As a princess of the Canbu, Jade lived a luxurious life by the waters of the warm Firehole River that alone made life possible in the arctic wastes of Canbuland. Her robes were of pure white jaga-fur, the symbol of royalty, from a beast so dangerous that hunting it nearly allways led to the death or serious injury of one or more of the hunters. Her jewels were of elegantly carved amethyst and jade and her servants waited upon her hand and foot. Yet as she grew older she ceased to be content and asked her father "Why, since I am your oldest child, am I not allowed to rule after you?"
"Because you are a woman, and the way of ruling is not for a woman to learn. Were a woman to rule, the tribe would fall apart and start a civil war. Your place is in the kitchen. It has allways been this way."
She privately was furious with this, and with various other customs that she saw as downright unfair to women.For example, when a man died, his wife was normally bound and buried alive in the snows with him to join him in the afterlife, but it was not the same if a woman died before her husband. She disliked it that only males were allowed to be hunters and warriors, and that even a princess like her could have no say in the tribal council. She was bored with her life in a golden cage, and she got the chance to change it when a squadron of the De Madden Company sailed to the mouth of the Firehole River.
The tribe had advance warning, as once a year the leading Shamans had traveled to the royal burial grounds to speak with the dead. It was not something done lightly...for one thing, the dead generally had an active dislike of being summoned to the icy waste where their bodies were buried, and might try to possess or otherwise harm the living if precautions were not taken. It was also expensive, as they needed blood to speak to the living. Seal blood would do, but catching seals was not an easy task.
When they drank the blood, they were able to speak in a creaking tone, and they warned them that seven huge ships were on their way to the mouth of the Firehole River. They were looking for signs of amethyst and it was very important that they did not find it, or a fleet would come that would bring death and destruction to the entire tribe. On the orders of the tribal council, all amethyst was to be hidden, not a hard thing as only the richest people and the best warriors possessed any amethyst anyway. Noone was to fight unless attacked, as these ships were the size of villages and the only boats the Canbu possessed were kayaks. With luck, once they saw there was no amethyst to be found, they would leave of their own accord.
Rear-Admiral Godwinson was not best pleased with his orders from the Shogun to sail as far south as possible, as his wife was pregnant and he would miss the birth of his child. But he saw the point of it well enough. With the eastern lands united under the banner of the Kraken States, and the tropical southern ones ruled by the Pan-Kor Empire, the expansion of the De Madden Company empire had come to a screeching halt.
A new source of amethyst was needed to supply the Sea Wizards and Sea Witches whose magic quietened Acqua's storms. Without amethyst, voyages would become highly dangerous, and everything including basic foodstuffs would go up in price. And nothing was more likely to spark off a revolt then large scale hunger. At all costs the teeming masses had to be fed. They could put up with censorship, with greedy officials, brutal discipline, strict laws and high taxes, but once they could no longer afford food then Banhoesea and every other city and town would be riven with riots.
It had been a long voyage. First it had grown hotter and hotter until even the Company Marines had been allowed by their officers to go bare chested, and frequent stops to take on water were needed, then conditions had grown temperate again and then so cold that the ships were silver with ice and the main duties of the seamen were to chip away at it as otherwise it might bring the masts crashing down. And then they had come across a land of ice to the south. One of tall mountains, flat plains-but all of it white with the ice and snow, to the point that the lookouts had to be changed every hour to avoid snow-blindness.
And then just when he was considering giving the order to head north again, the lookouts reported a river of liquid water coming out of that frozen waste. When they sailed up it, they found it was warm and misty because of the heat given off by this river. They discovered that there were people there,and orders were given to man the cannons but not to open fire without orders. Godwinson was dissapointed at first, as the people appeared to have no amethyst and through signs indicated that they had never even heard of it.
It was then that Jade somehow managed to slip aboard, and when the crew found her, displayed a pair of amethyst bracelets and cast a rough translation spell. When taken to Godwinson she explained that there was plenty to be found within the river, but very little was mined, both because it was so hard to get at and to keep it rare and a badge of honour. She asked in return to be taken back to whereever they came from rather then be handed back to face certain death at the hands of her own people. Her wish was granted and based on her testimony the mining of the river was started, using high explosive to break amythest free, and divers using winches to bring it to the surface.
Horrified at what was being done to their river, the Canbu gathered and attacked, where upon they faced the massed firepower of the Company Marines, whilst the cannons of the fleet systimaticly destroyed every building in the area. They used slingstones but they bounced off the armour of their foes. Attempts to drill through the ship's bottoms were thwarted as they were sheathed in a foot of solid copper. Next they tried setting fire to the sails with flaming arrows, but the wet canvas scorched but failed to ignite.
In a final attempt to defeat the Company, they managed to place a chain across the river whilst gathering every possible warrior together in an attempt to win by force of numbers. But one of the Company marines who had a cold, managed to spread it, by accident or design, amongst them. Soon the warriors were dying in their hundreds, as a disease that only caused mild annoyance to those who were used to it became a deadly plague to those who had never come across it before.
Some of them broke and fled, only to die of bitter cold once they had left the river region. Others gave in, forsaking their old gods and goddesses and adopting those of Ulmania and Holy Jove, since it was their belief that their own gods and goddesses were helpless to prevent them from being struck down from on high. Having broke their military resistance, the Company introduced alcohol to those who had survived.
Unable to cope with it as they were not used to it and had none of their own, they became drunken slaves who willingly helped to mine their sacred river in exchange for more alcohol. And over this unhappy rabble Jade was installed by the Company as a puppet Queen. Not surprisingly, she is hated and reviled for what she brought upon her tribe.
Plot Hooks-The PCs are trying to assassinate her because of her treachery.