Entrenched behind the weary eyes
In the faraway song the cold sea sung
In the calm whisper of winds afar
It lies, calls and awaits
Deep in the primeval dark
Embodiment of despair
That never leaves or severs the ties
The following was dutifully recorded by
Carcaryn T’Chel, XVI Angeli Magna Coronados,
and verified by
Luis R. Arroyo, Commander, Sentinel Phantasme
this mediàlmic diary be his testament. Let it serve as his witness.
To those ends, I, his wife, shall endeavor to make it worthy of you, the reader, whoever you are, and wherever you are, be it Earth or Aquanus. Let this serve as a reminder of the sacrifices the Saeire Insu, especially those serving aboard the S.I. Failure, made in freeing Aquanus from the Black Coffin. Of his sacrifice.
I pray it may be read one day in a world worth living in, or even one that’s still living, Earth or Aquanus.
~Carcaryn T’Chel, XVI Angeli Magna Coronados, Saeire Insu
Saeire Insu Warship Failure
Current Position: 3.339E by 0.221N
Captain Josias Bodley Tiderider
Day 86 of the Revolution
MY NAME is Ske T’Chel. My friends and comrades call me Sketch. I am a warrior of the XVI Angeli Magna Coronados, known as the Kumiyaay. I am a crewmember of the Saeire Insu warship Failure.
I am (at best guess) thirty-four years Earth-years old. I was born on Vanerrincourt and crossed the Eastern Tangent when I was just a boy in early adolescence. I was one of the Hope’s Far Shore: the group of four hundred sixteen abandoned children found hiding in the belly of the passenger ship of the same name as the Invasion was underway. Another Kumiyaay, Carcaryn Gellantara, was with us. She wasn’t Vanerrincourtian, but Pyrrhonian. Her parents, Pyrrhonian ambassadors, left her to die as Gyssian warships rose on every horizon, just as my parents left me and my sister, and just as hundreds more parents left their children behind on that vessel.
The Hope wasn’t a warship. She didn’t have a single cannon on her. Still, when the king heard about our plight, he insisted we join the fleet fleeing along Ae Infinitus.
Some of us fought during the Day of Fire and Ice. Some of us died.
Someday a story will be written about Hope’s Far Shore and its children. Perhaps the translator of this diary will be the one to do it.
Before beginning my tale, allow me to explain Failure’s role in the Revolution.
Very simplistically put, the Saeire Insu fleet is divided three ways: Large Battle Groups (LBGs), Small Battle Groups (SBGs), and Rogues. Large Battle Groups have up to twenty-five warships in them. In an LBG there is everything from King’s-class warships, enormous and magnificent, down to Feint-class attack craft, some with fewer than a dozen aboard. SBGs, by contrast, have anywhere from two to ten ships in them.
Saeire Insu classifications are further broken down into country origins: August, for example, or Galarrage. The Saeire Insu chose not to swallow our ten nations into one giant, homogeneous whole, but to honor each nation and allow them the fullest autonomy possible while still being part of a single kingdom.
It reflects in our ships. We utilize the strengths of each member country in their construction. For example, Galarrage has three destroyer classes: Jellico, Hunter, and Battle Angel. A Saeire Insu warship that emphasizes the strengths of a Jellico-class destroyer has a slightly wider girth, lower lines, and increased maneuverability compared to similarly sized destroyers. The goal is to present to the Imperium a confounding front of tactics, designs, and strengths.
Clear as mud?
Failure is a Zephri Equerrí-class heavy destroyer (a “baby dreadnought”) with a complement of 729. Since our ship is Zephri-designed, it is made to withstand brutally stormy conditions, and can maneuver and fight in seas that would capsize other vessels.
Most relevantly, though, we are not part of an LBG or SBG. We are a Saeire Insu Rogue.
We had been called to general quarters. We came across three Imperial transports sailing just south of Hieron-Tamus. All Imperial vessels are armed, but these were very heavily so, and the crews were not your regular grunts. We determined one was slaveless and sank it right off, and then swung around and attacked the second. The Tracluse went insane. They swiped sightlessly with their swords, and sent clouds of arrows into the air, and shouted nonsensical curses. We got into the ship’s bowels and found gold and silver coins from at least six different nations in huge, heavily secured chests.
The Tracluse captain killed himself trying to get to me. We’d decloaked and ordered their surrender, and the fool hacked madly at me with his cutlass. One of his swipes went through a forward shroudline, and a heavy crank swung down and nearly decapitated him. The third ship, seeing us, fired. We fired back (more on our impressive armaments later), and it exploded like it had been carrying extra tons of gunpowder. The shock of the blast injured seventeen of our crew, two seriously.
All three transports were sailing without Mephastophians, which was odd as well. We reported all of this, of course, to King’s Perch.
Back to my original discussion. As I mentioned above, Failure is a Saeire Insu Rogue (SIR).
We don’t belong to a battle group. Captain Tiderider doesn’t answer to a High Captain; he answers directly to the king’s advisors at King’s Perch.
Being assigned to a Rogue warship is being assigned to the most hazardous duty in the fleet. If we get in trouble, no one will be there to get our backs. If we screw up, we die.
The Rogues, of which comprise maybe fifteen percent of the two hundred fifty-six warships in the Saeire Insu, were given, literally, no specific orders once the fleet crossed the Tangent from Earth to Aquanus. Our job is quite simple: to wreak utter havoc on the Imperial fleet.
Rogue crews are the craziest bastards Supreme Commander Jelignite and his advisors could put together. We are lone wolves. Our mission is to disrupt the enemy to the greatest degree possible, and then get the hell out—assuming we can get the hell out. We are the lightning just ahead of the tornado.
Which brings me to the Captain. Ol’ Mayhem himself.
I firmly believe I am serving under a truly great naval captain. Our very lives depend on his guidance and wisdom.
At first glance he appears to be bereft of both. Just looking at him, one is struck with the desire to protect one’s valuables, and the women. He wears a near-constant grin that looks more like the one a con man would sport after a successful lift. He shaves every other day, at best, and his Irish accent is hard to understand. Even the king, who is also Irish, has trouble at times keeping up with it. The king’s Irish is refined, if an Irish accent and “refined” can ever be put together; but the Captain’s Irish sounds like it spent the night in an alleyway next to a pub after a night of she-broke-my-heart drinking.
He wears a gray longcoat that isn’t regulation or even Saeire Insu. He thinks it brings him luck, and the crew think it too. If he’s not wearing it, we worry.
He is the only Saeire Insu citizen, military or otherwise, who was allowed by the Council of Ten to name his vessel. If you read on, I think you’ll agree that he earned the honor.
So why did he name our warship Failure? Well, I can tell you this for now (and this is not the whole reason, so hang on): Failure is phonetically equivalent to the Zephri word faillir, which means (and I looked it up, so you can trust me): indomitable faith.
To the soul translating and writing this down, allow me to say, with as much gratitude and faith as is possible in this universe, thank you.