The Saibhrean Isles are well known for their trade routes that extend to both sides of the Torian-Warathi conflict, even if officially they relate more with the Torians of Caelon. The commercial neutrality that they have established has elevated the lords of the isles to the status of so called trade barons, injecting the isles with an impressive economy unlike other kingdoms. Any endeavor so rewarding is not without its fair share of risks. For the Saibhrean Isles, pirates present the greatest risks to their trade routes.
The Bjergmænd of Far North Secessia
The first pirate ships that sailed the Mar de Comercio were reportedly from Frossetbjerg, a colony of men who live in the Far North of the enormous land the Torians call Secessia (where Torium is located).
Hundreds of years before the Torians established Torium on Lago Nero, east of Caelon, settlers expanded outward in all directions to reclaim the lands that had been lost during the Fall of Man. One such community of settlers was Frossetbjerg, home of people that now call themselves Bjergmænd. After the Warathi takeover of the White Walled city, any Torian influence on the Bjergmænd quickly died off, making them more and more estranged. Like other satellite settlements in that time, they took on new customs and beliefs of their own.
When the trade routes were established in the Mar de Comercio, it was only a short amount of time before the Bjergmænd, more savage and uncivilized than their Saibhrean Isle neighbors, began launching their attacks on the seafaring vessels.
Attempts by Saibhrean Isle diplomats to quell the threat without the use of force have been so far unsuccessful. Excursions sent to the mountains where the Bjergmænd are settled have reported that they live on ice capped peaks, in structures dug into mountainside caves, which makes attempting to reach them extremely difficult for outsiders who do not know the intricacies of their settlements.
Because of the difficulty to reach them diplomatically on their terms, the fact that their language has changed significantly enough to be unrecognizable by those in the West, and because their skirmishes are becoming more and more deadly for seafaring vessels in the Mar de Comercio, the Saibhrean Isles have launched their own counter-piracy efforts.
The Cosantóirí – Saibhrean Defense Force
While the Saibhrean Isles have many trade barons who do not see eye to eye, they are united in the fact that pirates are bad for business. A joint seafaring defense force called the Cosantóirí was created from the five major houses of the Saibhrean Isles: the clans Ó Riagáin, Mac Conmara, Mac an Bhaird, Ó Murchadha and Ó Conaill (in Caelish tongue – the clans Regan, MacNamara, Ward, Murphy, and O’Connell).
Although these clans have historically battled against one another in attempts to claim domination of the trade routes, they are all unified in the need for protection against the pirates of the Sea. Because of this external threat, a peace between the houses has been enjoyed domestically for some time.
Unfortunately, the complexity of the situation does not stop there. There have been recent accusations of certain houses attacking vessels disguised as Bjergmænd pirates. There is already much distrust between the houses, but the most recent threat to the peace between the clans lies in the potential dissolving of the Cosantóirí. Should this happen, it would disturb the long-standing peace that the recent generations have endured since the force was first created.
Regardless of the whispers of treachery between the houses, at present the Bjergmænd are still the enemy of the Saibhrean Isles, and the Cosantóirí, manned by sailors of all the houses, are the first line of defense against them. As long as that fact remains, the hope is still high for continued peace between the people of the isles.