldus, not even recognizing him. “We will not bow!”
Jaque scoffed, “Allow me a chance to retort….”, Jaque lifted his hand and the villager engulfed in flame, and then quickly dispersed into the wind as ash. “Any other objectors?”
The entire town stood in fear, their eyes diverted. Only Aldus’s eyes were locked in on Jaque and his father. Aldus then felt a firm grasp on his back and under his elbow. He turned quickly.
“Now not be the time, y’need to wait for the opportune moment. And now is not that time, my ship is docked not far from here. Come with me, I will show you the world and give you the tools needed to get your estate back.”
Aldus turns to see is assailant and chuckles, “a pirate?”
“Question me later, now is not the time,” the pirate said, his face covered to hide his identity.
Aldus nodded and they slinked back through the crowd, and made their way to his ship.
As they reached the ship, Aldus and his new companion came up on the main dock. As the pirate turned, “Welcome aboard The Black Vengeance!”, he pulled his mask off to reveal Cerrano. “i’ve been out of the manor for sometime Master Locke, things have not been good, so I left and became a Captain. We wanted to find you at the Tower, but the time wasn’t right, then we heard you left to come home, and luckily we caught you. So the plan is, you’ll sail with us and when you are ready, you’ll will take my place as Captain, and we will sail to restore your estate.”
Aldus nodded, and took his place on this shipped, as raised anchor and set sail to the open sea.
As the years went on, Aldus still studied magic and learned to enhance his fencing with magic as well as cast spells. They found cave on a small island, where Aldus came into contact with a spirit, drawn to his magic, it manifested into a jet black raven, and now bound to Aldus and bends to his will. They would pirate against other pirates, as well as ships belonging to the Aubrey Family.
One of the ships they boarded, that belonged to Aubrey was the Water Dancer. It was helmed by a man only known as Striker. Upon disabling and boarding this ship, Aldus was met with heavy resistance. However they were no match for Cerrano and Aldus. Aldus made his way to hull and was met by Striker. He was certainly a welcomed challenge for Aldus. It was almost as if he knew what he was going to do before he did it. He would lunge, and Striker would parry or dodge. Striker overpowered Aldus as they fought their way back up to main deck, it was here, that Aldus lost his footing and fell to the ground. Striker slashed down with great force, slicing Aldus across the face, the blood was warm as it ran down, filling Aldus with rage. Aldus threw his open hand up and it was in that instant, his raven had latched onto Striker’s face, pecking his eye out. Aldus put a boot to his belly, launched him backward, and quickly followed suit to impale his Striker to the desk, he couched blood and laughed….then faded. Aldus and Cerrano tended to his wound, luckily he didn’t lose his eye. He still wears a patch to protect the nastiest part of the wound. There was no time for celebrating, the ship sailed on.
They became one of the most notorious vessels on the sea, and amassed riches most people couldn’t even count. It wasn’t until they were docked when news came that Baron Rinthon had request his help. Perhaps this was the first step to using his new found skills, fortune, and friends to work towards reclaiming his home.
Aldus snaps out of his trance, as the men scream, “Laaaand Hoooo!” He leaps from his chair, out of the cabin, across the main deck until he leaps up onto Bowsprit! It was time to meet the Baron, finally time to claim his destiny.