Prince Rath Gareth Laegar, the third prince of the Laegar kingdom also leader of the Laegarian fleet was not having a good feeling about this. By the order of his father the king of Laegar, the third campaign to conquer the Celeste kingdom after the first and second failed attempt was made.
Six years ago, the pirate Edward Rhaims had died, but news of his death did not reach Laegar until four years later. He was not a notorious pirate to warrant a huge bounty, or rather he was not a pirate, to begin with. He was actually a Celestian Sea Hunter, hunting sea monsters and sell its materials. But, what really started it all was thirty years ago when he did the impossible; Killing a Steel Kraken, with his ship and crew alone.
To kill a Steel Kraken would require a whole army fleet of at least the size of the forces sent on this campaign. Of course, this was thought as false rumors until he brought its eye and other parts of its carcass back to Celeste. It was enough proof to get the Celestial royal navy to sail with him to retrieve the entire creature, which was oddly still floating, back to Celeste. A traveling ship saw the huge carcass and spread the news. Laegar sent a spy into the kingdom to report what was happening.
Being the slayer of the Steel Kraken, Edward has the right to most of its materials, some given to the kingdom for the ‘towing the Steel Kraken’ service, and used it to enhance his ship. Though he did donate half of its spoils to the kingdom to reinforce its small army, one of the reasons the first campaign failed.
That was not why he became a pirate.
During the dissection of the Steel Kraken, it was discovered that the belly of the thing contained vast amounts of gold and riches; most of which were in good condition unable to be digested by the sea monster. Perhaps it was from all the ships it had swallowed whole, there was also wooden debris inside. But the most valuable thing inside were artifacts. Lots and lots of artifacts.
The spy reported that they pulled out ancient artifacts thought lost such as the Ball of Scouting (which Rath was sure is being used to observe this invading fleet at this very moment), the Jug of Infinite Oil (probably why the sea was on fire), a bunch of grimoires, magical swords and more.
Edward, of course, got to keep it. He did give some to the Celestian royal family and his crew. By ‘Some’ I mean half of the money and some artifacts; he apparently had no use for that much. The spy reported that most of his share of money and artifacts seemed to be missing.
Now, this is how he became a pirate.
Considering a mere Sea Hunter got all of that got everybody else jealous, especially Rath’s grandfather, the previous king of Laegar, who wanted those artifacts. Some of those artifacts originally belonged to Laegar and there are records to prove this. His grandfather demanded the return of those artifacts, but Edward refused as he has the right to claim it being the one to found it and he was right. So Rath’s grandfather hatched a plan.
He sent a Laegar scouting ship disguised as a merchant ship and sent it to intercept Edward’s sailing route according to the information sent by the spy. Then, the disguised merchant ship attacks Edward’s ship. Naturally, it ended with the Laegar ship destroyed.
But, there was another ship following the scouting ship. That ship had the Orb of Memorization, an artifact that could record images and show them, to memorize the part where Edward’s ship destroys the disguised ship.
With the Orb of Memorization containing that recording, the previous king twisted the events to say that Edward had attacked that ship unprovoked. The former king used that as a justification to brand the Sea Hunter a ‘pirate’ and put a bounty on his head. He also issued an ultimatum demanding the Celestian royal family to hand over the ‘outlaw’ as well as all of the artifacts within a week or it will be war. Suffice to say, the Celeste kingdom did not give a response so war was declared, Rath’s grandfather had intended to conquer Celeste anyway. Celeste had just crowned its new, but inexperienced ruler, so it was a prime opportunity to attack.
And so the first campaign against the Celeste kingdom began.
Laegar had a large fleet and army; so even if the Celestian navy was reinforced with Steel Kraken materials and artifacts, Laegar will simply defeat them with sheer numbers. It was an obvious outcome, even Rath’s grandfather himself joined in the campaign. However, the campaign failed.
When the Laegarian fleet was about to reach Celestian shore, Edward’s ship which by then had been named ‘The Kraken’ spearheaded the countering Celeste navy. The Kraken had sported the flag of Celeste; a flag of a Steel Kraken which looked like it was made in a hurry; and a flag of a scale in front of a spear tucked into a shield; all hanged on the crow’s nest in that order.
The last flag confused everyone. The first flag was apparent; the second was understood after Edward shouted its name; the third flag, however, was out of place, the spy did not find anything about it. Adding to that, Edward was at the bowsprit of his ship, wearing a blue cloak that covered him from neck to bottom, certainly did not fit the yellow theme of every other Celeste ship.
Whatever that flag was, Rath’s grandfather simply ordered the charge. At that moment, everything fell apart.
The Laegarian survivors of the battle told them that when The Kraken approached the line of Laegarian ships, water suddenly erupted beneath one of the ships. The pressure of the water caused the ship to tear apart into two pieces. And then another ship was destroyed by the sea erupting beneath it. Then more ships fell victim one by one. Rath’s grandfather demanded to know what was going on when he looked to his telescope to see Edward doing some gesture that suggested that he was the cause of this. And he was right.
Because once The Kraken had gone close to the Laegarian fleet, the eruption had stopped. Edward steps back and, base on what the survivors had said, multiple giant lances of pure water materialized in front of him. He stroked his right arm holding a cutlass and those lances then launched themselves like a cannon fire each traveling in different directions, all firing into the Laegar ships. With a lucky few that had only suffered a scrape to the side, the impact was hard enough that it tore two massive holes to most of the ships that it inevitably sunk.
It was quite the nightmare for Laegar as The Kraken had destroyed their ships left and right with some kind of water sorcery that the ‘pirate’ possessed. The Kraken was difficult to sink as it was very fast and the Steel Kraken hide reinforcing the hull of the ship rendered most cannonballs barely making a dent to it, but not vice versa for The Kraken’s cannonballs which was colored blue for reasons unknown. Also, the Celestian navy behind The Kraken also fired from behind, inflicting more damage to the Laegar side.
However, Rath’s grandfather stubbornly refused to give up. He ordered the mothership to directly engage The Kraken. Once there, he ordered the men to board the ship in an attempt to capture it. The mothership was larger than The Kraken, so the soldiers simply jumped down when the mothership was beside The Kraken. But, when the Laegar soldiers boarded the ship, Edward sends a wave of water kicking the soldiers out of his ship and fell into the sea with their heavy armor causing them to sink into the sea and drown.
In desperation, Rath’s grandfather straight up challenged Edward to a duel in which he cannot use whatever ‘water sorcery’ he has. Surprisingly, Edward accepted. Rath’s grandfather jumped down to the deck of The Kraken with his axe and shield ready, his armor made out of the shell of Spin Turtles made most blades unable to penetrate. Edward, on the other hand, was armed with only a cutlass, which a surviving Laegar soldier noted being well-made and have a beautiful design.
Rath’s grandfather banked on by defeating Edward, the Celestian army would lose morale and surrender. He also assumes that he would win the duel comparing his proper training and equipment to that of a mere Sea Hunter. If Edward did somehow got the upper hand, he had a blade hidden behind his shield and other ‘surprise’ methods for emergencies.
Despite all of that, Rath’s grandfather lost. It was described by the Laegar survivor, the one Rath kept mentioning in his mind was a Laegar soldier who was spared by Edward to tell the rest of the kingdom what happened, that the Sea Hunter/’pirate’ had a surprisingly expert swordplay. He danced around his opponent as Rath’s grandfather tried to swing his axe down upon him.
Edward repeatedly thrust his cutlass into Rath’s grandfather whenever he gets the chance. Then at one point, Edward sliced his shield arm. With no shield to protect his vitals, Edward thrust his cutlass deep into his chest. The Sea Hunter/pirate then cuts off his head to show it to everybody else to signal the end of the battle.
It was a humiliating defeat. The Laegarian fleet consists of twenty-one ships; Celeste only had six not including The Kraken. Laegar had outnumbered Celeste four-to-one. In the first and only battle against Celeste nineteen ships sunk, more than a third quarter of the Laegar forces were annihilated, mostly destroyed by The Kraken (or Edward singlehandedly). The casualties included Laegarian nobles joining the war because of obligation and for glory. Lots of aristocrats died under their sunk vessels without a chance to fire even a single cannon volley.
But that’s not all, to add insult to injury the Celeste kingdom ‘seized’ the remaining ships except for one, which was in an irreparably damaged state (a miracle that it sunk after its job was done), to ferry the surviving Laegar soldiers back to Laegar; with ransom which Laegar was forced to pay because some surviving nobles are among the captured and Celeste insisted on paying for all the hostages, or none of them will return at all. The rest including the mothership are absorbed into the Celestian navy. The only silver lining is that Edward had graciously sent the body of the deceased Laegar king back to Laegar and not keeping him as a trophy.
With such defeat and the death of the king of Laegar, the next king, Rath’s father, swore revenge and launched a second campaign but that had met similar results. Only that no Laegar ships were captured and absorbed into the Celestian navy. And thus it has been until now.
Six years ago, a great plague swept Osianicd Archipelago, named The Snowfall Plague for it had started when snow had fallen for the first time in winter that year (in Laegar at least), killing tens of thousands of people across all of the island kingdoms. This disease claimed the lives of both high and low people of society. A few of Rath’s relatives fell victim to this illness. But this disease had also opened the opportunity for a third war against Celeste.
In Celeste, The Snowfall Plague had killed a good number of civilians and soldiers. But the most devastating blow was that both the ruler of Celeste and his children died, leaving the last living royalty of Celeste, Stella Orion Celeste, as the queen of Celeste at the age of six; Rath seriously wonders why nobody tried to take over the kingdom. Edward Rhaims too could not escape death by this sickness, his ‘water sorcery’ did not include warding off disease. Edward’s son, Jake Rhaims, took over as the captain of The Kraken.
A spy was sent to Celeste to observe him. That to say, he was quite eccentric. When the spy got to strike a conversation with him in some tavern, the spy noted that he had a very ‘wild’ accent. The conversation did not yield any useful information.
Then Rath’s father lured a couple of sea monsters to The Kraken, which has shown that Jake did not possess the same ‘water sorcery’ that his father has as he had simply fight the sea monsters as any other Sea Hunter would. Edward Rhaims had used it during before the second war against Celeste launched, Rath’s father had baited sea monsters at him and he had used his ‘water sorcery’. Another thing to note is that the ‘scale on a shield and spear’ flag was not present on the ship, the Celestian flag was still there. Explanations aside, that mattered little.
With that knowledge, Rath’s father ordered the third invasion against Celeste. Although it was delayed due to recovery from the Snowfall Plague, the invasion force mustered was larger than the first and second invasion. While it was a war for payback for the humiliation and the death of the previous king, Rath was only joined to lead the invasion because he needed some achievement to stand equally with his brothers. He was born years after those events and only heard of it as stories. He doesn’t care about revenge, but he will use this invasion for his personal need. Maybe he could take the young queen of Celeste’s hand in marriage once he conquered Celeste.
But again, his gut feeling that this will not end well. After all, his fleet had to sail around the sea that was on fire, presumably oil from the Jug of Infinite Oil. Some of his ships collided with each other and sunk, he had to leave them behind. One ship lead by a young noble went ahead of the fleet before the sea was lit aflame; the wreckage of that ship was spotted after the fleet had gone around the flames.
And his gut feeling was right as a ship was met with a huge wave on its right flank causing it to be pushed back and crashed to another ship besides it. Both ships sunk soon afterwards. Rath looked into his telescope to see a gray ship with three different flags and a man in a blue trench coat and tricorne hat raising a cutlass with a blue grip standing on the bowsprit of the ship.