The world is upside-down.
Creation’s Underworld is an afterimage of stable reality, the world’s reflection in a blackened mirror. It is a place that should not be, dreamt into being by the nightmares of dead titans. It is the realm of the dead, where restless souls are inexorably drawn by their lingering regrets, unfinished business, or simple reluctance to move on.
The ten not-quite-dead souls drawn to the gypsum sands of Stygia’s shore may or may not harbor lingering regrets, but all of them proved, at one point, reluctant to move on.
And their business is decidedly unfinished.
The ocean is an unfathomably vast expanse of liquid obsidian, marred only by two shapes of matte black floating a hundred yards from the shore. On the beach, a small party of ghosts and a handful of living humans await you, along with a dozen head of cattle, a motley assortment of grave goods, a pile of hell money, and a single sacred tree from the eastern forests of the living world.
A storm gathers on the horizon, flickering bolts of of lightning visible as brief flashes of violet incandescence. The sky above, lit by a moon of spectral crimson, begins to weep, the first few oily, black droplets of unliving hunger falling on the shore, leeching away what meager Essence the ground holds.
Here begins your voyage.
There you are.
Thought the fog of ages come and gone could hide you, hmm? Not without reason, it nearly did, but you underestimated the tenacity of your own memory. Oh, that slim forward profile and low silhouette may have passed for humble once, let you fade into the background of an age of wonders but those days are gone. Your swift wheels and blushing sails shone true in tales of tales of dreams. From your birth in the old Solar order of battle, to alleged fall in the records of the Great Revolt, then made immortal in the epic of the western war.
Now you are here. Your tale is mine.
They once called you Envoy of Eternal Peace. No more is that your name – It is your mission.
Here begins your final saga.
A hidebound tome slams shut in time with a crack of thunder. Its first page is freshly inked in blood. The herald of a sound, to some, feared more than any storm. “Crew,” two dozen humans swiftly break from the assembled mass. Each is sharply dressed alike in red and black. They cascade into formation around the banner of Winter Navy, flying from the shoulders of a deathknight. They part as her hand sweeps to sea and locks unerring on the shadow floating beyond. “take a good, hard look at the Storm-Mother-Fucking ship where you shall serve your final days.”
They look well.
“Number Eight, prepare supplies for transfer. Number Twelve, ready the inaugural sacrifices. Number Twenty-Three, chilled Tengese wine.” The crew scatters in a well-ordered panic. When each is scrambling to their task the breeze turns slightly to the north, She shifts her stance. “Number four. Stay where I can see you.”
The sailor sprints to stay in view as Wyrm slowly turns to face her fellow knights. “Ladies, and Skeleton,” the wine arrives in hand, in time to toast, “To the sea.”
The woman in white leather sits crosslegged on the beach, palms resting on her knees. A light gust of wind circles around her, lifting her long black hair in gentle waves. She opens her eyes and leans forwards to scoop up a small handful of gypsum sand.
The grains run through her fingers, and are blown away by the wind. Life, memory, favor- all of these things are transient and easily lost. The Whispers are pleased with this ritual of letting go, but Never only smiles. She knows that letting go of what was lost only makes room for new aquisitions.
She waits until her hands are empty before standing and brushing off her clothing. The ship awaits, and her fellow Abyssals are already gathered. She touches the round glass that sits on her left eye and gazes at the Envoy. Everything seems to be in order, and she is already aching to depart.
Never lifts the offered wine glass. “To the sea.” she says. There is little sincerity in the gesture. For her, land and sea are equally worthless. Her domain is the Air. But that will wait, for now. She drains the cup and calls for another.
Maiden drummed her fingers on the hilt of her sword, impatiently . The prospect of spending Oblivion-knows-how-long on this boat for an unspecified(so far) mission put her nerves slightly on edge.Vagueness had always irritated her. That, and not knowing what you were getting yourself into had been the death of many an aspiring assassin.
Admittedly, attempting to assassinate your captain in the middle of a fight wasn’t much smarter. You live and learn. Or die and learn in this case, she mused.
She pushed these thoughts to the back of her mind and raised her glass, grin returning.
“To The sea!”
Ceaseless stares at the storm on the horizon, trying to calculate if it might impact the upcoming voyage. After a time, he shrugs and turns his gaze to the Imminent Revelation, assuring himself that the ship was riding evenly and nothing had gone amiss overnight. The ship had handled herself well on her shakedown cruise, but Ceaseless is sure that greater challenges than capturing lightly armed Realm merchantmen and fleeing Realm naval forces await them on this voyage. He licks his painfully cracked lips at the memory of the Peleps captain’s blood hot in his mouth and finds his attention drifting longingly to the cattle lowing confusedly on the strand.
Spawn of the Devouring Wyrm reaches some decision and scatters her crew to frantic obedience. Ceaseless notes the sailor heading toward the wine and makes his way over to the small cluster of Deathknights around the other ship’s captain. He accepts his wine and raises his glass high.
“To the Sea!” As he drains his wine with a gulp, the proud engineer continues silently to himself with a smirk: “May your ancient little tugboat serve you well. I know our beautiful lady will do everything we ask of her.”
Poem is silent while listening to the waves silently crash against the nypsum sands. She stands there with a disappointed look on her face for she did not want to go on that dumb boat. There was no one to talk to but the same damn people every time, though it was quite the interest to her to go to new lands. This is why she was here. Poem stood there swishing her drink around, cross-armed and dressed in her normal brilliantly dark red satin clothing. Her jet black hair danced in the coast breeze. She kept an eye on Never Within Reach, an interesting name for a person that was rather easily in reach of her.
As the boat approached she stayed silent still, her monotone expression broke with a tiny smile as she raised her glassed and murmured “Here here” as a courtesy.
Damnation is bored. Utterly bored. He strokes his moustache and stares off into the horizon through a spyglass, hoping his ship can finally arrive. It’s been too long since he’s ridden the waves, plundering ships, taking their things, and leaving their inhabitants to rot. Fighting Thorns was really rather droll. He raises his glass and joins in the toast, shouting “To the Sea!” in hearty Seatongue, but then gives the glass a dirty look afterwards. “Oughtn’t have any glasses like these where we’re going. Oughtn’t have too much time for sipping wine like a ninny, either.” The glass is dropped and crushed underfoot nonchalantly.
A fierce grin arises as the ship appears on the Horizon. “Ladies, Gentlemen, we’re in for a grand old time.”
An old man in a black duster has been nonchalantly walking around the hydrofoil-bedecked ship, attempting (unsuccessfully) to conceal his appreciation. After a few circuits and a few pats on a reanimated manta’s head, the grizzled old sailor strides over to the others and takes a glass. He spits and takes a swig.
“She’ll do; barely, but she’ll do. To the sea, then.”
The skeleton in warm pink and cloudy blue sat by a little sandcastle decorated in shells. It’s a sloppy affair, little more than a couple of speckled mounds, but it was pretty fun regardless. There’d not been much to do to pass the time in wait, so you do what you have available, right?
The world ahead looked awfully dark and dreary and dank and other things that started with D. Let’s just hope that dull isn’t one of them, because at the very least we can brighten what’s to come. Probably. With a little effort, in any case. I mean, that’s an awfully oppressive atmosphere. It’s kind of harshing my vibes.
Rainbow up until now had ignored the hustle and bustle behind them, but deigned to finally notice what was going on when they were passed a glass of wine and everyone else toasted in that weird ocean language. Not wanting to look unenthused, Rainbow called out a string of gibberish that vaguely sounded like what the others said.
“Forward and shrimp!”
“To the sea!” Butterfly shouted cheerfully as she raised her glass up, drank from it, and then placed it on top of her zombie-manservant’s head. The zombie stood carefully still, holding up an umbrella to shield her from the oily ran from the delightfully dreadful sky above. And if her enchantments to keep the body from decaying and getting too dead managed to keep up, the glass could be perfectly balanced on it’s head unless the wind picked up. She even found a nice suit for the poor thing to wear just for this occasion.
“So,” she said, gazing out to the Envoy of Eternal Peace, “when can we get on the ship? I want to look around it already.”