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The Black Vale is a new pirate group (of course) in Naval Action, but has been around on various games and virtual worlds for years in Second Life. We are a dynamic group of sometimes rough and tumble friends that simply love to play games (pirate too) and socialize. In a way, we are very much a family of friends. We are always looking for more friends. If interested in joining the Black Vale on the USA PvE (eventually branching out to the PvP server), contact one of the characters (except for my helmsman Mister Teid, he is a shifty fellow) listed in the story. Oh, we’ll waive the 25K coin buy in. Ye can keep yer gold, mate! The Black Vale: Beginnings Part 1 “Sail Ho!”, the cutter’s watch calls. “Sails to port fore!” The captain snatches up the waist hung cylinder to an eye and peers at the horizon. “Aye”, she mutters in British accented words. “Two sets o’ squares. Escorted Trader methinks.” Snapping the spyglass close and tucking it into the red sash wrapped about her waist, she turns to call, “Quarter! Run up flags fer two! Let’s see what the others want.” The man’s sketched wave precedes action and soon enough two colorful flags are wind snapping from the topsail yard. The redheaded woman draws spyglass out yet again to peer at the ships in their little cutter fleet. None of the other three ships acknowledges yet the prearranged two-flag signal marking a sighting and ship numbers. Unusual in this modern age to find a woman captain, much less one on a ship! Yet the dark redhead with average looks had fought her way into respect and captaincy by sheer will, a fast blade married with keen aim, and impeccable sense of timing. The pirate cutter is her first command and one that she will not give up without a fight! The all-male crew knows all too well how capable she is when in a temper. Any that would challenge her command would find willing crew (out of fear or respect!) backing her up. One by one the other ships raise flags. Snapping and stowing the glass away, she says satisfied, “All in accord. So be it.” Raising voice, she snaps out commands. “Helms! Come to port three points! Bosun! Clear the decks and ready fer action! Quarter! Unlock the powder!” The crew scurries into action. Loose rope and sundries from everyday sailing get stowed … wouldn’t want a barrel rolling about or a loose rope to trip a body during the upcoming battle. Cannons are readied (though not loaded yet). The rigging is checked (again). From the sound of a raised voice fore, the Bosun scolds new crew member into doing his task correctly. She grins, satisfied. Few pirate ships are so organized like the famous British Navy … yet her’s is. It is amazing what a woman hears when cavorting with captains; everything from keels to sails, tactics to boarding, crew discipline, and so on, and so on. There hasn’t been a captain yet that didn’t love to brag about his ship in detail, especially when trying to impress a future bed-mate! Every tidbit learned she stowed away for the future. She already had a fair reputation by the time elected as captain after challenging the previous poor sop. If not for cultivating key crew members beforehand, she may have not had the chance to challenge. Yet the chance came and she took advantage to gain the ship. Upon doing so, the redhead immediately directed action drills. The crew didn’t like it much of course. Yet as the crew meshed to accomplish tasks quicker than they ever have before and her fierce scowls turned into grudging respect, moral improved and arrogant pride became the norm. Hmph. Prideful Pirates. Who would have thought such a thing? By the time all was in order, the two sails sets resolved into two hulls. Plying spyglass once again identifies the ships; a privateer Brig and a Snow. She winces. The two powerful ships (compared to the little fleet’s cutters) could do some serious damage and potentially sink a cutter. Even outnumbering them two to one may not be enough to offset the risks. Pirating is about taking risks, aye! Yet not foolish risks. There is something odd about that Snow. It wallows like a drunken sailor on shore. Is it watered in from a leak? Focusing on open gunports causes a grin to appear. Empty! The lower ports are empty! She’s haulin’ cargo! Snapping the ‘glass shut, the captain calls to raise another prearranged flag. A quick survey of the fleet notes two of the three have already raised signal flags with the last ship’s flag going up. It is unanimous. Turning towards the expectantly waiting quartermaster and bosun, she grins widely and nods. “Let’s get to it, mates. Load ‘em up!”