Captain Jaego Roth is the mastermind and driving force behind the Grand Alliance that opposes Count Noctilus' Dreadfleet. Blaming the Vampire for the death of his family, Roth will stop at nothing to get revenge on his nemesis.[1b] Jaego Roth is the captain of the Heldenhammer, the flagship of the Grand Alliance that ventures to the monster-haunted depths of the Galleon's Graveyard to hunt down Count Noctilus. But this was not always the case, nor how our tale truly begins.[1a]
The legendary captain Jaego Roth was the only son of Sartosan explorer and cartographer, Indigio Roth. In his prime, Indigio Roth was a large and fearsomely intelligent man. He was known to the common people of Tilea simply as the Mapwright, for he sailed the farthest reaches of the Great Ocean in search of knowledge, and his sea-charts were the finest in the land. The Mapwright's name passed into the lore of the Old World for his nautical exploits. The same is true of his son Jaego who, with his last act, became one of the most celebrated captains of the high seas.
The story of Captain Roth's burning need for vengeance upon the Dreadfleet begins within his father's warship, the Enlightenment, a warship permanently moored at the Rusting Harbour of Sartosa. When the Mapwright lost both of his legs to a Sea Giant attack, the weather-beaten old explorer finally retired his warship and settled with his family. After all, he had already made maps of all the islands and coastlines of the Old World - and, if rumour was to be believed, of lands much further afield. The Mapwright enjoyed a great deal of respect in Sartosa, though his wife would regularly scold him for filling the mind of their son Jaego with stories of the surreal realms that lay beyond the veil of midnight, and the curse of the restless dead.
The young Jaego was raised within the Enlightenment's labyrinthine corridors and empty barracks. Every vertical surface and ceiling was plastered with maps and charts; even the most threadbare rug bore depictions of Araby, Ind or Cathay. Such scenes of far-off lands and tales of daring-do had a profound effect on Jaego's young mind. The Mapwright's son fancied the life of a pirate lord, and spent most of his days at sea aboard his uncle's boats, fighting imaginary monsters with a wooden sword. As Jaego grew into a powerful and determined leader of men, his father deteriorated further, sinking slowly into nightmare-haunted senility. The old explorer seemed to have become obsessed with his last voyage, rambling on about ship's graveyards, Vampires and sentient whirlpools. Word in the tavern was that the Mapwright had seen too much; that his most recent maps owed more to madness than to the conquest of the unknown.
Jaego could not bear to see his elderly father, once an intellectual giant, deteriorate into a mad old fool. He left home, setting sail to find his destiny. His father's gold afforded him a decent ship and a crew that could almost be considered trustworthy.
Over the next three decades Captain Roth became a figure of awe across the Great Ocean. His extensive knowledge of the strange and unusual geography of the high seas stood him in good stead; little known-islands became Roth's hidden bases, short-cuts through deadly reefs allowed the captain to escape even the most ardent pursuit, and lucrative deals were struck over the delivery of strange and rare ingredients to rich southern sorcerers. Roth also proved to have an astonishing gift as a naval tactician, hiring his services as a privateer to any who would meet his price - his sleek and deadly warship, the Nightwatch, had sent a dozen vessels to the bottom of the sea before Roth's first year of captaincy was out.
As Roth passed a half-century in age, the lure of piracy was replaced by a longing for the shores of his home. After a near-disastrous raid upon the mosquito-ridden shores of Lustria, Jaego Roth began to tire of adventure and the ever-present risk of death. The captain had seen thousands of comrades and crew fall in battle over the years, and just as his body had become scarred and tough, his resolve had hardened too. He would forsake the life of the reaver; return to the wife and child he had left behind in the Rusting Harbour of Sartosa, and make amends for taking the open sea as his mistress instead of caring for his own.
When he returned to Sartosa he was greeted by a city in flames. Count Noctilus had struck, the nigh-impregnable pirate isle pillaged by the Dreadfleet, thought by Roth until now to be only a legend.[1a] He made haste to his family's magnificent boathouse, but he was too late - his homestead was consumed by fire. Roth sprinted through the burning cityport towards the remains of the Enlightenment and fought his way inside.
When Roth returned home he not only found his family lying dead, but also his father, whose body lay curled around several strange artefacts. Roth grabbed the artefacts - an eldritch moondial, a great shell with a sea-chart pinned to its inside and an enchanted Arabyan spyglass - buried his family and swore an oath of revenge upon Noctilus and the Dreadfleet.[1a] Though he was too late to save his family, the artifacts left by his father were to set him upon the deadliest quest ever undertaken on the high seas. Then he set sail for the Empire to find aid.[1a]
But he was to find that no aid was forthcoming except that which he could provide himself. The courts of nobles had no time for tales of the Undead and the cult of Sigmar was engaged in waging war against enemies of the Empire elsewhere. Roth was enraged and exasperated, and in his desperation stole the Grand Theogonist's own warship, the mighty Heldenhammer.[1a]