Beheaded Vehicle in Symbols of Power | World Anvil


The Irate flagship, adorned with a gruesome trophy

"Let her be a reminder to the Kartians. When you see the boy's skull tied to our main mast and painted in our flags, remember that we stole from the rotten king even the chance to mourn an entire son"
Heliom, captain of the Beheaded
Karte Flag
Flag of Karte by Naelin
Beheaded started her life as a brig called Sand Bird, owned by a wealthy merchant group from the Kingdom of Karte.
She was launched during 3001 E.Alz and traded mostly between the City of Dia and the island of Ruh.
  As the pirate activity got more frequent and violent in the sea, the Sand Bird's route got reduced to mostly the rivers and coastlines of the island of Karte. By the year 3004 E.Alz, Karte's king Rastapuj launched a military operation he called the War on Pirates, which required merchant ship's routes to be closely tracked to ensure no pirate vessel entered the coastline and rivers.   The 18th of Burning, 3006 E.Alz marked the day where a big group of organized pirates launched their retaliation. Led by a woman called Heliom, the criminals assaulted the city of Dia, capital of the kingdom.   There was only one remarkable conflict during the passage of the pirates between the coasts and the city: Out of luck, the Sand Bird was traversing the river in the night and crossed paths with the pirate fleet as they were avoiding the patrols. Immediately, it was surrounded and captured with no resistance, with many crew members jumping to the water to avoid capture.  

Floating cage of horror

The following section contains violence and abuse of a minor.

The Sand Bird was added to the fleet as decoy and taken north.
Shortly afterwards the pirates managed their goal: they captured Kuja, the 14 year old only child of the king. The kidnapper made haste to the Sand Bird, where the prince was taken prisioner.   The Kartian guard spent several days frantically searching for the prince, as the pirates scurried away and took them off the trail every chance they had.
On the 1st of Swimming most groups of pirates had scattered and retreated to their ships already and the Kartian guard found the Sand Bird after being alerted about its capture by a surviving crewmember.   Surrounded on the land side and with the troops about to chase them on water as well, the pirates took the bruised, chained prince to the deck as the crew prepared the ship for a quick departure. There a woman pushed the boy to bend over the railing and, in front of a shocked mass of guards, she cut the head off the prince and threw the body overboard into the waters, as the sails took the wind in and the captured ship departed with the head of the prince and the victory over the Kartian kingdom.
Owning Organization
Irate assault of Karte
Military Conflict | Sep 3, 2023

The vengeance of the east coast pirates that ended the Kartian war on pirates

Skull of the Beheaded Prince
Item | Nov 22, 2022

Irates symbol of power, a brutal demonstration of the Irates' will to fight back

Wreck of the Exsanguinate and the Bellylegs
Vehicle | Nov 22, 2022

The remains of a chase occurred during the War on Pirates that went terribly wrong

The Beheaded

Irate Hideout by Naelin through Inkarnate
The beheading of Kuja marked the end of the War on Pirates, and the start of king Rastapuj's descent into mental and political instability.   The groups of pirates allied with each other under the name of Irates, and the Sand Bird was renamed Beheaded and kept as the flagship of the new criminal organization.   The skull of the Beheaded Prince, lost for some days in the turmoil of the escape and gnawed at by vermin, was hanged from the mainmast for everyone in the ship to see.   Heliom, the leader of the pirate rebellion, became the captain of the Beheaded, whereas Hylmer, the kidnapper, joined the Beheaded crew after some years captaining the Wild Goes Faster.  

Aftermath and recounting of the facts

After Kuja's death, his father went mad with grief and forbade the discussion of any details about his son's destiny.   However, four years after the incident as the civil war was brewing in Karte a journalist finished reconstructing the crime scene, having managed to interview some of the guards, and allegedly two of the pirates involved.
She published a recounting of the palace's assault and kidnapping, as well as the torture and execution of the prince in gruesome and precise detail, which went into horrendous descriptions of the torture and abuses endured by the prince before his death.   One of the components of her article was a sketch she commissioned of the Sand Bird, marked with the locations and depictions of where and how the prince was taken, tortured, murdered and left as a trophy.   She was immediately declared a traitor by the king and ordered to be captured to be executed. Her work was collected and burned and it is unclear whether she managed to escape or was killed.   A member of the Kartian resistance, however, managed to recover an only partially singed copy of her article, with the diagram of the ship mostly intact.
"We know what they did to the prince and we know not to talk about it"
— Kartian historian
The Kidnapping of Kuja

Cover image: Irates Banner by Naelin


Author's Notes

Thanks a lot to TJ Trewin for his help with the "burnt paper" background for the map!

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Sep 16, 2021 15:45

That is a quite gruesome but interesting history. With that action they must really have made quite the name for themselves.

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Sep 25, 2021 17:13

Thank you Kefke!! The article is now completed and I guess more gruesome than when you read it hahahaha   But yep. Nothing like child assassination to get some renown huh?

Sep 19, 2021 19:52 by Dani

This is great!! (Also omg the map highlighting is so cool!!!)

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
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Sep 25, 2021 17:13

Thank you Dani <3 I learned that trick from TJ's amazing map of course :p

Sep 19, 2021 21:22 by Morgan Biscup

Very well done, Naelin. So glad you decided to write this one up! That map was definitely worth it, that looks so amazing! (And gruesome, but mostly amazing.)

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Sep 19, 2021 23:32

Thank you Solar! I don't know how long would have taken me to write about this ship if I didn't had the challenge pushing me. I'm so glad you were interested in reading it!

Sep 19, 2021 22:15 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

This story always makes me sad. :( Poor Kuja. This is a great article, though, and definitely an interesting ship. I love the sketch you've done! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Sep 19, 2021 23:33

It is in the top two most horrible things I've wrote about for SoP that's for sure n.nU   Thank you lots Doc <3

Sep 19, 2021 22:49 by E. Christopher Clark

That is one hell of a story! And as someone was saying on the WA Discord just now, I love what you've done with the map. Such a neat way of using that requirement for the challenge to further the storytelling you were already doing.

Check out my progress on WorldEmber 2023
Sep 25, 2021 17:15

Thank you very much ECC! I always try to bend the prompts/challenge to my favour instead of bending my world to fit the prompt :p I had to learn that the hard way!

Sep 20, 2021 00:28 by Garrett Grace Lewis

A cool idea, and clever use of map features!

Sep 25, 2021 17:15

Thank you, Time!

Sep 20, 2021 10:15 by Luca Poddighe

Cool and cruel article! Very well done!

Sep 25, 2021 17:20

Thank you Luca!

Sep 21, 2021 05:43

That was a really cruel story. It gave me the chills. Good job causing all the emotion without the...gruesome wording. What you did with the "ship sketch" it's just brilliant.

Sep 25, 2021 17:19

Thank you very much! My world's tone is not so dire most of the time, so I try not to get very graphic when things get dark. I'm glad it works!

Sep 21, 2021 16:13 by JRR Jara

This article makes me sad. Poor kid :( The map is amazing and I love how you included it in the world. Brilliant writing too!

Sep 24, 2021 16:40

Muy bien Naelín. Me gusta la bandera, el escondite y claro, el mapa del barco!! Pobre Kuja.

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Sep 25, 2021 12:31 by Kaleidechse

The story is very cool - sure, it's cruel, but I suppose that only makes it realistic. War does bring out the ugly side of people. And the map looks awesome! I love how you made it an actual in-universe artifact, complete with the burnt paper background. The highlighting of the elements is done beautifully. I've never used polygon markers myself, but this makes me want to finally try them out!

Creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source.
Sep 25, 2021 17:24

Thank you very much Kaleidechse! I try to make as many things as possible in my world to be in universe stuff, and I had to play a bit with the story to find an excuse to have a preserved blueprint of a merchant ship :) In the end, it added a nice way to tie it in with the next part of the country's history!   I learned the polygon markers highlight trick from the amazing 's main map (By which I mean I shamelessly asked him for help to do the highlight thingy). It takes a bit of time and some swearing to learn to use them, but then you don't ever want to go back to pin drops again

Oct 4, 2021 09:53 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Great work, I really like how you've chosen to do the map :D Those red blood dots makes it gruesome, the poor prince :( Well done to TJ and you :D   I'm only wondering a small detail from when the Sand Bird was capture. Before that you said that the maritime roads had been closed to merchant ships. Did they reopened in between, was that a different road, or was the Sand Bird trying to smuggle around to still make some money? As I imagine the closing of maritime trade was not taken too well by the citizens despite the pirate risk...

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
Oct 4, 2021 20:05

Hi Amélie!   Thanks for your comment <3   The maritime routes were "closely tracked", not closed :) Which means that the ships that wanted to trade to Dia had to get listed in order to be allowed into the port. The pirates got into the river at night and didn't approach the port with their own ships (Other articles go in more detail about the actual assault and mention that they actually got into the city through land, mounting on bicarnivalers)

Oct 6, 2021 08:42

I like the formatting of the article, the map image and the general look of the ship. I also like the violent history of the ship. A complaint I would have about this article is that there isn't much writing about the ship itself.

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