Category Archives: Aviak

The Lady of the Lake

Waiting for an inevitable war is never easy. In this book, we meet two Qeynosian Guards at an outpost on Lake Rathetear who find themselves on the edge of war and far from home.

The drums echoed in the Rathe Mountains and reverberated through the deep waters of Lake Rathetear. They were victory drums, sounded by the ogres of the new Rallosian Army. They had taken the mountains and now their drums warned of their advance to the Lake itself. Aviak scouts reported their progress and numbers. There were so many ogres and trolls, it was said that the road was blackened by their shadows as far as the aviak eye could see.

“Why do they come here?” asked Ilkalla, one of the Qeynosian guards stationed at the Lake. “Because they can,” responded Gerren, the other guard. “And here we are, unable to send word to Qeynos. We will die fighting alongside these savages.” “Do not say such a thing,” Ilkalla said uncomfortably. “They have treated us very kindly since word of the Rallosian Army reached them. You may not like them, but the aviaks have offered us shelter in these uncertain times.?

Smoke curled on the opposite shore of the Lake Rathetear, which obscured whatever the Rallosian Army was doing. The drums in the mountains had stopped. Other than the acrid tang of smoke drifting across the water, one might forget that the ogres were there. A squadron of aviaks swooped low into the smoke to get a closer look; their report was not encouraging. The ogres were apparently cutting down massive numbers of trees, stripping their bark and sharpening their ends into spikes.

Ilkalla wondered what the ogres would do with spikes the size of trees. It seemed unlikely they would build a fortification; they were on the offense not defense. “We must get closer…but so far the aqua goblins in the Lake are not cooperating with us. I must make them understand the danger to us all. If I can get safe passage, I could find out what the Rallosians are planning.” The aqua goblins had for the most part retreated to their lairs in the midst of the Lake, trusting its deep waters to keep them safe.

One of the aviaks that Ilkalla had befriended went with her to the aqua goblins’ chief. The discussion was disappointing to some extent, as the chief was more interested in the baubles Ilkalla had brought as gifts than he was in the danger posed by the Rallosians. It took the better part of the morning before he agreed to allow her safe conduct through the Lake. “I don’t speak for them sharks, though,” the chief said with a snicker. Ilkalla was a strong swimmer though and knew how to deal with the sharks.

Under cover of darkness, Ilkalla slipped off through the black water. She opted for a small coracle and paddled silently across the Lake. The smoke that drifted across the water may have hidden the ogres’ activities but it also provided Ilkalla with excellent concealment from any watching eyes. She soon found out that if anyone were watching her, it wasn’t the ogres. They were apparently so confident of victory that they set no watch along the shore.

Though she was tired from her trip across the Lake, Ilkalla knew she could not stop to rest. She must find out what the ogres were doing and then paddle back across the Lake without being caught. Pausing to listen for indications that she had been seen, Ilkalla methodically investigated the narrow beach until she found what she was seeking. The ogres were not using the sharpened tree trunks to build a fort; they were building a raft.

Quickly, Ilkalla returned to the coracle and paddled quickly back where Gerren and the aviak leaders waited for her. “They’re planning to transport themselves across the Lake,” Ilkalla panted as soon as she stepped ashore. “They are building a raft, a barge of immense size to carry their troops. It is nearly done.” She sank to the shore and inhaled deeply. “We need help.”

Gerren pushed back his hair and said, “The time to send for help is long past. The aqua goblins may have let you pass once, but they will surely side with the ogres and trolls.” Ilkalla nodded, adding, “We must make for Karana and thence to Qeynos.” Gerren laughed, “I would not let you take all the glory, my friend. You crossed the Lake; I will cross the mountains. The aviaks will not be able to stand alone.”

“They stand not alone,” said a deep, rumbling voice nearby. Ilkalla and Gerren turned, startled to see a centaur. He bowed and said, “The aviaks sent word to us. While we have not always agreed on things, this is different. This is war.” Ilkalla slowly stood, looking over her shoulder across the dark water. “Yes,” she said softly, “This is definitely war.”

Splitpaw Down Under, Part Two

The Splitpaw gnolls proved to be a more dangerous adversary than the Rallosians had suspected, although not exactly for the reasons one might suppose. In Part Two, Gippy tries to play both sides.
“So General Urduuk arranged a guide through Splitpaw, eh?” The Rallosian lieutenant considered this thoughtfully and for so long that Gippy thought the trick was up for sure. Then the lieutenant nodded and yelled, “The General provides for us! All hail Urduuk, the Arm of the Avatar!” The Rallosians took up the cry and Gippy joined them wondering whether he’d ever get his hearing back and what the General was doing with the arm of the…what was it?

The Rallosians outfitted Gippy in better armor. It was still a cast-off piece from a fallen foe, but at least this time there wasn’t a gaping hole to leave his chest exposed. Gippy was liking the ogres better and better already. They invited him to play a game of thrown bones, but Gippy declined. “I need to go back to Splitpaw; keep them off their guard,” he told the lieutenant. “You know how some gnolls are.” The lieutenant didn’t, but he wasn’t going to gainsay someone working for the General.

Gippy walked slowly away from the Rallosian camp until he was out of arrow range, then ran toward Splitpaw as though the entire Army were at his heels. “What have you gone and done now, Gippy?” he asked himself over and over again as he ran. He tried out various ways out of the mess as he scampered along but they all had the same unfortunate ending — Gippy with his throat slit, or Gippy burnt at the stake, or Gippy for dinner.

As soon as he reached the lair, Gippy headed for his room. He’d best pack up now before anyone knew he was there. Unfortunately, Muddy had known Gippy from the time Gippy was a pup and he knew all of Gippy’s tricks. When Gippy flung open the door, two gnoll guards were waiting for him and they marched him back through the winding halls to meet with Muddy.

“Well? What are them ogres up to, Gippy?” demanded Muddy rather sourly. “They’ve destroyed the aviak town,” Gippy said, adding, “They’re heading this way next. We’d best pack up and leave.” Muddy curled his lips back, baring his fangs. “Why are you in those clothes, Gippy? You’re wearing the enemy’s colors!” Gippy glanced down and shrugged, “I’m a scout, sir…it was the easiest way to slip in amongst the troops. Camouflage, you know.”

“All right, we pack up and leave. Gippy, I don’t know what you’re trying to pull off or what sort of scam you’ve got going now. You’re not telling us everything, or I’m a goblin,” Muddy snapped. “You can stay behind with the rear guard and make sure the ogres get a traditional gnoll welcome.” Gippy stretched his lips back into a smile. “Yes, sir!” he said with a crisp salute. What, he wondered, was a traditional gnoll welcome?

“Wait, what’s that?” Muddy asked suddenly, his ears twitching and his tongue tasting the air. Gippy heard something, too, a faint, rhythmic thrumming sound that rose out of the lair’s floor and into his paws. “I’m not sure,” Gippy said, “but it sure is catchy!” Muddy thwapped Gippy on the back of the head and snarled, “You idiot, them’s war drums! Those ogres are coming!”

The gnolls were not known for keeping their heads in the best of circumstances. With the ogres’ drums getting louder by the minute, the lair was thrown into complete chaos. Gippy managed to pick quite a few pockets as gnolls rushed hither and yon, trying to figure out the best way to save their skins. With the pockets of his new armor filled with silvers, Gippy headed out of the lair’s unguarded entrance and watched the Rallosian Army advance.

At this distance, all the ogre units looked the same. Gippy furrowed his brow, wondering how he would locate the lieutenant who’d bought into his story about being their guide. Perhaps returning to the lair had been a bad idea. Gippy decided not to run through different plans in his mind; they always ended unhappily and he wanted to face this crisis a little more optimistically.

To the Rallosians, all gnolls looked alike. It wasn’t until after the Army had ransacked the lair and slapped all the gnolls they found (including Flemm, who’d fallen asleep in the kitchens) in irons that they realized their guide was missing. They found Gippy’s body later, still wearing his Rallosian armor and as full of arrows as a pincushion, beside the entrance to the Lair.

Splitpaw Down Under, Part One

The Splitpaw gnolls proved to be a more dangerous adversary than the Rallosians had suspected, although not exactly for the reasons one might suppose. In Part One, we meet Gippy, a Splitpaw gnoll scout. Sort of.
It was Gippy’s turn to watch that day. Gippy had paid Flemm to take his shift. Flemm forgot. And so the Rallosian Army was within a day’s march before the gnolls of the Splitpaw Lair were aware of them. Over the years, the name of the den changed constantly depending on which gnoll clan was in the ascendancy; this season, the Splitpaws were in charge and they were not happy with Gippy.

“Look at them, there are rows after rows of them in armor and with weapons,” grumbled Muddy, the current Splitpaw chief. “No thanks to you, Gippy.” Gippy kicked Flemm, who said nothing. Muddy continued, “We can’t trust you father than we can throw you, but we can throw you to the ogres now. Gippy, your job is head on out there and find out where the ogres are going. They best be going elsewhere, if you know what’s good for you.”

Grumbling the entire way, Gippy went to the armory and selected some gear. Many gnolls owned their own armor, but Gippy never saved enough to buy some and he was too lazy to make his own. Fortunately, the gnolls hoarded what they found through the Plains of Karana and lent it generously to its soldiers. “Can I get one without a hole in the chest?” Gippy asked the armorer. “You’re just lucky I don’t give you one with a target on it,” the armorer grumbled. “Now git!”

Gippy felt the other gnolls did not appreciate his abilities. There was not a single copper that Gippy could not find a way to increase somehow and use to his benefit. Sure, he had nothing saved up, but he was generous. Why, half the gnolls on the scout team were on his payroll with tasks such as responding to his name during roll call or standing watch. Although, Gippy reflected, now he would need to find someone to replace the irresponsible Flemm who had let them all down.

The ogres were making no secret of their progress. Gippy watched in a fascinated horror as they circled the aviak town and razed it to the ground. He was so busy watching them and fretting that he did not see the Rallosian scout until the scout had him by one of his ears. “Ow! Ow! Let me go!” Gippy yelped in anguish. The Rallosian laughed, “No, you come with me and we’ll see what you know.”

“This doesn’t look good,” thought Gippy miserably as he and the Rallosian scout marched toward the Rallosian Army. For one thing, Gippy knew there weren’t enough coppers clinking in his pockets to pay off anyone, let alone an ogre. He turned over scenarios in his mind and each of them had the same unfortunate endings — Gippy on a stick, or Gippy roasting on an open fire, or Gippy for dinner. It was a sobering walk.

The scout pushed Gippy to the ground before the ogre lieutenant. “What’s this? Who brought their pet dog to war?” laughed the lieutenant with a snarl. The ogres laughed with him and Gippy tried to laugh as well, but it came out as a nervous, high-pitched whimper instead. “What were you doing looking at us, dog?” snapped the lieutenant, yanking Gippy closer. So close that the ogre’s most unpleasant breath wafted over Gippy in a suffocating cloud.

“Why, I’ve been waiting for you! You’re late! The boss said you’d be here two days ago,” Gippy said, throwing as much anger into his voice as possible. The ogre curled his fist and asked menacingly, “What do you mean, the boss? Do you speak of General Urduuk, dog?” “He’s the chief, ain’t he?” said Gippy saucily. “You’re lucky he’s not here or he’d flay you alive for the way you’re treating me. I’ll be sure he hears about this!”

The ogres glanced uneasily at one another. They knew that General Urduuk had made contacts and advances with various folk to speed the Army’s advance…but a gnoll? A gnoll wearing an ill-fitting old hauberk with an enormous hole in the chest? “You don’t seriously mean you don’t know about me?” Gippy said, seizing their moment of confusion. “I guess General Urduuk doesn’t trust you. Ah, me.” He heaved a dramatic sigh and gave the lieutenant a pitying glance.

“Of course he trusts me!” shouted the lieutenant so that all his men could hear. “We’ve been at war and I…I forgot for a moment. We were just having sport with you, fuzzy face.” The lieutenant gave another laugh, this one more cautious. “So why were you waiting for us?” Gippy brushed off his legs and straightened the old hauberk before responding with a haughty look, “I’m your guide.”

Red Lake

In this book, we see the Rallosian Army’s advance through the eyes of Ilkalla, a Qeynosian Guard at an outpost on Lake Rathetear.
For as long as she could, Ilkalla watched Gerren’s progress up the steep cliffs bordering Lake Rathetear. Even when she could no longer pick him out among the shadows cast by the jagged rocks, she fancied she could see him making his way cautiously along. Finally, she crept into the hut she and Gerren had shared beside their outpost and slept. The Rallosian Army would launch its barges across the Lake and she would need her strength to meet them.
The sun was high overhead when Ilkalla awoke. Her dreams were troubled by the thrumming of the ogres’ victory drums which had started up again while she slept. “Why couldn’t they use a victory flute instead?” she grumbled, latching on to the least of the concerns this day would bring. She had been able to cross the Lake on a coracle twice in one night, but she had been pulling only herself. She was not sure how long the massive, heavy Rallosians barges would take to make the same crossing.
There were very few humans around Lake Rathetear. Ilkalla was the only one present at the strategy meeting, where the aviak and centaur leaders stood before parchment maps, marking off the approaches across the Lake and the defensive positions available. The wide arrows indicating the ways the Rallosian Army could attack were wide swathes of red ochre compared to the tiny ash grey lines for defense. To Ilkalla, the ochre marks looked like dried blood.
“The best course of action is to stop them before they cross,” said Khaza, an aviak general. “The aqua goblins will join with the ogres, not with us. We have fought them too long for them to suddenly consider us their allies,” responded Errod of the centaurs. “Perhaps we could put our defense in two zones, rather than hoping to defend across the entire shore,” said Ilkalla. She pointed to the most likely site where the Rallosian barges would land. “Aviaks in front over the water and the rest of us on the shore.”
“With some aviaks in the flanks to keep the Rallosians from spreading our front lines too thin,” agreed Khaza. “We might not survive for long against the entire Rallosian Army, but we can pick them off and lessen their numbers.” The aviak and centaur leaders sent word to their gathered forces. Ilkalla (a “non-flier” as the aviaks called them) would join a centaur unit held in a third tier reserve.
Mixed now with the steady beat of the victory drums was the sound of chanting. The Rallosians were crossing the Lake, chanting to keep their oarsmen in rhythm and their deep voices carried across the water, bouncing off the mountains. No doubt their ruckus was designed to inspire fear amongst the defenders waiting for their approach. Instead, it filled them with anger and purpose. They might die this day, but they were taking as many ogres with them as they could.
Ilkalla chafed at being assigned to the third tier, but she knew her strengths did not include hand-to-hand combat. She gathered beside her all her own arrows plus the quivers Gerren had left behind. She looked toward the Rathe Mountains again, wondering how he was faring and praying that Tunare — wherever she may be — would guide him. Ilkalla had never been one of the faithful, praying to the gods at every rainbow or stubbed toe, but somehow it seemed fitting to pray today.
The chanting grew louder along with sound of vigorous splashing from the ogre paddlers. They were not skilled watersmen, but they were strong. As the first barge approached, the aviaks went into motion, throwing themselves into the faces of the Rallosians. The ogres’ chanting was now disrupted by the fighting calls of the aviaks — shrill, piercing and challenging. The barges did not halt with this interference; they continued their slow progress forward.
Thanks to the aviaks’ efforts and the skills of the archers in the second tier, the first barge to hit the shore came in at an awkward angle. The spiked boards scraped heavily into the loose gravel shore with enough force that many of the ogres standing ready for battle were set off balance. The centaurs charged in to take advantage of the moment, but another barge gliding in set loose a volley of arrows that tore into the second tier. All too soon, the third tier moved forward.
At the far end of her line, Ilkalla took careful but quick aim at the ogres, trying to avoid the remaining aviaks and centaurs at the front of the line. From the corner of her eye she caught a movement, but was unable to stop the blow. Sinking to the rocky shore, Ilkalla’s mind drifted like the waters surrounding her. “I always thought that water was blue,” she murmured dazedly. As the final blow struck, a shriveled gnoll’s paw floated up beside her on the waves of the red lake.

First Flight

“First Flight” — an aviak tale of their beginnings and the first flight after their fall from grace
The beasts that walked the lands on two legs or four displeased her — they were so ungainly.

So Xegony, Queen of Air, created a beautiful, winged race that flew across Norrath, selecting the choicest locations to be their homes.

They built their aeries and nests and preened, for they were her chosen.

And yet, over time, these chosen began to speak amongst themselves of their gift from the goddess of air as a clear sign of superiority.

Whispering from beak to beak, they said, “Truly are we blessed with wings, so that we are unlike the wretches who must walk wherever they go.”

And they looked down upon the other races of Norrath, both literally and figuratively.

In the long ago, Xegony listened to her aviaks (for so the other races named them) and their pride gave her little concern, for she was likewise proud of them.

They sent emissaries to her with news of the lands and gave her lavish gifts and tributes.

In her pleasure at their worship, she did not recognize the point at which their relationship changed.

For though tributes and gifts still came to her, Xegony did not know all that was in the minds and hearts of her creations.

And when the first army of the Rallosians began their march, the aviaks held their own counsel and did not send word to her. Xegony learned nothing of this until the Rathe Council was challenged directly.

Then, the knowledge that the aviaks knew what might happen and did not warn her filled Xegony with rage.

“You behaved no better than those who cannot fly.” she said to them wrathfully. “Therefore, you shall lose my gift as your curse. Many tragedies could have been avoided if you did not disdain even me, your creator!”

And so saying, Xegony summoned a fierce wind that shredded the wings of the aviaks, making them as flightless and wingless as any other two-legged beast.

The aviaks were still prideful, but now felt ashamed at having set themselves above the Queen of Air.

In the ages that followed, the aviaks worked hard to regain her grace and gift, but she ignored them.

And eventually, with the rest of the gods, Xegony withdrew into a silence that nothing could penetrate.

The aviaks knew not whether she lived and cursed them still, or had completely rejected them.

The silence would have been much more devastating had not a miracle occurred.

For from the clutch of eggs of a family near Lake Rathefear, a winged aviak hatched. Still flightless, the young male could not correctly manipulate the wings on his own and so he was not the first aviak to return to the skies.

His birth coincided with the first changes to the ogres as their clouded minds began to return to normalcy.

In one generation from the first winged hatchling, dozens of winged aviaks began to train themselves in their ancient art of flight.

Though clumsy, squadrons of winged aviaks practiced together on the shores of Lake Rathetear, often climbing the mountains and leaping off, gliding to landings in the water below.

They grew in strength, agility and number.

As the Second Rallosian Army began its march across Norrath, seeking to subjugate all others, the aviaks knew that the time would come when their homes and lives would be at risk.

Ironically, having lost the ability to fly by not revealing the existence of the First Rallosian Army to their deity, the Second Rallosian Army gave impetus to the aviaks’ need for flight.

And so it happened. For with the Rallosians within reach of Lake Rathetear, a female aviak launched herself from the top of a mountain and soared toward the water.

She concentrated on the muscles of her neck, shoulders and wings and felt them move to her command.

No longer merely soaring from the heights, she had re-mastered the art of flight!

In honor of their creator, the first aviak to re-gain the gift of flight named herself Daughter of Xegony.

She taught all winged aviaks how to control the muscles necessary to remain airborne. Through her teachings, the aviaks provided assistance from the air at the Battle of Lake Rathetear.

And though this Battle was lost, the survival of the aviaks’ legacy of flight was assured.

Ocean of Tears – Past and Present

The Ocean of Tears received a new look in the May 16th Game Update. Read part of the lore of this area and view a photo gallery look at the changes that were made:

Background Lore
The Ocean of Tears is the second largest salt water sea in Norrath, rivaled only by the emerald waters of Timorous Deep. It lies between the continents of Antonica and Faydwer and can be crossed in either direction using the ports of Freeport and Butcherblock.

Several islands have risen above the calm, royal blue waters over the passing eras. They are inhabited by an array of creatures but foreign and native to the area.

When Zek’s Mortal armies were cast down from the Plane of Karana, cursed battalions of goblin and giant soldiers were stranded upon one of these isles. In both appearance and mental ability, the giants were cursed even more than their goblin counterparts. Bearing but one enormous eye, the Seafury tribe of cyclopes patrol the isle, viciously attacking any adventurer that comes within sight.

Not long after the goblins and giants arrived, so did the odd birdmen known as aviaks. The origins of these peaceful creatures are a well-guarded secret. The species found in Ocean of Tears is very vibrant and beautiful in their plumage, unlike the dull black, ravenesque appearance of their cousins upon Antonica. These creatures live peacefully upon their island, surviving on what resources the land and ocean provide them.

More recent inhabitants of the ocean’s isles are the Sisters of Erollisi – a small band of female elves and half-elves who voluntarily left their homeland of Kelethin to establish their own temple and culture without disturbing the ancient order of the Fier`Dal. The Sisters of Erollisi are very kind and generous toward adventurers who are not of dark orientation. Supplies and goods can be bought and sold to the merchants that operate just beyond the docks of their isle.


History of the Ocean of Tears

The oldest known mention of the Ocean of Tears appears in the ancient log of a Captain Eweniel, a high elf paladin who piloted her ship from Wielle to Faydwer during the elven exodus. She talks of attacks by aqua goblins and a seafury cyclops, lives lost to storms and starvation, and of enemies from “the old world” following and attacking the ragged elven fleet. She also speaks of passing by an island on which a terrible gigantic beast could be seen and its inhuman howls heard, which some believe may in fact be the first known sighting of the Allizewsaur. Eweniel’s log also includes a curious error. As the captain gives readings of the journey and describes the locales of various islands passed, it becomes clear she is writing as if her ship was traveling westward. However, since she leaves the city of Wielle on the eastern coast of Antonica, and arrives on the western shore of Faydwer, it is clearly not possible for her ship to have traveled any direction other than east. Some speculate that the captain intentionally entered errors into her logs to ensure no enemy could ever use them to find the elven refugees. Its also possible that the elves of Takish-Hiz used some strange form of navigation not known to the captains of today. Whatever the cause, many early maps were drawn from the directions given in Eweniel’s log, causing much confusion for the sailors or travelers who attempted to use them. Accurate maps of any part of the Ocean of Tears are rare even today, and can command great prices among traders and ship captains.

Dating from the few centuries immediately following the high elves’ exodus to Faydwer, little is known of the Ocean of Tears. There are some vague records of regular trips made to the Isle of Erollisi, corroborating the fact that the order of the Sisters of Erollisi indeed date back to this time and beyond. At some point just before or after the fall of the Combine Empire, the dwarves of Kaladim established a port in the Butcherblock Mountains and began exploration of the northern Fairsea Isles. Both elven and dwarven ships began to make regular trips from the Butcherblock Port using a strong eastward current to reduce the time of return trips. The Faydwer captains soon began establishing small colonies among the Fairsea Isles in the Ocean of Tears. The Sisters’ Sanctuary on the Isle of Erollisi became the center of much of this activity. Records from this era regularly mention the strong eastward current north of the Fairsea Isles, but make little or no mention of its companion westward current to the south. It seems likely that the captains of Faydwer were not yet aware of the westward current, and explored very little of the Ocean of Tears.

After the people following Aataltaal established the city of Landing, they too began making regular voyages across the Ocean of Tears. Not wishing to challenge the Faydwer colonies in the Fairsea Isles, the ships of Landing traveled over a much larger section of the Ocean of Tears, finding and charting such locations as the aviak-inhabited Isle of the Sky and the Isle of Allize, home of the legendary Allizewsaur. Despite their best efforts, the ships of Landing could not find a suitable place to establish an outpost, and were forced to take on supplies on the Isle of Erollisi under the watchful gaze of the forces of Faydwer.

After the city of Landing became known as Freeport, then under the protection of the Order of Marr’s Fist, relations between Faydwer and Antonican captains began to improve. The Sisters of Erollisi and Order of Marr’s Fist in particular developed strong ties, which made the reception most Freeport ships received at the Sisters’ town (often called Sanctuary) much warmer. Elven, dwarven, and human captains alike shared navigational charts with one another (though not with non-sailors), new islands were discovered, and trade between Antonica and Faydwer expanded.

When the Order of Marr’s Fist was destroyed, many brigands and criminals saw it as a sign that law and order would be less enforceable throughout the areas Freeport had previously influence. This idea, mixed with the resentment many other races had over the near monopoly dwarven, elven, and human captains had over shipping in the Ocean of Tears, led many bands of pirates of various races to begin preying on ships headed both to and from Freeport. Much of this piracy was racially motivated, or at least racially determined – everyone else raided the dwarves, elves, and humans, but human pirates generally raided dwarven or elven ships, elves raided only humans or dwarves, and so on. When the Knights of Truth and Priests of Marr reasserted control over Freeport (and reestablished diplomatic relations with the Sisters of Erollisi), the majority of these pirates were forced to operate from bases further away, including the largely unexplored Timorous Deep. Although the piracy was greatly reduced, however, a good deal of racial animosity or at least mistrust had been constructed – the damage was already done – and the captains of different races rarely shared information after that.

During the efforts to hunt down and end piracy, a Freeport ship under the command of Sir Halec Hightower discovered a strong westward current from Faydwer to Antonica. Though the current was further south than the one that ran near the Isle of Erollisi and had fewer possible ports along its route, it was strong enough to reduce travel time from Faydwer to Antonica significantly. Freeport merchants leapt at the opportunity to have a port to rival the Isle of Erollisi, and established the community of Highdock. Thus, the Ocean of Tears settled into a comfortable pattern that has lasted with few interruptions to this day. Dwarven, elven, and human captains use their detailed maps of the central routes through the Ocean of Tears to control most shipping between Antonica and Faydwer. The only challenges to this shipping are (1) a collection of smugglers and pirates that range outward from ramshackle ports along the coast of the Desert of Ro or from secret havens throughout the Ocean of Tears and the Timorous Deep, and (2) attacks by native creatures, such as aqua-goblins and cyclopes. Law is fast and loose, with only the Sisters of Erollisi maintaining a strong area of peace and security amid the turbulent seas.

Captains are mostly on their own when facing thieves, raiders, giants, and storms, and most nations accept that they are a law unto themselves while at sea. The major disruption to this pattern in recent memory was the Crusade of Tears, during which the Priests of Marr and Knights of Truth sailed from Freeport to Faydwer. The Crusade took many years to complete, during which time no pirate dared attack any ship in the Ocean of Tears for fear it would be abrim, with clerics and paladins. The fighting of the Crusade itself occurred mostly on Faydwer, however, and once it ended life on (or in) the Ocean of Tears largely returned to normal. The Freeport Militia has discovered, however, that it cannot patrol the lanes of shipping as easily as the Knights of Truth once did, for the Sisters of Erollisi stand against them. Piracy has begun to expand throughout the Ocean of Tears once more, with some pirates so bold as to establish bases within the Fairsea Isles themselves. The Sisters of Erollisi lack the naval strength to patrol the waters beyond their own island, and the dwarven and elven captains of Faydwer have much of their forces tied up battling pirates in the Timorous Deep.

It seems likely that piracy will become more common within the Ocean of Tears before some navy can find the men and ships to reestablish regular patrols.