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Captain Kestrel's Crew

Moira O'Toole: Pilot

While every great captain thinks that his or her crew is the finest on the Seven Seas, debates often rage about which heroes are actually the best at what they do. Such debates do not rage around ship's pilots; Moira O'Toole has the title to herself.

Moira was born to the seafaring branch of the O'Toole family, and was practically raised on ships. From the time she could first reach the handles of a wheel, the young noblewoman wanted to travel the seas, the power of a mighty sailing ship at her fingertips. The Inish girl spent every moment she could learning about sailing, especially piloting. Before long, Moira was the most coveted sailor in the family, and not merely for her beauty.

Alas, her good fortune was not meant to last. Moira was also saucy, sharp-tongued and defiant. When she gave Arghyle's son Roland the talking-to of his life on one voyage, the elder O'Toole decided it was time to have the pilot brought to heel. She was to be brought home, taught to be a "lady," and married off...unless Moira learned to do as she was told and keep her mouth shut.

The fiery Inishwoman promptly got herself "kidnaped" by pirates. Her dramatic capture in which Moira was overcome after a "fierce fight" was a sham she delighted in (though the fight itself was real enough; hey, she's Inish). Arghyle's fury was the sweetest topping.

How she came to the Ladyhawk is a mystery, but given the Dark Hawk's reputation, it is easy to imagine Moira arranging her imprisonment with them. Second only to Carlo as a thread connecting the two ships, her skill with the wheel is believed to have the Dark Hawk out of more than one scrape; it certainly has with the Ladyhawk.

Today, Moira is one of the most valuable members of the Ladyhawk's crew. While not exactly a terror in battle, the pilot can take care of herself in a fight. More importantly, she is cunning, seductive, and unquestionably the best pilot on the Seven Seas. Half the crew loves her, and she's friends with nearly all the rest. Though this makes her a prime target for the Ladyhawk's enemies, Moira laughs off the danger. "Abyss," she's said, "if I wanted a boring life I would've stayed wi' my family!"

Moira: GM's Secrets

Mike Fitzpatrick: Master of the Tops

Mike Fitzpatrick was rescued from the Strange Skies by the Ladyhawk during one of their adventures (Nonus 1668). He facilitated said rescue by using the battle to cover a mutiny, arranged with the help of a few "shipmates. (See page 64 of Pirate Nations for Mr. Fitzpatrick as he was during the rescue; his career in a world without the Ladyhawk can be found in Waves of Blood.) A member of the Avalon Navy, he "reassigned" himself to the Ladyhawk in lieu of orders from Admiral Berek (which Jeremiah confirmed himself soon after). The old salt soon became Master of the Tops when his predecessor retired to be with his family, and away from the increasing dangers of being involved with one of Avalon's greatest legends. The Inish hero rose to the occasion with relish.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: GM's Secrets

Alfredo Caligari: Bosun's Mate

Alfredo Caligari was one of his family's deadliest hunters. (See p. 63-64 of Arrow of Heaven for details of Fredo's past.) Targeted for death by Giovanni Villanova and forced by his great-uncle Vincenzo to cross swords with Captain Kestrel, however, he should be long dead. Yet in spite of his cruelty and willingness to kill, Kestrel spared him. He was her enemy, and she would have earned a favor from the dread Villanova himself for doing what she should have done as a matter of course. Still, he was allowed to live, sent to a Castillian court to answer for his crimes.

Over the months, between Kestrel's mercy and the ministrations of the monks who ran the prison, Alfredo was forced -- or perhaps, allowed -- to face what he had become for the first time in his life. Going around and around Kestrel's mercy, he could see no profit in it, and yet she was demonstrably not stupid. Kestrel had defeated him, after all. He dedicated himself to becoming a better man, to prove himself worthy of being spared.

Somehow, he ended up leaving the prison. Those who care believe Uncle Vincenzo freed him, intending to set him against the Ladyhawk again. If the Prince expected obedience, however, he was deeply disappointed. Fredo's first appearance after vanishing from Castille was swinging from a Caligari ship to the Ladyhawk, the keel of the ship he departed exploding as he fled (Quartus 1669). Swearing fealty to Kestrel, he has proven sufficiently loyal to the Ladyhawk as to earn a pardon from the Castillians. Villanova and Caligari are less forgiving, but no one on the Ladyhawk really cares what they think.

Today, he is one of the Bosun's Mates, sharing the role with Lady Merlin. He outranks her for the moment, but her skill and dedication keep the dangerous Vodacce on his toes. Having sworn an oath unheard from Vodacce lips in two centuries -- "My flesh before yours, my blood before yours, my soul before yours" -- he has become, perhaps, the deadliest of Kestrel's senior staff. By all appearances, Alfredo means what he has said. He prefers to live for Captain Kestrel, but if necessary, he will die for her without hesitation.

Alfredo: GM's Secrets

Herr Maxwell Stausser: Master Gunner

The Ladyhawk's Master Gunner comes from the grand Eisen tradition of metalwork and weaponry. Herr Stausser not only leads the cannon crews in battle, he designs, forges and builds them himself (with considerable help from his crews, of course). While the Ladyhawk tends to rely more on heroic exploits and boarding actions than the cannons, no warship can last long without good guns and a good gunnery crew, and Herr Stausser has provided them both.

Beyond his skills and contribution to the legendary privateer, Stausser himself is something of an enigma. Unlike the Ship's Master, however, who invites gossip regarding ties to Arcinega and the Invisible College, few see anything more beneath the Eisen smith's surface than a refugee from the War of the Cross, one who has found a noble purpose on the Ladyhawk. Indeed, about all that is known of Stausser's opinions is that he has come to love Avalon as a sort of adopted home, and takes pride in defending it through his service as a Sea Dog.

Herr Stausser: GM's Secrets