|(I'm still working on the cover.)|
Tentative title: The Failure of the Saeire Insu
Tentative release date: Late 2018 or early 2019
Book order: Sixth in the Melody and the Pier to Forever story arc, just before Book Three
Notes: This novel has been the most challenging I've ever written. The story details are numerous and interwoven, the characters too. Pacing and tone have presented numerous issues, as well as knowing where in the story with respect to the Revolution what occurs and when. Still, it has been a glorious ride. I figure I've got eight chapters to go before reaching the end.
Class: Ars (Zephyr) Dreadnought
Length: 680 ft.
Armaments: Four 144-Cardum Peacemakers; standard issue cannonary (36)
Crew complement: 1039
From Chapter 16
The maps would be redrawn in the years to come. The Imperium’s defeat and Necrolius’ destruction would eventually herald a renaissance across the face of Aquanus as nations and governments reformed, or, in some cases, were born completely new from the ashes. Their borders and frontiers were proudly announced on those maps.
In the coming years those maps would mark the events off the Southern Coast of the Sankyan Wilderness, events confirmed again and again through legend and breathless whispers, exceeding all the boundaries of common sense, as all myths do, and, finally, by those of us who had actually been there and witnessed the grim reality of it. On those maps a new sea was declared by cartographers who couldn’t ignore what we did there. Off the southern coast of the Sankyan, a new sea was declared: The Sea of Failure.
All four of our Peacemakers blazed at once. Four Imperial Warships surrounding us exploded, adding to the fiery conflagration. The collective roar was muted by rain and lightning, and by the almost continuous concussions from Imperials as they fired back. Night hung over the destruction like a hungry curse.
Captain Tiderider stood at the bow in his longcoat. He was soaked. He didn’t seem to notice. It was from there that he barked orders. I had left the comfort of the bridge as well. I too had one and only one thing on my mind: wiping out the blockade.
We toyed with them. We cloaked and decloaked. We circled them and taunted them before sending a Peacemaker into their bellies and adding to the raging, gleeful hell. Imperial warships were designed with a heavy emphasis on Gyssian sailing principles, which meant that they were quite competent in stormy seas. But they had nothing on this Zephyr-designed dreadnought and its Saeire Insu-trained crew.
Our taunting caused four massive collisions, one between two dreaders. The storm and the night had reduced visibility to under a half-mison. Swells regularly blocked the view.
Over the storm and the battle, we could hear drowning Tracluse. We ran them over.
—FIRE! — roared the Captain.
The Peacemakers lit up again. Imperial warships exploded like dry kindling.
We cloaked and went back on the hunt.
The storm wasn’t going anywhere for two or three days, according to Hicap Lucanson, who kept us updated with respect to its size and direction, which meant the Vorddra wasn’t going anywhere quickly either. We had time, and burned for mayhem.
Shybanit speculated later that Okuzo, without informing us, had tweaked that desire as she refocused the crew on the blockade. If so, I was grateful.
On occasion demons appeared overhead. They tried landing on a few occasions, and for that died by the Wings’ and my blades. We taunted them by cloaking and uncloaking, tempting them out to open sea or into the line of fire. More than one Mephastophian disappeared in an exploding vapor of green when they came within the blast line of a Peacemaker. The ordnance would cruise on and detonate when it slammed into the warship it was intended for.
became a great flaming, tossing, scattering pile of Imperial lumber. Hundreds of Tracluse clung for dear life onto it. Thousands more bodies floated. And still— Senecum Ocean
Imperials occasionally got lucky and struck us. But this ship was constructed of Antarctic
Cottonwood tested, tempered, and aecxally manipulated over two decades to be stronger than steel and much lighter. Imperial cannonballs slammed into our sides and bounced harmlessly into the water. We could feel the blasts, to be sure; and we had sustained damage to several of our sheets, but that was it. It seemed the longer we attacked the more efficient we got. All those long years of training were coming to the fore.
In the end we sank forty-one Imperial warships, frigates, destroyers, slashers, dreadnoughts, and support craft for an estimated fifty-two thousand Tracluse dead or lost at sea.
There was no way the Vorddra missed the slaughter. From their position it must have looked like the blazing gates of Hell opening under a hurricane. It would settle mercilessly in their bones like a cold cancer and it would infect their vocal chords and it would mix with their spinal fluid, so that every time they got a moment alone with their comrades, no matter where they were, no matter how long they lived, they would shudder as they whispered of it. It would haunt their dreams and cling to them, unrelentingly, like the cries of their fellow Tracluse floating out there, to their forgotten, watery, God-forsaken graves.
Join us on the Pier to Forever today!