westslide (westslide) wrote in rhyfelwyr,

Captain Asherah Delmar

There are small communities of islands which may fall under the geographic boundaries of what defines Erin and yet are beyond the reach of any unified body of government. One community in particular, one of the furthest outlying groups of islands named Lancaeron, is known to be home of some of the greatest mariners, fishermen, and shipbuilders of Erdreja - at least, to those who even know of its existence. For the numbers are small, and the people tend to remain near local waters, where food is plentiful and the multitudes of isles provide sufficient mysteries and resources to keep all but the most adventurous or greedy happy for a lifetime.

Controversy is high as to which of the two categories the great Captain Llyr Delmar fell into, for he and his ship, Rhyfelwyr, travelled far beyond Lancaeron waters, and even beyond the waters of Erin and Cymrja. Gone for many years at a time, when they returned it would always be not only with great treasures to bring the islands wealth and magical trinkets which could strengthen the land, but tales of adventure and excitement enough to inspire many to join his crew, or set out on their own expeditions. Llyr himself was always a favourite of the people, particularly the ladies, but it was a matter of some contention that he never took a wife.

This continued for over a decade, until he returned to Lancaeron after one journey with one memento of his travels that none would have expected: a baby girl, clearly not all human, but certainly by her looks and Captain Delmar's fierce protectiveness, his daughter. He never spoke of the mother when asked, and the journeys of Rhyfelwyr became increasingly close to home, runs for resources and food rather than grand adventures. The girl was left in the care of Llyr's family while he was away, taught to fish and handle a small boat by his brothers. At first, they deemed her as much of a natural with the sea as her father, but within a few years that seemed to be something of an understatement as the girl's obviously elvish heritage began to shine through, and the phrase 'like a fish to water' promised to be a slightly eerie comparison.

Asherah Delmar was twelve when she first joined her father on a voyage, only two months' run for wood to rebuild the town hall after a storm, and it was clear that Llyr Delmar expected the same of her as any other youth on the ship. Indeed, she took to it naturally, and when Llyr announced his intention to depart for another massive expedition of adventurour proportions, there was no doubt that his daughter would crew Rhyfelwyr on the voyage.

After many journeys ten years later, Asherah was first mate on the ship laden with as many wealths and tales of adventure as ever before, reinspiring the locals as much as Llyr had in his youth. Yet, to all who knew him, it was clear that Captain Delmar was not the same man. It had been said that there was a great sense of loss about him when he had returned to Lancaeron with his daughter, though this pain had been hidden from all but the most astute by his obvious devotion to her. As she grew older, coming into her own as a mariner, this sadness appeared to have opened up within Llyr again. Old veterans who had crewed the journey from which Llyr had returned with Asherah never spoke of exactly what had happened, save references made to a strange year spent in the Lantian isles.

Not long after, Llyr, Asherah, and Rhyfelwyr left on a journey to Aegyptus, hired by a collector who had heard of their fame to lay claim to some artefacts in a coastal tomb. When on the return journey, docked at a Lantian port for rest and supplies, Llyr gathered his crew one evening and announced to them that he was leaving the ship. He handed command of Rhyfelwyr to his astonished daughter and promptly disappeared into the night. By the time the crew pursuing him for at least an explanation, managed to catch up with his trail, he had apparently chartered a ship and left, destination unknown.

Asherah commanded Rhyfelwyr to pursue, but to no avail, and when they began investigating the vessel Llyr had hired, it seemed that it had never been heard from since departing with him on board.

The next five years of Rhyfelwyr's journeys are less precisely known, for her associations with the islands of Lancaeron diminished greatly. Asherah was first driven by a burning urge to discover the fate of her father, releasing all of the crew from her service as the search would be, she promised, of indeterminate length. All but the most loyal left, and so new crew from all walks of life and corners of the world were hired, so long as they would serve their Captain. At first, it was not a title Asherah adopted willingly, and it only settled upon her shoulders by dint of her position and the rest of the crew effectively forcing it upon her.

But such a search still required funding, and Rhyfelwyr's old habits, though generally fruitful, tended to take too long for an income. The ship therefore began to hire itself out for whomsoever could make use of a well-built vessel and a well-disciplined and increasingly experienced crew. Sometimes, it was the protection of a convoy, or the more traditional journeys of exploration. But when the highest bidder gives the orders, more dubious journeys may take place, and a privateer by one nation is a pirate by any other.

It is not known at exactly what point the quest for Llyr Delmar was abandoned. Perhaps Asherah Delmar decided he was gone for good. Perhaps she decided that it was more fruitful to focus her efforts on working for the highest bidder. Perhaps the quest was not abandoned, but continued in an untraditional manner. But it was clear that there were no more whisperings in every port Rhyfelwyr docked at about the fate of Captain Llyr Delmar.

Rhyfelwyr's fame, however, grew, and somewhat into notoriety. Whatever the task was - the elimination of a threat, the hunting of an individual, the retrieval of an item, the transport of cargo - she and her crew would get it done, if the price was right. They became truly at the mercy of the sea and their employers, never making their home in one fixed place. Even the isles of Lancaeron, the homes of the ship, her Captain, and many of her most experienced crewmembers, were only visited if necessary for business.

One hire, however, has finally given Captain Delmar more than it seems she can handle. An old, reliable employer has given them half-complete charts to find a great hidden library of knowledge in an ancient city of Maurabia. Finding it seemed, on the surface, to be a task no more challenging than any other faced by Rhyfelwyr, but after months of searching their hunting has come up for nothing. Finally, at their wit's end, rumour reached their ears of an expert on such mysteries and hidden parts of the world, a mad noble in his family home in the mountains of Teutonia. Thus Captain Delmar and some of her crew left Rhyfelwyr in port and travelled to find Zachary Von Gribblefaust, and recruit him to their quest.

By the time they had returned to the ship, 'Mad Zach' in tow, Asherah Delmar was already regretting it.
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