This character was made for the Sundered Skies setting, a world torn apart into islands set adrift in the sky.
Horatio was a lowly goblin, drifting in what was left of a wrecked lifeboat. He couldn’t remember what had happened, and couldn’t speak most languages anyway. The lifeboat was orcish though. All he can ever recall starts from this moment forward.
Weeks went by out in the Void, and while thirst and hunger fought for attention in his mind, he also noticed a strange shifting going on within. Bones made snapping sounds and moved. Stuff…inside, that he was vaguely aware that he needed, began to move. His breathing came hard and shallow, and then shot down him in blissful gasps. His legs and arms became longer, stronger. His thinking…things became clearer and a haze he never realized was there…lifted. It was as though he could ‘see’ for the first time. He saw a version of himself as a marauding beast, fangs and claws drenched in blood and wanting more…but he passed it by in his mind, to something else. One day, he woke to the sound of laughter and singing in a hoarse voice and looked around with a start, only to realize it was himself. Speaking like the Masters used to, and laughing, came easily because of the sheer knowing. These days were filled with bright light, pain, and a birth.
A blessing sent a small shower of rain his way shortly after, and he had enough thought now to capture the water with sailcloth and a chipped bowl. Days more passed before he felt a lurch and heard cracking wood. Looking up in alarm, he found his ravaged craft had hit a tiny island, no bigger than a few hundred feet. He tried to reach out to a passing bush as he drifted passed, but missed. With a cry of frustration, he tried once more to catch something, and yelped in surprise when a strong grip hauled him bodily out of his boat. The sound of deep-throated laughter caused panic and he almost fell off the island as he saw his savoir, a ragged looking human leaning out to him with a grin, several teeth shod in silver.
Months went by. The human pirate known as Blue John took the goblin in, letting him share a corner of the tiny cave on their island, where a natural pool caught the sporadic rains and air ferns frequently came near. He had a quick temper, but a gentle way most of the time, and his long fall from a stricken ship far above left him without working legs. He taught the goblin many things, including giving him his name…said to have been after a buccaneer with a famous sense of humour, since the goblin always made Blue laugh. He explained about the rare Glowborn. He taught him the common tongue, and basic numbers.
And he was there the night Horatio woke up screaming from nightmares, to find the goblin glowing with arcane fire that seemed to be consuming him. Without a thought for himself, Blue straddled him and held him down till the fits and flashes of burning fire passed. Both were injured, but Horatio never forgot this gift of caring, something he had never had…or his given name.
Blue regaled Horatio with tales of daring pirate raids and buccaneers leaping nimbly from rope and crow’s nest, sweeping away foes and stealing their booty and women. Blue also told of his hatred for slavers and how his band was fighting for their lives against a bigger ship when he fell into the Void. Memories of his own hardships as a slave flashed vaguely through Horatio’s mind.
Between Blue’s scavenged belongings and the debris that fell with him, and what was left of Horatio’s lifeboat, the two managed to lash together a real chance at escaping. With excitement dancing in his eyes, Horatio loaded up the raft and came back for Blue. “Father! Today is our day! I can feel it! We will be out of here in…” …But Blue was sitting up with his big grin and eyes glazed. A note was grasped in his scarred hand. His weapons and tricorn hat were neatly set before him. With eyes wide and breath coming heavy, Horatio approached the dead man with huge tears in his eyes, kneeling down and kissing his forehead as he closed his eyelids. With a stifled sob, Horatio took the note and began to read…
“Horatio, I never did knows the likes of someone like yerself. I knows what ye were but ye’ve turned into somethin’ new. Somethin’ I don’t rightly understand. Ye’ve got magic in ye, and ye’ve survived the Glow. Yer smarter than I ever was an’ have a buccaneer’s spirit t’boot. I ain’t ashamed to say I think of ye as me son after what we’ve been through. But I can’t be goin’ with ye. I started feelin’ poorly in me broke legs ‘while back but it’s took hold now, I kin feel me heart actin’ bad sore. Take me things, from one outcast to ‘nother. Make yerself into what ye want t’be. Create yerself. Only you kin decide what you’ll look like t’others, don’t EVER let them decide for ye. Kick arse when it needs kickin’ and grin and be a man t’rest ‘o the time. I’m proud ‘o you. – Blue”
With a heavy heart, Horatio cast off, a flintlock pistol and sabre at his belt, and a battered but well-made tricorn seaman’s hat on his head. In a short time, the once-goblin had transformed in several ways, but the biggest he had yet to realize. The set of pride in his jaw and shoulders, the confident stance in his now-upright frame and sure movements spoke more than anything else. The Skies now were the home of Horatio the Red.
Horatio seems to be a well-groomed goblin with a pale tinge of green to his skin. Large, leaf-shaped ears with several earrings can be seen, as well as small lower fangs and at least three silver capped teeth. A battered tricorn hat with a faded insignia and raven’s feather rests on his head, a second-hand velvet red doublet and pants with faded silver filigree is worn, along with a sash and weapons belt of black. A well-used flintlock pistol and sabre ride his hips, ending in scuffed knee-length boots…all much mended and patched. He grins a lot, especially when someone is startled by his obvious non-human looks, or to mask his anger when he sees an orc or elf. He often wears random rings and bracers, the shinier the better.
A lighthearted rogue, Horatio commonly uses the speech of those who travel the Void a lot (be they sailor or pirate). Despite the usual repugnance he receives, he’s always courteous and especially flirtatious to women (of any race). Usually easy going, he can have a temper that flashes suddenly in his big eyes, followed by a flourish of flintlock or sabre and some unseen flash. He has a soft spot for children and those who are helpless or being maltreated though, and will usually come to their aid whenever possible. The same can be said for ‘saving’ any cogs he can get away with as well. He loves climbing and can often be seen using a handy rope, chandelier, or inattentive brigand to swing into a fray.
Goblin Pirate image by Dennis Booth (devillo)