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Prelude: Armada

The Kingdom of Tosna is in the midst of a bloody revolution. Its monarchy has called upon vows made to its once ancient enemy, the Kingdom of Abral for aid. Despite the many years of war between the two countries their families have over time become intertwined, and those in Abral whisper that revolution is like wildfire, though a sea separates the two lands the unrest could spread. And so King Lionel Taclis II of Abral has dispatched the Armada, a fleet of ships under the command of Admiral Reginald van Syle, to bear the finest warriors into the fight. This was several years ago.

It is whispered in Abral that the war goes poorly, that in that heathen land the old ways are falling. As more and more of the scraps and dregs of the streets are gathered up, given a coin and armour and forced into the war, the talk grows louder: the war is lost. It is into this picture that 'The Sea Devil' Captain Elizabeth Karew has gathered a crew of diverse talents: warriors, scholars, nobles and mages, from everywhere from high society to the gutters. At sea the mission is revealed, to retrieve Crown Prince Hector Taclis, last seen fighting in the southern peninsula. Quite why this requires such an unusual crew is for now a mystery.

Prelude: Summary

The intrepid crew of the Sea Devil struck out into Tosna to rendezvous with the Prince, fighting through revolutionary forces as they passed through the country. En route they began to encounter a series of strange events, hearing odd tales and strange noises in the night, finding an unknown toxic black ooze burning into the trees and finally witnessing a shimmering falling star crashing down in the area. On arrival the crew set out to investigate the disappearance of the provincial governor, and found him kidnapped and bound by some unknown group, and left to be killed by a hideous creature. The crew rescued him, however he revealed that his assailants had for some reason been seeking (and found) a sample of the Prince's blood. More hideous abominations struck out from the forest and the crew returned to fight with the Prince. The fight was valiant however the Prince was almost slain by a colossal demonic dog which seemed to be purposefully stalking those of the royal line. After a heroic battle the crew managed to make an orderly retreat and fended off the onslaught through the night, until suddenly the tide of abominations stopped. Scouts could find no sign of them and over the next days the corpses of the creatures rapidly decayed, leaving little evidence of the events. In the end, few witnesses survived, and tales of these events were dismissed as exaggerations or hearsay by many, as the war was pressing, and there was little time to worry about stories of rabid beasts or whatever oddness had occurred. Despite this, Prince Taclis, both aware of the danger and grateful to his saviors, oversaw the founding of a secretive order to ensure that if such events do occur again the Kingdom would be well prepared.

The years pass and the war ends, the revolution claiming victory in Tosna, and Abral settles into an uneasy peace. While many are relieved at an end to the conflict, there is still great tension, as if a spark could set the world ablaze. And so the order continues its watch, ever vigilant.

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