Rope creaked in the wind. Beneath him, captain Isodoros Redanios felt the deck of his carrack buckle and shift. It was a proud ship, fresh off the dockyards of Chromaros’ Arsenal. You could smell the freshness of the wood and the tar used to caulk the seams. The three score and odd members of his crew were busy about their jobs, hoisting sails, pulling ropes, cleaning the deck, or sleeping below. They were going on an adventure.
The world was large. Larger than anyone could have suspected in the days of the old Basileus who founded the Commonwealth, now three hundred years ago. Their view had been limited, their eyes blind, and it was up to ambitious and skilled men like Isodoros to rip the blindfold from the eyes of their nation. He’d politicked endlessly, approaching one cartel or the other, looking for sponsorship, a crew, and most importantly money. He found success with the Lapunoi, one of the predominant and most progressive cartels of the capital, who’d agreed to fund his expedition and outfit him with a ship, dubbed the Deepwater Shark. And so he was going north, sailing far beyond the capes and peninsulas of the southern coastline. Into uncharted territories.
With him, besides, the crewmen needed to sail the vessel, came a dozen veteran soldiers. Ostensibly, they were just ordinary crewmen, but the ship had been outtfitted with the necessary swords, arbalests and other equipment in case it was needed, as well as a clockwork ballista on both the fore- and aft castles. The holds were mostly empty, with plenty of room for what they could find and bring back. Also on board were five scientists, specializing in the study of the natural world, eager to see what new insights they could develop and what papers they would write upon their return. That’d take years though.
Over the course of several months, they made their way north. Temperatures dropped, and the men were grateful for the foresight of the Lapunoi in procuring numerous leather and fur coats for them. They could not have endured otherwise.
Isodoros was unhappy, however. The horizon was a deep gray, and it was clear a storm was brewing. In the main mast, though, the lookout suddenly cried out, panicked, and pointed west. Isodoros ran over to see, and could see the blackest patch of squall he had ever seen approaching rapidly. He turned around to shout orders, to furl the sails and drop anchor, but it was too late. His voice was lost amidst the rising winds, and in moments, the storm was upon them. Waves as tall as buildings, spray soaking everything, and the howling wind tore the sails to shreds before snapping the entire aft mast in two like a twig. They drifted, aimlessly, until through the haze Isodoros spied a shore, approaching quickly.
The next morning, the wreckage and pieces of the ship and its crew were left on the shore by the receding tide.