Thursday, February 5, 2015

Character Profile: Virgil Zell

Virgil Zell was born the third of three brothers.  His small family lived in a small nondescript port city.  The family business revolved around supplying fishermen with bait and basic sailing supplies.  Illness struck the town, taking a deathly toll on the already small population.  A casualty of the illness was Virgil’s father.  This left Virgil’s mom and three sons to maintain the shop.  The boys would go out and collect bait while Mrs. Zell stayed behind.  The family came together in this time of need and grew very close.
Another family business competing with the Zell business made a move in an attempt to eliminate competitors.  The Acco family’s eldest son Titus visited Mrs. Zell one day while the boys were out gathering bait.  Titus Acco threatened Mrs. Zell with violence if she didn’t get out of town.  Virgil came by and saw Titus attempting to shake down his mom.  Rage engulfed his mind as Virgil came out swinging at Titus.  He struck a lucky blow square to Titus’ nose.  Blood erupted and sent Titus spiraling backwards over a crate and onto a gaffing hook.  A cough and wheeze from Titus were the last sounds to escape his lips.
Panic set in.  The Acco family wasn't necessarily rich but did have some influence with the town constable.  Shortly the constable did arrive at the shop where the Zell family feverishly pled their case.  The Acco head of family came over to see what was taking his son Titus so long and came across the scene.  He expressed outrage over such a horrific act and demanded immediate justice.  The constable sided with the Acco family and gave two options.  Jail or exile.  There really wasn’t much choice in the matter.
Virgil said some quick goodbyes to his family and left.  He ended up boarding a ship that was just heading out to sea.  The bo’s’n saw some potential in Virgil and put him to work caring for the rigging.  Sadness for his exile mixed with relief that the Acco family would think twice before messing with his family occupied Virgil’s mind.  Fortunately shipboard duties occupied most of Virgil’s time.  Anxious to keep his mind clear, he dove into this new career taking in all he could.
Word got around about the circumstances leading to Virgil coming on board.  The crew pressed for the true story.  One sailor declared Virgil a liar and said he was only trying to spread rumors about his fighting prowess.  Virgil confronted the sailor.  A fight erupted, leading to Virgil being knocked out.  A splash of water woke him up.  Virgil got his faculties about him and was met with a grim face staring at him.  That grim face belonged to the bo’s’n.  The next port of call saw Virgil being ejected from the ship for being a troublemaker.
Feeling empty and lost and needing someplace to go, a dark figure presented himself.  He introduced himself as Lawrence “Weevil” Goff.  Weevil talked up the ship he served on.  The ship was named the Dark Durge.  Virgil figured he best grab this offer before word got out from the crew of his last ship.  He and Weevil found their way through town and came to the docks.  There was moored the Dark Durge.  It was indeed a dark ship, nearly black in color from stem to stern.  Even the sails were black as a moonless sky.  Stepping aboard, Weevil made the introductions all around.  Virgil set to work to prepare for casting off the next morning.
As the last crate was brought on board and stowed, a mob flowed onto the docks.  Illuminated by torchlight, the mob made its way to the Durge’s gangway.  A large man, armed and armored yelled out for Errol Ledger to come forward.  Virgil and the rest of the crew looked dockside to see the mob.  The large man continued with his demand to have Ledger give himself up or else.  The captain sauntered to the top of the gangway and gave his answer.
A cannon volley belched forth a series of shots, obliterating the dock and most of the mob.  Having been set free of the docking cleats, the order was given to get underway posthaste.  So began Virgil’s career as a pirate.
Virgil learned the ropes as a privateer during the following years.  He learned navigation, sailing, seamanship, rope use, sword fighting, sea tactics and strategy as well as the pirate code.  Virgil fell in with the crew, filling the hole that was left when exiled from his town and family.
One fateful night, the Dark Durge came under fire.  Virgil was knocked off the deck during the battle.  He swam to the nearest shore and promptly collapsed.  The next morning he woke up and looked around.  There was a smattering of flotsam in the water but no sign of the battle.  Virgil gathered himself up and made his way to the nearest city.  Not knowing the fate of the Dark Durge, he gambled his way into enough money to outfit himself.  Ready to go see more of the world while also hoping he would see his crewmates again, he set out for the next adventure.