Tall and narrow, Capt. d’Albertine looks an unlikely buccaneer. In her late 40s, her once-fair skin has been darkened and toughened by the coastal sun, still smooth but leathery. Her dark hair is marked by many strands and streaks of gray, the frizzy mass of it tied back and wrapped into a tight ponytail. Her gaze is like steel, her voice like gravel. She wears a long sailor’s overcoat over her light blouse and sailcloth trousers, tall sharkskin boots rising toward the knee. A wide belt holds a scimitar at her side. Most distinctive, though, is the metal baldric across her chest. On first glance, it appears as simple link. A closer look however reveals that it is made of many individual finger rings of all types, materials, and styles.
The Wars of the Three Sands produced many heroes and villains through bloody triumph on the seas. What began as a minor dispute common to the Calerzo Archapeligo escalated into an all-out war between the Celersian, Jetherone, and Pandesi royal families and their allies. Due to strict embargoes between the various factions and their even stricter enforcement, it was not unusual for merchant ships and other travelers to hire pirates and mercenaries to protect them through invariably dangerous voyages. Those who did not wish to risk death on the high seas to deliver important packages or supply rival factions abroad rarely had to go without: in every coastal settlement, from shanty town to major port, a brood of smugglers was available for hire. Perhaps the most famous of these smugglers was "Rings" d’Albertine.
Born into very minor (to the point of being forgotten) Pandesi nobility, Corrine d’Albertine was born at an opportune time. As a youth she longed for adventure, wearily completing her schooling to appease her parents. They arranged for her to marry the young Amadeo Adamus, Count of Thirai Isle - a man she cared for and loved, but not as a husband. As she approached marrying age, however, the wars broke out and Thirai was cut off from all contact. Concerned for her fiance’s safety, Corrine begged her father to send out an expedition, but he was convined - and rightly so - that it was far too dangerous. As rumors continued to spread of Thirai’s besiegement by Jetherone, Corrine became convinced that she had to do something, anything. Disguising herself and sneaking off in the night, she paid off a mercenary captain at a local guild to send his corsairs to defend Thirai. Not entirely convinced of the captain’s loyalty, she enlisted herself on the crew and sailed with the band on the captain’s sloop.
After a month of running through various blockades, the small fleet of two sloops and a brigantine arrived at Thirai. The situation was indeed dire: a Jetherone privateer frigate had the city under siege and an invasion force was landing on the shores, the embattled Thirai army struggling to hold back the tide of soldiers. The mercenary captain aimed his sloop for a landing and commanded the brigantine and other sloop to engage the frigate. Young Corrine, armed with a rapier and her determined will, battled alongside the captain up to the citadel where a privateer shock platoon stormed the palace. Corrine’s hired mercenaries fought their way into the palace where she entered just in time to see the privateer commander run Amadeo through with his longsword. Corrine cried out and cut her way through the enemy platoon to reach her fiance. The privateer commander, his mission apparently accomplished, called for a retreat and slipped out with his troops, the mercenaries on their rear. Corrine’s gaze caught the privateer’s just before he disappeared, his hated visage burning itself into her mind. The distraught woman knelt before her fiance and grasped his hand - to her horror, its ring finger was missing, along with the engagement ring that matched her own. Amadeo whispered a few words before he passed beyond the pale. In those moments, Corrine realized that she indeed did love the count. She wept bitterly for him.
As Corrine mourned for her beloved, a death knell rang out behind her. She turned to see the mercenary captain fall to his knees, pulling a bloodstained dagger from his gut. The leaderless mercenaries scuttled about for a bit until their client rose, shouted orders, and led the charge against the privateers. The privateer captain and his frigate managed to escape, but Corrine d’Albertine gained the trust of the mercenaries despite her sex and youth, and became their new captain.
Leaving behind the life of a lesser noble, Corrine took to the mercenary career. She learned quickly combat tactics and sailing methods, relying heavily on her select officers for guidance. For the remainder of the Wars, Captain d’Albertine ran blockades, sacked coastal towns, and pirated ships for increasingly large payments. Clients were happy to pay for the captain’s nearly flawless record. They even obliged her strange request: a single ring. Corrine collected these rings in hope of finding her beloved’s, tracking down his killer, and achieving just vengeance. After years of work and many clients, d’Albertine had the mementos linked into a baldric she wears across her chest. This distinctive piece has given her a nickname: Rings.
A hardened swashbuckler after years of combat, d’Albertine fights only with a battered old scimitar. She wears a blunderbuss on her back, but has never seen need of it. Her ringed baldric provides a bit of protection. Some rumor that it has a number of magical or otherwise enhanced rings linked into it; their functionality may be suspect, but the possibility of sorcery added to the garment is strong.
A Lover’s Rage - After looting the horde of some great enemy, the PCs sail off to their next destination. Soon, however, they notice a brigantine flying no colors trailing them. As soon as the brigantine is in distance, they launch a broadside volley (cannons or ballistas, depending on your technology level) and move to board the craft. While the crew scrambles to defend against the unprovoked attack, one of the sailors recognizes the ship as belonging to "Rings" d’Albertine, the notorious privateer. She recently discovered that the great enemy the PCs had recently killed was none other than the murderer of her fiance, and his engagement ring is in the party’s loot. In her rage, Corrine will start killing until she finds the ring. It would take considerable charisma to convince her to stop and find out exactly what’s going on.
Costly Endeavors - A local magistrate has been having frequent problems with pirate attacks and has asked the party to intervene. Letters of marque have been offered to any who will slay the pirates, but no one’s taking. Someone suggests to the PCs that they try and recruit Captain d’Albertine who was recently seen in the area. If they track her down and offer her the job, she expresses her disdain for the arrogant and dense magistrate. She’ll take the job for the price the magistrate’s offering, but with one stipulation: each member of the party give her an enchanted ring to add to her collection. They might offer what they have, or go and find something more suitable.