Corsair Stir-Fry

Rebuilding Balen Mo'uri

Recreating the Island

There was a lot to take care of. First, there was a meeting of the Solars, the Freed People’s representatives, and the former Redcloaks (Who now referred to themselves as Greycloaks). They covered:
The formation of a representative assembly and the Executive Council. With some negotiation, it was agreed that there should be an assembly of people from various walks of life, including some of the Greycloaks. The Executive Council was to consist of one merchant, one Greycloak, and one Freedperson, with an election for one member to be held to be elected every two years.

  • The representatives of the Freedpeople initially objected to this, but it was pointed out that someone had to help them navigate interactions with the other houses, so certain of the Greycloaks who were known to be less objectionable were allowed to serve.
  • The formation of the new Department of Public Safety, consisting of a mix of Greycloaks and Freedpeople. The Greycloaks were, at least initially, not to serve in an enforcement capacity. They were only to act as trainers.
  • The formation of the Department of the Magistrate. This group had perhaps the hardest job, as it fell to them to administer justice to the slavers and those who had in various ways contributed to the abuse of the Freedpeople. Many of the worst offenders had fled during the uprising. These people were listed, their offenses recorded, and their sentences passed in absentia. The few who remained were either jailed or stripped of all possessions other than a basic survival pack and exiled.
  • The formation of Transparency Requirements, and an Auditing Department, to be backed by the Department of Public Safety. There would be an annual report of all taxes collected and where they went. This report would be available for anybody to see, and reading assistants would be made available as needed.
  • The creation of the Resettlement Committee. Everyone agreed that the current conditions were unacceptable, and when Ool suggested (methodically) tearing down the entire slave district, and what was left of the wall around it, and starting over, it wasn’t a hard sell.

Rebuilding the Island

The houses of those who had fled were pressed into service as temporary quarters while the new housing was constructed. Additionally, a few of the nomadic whalers who had accompanied them assisted with the construction of a tent town just outside the city borders, for those who wanted space more than they wanted a roof.

While Ool was at work creating a new Balen Mo’uri, Wellspring was helping to heal emotional scars. She offered tattoos to anyone who wanted to cover their marks with something of their own choosing. Some people took her up on it, and were very pleased with the results. Some people just wanted the marks gone, and help with that was also provided. Some people wanted tattoos in other places, but those had to wait.

The new Freetown district was constructed. Freetown consisted of several neighborhoods. Some contained more communal housing, while others were apartment-style single family or single-occupant dwellings. The new dwellings were constructed out of beams and boards that were reconstituted out of the raw materials of the old dwellings (think plywood, but better).

Freetown had pipes to bring water to the dwellings and remove sewage to a number of treatment plants around the outer (very outer) edges of the city. The sewage was processed into manure, which was then distributed to farms in the neighboring area. Sewage processing paid very well (and was done with very good protective clothing, which was provided). Bathhouses were provided for use at shift’s end. Ool made a point of working several shifts at the plants herself, and going out into the city afterward nicely attired and smelling good.

It was everything Ool had ever wanted. Which was awesome. And also really scary.

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Of Battle Blood and Drunken Sorrows
Tarnished Conviction vs. Wellspring of Expanding Enlightenment

In the weeks following the liberation of Rives-Oignees a great celebration emerged. The people, now free to do as they pleased, reveled in their victory over the Redcloaks flooding the streets in song and dance. Every corner of the city was alive with roaring crowds through the day and on into the night. The fighting pits were even transformed into temporary theater houses hosting reenactments of the battle to take Rives-Oignees.

Unfortunately not all was fun and games during the cities restoration. Yes Tiger was off playing up the crowds as he so often did, but Ool was tasking her people to find and train artisans. Tarnished took his newly acquired followers down to the docks to help arrange passage off the island for those that wished to return to their families or former lives. Each of the four adventurers had work to do and seldom found times to join in on the celebrations. As the days passed and the parties settled down Rives-Oignees underwent a grand transformation.

However amid the construction, social change and structural reform even heroes needed their rest now and then. One night after a long and stressful day Tarnished found himself unable to sleep. His mind was full of the days troubles and he lay awake staring into the night. Frustrated and groggy he took off to the local tavern for what passed as drink in this former slavers town. Admittedly he could have asked for a better stash of booze from the movers and shakers that helped in, or by way of inaction supported, the overthrow of Claudius Redcloak. All the same Tarnished sat and drank his sorrows away one by one until he was red in the face.

Returning home he could feel a slight tingle on the back of his neck. The kind of tingle he felt when spirits were close by. That’s when he saw it. The bug demon he saw Wellspring riding from days before. Anger and determination flooded his senses as he threw off the cloth wrappings that concealed his ornate dragon wand. He took aim as if by instinct took in a deep breath and slowly exhaled lining up the perfect shot before finally squeezing the trigger. A large column of fire roared through the sky soaring higher then most would have dared dream possible. The flames whipped at the demons wings causing it to dart away in fear. Tarnished reloaded his wand ready to give chase but the bug had other plans. It turned about diving to the ground and a single figure jumped from it’s back to the ground below. He had barely noticed a second before but there was actually a person riding that horrid thing.

Wellspring landed in the middle of the street facing the shanty tavern Tarnished had stumbled out of only moments ago. Her body language was discernibly tense as her fellow Exalted leveled his wand towards her demon’s head. “Stand down!” She commanded. Her feet picking up speed as she moved to intercept Tarnished before he could fire another round. He didn’t know why she was surprised after all he did warn her the next time he saw her demons he would kill them. Fueled by rage and liquid courage he took a breath and fired. At that exact moment a whip coiled around the barrel of the dragon wand yanking it free from his grasp causing its flames to veer wildly. His ornate weapon made a dull hollow sound as it came crashing to the ground several feet away from him.

Wellspring clung to the whip that so skillfully disarmed her opponent raising it’s braided length to the sky for a second attack. “Stand down now!” She repeated. Tarnished dove for his wand but the crack of the whip struck him hard across the face causing him to lurch back in pain. He moved across the street to put some distance between himself at the reach of her whip. However no matter how hard he tried she managed to keep him at bay or strike the wand further down the street. This only served to enrage him even further. Tired, drunk and feeling as if he were being plaid with Tarnished broke into a full charge for his dragon wand. Once again Wellspring struck at him with her powerful whip. This time however Tarnished reached out snatching the length in mid air. He grasped the weapon with his bare hands even as the whip caused his palms to bleed. This caught Wellspring off guard long enough for the two to make eye contact. Something about the flick of the light and the shape of the brow made them strangely familiar to each other. Perhaps it was just a trick of the moon light but she felt as if she recognized him somehow.

While Wellspring was distracted Tarnished took the opportunity to clear his throat and focus his slurred speech. “Tukaj!” At once his bleeding hand was lit a blaze sending a trail of furious fire up the length of the whip. Wellspring released her weapon just before the flames could scorch her fingers. With them both now unarmed and faced off in the empty street Wellspring spoke soft and calmly. “What is your name?” Tarnished sneered thinking this was some sort of distraction to lower his guard. “You already know it.” She shook her head sincerely. “I know what you call yourself now but you were once of the realm. What did you call your self then?” Tarnished was contemplating his option at this point. If he tried to shape a spell she would likely counter or perhaps he’d have to counter one of hers. She was more experience at sorcery then he was after all. “Why the hell should you care?” He snapped back at her. She calmly raised her arms and gestured to the city street they occupied. “Because the things that happened here, some of it was due to misplaced loyalty to a family name. It can cause people, who are good deep down, to do terrible things.”

Tarnished felt his expression falter for just a moment from frustration to confusion. Maybe it was the booze talking but his body language seemed to relax just a bit. “Blind faith that turns good men cruel.” He repeated in simpler terms. “I don’t believe in that kind of loyalty, there needs to be something more.” She continued now crossing her arms over her chest. “So I ask you again what is your name?” Tarnished stalled for time as he contemplated his options. At last the long silence was broke with his answer. “Nerrun… Sesus Belar Nerrun.” Wellspring offered a faint yet genuine smile at that almost as if this revelation had amused her. “And just as blind faith can turn men cruel why do you harbor such blind hatred towards demons?” Tarnished visibly grew tense once again at the mention of them. “That is personal…” Wellspring uncrossed her arms and bowed her head. “Well despite our differences I believe there is more to you then what I’ve seen. Perhaps one day I’ll get to see it.” She placed her hand over her chest in a half-hearted salute. “Well met Sesus Belar Nerrun. My name is Sesus Alexandria. It’s been a pleasure.” He couldn’t tell if that last bit at the end was meant to be sarcastic or genuine. Either way Wellspring grabbed her belongings, hopped on her demon, and flew away leaving Tarnished in the street alone to contemplate what just transpired.

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Journal of Ember Rose 3
A List of My Worries

Since we returned from liberating a magical artifact called The Rule of Law, I have not been able to sleep soundly. A healer, Belinda the Wise, told me to write a list of my worries. Putting them on paper will take them out of my mind, she says. I do not see how this could be true, but I promised her to try it. So.

MY WORRIES

1. Revolutionaries are being kidnapped off the streets of Far Harbor by a mysterious Secret Police. They are imprisoned in the Red Manse and subjected to a powerful, magic-boosted brainwashing. Sid discovered that you cannot even get close to the prisoners without being brainwashed yourself. He left feeling convinced that he was a loyal servant of Jerricane Scitha! The charm took days to wear off.

2. I rashly promised a favor to a god, and I don’t even know what god it was! The situation was so urgent, I didn’t try to negotiate. We had gone to so much trouble to retrieve The Rule of Law, a magical gavel that allows Solars to remake the world. The God of Lost Things had it. To get his attention, we threw a huge party and sacrificed something precious (Darius’s future sexual adventures, until he marries—an unconventional sacrifice, yes, but if you would have heard the women wailing you too would accept its magnitude).

We traveled for days in a rickety boat captained by a morose minion named the Least Unusable. Near the edge of creation, we arrived at a tower encircled by lightening, home of the god—and all the lost things. We managed to trick Least into helping us break through her master’s security traps. We won at riddles with the big crows, resisted the temptation to reclaim our own lost things, and made it through a lava trap. At last we could see the gavel, growing like a single horn out of a dragon’s skull, an elemental that kept this corner of creation stable.

Sage figured out a brilliant way to remove the horn, and trapped the god beneath the throne, but unfortunately he could not stop the ocean from rushing into the tower. We raced back through the perilous rooms. Sage insisted on incinerating all of the lost things; I still don’t know if that was wise. Brist narrowly avoided injury; Darius was injured, but we managed to escape the tower—only to find that we were trapped on a little platform with no boat, surrounded by a waste of waters at the very verge of the known. Can you blame me for rashly promising the god who answered our frantic call a favor of his choosing?

3. The Least Unusable is not very stable. We were able to restore her memories and desires, but she is torn by a terrible conflict, contradiction of intimacies, subjection to her drowned master and simultaneous hatred of him. I worry about her. In addition….

4 We didn’t manage to find the Man in the Mist’s daughter’s lost mind. I think we should have tried harder to look for it. We had mixed feelings about his request, but we did accept it, and we do need all the friends we can find, make, beg, borrow or steal.

5. When scholars were helping me do research in the university library, I was chewing on a chocolate honeycomb to lessen the boredom, but I sneezed from the dust and it dropped out of my mouth onto the pages of a book. Someone was coming so I shut the book, but later it turned out much worse since several pages were stuck together and ruined. I hope no one will ever need to look at those particular pages. Surely, out of all the books in that library, no one will happen to need just that one. It’s a little thing, but it worries me just the same.

Will I be able to sleep now, Belinda the Wise? We shall see.

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Making crafters and influencing islanders

In the weeks leading up to the group’s departure for the Isle of the Artisans, Ool learned many lessons in making friends and influencing people. When the call went out to come up with ways to recruit shipbuilding artisans, a discussion of where they would stay occurred.

They certainly weren’t inviting a bunch of randos to stay at Exploding Infinities, especially since they might react badly to it and stop building ships. The Red Manse was discussed as a possibility, but without a lot of enthusiasm on the part of its current occupants. It was decided to throw up some housing just for them.

Ool saw her chance. Everyone kept telling here she was supposed to be special, after all. Surely they wouldn’t drive her out of town for offering a few suggestions. Scoff, perhaps, but she was well used to scoffing. Also, it boggled her mind that the plans being offered up were coming from people who lived in a Manse with its own aqueduct.

She drew up some plans (it was nice, being able to do that without explaining where the paper and ink came from), and showed them to Sanguine Vow.

“They look fine. Why are you showing them to me?”

“Because I need your help convincing people. I can do a lot, but I can’t do all this by myself, which means I have to get other people on board with the idea. And its new to them, which is never a selling point.”

“It will be this time. You’re our Exalted Crafter. Get out there and tell them how its going to be.”

“And what if they respond by telling me how its going to be? I have lots of ideas, but people never seem to be that impressed with them – or me.”

“It might help if you made more of an effort to be impressive. You still dress like you’re going out to slop the pigs.”

“If you think these are pig-slopping clothes, you have never slopped pigs.”

“You’re not an apprentice anymore. You’re a master. Start dressing the part.”

“Okaaayy…”

SIGH “Fine, get a nicer version of what you’re wearing now. Surely you can manage that.”

She did. Barely. The home building went somewhat better. So well, in fact that it drew the attention of the citizens or Porto Spice. People came by, and expressed their admiration. “Wish I could live in a fine place like that,” they would say. “You Solars sure can do some fine things.”

She explained, with a certain amount of pessimism, that these weren’t things that just Solars could do. Normal people could do them too. At first, she just got polite nods. Soon, though, a different set people started tricking in, asking if lessons might be available. And so, Ool began giving lessons in plumbing, irrigation, and waste management.

In return, her students taught her some things about building defenses. Porto Spice saw enough excitement that many of student knew things about how to create various types of defensive fortifications, and how to create and conceal escape routes.

As she became closer with her students, they began to gently suggest that maybe she could upgrade her wardrobe…

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Notes from Home
Sid + Maric - 8/1 - 8/10
Aug 1 2017,

Sid,
I hope things are going well in the South. I’m still not sure what you seek to accomplish down there and why your sudden interest / change in behavior. I’ve been able to spot some opportunities in your business interests that may have been overlooked previously. With the Grantle group leaving town due to some run-ins with the police we’ve been able to expand our influence. I’ve enclosed a portion of the profit that your previous and now additional 5 ‘employees’ have managed to obtain. There’s more waiting for you in accounts here.
Your trusted brother,
Maric

Aug 10 2017,
Maric,
I’m glad to here things are doing well there however I’m a bit alarmed that Grantle ran into such troubles. His family and mine go way back in our mutual cooperation. How did the police bring him down? I thought both he and I had well placed informants there to alert us / dissuade them / spoil evidence in the odd case things didn’t turn out in our favor.
Thanks for the money – I’m glad to see business has expanded and things are going well. The amount you provided seems rather large – especially considering that you said more was waiting for me. Even with Grantle’s area gone, where is the additional money coming from? What were these missed opportunities?
Sincerely,
Sid

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Life in Porto Spice
Higalik

Higalik mourned the remains of his canoe. Miles and miles of travel across the sea, paddling from isle to isle, only to lose those memories to a weasely pirate and wyld-touched waters.

Teeth marks left splintered gashes in the small craft, and the painted hide that lined the hull was left in tatters. It was possibly the only reminder of home that he had intact from his journey from the frozen north. A single peice of it’s nose rested upon his bed, with a fragment of a mast lashed to it. They were tokens of a hard-won victory and of mysterious loss.

Attacks from pirates, ripping up masts, a majestic thunder bird, leaping into deadly waters that rend flesh to pull friends and allies from its grasp, defeating a Fair One with fetid flesh, and seemingly loosing Kira Jurrican from reality itself: These are the few things that have highlighted Higalik’s life since his arrival to Porto Spice. All crammed in the space of a week. It was a bit much for him to take in all at once, but he finally understood; This is what Brother Sun wanted! Higalik and others like himself were brought here, guided by the Sun himself to resolve some mysterious threat; There could be no other explaination!

This thought drew out a long sigh from the large man. He had believed the signs were leading him and his people to salvation, to a new home that was free from the insideous reach of the wyld. However, it seemed only to lead to conflict and danger. Would his people be any safer here, on this “Isle of Spies”? Perhaps not, he would think, but it is his duty to protect them. Atleast Lusa would meet others like her, those blessed by Sister Moon.

Floorboards creaked under his weight as he stood up from his bed in the small inn room. It would be of no use to wallow. There was dock work to do, cooking to learn, preparations to make for his people, and a particular Lunar he needed to encourage to be a strength training partner. Not many could give Higalik such a challenge, and it was one he truely enjoyed. Maybe they could tussle with one of those giant lizards he’s heard so much about…

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The Birth of The Sanguine Fleet

The bay was bustling as the Unconquered Sun crested the horizon. The clattering of crates on the docks lent a drumming sound to the shore as the clanging of chains sang a rhythmic tune. Sanguine Vow had gathered the other Solars and beckoned them to the waters.

There stood a line of logboats along the docks, one for each of the Exalts. Each boat had already been loaded with supplies and its oarsmen sat ready.

As the sun rose over the island, its rays struck off of the shining sails of twenty-five newly minted ships, bathing the bay in a golden light.

“It’s time to formally name your ships, ladies and gentlemen.” Vow said as she stepped onto the docks.

Vow directed each Exalt to a longboat and once they were all on and seated, the boats lauched all at once, each traveling to a different ship. Once at the ship’s hull, they were helped aboard by the crew and lead to the prow. There, on the prow of each ship stood that ship’s captain with a bottle of Porto Spice’s best rum in hand. As the Sun fully escaped the curtain of the island and stood tall at the horizon, the captains uncorked the bottles and took a drink from it, passing it over to the Exalt that stood with them. The ships without an Exalt assigned were manned by the captain and first mate. After both had taken a drink and recorked the bottle, the horns of the Broken Maw sounded, with a low droning that carried across the bay and docks. All at once, the crews began to sing.

“WE ARE OUTWARD BOUND FOR THE KINGSTON TOWN WITH A HEAVE-OH-HO
AND WE’LL HEAVE THE OLD WHEEL ROUND AND ROUND
GOOD MORNING LADIES ALL”

The horn sounded again as Sanguine Vow stood upon the prow of a ship and loudly declared “I stand upon the Gilded Hind. May she always sail upon strong winds and kind seas.” as she smashed the bottle over the shining figurehead of a golden doe.

“AND WHEN WE GET TO KINGSTON TOWN WITH A HEAVE-OH-HO
IT’S THERE WE’LL DRINK AND SORROWS DROWN
GOOD MORNING LADIES ALL”

The horn sounded again as the captain next to Sagacious Phoenix nodded to the plackard with “Nightbreaker” carved into it and then to the ship where Vow stood.

“I stand upon the Nightbreaker. May she always sail upon strong winds and kind seas.” he shouted as he smashed the bottle of rum over the figurehead of a bird holding a lantern in its beak.

“WE’LL SWING AROUND AND HAVE GOOD FUN WITH A HEAVE-OH-HO
AND SOON WE’LL BE BACK ON THE HOMEWARD RUN
GOOD MORNING LADIES ALL”

This continued with each ship, as the crews bellowed out verse after verse. One by one, each Exalt welcomed their ship into service.

Sid Ses welcomed the “Blazing Horizon”.
Ember Rose welcomed “Vilev’s Vengeance”.
Katwe , “Twilight’s Dawn”.
Higalik on “Akhlut’s Breath”.
Wellspring on “Agwe’s Legacy”.
Grigori on “The Wavedancer”.
Ool on “The Peasant’s Bounty”.
Hunter Wren on “Yozi’s Bane”.
Radiant Dancing Tiger on “Tiger’s Grace”.
Seong-Hyeon on “Morning’s Mandate”.
Violet Moonlight on “Sightless Crusade”.
“Nazorin Placeholder Name” on “Falcon Arrow”.
Melpomene Telgar on “Tragedy’s Song”.
Darius Appollo on the “Stinging Squall”.

One by one, the other captains then cristened: “The Waxing Crecent”, “The Burning Hammer”, “Rainmaker”, “The Golden Flense”, “Demon Queen”, “Storm Surge”, “Iron Gull”, “Saturn’s Hand”, and “The Silence of the Depths”.

“SO LONG GOODBYE TO ALL YOU DEARS WITH A HEAVE-OH-HO
DON’T CRY FOR US, DON’T WASTE YOUR TEARS
GOOD MORNING LADIES ALL”

A beat after the last note was sung, the horns of all the ships sounded all at once, sending a vibration out across the bay that could be felt in the chest of every man, woman, and child. The sun seemed to flare as the fleet’s standard was hoisted on the ships all at once. The sound ceased all at once, leaving the bay in a palpable silence for but seconds before all of the ships’ crews and dockworkers exploded into cheers.

And with that, a new fleet, The Sanguine Fleet, was born.

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Post from the STs setting the stage for session 3
A missive from a realm spy

From Agent 12 to Regara Solana, written in High Realm:

Without the services of other Realm spies, I continue to have to do my own legwork, and, as such, some of my information isn’t as comprehensive as I would normally expect.

The anathema Solars that I reported upon last month continue to make waves. I understand that you have given them letters of mark in the wake of them staving off a Lintha raiding force that regrettably killed Jurrican Vilev. However, Scyawn is very aware of them as well. Just before several of the anathema left, I managed to track down an Iago Brinetooth. My sources had informed me that he had been forcibly retired by Sanguine Vow. Unfortunately, I couldn’t learn more about that situation. When I found him, he was dead, lying in his own blood with a message smeared next to him “What happens when you make deals with Solars.” It looked like Scyawn’s people tortured him for information. I got rid of the message and hid the body. I’ve learned that Scyawn’s people then ambushed the Solars on the ocean once they learned of their movements.

Unrelated, but possibly important, several of the Solars made mention of someone named Kira as well as a few other people, seemingly with the expectation that some of us would be familiar with them. As far as I can tell, though, they don’t exist. I wasn’t able to find any information on who these mysterious people are, or anyone who knows them. In case this is due to infernal intervention, I’m going to keep digging, however, I worry that the anathema are already losing their minds.

Besides the many alliances that the Solars made in the process of acquiring a fleet, I understand they have also had a hand in changing the local spirit court and gained allies in its new leadership. There seems to be a new god of the island, as well as one controlling the area just above it. I fear that this will bring Immaculate censure down faster than I have any way of bureaucratically stopping it. What are my orders?

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Journal of Ember Rose 2
Not This Day

When we sailed for the island of artisans in Sanguine Vow’s magnificent ships, we did not know how complicated things were about to become. From the moment we landed, we were surrounded by peril and possibility. Katwe and her artisans made many contacts among the islanders, and brokered a deal with a god called Invisible Hand. I doubt the deal will be terribly real, since the Invisible Hand is a myth, a figment. Still, the fact that many believe in it must give it power, and we need all power on our side.

The Invisible Hand’s slimy employee showed us beautiful obsidian horseshoes to draw our attention. It was merely a marketing ploy, but I wish I’d been able to get them for Brist. They would have made such lovely ringing sounds when she runs. Perhaps someday they will be proffered as a gift, something whose value derives from the principles it embodies and the relationships it builds—from intimacies, not money. Everyone assures me that such a day will not come soon to this island, giddy home of the free market.

Then I met a band of Surfer Dudes. They feel free when riding the waves, but their home island was destroyed by the Silver Prince. They joined with with us and became followers of a homeless god, Bountiful Apex, whose head is a cloud. Wellspring picked him up on the docks, hoping to improve him, as is her wont. He promised to make waves for the surfers. So perhaps they will all live happily on Porto Spice, near the Gill People. Katwe promised the Gill People a home on the reef off the southwestern shore, where they can continue to practice their traditional communal culture. As if this were not enough peoples, some odd ones formed from chaos who are drawn to inspiration and potential grew very fond of Ool, and followed her. She seems to have promised them space in her well-engineered dwellings on Porto Spice.

In truth, I doubted the wisdom of inviting all of these peoples. But it turned out to be a wise thing when we decided to attack the Litha, horrid demon-tainted dark creatures. In a battle that spanned land and sea, we slaughtered them without too much trouble. Tragically, though, our friend Jurrican Veliv was mortally wounded by the demon leader, who’d been sent by the violent usurper Jurrican Scitha. Katwe vengefully killed the demon by boiling him in a sea-spout and then skewering him with her flaming sword. But despite Ool’s attempts to heal Veliv, it was too late for him.

Before the battle, the other Exalteds, especially Sanguine Vow and perhaps Wellspring, made a deal with a group of Dragonbloods—some Princess and her entourage. When I first saw them on the docks, my blood started to boil and I looked for ways to attack them. But an attack was not practical, and not part of our strategic plan. So when they approached the ship, I exercised restraint; I left and went to the galley. Vow promised them something in return for a fleet—and gaining a fleet was the primary goal of visiting this island. So, we have a fleet, but with strings attached—strings that lead straight to the Realm. One day, I will turn that fleet against the Realm, and make them feel the pain they have visited on others. But today is not that day.

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One If By Land, Two If By Sea

In a high battlement overlooking Far Harbor, Sagacious Phoenix arranged green, red, yellow, and black banners on bamboo poles. The winds at this height were steady today, whipping the banners and issuing a droning buzz from the various holes carved into the poles. Satisfied with their arrangement, Sage stood in the center of the arrangement, a steel wand in his left hand. At the wand’s tip a small black jade dragon’s head clung to the metal with smoky incense drifting from the nostrils. For the next few hours, Sage carefully went through the mudras of creation, purpose, and service. The wind’s speed and fierceness grew.

With a great shout from Sage, the winds howled, snapping the bamboo poles and carrying the banners into the sky. They wrapped on each other and faded away, leaving a green condor-like elemental in their place. It had long red-and-black tipped white wings with markings resembling red eyes underneath.

The winds dropped back to their usual levels as the Xatu landed on the battlements edge, wild defiance in its eyes. Sage leveled the open palm of his right hand at the creature, shouting the Old Realm word for submission. A golden flare of essence burned the symbol on the creature’s brow and it bowed its head in obedience.

In the coming days, people would come to notice the creature perched high above Far Harbor or gliding on the island’s thermals, never interfering but carefully watching all beneath it.


At the end of the Far Harbor docks, Sage had arranged a complicated sculpture of glass and crystal. It caught the setting sun’s light and cast a prismatic rainbow on the water. He set a number of small coconut husk boats into the water, each smoldering . The heavy smoke clung to the water’s surface, spreading out and causing the reflected light to ripple as if alive. Sage sat at the dock’s edge, humming a traditional Noh score about beauty born of sea foam.

As the song swelled, Sage pressed his lips together into a high-pitched whistle. The floating embers flared into life, before sizzling and sinking into the bay. Moments later, the rainbow-filled smoke lifted into the air in massive brilliant fins attached to an equally massive seahorse-shaped water elemental.

The Tidemare flared its nostrils in challenge to Sage’s authority. Again Sage won the force of wills, branding the creature. Quickly thereafter, the sailors and fishermen of Far Harbor came to enjoy their new companion who was equal parts harbor pilot and town gossip. Ships slipped in and out of the harbor waters without incident and docking berths were perfectly aligned, like a well-rehearsed ballet production. Little did they realize the creature was carefully inspecting each ship, knowing all that floated through its home.

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