Turn Four

His soup, if one could call the watery broth that consisted of little more than fish and turnips "soup", had gone cold. He had sat enjoying the warmth of the sunbeam and the light for the better part of the morning and the start of the afternoon. Thoughts turned inward and he hadn't noticed the temperature of the soup till this last spoonful of it. Frowning, he looked at it as if it had somehow betrayed him, then lifted the wooden bowl and gulped down most of the broth. Scraping the few chunks left into his mouth he swallowed and set aside what had become a most familiar meal.

Laid out upon his cot, now placed solidly in the sunbeam to catch the light, was several rolls of rough paper with rougher sketches upon them. That was what had provided a welcome distraction from his poor meal. He examined the schematic again and then went to his small writing podium. Deftly preparing another quill he was soon recording his most recent findings.

At this point in my writings I can offer an explaination as to the "Skaven" rumors I have been encountering. I have come into possession of documentation that disproves those misguided rumors. Although I am not to reveal my source I can safely state that it is reliable.

What convinces me of the invalidity of these claims is a series of schematics and concept sketches for a steam powered ship. These are each watermarked with the seal of Nuln and seem to be, by my layman's judgement, very sound of design. What I see before me matches close enough to the descriptions of the unusual ships that had been spotted upon the waters of the Sea of Claws to convince me that one of my initial thoughts, that they are nothing more than a new style of ship, is true.

While I doubt the wisdom of launching prototype ships into waters such as the Sea of Claws, it is the most logical explanation. Long did I ponder report I had that these at least one of these odd ships had been seen in the presence of one of the Kislevite converted merchant ships. While the artifacy of Nuln is rarely open for sale, it is possible that someone had decided to fund an expedition North but did not want to be under the watchful eye of the black ships and their zealous captains.

What is disturbing though is the location of the reports. North and West of Vidyedlet implies that if these ships are of Nuln design, then they have passed through land controlled by Kislev and thus had some early accord with them. If they did not come from Nuln, then who would have not only had access to these schematics but the knowledge and means to build said ships? In either case sightings continued to be fairly frequent in that section of the sea.

The Malenky Militsiya finally found some success at sea at this point. They finally adopted the tactics of their Kossar learning to rake other ships decks with bowfire before either boarding or repelling boarders. The axes favored by such troops worked well once they grew sea-legs. At last they could face their hated foes, the Storm Crows, a few of the converted merchants had higher decks allowing them to fire upon the more exposed decks of the Dragonships.

Only the roughs waters allowed the Storm Crows to maintain a presence in the area. Else where the the Militsiya hunted down Dragon Ships with vengeance.

Dagrun Rafnmor may have made a fatal error but weather it was lack of control over the captains she claimed as hers or overreaching on her part I can not say for sure. What I do know is that about this time the Storm Crow dominance of the sea ended. It was about this time that her forces encountered The Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar and their fleet of black ships. I do not believe even the hard fighting men of the North were prepared for the fanatical devotion of those that crewed those ebony timbered vessels.

Across the Sea of Claws desperate battles were fought. Control of waters is always a tenuous thing, but during this short period it was hard to tell who among those three factions controlled what. Dagrun's ships were spotted across the territory held by the Sigmarites and Kislev but not in strength enough to make a solid claim.

By contrast the Brotherhood, who at this point were well into their salvage operations, clearly held the Western edge of the Sea of Claws, and purportedly controlled access to the wider oceans beyond. As in Merskefn the Dawi attempted to form a trade relationship with Eicheburg. The prospect of such might have been welcome except for one small interruption. An eyewitness has informed me that while the Dawi emissary was ashore The Todsunde set anchor in the harbor after calmly sailing past the ironclad Dawi ships. There it sat offshore with incense and other smoke wafting from it's dark decks until the Dawi returned to their ships with only minor promises from the people of Eicheburg.

To the North a storm grew. Not one of water and wind, but one of skin and bone, green skin. Across the north the hideous Orcs and Goblins spread out even as their numbers multiplied. At this point many eyes turned to the North, scanning the waters for Snottling powered paddles, and flotillas of makeshift rafts. As the greenskin numbers built many of us wondered how long it would be before the cry of "Waaagh!" echoed across the already churned waters. With their hated Dwarf foes in the West and blood in the water to the south, how long could their industrious build up keep?

Reports of new boats, with horribly mutated Trolls lashed to them began to surface. It seems that at this time, the cunning goblins, responsible for most of the greenskins more clever devices, stumbled across the Troll Graveyards where the crippled members of that foul monster-kin crawl off to die. Ever the masters of makeshift, the small greenskins captured dozens and dozens of the horrid things and lashed them to their flotsam. It is rumored that this also aided in discipline as any who got out of hand or too "Up'ty" became fuel for their living engines.

Flexing the stiffness from his hand the scribe moved to the window. Now the sun was lower in the sky and the soup had long left his belly. Scattering fine sand across the sheet he moved to the door of his small room and opened it. He would buy some bread, and if he had enough, some cheese. He could then sit upon the stone bridge nearby and watch the last rays of the sun. Hopefully the warmth would ease the ache in his aging hand, then he could maybe get another page in tonight.



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