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First Fleet of The Isles, Steamship Indomitable

The thunderous roar of the revolver within the tight confines of the steamship's passageway deafened everyone within earshot. First Fleet Master Kose stood firmly with both feet apart as he cradled the fancy silver gilded revolver gifted to him by the United Nations with both hands as taught.

Despite the deafening boom of the revolver, Fleet Master Kose continued to squeeze the trigger at the cluster of boarders until his weapon went dry. He handed the emptied weapon to his aide at his side who exchange it with a twin of the silver revolver and hurriedly reloaded for his master.

Kose accepted the fresh revolver and fired over the shoulders of the crew whose hearing was long gone due to the working with the new cannons and steam engines. He fired at the shield wall, knocking one of the short Dwarvans off his feet as the heavy round punched through the wood and iron of the shield.

Invigorated by the presence of the First Fleet Master, the crew of the steamship Indomitable roared as they charged forward, throwing themselves against the tiny shield wall with a frenzy, and the tables were turned. The once confident Dwarvan shock troops reeled back from the charge and gave way to the sudden reversal of the situation.

Fleet Master Kose followed grimly behind his crew and fired at any opportunity he could see among the melee. Soon the fight ended with the Dwarvan dead or dying, and the survivors started sorting out the dead and wounded. As Fleet Master Kose organized the survivors, a runner came running and panting over, "Fleet Master! Report from the Bridge! Enemies reported on the forward deck!"

Fleet Master Kose nodded and he quickly ordered those still fit and able to advance to the next portion of the steamship that was still under attack. The crew roused by their victory picked up their weapons and quickly followed the First Fleet Master to the next fight.

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Grothem hissed with distaste as he ripped his shock lance out from the half naked youngster who was making meowing noises as the boy clutched his disembowelled belly tightly, trying to hold his guts in. Grothem stepped back and watched grimly as the boy slumped down and the light in his eyes faded.

"Gods of the Mountains!" He spat as he broke his shock lance open and inserted a fresh magic crystal in before snapping it back in place and started winding the charging handle. Once he was satisfied with the charge holding in his shock lance, he joined the rest of his squad who had finished up cleaning the remaining resistance at their level. "This is bad business!"

"What bad business?" Grothem's friend and battle brother, Uthern asked as he ran practised hands over the trousers of the dead and pocketed anything of value or interest into his own. "This is easy work! Good business in fact!"

Grothem shook his head as he took a sip of his waterskin, wetting his dry throat. "Killing a boy child? Beh! Bad business!"

Uthern gave a shrug as he stood up. "They are barbarians, who cares?"

"Still..." Grothem wanted to voice his displeasure when the Shock Team leader yelled at them to form up. He gave up his complaints while Uthern gave him a smile and wink and tossed over a pouch of jingling coins.

"Not gold, just silver," His friend said as they hurried over to join the rest. "Low quality too, but silver is still silver once you melt them down!"

"You found it... You should keep it!" Grothem tried to hand the pouch back. "I-"

"Come on," His friend grinned as he shoved the pouch into his side pockets. "Keep it for your younger siblings! They need you to support them!"

"But-" Grothem tried to protest but his friend just shook his head and moved out of reach. "Alright... I'll keep it, by the Gods. I will remember your kindness!"

"Hurry up you curts!" The Shock Leader yelled again. "We got a ship to capture!"

"Why the courtesy?" His friend grinned as he clapped Grothem's shoulder. "We are battle brothers!"

The squad of shock troopers started advancing again as they headed towards the loud thunderous thumps that reverbed throughout the ship constantly. Finally, as they turned around the passageway, they found a large open deck that was filled with rows of long black tubes and a whole lot of enemy crew who seemed too busy working those loud weapons to notice them yet.

"Take them out!" The Shock Leader hissed as he made his way forward, his shock lance stabbing out at the nearest enemy whose back was to him. His shock lance punched through the enemy who stared down with confused shock at the piece of metal jutting out of his chest.

The rest spread out and made their way from one long weapon to another, killing the crew as fast as they could without alerting the rest. Some of the enemy crew spotted them and yelled out warnings but the noise was incredible on the weapon's deck, making the cries of warning moot.

But their luck finally ended when their presence was finally known as the crew of the next long weapon spotted them killing their friends. They fled away and started yelling, prompting a cascading effect that soon alerted the remaining crew. Some held their ground as they grabbed whatever was at hand as weapons while others ran off to alert the rest.

Grothem braced himself as the enemy charged screaming across the cluttered deck, he and the others raised their shock lances up and with an electrifying crack, bolts of lightning lashed out towards the charging enemy. Bright bursts of sparks and arcs of lightning snaked across the long black barrels and the charging enemy. Grothem briefly saw a flash of flames when the rain of sparks scattered across a stack of barrels that appeared to be filled with some black powder like stuff.

Suddenly, Grothem heard a massive roar that seemed as if the Gods themselves were shouting in his ear and he found himself flying backwards before everything went into an eye searing brightness before turning into darkness and emptiness.

-----

Fleet Master Kose and his ragtag force encountered another small group of Dwarvan warriors blocking their way. Bodies littered the passageway when they finally finished off the last Dwarvan warrior and the number of fighters in Fleet Master Kose's force has dropped by a third. So far, they had the momentum and had managed to overwhelm the boarders with their numbers but at this rate of exchange, soon there will be no one to fight the enemy.

His people were too lightly armed and armoured to fight against the heavily armoured Dwarvan boarders and the ammunition of his revolvers were running low. Kose did not know how many more Dwarvans were onboard the Indomitable and all he could do was to head towards any reports of boarders that were brought to him by runners.

Yet Fleet Master Kose knew that he cannot stop. If the enemy takes over the steam engines, they will be stranded and become an even easier target for the enemies flying ships to shoot at. He cursed softly to himself as he took a breather. "Damn that bitch, she knew how powerful these Outsiders are, and yet she kept that information from us!"

"Hahahaha...This steamship is a death trap..." Kose laughed bitterly to himself. "She must have planned this... Just to kill me off... She must plan to use my death to further her ambitions!"

"What a fool have I been..." Kose shook his head sadly as he stood up. "And I played into her hand! I should have called for the council to ask for help from the United Nations... I have gone weak and senile..."

Just as he finished berating himself, he suddenly felt a bad premonition. Before he could do anything, the deck underneath his feet suddenly swell up and then he no longer felt anything.

-----

Fourth Cartel Raiding Party, The Rammer

Lord Ironmore of the Cartel had a frown on his face as he watched the sail rigged ships that encircled them suddenly broke off their attack. The constant flickers of light of the magic barrier of the Rammer eased down as the weak ballistas fired by the sail rigged ships ceased. He walked around the viewports of the under bridge as he observed the surrounding waters under the airship Rammer.

"Are they retreating, my Lord?" An aide asked as he saw the white sails appearing on the enemy ships around them and those ships started to sail away.

"It would appear so," Lord Ironmore nodded before he gave a new order. "Order the Crusher and the Digger to split up and pursuit those ships."

He turned his attention back to the three black ships that were spewing steam out of their single funnel. Already the leading two ships looked like some kind of porcupine as dozens and dozens of piercing bolts were sticking out from its armour. Steam was clearing leaking from the ships as the speed of both ships had fallen and the fire of their weapons was lessening.

And the last ship in the line was currently surrounded by boarding barges, looking like fat ticks feasting on the blood of their prey. Just as he was about to give another order, the boarded ship suddenly erupted into a ball of flames, a shockwave expanding out across the ocean and in a couple of heartbeats, the boom of the explosion was heard.

"Rock and stone..." Lord Ironmore stared with incredulity at the sudden death of the enemy ship. "They... blew themselves up?"

His disbelief soon turned to anger as the ship that blew up also killed over a hundred elite Cartel shock troopers. Ever since the conflict started between the Isles and the Cartel, this was the first battle that the Cartel had suffered so many casualties in a single action!

"Ba- barbarians! The Gods of the Mountains curse you!" Lord Ironmore growled, his eyes glittered angrily. "DESTROY THEM ALL! LEAVE NONE BEHIND!"

-----

Skies over the ocean of the last known location of the First Fleet of the Isles

A lone lightweight dragon flying the colours of the Isles was riding the warm air currents with its wings spread out. The dragon rider peering hard down around the endless waters, looking for the First Fleet that had gone missing for two days.

The dragon suddenly squawked as it spotted something with its superior eyesight. Its rider leaned down on the saddle and both dragon and elf dove downwards towards the ocean. Soon the dragon flared its wings as it came to a glide over the ocean waves. The rider gasped as he saw the pieces of floating wreckage littering the ocean's surface.

Pieces of wood, barrels, crates, sailcloth, ropes. rubbish and even bodies were bobbing up and down the waves. The rider urged his dragon downwards towards a particular object in the distance and the dragon obliged, flying as low to the waves as possible. The rider leaned down towards the waves and snatched up a piece of cloth as the dragon flew past.

The rider carefully spread the piece of tattered and burnt cloth wide and the flag with the crest and colours of the Flagship of the First Fleet of the Isles was exposed. The rider gasped in shock and he quickly wheeled the dragon around, and both of them headed back towards to report the shocking find.

The dragon and its rider soon reached the sole steamship and its escorts, the last steamship finally having completed its repairs and was trying to link up with the First Fleet. As the dragon landed on one of the ships, the rider rushed forward to report to the commandore of the squadron, showing the tattered flag to the shocked senior officers.

"The First Fleet is... gone! And the First Fleet Master's ship... has been sunk!"

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