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It was paranoia, rather than commerce, that drove the first Danish sailors and fishermen north into the strait of Skaggerak during the very final days of the old world, when they bound their boats together in a collective flotilla and, surviving off rainwater and fish, waited for days for the distant explosions inland to die down. The bravest scouts, returning to shore, found a devastated wilderness beyond the beaches of Denmark - and their neighbours mostly dead or grievously injured. Helping the wounded onboard, the fishermen bound empty barrels to their vessels and set back out into the strait to rejoin the flotilla.

Weeks later, the expanded jetty was met by Swedish sailors coming south. Aside from a few tensions, and one brutal, drunken fight one night, the settlement grew to accomodate its new guests. The Hvalbyen settlers began to make frequent trips back to both coastlines, picking up refugees, supplies and information, while agreeing under their own leadership - the elected Admiral-of-the-Fleet Jacob Lunde - that it would be safer to remain off-shore, out of the reach of any remaining governments that might wish to continue their bombardments upon the land.

As the years passed, Hvalbyen's presence became more and more important - small craft and fishing vessels using it as a stop-off point and safe haven in the very centre of the strait. The flotilla expanded, some of the older and more dilapidated vessels being used as a platform for the houses and bars of The Floating City of Skaggerak. And it was here, too, that several of the coast-bound tribes grew to accept each other through playing bolgebold, a sport that combined rowing and water polo, three players in each team's coracle competing to scoop up the ball with their curved oars and toss it in between two buoys.

It was only relatively recently that Hvalbyen grew powerful enough to begin to patrol the strait, ostensibly to police the water against tribal raiders and to clear paths through the growing number of icebergs to the north with their Icebreaker fleet - larger tugboats fitted with iron ploughs at their prows - but also to tax those who wished to head through the strait. Anger has grown against the 'Snapping Teeth of the Skaggerak' and the current head of the collective, Admiral Patrick Skriver, amongst the various traders and fishermen, but none are powerful enough to stand against him - and besides, how else can they quickly make the passage between Denmark and the Scandanavian peninsula, without crossing into Hvalbyen waters?


Hvalbyen itself is a great floating mass of barrels, platforms, old boats and piers, constantly shifting and changing as coracles break off from the flotilla. Some semi-permanent dwellings, including the legendary Narwhal's Tusk bar, exist towards the centre of the port; other residents simply sleep onboard their craft. Every roof and unwalked surface is filled with barrels and buckets left out to catch the precious rainwater - and, more recently, snow.

The waters around the city are constantly patrolled by the fleet's six large Icebreaker vessels, as well as smaller craft, that meet fishing boats in the strait; the Icebreaker captains will take a moderately high tax from them (a percentage of their cargo, usually) and then let them go. The Icebreakers, crewed by about a dozen well-armed men, are also generally enough to scare away smaller pirate ships whenever they come by.

The city itself has a steady population of about 100 - bartenders, brothel workers, traders and repairmen who do their best to accomodate the many sailors who come through Hvalbyen every day, and to keep the flotilla afloat. It has, indeed, been through rough storms and survived just barely in the past. And there are reports, too, that hostile traders, over-taxed and tired of Hvalbyen's vice-like grip over the strait, have begun preparations to infiltrate the port in order to sabotage it - perhaps even sink it. The laconic Captain Mai Voss, of the Chrysaor Icebreaker, Skriver's spymistress, is attempting to investigate.

Worse still, the grim weather conditions from further north are sending more and more people through Skaggerak - many of them penniless refugees. Managing the city and the beggars who enter it is becoming a serious problem for Skriver and his fleet.

Notable Members

Admiral Patrick Skriver

Captain Mai Voss



A highly motivated, highly capitalist, ambiguously benevolent faction - I actually started out thinking of it as a kind of pirate settlement, then decided I preferred something that tries to justify its existence through the establishment of order.

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