SECTION 1         CHAPTER 1 - Challenge of the Sea
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          The 16th Day of the Month of the Frost Giant, Year 544

                    August 22nd, 2008 Earth Time

The note was just a small piece of parchment, much like any citizen may 
have used. Written in a deep and nervous script were four words, 'The frae 
is gone'.

The apprentice ship builder knew that this was catastrophic news, little 
did he know that it meant the end of the world.
 
Morty looked at the note, looked back up to his boss Durrack, the Medievia 
City dockyard master, and said, "Maybe sir, I mean, wouldn't it be best if 
you took this note to Marious?"
 
Durrack looked down and barked, "Son, Marious knows everything, while you 
are there ask him what you ate for breakfast on your tenth birthday. I 
dare you. Marious knows our frae has been running out faster than we had 
hoped. He knows Pode has sunk eleven ships this moon alone. He also knows 
that there will be no more frae and no more ships. He is expecting this 
note."

Durrack continued, "I could telepath him, but like Vryce, he is known to 
react badly to any intrusion into his private thoughts. Ask Smiley down in 
lumber scheduling why he cannot frown to save his own pathetic life. Have 
you heard the story? He was drunk and telepathed Marious that he was sad, 
his girlfriend left him for one of those new workers from afar. He will 
never appear sad again I can tell you that! Sending you is the smart move, 
for me, now get going."
 
Morty felt his old cheer coming back and was whistling happily when he 
walked into the Medievia War Room.
 
Morty's face froze as if Vryce himself 'stone skinned' him. Marious's face 
was white with shock, staring without focus on another small note Marious 
held in his hand.
 
Blood drained from Morty's soul as he dared to glimpse at the note that 
scared the second most powerful being on the planet.
 
Marious snapped to reality and looked up at Morty. Marious took Morty's 
note, which apparently he did not have to read, and said, "Thank you. Tell 
Durrack to get a good meal in his belly, the last he may enjoy, and to be 
here at sundown, and Morty? Please do not tell anyone what the note says."
 
Morty felt like he was part of history as he managed a squeaky, "Sir, what 
does it say?"
 
Marious handed him the note with another four words written boldly in the 
center, 'The invasion has begun'.
 
Morty said, "Sir, the Khrait?"
 
Marious gave him a mental glimpse that filled his mind with dread, an 
ocean filled with warships as far as the eye could see, and then Medievia 
City burning.
 
What happened next would forever shape the man that Morty would become. 
Marious suddenly looked happy! He was wild mad happy in a way that only an 
ancient arch-mage from the depths of history could pull off. Marious was 
looking forward to war! Morty instantly knew why long ago in ages past 
Vryce turned his War Room over to this crazy old wizard. 
 
Marious said, "Son, either of these notes would be bad enough. Getting 
them both at the same time means all hope is lost, and that Morty is when 
Medievia is at its best!"
 
Morty could never say why, but that was the last time he knew fear. 
Medievia filled him with hope even as the planet was being invaded from 
afar by a magical fae civilization more powerful than Medievia's rae based 
world. He actually started to whistle as he strode out of the War Room. 
 
The last thing he heard was something never before spoken in the history 
of time, Marious cackled out loud and yelled, "Summon Vryce NOW!".

***********************************************************************
Note: The story stopped here, the first players to leave dock, get
one million fae and engage the Khrait would be in the next section...
***********************************************************************

** Vryce appears with an ear-splitting bang! **

Marious chided himself for being startled when Vryce appeared, right
before he finished the word "Now".

Marious grinned and said, "Vryce you amaze me."

Vryce replied, "Marious you newbie I will 'Amaze' you if you do not have a
good reason to summon me. You may be ancient but I know you have not lost
your mind, so get on with it, and why are you so damned happy? Did you
find the source of the frae or stae?"

Marious toned down his excitement and said, "I am afraid sir. The news is
actually terrible. We are at War my lord."

Vryce sighed and said, "Marious you better have good news. If this is just 
you excited about the tactics of war when thousands of our people will 
die, if not all of them...", Vryce grinned and said, "I will transfer you 
to Earth where you will have no magic and you will just be some spooky old 
man."

Soleil may see Vryce sigh but Marious has not seen him sigh since the
great purging hundreds of years ago. Vryce seemed to be himself within two
heartbeats and said, "and the frae?" Marious simply shook his head no as
he tried to wipe the excitement off of his face.

Vryce said quietly, "The glimpse was correct then. The Khrait control the
ocean fae magic, they will invade our world on ships and attack our
mainland, and there will be nothing we can do about it."

Vryce reacted as if he already lived this day a thousand times and was
bored with it. He raised his hand and before it reached his mouth an ice
cold mug of beer appeared. Vryce took a long swallow as he walked over to
the War Room's tactical table. He calmly said, "Old man I have wagered a
hundred wars before you took your first breath. Show me where the first
ship captain reported the attack."

Marious hesitated, "Well sir, that story is a long one and you will not
like it."

Vryce replied, "Don't tell me, more immortal heroes attacking each other?"

Marious quipped, "You must tire of never being surprised my lord."

Vryce said, "Marious, right now during time of war, I am afraid my 
surprise will be the end of us all."

The old wizard looked older than usual as he got on with it, "Captain
Princess Ferral the Assassin Heroine captained the Man O War The Silver
Peregrine from the Knights of the Endless Days clan had a massive haul of
fae and was trying to attract the Khrait to her location when tragedy
struck. She would have been the one to trigger this attack, and with her 
experience it may have gone better than the outcome we are left with."

"It turns out that the Tribe of Malicious Exiles clan had a grudge against
our finest lady Captain because she had recently sunk two of their ships."

Marious nearly spit out the following words, "It turns out that Phichus,
who seems to always be in trouble, had raised the pirate flag on the The
Silver Peregrine against her wishes and the clans rules, anyone could
attack her."

Vryce nodded as if he knew what Marious would say next.

"Captain Baron Skalab the Knight Hero wasted no time, waiting until
Ferral's ship was heavily damaged by the serpents, he fired all guns and
sunk her ship without a moment of hesitation."

Vryce surprised Marious by saying, "Good stuff. Some days I wish I was an
immortal hero from Earth adventuring on the high seas. What about the
invasion?"

"The first sign was the number of Khrait scout ships", Marious continued,
"Captain Prince Malaku from the White Rose clan reported a dozen scout
ships appearing from afar when normally his fae only attracted a few at
the most. Captain Liono from the Tribe of Malicious Exiles clan was near
the area as well and together they battled the Khrait."

Vryce nodded and said, "Malaku is a good captain, he is ranked 16th in 
fae. Still, I wish Captain Xezer from Visions of Glory clan triggered this 
new invasion, he may have fared better. We must avoid every sunken ship at 
all costs, yet we must continue to harvest fae and protect our mainland."

Marious interupted, "Sir they all sank."

Vryce said, "Both of them?"

Marious looked distraught, "The Khrait just kept coming, a dozen scout
ships, then two dozen, then three...they did not stand a chance. I am
afraid it gets worse. The immortals took out dozens of Man O Wars to
engage the Khrait. The battle continues but it does not go well, here is
a report from the front."

Marious handed Vryce a list of the dozen might Man O Wars sunk to the
depths of the ocean by the invasion force so far:

CAPTAIN     SHIP
---------------------------------------------
Altisa      The Transcendence (DESTROYED)
Derfal      Defiance (DESTROYED)
Kaytlin     Obsidian Pearl (DESTROYED)
Kaziel      Stardust (DESTROYED)
Liono       Tempest (DESTROYED)
Rahtaz      Entropy (DESTROYED)
Raithir     The White Wind (DESTROYED)
Samehdi     Trifle Off Course (DESTROYED)
Solinari    Firefly (DESTROYED)
Stryx       Sylmare (DESTROYED)
Vidakon     The Transcendence of IO (DESTROYED)
Vlue        Venia Fortuna (DESTROYED)

Vryce read the note and reacted, "Marious if we do not find our own source
of frae soon, all is lost. We cannot hold them off. We don't need new
ships, we need new navies!"

Marious took a few moments and spoke carefully, "My lord it may be true
that we cannot build new ships but all is not lost. We have seen the
immortal heros survive out on the ocean against terrible odds. It is true
that they will all surely sink but they may yet give us the time we need."

Vryce smiled as he said, "You speak the truth old man, even Pode who sunk
so many ships is a highly ranked captain who recently made it back to dock
fifteen times hauling nearly sixteen million fae. What we need is for all
of the captains to work together. I wonder if that is possible."

Marious stood up straight nearly yelling, "I know an order when I hear it
my lord. I will make sure all captains understand that they need to work
together. I shall summon our top ten captains, Xezer, Samehdi, Skalab,
Ferral, Greyloc, Shaere, Vierge, Asmira, Rolina, and Pode. Perhaps some of
Medievia's original captains can get back out on the ocean as well sir,
Bberke and Tenen would give us some real leadership!"

Marious grinned and his eyes glared from an inner fire as he said, "What
we really need is a mad captain with a knack of survival! Vryce, I am sure
you remember Shrefwan? His legendary ship 'The High Seas' was the first to
haul in five million fae. Modern captains do not have the teamwork we may
need soon, they have ships filled with workers! Shrefwan made legendary
after legendary run with just his clan mates and friends! They had no
deckhands, these brave heroes even pumped their own ships! Chryos was
there, maybe he can help. He wrote many great Mudslinger articles about
the craziest captain of all, Shrefwan!"

Marious looked at Vryce, who seemed to be barely listening, possibly deep
into a glimpse of a possible future that can help the situation. Vryce
always hated old men talking about the past, Marious knew this but was 
besides himelf with glee."

Marious spoke louder, "Vryce remember that Mudslinger article you handed
me about 'The High Seas' and the five million fae? You rarely looked so
proud as that day...and then....when Antons took the Defiant and..."

Marious rubbed his hands together like a child about to be given his first
spellbook.

Vryce, seeing the end of his glimpse, drained his beer down his throat
with the practice that only a few millennium can give a man and said,
"Marious try not to have too much fun, ok old man? It is true we have not
been at war for centuries. I admire your patience. Take to heart what
Jakob said, the fate of - Thousands of Worlds - and the fate of magic
itself depends on the outcome of this war. We cannot tame Medievia if we
relinquish it to the Khrait!" The room shook from the power of Vryce.

The old war wizard Marious clapped his hands together smartly, suddenly
looking centuries younger and a few inches taller, and barked "Time to get
to war then! I mean work! Time to get to work. Sorry sir... I.."

Vryce walked over to Marious in that way a great general would walk toward
a cadet who mouthed off. Marious actually gulped. Vryce tried to contain
his amusement as he looked down at him and commanded, "Marious leave the
war to our immortal captains. The heroes of Medievia can wage this war for
now. You must find the source of the frae. Take some heroes with you and
do not speak to me until you have found it. Is that clear?"

Marious responded without a hint of disappointment, "Yes sir my lord. You
can count on me."

Marious continued, "Sir if I may? Ozymandias is our best scientist. I know
he is busy but I am certain he could help us figure out the source of the
frae." Marious, looking at Vryce's neutral expression continued,
"Ozymandias is afar I know, but we have never needed him more and I am
sure if you ask him to return..."

Vryce cut him off, "I told you the feeling I got from that brief contact
with Jakob, Gods cannot interfere. No possible futures ended well unless
this war was won by the immortals. Do not question my instincts old man!"

With that, Vryce became blurred and distorted and then vanished, off to
help save the world, again.
Section 2

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