The Tuuma Cormayr
The Tuuma Cormayr are a pirate band that prey upon shipping through the Tuuma Strait that cuts through the Necklace of Plenty.
They first rose to prominence about one hundred years ago, as Imperial power began to dwindle, and the Imperial navy no longer had the resources to secure shipping lanes. They were originally founded by Cormayr Bloodhawk (also known as "The Red Talon", a man of mysterious origins. Some stories say that he was a renegade admiral of the Imperial fleet, others that he was a bloodthirsty criminal escaping a death sentence on Oksa. To some he was a wizard from Kam Ultdour, to others a freedom fighter driven from Llaza by the authorities. In many cases, Bloodhawk is said to be a woman. The Tuuma Cormayr maintain the mystery, and many of the more colourful stories concerning Cormayr Bloodhawk are sure to have been started by the pirates.
In any event, the Tuuma Cormayr (also known as Bloodhawks and Red Talons) built up a naval force to be reckoned with. Leadership of the Tuuma Cormayr is said to have passed on from father to son, along with the name Cormayr Bloodhawk. Command is currently held by Cormayr Bloodhawk IV, great-grandson of the founder.
The fortunes of the Bloodhawks has waxed and waned over the years. By the time of Bloodhawk II the Merchants League had built up sufficient forces to deal a devastating blow to the Tuuma Cormayr, and the remnants scattered into the myriad small islands of the Necklace of Plenty. They remained a minor annoyance under Bloodhawk III, mere raiders and skirmishers, but gradually built up strength. A rennaissance of power is occurring under Bloodhawk IV for two reasons.
One is that, as the reach of the Merchants League has extended, so to has its ability to maintain all borders decreased. The Tuuma Strait is no longer as heavily patrolled as it once was. Secondly, the Red Talons have acquired the use, presumably through magical means, of "narhemoths" (see sidebar). These massive sea creatures are used as bludgeons to cripple ships whilst the pirates use outrigger craft to make lightning raids. The Red Talons have several bases throughout the Tuuma Strait, always moving when the League Navy come looking for them. It is rumoured that they have a central base in an ancient city somewhere, home to their riches. This may just be sailor's talk, but it is certain that the Tuuma Cormayr can be found in Paradise City on the distant island of Tas-Nabrenor.
Goods stolen by the Tuuma Cormayr are usually fenced in Llaza and the Oksan ports, sold via a chain of middlemen to the people for whom the cargo was originally bound. The Black River Society is sure to be involved. Riskier cargoes are sometimes offloaded either to the west in Denra-Lyr, or to the east in Obrenaja, Tautoa or the Ssth'gar islands. However, the Red Talons don't have the power (yet) to maintain such an extensive network continuously.
Members of the Tuuma Cormayr
All members of this society, no matter what race or sex, have a red talon tattooed somewhere on their body. These are usually located on a part of the body that can be easily hidden - chest, back, arms etc. to enable the pirates to travel in disguise, but in some members tattoo their face or hands. These individuals are usually real desperadoes with nothing to lose, who would fight to the death rather than allow capture.
The Red Talons are comprised of all manner of folk - mainly outlaws from Imperial territory but also from Kam Ultdour (usually the mundane peasantry), Or, some Moa-Ruaki and even a few gloppies of various types. All take the tattoo and swear an oath of loyalty to the Tuuma Cormayr. The penalty for betrayal involves the use of a red hot poker on eyes and tongue.
Personalities of the Tuuma Cormayr
The fourth Bloodhawk is now a grizzled veteran of piracy, in his fourth decade and still without an heir. Cormayr IV has instigated a ruthless hit and run policy amongst the Red Talons in order to build up wealth and wear down his opponents. He dreams of nothing more than making the Tuuma Cormayr lords of the Tuuma Strait, and then, maybe, the whole of the Necklace of Plenty. Already he has begun cowing local settlements with a bit of coastal raiding to supplement his piracy. He is a ruthless fighter who leads from the front. In the process he has lost the thumb and index finger of his left hand, the tip of his right ear, gained several impressive scars on his face and body and a slight limp in his right leg.
"Yellowfin" is a gloppy, one of several aquatic races lumped together under one name by humans. His true name is a series of clicks and whistles that cannot be reproduced by humans. Yellowfin was cast out of his tribe for selling eggs of his tribemates to nearby humans who treasured them as a delicacy. How he came to be so selfish and lazy is unknown but, basically, Yellowfin delights in causing trouble for others and little else. His importance to the Tuuma Cormayr is that he has a gift of communication with sea creatures, and it is through him that the narhemoths have been gathered.