A Blood Red Sky
Captain Jack Blades
Captain of the Night Ranger
Jack Blades was born the motherless son of an orc. At least, that is what Jerry Martini, his captain on the Rubicon, always said. Jack spent a number of years on the Rubicon, saving money until the day that he could be captain of his own ship.
While serving on the Rubicon, Jack met Brad Gillis. Jack and Brad enjoyed a number of the same activities, including drinking and gambling. Brad told Jack that he would love to serve on a boat with Jack as the captain. It was not long until they got that opportunity. While at port in The Meeting Place, Brad ran across a “steal of a deal” for a dwarven steamer. After pooling their money, Jack and Brad were lacking two things: an engineer and enough money to buy the ship. It must have been fate that Jack happened to run into another friend of his named Kelly Keagy. Blades and Gillis offered a share of the ship to Keagy, and Keagy accepted, feeling that being owner of a ship was greatly preferred to working on someone else’s bucket of bolts.
Jack and Brad had to finish out the month on the Rubicon in order to get paid, so they soon took off again. Keagy stayed behind to examine the ship and see if the engine was void-worthy. The final voyage on the Rubicon was a smuggling job from Heartland. Elven boughbreakers paid Captain Jerry Martini to get a number wildlings away from the elves. During the voyage away from Heartland, one of the wildlings wondered onto the deck and was befriended by Brad. Figuring he would be cheap labor and a perfect lookout when the others were hiding from the glow of the void, Jack agreed to take him onto their new ship.
When they arrived back at The Meeting Place, Kelly gave the ship a thumbs-up. They bought the old dwarven steamer and christened it “Night Ranger.” Jack’s contacts enabled the crew to get plenty of work. They hauled anything for which they were paid, whether it was freight or passengers. The three co-owners were getting great return on their investment when the first adversity struck. The dwarven steamer required a lot of maintenance and repair to keep it running optimally. During one of these repairs, Kelly Keagy lost a hand. They did their best to stop the bleeding and made it to port as quickly as possible. Keagy would survive, but the ship had lost its engineer.
Ship maintenance cost them a great deal after that. Nearly every stop required some kind of repair, eating into the profits. Over time, the ship went from one of the quickest in the skies to one that was able to reach its destination. The loss of speed cost the crew almost as much as the repairs.
The next major change happened when the Night Ranger was at port in Shadowhaven. A round of gambling with increasingly higher stakes resulted in Brad Gillis losing his share of the Night Ranger. An argument ensued where Gillis accused Blades of cheating. Blades countered by ordering Gillis off “his” ship. As he stomped toward the docks, Brad Gillis said that Blades did not have enough of a crew to manage the ship, and that he would be begging Gillis to come back soon enough. Blades replied that he didn’t need any help running his ship, and that things would be better off the way they were.