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The Fairweather IV

Information taken from 'Whisky Galore' and the poetic works of Shony MacPhee

Written by David_Ulph

"A tha yes yes, I do recall the wrecking of Fairweather hee hee hee! You know I was only a whipper snapper, yes? But we had more whisky than water of course pa an' ma would give me a dram! They were all up so early in the morning but I wasn't allowed to go to the big boat with them, see? Then the officials came! Oh yes, the fun me and my friends had scarpering over the island hiding the bottles from them.. One in the chamberpot, one in a rabbit hole, one in a crab creel and thrown back in the sea! Oh people are cutting peat to this day and still uncovering a Fairweather whisky."
Mary Ulph, a 101 year old resident of Nivuk interviewed for the book 'Whisky Galore' which follows the events of the Fairweather Wreckage from the eyes of the locals


The warlord period of the late Third Era heavily affected all the states left in the power vacuum in the collapse of the Empire of Midland, though this was not fully the case for the nation of Rivercrown who continued to operate as if nothing had changed and were still a vassal state under von Apollyon Emperors. Despite some minor native uprisings which were far from unnormal, Rivercrown was by far the most stable and powerful successor state to the Midlandian Empire during the warlord period and before the rise of the Holy See.  
The henceforth Grand Duchy of Rivercrown once the leadership appreciated the Empire was a distant memory, even risking the sovereignty of bordering Vallatorlan lands if they did not find themselves under the leadership of a Demi-God of Slangg. This was of course challenged by Rivercrown, who once attempted to take over the port city of Yuregrim before this Demi-God High King Conall Bondsbreaker repelled the invaders with the assistance of the first Necromancers led by the Frost Giant known as Ysmgar the Five-Eyed.
In this relative supremacy over the northern Copper Sea, the Grand Duchy commissioned new types of vessels - trading ships which could hold more cargo and easily defensible against dangers such as the Northern Limit, Copper Graveyard and Shadow Lands - which were known as the Fairweather Series.

The Fairweather IV

Out of all five that were commissioned, the Fairweather IV was the most daring of them all. With a crew entirely native to the Northern Isles in the Copper Sea, they risked where no ship had survived before in sailing across the coast to the east which would pass through the Shadow Lands. After some months, it was believed the Fairweather IV met the same fate as all others since the Shadar-Kai corrupted the headlands in the east.
However, they did the opposite. In their time away, the Fairweather IV managed to plot a safe course only they could apparent traverse past the coast of the Shadow Lands, and establish links with places such as an ancient Mampang Fortress on the volcano of High Xamen and the trading port of Kernu where a Syndicate of Aspiring Businesses was forming. Soon, the Fairweather IV was trading alcohol and luxuries for magical information and artefacts with Mampang Fortress, and the only nation west of the Shadow Lands with access to the Sunrise Sea.

The Wreckage

As the Fairweather IV set off from the port of Pikemead to deliver a cargo of malt whisky with Mampang as usual, the crew started to prepare for the coming winter festivities as the month of Samhain was quickly approaching. Before the ship even sailed past the Kingdom of Analand (who had developed into a rivalling competitor of the Grand Duchy), the crew of the Fairweather IV opened a case of whisky to celebrate the end of Harvestend month.
The ship's captain was too drunk to realise he had veered too close to the Isle of Nivuk and refused to realign his course. This resulted in the Fairweather IV's hull snagging on a rock and become wrecked just off a part of the island called the Bay of Holmar. Before long, the crew evacuated to the island and sought safe travel back to Rivercrown since the island was under Analander jurisdiction. Before long, the locals lined the beach of Holmar ready to take the precious cargo which risked being lost with the ship when it finally tore from the rock and sunk.

Aftermath of the Wreckage

The majority of the whisky cargo of the Fairweather IV was stolen by the Nivuk locals, who revelled in their newfound riches. However, as Nivuk was Analand territory but the ship wrecked out in the Copper Sea, and therefore Rivercrown claimed no citizen under Analand's Alsan Dynasty could lay a lawful finger on any crate or bottle of whisky which was held in the Fairweather IV. Officials from Pikemead were sent as soon as possible, but by the time they reached Nivuk the Fairweather had completely sunk. Content with leaving it as that, when they noticed most locals in the village of Holmar appeared under the influence, a full and thorough investigation of the island was held.
And so began an intricate game of cat and mouse. The Rivercrown officials knew there was whisky on that island, it was merely the lack of physical evidence which prevented them from making arrests. The islanders hid the whisky wherever they could, most wrapping back around Holmar Bay. A handful of arrests were made over the winter where the islanders had nothing better to do than play games with the foreign officials.   But the village elders understood it would not go on forever, they would need to get rid of such high amounts of whisky crates still left somehow. And so they contacted mainland Analand, the second closest settlement to Nivuk being Gullton - for they knew Rivercrown would ask to check the closest -, and sought safe passage for their luxurious liquid-gold cargo. The Arkle House of Gullton agreed, with boats being sent to Holmar Bay over the month of Handsel while the officials were distracted.
'Whisky Galore'. The author later notes how despite some arrests were made, no charges ever reached the imperial court of the Grand Duke.

The Fairweather & the Storm Kelpies

A local legend persists that the reason the Copper Sea is so tumultuous, especially around the Isle of Nivuk, is due to a beast which lives below the waves called Storm Kelpies. These creatures resemble porpoises and use their powerful tails in unison to cause strong high waves above the surface, so that they can capsize vessels which sail the Sea. While the existence of Storm Kelpies is still disputed in the academic community, to the islanders of Nivuk they are completely real and the story of the Fairweather Wreckage goes slightly differently by the modern day.
A pod of Storm Kelpies swam up to the Fairweather IV as it drifted into their territory, and offered a challenge to the captain of the ship. The captain would be told two lines from a poem, and he would have to recite the rest of the verse before the ship drifted out of Storm Kelpy territory. Sadly, due to the intoxication of the crew, they could not recite the rest of the poem and the Kelpies used their tails to push the Fairweather IV off course and into the rocks off the Holmar Bay.
Prompts Advent Calendar #18

WorldEmber Article #20
Vehicle Class
Fairweather Series Ship
Owning Organisation
Grand Duchy of Rivercrown
ITV (Imperial Trading Vessel)
Wreckage Date
1st Samhain 3E Late Warlord Period

Second Sight Premonition

The month of Samhain is named so after the festival which occurs on its first date, which is an extremely important magical day where the events of it will dictate how the following winter will be. As such, coming up to Samhain the wild magic of the Mortal Realm fluctuates as prophetic visions come to those in the Grey who are blessed with the natural magic of Second Sight.
Exactly a week before Samhain of the year of Fairweather IV's wreckage, a settled local connected to the Bardic House MacPhee of poets and storytellers on the Isle of Nivuk claimed when they were returning from fishing with a companion to see a spectre ship. As MacPhee sailed past a location on the island known as the "Headland of the Thumb" near Holmar Bay, he witnessed a splendidly rigged ship sailing westward.
The spectre ship came close to MacPhee's small rowboat, to which he noted had no name on her bows. After a while, the ship turned out to the Copper Sea again. After two hours MacPhee returned to the spot on land and noticed the ship had remained in the exact same spot as when he left. Though as soon as he found the ship with his eyes he witnessed a belch of smoke and all the while flounder deeper in the water. By this time MacPhee realised that the ship was really sinking but within minutes the ship had sunk and nothing more was seen of her.
MacPhee warned the local town, though no one else (even MacPhee's companion) had seen such a ship pass in days and when contacting port officials on both Rivercrown and Analander sides, none had reported a vessel due to pass Nivuk until Samhain. And so MacPhee left the matter, until the night afore Samhain where he dreamt of the spectre ship once more as if he were on it, and witnessed thousands of crates of whisky float into Holmar Bay.
Historians who have revisited the sinking of Fairweather IV have attributed this bard's works to be the reason for why the locals were all awake and ready to snatch the whisky before the ship was fully abandoned. Critics and non-believers of Second Sight, however, see it as mere bardic exaggeration and romanticisation of the wreckage.

Long-Term Effect

With the whisky stored away in the safe hands of the Arkle House in Gullton, the shrewd aristocrats found a way to capitalise on their situation. It is believed by many that the Arkle House used the reputation of the Fairweather Heist, riches from selling on the whisky, as well as using leftovers as well-placed presents, all of which eventually led to the Sightmaster Corps-led noble revolution against the Alsan Dynasty in favour of the Arkles. Even in the modern day, the Arkle Dynasty rules supreme over the Kingdom of Analand, with the new capital of Arkleton being a renamed Gullton.

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Cover image: by Vertixico


Author's Notes

Well if you hadn't guessed the first rather obvious inspiration for this article it is of course the real life events of Whisky Galore! The SS Politician is the real life ship which crashed just off the coast of the Isle of Eriskay, where my great-gran Mary Ulph was the schoolteacher and helped in the whisky raid! The other inspiration as I said on discord is the rusting shipwreck which now sits on my family croft, the Fairweather IV, which I have spent an awful long time throughout my life sitting chilling and looking at. Awesome stuff.   A wee update a few days later because my mum just decided to tell me a story her Great Uncles told me about how they witnessed Storm Kelpies throw the irl Fairweather off-course and into the shallow rocks. Of course I had to add that in!!

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Dec 19, 2020 12:19 by Angantyr

The setiing is so detailed, I will need a map before I feel all the details. XD Nice job getting the realf-life events into your world. Small detaild, such as the play on colors: Copper Sea - whisky gives it a nice charm. Thanks for a good read!

Playing around with words and worlds
Dec 19, 2020 13:26 by David Alexander

Thank you :-) its actually the reason I named the Copper Sea that, by the way! So I'm glad it's been picked up! In terms of maps I dooo have a map but it's pretty bland on my WA homepage, but I intend on picking up Project Deios when it comes out :D

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides!
Dec 19, 2020 18:20 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love that your great gran participated in the real life version, and that you attributed the quote to her at the beginning. Such cool little details. This is a really fun article. :)

Dec 20, 2020 10:23 by David Alexander

Ah she always was a character! As soon as I saw the prompt I instantly thought of wee 7 year old me listening to her recite the tales to me and knew what I had to write

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides!
Dec 31, 2020 21:09 by Michael Chandra

Man blaming the Kelpies is just unfair.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young