Muster Roll #12 – Captain Gulabahaar

Ink portrait of woman with long hair and ring through nose
Captain Gulabahaar, c. mid 1700’s
Thought to have been born in or near Calicut, India, the young Gulabahaar stowed away on a pirate ship, learning the skills necessary to one day become a fearsome pirate captain in her own right. The earliest confirmed records are of her captaining a ship named the Mortal Grace, which she led in a successful raid against a Spanish fleet, liberating a sizeable amount of gold.

Known for using a flexible urumi blade with a handle shaped like a stingray, Gulabahaar developed a reputation for brutality. She was said to slice the noses and ears from enemies and dissenting allies alike. Accounts tell of her “dripping in gold”, with an abundance of earrings, necklaces, chains, and rings on her person. The above illustration, said to have been made with the help of a supposed eye-witness and one-time associate, shows very little of this. Perhaps it pre-dates her more successful era.

By Gulabahaar’s time, the golden age of piracy had passed, with only a handful of crews holding on to the old ways. With precious few — if any — safe ports left for pirates in the 1770's, Gulabahaar, Brigid Bonny, and Elizabeth Chalk supposedly built a floating fortress in the Atlantic ocean they named Driftwood. Chase Trading Company records mention this fortress, though later entries suggest it was nothing more than a myth designed to scare honest crews, or at best an exaggeration, in the grand tradition of nautical tall tales. Whatever the case, the three were said to have ruled as a triumvirate for a short time. It’s not known how Bonny and Chalk died, but before long Gulabahaar was the sole pirate queen of Driftwood. She promoted ideals of cooperation amongst the pirate crews, in an attempt to keep their way of life going, with captured goods being distributed evenly amongst the residents.

In WE CRY THE SEA, Gulabahaar’s secrets will be revealed. Whether she likes it or not. 

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