Silver Serpent

The Silver Serpent is an Imperial class Mantis junk which first entered service in (28 years ago). Since then it has been refurbished twice and had been involved in the capture or sinking of over 100 ships, the majority those of the Phoenix Clan.

Quick Facts
Type Junk
Class Imperial
Armament Rocket Bombards
Current Owner Usami Maiko

History of the Serpent

Yoritomo Masaru

The ships first captain was Yoritomo Masaru, a high ranking member in the infamous Storm Legion. For five years he led the crew of the Serpent into battle against any ship who took his fancy, and his uncanny ability to pull off victory with minimal losses to his own ship or crew. Eventually, due to a severe leg injury which left him unable to walk unaided, he retired and took up a position instructing the arts of swordplay and captaining at various Mantis schools. For three years, the Serpent lay dormant, until he passed it on to his star pupil, Tsuruchi Shou.

Tsuruchi Shou

Tsuruchi Shou proved to be even greater a captain than his master; although his swordplay was not as great he could truly inspire his crew and lead them to victory time and time again. His fame attracted men from far and wide, and soon he was appointed Admiral of the Mantis fleet, to lead their navy against the Phoenix in the latest series of skirmishes for ownership of the small islands off the coast of Phoenix lands.

Unfortunately, in the Battle of Chiba Strait, the Mantis ships sailed directly into a trap as Phoenix Shegenja raked their navy with a devastating wave of fire, killing many and injuring many more. Smaller vessels were sunk and larger ones were left undermanned as the Phoenix Navy moved in to press the advantage. In a daring move, Shou steered the Serpent into the mouth of a narrow passage between the islets, blocking the path of the Phoenix ships and giving the rest of the fleet a chance to flee. He and the leftover of his crew held off Phoenix boarding attempts for hours until he was finally slain in battle, but before the Phoenix could capture or sink the Serpent, Mantis reinforcements arrived to drive off the Phoenix. A heavily damaged Silver Serpent was towed back to port.

Later Years

For the next year, the Serpent underwent repairs and refitting, the ship passed its 10th birthday without much notice and for a while it once more lay dormant. Eventually, a son of the then current Daimyo, Yoritomo Osamu decided this famous ship should belong to him. Until (year), the ship was reduced to the importance of parade grounds troops, owned by the ruling family of the Mantis.

Eventually, Osamu grew tired of playing with his toy ship, and sold it off for a substantial amount of money to Ryouta Moshi. Over the next eight years, the ship changed hands frequently, passing from captain to captain in a string of adequate, if not decent sailors and was used for a variety of purposes from piracy to smuggling to legitimate freight. However it was called into action by the clan once more for the Battle of Dyama Strait, a costly campaign which resulted in the loss of many Mantis ships by the hands of the Phoenix. The Serpent however did admirably; sinking over 15 Phoenix ships in that battle alone, but in the process took severe damages.

It underwent repairs for a few months, but was ready to return to the seas soon afterwards. For another 18 months, Tsuruchi Kenta remained its captain although the Serpent spent most of that time in harbour. In the period in which the ship had been under repairs, Kenta had spent a lot of time with his family while his injuries healed, and feeling a new closeness to his family, he no longer had a desire to roam the seas searching for trouble.

A modestly wealthy man, Kenta felt it would be insulting to its heritage to sell such a famous ship, and instead donated it to the Daimyo to do whatever he thought would best aid the clan. In the end, the ship went to young Usami Maiko, a fierce warrior who had an almost zealous hatred of the Phoenix Clan and a remarkably quick blade, almost rivalling that of Yoritomo Masaru in his prime. It is rumoured Masaru himself was involved in the decision of the ship’s new master, but there has been no proof to validate this claim.

Usami Maiko has brought further glory to the name of the Serpent, and many a Phoenix ship has fallen before this now legendary vessel. Recently, the ship’s ballistae were traded in for a new development, Rocket Bombards. The first captain to purchase this expensive upgrade, Maiko claims she’s looking forward to testing this new firepower on the first unlucky Phoenix to cross her path. Early bombard tests have already shown devastating results but they are yet to be used in real combat.

Physical Description

A large sailing ship commonly found in the waters around the Empire. It has a flat bottom, no keel, and a high stern, with two masts and a sail reinforced with bamboo ribs. The junk's hull is partitioned into a number of small, watertight compartments, which makes it unusually seaworthy.

The bow of the Silver Serpent is ornately decorated by a large silver dragon's head which appears to be coming out of the base of the hull. It curves up in front of the ship with its mouth open wide and it's eyes glaring, a fearsome sight for most sailors unfortunate enough to run into the Serpent.

The sides of the deck are decorated by the ships arsenal; a new toy for the Mantis, Rocket Bombards. These launchers when fully loaded have their own set of dragon heads glaring off to either side, however they obviously aren't loaded until the ships prepares to enter battle.

From the mast, the colours of the Mantis are flown, and when the ship prepares for battle a war flag is raised depicting a giant serpent feasting upon a ship trapped beneath its scales. Very few outside the Mantis Clan have seen that flag and lived to tell of it.

The Serpent can carry a crew of up to 50 men without having to take up cargo space, and can carry up to 160 tons of cargo, although it can weigh heavily on the ship's speed.

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