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The Ardent

Sea of Nightmares

  When the remains of The Ardent washed back to shore, it was a tragic day for the Krait Empire. The failure of The Ardent's primary mission marked the deaths of several key figures in the Empire's military, including one S-class adventurer, "Aquarius," best known for her mastery over water-attribute magic. When traces of the wreckage were discovered, a large-scale expedition set out to retrieve a single item aboard the ship: a specially designed mana crystal. Although the retrieval was successful, the majority sent on the expedition didn't return.   The crystal functioned as a black box, containing the reports and final moments of one Ensign Roderik, a low-ranking officer aboard during The Ardent's last journey.  
Tempests, Disease, Monsters. Three of the things no sailor wants to encounter on a long journey, and we got 'em all.
— Ensign Roderik, 10th log

The Ardent's Mission

 
The Krait Empire set aside the resources necessary for The Ardent for one goal: exploration of the West Sea. After the expedition's failure, it was renamed to the Nightmare Sea by way of word-of-mouth.   The word 'exploration' meant many things for the crew members - they had to subjugate dangerous monsters that called the sea home, take stock of the sea's resources, and map out the area. The land-hungry Empire was especially curious about finding land beyond the dangerous seas, so much so that the cartographer on the expedition was promised his weight in gold for an accurate sea chart and (hopefully) foreign coasts.
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  The West Sea was well known for its dangers, and lack of rewards when trying to cross it.  
Between the constant storms and wildly powerful monsters, we already knew what the West Sea offered us. What we didn't expect was... well, within the first week of travel, several crew members fell ill. High fever followed by necrosis all across the body - I'd never seen anything like it. It was as though death itself rested on the water, and all who touched it were doomed. The captain ordered everyone to avoid putting anything more than a finger into the sea, and that was only if you were fine with losing your finger.
— Ensign Roderik, 5th log
  Were it not for Aquarius' involvement in The Ardent's expedition, the crew would've been wiped out even before its first engagement with monsters. Possessing a power over healing waters, most of the breakouts of the strange illness were halted with her intervention.  

The Final Log

The mana crystal containing Ensign Roderik's reports totalled 15 entries, over 6 weeks of travel of an expected 3 month expedition. The final entry was a series of moving images, describing a scene of panic and carnage. As though the sea itself was alive, gigantic waves took unnatural shapes, bending and twisting, freezing and boiling, a sight unimaginable in a normal storm. A column of water suddenly rushed over the ship's deck, swallowing a sailor's desperate pleas and diving back into the ocean. Spears of water and ice and steam punctured every crew member in sight, instantly killing and destroying whatever they touched. All at once, it stops. The sea went still, and not a single crew member remained alive.   Off in the distance, the waves swell and a bright light pierced the sea, accompanied by sharp sounds of water cracking against something with intense force, and an overpowering roar shook the surface of the water. An obsidian black, gleaming surface emerged from the sea, and enveloped a point of light with a speed unfitting of its size. As it sunk back into the deep, a large tail pounded against the surface of the water, forming a huge wave that knocked into The Ardent and finally capsized it.  
The Empire called it Leviathan.
   

'The West Sea Incident'

Type
Report, Incident
Medium
Crystal, Magical
Location
Signatories (Organizations)
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Secrets of The Ardent

  • A detailed map and related locational data was stored in the mana crystal, meaning the Empire ultimately achieved its goals of the expedition
  • The final results of the battle between Aquarius and Leviathan are uncertain, as the mana crystal cut off recording after the wave hit.
  • Detailed analysis of the sea charts shows that the largest ocean currents bend at unusual locations, indicating that there should be a landmass further out to sea.
  • 'Leviathan' is not a unique monster. It is one of many.
 
Warning, clicking the goblinfire will show additional secrets and information on the Article, including potential spoilers for the [Law of Mana] Webnovel.

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Comments

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Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
24 May, 2019 11:28

Dear god! This was a beautiful article to read! For being so short, it very much managed to hook me into the article from the very first place! You manage to weave a beautiful atmosphere of horror into the article in such a short amount of words and i would say thats an achievement in itself. I overall just loved the formatting and atmosphere of the article. One thing i would like to know is what was the cultural impact of this ? Did it spark any special events? Wars or investigation? Still congratulations and keep up the great work!

25 May, 2019 00:19

This isn't the first time the Krait Empire did something crazy in the pursuit of more land and power. Their entire history is a series of land-grabs and wars of attrition that almost always worked in their favor thanks to their sheer hard-headedness.   The Krait Empire Article will feature quite a few more topics to explore (once it's written, of course!)

24 May, 2019 18:25

Well written, easy to read, and I enjoy the cover image. Overall I'd say a great article.

4 Jun, 2019 02:12

Well sir, it appears this expedition did not go the best. The Discovery was death in miraculous ways. Very interesting idea of using a mana crystal as a sort of black box! I am surprised the Captain was not privy to its use!   Well written, and I love the art you used! I can't to read about your writings on this leviathan creature as it becomes known!


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Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
17 Jun, 2019 04:26

I offer a large "F" to the crew. Great work my dude