The Fleets are as close to noble households as the Riverfolk get. They are composed of families and clans who have sworn fealty to a Datu. While most of the Fleet is not directly blood-related to their ruling Datu, they regard him with the same reverence given to royalty.
Not all Riverfolk are part of a Fleet. Many Tihluurani are born into families that claim no alliegence to any of the mantled Kings, but because of ancient traditions, few Riverfolk are willing to break the oaths of fealty that bind them to a specific Datu.
Datu Puthi, the King in Crystal
In the Prism can all colors be found –the words of the Crystalline Fleet
Basic: Datu Puhti’s Fleet, the Crystalline Fleet, believes in the unification of the Riverfolk through diplomacy and accord as the true solution to their people’s predicament.
Symbol: A crystalline sunburst which shines forth the all the colors of the rainbow. Members of this Fleet usually have a sash, band or other cloth article in white or light grey upon their person.
History: Like the other Datu, Datu Puthi is descended from one of the seven Pintados. Those that follow the train of the Crystalline Fleet point to Andares the Pure as their founder and true king. Andares was a man of peace, of contemplation and of spiritual potence. He believed that the only hope that the Riverfolk had in ending the dark times was in their unification.
It was he who spearheaded the acceptance of Adarna as the chief goddess of the Riverfolk and his words struck a chord among the stricken populace of the Tihluurani. Andares the Pure, by Adarna’s will, led the Tagalog away from lives of piracy and brigandry. He called them from a love of bloodlust and goldlust back to the spiritual ways of the past Bahag-hari. Though not all Riverfolk are part of the Crystal Fleet, he is credited with their survival as a Kingdom and the semblance of unity that they do retain.
The divergence of Riverfolk rulership is a savage blow to Andares’ efforts, an injury only second to Datu Karimlan’s betrayal in intensity and in effect – no other event is as significant in prolonging the Riverfolk’s diaspora.
Current: The Crystalline Fleet act as diplomats and envoys among the Riverfolk, in an attempt to undo the damage of the betrayal. The Fleet of Datu Puthi draws many Adepts, Priests and Witches to its side. The prominent members of the Crystalline Fleet are as adept in the ways of healing and song as they are in speech and their benevolence and wisdom are renowned by all Tihluurani.
Little wonder then that Datu Puthi’s people are esteemed by almost all other Riverfolk and afforded places of comfort and prestige in other Fleets. Even non-Riverfolk are pleased to have the Crystalline Fleet abound in uncertain times and in times of prosperity both.
There are those that say that this special distinction affords them access to secrets and information that would aid in any political maneuverings that they would wish to engage in. The Crystalline Fleet rebuff this rumor soundly, however, claiming the purity of purpose that Andares himself had possessed.
Leadership: Also called “the Emissary”, Datu Nikolas is the current King in Crystal is especially resonant of the Fleet’s founder and whoever shares his company finds it hard-pressed not to join him in his crusade of unification.
Charismatic and compassionate, the Datu is a man in his 60th winter but is as strong and as hale as a person half his age due to his prowess in the magical arts. He claims to have a strong bond of friendship with King Arcturus of Pendrakken, having been saved by him and having saved him during the Errant King’s journeys. The Emissary is a busy man, journeying across the entirety of Midworld with a tirelessness unpossessed by most mortals. Those that fear for Datu Nikolas’ health assuage their worries with the thought that Datu Nikolas would only allow himself the rest in Bat-hala’s halls only after he has united the Riverfolk as a whole.
Datu Pula, the King in Crimson
Catch the flame and be Burned – the Words of the Crimson Fleet
Basic: Datu Pula’s Crimson Fleet commands the fastest ships and the fastest horses in Midworld… and they are also rumored to be the best smugglers in Midworld.
Symbol: A tongue of flame in a grasping black hand. Red, orange and black are the primary colors of the Crimson Fleet.
History: The Crimson Fleet claims the legendary rogue and mythic ne’er-do-well, Lazy John (Juan Tamad), as its founding father. It is said that Lazy John joined the Pintados not because of a need to rid the Riverfolk of the Writhing Curse, but because of a need to steal something from Tihluuran. Whatever he had hoped to do is lost to the ages, but since his return from Arauan, his bloodline and those who follow him have been blessed with audacity, good winds and good fortune.
Current: The Crimson Fleet is known to have the fastest ships and the fastest horses in Midworld. It also carries the darkest reputation among the Fleets, suspected of smuggling, piracy and other unlawful deeds. Many ports and harbors have sought to outlaw and arrest the members of the Fleet, but they have met little success in their endeavors.
Rogues, Marksmen and Zephyrs are drawn to the seedy nature of the Crimson Fleet, as well as to the great fortunes that lie in wait for those who prove eager and efficient at their tasks. For all their notoriety, the Crimson Fleet has more than its fair share of employers and investors – Midworld is a vast place and there are many that dwell upon it that would pay dearly for the fastest ships and the fastest horses. If something has to get somewhere without fail, the Crimson Fleet is one’s best bet for success.
Leadership: The current leader of the Crimson Fleet is Datu Lauin the Furious, a man feared for his wrath and for his swordsmanship. The truth of his origins and what lies beneath his scarlet mask are the subject of many a juicy rumor that his legendary rage has only partially quelled. Probably the worst of the gossip revolves around the name that he has taken among the Datu: “The Corsair”. Although there are many who have personally seen the King in Crimson, those who know the secrets of his mysterious past are either silent or dead.
Despite the uncertainty and the controversy that surrounds him, the King in Crimson leads his people well and the Crimson Fleet is profiting greatly from his governance.
Datu Verde, the King in Jade
Spring awaits us all- the Words of the Jade Fleet
Basic: Datu Verde’s Jade Fleet belives that the Riverfolk’s salvation lies in the land, not in the sea and not in nomadic travel.
Symbol: A piece of jade in the shape of an eye wreathed by ivy, flowers and leaves on a field of dark brown. Members of the Jade Fleet usually carry short vines or small herbs upon their person.
History: The Jade Fleet hails from the bloodline and rulership of Marya of the Green Mountains, a powerful magic-user who knew well the deepest sec
rets of the elements. The stories conflict regarding the truth of her past. Some say that she was a hermit that mastered the elemental magics of the ancient Tihluurani. The strangest tales speak of her being a ghostly figure, more spirit than flesh, that aided and abetted the Pintados before giving all of her secrets to a mortal apprentice and fading away.
Regardless of where she actually came from and whether she was actually human, Marya led her Jade Fleet delved deep into the studies of Midworld’s landscape and wildernesses for the benefit of the Riverfolk as a whole. Marya believed that the destiny of the Riverfolk no longer lay in the seas, but upon good, solid earth and within verdant forests. Thus, are the Jade Fleet adept at surviving, navigating and prospering in the savage lands of the world.
Current: The Jade Fleet is renowned for their skills in navigation and survival and among their ranks are the best trackers and scouts in all of Midworld. Rumor has it that these Riverfolk also have special lores regarding the use of herbs and elements in alchemy, brewery and medicine – some would even include the crafting of poison in their areas of expertise.
The Jade Fleet suffered a horrible tragedy recently: Twenty years ago, they attempted to establish a hidden enclave somewhere deep in the mountains. A few months ago, Datu Verde lost contact with the settlement and the scouts that she has sent have yet to return from its location. This has gravely impacted the Jade Fleet, bringing home the despair of the Riverfolk’s situation. There have been reports of desertion among the ranks of the Fleet since then, although Marya II has commanded that they be allowed to leave unmolested and unharrassed.
Leadership: Also called “the Herbalist”, Datu Marya II may as well have been the twin of her Pintados predecessor. She shares her ancestor’s loves and lores in full, teaching the Jade Fleet to thrive and prosper in all landscapes: mountain, marsh and meadow alike.
The King in Jade bears a melancholy cast to her young features, as though the ghosts of the past still lurk beneath her tanned flesh and within her dark eyes. Despite the recent disaster, she still has hopes for the Tihluurani, but the steady shrinking of her Fleet is slowly withering those dreams away.
Datu Asul, the King in Azure
Unbreakable, Unfathomable, Unstoppable – the Words of the Azure Fleet
Basic: The Azure Fleet of Datu Asul are mercenary soldiers and mariners with a reputation for honor and ferocity.
Symbol: A sea-green crashing wave beneath a dark blue sky. Sea colors are a favorite of Datu Asul’s Fleet, who also place the colors of Bat-hala’s clergy among their attire.
History: The Azure Fleet claims Manwin River-walker as their founder. The River-walker was a staunch adherent to the old traditions and rituals of the Riverfolk, especially their devotion and reverence to Bat-hala, the Watcher in the Deeps. Thus, the Azure Fleet is one of the more traditional Fleets in the Flotilla, attempting to keep and bear the traditions, stories and lores of old Bahag-hari. It has likewise kept to the warrior-mariner culture of the Tihluurani, holding their ancient martial secrets and military mindset close to heart.
As the years have passed on, Manwin has passed his constancy, his tenacity and his valor to the Azure Fleet. They have largely abandoned piracy and brigandry in favor of more “honorable” military practices (mercenary work, bodyguarding work). In the course of the various services that they have performed, the Azure Fleet has nevertheless acquired a reputation for strength and skill that are rivaled by few others.
Current: The Azure Fleet is known for martial excellence, for staunch traditionalism and reverence for Bat-hala. When the King in Azure’s soldiers are on the scene of a battle, naval or land-bound, victory is often assured for their side. Such is the might of the Azure Fleet that employers often bid vast amounts of wealth against one another for their services.
For their part, the Azure Fleet’s sterling reputation as mighty warriors draws large numbers of Riverfolk aspirants to their side. Those that wish to join them must endure grueling training and regimen for the distinction of flying beneath the sails of Datu Asul’s Fleet.
Leadership: Datu Marcus, whom some call “the Mariner”, is the current Datu Asul. His skill with the spear is matched only by his grasp of strategy and tactics. Like his forebears, Datu Marcus rules his Fleet with an iron fist, conducting its affairs with military precision and efficiency.
There are those that say that Datu Marcus is too stringent in his policies, even for one of the Datu Asul. Certainly, a commanding presence is needed for such a position, but perhaps the Datu Marcus ventures too closely to the bays of tyranny. There are few that would voice such concerns however; the King in Azure deals with insubordination very harshly when he finds it.
Datu Dilaw, the King in Gold
Gold speaks in all tongues and to all hearts – the Words of the Golden Fleet
Basic: The Golden Fleet of Datu Dilaw believes in merchantile power as a source of salvation and protection against the evils of Midworld.
Symbol: A sunburst behind a dark tower, an image of the tower of Arauan. The members of the Golden Fleet usually ornament their attire with ostentatious jewelry and small pieces of golden cloth.
History: The Golden Fleet claims Datu Gabriella, Witch-Queen of the East as its founder. The King in Gold and her descendants were at first obsessed with finding and destroying the curse. But when Datu Karimlan slew the King in Gold during his betrayal, the ascendant King in Gold diverted his Fleet’s considerable resources toward the acquisition of wealth and information. Combined with considerable elemental ability and the natural guile of the Riverfolk, it would not be long before the Golden Fleet had established a massive trade network across Midworld, connecting capitols and towns together with webs of commerce.
The Golden Fleet has since then accomplished yet another marvel of magic and fortune: the Wandering Market, a feat of supernatural power so mighty as to attract spies and traitors on a regular basis. The Wandering Market is exactly what it sounds like, a highly mobile marketplace that goes from place to place. However, unlike a mundane attempt at such a commercial locus, it disappears instantly after three days and reappears at a distant location elsewhere in the world after a month.
Yet the Wandering Market’s strangeness does not end with its vanishing abilities; among the exotic products and services it has for sale, it holds rare and dangerous components that are considered to be unlawful by certain kingdoms. Furthermore, the King in Gold himself presides at the Market, although an audience with him is a difficult endeavor to even undertake. Those who seek the rarities and oddities that the market holds need only make inquiries among the Golden Fleet to determine its destination that month.
Current: The Golden Fleet is at business at usual, its merchants working hard to fill their own pockets and the coffers of the King in Gold. An interesting fact about the Golden Fleet is that among the services it offers to provide, t
raining of magical prowess is one that allows them to draw Sorcerers and other magic-users into a binding oath of fealty. Many Sorcerers feel constrained by the dark powers that bind them to their magic and the Golden Fleet is willing to provide training and sanctuary in exchange for currency or favor.
Thus it is that the current King in Gold is rumored to be gathering an army of magic-users beneath his banner of Arauan; how this will affect the rest of the Riverfolk and the rest of Midworld is up to speculation.
Leadership: The current King in Gold refuses to reveal his identity to the rest of the Riverfolk or the world. Those who attend an audience with Datu Dilaw will find themselves facing a robed figure bearing a golden mask with the visage of a demon. It is said that the current Datu Dilaw is a man of great intellect but also a person of great fear, with the image of their ancient predecessor’s demise a constant thought in his mind. Whether he shares his ancestor’s power with the elements or not is also unknown. And despite the uncertainty that these mysteries inspire in his retainers, these unknown factors also do well to ward away would-be assassins.