Hack Marrow was once a competent, yet unremarkable sailor who went by the name of Mack Harrow. Having no family or permanent abode to speak of, he found himself aboard trading ships doing long hauls within the Inner Sea and across the Sea of Stars or even into the Dwarf Kingdom. He earned enough to keep himself content within the various ports until he found another vessel which he could work aboard.
On one such voyage, the ship he had signed on met with a ferocious storm and veered off course, perilously close to the accursed land of Nethicka within the Sea of Stars. Despite the crew’s efforts and experience in seamastery, the vessel was dashed upon the ragged rocks of Nethicka, killing almost everyone aboard.
Only Mack survived; marooned on that craggy and desolate land.
Not long afterwards he discovered an odd-looking rock; deep purple in hew, smooth to the touch and seemingly emitting a low heat all of its own. He kept it for reasons he never quite understood.
For months he survived amongst the rocks; eating small fish and other sea life which lived within the shallows. The sparse wildlife offered little in the way of nourishment, and to avoid starvation he was forced to feed off the crewmembers bodies that washed ashore from the wreckage of the ship; cracking their bones to get to the marrow.
The native gilth would have eaten him had he not taken refuge in a small cave, which he made his home. He spent the nights in the cave, delirious with hunger, muttering 'Hack the marrow' under haggard breaths. He gradually fashioned a raft from the wreckage of the ship and bound them together with seaweed.
He began to hear whispering voices, first on the wind, then in his dreams, and eventually in his waking hours. At first they spoke little sense and he was able to ignore them for a time, until they began overwhelming his thoughts and influencing his actions over time.
Remaining on the island was unfeasible. Starving and with only a small supply of bones, he cast off on the makeshift raft into the open water with only the dimmest hope of finding rescue in is mind.
Time passed, not even Mack himself could tell how long. Eventually, half crazed and near starved to death, a trading ship happened to come across him and pulled him aboard.
What the traders came across on that raft was no longer a man, but a half-starved humanoid with bleached white skin and yellowed teeth and nails. When asked his name he babbled ‘Hack Marrow!” before collapsing and falling unconscious for several days.
When Hack Marrow awoke, all semblance of the man he had once been had gone. The magic of the purple stone, concealed in a pocket, had turned him into something unnatural and haunted.
He slew half of the crew with his talons before the remaining members, in a desperate attempt to save their own lives, pledged allegiance to him.
Hack Marrow became captain of his first ship.
The infamy of this new pirate captain grew over the following months. He offered ships he came across a simple deal; join his service or be killed. Soon, Hack commanded a fleet of ships, and raided up and down the coasts of Rune and Oun, collecting bounty and further vessels to add to his strength.
He sailed to Toruga – then a shanty town located in a sheltered but defensible cove - and although the locals put up a spirited fight, Marrow's force finally overwhelmed the meagre defences and established his base there. Under his rule and the riches which it brought, the town developed into a formidable shoreline stronghold for him.
In a bid to end the pirate menace, Oun and Rune launched a joint naval force to attack and destroy Hack and his pirate fleet with a swift and unexpected strike.
The voices which haunted Hack’s waking dreams gave him forewarning of this threat and when the assault came it was met with a ready defence at the cove of Toruga which saw the attacking ships destroyed by an organised and stalwart pirate force.
Though successful in destroying much of the attacking forces, Hack himself never emerged from the aftermath of the battle. Attempts were made to find a sign of him or his body, but none were discovered. In the decades that passed, the legend of Hack Marrow only served to attract more pirates to Toruga, and it continues to thrive to this day, with many a pint of grog hoisted in his name.
The fate of Hack Marrow is a matter of some debate. Some say his ship was sunk and he drowned, or wanders the ocean depths and gathers an army of drowned crewmen. Others say he actually resides near Toruga, lurking in one of the caves above the town as he did during his time in Nethicka, waiting for the sea to call to him once more.
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