Ebenezer “Ben” Cooke
The Cookes are a large family from Ednam in Roxburghshire, Scotland, and Cooke’s grandfather traveled to the New World as an indentured laborer to find his fortune. He was successful enough that his son, Cooke’s father, inherited a large plantation with slaves.

Mrs. Cooke died in childbirth giving birth to Elizabeth “Bess” Cooke, Cooke’s older half-sister. Lonely, the elder Cooke fell in love with one of his slaves, Belinda. Though they could never marry, they lived together as husband and wife to the great scandal of their neighbors, and the remaining slaves were freed and rehired as laborers at her urging.

Cooke was Belinda’s only child and recieved a thorough education from his bibliophile father and mother. The elder Cooke rewrote his will to legitimize Cooke as his heir, effectively disinheriting Bess, who had in the meantime married a wealthy local doctor.

When both Belinda and the elder Cooke died in a yellow fever epidemic, Bess and her husband used the opportunity to take Cooke’s inheritence. They hired local bushwhackers to kidnap Cooke and the other workers and had them taken to the slave markets of the Caribbean to be sold. Cooke was 13 at the time.

On the way to the market, the ship was stopped and boarded by pirates (or privateers) led by Captain Roxburgh. Cooke led the pirates to the hidden valuables aboard in exchange for putting the others ashore unharmed as free men. Impressed by Cooke’s acumen, Roxburgh took him aboard as a cabin boy. It was aboard that ship that Cooke had is apprenticeship as a seaman.

When the pirates captured a Dutch Indiaman some years later, Cooke, as mate, was given the prize to sail himself. Christening it the Fancy Rat, he was able to escape the destruction of Roxburgh’s flotilla later that year. Since then, Cooke has continually upgraded and modified his ship and engaged in piracy largely based out of Jolly Port.

The one thing that sets him apart from his fellow ruffians is his refusal to sell slaves on captured ships – he will instead put them safely ashore. He also loathes his given name, dismissing it as a ridiculously trendy appellation, and prefers to go by simply “Cooke” or, if pressed, “Ben Cooke.”

Physical Description
Cooke describes himself as having “his father’s nose after it was smashed flat against his face.” His hair is wildly curly and often barely kept under control with ribbons or hats; he wears it long out of vanity. He had strikingly-colored eyes, a “blunderbuss of dark freckles to the cheeks;” these features plus his darker skin make his mixed ancestry very clear.

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