Lázár Meszáros and the Pirates of the Red Sunrise
Horace Atherton, journeyman scribe of the Library at Esos, 1211
First, I shall attempt to describe a typical attack by the Red Sunrise. Those who are familiar with the old sailing adage, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning,” might not be surprised that the Red Sunrise most frequently attacks other ships, and even coastal settlements, at dawn. Their targets tend to be Braelinese merchant ships and small towns in Braelin and Zikari whose defenses are poor. The Red Sunrise takes its prey by surprise, its sudden arrival heralded with flames, and the swords of its crew skilled and sharp. All who are not deemed valuable as captives are killed, and often find that when they go to the Black God’s realm, they return with curses upon them. Those captured by the crew of the Red Sunrise are either ransomed, if wealthy or with important connections, or sold into slavery in Seren. Few know the exact location of the pirates’ hideout, although it is almost certainly on a small island off the coast of southwest Seren.
“Many were murdered while still asleep,” one survivor, a merchant ship’s captain, remarked on this subject. “Those who were able to wake, don armor, and find weapons…well, they didn’t fare much better.”
Now, on to the captain himself. Not a great deal is known about Lázár Meszáros, even in Seren. There, he is regarded as something of a folk hero: many know of his deeds, but they do not know a great deal about who he is, as a man, and what his life was like before he took to the seas. Here in Braelin, what we know of him, we know from those few who have survived attacks and returned home. The testimonies of those survivors I have interviewed provide a portrait of a truly terrifying individual. Lázár Meszáros has an unnerving balance of a cunning mind, murderous intent, and the knowledge of how best to gain a profit. It is confirmed that Captain Meszáros is a fire thaumaturgist of great skill, and utilizes this form of magic to his advantage by oftentimes completely destroying the ships he and his crew seek to plunder. He is also a skilled swordsman, and it is rumored that he is able to combine this with his thaumaturgy to truly deadly effect.