Chapter 2: The Tub . I'm not proud of this build, I confess - I wasn't happy with it even last year when I built it. Nevertheless, it taught me an important lesson - never set out to build at a scale that you cannot support with your pieces. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story if you are following the adventures of Steven, and I advise you to steer clear otherwise. Yo ho! . After weeks of hopping between islands in the small-but-hardy Weezil, Captain Harold of Gimletstown and his barbaric crew were conscripted as part of a massive surge between the last of the seafaring Royals and many of the heroes of Rainos, a force of fifty thousand men and semi-sentient life forms pointed at the "more-civilized" island of Mythron like a foul-smelling nuclear missile. Thousands of ships, from nimble vessels the size of the Weezil to lumbering supply galleys, took to the channel... but some would-be invaders discovered that Mythron had a fleet of its own.
Ships met in the dark. Pirates and barbarians swarmed the enemy, a carrack from Carthal known as the Eagle, the deck illuminated by Enalican fire and were-light.
Knights turned out atop huge warhorses, taking more lives than they lost despite the heaving joists below. Steven stood with his crossbow at his side, dazed by the carnage.
As the rookie gaped, his allies pushed upward from the foredeck, clearing a path for the leader of all the Bull Knights to board the ship...
Lord Cedric, hook and sword glistening, grimaced maniacally in the shower of red and leapt for the Eagle, leaving his personal vessel with little more than a skeleton crew...
Above the others, Steven's captain dueled his Cartalian counterpart, treading the narrow spar as if it were a cobbled road...
A knight in black faced both a seasoned pirate and a vampire. One of them had red eyes, but all were faces were full of fear and battle-rage...
On the middle deck, where the two forces had become hopelessly entangled, the fighting was fiercer still...
Crack Mythronian archers and crossbowmen stood their ground closer to the cabin, playing a symphony on their bowstrings...
Horses fought for footing...
A wizard resorted to the only actual spell he knew, regardless of the inherent dangers of wielding fire on a wooden ship...
One of the cleverer pirates flanked the firing squad and put her knives to use...
Another found why crossbows were not the preferred weapons for close quarters - once the shot is taken, they can do nothing else to stop madmen with morningstars...
Easter egg? Christmas present? Wrong season for either?
With so many details assaulting his senses, Steven stood paralyzed. Then movement caught his eye, his head turned and his hands convulsed - the Rainosian was shocked to see an enemy sailor aiming a springald go down with Steven's quarrel in his mouth. Physical pain met him a second later - the Mythronian had had time to fire.
At the sight of the winged menace, bearing a potentially-suicidal knight of Mythron, the battle broke apart. Pirates, Rainosians and Mythronians alike fled before its uncontrollable power - the addition of a greater threat ended the battle for the Eagle in stalemate.
True to its name, the Weezil slipped through the chaos to carry its surviving crew (with a pair of pirates) to the safety of a rocky atoll somewhere near the island that would later be called Exileseat.
"Gaaah! No - I won't let you cut my arm off!"
"Hold still, you idiot - 'tis but a scratch. Let me put on the bloody bandage."
As Steven struggled with William Farrer, the pirates held a conference at a distance. Their casualties had been the highest of all, thanks to their lack of armor, but the younger of the two did not seem concerned by this.
"Hey, Sam, did you see me? I think I got one!"
"Yes, Ivan, but how many of us did they get? Did you see anyone else get out in time? Rose? Erril?"
Ivan's buoyancy turned to worry as he wracked his memory.
Captain Harold, the Weezil's commander, was also brooding over lost mates - his first mate and a primate - but he held himself together. There was planning to do, and that couldn't be done in a state of despair. The opposition had been hard, and Harold's party had lost contact with the rest of their fleet. That left them with two options - to push on to Mythron in the hope of meeting allies before enemies, or to retreat to Rainos and abort the mission.
"Crew, fall in!" the captain ordered. Everyone, including the pirates, turned. "We will weigh anchor and sail for Mythron. There's a place I know there- some tower held by barbarians. If we can make our way upriver, we should be able to restore our fuel with timber and press on to the fortress. Then we can contact Cedric, and drop off the pirates when we reunite with our army. Jump to it!"
The Weezil cast off, beginning a long journey to the fortress of Falmore.
The Expedition Begins
Someday I will finish my first chapter concerning the courageous soldiers, sailors, and other explorers sent forth by the King of Ankoria to scout the new continent discovered to the north of the empire, but today I have chosen to work on chapter three instead.
The story began when Captains Humerus and d�Colore, of the navy and army respectively, recruited six civilians to serve as sailors aboard their warship (still creatively named the Eagle), currently under construction in a nearby dry dock. Instead of the crack sailors they wanted, they found a pair of old and legal rum-runners, a nautiphilic dwarf, a veteran of King Leo�s dated excuse for an armada, a young woman with a terrible urchin accent, and a carpenter with an atrocious hairdo. This eclectic crew traveled inland to the brand-new academy of Sir First for boot camp, and then marched back again. Now they and their companions for the adventure stand shivering in file on a windy pier in Dryton. Having already loaded all necessary cargo from grapeshot to grapes, they can leave as soon as the captains are ready.
�There is a chill in my bones, Captain d�Colore. Let us release the ship into the zephyr and pass through the air, rather than let it pass through us.�
�You could wear clothes, like that young lady over there.�
�The wizard�s maid? Bah! She�s a freak, not a fiery-eyed warrior like my kind. Hardly dead at all, in my opinion.�
�Hmm. On the topic of crew, I want your opinion of the wizard. He�ll be the youngest man aboard, and we must rely on him for all matters of the arcane.�
�If you can take on another platoon of soldiers at the last minute, I can hire a wizard. He can do no more harm than them, I�m sure.�
�The Lions? I was ordered to bring them. The Red Kingdom�s men in general are an uncouth bunch, but this squad is apparently the best they have. Our king hopes that by sending them with us he can deprive our newest territory of a chance to revolt.�
�What of mutiny, then? They can cause trouble in whatever berth they find.�
�Not with my men around. That�s why I asked for the dwarves- we outnumber them three to one. Now, Humerus, I must confide in you before we leave and all hope of prevention is lost.
�Take a look at our civilian crew. Forget the king�s �equal employment� policy for a minute and think. We have one-to-five-and-twenty ratio on this dock, and you know what I mean. You have sailed the seas for a century as man and corpse; will you break millennia of nautical tradition on a whim? There is a reason sailors call it bad luck!�
The undead mariner�s eyes gleam in a way that the explorer can only describe as �evil�.
�Captain d�Colore, what gender is the Crown Princess?�
�That�s different! She will only have to deal with courtesans when she takes the throne�,�
�And �courtesans� are also known as �knights�, and that�s a crowd that used to give sailors a good name. And might I ask you, how do you think women cross a sea? What is the difference between passenger and crew, but a modicum of familiarity? Blast it all, even if you are not yet satisfied, the lass has yon bony maid and Eagle herself alongside her. A figurehead and a freak might not be creatures of flesh, but they�re still female. Come to think with it, so were about half of the skeletons I fought on the Necromancer�s ships with; everyone�s the same when you strip away the details.�
Wrapped in their part of the debate that will sweep through humanity (and eventually dwarfdom, trollishness, and all those other vital groups) for centuries to come, the two captains fail to notice a far more immediate dilemma. Intent on his opportunity to have a voyage�s worth of regular (if rather unappetizing) meals, one of Snake Street�s younger denizens quietly clambers aboard.
The captains elect not to alter their crew, and give the order to set sail.
Soon the anchor (which was forgotten in this model by an incompetent and irritated shipwright) is lifted, and the ship sets sail on its maiden voyage to virgin territory.
The discoverers, after a brief once-over of their temporary home, settle into their tasks. Sailors and marines swarm the rigging, doing their best to work with the enchanted, invisible sails (bwa ha ha� another shortcut).
Discovering that some of the dwarves are uneducated in modern warfare, master gunner Richard of Stableton takes it in his hands to change this fact.
Farther along, one of d�Colore�s crack archers has nobly to keep in communication with the figurehead of the Eagle, who, like many of her kind in this land of magic, is practically alive. Bewitching figureheads in this manner is a common strategy to allow the ship to speak for itself when it has an undetectable leak, or rats are eating through the rope locker.
One of the soldiers is doing something below deck. This calls for a closer look�
�which we take by bunching the masts together�
� and uncovering the entire midsection. Unfortunately, we still can�t see who the man is yelling at, so let�s dismantle the ship further still (We don�t like it much anyway, do we?).
There goes the forecastle roof�
�followed by the forecastle itself. Look, the soldier is trying to tell the knight that there isn�t any room to walk a horse about in the hold. The silly man obviously has not had much experience with knights. Also take note of the rustic lattice windows in the stable and the nearby brig.
Here is the cargo bay itself, filled with netting, barrels,
A decomposing fish,
And harness for the knights� horses.
At the aft end of the hold we encounter the door to the captain�s cabin (property of d�Colore because Humerus has no need for �living space�), as well as two of the smaller guns. Voices emanate through the woodwork.
Caught! A day from port, the knight on the left apprehended the knavish stowaway, and d�Colore is furious.
�You wretch! No doubt you thought that you had a career in the navy all lined up for you with this clever little trick. Well, I have news for you: you will spend the next five days in the brig and not set foot on shore until our mission is completed and we return to Ankoria!�
�Honest, guv, I didn�t mean to stow away or nothing. I was picked up by an eagle, and ended up in here. No pun intended, guv.�
�You won�t win me over with feeble wordplay. Sir Brod, take him away. And if Captain Humerus wants to feed this urchin to the sharks, I will not stand in his way.�
Did you see my tiled ceiling? The captain�s cabin is by far the best part of the interior, perhaps even the entire ship. While I withheld detail throughout most of the structure just to see if I could get a ship shape, I made an effort here.
Instead of the customary organ, the back of Captain d�Colore�s cabin is occupied by a very comfortable bed, suspended from the ceiling to ensure a good knight�s sleep. Pardon that pun as well.
At long last the narration drifts downward to the galley, where Rudolph Scruffy-Beard whips up a potion that apparently calls for fish, flowers, and an apple or two. The chicken leg is not magic at all; it�s lunch.
Across the table from the inexperienced wizard sits Del, daydreaming idly.
Most of her thoughts are of her recently-lost life, and how wonderful it would be to have it back. This proves that, for some people, the grass is always greener on the other side. For example, last year Del would have been insanely jealous of her future waistline.
Here is the galley from above. The salt and pepper shakers really add to the ambience.
I have run out of pictures concerning the Royal Explorers. That means it�s time for my MOC review.
I feel that I regressed by two solid years of Lego building on this ship. The insides were crude, the outsides rough, and the colors assaulted my eyes. My main purpose in constructing the Eagle was to learn about the art of shipbuilding, but I forgot all my preliminary research by the time I started building and the lesson seems to be, �Do not build ships, Gilbert Despathens.� Despite this setback I will return to the seas again, one or two major projects in the future, but with a smaller, curvier, and generally more awesome caravel-type warship.
Continuing with the bright side, the namesake eagle featured in some of the earlier pictures gave rise to some new building techniques that I concentrated in an angelic-looking knight later on.
Also, I am rather proud of the curve on the front end and the other curve that continues beneath the ship. The last time I built a major vessel I tried to use the base plates from my Troll Warship, and this SNOT style is much more effective.
Photography did not improve for this MOC, which indicates that perhaps my next project should be a proper backdrop instead of the tower I was considering. Now, here are some fun pics.
If you have remained for this long, I salute your endurance and humbly request that you leave a comment containing either praise or constructive criticism. Because I do not feel that I put forth my best effort on the Eagle I will not ask you to rate, but nor will I stop you. Thank you for viewing, and feel free to check out my other creations (with the possible exception of my adventure in Bionicle building).