BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

The Eye of Leris

"Welcome to the Eye Of Leris your excellency, the Emperor is currently resting and will be receiving visitors in a short while. The ship will be in harbour for three days, and we hope to see all of the dignitaries who seek audience."
  Flagship of the Imperial Fleet, and the personal ship of the Emperor of Belyos, the Eye of Leris is a floating palace and fortress, designed to carry the Imperial Household across the The Empire of Belyos and the Inner Sea in comfort and security. It acts as a mobile seat of power, visiting Elector States across the Empire, carrying all the trappings of state with it, and largely removing the need for individual Elector Lords to be burdened with the security requirements involved.  


  Convention within the Empire tends to name ships after important individuals, events or the gods, with Tanab, Steward of the Sea, being the most often invoked. Leris is the god of storms, also called the Stormlord, and is widely offered prayers prior to a long sea journey, to ensure that his favour is granted. It was considered unusual to name a vessel after him, but Til-Lautor insisted, having had several experiences in storms during his naval career prior to becoming Emperor, and is convinced that he has the eye, and the favour, of one of the Empire's more temperamental gods.  

Deck Plan

Eye of Leris


  Upper Quarter Deck: The highest deck and location of the ship's rudder, so is also referred to as the 'steering deck'. Off limits to non-essential sailors, is often where the captain and first officer can be found, keeping an eye on the proper functioning of the vessel.
Rear Upper Cabin: A small living area for the ship's captain and first officer, who often work on opposing shifts. The room also functions as a place to plot courses and hold meetings for the ship's senior officers.
Lower quarter deck: Despite being close to the Steering Deck, the lower quarter deck is allocated to the ship's passengers, so they have somewhere to spend time outside, and be out of the way of the sailors the majority of the time.
Fore deck: Raised area at the front of the ship that holds the ship's ballistas and is used for archers in the event of combat. Also used as a command deck for the management of non-naval activities.
Emperor's Stateroom
Emperor's Stateroom
: Main bedroom and living quarters for the Emperor. Opulent and comfortable, it has all the features expected of an Imperial living space.
Imperial Quarters: The other spaces in the Imperial living area have movable bulkheads, allowing a number of other bedrooms, a large dining area, or even a place to receive guests; all created to serve the needs at the time.
Main deck: Main open area of the ship. Boarding the ship takes place here, both formally, and during assault. Is also the place where most of the sailors work, tending to the sails and other such nautical duties.
Fore deck cabins: Living space for the ship's higher ranking crew. Like the Imperial quarters, the walls can be moved to accommodate a variable number of rooms. Location as well for the ship's doctor.
Lower rear cabins: Most of this space is taken up by the ship's kitchens and food preparation areas, along with sleeping spaces for the domestic staff. A simple elevator carries food up to the deck above.
Main lower deck: The level with the first ranks of oars, with space in the center for the storage of provisions, horses, and other cargo. Open to the elements for the most part.
Lower fore cabin: Location where the ship's Palace Guard store their equipment and, when time allows, train. Off limits to all other crew except the officers. Higher ranking Palace guard may also use the space for sleeping, although it can be quite cramped.
Bottom deck: The second oar deck and place where most of the ship's crew sleep and spend their free time. Cramped and not well lit, a lot of the provisions are also stored here, as well as between the floor and the bottom of the hull.

Crew and Complement

  Ensuring that someone as important as the Emperor is given the same level of service as they would expect in their own Palace is no easy task, let alone accommodating the numerous guests and important people that may visit. As a result, the number of domestic staff on the ship is comparable to the crew numbers on a lesser vessel. Cooks, servants, aides, the list is substantial, and must all function in a space far smaller than its normal.   As well as the domestic staff, the Emperor is accompanied by large contingent of the elite Palace Guard, a minimum of 120, working in three shifts, is typical, but there are often more, to prove suitable on shore security as well. They have their own area of the ship, separated from the rest, and even bring their own supplies, just in case.   All of these people are considered somewhat of a hindrance to the professional sailors who man the ship, and ensure an easy voyage. Of the 70 sailors, about 15 are higher ranking officers, like the captain, and his assistants. The rest are plain sailors, although considered far more trustworthy and competent than those found on other ships.   The final group are the oar crew, about two hundred who, on any other ship, are usually recruited from desperate land labourers, but on this one are carefully vetted. They usually operate in shifts, but are expected to all man the oars when demanded.  

Important Characters

Captain Tropius: An old seafaring colleague of the Emperor, Mari Tropius is considered a stable, measured ship's captain, if not a little unimaginative; perfect for the role. There was some disconcertion at his appointment in that he has a commoner's background, despite the titles bestowed upon him by the Emperor. Several high-ranking families formally complained to the Palace that their candidates were overlooked in favour of an old friend. If Mari is concerned by this, he does not show it one iota, and the Emperor and him are often seen sharing jokes on deck.
First Officer Pailius
: Another appointment perceived as somewhat controversial by the more traditional noble houses, as like the captain, Hera Pailius was born a commoner. Taken on with the captain as part of his own appointment, it disrupted a tradition of allowing the offspring of prominent families to take the choice places on the flagship. For her part, Pailius is highly skilled and like her captain, cares not for her disruptive presence.

Hegio Bassus: Oar crew supervisor, Hegio is renowned for his loud voice and commanding presence, being able to give commands for the oar crew that can be heard throughout the ship. Another direct appointment by Emperor Til-Lautor from his time serving on other ships, this one was less of an issue, as its considered beneath most noble's attention.
Captain Sisinnius: Not a ship's captain, but rather captain of the Palace Guard on the vessel. Axia Sisinnius is the only member of the Guard retained on the ship, with the rest operating on a rotational system when required. She is getting older now, but still retains the keen eye and devotion to security that got her the role in the first place.


  It has long been traditional for the Emperor to travel throughout the Empire by ship; although the roads have always been considered safe for a contingent as large and well armed as the Emperor's retinue, it is far easier to transport the trappings of state on a large naval vessel.   In the old Empire, the Emperor typically had the services of both the Imperial navy, and the fleet of their Imperial House, if one existed. Most Houses on the coast has at least one large vessel for the purpose of transporting an Emperor, with some pride taken to ensure it was more opulent and gaudy than their rivals.   When the Empire split in the The Great Schism, the rump of the Empire relied instead on Imperial navy vessels, considered far less comfortable than the previous ships used, but also much safer. The grand vessels owned by the various Imperial Houses were scrapped or converted into fighting ships, although at least one was beached and converted into a seaside palace.   The reunification of the Empire under Til-Yaltur saw a renewed need for a way to transport the Imperial household, but Til-Yaltur was unwilling to revive the luxury ships of the past. For him and his successor, a converted navy galley was used, with some minor alterations made to allow for passengers. The Empress Til-Kalit commissioned the construction of a bespoke vessel, still military in nature, but far more accommodating for passengers, but died before it was complete, but her successors, Til-Taranor and Til-Adver used it extensively.   Til-Lautor came from a naval background, and ordered the construction of a new imperial flagship, using latest technologies and more in keeping with the dignity of the Imperial Throne. It has been in use now for over ten years, bringing the Imperial court to all corners of the Inner Sea. Some have questioned the ethos of having such an luxurious vessel, as it appears to go against Til-Yaltur's original intent, but no one can deny that it has made the movement of the Imperial Household across the Empire far easier, and cheaper for the various Elector Lords too.  


The ship, like most of its type that ply the waters of the Inner Sea, relies on a mixture of both oars and sails for propulsion. Triangular sails that enable a ship to sail into the wind are a recent development for the Empire, and are still largely a feature of the ocean-capable ships that journey to the northern continent. For the milder Inner Sea, most ships use a combination of oars and sails for when the winds are favourable, and just the oars at other times.   Oar crew on any Imperial Navy ship are well paid for their role, and those on the Imperial Flagship no less so, with the added distinction that when their five year term of service is complete, any other ship, be it state Navy or not, would relish the chance to employ someone from the flagship.   There are 3 crew members to each oar, and 2 decks of 16 oars on each side. Unless there is a need to go faster, most of the time the oar crew are rested, with only half the crew on one deck rowing at a given time. This reduces the overall speed of the ship, particularly into the wind, but it allows for a rested oar crew to be ready at only a few minutes notice, propelling the ship at rapid speed.  

Weapons & Armament

As well as the 120 highly trained Palace Guard that accompany the Emperor on the ship, the vessel carries its own armaments. 2 ballista on the foredeck provide heavy artillery support, able to project heavy bolts at a target, often lit on fire. Additionally, all of the crew are trained in combat, including archery. Finally, the flagship is never on its own, and is usually accompanied by a dozen other ships of the Imperial Navy, and in the event of an attack, would flee instead of engaging in direct combat.   Despite this, the ship is fitted with a ram, and if not carrying the Imperial household, would be considered a dangerous opponent.  
Owning Organization
15 meters
60 meter
68 m including ram
8 meters (main deck)
14 meters (top deck)
35 meters (mast)
10 km/h (typical)
18 km/h (short bursts)
Complement / Crew
70 ship crew
192 oar crew
120 Palace Guard
30 domestic staff
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
15 passengers (Emperor and household)
Provisions for 4 weeks

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Cover image: A View of Salerno and Vesuvius by Unknown


Please Login in order to comment!
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
10 Sep, 2021 10:26

Such a cool ship, and such a detailed article. It's a nice touch that Til-Lautor is both someone who would build a more ostentatious ship, but also doesn't seem to consider the aristocracy's opinion all that much in who he chooses as crew. It paints an interesting picture of his character.

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
4 Oct, 2021 20:08

This is a very thorough article on a very impressive ship. There are a lot of cool details here and I really like the idea of such a luxurious ship.

Check out my pledge for Summer Camp 2022 here!