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Francesco di Firenza
El Diablo Rojo - Commanding

     I was born April 24, 1402 into a progressive, powerful & wealthy Italian trading family, and have traveled throughout the known world.   In 1425 I was banished from my family's palazzo in Florence for bringing dishonor to the di Firenza name by way of my privateering activities.  I felt this was very unjust due to the fact that  several of my activities were secretly sponsored by the Vatican, but my father, Alessandro Nicolo di Firenza, being a devout Catholic, did not wish to listen to anything remotely negative regarding his faith or the sacred Catholic Church.  My father was especially disappointed in me, because it had been necessary, due to our extensive trading operations throughout Europe, Persia and Cathay, to form alliances with other houses, monarchies, etc., Along those lines, my father had been grooming me to serve in a diplomatic capacity for the di Firenza household, having taken me previously on several diplomatic junkets. 
     My father had always intended since my birth to use me to further his ambitions to obtain even more power and wealth.  Although we agreed on his aims, we definitely did not agree on how to go about accomplishing them.  My father was content to spend years laying the groundwork for his plans and schemes, whereas I am more impetuous and prefer to take action quickly.
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     However, because father wouldn't listen to my 'justifications' regarding my privateering, he also did not give me the chance to explain that I had also been using my diplomatic skills on behalf of the church, for which father would have been very proud of me.  When I was banished from the family palazzo and requested to distance myself from the di Firenza name as much as possible, my father did provide me with a ship, which I christened the El Diablo Rojo.  I chose this name in keeping with a boyhood memory: my mother's nickname for me when I was growing up was 'the little red devil' (El Diablo Rojo in her native tongue) because I was always getting into some sort of mischief!  My mother , as you may have guessed, is Spanish and was married into the di Firenza family to enhance trading alliances between her father's house, Montoya, and the House of di Firenza.  She is very kind and beautiful and my father, although married to her for ambition, quickly fell deeply in love with her.
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     I loved my father, so I have and continue to respect his wishes but I do hope for a reconciliation with my family some day.  During my many following adventures in privateering, I met my good friend, Her Ladyship Caitlin Spencer-Longfellow of Newmarket.  We had unknowingly both been chasing the same Algerian Corsair, the notorious Kahyr ad-Din al Sallam.  Caitlin had business with al Sallam on behalf of the English Crown, whereas I was dispatched by the Vatican to 'dispatch' the corsair myself!  Al Sallam had been terrorizing Italian merchants and the Pope Eugene IV (1431-47) commissioned me to destroy his ship and capture him alive if possible. My reward for that would be a special dispensation, which I needed because my father tried to have me excommunicated when I was banished.  Although he failed, my standing with the church had suffered (which is why I began doing favors for the Pope in the first place).  Both Caitlin and I, again unbeknownst to each other, heard the Corsair was in Tripoli, so we went there to seek revenge.  Arriving in port, our ships coincidentally were docked next to each other and unfortunately our crews got too rowdy in the same local tavern and tore the place up.  Caitlin and I first came face to face in the local jail bailing our respective crews out of trouble and initially bonded over our joint (veiled) amusement regarding our respective crew's predicaments.  Since al Sallam had the misfortune of being incarcerated along side his crew, we took the liberty of absconding with the items we were after, and everything else aboard his ship!  There was a minor skirmish on the deck of the corsair ship as our people were having a heated argument over who had rightful claim to the booty but then it was decided, as all involved were civilized folk, that each party would take the items they were hunting for and then split the rest and leave the ship sunk at the pier.  Most of Captain Cate's crew felt pretty strongly about keeping the ship for themselves, but I vehemently was opposed to this and wanted to sink it, because, although I didn't have the corsair in my custody, all I had to do was sink the ship to get my dispensation.  Once Caitlin heard that, she backed me 100% as a matter of honor, and we've been fast friends ever since!  When she heard my story regarding my father, she welcomed me  into her home to sojourn for a while.  I so enjoyed her company and that of her household, that I soon desired to take up residence there and formed a 'trading' alliance with Lady Caitlin.
And the adventure continues...
(From the Captains Journal of)
Francesco di Firenza
El Diablo Rojo - Commanding

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Spencer Longfellow
Trading Company