The season is on the cusp of the Dark Days when night takes over and the sun fights to reach the horizon. A horrible time to make a maiden voyage, but Gofraid Meránach is king. He is fat in the belly and wears suspenders over black and white stripped drafting pants and rubber boots that bounce around the indentations that mark the location his knees should be.
Many consider him a fool.
The product of incest.
And the sole person to blame for this ship he is calling an Odyn class vessel. He paid the gold for her to be built. He hired the ginger-haired half-men Dvergar to hammer the nails and saw the wood. He watches misty-eyed as twenty tinker-mechanized oars pull at the harbor’s frigid waters.
“No other kingdom will even come close to an Odyn class ship with its 800 guns and forty decks,” he tells the crowd gathered around him watching as the ship makes an ugly passage out to sea.
An ancient sailor’s song can be heard bouncing back along the waves as giant sails cascade down from the ship’s seven masts, the thickest of which is thicker than five men standing abreast and taller than even the steeple of Odyn’s temple in Northdom and seems to gather its own weather.
Gulls scream on the grey sky above the massive ship. They can smell the tonnage of food brought on board to feed the crew and almost 6000 passengers who paid for passage on this voyage.
“It’s heading East,’ One man says. ‘To the land of Folly,” and the crowd erupts in laughter.
“Nothing can sink her nothing.” the king says rocking back and forth on his heels like a proud father watching a son go off to war, nervous but sure of his stock.
“Did you design her, sir,” ask a short dumpy woman in a dress checked in colors of the family Ola, blue with yellow stripes.
“Nay,’ he answers, his hazel eyes following the ship as the wind tries to catches the heavy sails, his voice wistful, ‘that was Oluf van Steenwinckel. Died a decade ago. Left detailed papers on her though. Called her Odyn’s unsinkable. I worked on the duct work for the furnace though. Mighty work. My best.”
As if on cue a billowing cloud of black smoke erupts out of the bow followed by a huge explosion that echoes across the water.
On the dock, a woman screams.
As if just waiting for the right time a deep voice yells for rescue boats to be launched.
“Oh, highness Is that supposed to do that?” a sarcastic voice intones.
The king stands transfixed staring at the ship as it glides out to sea obviously wounded. Flickering orange flames erupting in the stern and along both port and starboard sides. Small dark shapes jumping off the side falling the nine stories to the white-capped water below disappearing into the chop.
The center mast begins to topple the main sheet engulfed in flames.
“What did you say the name was again sire? Odyn’s Folly?”
Art by: Wang Ling