The heroes are the crew of an airship, who must seek out secrets of the ancients so that the forces of good (represented by The Concord) can battle The Order on equal footing. It will take the Order's expeditionary armies a long time to conquer their way across the Sea of Shards to The Concord's homeworld of Arkadia, but if nothing is done to stop them, they will inevitably reach The Concord and subjugate its client states and even Arkadia itself. That cannot be allowed to happen, and The Concord's agents are using the time they have wisely.

For whatever reason, our main characters have been chosen by The Concord's Secret Police to act as freelance "Seekers" - that is, agents who hunt down artifacts of ancient power. Seekers carry Letters of Marque from The Concord. These certificates authorize the Seekers to negotiate on behalf of The Concord for the acquisition of such artifacts. Seekers are also authorized to engate in tactical and strategic combat with the forces of The Order. The Concord military is under orders not to engage the ships of The Order unless The Concord's sovereign territory is invaded. Only the Seekers can, at this point, legally fight the forces of The Order. Usually, however, Seekers are more detectives and archeologists than combat specialists, and while each team of Seekers can hold its own in combat, direct conflict with The Order is often best avoided.

In the Sea of Shards, the political situation is complex. The vast majority of worlds are neutral - although most would probably throw in their sympathies with The Concord, if forced to choose. But in addition to the military, both superpowers have extensive networks of spies and agitators in place among the worldlets of the Sea of Shards. Nothing is ever precisely as it seems, and a shifing, treacherous web of ever-changing alliances makes the task of a Seeker more difficult as he sails the Sea of Shards. For the most part, open combat with The Order is a rare thing. Usually, the chief antagonists are secret agents employed by The Order - similar in many ways to the Seekers themselves. These operatives also seek the ancient secrets. The race to obtain these things is not as critical for The Order as for The Concord, but if nothing else, The Order would like to prevent The Concord from acquiring ancient technology - or at least delay it as long as possible.

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