The Black Ships is a pirate armada in the Mechanical Age. They possessed a region of the sea and ravaged the peoples of the Age such as the Camderites.



The armada consisted of 3 or more huge ships. The ships were self-sufficient, like floating cities, containing quarters, laboratories, smitheries and "gardens of pleasure" where they grew food. Work was carried out by huge beasts or skinny thralls. Both outside and inside, the ships were decorated with grotesque, macabre and skeletal motifs and figures.

The pirates were actually religious zealots believing in the Nameless One whose providence provides him with preys to loot. Their leader is the Ebony Cardinal, the incarnation of the Nameless One.[1]


The Black Ships emerged near a city when the usually sunny sky became as dark as night. They ignored the lookout post's pleas and overwhelmed the sentries, wreaking havoc. They destroyed even the city's foundations, sinking it into the ocean. 8 people hid and survived and new that in 10 years the Ships would return again to finish the destruction.

9 years later Atrus wrote and linked to the Age and hearing this story he decided to help the remaining civilization, and for the following year he started constructing a rotating fortress. Indeed, the Black Ships returned in a substantial attack but Atrus's technology stopped their weapons and the Ships turned away. However the sky remained dark; the storms would end when the enemy would be destroyed for ever.[2]

The Ebony Cardinal had forbid the mention of Atrus's name, however his ship captured the sons of Atrus, Sirrus and Achenar who sailed in their territory. Sirrus proposed him to extend their dominance to other Ages. They provided them with D'ni technology that was unknown to the Age, such as steam-driven harpoons, forging of steel, and the creation of new weapons. With these, the Dark Cardinal consecrated the bond of initiation and they joined his ranks as his sons. Sirrus returned to him with a Linking Book to another Age.[1]

Probably using their power Sirrus and Achenar dominated the Mechanical Age. Probably the Black Ships also found their demise as the sky of the Age had returned to its former blue. A stranded ship was seen S-SE of the Fortress with a skeleton hanging from its mast. Sirrus kept a flag of the Black Ships, indicating either his former allegiance to them, or that he kept it as a trophy after eliminating them along with the rest of the Age's inhabitants.[3]