The Strangelight Hunters: An Iron Kingdoms Adventure
Assumptions are a funny thing, they can help us make fast decisions or inform us when we don’t have enough information but it can also force people to only see one side of story. That seems to be my lifes tagline wrong side of the story. I grew up in the urban kriels of Ord, what the hell is a trollkin doing in the city right? A bunch of my ancestors decided its best to move with the future instead of fighting it, so they moved into the city and started working as laborers. Problem is, humans don’t take kindly to new things. My ancestors could do twice the work and were paid half as much as their human counterparts, as a result most dock jobs were trollkin run. This pissed off the unions and they decided to lobby to the local government, next thing you know we are being told its best for us if we lived in a “cultural community” and only worked certain jobs. My people are noble and wise but didn’t know how powerful a weapon Politics could be, so they agreed and were corralled into what the humans called “Bluetown”. My dad worked as a scrapper in the local ship yards, pulling apart old ships for their precious metals and Mom helped at the house with my sister and me.
I don’t know what started my interest in mechankica, if it was seeing all of the rich humans ride down the street with their Jack servants in tow or if maybe I related to jacks and felt like a tool that was used by humans aswell. Whatever it was, I started learning anything I can about engineering, chemistry, metallurgy and more. It was hard going at first, the literary resources available to trollkin are limited but between the scrapyard my dad worked in and textbooks I would steal from local university students, I began to understand. My dad would always say Trollkin descend from the old Mountain trolls and nothing could kill them because they would adapt to any situation and make themselves stronger. He may be right, the more I learned, I felt like I was changing. I could look a machines and see their structure and how they work instead of thinking it was just magic. It was a good time in my life, mabye the best, I was on track to open my own Mek shop but the world and its assumptions begged to differ.
I was going to present a ‘jack I built to the local engineering university to see if I can enroll. My ‘jack was a simple light laborjack but I had devised a way to waterproof the boiler and allow it to be submerged for brief amounts of time; allowing repair work of boats in the ocean. When I presented it, the professors looked it over and seemed to be pleased. I was so excited I was finally going to be able to see my dreams. Then one of the professors I haven’t seen before started yelling plagiarism and said I had stolen the jack from one of his students. I protested, but he rebutted that the trollkin are scientifically proven to be not intelligent enough to build Mechanika and clearly I stole this ‘Jack. He called for the local constables to arrest me, I panicked and ran as fast as I could. I ran home and cried for the first time in my life. My parents and sister tried to console me but I felt like I was staring up from a hole I was never going to escape. Time passed and I started to tinker again, but this time people were watching. My experiments would end up smashed when I left for the night, angry notes left at my house saying that I was a dumb lying quillhead. I tried my best to ignore it but one night finalized my fate. I was carrying some scrap back to the house to finish a project I was working on, when I noticed my front door was ajar. I slowly crept to the window and looked in. A gang of humans had my family tied up and were wrecking my house. My Dad wrestled free and charged one of the men, he panicked. I can still see my dad’s eyes go dim as he was gunned down. The other men realized what happened and ran away. I rushed in after them and held the shell that was my dad. We went to the police to report the murder but when we confronted the murders they said it was a Bluetown murder and I must have killed him myself. I like to think I can troll my baser desires but whatever Mountain troll I had in me, it smashed that mans face into pulp. As I blinked and saw the blood covering my hands, I knew I had to leave. I ran to the docks, knowing my only escape was to leave the city. I ran past cargo containers, military patrol cutters and private yachts till I was heading to the end of a old pier and saw a strange old galleon. I thought it was abandoned or had a small crew I can arrange passage with. I stumbled across the deck, searching for anyone. I found a hatch and went below, calling out to anyone, I moved toward the back of the ship when in the dark I smashed my head on something hard.
Alot of what happened after was a blur of noise and motion, I heard people moving about on deck, rigging and heavy equipment being moved. I woke up only momentarily to see a huge metal face stare into me and I passed out from fear. When I finally rouse, I could taste a salty wind and hear the grimacing of people around me. I was tied up to the mast and surrounded by men in a panoply of uniforms stitched together, they weren’t just human, trollkin, ogrun and gobber were among their count. A huge ogrun were a red coat and feathered hat strode his way through the crowd of men. He carried cutlass the size of human men and a huge cannon slung on his back, not that he needed them, he looked as if his hands could sink the ship themselves. I walked up to me and grabbed to my chin with his granite hands and turned my face to look at him. I sized me up and the stepped back, he then asked me one question and said if I answered correctly I could join him. If i answered wrong, he would make me into a blue luggage set. Staring through me with the huge intense eyes, he asked me “what is the most important thing in this world, most precious than land or treasure?” I was locked into his gaze and I summoned the strength to say “freedom”. A scowl spread across his face and I knew this was the end, when I heard a bellowing coughing sound come from him, and all of his men started to cheer. He was laughing, a man behind me cut me free and I dropped to the deck. The ogrun introduced himself as Captain Revi Heartshot, and this was a pirate ship. They sailed with a letter of mark from the Orddic king to pillage the ships from rival nations. They were sailing to plunder cygnar ships and I was given the rank of Seadog.
My life was like a story, I learned to fight from trollkin and ogrun on the ship, the humans taught me firearms and sailorsmanship. We would fly cygnarian colors until we were in cannon range and then the Jolly Roger would unfurl. Cannons would rip apart their decks and guns, smash masts and send crew flying. But my favorite part was boarding, that was when I got to see the warjacks fight. They only had a couple of light jacks but they were a sight to behold. A large crane would deposit them on the enemy ship and then they would set about on their bloody work. The jacks were looked after by a couple of ex-military jack marshals that knew how to command jacks but not fix them. Eventually I convinced Captain Revi to let me maintain the jacks and make improvements. I was finally doing what I wanted and when we went to battle, I didn’t stay behind using the jacks like tools. I fought alongside my metal brothers, I would never let anyone treat us like lessers again.