Sir Michael Virago was one of the first of the Raundoners, Yugueno merchants hailing from the moon Raundon. A daring ambitious man, he had a large part in establishing the Raundoners as merchant-adventurers in Ultima Segmentum, on a par with their sometime-rivals, sometime-partners, the Resistants of the moon Albian.
Early Life and War Years
Michael Virago was born in 900.M37 and grew up in the midst of the Age of Strife and the Barons' War; at a young age he joined the outnumbered royal forces and served under Hubert the Burgh at the siege of Docer where he distinguished himself in combat, leading a tunneling team that counter-mined rebel attempts to undercut the walls of the city.
Upon the relief of Docer, Virago was one of twelve men presented to William Marshal Skot to be knighted. The young knight, still aged 16, was given a troop of Rough Riders and ordered to raise Hell. Riding twenty miles into Rebel-controlled territory Sir Michael led his men on a pillaging expedition; avoiding direct battle, they raided supply depots, burned bridges, ambushed messengers: over 2,000 rebel troops were tied down pursuing the small band, who stumbled back to their own lines just in time to learn that Skot had killed the rebel King Louis, and the war was over.
After the war, Skot set about re-establishing Royal authority; to remove the Resistants of Albian from their primacy in Yuguen's trade, he obtained marchant charters granted to a number of loyal nobles; Michael Virago was one of them.
The new marchants betook themselves to Raundon, the second moon of Yuguen. Sir Michael had now in his possession Bonnie Belle, a Vagabond-Class Merchant ship; he raised a crew, purchased a cargo, and set out for the recently-fallen Braghwazh Gore Ork Empire, into the rapidly-opening sector where there was sure to be plenty of profit to be made.
Virago's first port of call was the Imperial Navy base at Urgho III; until recently a listening post used to observe the Braghwazh Gore, now it quickly developed into a vast entrepot of trade where Resistant Albians, Raundoners, Chartist Captains, Rogue Traders, and all manner of con artists, sharps, thieves, adventurers, mercenaries and congregated prior to entering the former Ork Empire.
From Urgho III Virago and the Bonnie Belle set off: rather than follow the main invasion routes taken by Imperial forces, which were now becoming regular trade routes, Virago took his ship into the hinterlands, where Human supremacy was still not established, where Orks and Xenos still fought with undiminished fury against their conquerors. Still-dangerous space.
Danger was there, but also profit: Virago sold his cargo for a handsome profit, then leased his services to a short-handed Imperial Navy task force, delivering desperately-needed supplies to an Imperial Guard garrison on Fortentis. The Imperial Navy organized a heavily-guarded convoy, but the Orks ambushed them on the fringe of the Fortentis system. Refusing to follow the order to turn back, Virago took his ship on a dangerous course through the system's asteroid belt, where the ungainly Ork ships in pursuit were forced to turn back after suffering heavy damaged from the asteroids. The Bonne Belle's cargo was the only supplies from the convoy to reach Fortentis, and succored the garrison until a subsequent convoy broke through the Orks' fleet to relieve the planet.
Sir Michael and his crew received a hefty bonus for their service, and returned home to Yuguen as heroes.
On his second voyage into the former Ork Empire, Virago and the Blue Belle were ambushed by pirates conning a Meritech Shrike-Class Raider. Knowing they had no chance in a fight, Virago set his ship on a collision course in a grand game of 'Chicken' that the pirates lost; the Blue Belle escaped, and the pirates were soon after caught by the Imperial Navy.