Chapter 1: Island at the Axis of the World.

Act One: The R.N.S. Coaltongue.

In spring of the year 500 AOV, Flint was gearing up for a spectacular event – the launching of the first entirely steam-powered Risuri warship, the RNS Coaltongue. Our heroes, relatively new members of the RHC, were on security detail for the night. Their main duty as directed by Stover Delft was to canvass the crowd and look for individuals who might pose a threat, including Primalists, fey sympathizers, alienated war veterans, and irate dockers.

There was some difficulty among the party in performing this routine task, especially in the case of the party’s tactics specialist, Drew McTaggert. The man wasted no time in getting alcohol into his system and screaming at an innocent dock worker after pinning him up against a wall.

But he wasn’t barking up the wrong tree, at least. Careful observation and some insidious bluffing by Darsys Madenia revealed three individuals aching for a chance to introduce their fists to the face of the city governor, Roland Stanfield, who in their mind at least was doing nothing to address the issue of dock workers in the city being taken advantage of by their employers, forcing them to work 16-hour shifts for little pay. Just as the crowd of 700 people was crossing the bridge to the island shipyard where the boarding of the Coaltongue would take place, Hugo Von Gearkinson and Qiyet Outrunner caught up to the suspects and tried to arrest them… but this close to their goal, the men decided to fight rather than go quietly.

The scuffle was brief; even with the addition of a fourth man to their ranks, the dockers were no match for the no-nonsense tactics of Arthur Pierson, who proceeded to throw them off the bridge and let them swim to shore where the police would pick them up. Hugo also managed a nasty surprise for two of the men, showing off his prototype simulacrum by hiding it in a cart and pushing it into position.

After seeing their (mostly) valiant display, Harkover Lee encouraged Delft to have the constables on board for the duration of the evening. He was hopeful that no further security issues would arise, though, and indeed Delft specifically asked everyone to not cause a scene if they could help it at all.

After milling about and talking with some of the more important faces around (including Geoff Massarde and Captain Rutger Smith), King Aodhan took a place of prominence at the bow of the ship, and sensing an important speech coming on, Delft asked Darsys to go and fetch Duchess Ethelyn of Shale, who had elected to take a nap in one of the rooms below deck. Hugo accompanied her, and Arthur found his way down to the gun deck as well while on his way to check on the mechanism of the Brand—the Coaltongue’s primary weapon system which could fire a massive ray of pyromantic energy.

The door was locked, and the handmaiden seemed loath to open it for the constables. Arthur’s hammer forced an entry, but upon entering the room Darsys was stabbed in the side by a halfling assassin who had been seen posing as a cook to get onto the ship in the first place. The group made short work of him, but wondered where the Duchess had gone… until she was spotted riding on something submerged just below the water level, accompanied by some other unseen figure – she’d escaped out of the porthole in her room.

Her handmaiden, Sokana Rell was seen climbing back into the gun deck from another porthole, making a mad dash for the lower decks. Qiyet tried to stop her, but an errant wind spell held the furious half-orc in place while Sokana teleported through the ship’s grating to lower and lower floors, stopping to summon a half-dozen fire sprites in the ship’s magazine. Poor Arthur suffered a spree of bad luck while fighting them, swinging with his modified warhammer several times to no effect, while the sprites tried to carry kegs of firedust out toward him in a kamikaze assault!

Sokana made it all the way down to the engine room, where constable Von Gearkinson was fighting pair of saboteur engineers bent on driving the ship’s engine into an overloading state that would surely end in a massive explosion! Just before she was able to deliver the final part of the sabotage plot – a ritually-enhanced rod of amber that would double the intensity of any fire it was thrown into, Darsys summoned a massive hex that pyschically destroyed her.

With some quick thinking, Hugo directed the others to activate a complicated series of levers and dials, quickly calibrating the ship’s untested Brand to channel the excess heat and fire mana and cool the engine. The festivities on the main deck went totally undisturbed, as the magical blast coincided with the final note of the national anthem played just before Aodhan’s speech.

As the heroes limped above deck, glad at least that they obtained a proper amount of evidence to support their story of just what happened that night, they listened to their monarch promise his people that the Fourth Yerasol War would be the last. After years of conflict, Aodhan would seek a peace summit with Danor in one year’s time, and would even marry a Danoran to further ease the tension between their two nations.



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