Quote from Hagakure, the warrior's Bible the book of the Samurai, “Would you prefer to die fighting? Or would you prefer to die running?” ~ Kuromukuro
Show & Tell: My Booty of MKBarzandbulluon
Before the Booty Bank, the Pirate treasure that next inspired the collection of the Bloody Raven has been originally this very brand of bullion. Michael Kabrin proprietor artistic CEO of this pourer from California started like any aspiring Silver pourer before upscaling his pastime into a business.
Chunky, crude like, and toned as if the treasure itself we're "pried out the frozen clutches of a dead corpse." Evolved into a unique product line those are not made from 'Off-the-shelf molds' as with many pourers. Michael designs his own pouring molds from his digital renderings processed into a Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) milling machine. Michael has also employed new 3D printing with an old 'Lost wax' technique for much more complex casting projects requiring much more intricate detail. You’ll have to see the products yourself on his Website. Every series he’s always adding a new feature to his products lines.
Since 2011 MKBarz has expanded into a variety of themed silver and flexible enough to make to order custom pours. If you're a previous MKBarz customer what would be your favorite all time piece?
What I enjoy displaying are his older series “Shipwreck rounds” I consider as his signature piece of the Skull and Pirate line, the classic high relief Jolly Roger emblazons this round on a wooded deck background, the back is the typical rough giving each piece it's unique individuality with his trademark and 0.999 Silver fineness. Each piece Blackened, to bring out the features and charming character of each individual round.
Pictured here is his 2.5 T oz “Shipwreck” Rounds next to the Cross Round. Every Treasure chest in about every Pirate movie had something with a Cross in it. I should have asked Michael why he picked this Cross Aiguisé or Pointed Cross. This series has been retired and replaced with a bigger 3.0 t oz version “Shipwreck” Round.
The 1 T oz 0.999 fine silver version of the “Shipwreck Round” Also no longer available, but one of my favorite purse/pocket carry piece to commute and work Like-a-Pirate!
Next, from left to right, are these 2 and 1 T oz. Crude Kit Kat styled Pirate bars that look as if they were just hammer into their pleasing final form. The 1 T oz. original Square bar is still available at this time.
A little sample of MKBarzandbullion’s current line of premium bars. On the left, 1 T oz. Pirate Compass square bar. And on the right is the 1 T oz 0.999 fine Silver Sunken skull button. If you’re getting into the real fun silver you got to see what Mark’s got with just the Skull & Pirate line on his Website. After plundering my retirement savings, my next raid expedition to MKBarzandbullion, I will be ticking plenty off items off my shopping list.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Chronicles of the Bloody Raven: The NEMESIS, Episode 5 – Part two
Colonel "The Executioner" Greer understood the practice of Guerilla warfare as an art form well with his unit having ceded enough fiefdoms, cities, and even an entire kingdom to rebel against it's own authorities. Sometimes things require just a little disinformation at the right time and place. Or some direct intervention installing the proper government suitable to his paymaster's goals. The Nightcrawlers are his own to command to do what others cannot and how it was done didn't matter. A choice command next to the King's own personal guard except the king rather not be in company of killers created by the King Makers in the City of London. Most of his ranks were that of former hardened criminals, others drawn from other units that had no use for that individual's unique underappreciated talents but also driven with rewards by results rather than that of duty.
The current assignment is to secure the important artifact and eliminate a group of pirates. According to the dossier these were no ordinary pirates, a force of talented sailors led by a terrifying dark figure with very unique abilities according to the survivors of the Spectre and now has the attention of powerful men whom have far reaching plans on an international scale. Judging from the premium on her bounty there was a sizable risk in her live capture but still a rich payday if killed.
Being under the command of the Duke of Bertrand he felt disturbed that he was not only the bait but with the sizable bounty having to be divided in this Duke's favor set a distaste between the two forces in working cooperatively. A mistake by the paymaster's, perhaps intentionally competitive but that may indeed hinge on who has a better claim on the head of this Bloody Raven. After all anything in this world is negotiable. The band of no more than forty pirates should be easy pickings against two seasoned but rival mercenary companies.
The Raven stopped in her tracks, “I think we’re not alone!” Long John spotted the line of armed soldiers on the next rise. Rifles levelled in unison. “Take cover!” cried Flint. At the rise a few hundred paces from the beach the first skirmish was akin to making sure that their host's calling card was delivered. “Fire!” Leftenant Moore's Wolf Pack loosed an initial volley of rifle fire lighting up the grove of trees and sending the pirates scattering for cover. Before the pirates could return fire, a second rank of rifles advanced forward laying down more suppression fire. It was an efficient tactic that would eventually have wiped out the landing party. Long John snapped off a defiant shot from his flintlock.
"Counter attack when you hear it, time to beat a hasty retreat." Flint waves everyone to fall back before he and the Raven slipped into the dark.
The progressive ripple of gunfire again flailed tree trunks, shredding low palms as the pirates we're forced back step by step back tree by tree to the beach.
"Wolves Fix bayonets!" Shouted Moore, The Wolf Pack we're about to pick up the pace of their advance.
The lush underbrush made lugging a rifle difficult in the dark. The soldiers were sensing an impending rout as the pirates begin fleeing piecemeal back towards the beach right into the sights of the awaiting Spyders. The near full moon provided enough light just to see. Sargent Mason felt his teeth grind as knew he had the Bloody Raven square in his gun sight but had to wait for the order to fire. Frustrated he wanted the first bounty share for her death and felt denied for it would have been an instant promotion and a windfall of gold to just even wound the witch. Now with the pirates scattered and the woman gone he only hoped to get a lucky break.
It was poor luck that he ended up in the third rank and now began lag behind the others. The thorny underbrush snagged at his coat as he fought through the thick foliage the footing uncertain in the dark, his colleges we're making good progress. "I want that cursed witch!" As he thrashed at the brush around his feet, something tugged hard on the back of his collar, a sharp cold blade pressed against his throat. A woman's voice cackled behind him, "Looking for me?"
This time Captain Flint crept behind Moore, watched him exhale, yanked the officer from his horse then throttling him with the butt of his pistol. He glanced over to the Raven having taken down another soldier holding up four fingers as if they were keeping some macabre score. He held up five. With a nod Flint pressed his fingers into his mouth and loudly whistled. The Wolf Pack turned to realize losing almost an entire rank, had glimpse of Flint and the Raven ducking back into the trees. The Hunters turned to pursue but the fleeing Pirates re-emerged and turned upon the Hunters.
Moore’s report was unsatisfactory to the Duke. The loss of five men, another eight out of action, and most of all losing track of the Pirate band, too anxious for the bounty tended to encourage too much initiative. Moore is on record a very competent officer and things can go wrong. Night combat is often a risky strategy so the way was to stay in formation and move forward as a unit. Leftenant Moore was too hasty in making this a quick kill. Yes the pirates fled in panic before Captain Blankenship could get into position to cut off the pirates out in the open on the beach. A few black clad figures we're able to attack the rear stragglers in the race for the rich bounties. The line ended up stretched thin among the moonlit tree line. Fortunately Blankenship was able to reinforce Moore's Hunter's before his losses became unacceptable. The pirates managed to escape.
It was imperative to at least keep track of their movements and not necessarily engage. Blankenship immediately dispatched both corps Coomb’s platoons with the Diablos westward as the only possible route the group of Pirates could have fled away. Unfortunate, the plan of keeping their prey off balance and divided did not succeed as expected. The pirates manage to evade traps, able secure food and water, avoid tracking. The Nightcrawler’s company motto is 'Rule the Night' because of their well-practiced in Night skirmish operations but as the casualties begin to mount the feeling now is that this opponent had that moniker long before them.
After an unsuccessful day Search and destroy patrols, clues for the Trackers were scant and oft proved to be dead ends even the hunting dogs yield little. Junior officer Mason sent to monitor the sentry patrols walks into the camp that evening acting unlike himself and without word drops a pirate made bomb into the munitions depot. The company surgeon simply could not explain his behavior except he may have been possessed by a demon.
That unshakable feeling since the second night led a night reconnaissance on a report of a campfire near a fresh water supply. There was a cry of a Raven, the rustling up in the trees, and then Leftenant Moore losing his head in mid-sentence as he directed his junior officer. A letter was found in his coat pocket to contain nothing but black sand. Since then his unit seemed on edge.
By the second day daytime hunts again proved fruitless with any viable clue often resulted in more casualties as the traps they set for the Pirates were turned in turn against themselves. Quick lightning ambushes from several directions forcing the troops to take cover then the Pirates disappear. Every sound of fauna became suspicious, every step tested, every decision doubted.
The third night the Raven’s cry was heard again as torches and fires were doused or smothered. Leftenant Coombs of the Spyders head was found at the village fire pit with the note, "the crew of the Venture shall be avenged." No one saw anything in the full moon light. There was no sound of a struggle or cry for help. The Duke mulled at the thought of requesting additional Marine support. Except the sound of distant cannon fire, meant that the Squadron had just engaged in ship to ship combat.
After dawn broke a confirmed report of the Pirate encampment was found due east in a heavily wooded recess were fires and activity can be hidden from the observation posts. There are accounts of men present, simple shelters, fires, and even some graves from causalities they’ve suffered. And that dark wench was observed laying fresh flowers upon those new graves, Greer and the Duke grinned; they were not invulnerable after all, even this Raven has some misplaced sentiments. With a clear target opportunity, the Duke displaced his request to Lord Perry but once again Cannon fire was heard once again in the distance.
To be Continued: Nemesis Episode 5 - Part 3
For the Video (Click on the Raven and Katana)
Photo and Picture Credits:
Story pictures and Characters are from Starz Entertainment Series Black Sails 2016
Ship Illustration from Pinterest
Clipart vectors from 123Royalty free
“Et lux in tenebris to serve laboro, sum sicarius” “I work in the shadows to serve the Light, I am an Assassin”