Bladerunners(Burgundian Language: contrebandieurs dellas fulles) were Bergendii seafarers who raided and traded from the Isle of Burgundie across wide areas of Levantia, Kirav, Crona, and Audonia during the 8th to the late 15th century. In historic literature, particularly in Crona, Ixnay and Audonia, the term referred to all people from the Isle of Burgundie. The period is often classified into three periods or waves.
The first wave, from the middle of the 8th century to approximately the end of the 10th century which was precipitated by uncharacteristically warm and calm years in the early 8th century. The population on the Isle of Burgundie boomed and the second and third sons coming of age in the middle of the century needed a livelihood. Wealthier families set up the sons as merchants, but poorer families who could not book their sons passage on the merchant voyages turned to petty piracy along the coast of northern Levantia, including their fellow Bergendii.
By the beginning of the 9th century, some enterprising merchants bought off some of the pirate crews and provisioned them to raid further from home and to avoid their ships. This proved lucrative and soon a new generation of professional pirates and smugglers were curated in Burgundie. Even the previously legitimate merchants of Burgundie began to focus primarily on contraband smuggling in the Sea of Odoneru. The area of operations during this period expanded to Kirav, and the eastern and western coasts of Levantia.
During the latter part of the first wave, primarily during the 9th century, the bladerunners starting settling small ports all across the Sea of Odoneru. These ports were melting pots of the traders of the Odoneru and the Bergendii rarely represented more than 20% of the population of these areas. They brought a strong tradition of centralized government, and in many cases when these settlements were incorporated into larger national entities these experiences were used to inform the various national courts.
Modern cities founded by Bladerunners in the 9th century are:
End of the First Wave
Around the time that the Kistani kingdom brought the Isle of Burgundie under its protection the prevalence of bladerunners appears to have dropped. This is largely attributed to the fact that Kistan formed a professional navy and primarily employed Bergendii as officers and hardened veterans. This gave young men a secure opportunity, the lack of which was the primary cause of the rise of the practice 200 years prior.
In 1267 wars with the Ultmarrians and the Kingdom of Culfra were so detrimental to the growth of Kistani and Burgundian trade that many merchants left to discover new far-flung trade routes to avoid the conflict. This time the effort was more centralized and directed. Travelling in a convoy of 120 ships they sailed down the eastern coast of Levantia then onto eastern Ixnay and its eastern archipelago. The saga of the trials and travails of the group recant them engaging in wars, smuggling, piracy and establishing more settlements along the way. Passing on, they made their way to Audonia and picked up the lanteen sail from the Pukhtunkhwans in about 1345. Many of the original travelers had died of old age, exposure, heat-related maladies. And the remainder of the journey was undertaken by a crew either born at sea or of those picked up along the way. By the time they reached Peshawar, only about half of the crew was Bergendii.
Bladerunners of Punth
The bladerunners who reached Punth were seasoned and brutally efficient. They established a short-lived kingdom in modern day Kagazi, but diseases took those westerners who settled it. Reaching northern Punth and much more familiar climes the bladerunners made a settlement in modern day Varshan. They established a thriving kingdom but essentially bred themselves out of existence by taking up local families and customs. Modern historians assume that the presence of the bladerunners jumpstarted the Varshan technological advance that allowed it to stay ahead of the rest of its Punthite neighbors.
Throughout the second wave, the bladerunners settled small port villages all across the Levantine Ocean. As before, these ports were melting pots of traders and the Bergendii rarely represented more than 10% of the population. They brought a strong tradition of centralized government, and in many cases when these settlements were incorporated into larger national entities these experiences were used to inform the various national courts.
more to come
In the 1390s, the ascent of King Hendric the Young in Kistan led to the temporary disbanding of its centralized navy. Tens of thousands of Bergendii sailors and officers were immediately without a livelihood. They turned to piracy and smuggling. The vast number of bladerunners immediately flooding the Odoneru, Coscivian and Kilikas Seas forced many to search for prizes further afield. Historical records report that pirates and smugglers matching the descriptions of the bladerunners were found as far away as Azikoria.
During the final wave, the bladerunners settled small port villages all across coasts of Ixnay, Levantia, Kirav, and Crona. As always, these ports were melting pots and the Bergendii rarely represented more than 7% of the population.