1757: The North Sea The fog heavy over the salty waters, the HMS Borealis drifted through the misty veil. A Fifth Rate Frigate bearing 32 guns, split between 26 twelve pounders on the upper deck and six 6 pounders on the lower deck. It was crewed by two and a half hundred men, hardy British sailors and officers; they were men of the most treacherous of trades, in which setting on to land was as much as a relief as accompanying liquors and ladies. Standing at the wheel was captain Welte, dressed in full uniform with his coat of blue and tricorne hat trimmed with golden thread. A grip upon the handle of his sabre, his shrewd grey eyes surveyed the deck-he had a strong hatred for layabouts, and would punish them harshly. The air was cold against his rough pale skin, but he was unmoved; he cared not for the weather’s harshness. He had been sent an order to blockade the Swedish scum’s ports, do that their Prussian allies may push further into their territories. He knew such a move would cripple the supply lines, but it was risky; his ship was not exactly equipped to handle a long-term siege, and he doubted that the Swedes would stand for it too long. Still, he had his orders, and would follow through on them. As the ship peeled through the water, the fog became more intense, clouding the ships vision. Welte but his lip, drawing blood. This was was bad, he thought; even on the best of days, mist was a nightmare for sailors-one could easily be set adrift to god knows where, and never come back alive or dead, sent to the locker. Even he shuddered at the thought of such a fate, knowing too well how likely it was. As the fog faded, they found themselves still upon the sea, and the air had not changed in temperament. However, excitement was still abound upon the deck, as a single word from the crow’s nest cried out in giddiness what all the sailor wanted to hear: “Land ho!” -------------------------------------- The Frostmarch Coast Standing on the freezing windswept beach, the shark woman stood with hair of silver and scales of red, striped black; a foreigner to this land, not one of the natives. Despite her thick woolen blue robes and heavy hooded fur-lined coat of leather, the sharkgirl shivered from the cold; she was more accustomed to warmer climates, and did not care for the temperature. Her name was Maiz, a member of an uncommon and maligned subrace of sharkgirl; certainly, she bore their most distinctive of characteristics. While she was born strong, she was also born smart, and did not feel her place was among warriors but rather scholars. Despite what everyone thought and all that was put in front of her, she did not fail in her goal; it was a difficult struggle, for sure, but she managed to narrowly make it into academia. There she studied for a half-dozen years, learning the mystic arts, before she set off, on to the road. She did not remember exactly what brought her to this desolate land-it was cold and unforgiving, much unlike the tropical locale from which she hailed, and the food was practically tasteless, lacking spice or seasoning. The village she had past through, Hawkethorne, was not much different, although some of the people were quite colorful, from the surly lupine innkeeper and the catfolk store owner had her perks. They seemed to, at the very least, tolerate her as long as she was paying with what she had. Still, it had been a difficult time adjusting to this wasteland-from the voracious wolves and aggressive flora to barbaric orcs and thieving harpies, she couldn't help but wonder if whatever god who had brought her here was attempting to kill her or not. Either way, she had more than her fair share of trouble, although with her strength and spellwork she managed to carry through untouched and unharmed for the most part. Maiz walked towards the beach and looked out at the pale waters of the sea, white fog curling against the shore. The sky was grey as ever, and the waves placid. It was quite calming, and some innate desire made the sharkgirl want to jump in, against her better judgement. She held back that thought, of course-even if it was tempting, the coldness of the waters would be much more extreme than the coldness of the air. Then, something peculiar caught her red eyes; far off in the distance, the fog started to stir, moving around and about. Then, it began to corkscrew upwards, spiraling into a massive of column of pale mist leading up to the skies. Even to an uneducated peasant, it was obvious that something magical was occurring, and that any attempt to intervene would be futile at best and downright fatal at worst. Maiz, feeling a gust of wind carry out as the tower of mist collapsed, dispersing back into the air, quickly ran back towards Hawkethorne as it was clear to anyone that shit had just gotten real.