I, the albatross that awaits
for you at the end of the

I, the forgotten soul of the
sailors lost that crossed
Cape Horn from all the seas
of the world.

But die they did not
in the fierce waves,
for today towards eternity
in my wings they soar
in the last crevice
of the Antarctic winds

Sara Vial

Following the battle with the Deathknell and the ‘resurrection’ of Thaduk, the crew of the Dümplom stood around in a state near shock. The deck was slick with sparkling faerie-blood and littered with the corpses of the drowned. The massive, demonic unicorn that had been Thaduk tried to say something, but it came out as a terrifying growl that left their ears bleeding.

Leo cast share language on the stallion and a voice that was readily recognizable as Thaduk’s rang out. “Back to work ye swabs! Clean this up!” The crew breathed a collective sigh of relief on learning that the fair-minded and generally well-liked bosun was, in fact, alive inside of the horse-like monstrosity. They immediately went to work tossing corpses over the rail and righting lines that had become tangled in the fighting.

Thaduk, meanwhile, suggested that when they reached port he needed to find a blacksmith to make flaming horseshoes for him. “Would that make you happy?” Sandara asked. Only then did the officers remember their shared vision of a world drowning in blood.

“Right,” they all concurred, “whatever will make you happy…”

As dawn approached, Henrye called down from the crow’s nest, “Land ho!” Captain Caddis called a meeting of the officers to discuss where to land. If they were intent on heading to Moonplum, they needed men and they needed supplies for the voyage across the Pacific.

Leo consulted his charts and informed them that there were four settlements of note on the heavily disputed islands. The main Imperial port was Port Egmont on Saunders Island, which served as a way-stop for Imperial Navy ships heading for the Pacific, and served as home port for a few of the war ships patrolling the South Atlantic trade routes. West Falkland housed Puerto Soledad, a small Spanish Hapsburg penal colony. The island of East Falkland was home to Port Louis, a medium-sized settlement of French settlers from the Empire, not associated with either military. And last was the Tidewater Rock, a small military fortress on the easternmost and uncreatively named “New Island”, strategically positioned for controlling the shipping lanes and currently under “independent” (read as pirate) control. Wanting to avoid the imperials, and figuring that a colony of convicts would be a ready source of recruits, Caddis gave the order to head for Puerto Soledad. Leo guided the ship into Falkland Sound and headed for the port.

Just after noon, they reached Fox Bay. A quick scan of the bay with a spyglass informed them that the small colony was guarded by three batteries of cannon, two arrayed on the elevated headlands, flanking the bay, and a third on ramparts built up by the wharf. A pair of Spanish frigates, much smaller than the Dümplom, but well armed, were anchored in the bay as well.

Leo ordered the sails slacked and Jessica dispelled the wind she’d been conjuring, slowing them, and ordered Henrye to hoist a Spanish merchant’s ensign and a white flag of peace. Signals were raised from both forward batteries in response, ‘stop where you are and drop anchor’. The Dümplom complied, despite the fact that they were in direct line of fire for both batteries, but Caddis ordered Zarina and Oppenheimer to be ready to fly at a moment’s notice.

As the officers discussed what tale to spin for the Spaniards, a contingent of soldiers loaded into one of the frigates, the Esmerelda by name, and the ship put out to meet them. The Esmerelda stopped at a distance of about two-hundred yards, a difficult range for most ship-board cannon, and a voice came carried to them on the wind. “Ho Slaver! What business do you have here?”

Rummy, one of the only Spanish-speakers among them, replied. “We’re not slavers…we’re um…on official business from the Governor of Buenos Aires. We heard your prison was at capacity and are here to transfer prisoners to the penal colony at Tierra del Fuego…”

There was a long pause with no response from the Spaniards, then Caddis pointed out that their ship still had purple sails, and a clearly non-Spanish name painted on the side, and was covered with bones. “We were…um…attacked…” Rummy continued. “Our ship was destroyed in the fighting and we were forced to take possession of this one.”

The wind carried back the response, “Raise sail and prepare to be boarded!” Again they complied, and the Esmerelda sailed abreast of them. Twenty uniformed Spanish soldiers, army rather than navy by the look of them, armed with muskets stood arrayed on the deck, surrounding a well-dressed, jowly, middle-aged man in a powdered wig. As the ships came alongside, a boarding plank was lowered and the man came across, flanked by two of the soldiers. He looked around in apparent shock at the mismatched crew consisting mostly of Dutchmen, blackamoors, and women, all well armed. “I am the Comte Louis Antoine de Bougainville, governor of this colony, and you sirs," he said to no one in particular, “are horrible liars…”