[ - Author's Note - ]

Well, this chapter will be shorter then average; which is oddly rare to be honest. Huh. Oh well, it'll be a chance to wind down after the action from the earlier chapter.

I had planned to have a bit more in this chapter originally but one part is shuffled over to the next chapter because it wouldn't make sense to drop it here (I'll explain by the end of the chapter) and one part I felt would slow the pacing of an Act that's already paced was moved into a chapter of the Questlines spin off over on AO3 as it's second chapter.

As for this chapter, we'll see this Jason Draken that Alicia was unhappy about and why she's not fond of him before moving onto the next territory... And then, Pirates.

Well... Privateers... But kinda the same thing...

Enjoy!

[ - Act II - Chapter XII: Jaw Dropping - ]

Named in part of it's bounty of ore rich hills and mountain sides, Ironheart's mineral wealth has ensured it's status as a county. It's steel is used for both their own forces and those of Feoh's in general. It is led by House Draken, founded by the Dragonborne hero Stephan Draken who founded Ironheart during the Age of Conflict and led it though a near century of war and turmoil. He would join the Kingdom of Endonis in an alliance before becoming a territory of the larger kingdom. He would fight Verlangen in single combat and held him off for a full hour before falling. Of his heirs seven would survive with his youngest fleeing alongside the Endonis heir under the watch of Saint Iris. And the descendants of all seven would return and join in the effort to overthrow the Emperor, with four surviving.

However it was here the seeds for House Draken's issues lay; their famous, long lived founder being Dragonborne meant that the blood of the dragons was in them... But has never shown itself beyond Stephan himself. This wasn't initially an issue, at least until other heroes around them rose up over the ages. Fearing their family's legacy would lose it's luster compared to their contemporaries they began to continue and intensify a practice that other Eostian nobles began to abandon; inbreeding.

Marriages between cousins were common within nobility in the Ages of Conflict, Magic and even early in the Age of Kingdoms. Marriages were done for strategic reasons, to affirm or forge military or economic alliances; otherwise marriages to cousins were common to keep power and wealth inside of a family. Even then with so many relations between noble families it was common for cousins to be married to cousin in a strategic marriage. However under the Seven Shields Alliance all those ties of economy and military were assured already.

Slowly, gradually and over time noble heirs married upper and middle class peoples or rising knights or mages of note. Marrying for love was more and more common. And while this was opposed, at least initially, people noticed that certain birth issues within the nobility began to lessen more and more. The injection of new blood was noted as a good thing and many noble houses would dictate their heirs marry outside the nobility once every three generations at least.

House Draken was the exception; a common joke being they have the easiest family tree to draw; a straight line. Now and then an outsider marries in but cousin on cousin (And in some cases sibling on sibling) marriages are almost demanded by the house to the point that a common defect of inbreeding, an elongated lower jaw, is often called the 'Draken Jaw'. Despite this attempt to concentrate the dragon's blood in their line it still has yet to reappear.

There are those in the family or near them sounding the alarm and dangers to their line but most are ignored. There are rumors Draken women cheat routinely on their husbands in the hope of breaking this trend to some degree but as far as I know that's all they are, slanderous rumors. The growing issues in the House could lead to problems from the Council of Lords, sooner or later...

~Dominic James Pencraft, The Eostia Historia

[-]

The road we were on was well maintained but the terrain was, otherwise, rough. Rocky hills and rocky, dusty flat lands were the order of the day with bare bits of brush and vegetation peeking out. The southern section of Ironheart was fertile enough for farming but the bulk of the land was rocky, rough and barren. Ironheart imported a lot of it's food from nearby Sanka, Cauldona and Ironside; that was because Ironheart's main riches lay in ore. Despite being a relatively small territory the amount of iron it was sitting on was staggering and it bore other minerals as well, mostly copper, cobalt, some silver and a few spell stones. This meant the County was wealthy and traded with everyone in Foeh and even Ur and northern Geofu... Of course there was one issue with this; House Draken.

The current members of House Draken had a... Reputation. One reaching back a few generations... By a few I mean over a thousand years...

Okay, you know how the old saying 'Every village has it's idiot'? Well if the Council of Lords and Eostian nobility were a village House Draken is (Traditionally) the idiot. I would argue not the only idiot but the most notable.

Finally we came into Bladewing City. The city bore white washed city walls, but a bit different then most. It bore a forty foot wall with the usual crenelations, towers and gates but built directly into the inside of the walls was a second set of walls, butted right into the first walls that was about ten feet higher, with their own towers (Spaced between the towers of the outer wall) and crenelations. At first I couldn't tell how they moved between walls, but soon I saw a rope ladder hanging off the inner wall. It was a curious design. Good? That was for war to decide, not me.

The shield of the ruling house was near the gate, but not hanging in the form of a cloth banner but built into the sides of each side of the gate as carved stone. It was a tall knight's shield with a dip in the center of the top and the bottom curved to a sharp point. The shape was formed based on the shield of House Founder Stephan Draken, who was a Dragonborne like myself, oddly enough. Rather then emblazon a dragon on it, he choose a more subtle nod; it was shaped like a dragon's fang, as the saying goes. The background was pure white with a gray trim, a silver line down the middle of that outline. In the center of the shield was a spearhead pointed upwards; silver with a gray outline and a trio of Celtic style iron crosses at the upper corners and bottom of the emblem. As I understood it they were once standard iron crosses but the Celtic elements were added in some thousand or so years ago.

Once waved into the city proper we rode to the keep in the center of the city. Built pre-Myghter Accords and with the biggest potential threats willing to ignore said accords (Namely Dominious and Garan) they never built a castle outside of the walls and reinforced the one in it. Indeed, Castle Ironheart was imposing; fifty foot outer walls, sixty foot inner walls, an eighty foot keep with a single Crow's Nest (No, really) one hundred and twenty feet up. I could see, inside the carriage, Alicia steeling herself. Before we arrived there was a debate on if we should stop in Bladewing City or bypass it with Alicia being the one to argue bypassing it and Albert arguing not to with myself playing arbiter between the two.

In the end we agreed it would be rude and a potential faux pas to bypass it and that House Draken, while they not well liked or respected, commanded enough power and influence that pointlessly antagonizing them by not stopping by to at least say hello and accept hospitality if offered would be more trouble then it was worth and would risk a backlash in some form or another.

I. Hate. Politics.

On the plus side our currently planned route would take us up to Ironside, down through Cauldona, Blackwell and Pulca, then back east through Sanka and back to Feoh so we wouldn't be coming back through Ironheart on the return trip. And yes, I was very grateful for this. Like I said, House Draken had a reputation.

We were waved through into the castle walls proper and moved up to the gate as I myself braced for impact; I'd not dealt with House Draken before now and wasn't eager to start but I had no real choice now. Once at the front of the keep we disembarked from our ride and saw three people awaiting us (Not counting the two guards flanking the keep's door, of course). The first was a tall man, some six-four, with a strong build wearing an expensive looking black, short sleeved tunic with poofed shoulders over a white shirt, white leggings, black shoes and black gloves. His hair was deep blue and almost black and matched his eyes as he smiled at us... It was his face that was more notable then anything else however; his lower jaw was distended, almost comically so. He looked more like a cartoon character with an elongated, flat tipped jaw. Back in my old world it was called a Habsburg Jaw. Here? It was called Draken Jaw.

Yeaaaaaaah... This House had an... inbreeding problem. One that extends back so far that I'm surprised they're not sterile from it.

"Welcome to my home, my Good Princess!" The man said, a soft lisp to his voice. I wondered if it was his default voice or if he had worked to minimize the aforementioned lisp; he did talk a tad slower then most people. "So this rumor of these devices and your duty to see their installation rings true as you visit our fair realm?"

"Yes Count Dempsey, that is what we are doing." Alicia let off, curtsying softly.

Fun fact I happen to know: 'Dempsey' is an Irish name back in my old world. It means 'Descendant of the Proud One'.

Fitting.

(-)

Name: Dempsey Draken
Title: Count of Ironheart
Class: Dragoon
Level: 34
Alignment: Neutral
Reputation: 32
Status: Healthy: Birth Defect, Proud, Haughty

Known Traits
[Glass Jaw – Draken Jaw] Your jaw is more fragile then most due to it's... Uniqueness. +4 to all Damage done to the jaw.
[I Fight On!] You don't notice heavy or deliberating wounds as other people do. You can fight through pain, crippling wounds and mortal injuries without hindrance as long as you live.

[?]
[Hemophilia Havoc] Your blood does not clot correctly without magical assistance. -50% clotting speed. +2% chance to internal bleeding when struck with a blunt object, taking a fall or bumping yourself on something.

An example of the typical Draken nobility, Dempsey fancies himself a great warrior and combatant. While competent at combat various health issues that have, no doubt, been caused by his family's traditions have limited his combat capacity due to blood that doesn't clot correctly. Still he is proud, perhaps overly so, of his family traditions.

(-)

I tried to not wince as Dempsey smiled wide although from the corner of my eye I could see Aeris did. Not that I blame her; his smile while... honest was quite creepy.

"Mae deur Aleeshea, et es guuud to teee ruu thuum tu mae huum feer a shaange." A slightly younger figure... said/slurred/something next to Dempsey as I blinked to him. He was six feet tall and built well, a tad larger in the gut but in the way of a power-lifter as opposed to someone who was just fat. He did look strong and wore a red, leather gambeson with white trim. He tried to hold himself with pride... Which was ruined by his face...

A face even a mother would struggle to love...

The same jaw as the older man but more bloated, giving it the look of the bottom part of an eggplant. His lips were thick and as he spoke I could see his teeth didn't line up correctly; his lower teeth were slightly ahead of his upper ones... Which were angled slightly outwards. His face also looked puffy, like he suffered a bee sting that effected his whole face. His eyes seemed a bit small for his head and his hair was a pale blue but paler near the roots. Oh and no eyebrows. Plucked, shaved or just missing I had no idea. And then next to me Alicia sighed deeply.

"Greetings Jason."

Oh... That was Jason Draken...

Everything makes so much more sense now...

(-)

Name: Jason Draken
Title: Heir of Ironheart
Class: Ranger
Level: 21
Alignment: Neutral
Reputation: 22
Status: Healthy: Birth Defect, Horny, Smug

Known Traits
[Glass Jaw – Draken Jaw] Your jaw is more fragile then most due to it's... Uniqueness. +4 to all Damage done to the jaw.

[Hemophilia Havoc] Your blood does not clot correctly without magical assistance. -50% clotting speed. +2% chance to internal bleeding when struck with a blunt object, taking a fall or bumping yourself on something.

[Power Draw] You have an easier time drawing bows with a high draw weight then others. +10% damage with all bow with a heavy draw weight.

Heir to Ironheart and son of Dempsey Draken he is the pinnacle of his family traditions and bloodline, for better or for worse. Many are surprised that he is an archer with his powerful body type but he has proven himself to be quite accurate with his aim and is still an able hand with the blade as needed.

(-)

"Yeesh Aleeshea, guud to teee ruuea eereea. Ruu ruunumbea mae hiivvee Miiimrea, duum'b ruu?" The... person called Jason spoke. Or something that vaguely resembled speaking. There was a long silence before someone broke it; namely myself.

"I'm sorry, what did he say?" I asked, looking at Dempsey. It was the third person, a female, who spoke up.

"He is happy to see Alicia here and introduced me. I am Nimrah, his wife." She said. The girl was... pale. Like a shade above chalk white at best. Ruby red eyes looked to me under shoulder length, white hair with a princess braid tied behind her head. She was short; maybe five foot even. She wore a beige shirt under a white, ruffled dress. On her head was a large, wide brimmed, beige hat with a series of bright feathers on the side of it. She was slender and rather flat chested making her seem cute but frail. At the very least she had a pretty and normal facial structure and not... Well...

"Daath ruut Ed teeatd." Jason... replied with.

"Hoo boy..."

(-)

Name: Nimrah Draken
Title: Pale Flower of Ironheart
Class: Arcanist
Level: 11
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 55
Status: Healthy: Birth Defect, Calculating, Thoughtful

Romance Rating: 99
Corruption Rating: 35

Known Traits
[Hemophilia Havoc] Your blood does not clot correctly without magical assistance. -50% clotting speed. +2% chance to internal bleeding when struck with a blunt object, taking a fall or bumping yourself on something.

[Squishy Wizard] You're physical constitution might be weak, but your magical abilities are raised. -10% Con, Str, End, Dex and Agi. +15% Acc, Mag, Mnc and Lck.

Wife, half sister and cousin to Jason Draken she is a calm, kind and relaxed young, albino woman who spends much of her time translating her husband's speech. She was married to him when they were fourteen with the arrangement being made when they were still babies; in the grand tradition of House Draken.

(-)

I... Did not envy their child in the slightest. It's not a family tree that House Draken has, it's a stick...

Good lord...

"Come. Stay the night and let us dine!" Alicia shivered but accepted the offer. I was understanding more and more of why she didn't want to be here.

I didn't either.

[-]

Dinner was pleasant... Mostly. For the most part.

That's not to say there weren't... Issues...

Our host was, for example, rather... Opinionated.

"Congratulations young Noxdecus! You did something kind of new. I mean sure, it'd could have been made by anyone with the right idea, but I guess you were a little faster on the draw! Sure, others will do better with it, but you were still first! By the way, did you know my son slayed a slime girl last week? Ha, on her way to becoming a Royal Slime I bet. Not anymore! He is quite the warrior, you could learn something from him! I mean he is quite the stud too and-"

You get the idea.

I'd mention what Jason said but... Well...

"Haaud thoo Ed thoot dee vouur biuute uin dee dyhie, uuflf veey kein. Eed duuuk deeve veenveeths duu keet eed duubt."

Yeah... I... don't know what he was talking about. For all I knew he was talking about the weather, his favorite food or his favorite hobby. Also, I averted my eyes as he ate and drank. Dempsey ate with dignity and practiced grace, his son... Was a slob. Not on purpose mind you; he wasn't shoving huge portions into his mouth, he wasn't forgetting to chew, he wasn't talking with his mouth full... It's just his facial structure was... So bizarre and abnormal that it was alien. Despite his best efforts he couldn't chew his food quite right and so spent longer chewing... And with food bits spilling out form his lips.

The other issue was he kept hitting on Alicia.

...

I... think he was hitting on her at least, it was hard to tell what he was saying.

But yeah. Nimrah sighed as he did and took it in stride and translated his speech; in fact she and Dempsey seemed to be the only two who knew what he was saying at any given time. She remained calm and composed despite his attempts at flirting with another woman. It was true that in this world someone of his social rank could have two wives at once but usually the other wife was consulted and brought into the conversation. She... Was not. She seemed very... Neutral to Alicia. Not showing her much kindness nor any rudeness. Alicia was much the same in return giving me the impression they didn't know each other that well.

Unlike with the Pineforges I didn't have maids sicced on me to distract me from Alicia; mind I was friends with her and not engaged, Jason had a relationship with Alicia prior to this (One she didn't care for, but still) and a higher rank so I imagined the Drakens felt un-threatened by my presence. Additionally my friendship with Alicia wasn't as well known as the one I had with Prim. Sadly Jason requested she join him for something (I barley understood he wanted her to go with him, but that was from body language not verbal language) as Agni moved to escort. I decided to retire to my room and consider if there was a magical equivalent to brain bleach I could cast.

Gaaaaaaah!

I slipped out of my outer clothes leaving me in pants and a shirt as I sat at a desk to read a bit, I'd figured I'd make some productive use of my time. I was glad we were going around Ironheart on the way back and not through it.

I'd be sure to never stop here again if I could help it...

I didn't spend much time reading, however, because the door was all but slammed open making me jump in my seat and draw mana to my hand as two maids with swords drawn barged in, stopping at the door and looking about. I didn't release the mana but I didn't panic either; they didn't focus on me as two more maids darted in, rushing to the attached bathroom and storming in like special forces.

"Clear!"

"Clear!"

I blinked, mana still in my hand as the two maids darted back to the door, all four storming back out; two to each side of the door. I could tell they were waiting outside before addressing someone. Soon soft footsteps were heard as I saw... Nimrah walk into view and into the room. The door was shut behind her by a maid as she walked over to me calmly and with little emotion in her face. I kept my mana drawn; I was sure I could take her if it came to a fight but I doubted it was combat that was on her mind; if it was the Black-Ops Maids would have stayed in the room.

Black-Ops Maid Forces... That'd make a hell of an anime...

She looked up to me as I looked back, both of us calm as I waited for the other shoe to drop. It was almost a full minute before she said two words. "Impregnate me."

"...What?"

"I need you to impregnate me." She said, repeating her... Demand? Request? ... Repeating her want calmly.

"...Even if you weren't married I'd refuse that request." I said, trying to recover from the sudden words. "I'm not much into poaching another man's wife." Even if that man was Jason Draken.

...Although I did sympathize with why she wanted to cheat.

"I'm not asking you to be a lover for my own pleasure; I need a child." She said firmly but softly. I was opening my mouth to speak before she cut me off. "And while your honest desire to be honorable with me is admirable, please at least allow me to make an argument before dismissing my request." I sighed and shook my head.

I had a hard time refusing such a pretty face. I finally released the mana I was drawing; there was no need for it, clearly.

"Fine. Argue away." I said with a sigh, shoulders slumping as I crossed my arms.

"Jason is barren." She said to my surprise (Although I really shouldn't be all things considered) as I blinked at her. "We've been wed for six years. We've had sex at least once a week since, if not more. I have never been pregnant. I haven't even even miscarried. I am aware he asserts his... Manliness over a few of the maids and servants. None have sired him a bastard. By all accounts of the healers and doctors I've seen I am fertile and he is not. But even if he wasn't... Well... The family tree is rather... thin at the moment. I am his cousin, and if my mother had not cheated on her husband I'd be his full sister as well. We share the same problem of our blood not clotting and... Well, you've seen his jaw and I am an albino. You can work out the rest yourself." She said, sighing deeply. "...I will have a child, I must... But I cannot have his... If the faults in our House is to be mended we need new blood. Count Stephan will not allow us to marry out of the family, and I doubt Jason would either. As such I have but one option to bring new blood in."

"Cheat." I said in a soft, exasperated tone.

"Yes. I am not proud of it; I do love Jason in a way, faults and all but... I fear..." She gulped softly for a moment. "...I fear if he could give me a child it would be... More deformed then he is... You've seen him. He acts like he's special and such but House Draken raises you to accept these... Issues. I cannot, in good faith, watch my children suffer in such a way. And yet he... we need a heir and you know what side will be blamed if none comes along." She said as I sighed. "I only ask you because you are of noble blood and magically able. I will sleep with a servant if I must, but you are preferable."

"...This is not what I was expecting, I must say." I said as she smiled softly with a gentle chuckle.

"Indeed. ... I understand your hesitance but please... I am trying to save my house..."

"You know one time isn't a guarantee for a-"

"I've taken a fertility potion. And used such a spell on myself. Rest assured, I have prepared ahead of time." She said, cutting me off. "You just need release any contraceptive spells on yourself. Fear not; I will claim the child as Jason's and ensure he or she is well taken care of." She said as she looked at me with expectation before I finally sighed... And dropped my 'prevent bastards' spell for a moment.

"I feel as if I'm going to regret this." I said, sighing as I nodded.

"I won't forget your sacrifice and discomfort in this. You may pain yourself in this, but you do me a great favor..." She said, hands moving to her dress as she moved to disrobe as I did the same. She wore no underwear, and moved to a table in the corner of the room, away from the windows, and bent over, hands on it, presenting her ass. Once I was undressed I followed and found her sex wet, but not in the 'aroused' type of moisture. I set a finger to her sex and dragged it up, feeling her up and found the moistness to be a bit off...

"I used an artificial lube." She explained simple, looking back and giving me a sad look. "I... Apologize... I shall not be your most passionate lover nor... Oh my, Jason's penis looks nothing like that!"

Should I be worried about what Jason's penis loo-

No! No! Not thinking about that! Bound to be full of 'Nope' with a side of 'Nope' and served on a plate made of 'Nope' in the House of 'Nope'.

"Maybe don't mention that." I said as I stroked myself, trying to arouse myself on the sight of her hindquarters. This was the most awkward sexual experience I ever had. The only contender was when playing Doctor when I was nine in my old world and me and the girl next door found we mismatched on what was inside our underwear. Although in that case we had the excuse of being dumb kids.

Once I was hard enough I moved to set myself to her slit and pressed in making her gasp, one of her hands slapping over her mouth as she tried to contain the sound. I did my best to be gentle but the situation was not a case of loving sex, animistic pleasures, asserting one's manhood or anything of the like. This was Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am. Well, Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Sir, but it doesn't sound as good.

I held onto her hips as I rocked into her, gently pressing myself deeper and deeper in. She had a frail build so going wild was a bad idea, or so I felt, so I maintained a steady pace with long, slow, firm strokes. I groaned softly as I held her plush cheeks in both of my hands as I shivered over her. I wasn't able to go fully into her, but with her moaning into her hand it seemed she didn't mind.

In truth I was still unsure of doing this, but I understood her situation and while I wanted to refuse I had to admit that this was, in a way, for the best. House Draken wasn't going to correct itself, by all accounts. And the Drakens were jerks. This wasn't a good excuse, mind you.

Or maybe in this world where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting willing women wishing to engage in sex I was turning into a poon hound.

I mean... There were worse things, right?

Right?

She moaned under me louder, shuddering with an orgasm as she let off a sharp cry of pleasure into her hand as she squirted softly onto my cock. Glad as I was she was getting off I still had a ways to go. Still she was loosening up so I felt safe in picking up speed and pace, groaning harder over her. She whimpered in pleasure, still quivering as I worked myself in and out of her. I think the lack of passion was effecting me, but I was getting there.

Here's hoping it was worth it for her.

She mewled a bit as her sex gripped me harder for a moment as I grit my teeth. It took some work but I finally pushed in deeper and came, groaning over her with a shiver as my balls pumped what she wanted into her; semen. It splashed into her as I held myself into her as she quivered for a long, long moment. Finally I pulled out as she was left panting on the table, groaning. "Well... We did it..."

"In... Indeed..." She said with surprising sadness. Then again she just cheated on her husband...

I mean he wasn't a catch, but still...

She pulled away as awkward filled the room and on shaky legs moved to redress. "Again I apologize for all of this... No one will know but us."

"And four combat maids."

"And four combat maids sworn to silence, yes." She said with a nod to my reply. Once done she looked to me, faintly blushing. "...For what it's worth I enjoyed it... More then I should have." She said, sighing. "Feel no guilt. Feel no satisfaction. You have perhaps saved this House. Take comfort in that." I never got the chance to redress before she shuffled out of the room.

[-]

After that... thing I did with Nimrah I took some time to reflect (Redressing first, of course) and pondered on if what I did was right, acceptable, correct or even for the best. In hindsight I shouldn't have done it, and yet I didn't feel terrible about it.

Oddly enough I felt guilty for not feeling terrible about it. It was bizarre, to say the least.

My pondering ended as a knock came to my door. "Yes?" I called out, walking to it.

"It's Alicia." I blinked, opening the door... Only for her to storm in, slam the door behind her before I could shut it, full grimace on her face as she power walked to my bed and leapt face first into the pillow. Literally face first because she started screaming into it as I stared at her (Not even at her ass which had the skirt of her mana armor kicked up from her landing on the bed) as she tried to deafen the pillow. "I... Hate... That... Man..." She hissed out.

"Alicia, calm down..." I said, waving my hands slightly towards her in a pacifying manner as she stood up and paced, growling.

"He keeps trying to act like he can just touch and grab at me like I'm property!" She let off, snorting and almost snarling as she paced. "Like my ass is a handhold for him! And talking something about... Something! I can never understand him, but it's clear he doesn't care about me, just my body! Or my position, I can never tell! If it wasn't for how much ore this goddess forsaken territory churned out I'd break his jaw myself! With my shield! That little-"

It was clear she wasn't listening to my attempts to pacify her and she just wanted to rant and rave at someone for a bit and get her anger out on something that wasn't going to break or cause a political shit show.

You know, all of a sudden fucking Nimrah wasn't so bad. I feel no more guilt over it at all. Not in a bit. Nope, not at all. I hope she has a strong, happy child. And finds a good lover on the side while she's raising him or her.

Amazing what a woman's rant will do for your conscious.

[-]

I had to convince Alicia the next morning that pushing the horses too hard was a bad idea, doubly so in Ironheart's rough terrain. She settled for pushing them hard until Bladewing was well behind us and out of sight. Not that I blamed her; I was also glad to have that behind us.

I swear, I never want to see Jason's face again. Ever. Ever.

It was time to move on to Ironside, and not a moment too soon.

[-]

Castle Ironheart's Library
That Evening

"Th-they're all supposed to look like that?" Nimrah let off as she looked at an anatomy book. With the amount of books on the shelves in the Castle's library she didn't read by candle light but by the light of a spell stone set into a brooch on her dress. After her impregnation by James (It was too early to tell if she was pregnant, of course, but given all the preparation she made she was sure she would be before the week was up) she became curious of the human, male penis.

She had been satisfied by her husband's tool before now... She was sure it was normal to have sex like that... That aside from shooting with an empty quiver it was normal... At least until taking James's seed.

It wasn't a difference in size that mattered to her but the shape... Long, straight with a knobby, mushroom tip... So... unlike her husband's... More pleasing...

She had thought she had known pleasure before but no, she now knew pleasure, a moment of seeing fireworks under your eyelids, lightning spark up your spine, fire filling your soul...

It was strange that a man giving her dispassionate sex lit more in her loins then her husband for all his loving passions couldn't.

Would other men make her feel as such?

Would toys fill such a role?

So many questions...

Unknown to her brief, one time lover... He lit a spark of infidelity in her...

But that's a story to be told in another tome...

[-]

With Port Blackstone as it's capital, sitting alongside the Great Atlas River the Barony of Ironside is one of the few naval territories of the mostly landlocked kingdom. Alongside it's neighbor Cauldona the Barony of Ironside is one of the richest Baronies in the realm and bares it's own navy; both merchant for trade and military to patrol the river. In this way it's been the first line of defense between Eostia and Dominious.

With the Eostian/Garanian War ongoing the Empire's unwillingness to cross the river and involve themselves in that mess via conquest has given them breathing room to both build a better navy but also expand their trade further; mostly to Zenith and Camafran. With House Flotte at it's helm the barony has done it's upmost to keep trade flowing and the waters of the Great Atlas River safe and free for all against Dominious aggression under the motto of their founders.

"Full sail onward, for the morrow brings new tides and challenges."

~Dominic James Pencraft, The Eostia Historia

[-]

The rough terrain of Ironheart carried on into Ironside but started to turn to fields of short grass and sparse trees a few hours after we entered the territory. There were still more then a few hills to navigate but those roads we rode on were smoother and smoother. Soon the capital of Port Blackstone came into view. The city was sat right next to the Great Atlas River, a river wide enough that it was difficult to see across to the other side where Dominious sat.

The city walls were unpainted save the top of it, painted white. The rest was made of dark, gray stone that was a few shades away from black, possibly the namesake of the city. However these walls didn't circle the city; rather it was horseshoe shaped with the ends stuck about sixty odd feet into the river and sixty feet over ground level. A wall separating the harbor from the rest of the city would give it a sort of rounded 'A' shape. Additionally to that there was a second set of walls separated from city by about an hour's walk with shorter walls; a dry dock or shipyard by what I knew. It was going to be the site of a new Castle Ironside but there was a problem; Dominious and it's tendencies to ignore the Myghter Accords. As such the previous Castle was reinforced with double walls around the keep in addition to the city walls.

There were towers on both sides of the gate with posts set to the back of them holding up the banner of the local ruling house. It was a knight's shield with a raised, center point and a thick, thick black outline. The background was blue and dominated by a white sea shell outlined in black in the top and center. At the bottom was the image of a mermaid; red hair, green scales, blue eyes and a white, strapless bra. Below the shell and on either side of the mermaid was a pair of dark gray anchors with white rope wrapped around them. However unlike most banners the shield itself was set into something; placed on the front of a large, white anchor with a dark gray outline. It made the emblem stand out, I'd say.

Port Blackstone was a rather large city and we ended up traveling slower then normal through it; commerce was clearly going at a brisk pace as people moved from place to place pulling wagons, carrying baskets, leading animals pulling carts and more. In addition there were quite a few guards walking about to keep the order of the place. What interested me the most however was the collection of styles the buildings and structures had; it was all over the place.

Brick and mortar buildings sat next to those made of uneven, carved stone. Wooden, log buildings sat next to those made of painted or treated wood. I could see buildings that seemed to take design queues from Greco-Roman designs that resembled the old Unitum Imperium that used to rule the region, once upon a time. Others would resemble the European style that most of Ur and by all accounts most of Eostia favored. A few wouldn't seem that out of place from early United States history; pre or post revolution. I could even see something resembling a Japanese home even. The combination and clashing styles and designs was a statement; Port Blackstone was a hub for trade and culture alike.

Unlike most towns and cities Blackstone had two branches of the Adventurer's Guild; one in the center of town and one at the harbor. The one in town was your standard Guild branch but the one by the harbor was dedicated to jobs that required access to a ship. These were usually delivery and passenger jobs but depending on the ship escort jobs were also present. In addition given Eostia's lack of a large navy the Kingdom would rely on privateers to harass rivals and would hand out Letters of Marque to those willing to follow the rules when using them.

Yes, this meant that Blackstone was a pirate haven; privateer haven if you want to be fully accurate. And it was the second branch we would be installing the Booster to. We decided to go there first and then visit the local ruler but that would change when a pair of mounted knights intercepted our convoy; Baron Von Flotte had heard of our arrival and sent his men off to invite us over straight away.

As I mentioned the castle's keep boasted double walls on top of the city walls. In addition the outer walls were placed near the harbor wall; anyone invading via the harbor would have three walls and a keep's worth of archers and other defenders to contend with. The keep itself was large, round and with a wide base. It was uncomplicated, simple and to the point. I kinda liked it.

Inside the courtyard and flanking the road to the keep was a series of large gardens with massive amounts of flowers of every color in the rainbow. The road circled about the front of the keep in a ring and inside of it was a statue of a mermaid, kneeling with a hand propping herself up and the other holding up a jar that was pouring water into the fountain it sat on. We disembarked and soon a six foot man flanked by two women walked out looking, ummm...

Like the guy on the Captain Morgan bottle. He was blonde and without a beard and boasting a thin, handlebar mustache but the clothing was spot on. A red jacket that dropped over the thighs, trimmed with a gold color, white Jacob's collar, black pants and brown boots. A thick, brown belt was wrapped about his waist and a blue cape with gold trim hung from his shoulders. At his hip was a cutlass and strapped to his thigh was a flintlock. Yeah, an actual flintlock pistol.

"Welcome to Eostia's gateway to the seas! Welcome to Ironside my friends!" All he needed was a barrel to step on as he spoke in a booming voice. "For those I am meeting for the first time I am Baron Miles Von Flotte! Welcome to my home, I've the spiced rum to toast to my guests!"

I managed to not snicker at that.

(-)

Name: Miles Von Flotte
Title: Baron of the River Fleets
Class: Hero
Level: 39
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 43
Status: Healthy, Joyful, Outgoing

Known Traits
[Gunslinger] You have the ability to use pistols as a Secondary Weapon.

[Sea Legs] You fight as well, if not better, on a ship then on land. +2% to Dex and Agi when on a ship.
[?]

Third son of Richard Von Flotte, Miles was a captain and later admiral of Ironside's navy, using the ETS-IS Grey Lady as his flagship. He fought a number of sea battles against Dominious backed pirates and raiders, protecting the waters of the Great Atlas River for his people. Despite being third in line for the barony he was named heir for his contributions to the realm, taking over the Barony after his father retired.

(-)

ETS, for the record, meant 'Eostian Territory Ship', meaning a ship that belonged to an Eostian Territory and not the crown directly. Often these ships would have another bit added on such as IS in this case, making for ETS-IS or 'Eostian Territory Ship - Ironside'. If the crown did own the ship the registration would be ERV, 'Eostian Royal Vessel', however the crown owns very few ships.

I noted the Gunslinger perk as well; while I dismissed the Engineer class and it's upgrades that was because of how nerfed firearms were made in this world and the raw flexibility magic afforded to me. However as an Enchanter I had options if I could get my hands on a good pistol and gained the ability to use it; a bullet loaded with a Fireball spell would... Have an effect to say the least.

If such a path was a viable one was a question for another time, but worth considering now that I knew there was a trait that gave me access to firearms; if only pistols.

"Good to be meet you all. You must be Princess Alicia and James Noxdecus then?" The woman next to him was darker skinned and bore onyx eyes with short, black hair that was well cropped around her face. She had a nice smile on her face as she looked us over, standing maybe five four in height and boasting B-Cup Breasts. She wore a white outfit that was a single, connected piece; loose pants with cut outs at the hips, an attached, backless halter top that tied around the neck with what looked like a draw string around the hips. A set of leather sandals were on her feet , as were gold bracelets around the wrists and a gold hoop earring on each ear. "I'm Mariatu Von Flotte. Nice to meet you all."

(-)

Name: Mariatu Von Flotte
Title: Lady of Ironside
Class: Rogue
Level: 21
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 51
Status: Healthy, Relaxed, Curious

Romance Rating: 81
Corruption Rating: 11

Known Traits
[Wand User] You've studied under a mage and have learned some magic. You may cast any spell that a Mage has access to; so long as you learn it first.
[Soundless Steps] Your footsteps make half the noise of others. +2% Agi when unnoticed.

[?]

Youngest daughter of Miles Von Flotte and a foreign woman from the Sunkissed continent he brought home with him she is a relaxed, casual young woman with a 'work smarter not harder' world view, making her a relaxed but eager worker. She doesn't mind being underestimated by others.

(-)

"And I am Shasa Von Flotte." By contrast the other woman was about five ten with a lean but well toned frame and darker skin with short, chin length hair about the same as the other woman in coloration save golden colored eyes. Her clothing had a clear Egyptian (Or Egyptian style) influence with a golden gorget with blue and red painted patterns and a band around her torso under her C-Cup bust, connected by a gold band over each breast, hiding the nipple. A matching belt was over the hips with a gold colored loincloth hanging over the front with a very thing, semi-transparent white skirt around her hips attached under the belt with the front pressed to belt and the back hanging down further. A set of black panties could be seen under the skirt, semi-transparent as it was.

Her hands were wrapped in cloth then further covered by a gold bracer with blue and red panels with an extension over the back of the hands and a strap holding the piece in place by going around the palm. A set of similar bracers were around the shin which attached to sandals with a slight hint of heel to them. A gold piece hang off her hair; small, round plates connected to other plates with thin chains and moving around the head in a 'U' shape with thin chains hanging off each plate leading to short, gold, feather like pieces at the ends. Finishing the look was golden bands around the biceps and left thigh. "A pleasure."

(-)

Name: Shasa Von Flotte
Title: Fighter of Ironside
Class: Monk
Level: 24
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 46
Status: Healthy, Interested, Curious

Romance Rating: 78
Corruption Rating: 14

Known Traits
[?]
[Multi-Melee Master] Your training includes melee weapons of all kinds! All one handed melee weapons become secondary weapon options for you. Additionally you can choose between 'swords', 'axes and hammers', 'polearms' and 'flails' and add them to your list of primary weapons.
[Multi-Ranged Master] Your training includes ranged weapons of all kinds! All ranged secondary weapon options for you. Additionally you can choose between 'bows', 'crossbows', 'thrown weapons', 'firearms' and 'slings' and add them to your list of primary weapons.
[Dual Strike] You are exceptional at using two weapons at the same time. +5% Dex and Agi while using two weapons at once.
[?]

Eldest daughter of Miles Von Flotte she trained under an Eastern unarmed martial artist for most of her early life but as she grew up gained a fascination and appreciation for weapons of all types. As such she has become a collector of almost every type of weapon and trains in each to a level of competence. In addition she has become a competent sailor in her own right.

(-)

"I'd introduce you to my wife, but she's off to Geofu to haggle and talk trade." Miles said with a chuckle. "Woman's a shrewd negotiator and a smooth talker; she worked a ring on my finger after all." He said, as his daughters put on sultry looks as they walked over towards us. He sighed and shook his head, rolling his eyes in a clear 'Here We Go Again' manner. I resisted the urge to do it as well; one thing to say about this world the women were a lot more assertive sexually the my old one.

To my surprise, however, they didn't move to my side... Rather Mariatu took hold of my sister's arm, pulling it between her breasts with a smile to Miria's shock, looking to her and blinking in surprise with a blush on her face and Shasa cozied up to Makoto in a likewise manner who blushed deeply but tried to stay stoic.

This was both oddly refreshing and a bit of a blow to the old ego of mine. Still, I didn't own anyone here so I wasn't in a position to object; not after fucking...

...

Ummm, how many women have I slept with now!?

But anyway; the only person I could get mad at for sleeping behind my back was Prim and the only people she'd sleep around with was Carmen and Troya; neither of which I had an issue with.

"Ehhh, what can I say... Their mother has a strict 'no sex with boys until marriage policy in place'." Miles said as he waved us over. "Well come on now, let's go in and relax, shall we?" He said, summoning us into the keep.

[-]

After a couple of hours I set out with Riri and Aeris to install the booster. The reason they came with me was simple; shopping. This was a port city and a major one at that with access to goods from across the seas. Even Dominious goods could be found I was sure... For the right price to the right man, anyway.

Not legally, of course, but when has that stopped anyone?

Installing the Booster took little time but before I could leave the Guild's receptionist stopped me. Seeing as I made the booster and the voxlux my skills as an enchanter weren't in question and she asked if I was able to appraise as well. When I confirmed I could she smiled and offered me a small job for extra coin; a local weapon's shop had come into an enchanted sword. However the problem was the previous user ended up burning his house down... With him in it. The weapon in question was believed to be the reason and needed to be appraised to get a precise idea of what it was, what it did and if the death of the former owner was due to an issue in the spell coding or 'user error'.

I agreed and decided that one, the extra coin can't hurt and two, I planned to visit a weapon's shop anyway. Two birds, one stone.

We found the place not too long after leaving the guild; it was a building made of carved, uneven stone held with mortar, white washed with a red door frame with a darker red door set into it matching the trim and color tone as the roof. Over the door had a horizontal post sticking out with a sign hanging off of it bearing a sword, axe and pike side by side of each other; The Steel Edge was the name of the shop. Opening the door I walked in and looked about.

Weapon racks were everywhere with all types and styles of blades. Everything from your basic long sword to rapiers to katanas to a blade with a hooked end, almost every type and style of blade was on sale in addition to axes, pikes, spears and more. A few other odds and ends was about; basic armor, whetstones, targets for practice and so on. I ignored them as I moved to the counter in the back; behind it was a tall, broad man with dark, chocolate colored skin. He wore a blue tunic with yellow trim and I could make out brown pants from behind the counter. His head bore no hair, but bore a scar over the left side of the scalp, going back over his head. A goatee was on his chin of dark, dark hair as brown eyes looked over to me with a small smile. "Greetings, stranger. How may I help you?"

(-)

Name: Kanoro Safara
Title: Owner of the Steel Edge
Class: Warlord
Level: 27
Alignment: Friendly
Reputation: 34
Status: Healthy, Relaxed, Waiting

Known Traits
[?]
[Axe No Questions] You wield axes with greater ability then normal. +2% Str, Agi & Dex when using an axe.
[Heat of the Forge] You can withstand hot days and heat thanks to your time at the forge. You manage heat better and take 5% less damage from fire attacks

A former mercenary of the Sunkissed Continent, during an escort job on a ship he found himself washed up on the shores of the southwest of Sererus. Deciding to explore and journey though the new land he would come to Eostia and set up a shop upon his retirement from such work.

(-)

I bet this guy has stories.

"I am James Noxdecus. I was told you were seeking an appraiser for a magical weapon." I replied, smiling and giving him a brief bow as he smiled wider.

"Ah, good, good. Hope you know your stuff then. One moment." He said, turning and moving to a back room. He wasn't there long before coming back with a large sword in a sheathe. The sword in question was a claymore; four feet long and with a large, brass cross guard. He pulled the sword free of it's container; the blade wasn't overly wide and it wasn't fancy or flashy. Aside from a lone spell stone set into the steel just over the guard you would see no evidence it was magical. Maybe it was made to hide the fact it was a magical blade from a casual observer?

I took the blade in hand by the handle, my other hand under the flat of the blade to support it as I started to look it over with my abilities as well as both Observe and Appraise.

(-)

Name: Claymore of the Blazing Will
Type: Two Handed Sword - Enchanted
Stats: +2 Con, +2 Str
Damage Bonuses: +15 Slashing, +6 Piercing, +8 Fire Damage (When in Use), +4 Fire Resistance (When in Use)
Buy Value: 55 Gold, 5 Silver
Sell Value: 25 Gold

This sword is a heavy weapon intended for strong users. It includes a Blazing Weapon enchantment that is in use when the user says 'Hellfire and Brimstone' aloud. The spell continues until the user says 'Calm the Flames' aloud or it runs out of mana.

(-)

Ah. The problem is apparent now.

"Hellfire and Brimstone." I said as I adjusted my grip to hold it by the handle properly; the blade immediately came alight, bathing us in a glow... And I could feel the heat coming off it, although heavily dimmed. Seeing an anvil nearby I walked over to it and set the blade down on it, letting go. Kanoro hummed softly as he crossed his arms as we watched the weapon blaze on. "There's your problem." I said, pointing to it.

"I... Don't understand." Riri said, blinking. "Isn't it supposed to do that?"

"Yes and no." I looked over to the shop owner. "If I may explain?" He nodded once as I looked back to Riri and Aeris. "There are two ways to set up a spell to be used in a weapon; one where you need at least some magical training to use it with your mana or one where there is a vocal command, which works for everyone. The mana trigger is the best; you can use the weapon's spell right away, in an instant. The vocal command, however, works for everyone, even those who cannot train their mana at all, but if you forget the phrase or don't know there is one, well, it's still a weapon."

"Okay." Riri said nodding once.

"However in this case there are two issues. The weapon needs a vocal trigger to turn off as well." I said, gesturing to the still burning weapon. "Which is fine if the weapon's element is something like holy or ice; it'll be a pain but not that damaging. When that element is fire however and you, say, get disarmed or drop the weapon and it lands on the floor, bed or something else and sets everything on fire, wellllllll, you've got a bit of an issue on your hands."

"Ah... You imagine that the man who owned the weapon let off 'hellfire and brimstone' as a curse and turned the sword's spell on without meaning to." Aeris summarized as I nodded.

"Yup. Normally these spells have a secondary trigger to turn them off; such as dropping or sheathing the weapon; usually both." I said as I sighed. "Buuuut this sword doesn't have that. Worse these kind of weapons usually grant a resistance to the element it generates; helps avoid burning your eyebrows off in this case. It's there, but it's not substantial enough. I think the resistance spell couldn't be made any stronger; not without weakening the fire spell, anyway. It's not uncomfortably hot but I imagine you could still get some light burns from it if your not careful. I'd advise anyone using it to wear gloves." I said before grabbing the handle in one hand. "Calm the Flames." I let off the blaze on the blade ending as I lifted it up, bringing it back to the counter and setting it down.

"Shit... It's a bit unsafe then, huh?" Kanoro let off, sighed with a frown. "Anyway to fix that dropping problem?"

"Hmmm..." I let off, moving to the stone above the guard as I set a palm over it, shutting my eyes for a moment. "Well... It kinda depends on the guy who put in the spell... There are ways to prevent additions or changes... But whoever made this one didn't do that."

"That so? Well, I'd be in your debt if you can change it to something safer." He said as I nodded, focusing on my spell as I started to cast; really it was mostly simple; just an addition of a 'script' into the 'code', so to speak. Soon I had it done; I was right in that the spell stone couldn't generate more resistance for the user; it was taxed out as it was. Maybe if the stone was of a higher quality, but that's life. Once done I took the blade back to the anvil, activated it, set it down and let go. The spell ended a second after my hand left. Bringing it back Kanoro smiled wider to me as he sheathed the blade. "Ah, thank you my friend! Hmm, no then... what gift can I offer for this extra service... Coin... Or... Hmm... One moment, one moment..."

He moved to the side to my surprise and hummed a bit, digging around for something before pulling an item out; an old, blue, leather bound book that he brought back and set before me. It was well made despite the obvious age of it and bore a red spell stone in the center over a yellow outline a four pointed star with another four pointed star under it, tilted at forty-five degrees. There was no title on the cover but there was one on the spine.

A Collection of Enchanting Techniques, Spells and Tools
as Written by Wicker Zauberei the Blue Priest

My hands shook a little as I lifted it up.

"Are you... sure you want to part with this?" I asked, opening the book. It was old, worn and with small notes scrawled on the sides of the pages; the only thing stopping it from crumbling in my hands was the protections set on it by the stone, more then likely. "This is a very rare book, you know?" Aeris looked to the spine as I shut the book as hissed in surprise. It was no wonder.

Wicker Zauberei, AKA the Blue Priest was a major contributor to magical spell craft; specifically in enchanting. In fact he is often referred to as 'The First Father of Enchanting' as while he didn't invent the field (The High Elves did that first, possibly the Dark Elves after... Or before them; I'm sure both would claim being first) Wicker refined them beyond what anyone had before, squeezing more out of spell stones and coming up with new applications for enchanting... And he lived fairly early in the First Age of Magic. Hell, he might have lived in the transition between the Ages of Conflict and Magic. More over when using Observe and Appraise there was a message hidden in the spell stone that could only be read by another enchanter.

Greetings student of magic and spell craft.
I, Wicker Zauberei who is known as the Blue Priest, do greet you.
Let this tome of my collected studies and works share with you a great value.
My knowledge, built upon the foundation left by those before me.
May you, who has come after me, build further and higher then I.

This book was over two thousand years old! At least!

"Indeed. I slew a mage in the end of my mercenary days and took it from his bag." Kanoro said, smiling to me. "I do not know it's true value, but I know you can use it while I cannot and I am not a book seller. Honestly, things should be used, not left on shelves."

He just handed me the most expensive thing in the store, unless he had some mana armor in here I didn't see!

Holy shit!

[-]

Once back at the castle I was ten silver richer and with one very rare, very valuable book in my possession. I asked Riri to fetch me tea, snacks and something to take notes on. I went to my quarters, sat at my desk, opened the book and drowned myself in the pages. I had some ideas on what I wanted to do in the future and an idea on how to do it, but if I was right this would help refine my plans further.

A lot of Wicker's enchanting techniques and knowledge were lost; the printing press wasn't a thing back then and all of these books had to be hand written. Given that Wicker enchanted this stone himself it had to be a first edition; I wasn't even aware if there was a second edition. There were only fifty of these things printed as far as I knew and, sadly, a lot were lost during Verlangen's reign; tyrants and book burning goes hand in hand, sadly. I made a note to see about contacting a printing press; maybe I could arrange for a reprint of this tome some day.

Could make me a bit of coin and preserve Wicker's legacy. Win-win.

I would be burning the midnight oil over the tome. Sure there was a lot here that wouldn't interest a layman or even someone not into the field like Aeris, but to me this was like giving making a Star Trek wiki in tome form with details on a series that was lost before being aired and giving it a Trekkie.

This was my jam...

I wasn't really doing much else until dinner and I read into the evening.

As we left Ironside for Cauldona I kept reading my book for all the knowledge I could gleam from it...

[-]

Great Atlas River
Aboard a Wooden Sailing Ship 'The Fighting Wench'
Travelling Eastward Towards the Barony of Cauldona

"Bloody hells lasses! I didn't think they'd have a cannon ship after us!"

The ship they were on was an eighty foot brig, a sailing ship with two masts, square rigging and built to be manned by a smaller crew; forty two women in this case. At the front of the hull under the nose was a carved woman; bloody and smiling as she pointed a blade forwards. The ship boasted five cannons; a large amount for any vessel not a part of a nation's military with two on the port side, two on the starboard side and one that was usually on the bow but moved to the aft and firing. The woman who spoke held the ship's wheel, turning it now and then. A series of small spell stones on the mast would manipulate the air, filling the sails with more wind behind them and thus more speed.

The ship giving chase, however, was longer then theirs by half, boasted three masts and three cannons on her bow firing at them; plus an additional ten on each side of the hull. The opposing crew had to outnumber them five to one at best. If she were honest, six to one was more likely. The other ship was a frigate, a ship built for war and combat and she originally feared it would be as fast as her own. She was wrong; it was gaining on them. Slowly, but it was gaining on them. The redheaded woman adjusted the hat on her head as she kept her eyes forwards. At least it was only one ship after them.

"I'm sorry, Capt'n..." A woman standing next to her said as their cannon roared a shot off to their pursers. "If I hadn't gone off and tried to-"

"Stow it!" The captain replied, diving her dark haired, second in command a glance as a series of three whistles then splashes signalled the opposing ship's returning fire. The woman's left eye was covered in a patch and both of her left limbs were missing; replaced with wooden prosthetic ones. The fingers of the fake limb twitched and trembled; a fault of the enchanting as she recalled. It didn't hinder the woman at all, but it annoyed her to no end. "We all knew the risks and we all agreed it was worth taking." She gave her a wide, warm smile, trying to express a confidence she didn't feel. "We'll make it out yet. The crew of the Fighting Wench won't be going down quietly! If we can make it to safe port in Cauldona then they'll be forced to break off."

"Sadly I think they have a third to a half of a knot on us..." A third woman said, walking over to them. She sighed softly as she shook her head, her waist long, brown braid swinging behind her like a tail, a second hanging over her right shoulder. "We can keep ahead of them until we're in Eostian waters... But at best we'll be in sight of port before they're on us. And that's assuming they don't-" A whistling sound sailed past with the sound of splintering wood, causing all three and more crew to glance at a side rail of the ship; a chunk broken inwards as the cannonball deflected off into the water with a loud splash. "...Aim better..."

"Tch." The captain let off, grinning. "Stout hearts ladies. Those barnacle suckers haven't caught me, my ship or my crew before and I'm not about to let that change! Let's see about getting a little more wind into our sails! Onward, ladies! We're not sunk yet!"

Down the river, two ships sailed with cannon fire belting between the two.

And they both hurried to the east...

[ - Author's Note - ]

So, we had a couple brief stops, a new, useful book... and pirates!

Er...

And privateers!

As you might expect this will drop in James' lap next chapter. I had planned for them to show up in Ironside, but then I realized they would go for the closer Cauldona unless something was able to prevent them and I didn't have a good excuse. So it's kicked back until the next chapter.

At current the plan is to have three to four more chapters in Feoh before moving on with some focus on Cauldona, Pulca and Sanka with a brief stop over at Blackwell. There will be a brief interlude chapter with a tad more lore... And a bit more focus on a mentioned faction that should give more context to the coming storm.

As mentioned there's a new chapter of Eostia: Harem Questlines with a new poll up there. We're going to have a bit more action next time, so look forwards to it. As always leave a comment, review and tell me what you liked and didn't like. Your feedback helps, trust me.

Until next time!

~~Eostian Scribe