There was a most uncommon occurrence up at the port yesterday—but I find I must explain a few things.
Armorica is a young colony, as you know, and so has little foreign trade of its own. We export a few things and import a few things—the trade grows every year—but rarely entire shiploads. And yet the port is surprisingly busy. It develops that Armorica is conveniently placed, and many sky freighters stop here in passing to take on wood and water, even if they are not carrying cargo to Mont-Havre. Most of our foreign trade gets packed into the nooks and crannies of such passersby.
So a freighter was expected in from Hanondorf, and my friend Jean Baptiste was at the dock waiting to see if the Cannondale (for that is the freighter's name) might have any small business for Suprenant et Fils when two lifeboats descended from the clouds instead.
At first he thought that the freighter had broken up in a storm, but the truth is both better and worse. It seems that the Cannondale was attacked by pirates, a most shocking thing! They descended out of the Abyss in a swarm of small craft, settling on and around the quarterdeck and killing the captain and first mate in moments. The remainder of the crew were held at knife-point and given the choice of dying or taking to the lifeboats.
Piracy! I have never heard of such thing happening in modern times. There were many ships taken in the skies near Provençe during the Troubles there, of course, but that was a matter of war rather than piracy. It is very strange; and the strangest thing is that none of the pirates uttered a word. They communicated with the Cannondale's crew solely with gestures and leers and threatening motions.
No one seems to know where they could have come from. None of the Old Worlds tolerate pirates in their spheres, nor would any of the colonies, not by choice at any rate. And yet, they must have come from somewhere: there is neither food nor water in the Abyss between worlds, save what we bring with us.
Jean Baptiste thinks that some ship's crew must have mutinied, and then run across an unknown world while fleeing through the Abyss; or perhaps the other way around, perhaps a storm drove them onto a new world, and rather than reporting it they have chosen to keep it for themselves, turning to piracy as a means to acquire the materiel they will need.
Madame Truc is much concerned that the pirates might attack us here in Mont-Havre, and so are many others in town, but I think that it isn't likely: Mont-Havre is quite a large place, and fore-warned is fore-armed. We should have no trouble in running off any number of pirates. But I am concerned about the effect of piracy on the merchants here (not to mention the effect of piracy on the Courier's Guild—I pray you will receive this letter in due time); and our smaller towns and villages have no such protection. I believe I must send a note to my friends the Frontenacs.