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 The Legend of Hartz Island

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Logan Garithil



Posts : 7
Join date : 2010-05-11

PostSubject: The Legend of Hartz Island   Wed May 26, 2010 7:33 am

Every sailor who frequents Eldarus Bay knows of a little island just north of the bay mouth, known as Hartz or more commonly as Hangman’s Island. This is the story of how it got its names.
Trade in the delta has always been strong; furs, whale ivory and oil arrive seasonally from the north, while the warmer waters of the south provide fishing fleets with abundant catches, and an avenue for trading vessels laden with spices, emeralds, and exotic hardwoods known to make the finest furnishings. Ships arrive daily, crossing the Great Sea from every corner of the globe, making Eldarus a popular hub for all types of trader, both legal and illegal. The history of how Captain Elliot Hartz became one of the most dangerous and wealthiest pirates to operate in Eldaurs has been corrupted by legends and seamen tales, but what is known is that Elliot Hartz was born to be a sailor.
Born to a fishman’s family, young Elliot accompanied his father on many voyages into the southern sea for the big prize, big eyed tuna. Some stories say that it was while being out at sea, at the age of seven, a storm erupted out of the south and his father drowned as their skiff sank. Others say that his father died of smallpox, but by either chase, Hartz’s found himself working as a cabin boy on a Regent vessel called The Duchy to support his mother and siblings. Working aboard The Duchy took the boy into manhood, refining his skills as a topsailsman and navigator, as well as teaching the lad the art of naval warfare. Ships of his day were not the galleys of Eldaurs today, but triangular sail frigates meant for the coastal sea lanes, with large ballista which fired bolts three feet long attached to tow lines. Boarding and capturing a vessel was standard warfare on the seas around the Eldarus Bay. The Duchy was one of the first armed merchant vessels of its kind, described as carrying four ballistae on her upper deck.
At the age of 18, Hartz was second mate of The Duchy, now a worm eaten, floating log, held together only by the will of the men who sailed upon her. It was no surprise that while returning from an escorting voyage, the ship sank miles from the safety of the Eldarus Bay. Too far from the rest of the convoy, The Duchy’s crew had little hope of rescue. Many drowned, or survived long enough to be attacked by sharks as they thrashed around in the water. Elliot was the only lucky one. For six years he walked up the coast back to Eldarus, only to discover that his mother and two other siblings were dead due to the plague which attacked the city two years earlier. At the age of 24, Elliot Hartz was desperate for a source of income and happiness.
It is lost how he decided to become a pirate, but there are clear records of the how many ships he attacked and/or destroyed; over a 15 year career he sank 276 vessels, and is still the only man to blockade the Eldarus Bay with a single ship, his 55 foot tri-sail, The Black Heart. His first victim was a Shangalan vessel called The Dragon’s Wind in their language. The last, was Hartz’s richest capture, not one, but three trade convoy ships returning from the south. The ships were called The Magpie, the teak hulled Honey Bear and the flagship of Eldarus trading at the time, The Lady of Eldarus. Captain Hartz is believed to have kept the Lady of Eldarus after the battle as his prize. It is believed that the ship reminded him of this service aboard The Duchy. The treasures aboard the three vessels rocketed Elliot into wealth and power; two things which the Lord Regent feared greatly.
The small island, known back then as Crab Shell Island, with her smaller neighbor, Sea Plum island (which still bears the name), became Hartz’s base of operation, allowing him clear view of the bay mouth and a tactical route of escape to the north around the larger island of Veleda’s Island, named for the Moon Goddess. Before this down fall, scholars and seamen both agree that Captain Hartz was considering retiring after his capture of The Lady of Eldarus trading convoy and building a trading post. However the location of the trading post is under much debate. Though Crab Shell Island is home to a small sweet water spring, the small island (only a mile in diameter) is attacked seasonally by midsummer storms. Captain Hartz may have considered building the post on the larger Veleda’s Island.
It was betrayal which finally took Captain Hartz’s life. On the eve of his birthday, March 6th, a crewman led a small flotilla of row boats from the ruins north of the Eldarus Bay, full of the Lord Regent’s men. The island was surrounded before Captain Hartz had a time to reach The Black Heart and set ablaze. Elliot was found in the middle of the island leaning on a water barrel, the smoke killing him before the Regent’s men could. Any of his crew to have escaped the fire, were captured while they trying to swim off the island and hung in the harbor square after Regent ruling.
Captain Elliot Hartz body was hung from the very cypress he sat under when the sailors found him. Since most of the trees and bushes were burned away, the body was visible on the island for over a year. The Black Heart was searched before being sank in the canal between the two little islands. Surprising, the treasure and The Lady of Eldarus were never discovered by any of the sailors who attacked the island or by any to this day who go searching for it. Seamen tell stories that when passing the island at sunset, they believe the island is on fire and the can see a man yelling at the sky in the middle. Captains avoid the island at night for they say that Captain Hartz is still out there, dragging ships under with The Black Heart. On the Eve of March 6th , known locally as Hartz’s Eve, sailors gather around Hartz’s Island and toss wreaths of flowers upon the beach and into the water. Each year a Regent ship is set out to break up the gathering, and a few unlucky souls are always caught and hung for acts of treason.
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