A tale of Dominia

Arrival in Rath

The hum of the Weatherlight's engine dropped an octave as the flying ship emerged from the aether between worlds. Dominaria slipped past its hull like water running down glass, and in its place the churning sky of Rath appeared. Boiling clouds of blue and violet swirled and broke, and lightning jumped in jagged arcs behind them. Great gouts of sky periodically plunged to meet the twisted earth below, as if trying violently to reunite. The Weatherlight dove sharply to avoid these masses of destructive energy.

Gerrard, captain of the Weatherlight, called his core crew to the deck, and together they took in the land of their enemy. Somewhere before them stood Volrath's stronghold and within, Sisay. Gerrard knew he must free her from Volrath at any cost. Mirri, the cat warrior, asked Gerrard if he had a plan for finding and rescuing Sisay and for dealing with Volrath once they reached the stronghold. Gerrard admitted that he did not. He suspected that Sisay was the bait to draw him in, but his loyalty to her demanded that he continue. Mirri didn't respond, but secretly wished that someone felt such loyalty to her.

Starke, a native of Rath and the Weatherlight's guide in Volrath's realm, said they'll be lucky simply to reach the stronghold. Hanna, the ship's navigator, was less cynical about their odds than Starke, but detailed for Gerrard why navigation will be difficult at best. She pointed to the barren horizon, which was nearly indistinguishable from the sky, and noted that the ground below was so chaotic that it was nearly void of landmarks. She also observed that Rath's sun was far too weak to provide guidance. Gerrard listened to his crew's doubts and then assured them that they'd find the stronghold; his conviction heartened them. Grinning, he gave the order to set sail.

The Weatherlight glided over the choppy seacoast, searching for a landmark that Starke might recognize. Trees below thickened into a dense canopy of blackened forest. Tahngarth the minotaur suddenly bellowed a warning and pointed to the skies above just as a massive, claw-like warship dove from the thick cloudbanks overhead. It was the Predator, Volrath's flying ship, commanded by Greven il-Vec, the evincar's magically mutated enforcer. Greven was a hulking mismatch of metal plates, body parts, and protruding spikes. He burned with ambition and with his desire to destroy Volrath, who controlled him through a horrific implanted spine. Gerrard and his crew would suffer his rage: the Predator opened fire on the unprepared Weatherlight. Bulwarks shudder. Gerrard braced himself at the foredeck railings, his sword drawn, watching Greven il-Vec prepare to storm the Weatherlight. As the Predator nears, the cannons eased in preparation for the raid. The Weatherlight's three dozen crewmembers spreaded over the deck and prepared for battle. Gerrard grinned and drew his sword. "This won't be a fair fight," he called to his crew. "They should have brought a second ship."

Along the Predator's bow, a cluster of moggs - an especially nasty and ugly subrace of goblins - waited for the fight; Starke shouted to Gerrard that moggs are drawn to the auras of artifacts. Once aboard the Weatherlight, he said, they will sniff out pieces of the Legacy for their master, Volrath. Gerrard tightened his grip on his sword, and readied for battle.

The Predator Attacks

The two ships slammed into each other; the screeching of their collision barely preceded the clash of swords and abrupt cries of pain. Everyone was soon freckled with the blood of moggs and humans alike. Tahngarth and Greven serve as towering landmarks for their allies, each clearing away his enemy with wide sweeps. Orim, the Weatherlight's Samite healer, defended herself from attacks while desperately tending the crew's wounds. The Predator's cannons opened fire again, this time targeting the Weatherlight's masts and crew.

As the battle rages across decks and railings, the nobleman Crovax finally glimpsed Selenia, the angel who once protected his manor, as she dove in and out of the combat. His face froze as he realizes the truth - Selenia now served Volrath. The sword that defended his family now slew his allies. Crovax desperately tried to reach her, but they were kept apart by the frenzy of the battle. He did not know that Selenia, whose very creation equipped her with an empathic link to Crovax, sensed his approach and led the Predator to this bloodbath. Selenia despised Greven and Volrath and would choose to be with Crovax if she could, but she could not question Volrath's commands: destroy his enemies and seize the Legacy. Crovax had witnessed Selenia lead the Predator to the Weatherlight. As the battle raged on deck, he felt his strength melt in the heat of her betrayal.

Terrified of his mogg cousins and certain that he will be dead in moments, Squee, the Weatherlight's goblin cabin hand, fled the battle. He scrambled below deck to hide and to secure the artifact "toy" he scrounged from the cargo hold days ago. Squee tucked the warm ball in his pocket and slipped a pebble in its place. ‘Glok,' he mumbled, and hid. He wrapped himself around the warm, misshapen ball, listening to the moggs ransack the hold. The moggs grunted and muttered as they tromped through the Weatherlight's bays, sniffing the air in search of elements of the Legacy. The mogg nearest Squee's hiding place suddenly recoiled from a terrible smell and turns away - Squee's own stench protected him and his toy from the sensitive sniffing of the moggs. Shaken but relieved, Squee reminded himself to explain the advantages of not bathing to Gerrard.

Karn, the silver golem whose pacifism prevented him from slaying the raiders, was identified as a Legacy artifact by the moggs. When they grabbed him, he lashed out to protect himself. His fierce blow killed the mogg he sent sprawling, and he was paralyzed with conscience - he offered no further resistance. Dozens of moggs swarmed him, tipped him over, and heaved him back to the Predator. Ertai tried to protect the golem, but the moggs' affinity for the Legacy seemed to give them resistance to his magic. They chittered and gestured to each other, snarling at Ertai as they shoved past him and returned to the Predator with Karn and many other Legacy treasures. They were reluctant to leave the Thran crystal in the ship's engine but could not knock it loose. In the end, they cracked the crystal with hammers but failed to dislodge it.

The Duel

As the Weatherlight crew struggled to hold the invaders at bay and the moggs looded the Weatherlight, Greven il-Vec boarded the ship to personally take Gerrard prisoner. As Gerrard and Greven hacked their way through the battle to reach each other, the moggs caught between them realized they should flee. The moggs scattered when Greven finally found Gerrard and closed in on the Weatherlight's captain.

Gerrard was the more agile fighter, but Greven was brutal and tireless. Greven's polearm drew first blood with a gash across Gerrard's lip - a sign of Greven's likely victory. Driving him to the ship's railing, Greven moved in to finish the fight and take Gerrard back to Volrath. Defiantly, Gerrard uttered "First blood isn't as important as last blood."

But even as the two circled and exchanged blows, on board the Predator, Greven's first mate Vhati il-Dal saw a prime opportunity to rid himself of Greven and gain command of the Predator for himself. Vhati knows that command of the Predator is within his reach, if only the malformed Greven were to die in the blast. He ordered the ship's cannons to be fired on the Weatherlight. The Weatherlight listed under the barrage of fire from the Predator, destabilizing the smaller ship. The mogg cannons on board the Predator roared like unruly beasts, and the Weatherlight suddenly listed. The blasts from the Predator scatter allies and enemies alike.

Caught off guard by the blast, Gerrard plunged over the Weatherlight's railing, reaching for Hanna as she tries to save him. "No" screamed Hanna. Hanna lunged for him, but was too late to save Gerrard. He disappeared down into the dark forest below as she watched helplessly. As Gerrard's form vanished into the maw of trees, Hanna mouthed a silent plea, mourning a crushed dream.

Its raid completed, the Predator retreated from the crippled Weatherlight, but the minotaur Tahngarth was not willing to let it go so easily. He leapt to the enemy ship as it pulls away, roaring "Taste my horns!"

Back aboard the Predator, a furious Greven il-Vec confronted Vhati il-Dal about the first mate's treachery in firing cannons at the Weatherlight. "The cannon wasn't aimed at you" pleaded Vhati.

"I'm not sure which is more pathetic," replied Greven, "your judgment or your aim."

"Sir, I just thought ...," explained Vhati.

"Don't think," interrupted Greven. "It doesn't suit you." Despite his pleas, Vhati il-Dal faced an ironic fate. Greven il-Vec lifted Vhati off his feet. "The fall will give you time to think on your failure" Greven snarled as he threw Vhati overboard to his death.

Meanwhile, Tahngarth managed to find Karn, but the two were spotted by moggs while attempting to escape. "Torahn's horns! They've seen us. Now, statue, you must fight to save yourself." Once cornered, Tahngarth fought ferociously against the moggs, but once Greven il-Vec joined the battle, the tide turned against the minotaur. The match between Tahngarth and Greven was close only in the mind of the minotaur.

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