Oceanborn, a Tale of The Living Fleet
Foreword by Professor Albert Lynath
How The Living Fleet came to be is greatly debated subject. If you ask the Dowager Countess she will tell you that the collection of desperados and brigands that make the Living Fleet are there as they cannot abide by sensible laws. Whereupon if you ask Mrs Nogg she will tell you a story about lovers, separated by fate that ran off to sea and from them the Living Fleet began. Now if you ask one of the stalwarts of the Izon Supremacy they will either look at you blankly or tell me to talk to the Archmage Chastormax… who while he normally changes the subject every five minutes, so you learn nothing, this time was incredibly talkative on the subject.
I will recount the tale he told me here in its entirety, however I must caution that experience has taught me three things; 1: An Elf Lord never tells you everything, 2: Wizards tend to play loose with the truth, and 3: An Elf Lord who is also a Wizard is going to leave you trying to figure out what you weren’t told and what is an exaggeration for the rest of your life.
I now present to you my recorded notes of this conversation.
The Archmage Chastormax as recorded by Professor Albert Lynath
In times long past, just after ‘The Arrival’ as you all call it, there was much turmoil. Kingdoms rose and fell, entire peoples and gods ceased to exist or were made lesser, and some lands were forever changed. We will begin in the Island Kingdom of Medlhe. This was a chain of large islands, of generally peace-loving people who spent the majority of their lives sailing this world, trading goods and tales.
Their God, Wynder, had watched the chaos of ‘The Arrival’ but had kept himself clear of the realignment of the divine pantheons of Vanagard and had instead carried on as normal, looking after his chosen people. This pleased our Gods, and they were content to leave him be. And so this carried on for many many centuries.
Roughly 600 years passed without incident. Our people ‘re-developed’ this continent of Gallia and made it our own. Treaties were forged, Fróðleikr-Skyn, the ‘College of Magic’ as you call it, was built and many from around Vanagard began to study there, and the great magics that protected our lands from uninvited guests were woven.
It was that this time Wynder decided he would finally come visit our shores. He arrived hidden and disguised as a mortal human and landed in the City of The Twins. He spent many months wandering its streets, talking both to our people and to other visitors to the city. It all went well until he visited The Fróðleikr-Skyn. Here he realized that the way he worked the divine powers at his disposal were ‘crude’ in comparison to the weaves our people used and that while he had always believed he was all powerful, that the power evident in the mages he encountered at The Fróðleikr-Skyn well exceeded the power he wielded.
Alarmed, he was initially determined to study and learn how to use his powers more skillfully, and Vidarr, Master of The Fróðleikr-Skyn admitted him entry to learn and train. While you may consider this a strange thing, God’s training with our peoples, it has been this way for more millennia than I care to recall. Back before we came to this world, Deities from many civilizations came to study and learn from our great masters, for we as a people do indeed walk with our Gods.
Hmmm, oh yes, it is the same Vidarr who is Master of The Fróðleikr-Skyn today. Oh, it’s only been a few thousand years he’s had the job, his predecessor had held it for a much more significant period of time. Now shall I return to the tale of The Living Fleet, or shall we wander off down this endless preoccupation you have with how long my people live?
Very well, back to Wynder. He studied for a great many years at The Fróðleikr-Skyn and indeed did master his powers and weave them as a divine being should. This should have been a joyous occasion and he should have then left our shores and returned to his people and this story ended. Sadly, this was not the case. Wynder had become preoccupied with the magic of our people and the events that had led us here. Vidarr tried to counsel him to reason, but as is often the case with divine beings, reason escapes them.
In frustration Wynder attempted to will himself to the Prismatic Tower, yes this very Tower you sit in. However, as you know the magics that shield this tower are many millennia in the making and no small part of divine magic has been involved in their creation. The defenses of the Tower activated and Wynder found himself fighting for his very existence as his divine soul was being sent to many many places simultaneously. I will now admit, I was impressed that he survived this, other luckless divine beings have not in the past.
A number of our Gods arrived and placed themselves before Wynder. Volur, ‘The Oracle’ as you call her, stepped forward to address Wynder. She warned him to turn back and calm himself or the fate she had foreseen would befall him. Wynder, half crazed at this point, attempted to destroy her instead of talking. Now there are a number of beings one should hesitate before attacking and at the top of that list are Gods that deal with Time and Foresight. As the blaze of power created by his divine will drove at Volur, she was quite simply, not there.
Our Gods again tried to reason with Wynder, but to no avail. The very fabric of this world was shaken by the powers unleashed by Wynders magic and our Gods strove mightily to restrain his power. Eventually the combined wills of our Gods overcome Wynders will and he was bound. It was at this time I am saddened to say, that a great debate occurred between our assembled deities. Some wanted Wynder destroyed, and others wanted him tended and restored. This debate perhaps would still be occurring today if it was not for the counsel of Linnormr, the ancient gold dragon and our divine Aevī, both who arrived at the end of the struggle. Perhaps by design, but nonetheless at the right moment in time.
Aevī and Linnormr counselled reason and outlined a plan for the Wynder and his people. One that some would call a punishment, but one that would play to Wynders great love to his people. And coincidentally would have the end result that matched Volurs vision.
Hmm, well I suppose that coincidence may be a stretch, but it is a word that fills the current need.
Our Gods transported the bound Wynder back to his people’s island home and gathered all his people from all over our world. They explained the situation to his people and gave them two choices. One, they the assembled gods of the Supremacy would strip Wynder of all his divine power and leave him with his people as one of them, and the second choice was that Wynders people would spend their lives and the lives of generations after them caring for Wynder until he was restored.
Now, I am hesitant to say that our Gods could have stripped Wynder of his divine powers, but I have also found it best not question when statements such as that are made.
Wynders people were incensed that anyone would bind their God, which is understandable, but again it is best not be too frustrated at divine beings as it never ends well. Needless to say, their attempts to free their God were unsuccessful.
Our Gods then outlined new options for Wynders people. The first, they and Wynder would spend all of eternity on this island chain and never leave and Wynder would never be restored, and the second Wynder and his people would leave these islands and roam the seas until Wynder was restored. It is said at this moment that Wynders people saw our gods in their true divine forms and finally understood the power that faced them. After a few weeks of discussion between themselves, Wynders people love for their god won out and they agreed to the second choice.
So it was that Wynders people loaded everything they could on their ships and set sail from their island home, with Wynder on board, to wander the seas of this world until such a time as their god was restored. Their island home vanished from mortal sight and the story says that when Wynder is restored the islands will return again.
These are the people you now know as The Living Fleet, always moving, always sailing, never setting foot on land for long. Caring for their God and awaiting the day he is restored.