Bastion was the first to notice the arrival of winter, with the steady cooling of its upper areas into merely hot instead of infernal temperatures, and how the frozen pit at the bottom of it seemed to start creeping upwards towards the hotter regions of the infernal city. So far Devils had believed that nothing from the outside world could affect Bastion even if the Stolen Empire had faced several hardships thanks to the Sea’s occasionally malign influence, so the winter arrived as a very rude, and dangerous surprise. Most Devils feel it in their fiery cores, Fire flickers and fades. If Fire is not healed, the majority of Revolutionaries are in danger.
Slowly more and more ships returned to London, telling tales of frozen seas and of truly terrifying journeys in the dark. Many had problems with their engines not working properly as they seemed to not burn their fuel properly, and some of the ships had ended up saving the crews of ships whose engines had completely stopped working. As troubling as freezing ocean and constant engine troubles were, all crews also reported a massive increase in sightings of the dreadful Void Storms, and a couple of crews even reported seeing those most dreadful of sea monsters, those born of the Void.. As flames dwindle, and the Sea gets darker than usual, Void is ascendant.
News from the North imply that the Red Admiral seems to have gone even madder than before. He did not take the loss of his superweapon well, and while one would think that such a significant loss would slow down the Red Fleet, the North is positively infested by Red Fleet ships and troops. Nobody knows why or how, but Red Fleet is growing rapidly, even as it becomes more and more unhinged. Rumor is, their base is rather close to some mystical artifact, and this has caused some side-effects lately. Officially, this rumor is denied. Unofficially, the Naval Intelligence is extremely worried, especially after all the information provided by a certain high-level defector. Even as everything is slowly freezing over, the rage of the Red Fleet is only burning fiercer.
The dockyards of the Empire are working at a feverish pitch as the Princess-Admiral has given an order to supply all ships of the Royal Navy with icebreakers, and even private ventures are all modifying their ships to better survive in the colder climate. In addition to these preparations, the Princess-Admiral has announced a new bounty – 1 million shards to the ship that brings back proof of Red Admiral’s death. There are also plenty of smaller bounties announced, all designed to incentivize ships to sail to the dangerous North. The Stolen Empire is aware that something is deeply wrong with fire itself, and that the solution lies in the North.
After the defeat of Kazharnick, his ship sailed back to Bastion, but without the Mad Hunter himself on board it. It seems that after his loss to Jack, he ordered the ship to return to Bastion, and for his closest cronies to surrender – and jumped to the Sea afterwards. Nobody understands why he did what he did, but it resulted in his former followers mostly abandoning the hard line he used to advocate. Some of the most extreme ones stayed on their course of course, but the thorn in Old Goat’s side was gone. Everyone expects that Kazharnick survived that somehow, but none know where he is now.
Even as the Empire’s and its allies gaze turns towards North, strange rumors are coming out of the East as well. Of strange ships heading northwards, rumors of a gigantic metallic serpent, and sightings of the tower of Indhee glowing with strange lights more and more often. The next great frontier may be in the North, but old choices done in the East have consequences.