The Mary Anne was a haggboat of the Royal African Company, the official British slave trading company. Her captain, Patrick Ness, was a 40-year old Scotsman. He was well used to working the Triangle route, carrying manufactured goods from Bristol to Guinea, trading them for slaves, which he carried to Jamaica, where he tradedthem for sugar, which he took home.
The Mary Anne set sail from Bristol on her last voyage in early May 1702. She made good time to Guinea, and had a relatively successful trading trip down the coast, acquiring 467 slaves and a fair amount of gold and ivory. The ship weighed anchor for Jamaica in late September, reaching São Tomé nine days later.
The ship’s hold was horribly crowded and already 30 slaves had perished. Sickness was rife. The ship’s doctor knew little of the diseases of Africa, and often made the slaves’ condition worse by bleeding them in an attempt to effect a cure.
The ship anchored just outside the port, and the crew bedded down for the night. Just before midnight, a squall blew up, driving the ship towards the shore and the intervening reef. The anchor cable, already weakened by the warm tropical water, snapped, propelling the Mary Anne onto the reef and holing it amidships.
Water flooded into the hold, killing the manacled slaves within minutes. Some struggled for life. Some just welcomed death as the only escape from their misery and debasement. The ship rapidly listed to starboard and started to sink. A few crew who were on the night watch were able to swim for shore but most, including the captain, mate and supercargo, went down with their ship.
Word spread like wildfire, and several ships’ longboats were sent to rescue crew and attempt to salvage cargo. But the Mary Anne had sunk like a stone in a good 30 fathoms of water. The despair and suffering of the living cargo, and the dismay and fear that the wreck caused on shore, caused the Mary Anne’s relic to form within hours. The wraiths of many of the crew, and even more slaves, littered the deck and hold. Peter, one of the captain’s ‘private ventures,’ freed himself from his Caul and struck a deal with a ship from the Renegade group, the Broken Chain, that had pulled alongside. Now the Mary Anne is the flagship of a growing fleet of Renegade vessels that have been harassing the Hierarchy’s slavers whenever they can.
A Tour Of The ShipEdit
The Mary Anne wasn’t built as a slave ship. She spent the early years of her career carrying tobacco and textiles and was only modified for human cargo a few years before she sank. The oak-built ship is 40 meters long and 11 wide. From deck to keel is about 7 meters. Three main masts dominate the ship, although one of them leans at a precarious angle. Seven sails flap in an unfelt wind, decay eating into their very fabric. A figure head of a buxom young woman with a skeletal face adorns her prow.
A single row of portholes and gun ports line each side of the ship. Five relic cannons are mounted on each side. The Mary Anne has been damaged and repaired many times in her career as a ghost ship. The rotting hulk is lined with a series of patches to its superstructure, each of which bears the screaming face of a captured and soulforged slaver.
The planks of her deck are warped and twisted, as if left in the sun for far too long. Some bear the distinctive texture of soulforged plasm. Towards the stern of the ship lie the officers’ quarters, with the helm in front. At the very rear of the ship lies the captain’s cabin.
Beneath is the gundeck, with the crew’s cramped quarters to the rear. Finally, deep in the bowels of the ship, lie the holds. Her holds reeks of despair and death. Occasional moans of misery drift out of shadowed corners. The darkness is almost palpable and few wraiths will willingly spend more than a few minutes down below.