Here There Be Monsters
Pirates have always been a big part of the DKU. Right from the get-go, there was piratification. Pirate themes were especially apparent in DKC2, but they were also present elsewhere. K. Rool commanded the Gangplank Galleon, a scurvy pirate vessel that could strike fear into the hearts of creatures everywhere. The Banjo series had Captain Blubber, the gaseous hippo pirate, and we also got to meet Captain Blackeye, who could often be found complaining about having his glory stolen. Whatever his glory was. I'm guessing it was something glorious, like a magic toothpick or something. Diddy Kong Racing had pirate ships and coves, and it's apparent that the vicious seadogs are a widespread menace in the world of the DKU. But pirates were once a threat in our world as well, so join us as we take a look at some various aspects of pirate life. Join us or get whacked. Really hard. With a cutlass.
The Pirate Code
Pirates actually had a code. Why they bothered to write one is beyond me, it would seem to contradict the very nature of piracy, but nevertheless - they had a code. The Kremlings may or may not have had a code similar to this; notice how I completely avoid any sort of controversy whatsoever by failing to state my opinion on the matter.
Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have one full share and a half in all prizes. The Master, Carpenter, Boatswain, and Gunner shall have one share and quarter. [Unless you kill everyone, in which case you get every damn thing.]
If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the Company, he shall be marroon'd with one bottle of powder, one bottle of Water, one small Arm, and shot. [FOR SUICIDAL PURPOSES]
If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game, to the value of a piece of Eight, he shall be Marroon'd or shot. [Possibly both!!]
If at any Time we should meet at another Marrooner (that is, Pyrate) that man shall sign his Articles without Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit. [Punishment may or may not involve duct tape.]
That a man that shall strike another, whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses's Law (that is 40 Stripes lacking one) on the bare Back. [Killing, plundering, and generally causing harm is perfectly fine. Lay a hand on one of your mates, though, and you're gonna get your ass whooped.]
That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without cap to his Pipe, or carry a candle lighted without lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article. [Who votes we should replace 'No Smoking' signs with this?]
That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit. [Again, punishment may or may not involve duct tape.]
If any man shall lose a joint in time of Engagement, shall have 400 Pieces of Eight: if a limb, 800. [If your joint gets smoked, you get bling.]
If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer Death. [Beware of Meddling Transmitted Diseases!]
Thus, apparently pirates did have some sort of honor. Bit odd, but true. Obviously not all pirates rigorously followed these rules; people like Blackbeard had no problems with breaking them and were very much LARGE AND IN CHARGE.
Moses Law and PUNISHMENT
Moses Law was the term used for punishment in the life of a pirate. Those who were sentenced to suffer Moses Law received 39 whips across the back. This was because 40 lashes were believed to be enough to kill a man, so 39 was the most you could get away with without pronouncing a death sentence. 39 was also the number of lashes given to Jesus during the crucifixion. Quite often less than 39 lashes were given, as obviously you could very easily kill someone with that many blows. Myself, I'd probably pass out or die within the first three lashes. Because I'm a complete pansy. Which is why I'm not a pirate. Yes. Moving on.
To administer this punishment, a Cat O' Nine Tails was used. No, not the DKC2 enemy. This was a whip with, surprise surprise, nine lines. Sometimes barbs or bells were tied to the ends (holy shit) while the whips themselves were made of cowhide. I don't need to tell you how badly being lashed with a nine-pronged whip hurts. Not that I've ever experienced it, I'm just guessing. Unless you like that sort of thing. In which case you can stay very far away from me. The actual flogging was administered only by the ship's quartermaster, not the captain or anyone else. Unless you had a particularly cruel captain. I doubt K. Rool would have thought twice about beating a member of his army who disrespected him. As if this wasn't bad enough, after the initial flogging, a bucket of salt water was splashed on you. In addition to severe burning pain caused by salt in your cuts, this would often lead to infection. Oh, and keep in mind, 39 lashes with a 9 pronged whip = 351 lashes. Today's secret word is HOLY SHIT THAT HURTS.
So those of you who even considered pursuing a professional career in piracy, you might want to reconsider right about now.
The other well-known punishment of pirate life was walking the plank. Actually, this was more of a Hollywood fabrication than anything, though some pirates really did do this. More often than not they simply threw people overboard, which when you think about it is more amusing than forcing them to jump off themselves.
Finally pirates would often maroon those who deserved punishment on islands. I'm not talking about islands covered with trees and filled with wildlife, I'm talking about dinky little islands that were probably entirely covered with water at high tide. Marooned pirates were given a pistol with a single shot so that they could kill themselves.
They're called funfacts because they are, in fact, not very fun.
Ear Rings Just about every pirate movie you see shows pirates wearing ear rings. In DKC2, many of the Kremlings wore such rings of gold, though since they don't have external ears, I'm not quite sure what you'd call them. Real pirates did indeed wear ear rings, but it was not to just look cool. It was believed that wearing ear rings increased the eyesight. It's ironic, then, that the Klobbers wore two large hoop ear rings but still probably had the worst eyesight out of the entire Kremling army, seeing as they always had perpetually swollen eyes. Strangely enough, acupuncture for several eye ailments is performed on the ear today.
Shiver Me Timbers The timbers were the largest of the support beams for the ship's deck. A harsh sea or the ship's colliding with another object would result in these beams shivering, hence; 'shiver me timbers' became a sort of exclamation.
Davy Jones's Locker 1751 marked the first written reference to this place. Nobody knows for certain where the name Davy Jones originated from; but the bottom of the sea was generally referred to as his locker. Maybe he was a basketball player, I don't know. In addition to the common threat of sending someone to Davy Jones's locker, to say that someone was awaking Davy Jones was to refer to a large storm.
In general, pirates kick ass.
Back in the days when pirates roamed the high seas (the low seas were apparently left untouched), there were a few you had to be especially careful of, unless of course you were interested in booking a trip to Davy Jones's Locker. Myself, I would have just told them some good old fashioned pirate jokes if they tried to mess with me. Like the one about the pirate who chopped off the ears of his victims and then sold them cheap. He sold 'em for a buccaneer. Haw haw! Then we'd all have a good laugh, before they killed me.
Perhaps the most notorious of all real-life pirates, Blackbeard used his notorious ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge, to wreak havoc upon the world in a very notorious manner. Or at least havoc upon the southeastern United States. Named for his massively long beard (which was possibly black), he was reported to sometimes weave wicks laced with gunpowder into his beard to intimidate those who dared challenge him. This was not a very difficult task, as he was a big man. Were he alive today, he'd be one of those people who can go through a truckload of Busch's baked beans in a matter of minutes and would ask for seconds after devouring even the most hearty of Kid Cuisine dinners. He'd probably fart a lot as well, which is always intimidating. In all seriousness, though, this guy was a total badass. He eventually commanded a crew of over 300 individuals, and his ship was armed with 20 or so cannons (some say he later upgraded the ship to twice that amount). He often wore a blood red coat, and completed his piratian ensemble with two swords at the waist and a variety of pistols and knives held securely by bandoleers. He also had a cool hat.
Blackbeard's flag was not the typical skull and crossbones, but the odd little image you see to the right. It featured a horned skeleton with an hourglass in one hand and a spear in the other. The hourglass represented that you didn't have much time left; the spear stabbing the heart either represented that there would be bloodshed if you didn't comply with Blackbeard's demands, or that Blackbeard had a severe case of heartburn. Yeah, as if a massive ship commanded by a vicious pirate headed your way wasn't frightening enough, they had to go and make a flag with a horned skeleton and a giant heart. I'll resist the urge to make another lame pirate joke that involves the phrase "harrrrrt". Oops! I just did.
No good can come of the life of a pirate, however. Like Kaptain K. Rool, Blackbeard was eventually brought to justice - though not before going down with a fight. He was killed at the Battle of Ocracoke on November 22, 1718. He reportedly endured five musketball wounds and around 20 sword lacerations (nobody knows why these people counted the number of times they slashed at him) before finally succumbing to death. Thus did the reign of Blackbeard end, leaving behind him a wake of blood and terror, and upwards of 40 ships that he had captured.
Because he's gay. Yes. He's gay, and he's a pirate, or at least he wears a pirate hat. It is interesting to note that the pirates' black skull and crossbones flag was called a 'Jolly Roger'. I didn't know that until recently. Actually, it's not very interesting at all, and I'm just typing stuff so I can put a picture of Jolly Roger here without it looking odd. Anyway, his reign of, uh, gayness, lasted for years, until he was shot or something, by a member of the Royal British Association For (Destroying) Gay People. And Frogs.
Kaptain Klobber will kick your booty.