The Famous Flying Moonboats
Copyright © 1995 by Michael O'Brien

First published in Codex Vol.1 No.3 (Winter 1995)

The famous flying Moon Boats are used by the Empire to carry messengers, important passengers and occasionally troops over great distances.  They travel on and are propelled by special beams of moonlight, focussed from the Red Moon itself.  Inside the Glowline where the moon is always full, moon boats are reliable and very fast: boats regularly travel from Elz Ast on the mouth of the Oslir to Furthest at the riverís southern reaches in less than a week.  Outside the Glowline Moon Boats are less effective, as their motive power depends on the strength of the moon.  During the full moon period, a Moon Boat beyond the Glowline can travel at the same speed it does inside the border, about 120km a day.  As the moon begins its phases, this speed drops by half each day, until the Black Moon when the moonbeam is extinguished and the boat cannot travel at all.  During this period the Moon Boat is forced to land and must wait until the Red Moon turns its face again the following night.  Moon Boats are particularly vulnerable when this occurs, which is why they do not often cross the magical border.  One notable excursion was in 1589, when a squadron of moon boats defied the Syndics Ban and brought Lunar missionaries to the Fronelan city of Eastpoint, where the populace received them with great celebration.

Moon Boats are built using a secret process in a special factory at Haranshold in the Darjin Satrapy.  They are made from special wood, harvested exclusively in the Yolp Mountains and then heavily enchanted.  They resemble the sleek, oar-driven galleys often seen on the Oslir and Poralistor rivers, but without oars or a mast.  The bow and stern are drawn up very high and covered with silver mined on the Moon.  See the cover of Strangers in Prax (above) for a typical Moon Boat.

Moon Boats require a crew of a dozen, all members the Red Goddess cult.  It takes many years of diligent application to learn the magical formulas and techniques required to become a pilot of a Moon Bat; this person is always a powerful Monitor.

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