Adventures of Caelereth

Archives => Jovloff's Gold => Topic started by: Yurie Yileen on August 16, 2010, 08:53:26 AM

Title: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on August 16, 2010, 08:53:26 AM
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.1


Captain Skjangarris sat back in his wooden chair as the ominous words from his dream echoed once again around his mind.  They were cryptic, and disturbingly sinister.  He'd had the same dream for a number of nights, now, and that short piece of verse had burned itself into his thoughts.  A dolphune chanted it.  A dolphune with a face which bore a remarkable resemblance to one of his late friends.  Was it a portent?  A message from those who had gone before him?  The captain had tried to work it out; to find meaning in the lines; but to no avail.  Perhaps it was just a reflection of his worries?  Another nightmare that would fade away, eventually.  Vildrek Skjangarris was, afterall, no stranger to nightmares.  But whatever it was, there was no point in brooding over it now; he had company!

Here were Jorn’s new recruits, sent to help find Jovloff’s treasure.  Captain Skjangarris took a long, studious look at the group sat around his table.  A few of them looked like they had seen tough times before, and obviously knew how to take care of themselves.  But there were also a few faces which didn’t seem to fit; noticeably the young girl and the short man.  Still, Vildrek Skjangarris had learnt long ago not to judge a book by its cover; he’d met more than his fair share of pretty girls who could pack a hefty punch.  And now that he looked closer, Vildrek noticed that the short man had the look of a magician about him.  Maybe it was the way he sat, which spoke of hours upon hours of studying at a desk?

Whatever they looked like, though, Captain Skjangarris had a good feeling about them.  He was sure that Seyella had brought them to him for a reason, and so, suitably reassured, he smiled slightly; a thin smile, which hardly lit up his face at all, but a smile, nonetheless.

Despite only being the first hour of Sunblaze, the cabin was already hot, and a layer of sweat bathed the captain’s body.  He was used to it, of course, having spent many years sailing the Scattersand Shoals; but he wondered how his new companions were finding the climate.  It was very different to the mainland, and Vildrek hoped that it wouldn’t bother them too much.

With a slow, deliberate movement, the white-haired man reached forwards and lifted his glass.  The cloudy drink inside it was a mixture of potent spirits and local fruit juices; a very refreshing combination, and an excellent way to forget about doleful dolpholk!  The captain pulled a face after he’d taken a draught, and shook his head from side to side.

“Ah, nothing like a drop of Arkan’s Glory to beat the heat; or to melt the ice, for that matter.”

Captain Skjangarris was acutely aware that he hadn’t properly introduced himself, yet.  His new companions had arrived late the previous evening, and had been too tired from their long journey to talk much.  Then, he’d insisted that they leave Queen’s Harbour early, and this was the first chance that they’d had to sit down together.

“As you know," he began, after putting his glass back onto the table.  “I’m Captain Vildrek Skjangarris, and I’ve been working for our common friend for more years than I care to remember.  My work has led me to places that most people would prefer not to be led to, and introduced me to people that most places would be glad to be rid of.  Pirates, vagabonds, murderers and worse have called me their friend, and some still do.

“But I digress.  We’ve been brought together for a reason; a reason that, until now, has been little more than words to you.  Well, this is where those words start to become real!”  Captain Skjangarris’s eyes were glowing, and he sat upright again as he started to warm to his subject.

“I’m sure that Jorn and Kari must have told you lots of stories; of hoarded treasure and cunning pirate lords.  Exciting stuff, no doubt, but it gets a lot better than that!  I’ve so much to tell you, and I could talk all day, but I need to know more about you, first.  I haven’t been told much, you see; only that you come highly recommended by Jorn.  So, if you don’t mind, could you introduce yourselves to me; what do you bring to this venture?  And if you have any questions for me, now would be a good time to ask them.”

The captain fell silent, and leant back in his chair again, waiting to see who would be the first to speak.


1 From "The Second Coming" by W.B.Yeats.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on August 20, 2010, 07:35:23 AM
It was awfully hot. Fu sat hunched forward in his chair, keeping his back away from the backrest, because if he leant back, he feared, he would press the sweat from his body into his shirt, which would then be wet all over, so that everyone would be able to see how badly the little wizard fared in the heat. On the journey south with the Southern Arrow, the sun had got ever more relentless, until the air seemed to flimmer every time Fu tried to focus his eyes on anything. And here in the southern sea, not even the nights brought relief anymore. Fu felt constrained by the heat, imprisoned by the stifling air, as if it was pressing on his small chest with the weight of a dozen anvils.

In short, Fu did not feel very adventurous. But even if he had, he would hardly have thought that it was up to him to be the first to respond to Captain Skjangarris. The captain had spoken so casually, with so much self-assurance, as if he went hunting for pirate treasure every week. Fu doubted very much that he would enjoy hearing from a wimpy wizard like Fu, whose response to pirates, highwaymen, and other such folk had usually been to make himself magically invisible, hide in some corner, and hope for the danger to pass. Therefore, Fu avoided looking the captain in the eye, lest he attract attention to himself.

Instead, Fu risked a furtive glance at the person who sat next to him. There he was, mighty Royce, who had awoken from the dead, or at least from a death-like sleep. Royce, too, was vulnerable – but down in the hold of the zombii ship, thought Fu, Royce had been the bravest. To puny Fu, the beefy, broad-chested man looked like the true leader of this adventure, no matter what sea captains that merchant Ranskjun had hired to ferry his mercenaries towards the islands – the islands where, supposedly, the pirate treasure waited. And much else besides might wait there, too, thought Fu.

The little wind wizard leant over to Royce and whispered as furtively as he could:

”Be asking him about dangers. What we be having to be looking out for. And if he be knowing anything about them zombii ships.”

Then he quickly resumed his former position, and, in an effort to conceal his agitation, used his shirt sleeve to wipe the sweat from his forehead.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Royce Brodlyn Kristoph on August 20, 2010, 09:08:32 AM
Royce had never been bothered by the heat.  In fact, summer was by far his favourite season, and the hotter it got, the better he liked it.  People had oft remarked that they thought he had lost grasp of his senses, because as others were complaining of the heat, he still would be wearing a tunic.  He almost never took off his tunic.

But, there was heat, and then there was this.  Maybe it was because he was still hurting from the wound he received in the hold of the derelict ship, he wasn't sure.  But, his body was not reacting well to this oppressive temperature.  His tunic was resting over the back of his chair, the ties of his shirt loosened so the bush of hair on his chest could be seen.  Still, it was hot.  If only it were prudent, he probably would have lost his pants by now, but in deference to the women on board, he kept his britches on.

As he sat listening to the new Captain's toast, Royce raised his glass of water.  Liquor did not help him in this heat.  Meanwhile, his free hand traced the jagged scab that was drying around the stitches above his hip.  He had been lucky, the doctor had been good and no infection had set in.  If it had, he probably would not have survived.  Still, every drop of perspiration that dribbled down his back and ran over the scab made it sting just a little.

He tasted the water, cool to his throat and closed his eyes, relishing the momentary relief.  He listened to Captain Skjangarris continue on, introducing himself.  Royce couldn't care less.  If it were not impolite, he would excuse himself and go lay down, but he knew he should be here.  He listened to the Captain's warnings, then to him asking for their names.  There was a moment of silence, as if suddenly the group formed by Ranskjun were all strangers to each other once again.

Next to Royce, equally bothered by the heat was the little wizard, Fu.  It seemed as though Royce had made a friend, though he didn't know what he had done to warrant the honour.  Since waking, Fu had been near Royce; not bothersome, often just on the periphery.  Royce wasn't sure why, but the little guy was friendly and had even told stories to Royce while he was recuperating in bed.  It made the time fly by more pleasantly, and Royce had appreciated that.

He leaned into Fu when the little guy began whispering to him.  A slight grin came over Royce's mouth at the worried tone in the wizards voice.  Apparently Fu was not one of the warriors in this party.  Royce winked reassuringly at the little guy and gave a quick nod.

"Captain, I'm Royce Kristoph.  I think what a few of us might like to know, is what exactly are we looking to go up against.  We were taken by surprise, as you know, by depraved man creatures that nearly went horribly wrong for us.  I would prefer, as would the others, to know what exactly we are going to face.  No more surprises."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on August 24, 2010, 03:30:26 AM
Koka was silent. More than that though, Koka was sweating. For once she wished that she had kept up her home tribe's habit of shaving off the women's beards, just so her cheeks would feel some coolness on them. And why not her hair, while she was at it? She had braided the beard in such a way that she had least trouble with it, but nevertheless it was WARM. Every now and then she would lift either it or the many braids of her hair in an attempt to cool down. It was no use of course - this seemed like a place that had never even heard of a nice little breeze, or even cold water. The stuff she was drinking might be called water here, but she could hardly help thinking of a nice rock pool back home, water dripping from the ceiling and walls and falling musically into the little lake below. What she wouldn't give now to dip her whole head in there!

She was sitting next to Fionn. In the past three weeks she had come to appreciate the little mullog with her down-to-earth common sense. She had not yet forgotten that it was this small woman who had gotten her through her first and worst panic attack, that first day on board, as well as two smaller ones in the course of the journey - neither one as bad as the first time, but bad enough that she had been glad that apart from the mullog, the others didn't seem to have noticed. And then of course it was thanks to the mullog's ministrations that she had no more trouble with the wound she had received on her head during the fight with the creatures.

On her other side sat Ylva, the other healer woman. Despite their three weeks on board the same ship, Koka was still not entirely sure what to think of the foreign woman. There was something... well, mysterious about her, possibly helped by her strange accent. And of course there was that weapon, so often an unknown consort of a healer. It was intriguing, but the dwarfess had not yet asked her about it. She sensed a certain aloofness in the woman, which kept her from actually touching so personal a subject. Possibly she wronged her with such a feeling, but she could not help it. And now they were on a smaller ship. Maybe it would be enough to break down barriers. Or it would build them higher. Things could still go both ways.

When Royce asked his question, she directed her gaze towards him. It was a good question, in a way, and yet it sounded naive to her ears. You could not predict what would happen. There would always be dangers that nobody had foreseen. Even if there were more things like those human-like creatures they had fought, captain Skjangarris would hardly be able to tell them so. But maybe there were other things that it would be good to know, that she could not imagine now because she did not know this place quite as well as she had known the caves back home. Yes, on reflection, perhaps it was a good question to ask after all, though she for one would not blame the captain if they met something that he had not warned them of.

As soon as an opening allowed, she said calmly: "I am called Koka Bentarm." She did not really think it necessary to elaborate, especially not on the reason she went on this journey - a reason she hardly remembered anyway, after their journey so far, and would probably forget altogether before they were much further. After that, she was content to lean back and listen to the others talk.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on August 24, 2010, 11:00:45 PM
Well, the weather was nice, at the very least.  
Fionn pulled her feet up onto her chair and folded her arms on her knees, resting her chin on them to regard the group lazily. She was particularly interested by Captain Skangarris, and her eye kept returning to his hair – it wasn’t blonde, but really white. He looked like some sort of spirit – like the waterfall spirit with its veils and crests of white-water. Only he didn’t seem powerful like a spirit at all – this boat was barely bigger than some of the river-barges she’d seen back home. Somehow, that made her more inclined to like it. Or maybe she was just happy to be somewhere a little humid – the others didn’t seem to be enjoying the climate so much, though. She’d never been somewhere so hot before, but she quite liked it – it was new, and much more comfortable for bare feet.

As the captain started speaking, she endeavoured to stop thinking about the weather and pay attention. Her good eye widened slightly at the mention of befriending pirates and murderers – it seemed nothing was straightforward in this adventure... but maybe that was a good thing? We’ll see, won’t we?

She turned as she heard whispering – Fu talking to Royce, she guessed, though she couldn’t really see, as her good eye was turned away from them. Her smile widened slightly, briefly displaying pointed teeth, as Royce spoke up. Yep, Fu talking to Royce, most definitely. It was a good question, too, and she nodded quietly, sipping from the glass of some-kinda-fruit-juice she’d been given. Surprises were all very well, but she didn’t think her skull could take too many of that kind. She was still keeping off the headscarf, as it chafed against the bruising that still barely lingered on her forehead. Well, that and the fact that the heat made a headscarf a fairly foolish thing to wear, especially once the others had all apparently gotten used to her hairless head.

She glanced to Koka, who looked to be suffering as much as anyone. It was almost strange to think she’d been so struck by the contrast in appearance between them when they first met. She barely noticed it now – she’d gotten to read the expression on the small section of visible face that the dwarf displayed, and at the minute he looked to be struggling – no wonder, under all that beard. But she thought she understood, sort of – it was another way of closing the world in – like building a cave for your face, sort of.

Fionn grinned, keeping quiet for the moment, to listen to the captain and the others. She was certainly learning a lot on this voyage. For “panic attacks” (it was a good name for them, that Koka had used. The eru “panic” fighting the patient’s eru. It made sense.), prescribe Yahrle to relax the breathing, and a cave for the face.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on August 27, 2010, 02:51:00 AM
Captain Skjangarris smiled slightly as he watched the small man next to Royce whisper something to his friend.  He obviously had concerns, but didn’t feel confident enough to be the first to speak.  Or perhaps it was humility?  Maybe he didn’t see himself as being important enough amongst the group to speak first?  The captain hoped that it was the latter reason; he had little time for cowards.

The question itself held no surprise; it was an inevitable query.

“A very good question, mate,” the captain replied in answer to Royce, though he looked at Fu as he spoke.  “And one to be expected, considering what you have already encountered.  To be honest, though, I can tell you little of the cursed ship that you came across.

“And you’re right, Royce Kristoph, Kari did tell me a little of your journey.  All I can say, and I know that it sounds weak, is that strange things happen at sea.  Who knows?  Maybe the men you fought had been imprisoned by pirates?  Or perhaps they themselves had been pirates, and were being punished?  I think the most important thing for you all to know is that it was in no way related to your quest.”

Captain Skjangarris paused for a moment, considering how best to proceed.  It was clear that Royce’s main enquiry was about what lay ahead, rather than what had already passed, and it was a difficult one to answer.

“As for what lies ahead, Royce, I can only tell you what I know for certain; what I fully expect to encounter.  There will be, I’m sure, unforeseen factors, which we shall have to deal with as they arise.

“We are currently sailing on dangerous waters, which are generally avoided by honest men.  If the shallow reefs don’t sink you, then the bloodthirsty Crimson Blades probably will.  With regards to the first peril, you have little to worry about; my crew and I know these waters better than most.  We do, however, need to be concerned about the second problem.  The Blades are notoriously unmerciful; if they board a vessel, they leave none alive.  Negotiation is useless.  It’s much better to outsmart or outrun them.  However, if a Crimson ship does manage to close with us, I trust that you’ll do what is necessary, and fight for your lives!

“I truly hope that it won’t come to that, but it is a very real possibility.  Fortunately, we don’t have too far to sail, and we carry little weight.  I anticipate that we can make land by this time tomorrow.

“Which brings me to our destination, Triam; a fairly large island which is covered in thick forest.  Once we’ve secured our ship, we’ll enter the forest, and make our way to the treasure.”

The captain’s eyes started to glow again when he mentioned the treasure.

“Yes, I know it sounds fanciful, and discussing it in the luxury of Jorn’s mansion over in Ciosa must have made it seem remote.  But trust me, mates, I’ve seen it with my own eyes!”

The captain laughed slightly, and clapped his hands together, rubbing them absent-mindedly.

“Oh, yes, I was close!  So very close!  I trailed and stalked Tendrim Jovloff for more moons than I care to remember, but that sneaky old salt got wind of me, and moved his riches to Triam.  Chest after chest after chest he unloaded and took into the forest.  He wasn’t that smart, see, I still managed to ghost him and watch.  But I didn’t dare follow him into the trees.  I waited, instead.  And waited, and waited, and waited.  Only one of his crew came out, though, and he’d lost his mind completely.”

Captain Skjangarris paused again, and reached into one of his deep pockets.

“I did manage to obtain this from him, however.”

The captain carefully placed a thick, leather-bound journal onto the table.

“This,” he continued, “is our guide.  It contains comprehensive directions on how to track Jovloff’s route; he had no intention of leaving it to memory, see.  Most of it is written in code, but it’s a code that I know well.

“Now, what can we expect to find in the forest?  None of Jovloff’s crew, fortunately.  I’m certain that they perished in the forest, along with Tendrim himself.  And as far as I’m aware, no other pirates or bounty hunters know of this, which means we should be the only group going after the treasure!  Just think of it!  Those crates of riches are lying in the forest somewhere; undisturbed and unguarded!  I’ve hardly been able to sleep since Jorn gave me the go ahead to retrieve it!

“Even though there shouldn’t be any pirates in the forest, I can’t say the same thing about the local flora and fauna.  To be honest, nobody really knows what’s in there.  We men of the sea tend to stay in ports and onboard our ships.  What reason would we have to venture into snake and spider infested jungles!

“So it could be that our greatest foes will be the furry and scaly inhabitants of Triam!  And of course, there’s the climate.  As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, things are much hotter and stickier here than the mainland.  I’m afraid it will only get worse once we’ve entered the forest and moved away from the sea breeze.  Disease is a distinct possibility, too, though we should be able to find clean water and decent food.  Besides, I believe we have some expert healers among us.”

Captain Skjangarris fell silent once more as he wracked his brains.  Had he told them everything?  Well, perhaps he hadn’t, but he’d certainly told them all that they needed to know at this point in time.  During his pause, the dwarf spoke up, giving his name and nothing more.

“Well met, Koka Bentarm,” the captain replied, before turning back to Fu.

“I hope that answers your question, mate.  Do you have any others?  And please, don’t be shy this time; I’m sure Royce would soon tire if he had to speak for two men the whole journey!”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Malavon Despana on August 28, 2010, 11:29:54 AM
With his eyes closed , Malavon heard these people rambled in and out , in and out , it was starting to annoy him and instead of asking about the voyage itself , no they were introducing themselves ...

With eyes flamed by irritation , Malavon spoke " And my name is Malavon , now that we are all friends , can we start this voyage as quickly as possible ?
And I do hope your a better captain that our previous , last time I remember , I was fighting crazed mariners , just because , that might be survivors on a ship ...."
Closing his eyes again , he returned into the darker part of the room , and crossing his arms , he just waited , for something ...

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on August 28, 2010, 04:53:27 PM
Well, say one thing for this captain, say that he is honest. If worse should come to worst, she would do her own part in saving the ship - and therefore her own skin, and her companions. When Skjangarris addressed Fu rather than Royce, Koka smiled into her beard. She thought she liked this man who would go with them to find this treasure. That was a good thing.

When a lull fell in the conversation another companion came forth with an accusation to their previous captain. If she had grown quite close to Fionn in the past time, and didn't really understand Ylva yet, Malavon was the one person she actively disliked. She had felt it the very first time she had seen him, and only had it confirmed over and over in the past three weeks. He might know how to fight, but otherwise his people skills were close to nihil. She could not help herself - she had to answer, perhaps a little more venomously than was strictly necessary.

"If that is the last thing you remember, you have a strange working memory, that would leave out three weeks of sailing safely to get here, with the incident you mention happening right at the beginning. The captain did what he would have done for any ship they met, and he was the more humane for it. He could not have known what those people had turned to. They might just as well have been quite sane and starving, in which case it would have been murder to leave them locked up. If you're going to blame him for not knowing what the future will bring, you might as well quit this venture right now - Captain Skjangarris, while very honest about what he does know, is equally honest about what he does not know. Things might happen in that forest that none of us could foresee now, just as they did on the ship, and it will be captain Skjangarris who will be pointing the way. You do the math."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on August 30, 2010, 12:16:41 AM
Three reasons are sufficient to explain why Fu’s face was bright red. The first, of course, was the heat, of which we have already spoken. Fu felt like a piece of roast meat in the oven, his head balancing on top like a baked tomato. Even before the Southern Arrow had reached Cape Strata, Fu had decided that the South was not for him. No wind wizard should ever have to deal with so many fire ounía swirling within his body.

Second, there was embarrassment. Captain Skjangarris made it quite plain that he had heard Fu’s whispered request to Royce. In front of the whole party, he accused Fu of being shy, and unfair to Royce. What rudeness! Couldn’t one be a dashing sea captain and nonetheless show some tact and common courtesy? Fu felt small and insignificant enough, as it was. During the last two weeks, he had gaped in awe as the fighters had sharpened their weapons, the healers had patched the wounded back together, and the sailors had steered the ship through high winds and low, past reefs and through archipelagos, and finally into Queen’s Harbour. He, Fu, had felt utterly useless. He had stumbled about the ship, trying his best not to be in the way of anyone.

The place he had liked best had been the sick bay, because it had been quiet and cool there, and because the people spoke with softer and gentler voices than anywhere else. But help, he felt, he had not been able to give. Probably, Fu thought, all the other members of the party had already regretted that Captain Fjorwek had admitted Fu into the party. And now this new captain, who of course knew nothing about the strange way in which Fu had joined the adventure, had picked him out for criticism within blinks of meeting everyone. It was enough to make a wind wizard wish he could just fly away on the next cloud.

The third reason for the shiny red colour of Fu’s face was fury. This captain Skjangarris, and indeed his boss, the merchant Jorn Ranskjun, were reckless fools at best, and murderers at worst. They obviously didn’t think twice about risking a dozen lives, and more, if there was an ever-so-small chance of getting gold and gems and whatnot. There he sat, the captain, in his pretty wooden chair, sipped expensive booze, and cheerfully reported that nobody had ever got out of Triam’s jungle alive. Oh, except one person, but that one had lost his mind there and never got it back. Splendid piece of news.

And as for the treasure, all Skjangarris had to go by was the pirate captain’s notebook. Now, where had Skjangarris got this notebook from? Obviously, if the pirate captain perished in the jungle, and Skjangarris has never been inside it, the entries in the notebook were written before  the pirate had ever hidden his treasure. Who in Grothar’s name could guarantee that whatever notes were in there would actually lead anyone to the treasure? The pirate might have died before he ever got to the hiding place he had intended; or he might have changed his mind while in the jungle, and chosen a different spot.

Or the pirate might even still be alive, living the good life in some jungle paradise, enjoying the freedom that rumours of his death afford a criminal; and when Skjangarris and his fools come along, looking for the spoils with their greedy eyes – why, the pirate will have them all roasted on spits, pick his teeth with their bones, have their heads put on poles on the edge of the jungle to warn off the next gang of dimwits. Ah, this whole adventure was foolhardy humbug. And the worst thing was that everybody else in the room seemed to think Skjangarris’ words perfectly satisfactory. Inside, Fu was seething, fuming, boiling!

So it came that he hardly heard what Koka said. All he understood that the dwarf was criticizing Malavon, the Wizard’s Bane. That be yet another piece of evidence for that foolhardiness of theirs , Fu thought. Be this dwarf not seeing the embers that the Wizard’s Bane be having in his heart? Be throwing but one burning faggot in there, and he be flaring up like a bonfire.

Oh, he wanted to tell them all that they were fools! That they could go and get themselves killed by pirates and spiders and jungle creatures as long and often as they liked, but that they could do it without Fu! Because Fu, in contrast to anyone else, had still a few muts of sense in him, despite this heat! That's would he wanted to tell them. And then he would walk off the ship and have nothing to do with any of these daredemons anymore, ever.

But obviously, it was far too late for that.

There was only one thing Fu could do: cool down. He forced himself to breathe deeply, and after a few blinks, he was sufficiently calm to try a bit of magic. Pursing his lips, he exhaled a thin waft of air, and made the wind ounía dance. Soon, a soft breeze began to swirl around his head. Fu gave a sigh of relief as he felt the cool wind brush through his sweat-pasted hair, tickle his febrile skin, and disperse the heat inside his skull. The wind was not strong enough to be felt throughout the whole of the room, but on the table in front of him, Fu saw tiny ripples forming on the water in Royce’s tankard. And to his right, it seemed that the breeze had got caught a few strands of Ylva Rasmussan’s hair, and enjoyed shaking them about a bit.

In the meantime, Koka had finished his speech. Fu, on his part, now felt ready to address the captain. He put on his politest voice – the voice he had first acquired and cultivated in Ximax during conversations with his teachers (he had been terrified of every single one of them). It was no use getting even more heat into this room.

”Captain Skjangarris,” he said. ”My name be Fu Luft, and I be having another question indeed. How do ye be knowing that yonder notebook of yours be telling ye where that pirate captain was burying that treasure of his? That pirate was making yonder notes before  he was entering the jungle, yes? Else how did ye come by that book of his? Be it not possible that the pirate never was carrying out those plans that ye be finding in yon book?”

The be courteously said,  Fu thought. He can’t be saying that Fu be uncooth. But it be the right question, yes. This captain was being jumping to those conclusions of his!

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on August 31, 2010, 09:23:55 AM
The creature sat within its tiny wooden sanctuary staring out at the world. Through a small barred window it watched the group of large squishy furless prey squirm in the heat. It’s limbs felt as the world swayed gently, to and fro. The world was somehow moving, rocking back and forth, but this didn’t bother the hunter either. For an animal that can balance on a single thread or walk on the ceiling, stability is not a priority.

Outside one familiar bushy haired mammal was fetching it its next victim. The two-legged being did this everyday and the arachnid had reluctantly adapted to the arrangement. The towering mammal appeared more nervous than usual, more shaky, the predator had seen such behaviour in previous prey, the actions of an animal that knows that it is hunted. Maybe it would slip up this time. Spiders are patient creatures, and this one was waiting for the day that the bushy-haired two-legged made a mistake.

Four beady eyes peered out its prison window, hungrily eyeing the remaining prey. The beast’s instincts drew it to the smallest first, no doubt some sort of two-legged youngling. When it did escape this strange prison, it’d bite that one first. There was another one, with a round fleshed face and jittery deposition that the spider was unimpressed with, too fearful to survive in the jungle.

Others were larger, more trouble, much too dangerous to bother with. There was clearly tension within the group, one shorter hairier two-legged threatening a taller dominant one. The spider wondered when the taller one would strike. And yet the two two-legged hadn't attacked each other yet. If a spider challenged another, the bigger one simply leaps at the other and bites it head off. Hierarchy is sorted out very quickly within the arachnid kingdom.

These furless flabby animals were strange creatures. Little bristles on its spindly body had picked up signs that one of the other larger mammals was clearly injured, strange chemicals wafting through the air. If arachnids could actually feel bafflement, then this one would have wondered why the group hadn’t rejected it yet. Yes it was strong but it was also weakened, why let it stay? How on earth did these mammals survive when this was their instincts told them to do?

But the creature did not dwell on the strange ways of soft fleshed prey. Instead the spider watched as the bushy-haired one leaned in carefully, opened the hatch and dangled its new meal into the spider‘s domain. One hairy leg reached out and examined the meat that appeared to be unwriggling, unmoving and unalive. Not what any killer wants, the beastie chose instead to leap for the nice tasty hand holding the unappetising offering.....


Ylva yelped quietly as Hildegarde jumped for her hand. The spider narrowly missed as the Murmillion quickly dropped its food into the cage and shut the hatch. Not disappointed, the spider simply crawled over to the food it did have, and started to digest it. Above its owner frowned, examining her pet within its prison. Clearly the lack of available living prey on the ship wasn’t agreeable to the tiny predator.

Sighing, the woman placed the creature back inside her bag and turned back to face the table once again.

((To be continued.))

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on September 04, 2010, 11:10:35 AM
     It seemed like it was just a few hours ago when Mallorix was told of the quest to find the treasure of the pirate legend Tendrim Jovloff. Now, the group was in a new place, on a new boat, and had a new captain. The young man took in the grizzled and old face of the captain. The white hair on the new captain's head suggested that he was passionate about the sea. Why would someone still be a sailor at such an age if they didn't love the job?

     The heat in the cabin was oppressive, and sweat covered Mallorix's back and chest. He kept on wiping the sweat off his forehead so it wouldn't drip into his eyes. The young man was about to look around to study the other people at the table when the captain began speaking.

“As you know, I’m Captain Vildrek Skjangarris, and I’ve been working for our common friend for more years than I care to remember.  My work has led me to places that most people would prefer not to be led to, and introduced me to people that most places would be glad to be rid of.  Pirates, vagabonds, murderers and worse have called me their friend, and some still do.

“But I digress.  We've been brought together for a reason; a reason that, until now, has been little more than words to you.  Well, this is where those words start to become real!”  Captain Skjangarris’s eyes were glowing, and he sat upright again as he started to warm to his subject.

“I’m sure that Jorn and Kari must have told you lots of stories; of hoarded treasure and cunning pirate lords.  Exciting stuff, no doubt, but it gets a lot better than that!  I’ve so much to tell you, and I could talk all day, but I need to know more about you, first.  I haven’t been told much, you see; only that you come highly recommended by Jorn.  So, if you don’t mind, could you introduce yourselves to me; what do you bring to this venture?  And if you have any questions for me, now would be a good time to ask them.”

     Mallorix wiped his forehead again. The heat was making him sleepy. Soon, he dozed off, nearly sleeping, but still aware of what was going on around him. He waited for the others to finish their questions and receive their answers.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on September 06, 2010, 09:41:39 PM
Fionn’s good eye lit up, much as it had all those days ago in the misleadingly named “eagle dining room”. This was a story, here! An adventure! Thoughts of dangers and practicalities melted away as she listened to Captain Skjangarris’ story, one hand absently wrapping round the new fish-hook shaped talisman. Part of her, the part that felt her scars ache on cold days, was taking careful note of mentions of disappearances, unknown horrors, and the like. But for now she could ignore it, caught up in the mystery of the thing.

She was brought back to reality suddenly, by the voice of the one “adventurer” of whom her opinion had barely changed since they first met. Malavon, it turned out, was as moody in person as he had been in first impression. As far as she could remember, she’d yet to see a real smile on that distant face. She couldn’t help but nod in support of Koka’s scathing reply, though she might not have put it quite like that herself.

As Fu spoke up, she realised her view of the captain’s tale was less than universally shared. He sounded miffed, to say the least, and she supposed he had reason. She looked down at her hands, still fidgeting with the talisman, abruptly realising how foolish it was to let herself get caught up in pointless ideals of adventure and mystery. What use were they?
If it has no use it is worse than something broken. A broken thing can be fixed or made into something else with Ehpi. But a thing without use is a hindrance, it will drag you down into the waters.
She blushed faintly, remembering her father’s words. She was carrying unnecessary weight in her own mind, by that measure. Fu had the right idea.

Something yelped, and she looked up sharply – only Ylva, with that enormous spider of hers. She watched the human healer carefully for a moment, but it looked like she’d avoided the thing’s fangs. Seems everything has teeth, round here. Well, we have teeth of our own, don’t we?  

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on September 21, 2010, 09:50:58 PM
   “Thank you, Koka,” the captain said softly as he listened to the dwarf’s reply to Malavon’s observation.  “You are quite right; Kari couldn’t have left a ship in obvious distress to its doom.  The possibility that there were survivors who needed help would doubtlessly have steered him onto the course that he took.  I, too, would have boarded the vessel; though for less noble reasons, I’m afraid.

   “Make no mistake, Malavon, we have begun our voyage, already.  And even though it may bore you,” Captain Skjangarris briefly cast his gaze towards the dozing Mallorix, “it is essential that I take the time to learn more of your skills and weaknesses.”

   It would be interesting, the captain thought to himself, to watch how this group worked together.  There was already an obvious, common dislike of Malavon, and yet he had only voiced a thought that most of them had probably been thinking.  Perhaps he was arrogant?  His tone of voice seemed to suggest so.  Royce appeared to be the natural leader, but Koka showed a clarity of thinking which suggested that he would be best suited to making decisions under pressure.  Where the sleepy fellow fitted in was anybody’s guess.  Captain Skjangarris was just about to address him, when the shy man spoke up.

   “Perhaps I didn’t make myself as clear as I had hoped to,” the captain began in reply to Fu’s concerned speech.  “I obtained the journal from that sole wretch who emerged from the jungle.  And you are quite right, much of it was written before Jovloff entered the forest.  He continued to write in it up to what I assume was his demise, however.  It gets confusing towards the end, and I believe he was losing his mind; perhaps he suffered from disease.  But the directions that lead us to the treasure are lucid enough.  I hope that dispels your worries, Fu Luft.”

   A sudden yelp made the captain focus his attention on one of the female members of the group.  For some reason, she kept a vicious-looking spider in a cage.  Perhaps she was a naturalist?

   “I trust that your spider has a purpose?”  Captain Skjangarris enquired.  “Perhaps it has medicinal properties?  Or it’s delicious when roasted?  Either way, I believe that you’ll find plenty of companions for it in the jungle.  Truth be told, there are quite a few onboard this ship.  Only last night I saw one as big as this,” the captain splayed his right hand out to indicate the monstrous proportions of the spider in question, “lurking on my cabin wall.  Not that I mind, of course, they do tend to keep the rat population down.

   “And so what of the ladies?”  The captain asked, addressing Ylva, Fionn and Rhia.  “What do you bring to this quest, besides furry beasts, trinkets and pretty faces?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on October 27, 2010, 06:24:17 AM
   Eric stood on the poop deck of his boat, watching a distant ship through his small scope.

   “Ridin’ ‘igh in the wa’er, she is,” he said as he lowered the scope.  “No cargo on ‘er; no good ter th’ likes o’ us.”

   “Aye, cap’n, no cargo,” a thin man standing next to Eric said.  “But there’s something about her.”

   Eric took a moment to smooth his beard with a rough hand as he pondered his first-mate’s words.  Then he lifted the scope to his eye to have another look.

   “Aye, mate, maybe yer right.  She’s runnin’ fast; too fast, I’d say.”

   The first-mate leant in closer to the captain’s ear, and whispered, “Whether she’s got something to hide or not, we should close with her; the men are getting restless.”

   This much was true; since delivering Captain Blyte’s letter to Simon Dante, Eric and his crew had been working for the Dante’s.  Why Blyte had arranged for this, Eric didn’t know.  What he did know was that the waters around the Scattersand Shoals were thin pickings compared to his usual haunts along the Mithral Coast.  There were too many pirates and not enough merchants here; that was the problem.

   Life had been tough for the crew of the Rainbow Runner.  There was too much heat, not enough food, and almost no medicines.  Yes, there had been a lot of grumbling onboard, and the first-mate hadn’t been the only one to notice the discontent.  The prospect of a handsome prize would do wonders to raise the crew’s morale.  And even if there was nothing worth taking, at least the action would find work for the idle hands.

   Eric briefly considered the situation.  With a little luck, and a lot of good seamanship, it’d be possible for the Runner to intercept the distant vessel.

   “Look lively, ladz!!!” the captain bellowed, deciding that there was no time to lose.  “Sail sigh’ed off th’ larboard bow!  Let’s ‘av ‘er!!!”

   A collective cheer went up among the Runner’s crew.

   “’elmsman, there!  Set a course sou’, sou’, wes’!”

   “Aye, cap’n; sou’, sou’, wes’!” the helmsman repeated joyfully.

   As the boat lurched onto her new course, Eric grinned.  Surely there was nothing better than this.  The sky was clear, the wind whipped by, and a new hunt was on.  No matter how many times this veteran rogue started to chase down a victim, he still felt a rush of excitement.

   “This iz livin’, matez!” he shouted into the wind.  “This iz livin!”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on October 27, 2010, 11:05:08 AM
Mallorix's head dropped a tad lower, his chin coming to rest on the young man's chest. He realized that it maybe wasn't such a good idea to fall asleep, so he reluctantly raised his head again, his eyes on the verge of closing. The conversation had stagnated. This new Captain asked questions, but the occupants of the room on the ship seemed to be apathetic towards them.

A thought came to the young sailor's mind. Captain Skjangarris would probably address him about something that was said. Mallorix, after a few moments of careful thinking, decided that it would be best to start listening again.

"... didn’t make myself as clear as I had hoped to. I obtained the journal from that sole wretch who emerged from the jungle.  And you are quite right, much of it was written before Jovloff entered the forest.  He continued to write in it up to what I assume was his demise, however.  It gets confusing towards the end, and I believe he was losing his mind; perhaps he suffered from disease.  But the directions that lead us to the treasure are lucid enough.  I hope that dispels your worries, Fu Luft.”

Mallorix breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn't missed much. What this Captain said also had some useful information. The writing grew less clear towards the end of the journal. Perhaps something caused him to go mad?

A cry interrupted Mallorix's thoughts. Before he could identify the source, Captain Skjangarris started speaking again.

 “I trust that your spider has a purpose? Perhaps it has medicinal properties?  Or it’s delicious when roasted?  Either way, I believe that you’ll find plenty of companions for it in the jungle.  Truth be told, there are quite a few onboard this ship.  Only last night I saw one as big as this,” the man speaking made a gesture with his hands showing how large the arachnid was, “lurking on my cabin wall.  Not that I mind, of course, they do tend to keep the rat population down.

The captain continued with another question.

 “And so what of the ladies? What do you bring to this quest, besides furry beasts, trinkets and pretty faces?”

Mallorix looked and saw the spider mentioned. He shuddered in a mixed feeling of fear and disgust, then turned back to look at Captain Skjangarris. The spider provided only a momentary respite from boredom. He soon began thinking of other things to pass the time. Mallorix thought it would be so much more interesting if something happened. Perhaps if a pirate ship appeared, the situation would become more exciting.....

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on October 28, 2010, 08:50:11 PM
“Only last night I saw one as big as this, lurking on my cabin wall.  Not that I mind, of course, they do tend to keep the rat population down.”
Fionn grinned, displaying sharp teeth as she imagined the size of such a spider. We were right; everything does grow so much bigger in the outside lands!  She wondered what such an enormous creature would taste like. She hadn’t liked to think that way of Ylva’s spider, seeing enough from the way the human treated it that this was not a potential snack. But a spider, from what this captain says, big enough to eat rats? In a land like this surely nobody goes hungry! ...Well, except for me, hmm? Ancestors, what kind of a mullog can’t eat what moves on legs? She blinked; that thought had almost sounded like the words of her parents, and that’s always an unsettling thought. Instead of dwelling on that she looked back to the captain, her smile hardening a little as she pondered his question. Yes, what? Well, we’re not entirely useless, are we? Pretty faces indeed...

“Well I dunno if I’d venture to speak for Ylva and Rhia, but I’m pretty sure we’re all more than just nice t’look at.”She let her grin widen slightly, aware of the irony in her saying that, scarred, skinny and, to these Big People, simply too strange to be pretty.
“Between us we’ve a little doctoring, a little fighting, and I’d hope enough common sense for three people, no?”  
She glanced to the other two, to see if they agreed, her expression back to its usual mischievous smile.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on December 03, 2010, 05:36:04 AM
   Captain Skjangarris couldn’t help but smile as he listened to Fionn’s answer.

   “Well, common sense is rare enough, and good doctors are worth their weight in gold.  I hope that we don’t have too much need of your medical services, though I think…”

   The captain was cut short by the sudden arrival of one of his crew.

   “Sail sighted off the larboard bow, sir!” the newcomer reported crisply.

   Almost instantly, the captain’s face changed.  His smile dropped; replaced by a sombre countenance.

   “What colours?” he asked calmly.

   “Stormcloaks, sir,” the mate replied.

   “Stormcloaks, indeed.  I think it best if we have a look, don’t you?”

   The captain’s question was directed to his guests at the table, though the tone of his voice indicated that it was rhetorical.  Jumping to his feet, he hurried to the cabin door.

   “Well, are you coming?” he asked the group, before disappearing into the bright sunlight.

   Once back on the main deck, the captain looked out to sea in the direction of a small ship.  He raised a scope to his eye, and, for a moment, was completely silent.  The ship was obviously in a hurry, and by the look of it, she was plotting a course which would cross their own.

   “What do you make of it?” he asked the nearest member of Jorn’s quest, handing them the scope.  “A merchant vessel, or something more sinister?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on December 16, 2010, 07:25:46 PM
Koka followed the captain out of the hut, and out into the glaring sunlight. The exercise brought a fresh sheen of sweat to the dwarf's forehead, though in a way she was glad to be out of the stuffy cabin. She was glad of one thing - the sun was so bright that even the thought of glancing up at the sky was out of the question, which helped her not to think about that wide expanse above her. At the rail she saw the ship in question. She accepted the scope and imitated the captain's use of it, placing it near one eye. There was a dizzying moment where the horizon suddenly leapt into view in a way it would never do if she only used her own two eyes. Also, when she moved the scope, everything flew by at a dizzying speed. But then she found the ship, which seemed to be heading in their direction. She looked at it in silence for a moment, then passed the scope on to the next person.

"Captain, I'll be honest with you... I hardly know the difference between a boat and a ship, let alone that I would know what these people are. If it is something more sinister than a merchant vessel, however, you can count on me to stand my ground... or, well, wood, as the case may be - so long as they're human beings to deal with. If they're the same as those... sailors..." she shuddered to think back on the event, even though some weeks had passed - "then I don't know what I will do. From the determined way in which they are moving, though, and the movements that I could see on board with your looking thing, I would say at least that they still have full sanity on their side, and know what they want."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on December 20, 2010, 11:45:39 PM
Intrigued, and not a little nervous as she remembered the eventful voyage that had brought them this far, Fionn followed with the others out to see what exactly a stormcloak was. It sounded like a highly useful sort of thing, though why you’d spy one out in the sea was a little hard to work out. Perhaps it was a feature of an actual storm? Do you get storms in such warm climates? Probably you do, she thought. Full of summer thunder and lightning and happy spirits causing mayhem. But provided everything is tied down, storms don’t hurt anyone, do they? And they don’t have sails.

She frowned, squinting as her eye adjusted to the light outside. It didn’t look much like storms were coming, cloaked or otherwise... She stood on tiptoes, trying to see what the captain, and now Koka, were looking at. When the scope, a tube-sort-of-thing, all glass and metal, was handed over, she eagerly accepted, curious to see what was inside worth looking at- she gasped when she held it up to her eye, and started back slightly, blinking, before looking again, sweeping it over the wide blue horizon slowly till she found the speck they had looked at. It was a boat. That was about all she could offer on the subject, and she handed the scope on reluctantly, unaware of the grin that had spread across her face at discovering the instrument’s use. A device for bringing things nearer! Vital, of course, in such a bewilderingly enormous world!

She dragged her attention back to what Koka was saying, and nodded, trying to look like she knew what was going on. Then she stopped, because that wasn’t helping.
“Can I ask, uh... What’s a Stormcloak, sir? Is there a reason such a ship might be heading for us?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Hylphán on December 23, 2010, 09:19:21 AM
     Hylphán, his eyes never leaving the approaching ship, reached for the scope and raised it with practiced ease. The other ship was built for speed. Its shallow draft and sleek design would allow for agile maneuvering and the ability to sail almost into the wind. The sailors aboard her were busily pulling canvas covers from a number  of items on deck. All this flashed through his mind in an instant, as he realized what the sailors were uncovering -- catapults!

     Hylphán quickly estimates the number of sailors he sees, knowing there will be more belowdecks, and without looking away from the cutter spoke to the captain. “Captain, we may have a problem here.  I suggest you get the marines armed and ready for trouble. They appear to be pirates, and can outrun and outmaneuver us easily.” Lowering the eyeglass, Hylphán turned to the captain and locked eyes with him. “It seems they have a number of catapults, so we need to keep changing our distance from them once they get in close enough. Get closer, then pull away, in a random pattern so they have a difficult time adjusting the range of the catapults. Be prepared to be boarded, and get anyone not fighting belowdecks. It would be wise to put a couple of your best archers in the rigging, to improve their range, and tell them to shoot for the catapult operators. Fire arrows can be shot from the main deck rail as well, to try and burn their catapults. I estimate we will be fighting more than fifty men, cutthroats all. Do you agree that this pretty well describes the situation Captain?”   

     Not waiting for an answer, he turned, and looking at the other members of the
group, Hylphán grinned slightly and asked them “Shall we get this party

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on December 24, 2010, 01:09:12 AM
“Can I ask, uh... What’s a Stormcloak, sir? Is there a reason such a ship might be heading for us?”

Fu stood next to Fionn when she asked her question. As the captain seemed to turn his attention to Hylphan, who was just now looking through the scope, Fu answered in his stead.

”The stormcloaks be a guild of ship owners. They be loading those ships of theirs with wares of merchants, who be paying them for passage and goods. I be knowing about them stormcloaks, for I was working for merchants not too long ago.”

Writing contracts, inventories, and family histories had seemed boring at the time, but Fu would gladly have committed to ten years as a scribe, without even a Prayday off, if that would have got him out of this treasure hunt, which, he felt, would surely be the death of him.

”I be thinking we should be stopping for yonder ship, and hear what knews they be having.”

Suddenly, an idea came to Fu. Maybe this thought of going back to his scribe-work did not need to remain a thought? With a little trick, it could become reality! He would have to lie, which he didn't like. Then again, what was better: being a liar or being a corpse?

For a blink, Fu hesitated. Was he about to do something stupid? But the hope of rescue from this suicidal mission won out. He said to Fionn:

”Actually, I was meaning to be asking ye, since a healer ye be. I be feeling a pain in my chest, here …” – Fu pointed at the area around his heart – ”… I be thinking I might be ill. I be feeling queasy, too. And my head, oh, I be thinking the sun be too much for my head. I be thinking I be falling ill, and …”

That was it! Rescue was at hand!

”… and I be feeling it be getting worse." Fu coughed a little, to emphasize the point.  "I don't be knowing whether I be ready to be going on adventures with such an illness. Do ye be thinking that I be contagious? I would not be wanting to be bringing my illness to other folks. Mayhap we should be asking yonder stormcloaks where they be bound? Mayhap they could be taking me to land, for my illness to be treated?”

In his mind’s eye, Fu already saw himself stretching out on the deck of the stormcloaks’ ship. Safe and sound he’d be, and never would he see the captain ever again! Nor the Wizard’s Bane nor zombiis nor pirates! Never again! Yes!

Fu looked at Fionn, and did his best to give his face a troubled and pained expression. Then he started noticing what Hylphan was saying:

”... tell them to shoot for the catapult operators. Fire arrows can be shot from the main deck rail as well, to try and burn their catapults. I estimate we will be fighting more than fifty men, cutthroats all. Do you agree that this pretty well describes the situation Captain?”

Fu’s expression turned from fake dismay to genuine terror. Fight the stormcloaks? But why?

”Capat... Catapap..." he stammered. ”What?"

Hylphan hadn't heard him, or paid no heed: “Shall we get this party started?” the elf asked.

There was no reason to fake an illness anymore. Fu was starting to feel exactly how he had described it to Fionn.

”Oh, Grothar, Master of Winds,” he whispered. ”Please ye, anything but this. Anything but another battle.”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on December 29, 2010, 03:08:25 AM
”The stormcloaks be a guild of ship owners.”
“...appear to be pirates, and can outrun and outmaneuver us easily.”
Turning to glance between Fu and Hylphan, Fionn raised an eyebrow sceptically. Make your minds up, guys...

She was about to say as much aloud, when she realised Fu was looking out of sorts. Or more so than usual. She tilted her head to eye him carefully as he spoke, her sighted eye taking him in sharply, carefully ignoring the commotion nearby. He might not be really ill but he was scared, and well he might be. she kept her face as blank as she could as he spoke, wondering if it really had been fair to bring him, however capable he might have been in a tight spot. As Hylphan’s words seemed again to catch his attention he visibly paled.

Ancestors, don’t let him panic, that’s no help to anyone...
And what is a catapult, for that matter? Sounds interesting.
Pay attention, Fionn. She looked back to Fu, and grinned in what she hoped was a reassuring manner (though a set of sharp teeth tends to make reassuring a debatable issue in the best of circumstances).

“You do look a little peaky, sir, I’ll admit...”  she paced round him, making a show of looking him up and down.
“But I don’t think you’re contagious, or we’d have heard about it before now... no, looks to me like what you need is fresh air and something to take your mind off things. Something like-“

”Oh, Grothar, Master of Winds, Please ye, anything but this. Anything but another battle.”

Her smile vanished. He really is scared, isn’t he? This isn’t good...  she looked at the others, and back to the ship that was the source of such concern, noticeably closer even to her poor depth perception. She shifted, standing up straighter, a hand going to the pocket where she vaguely hoped she’d put her knife.

“Just... just take it easy, right sir? you’ll be alright. Trust me, I’m a doctor.”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on December 29, 2010, 11:19:24 PM
Koka was for a moment distracted by the conversation between Fionn and Fu. She was struck by the difference in reaction between the two at the mention of pirates. The little wizard shrank back, muttering something that she didn't quite catch, and he paled visibly. The mullog, on the other hand, stood up straighter, peering intently at the approaching ship, and even changed her tone - at first rather sarcastic - to something bordering on reassuring. And that while she was so much smaller! Koka could not help but be impressed by her courage.

"If there's going to be fighting, as our elf-like friend here assumes, I had better go get my bow ready. Captain, perhaps a place can be found where a wizard might feel safe enough to perform some of his magics without fearing a stray cutlass or arrow to interrupt him?" She wasn't entirely sure if that was the best course, but she didn't really want to put the wizard in the path of danger if it wasn't necessary. She just hoped that 'a safe place' would not automatically mean that he did not need to do anything to contribute to the battle.

Leaving those better able to organise these things, she quickly went into the cabin where they had been gathered and took her bow and quiver, which had been resting against the wall while the meeting was going on. She immediately went out again, and looked around to see where she might be best placed to face the oncoming enemy, if enemy it turned out to be. In the rigging, as Hylphan had suggested, was all fine and dandy, but her arm prevented her climbing. It was only when she found a spot to her liking that she realised how the half-elf had more or less taken over command from the captain. She didn't know his past experiences, but if she were the captain she wouldn't let that happen. She was curious if Skjangarris was going to react.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on December 30, 2010, 07:58:50 AM
Kyros Scaldai was in a good mood.

The best he had felt, in fact, for months. The best he had felt by far since- since that wretched pox riddled dog faced son of- no, calm down now, old boy – since the end of his triumphant days.

Well, I could hardly have been expected to feel bonny and bright with a merry spring in my step, could I now, in the condition I was living over those months, he thought, as he woke that morning aboard the Silent Tear. Months riding place to place till his arse was sore, just to find a bed for the night and often still ending up beneath bushes that seemed more of a funnel for the rain and weather than a shield, months zigzagging across the country to collect this stash from that hidey-hole, or this favour from that money lender. Months avoiding anywhere he might be known and worse still, months avoiding bounty seeking sell-swords and rogues who had heard the pirate Scaldai was landbound, and months spent in filthy taverns trying to plan, trying to find some way to rise again. But worst of all, months on dry land, shipless and crewless. On land, there was no drill. There was no order to anything; not properly, not clearly.  People did as they pleased, not as you commanded, and even thieving and criminality was so unorganized, so inefficient. A ship, even in piracy, properly handled, was a perfect machine. On land, everything seemed to him so much more like a burning anthill. It was more than enough to exasperate any true sailor.

But now, there was Jovloff’s gold.

A few chance meetings in ports with old acquaintances who had not yet heard of his downfall, a few whispers that the merchant Jorn Ranskjun was plotting something, and hushed mentions of the dread pirate Jovloff- that captain Skjangarris of the Silent Tear was once more bound for Queen’s Harbour in the Shoals- well, a little enquiry and a few rather more arranged meetings later and here he was aboard the Tear, having been bound for the Scattersand Shoals anyway on a passenger ship, in another desperate attempt to start again. He knew of Ranskjun, and had met his runner Skjangarris before in his old glory days, of course. And the name of Tendrim Jovloff he had known since he first set foot on ship and turned an ear to the stories of sailors.

Something in his spirit had lifted as his boots clipped the planks of a vessel once more. The rising feeling in his chest had begun as he approached the Silent Tear, moored in Queen’s Harbour. She was small, of course, but neat and slim and well-built none-the-less. The finest craft he had seen in a fair while, after the scarred cut-throat’s ships and patched up tubs that bobbed about the rambling shanty towns of the shoals, all of them mongrel beasts compared to the thoroughbred he was now sailing upon. And it was so good to be sailing again. Standing at the stern of the Tear as she left the port behind the evening before, the lift in his spirits had positively soared.

And of course, there was Jovloff’s gold.

Why, he thought, it feels so wonderfully almost like the fine old days- but no- mustn’t think too hard on them, silly boy, or you’ll remember why they’re the old days and not the current, and then you’ll be mopey. But simply being out beneath the sails and spray again, on a good ship and with a clear goal to drive him on and the promise of rich reward- it was a tonic to the soul.

So. Jovloff’s gold.

Even thinking it woke something like hunger. To imagine those piles of treasure, to scoop it in handfuls, in waterfalls, to have so much gold- but they were a long way from booty yet. Better focus on the tasks before him than dream far distant.

Jovloff’s gold!

To think, I might well find it! The legendary stash of the legendary pirate. One would have thought it would take a positively mythological  feat to recover something as lore drenched as that horde. Well. That, or piratical experience to fathom a piratical trail, he thought, as he rolled from the hammock old ghost hair Skangjarris had allotted him. Allotted! To be directed so feels positively offensive, but I shouldn’t grumble. It will all have to tolerated if you are to snatch even a penny of- oh, but I’m nearly salivating, foul thought- of Jovloff’s gold. You are not a captain. Well. Not yet.

Jovloff’s gold. Oh, it’s a foolhardy and downright suicidal quest
, he thought, as he straightened his white shirt, then slung on and begun to button his black waistcoat. But you, Kyros, are a fallen gentleman ready to follow any star out of the gutter. And this treasure will prove, hah, to be a blazing sun of redemption if only you can stretch high enough. If it can only be reached, I might be redeemed. Or at least, enriched. Grinning, he pulled each silver toe-capped boot on over his dark grey trousers. Yes, with the spoils- easy there, try not to get too excited, old boy, or you’ll have no energy left for the fun later on- with those legendary spoils I shall be able to set myself up again. In moral or immoral venture! I shall have a ship again, and crew- no, twenty ships, if the legends have not been too enthusiastic in describing the exact quantity of gold. I shall sail far away, where no one has ever heard of Kyros Scaldai and his- his downfall- and then, when I’m strong enough, I’ll sail back and teach all those who laughed, who went against me, to ever question Kyros Scaldai again- teach with blade and fire and- no. Hush, now and do your hair. You’re far off all of that. It’s still a foolhardy and dangerous quest. Nothing good ever came without some bloody hard work somewhere down the line.

But to have even the palest glint of hope on the horizon set Kyros Scaldai grinning. He was in a good mood.

With a small dab of oil and his shaving mirror, he slicked his fringe back from his forehead in a low sweep, quite unflashy. He had grown out of styling elaborate horns or oiled-back looks since he had been on land. Besides, in this heat, any fancier stylings would quickly wilt.

There. He was dressed. That had been the only real pleasure in his landless purgatory: to be really able to look after himself. He could wash and shave often, and oil his hair every day, and choose outfits without fear of them being spoiled, and oh, it did boost a man’s confidence to feel he was well groomed and dressed. In these tropics he would doubtless have to relinquish his best clothes and would eventually give in to the heat and keep in old shirts and trousers, but for these first few days, he would try and keep smart. Not too flashy, though. He had to make the right impression on the rest of the treasure hunting party. That was important. The subject of his previous occupation would have to be avoided, in particular. They were hardly likely to warm to a pirate, former or not. None of them looked particularly criminal, from the brief contact he had with them so far.

But it was all, in the end, for Jovloff’s gold.

And it was now time to go forth and start making that good impression. Skangjarris had assembled them all for a meeting in the main cabin, doubtless briefing them on the same general points of the quest the captain had told him before he had boarded just before the rest of the party were likewise picked up from Queen’s Harbour. He meant to go in and introduce himself while they were all so neatly gathered. But bounding down to the cabin, he found the room empty, glasses of drink still ringing the table. The old lewd song he had been half-humming wavered as his good mood sank a half-inch. But no matter, no matter. He could still introduce himself, could he not, only in not quite such a precise manner as he had been mentally rehearsing. Besides, the errant party were soon located up on deck, stood together at the prow. They were, with the captain, passing round a scope and apparently looking towards a ship fast approaching. Some gut feeling pulled his good mood down a further notch as he watched it speed on- but never mind all that now, say hello while they’re all together.

He strode towards them, and surveyed the group.

He had seen them all before, around the Silent Tear as on such a small ship one could hardly avoid fellow passengers, all of them instantly distinguishable from the actual crew. Close up and gathered together, they were an odd bunch. In his experience, when rich merchants like old Ranskjun wanted something dangerous and secret done, they hired burly louts with too little brain to conceive of disobeying for the physical parts, and the best and most discreet gentleman sell-swords and spies, whose high fees were justified by quality for the parts requiring rather more in the intelligence department. Less than half this party came anywhere near either of those two categories. But they are not without promise. Not at all.

There were three men who did look more like the type he would have expected to be on this sort of job. He appraised their build with the old captain’s eye for picking crew: one, approaching middle age, though still fresh faced and well-muscled, if not hulking, and a little shorter than Kyros, another tightly powerful man of a similar age, with white blonde hair and around Kyros’s height, and another chap, closer to Kyros’s age and likewise slim but muscled, and shorter than him. That was good. He hated it when men were taller than he was. Lucky I’m a pretty lanky bugger, then, isn’t it?

But then there was a slim woman, and a girl who was surely scarcely twenty. Neither of them were bad looking, even pretty, at the right angle. Perhaps they held some secret knowledge or magic to help divine the treasure. They hardly looked like warriors.

Then, there was a dwarf.  Kyros liked dwarves. Well, liked was rather strong. He approved of dwarves. And this dwarf seemed as solidly and standardly dwarven as any of his fellow cave dwellers. As we watched, the dwarf strode away after saying something he was too far off to distinguish.

And then there was a very odd little thing that had been puzzling Kyros for a while. At first he had thought it was a child, perhaps the cabin boy, though it seemed feminine in feature. Looking more closely, however, it held itself with a controlled confidence that was somehow very adult. It was so skinny, and gangly limbed, with odd greyish flesh and a quite bald head, as well. He concluded it was not human. Though what else it might be he had no idea.

Another perplexing character was the small, dark young man who was one of the least ship-worthy men Kyros had ever seen gracing a deck. Not only did he have the soft look of a fellow who spent most of his life inside, rarely exerting himself, but he was plainly scared, bordering on terrified. Terrified of what? Best not to dwell on that for now- And last besides the captain was a lad still a little more boy than man, who Kyros had before assumed to be one of the crew.

All in all, they were an odd, if not bad bunch to be setting out with.

He clapped his hands, hoping to pull their attention from that sinister ship.

“Ah, hello. Good morning to you all. I hope I’m interrupting nothing too urgent- but I thought to introduce myself while you were all gathered like this. I am Kyros. Kyros Scaldai.” He smiled warmly and nodded low: almost a bow. ”I’ve seen you all about on ship, of course. I’m not sure if you are aware, but I have been drafted in to join you on this, hah, quest, by your good employee Jorn Ranskjun, and captain Skjangarris. I was in Queen’s Harbour already, so it was all most convenient. I can wield a blade and know my way around a ship, so to speak, so I hope I shall prove useful to you all on this venture, and get to know you all better in the coming weeks.”

My, Kyros, but you sound almost modest. Keep that up and you’ll be relegated to the lowest menial level.

But introduction over, that approaching ship caught his sight and drew it inexorably. Now his good mood has really lowering. He needed no scope to gauge it would cross their path, and soon. And a tight feeling around his belly, all instinct and no thought, told him it was something very bad, and of the sort of bad he was used to being on the inflicting end of. How beautifully awful to be on the other side, now! The dread was different to the feeling he had when a fellow rogue ship was bearing down, ready to attack. It was less of a thrill, and much colder. Then he realised: what if the scoundrels bearing down were known to him? Sweet Baveras- let them be some far southern band who’ve never heard of Scaldai and the Scythe of Queprer or else my cover amongst this group as a man of law and good moral conduct be blown to pieces, and so soon! But I cannot flee or shirk or I’ll look a weakling coward, and that would shake these motley lot’s view of me just as irrevocably.

As his mind fretted and twisted and thoroughly obliterated any trace of a good mood, some lower part of brain managed to gather itself enough to keep smiling and say:“I rather suspect by the look of you all that the ship we are about to meet is not, shall I say, of a desirable nature. Might I look through the scope? Or would it be more prudent to fetch my sword?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on January 04, 2011, 04:25:36 AM
  The first two members of Jorn’s hired hands confessed pretty much what Captain Skjangarris already knew; that they knew nothing of nautical matters.  Still, Koka’s resolute attitude to danger was very reassuring.

   The next hand to hold the scope was Hylphan, a man whom the captain had put down as a seasoned sailor.  Would he recognise the threat?

   After listening to his fairly concise appraisal, Captain Skjangarris smiled slightly.  Yes, here was a man who had been in trouble with pirates before; probably used to giving the orders rather than taking them.  “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” the captain thought to himself.  Still, there were more pressing matters at hand.

   “Yes, Hylphan,” the captain said in response, “that would seem to describe our situation.

   “Ah, yes, Koka; very good, but avoid the rigging, that’ll be the first thing they fire at.”

   Whilst the dwarf went to fetch his bow, Skjangarris turned his attention to the pale little man, who turned out to be a wizard, after all.

   “Best you stay well out of harm’s way, I think.  To be honest, though, I’m not sure we’ll have to fight.  These pirates don’t appear to be Blades, so we might be able to bluff them and be on our way.  But yes, Kyros, I think you should keep your sword handy.”

   Captain Skjangarris retrieved the scope, and had another look through it as he collected his thoughts.  Hylphan was right, there’d be at least fifty hands on the enemy ship; probably more.  They were well armed, and obviously well trained.  Unfortunately, apart from the newcomers, the Silent Tear only kept a crew of a dozen marines, which meant that if it did come to a fight, they’d be vastly outnumbered; at least two to one, probably more like three to one.

   It had been the captain’s intention to out run any potential predators, as was his usual strategy.  But he could see that the approaching vessel had already made good progress, evidently under the control of an extremely competent crew.  The usual pirate gangs in these waters were fairly sloppy in their seamanship.  The Crimson Blades were better known for their ruthlessness than skill.  If it had been the Blades chasing them, then the captain would have expected to see a lot of luffing and wasted movement, but this wasn’t the case.

   It seemed a much better option, then, to strike the flag early and let the rogues see that they were carrying nothing of worth.  The captain already had a well thought out cover story which would explain the mules and provisions below deck.  It all depended on the temperament of the other ship’s captain and crew.  Skjangarris had negotiated deals with plenty of pirates in the past, and he felt confident in his ability to weigh up the measure of a man in a very short space of time.  In fact, he’d already made a number of assumptions about the nature of the approaching crew, and reckoned that they’d be happy to leave with medicines, supplies, and whatever jewellery or riches they could get their hands on.

   Turning to a nearby sailor, Captain Skjangarris ordered him to ready the marines; to negotiate a good deal, it would be necessary to let the villains know that if they did choose to overstep the mark, they’d certainly pay a price.

   Then, he let the others know his plan.  “We’ll ready for battle, but try to avoid a bloody fight.  Truth is, we’ll be outnumbered and we need everyone here to stay alive.  Our priority is to complete our mission for Jorn, not to trade blows with petty crooks.  I need you all to follow my directions, even if you think a different course would be best.

   “Now, Rhia, I think it best you get below decks.  One of our marines will look after you.”

   By now, the ship’s marines had surfaced, and one of them offered to take Rhia out of harm’s way.  Captain Skjangarris gave directions to the marines, and waited, as the now not-so-distant cutter approached.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on January 04, 2011, 09:45:03 PM
”Trust me, I’m a doctor.”

Fionn had the kindness and firmness that good healers cultivate in their dealings with anxious patients. Her one eye regarded Fu. Like a gnacker mollusc she was being looking,  Fu would think later. For like the one-eyed shellfish, Fionn looked wary, on the look-out for danger, but at the same time patient, as if nothing could pry her loose from where she stood. Fu’s memories would return to this moment for a long time to come, and whenever they did, he would end up wishing that his own character was furnished with some of Fionn’s steadfastness and courage. She wasn’t a fighter, and looked so small that a pirate’s boot might crush her. And yet here she was, trying to reassure a panicking coward.

But those thoughts would come much later. Right now, Fionn’s labours were lost on Fu. He stared down at the little mullog, who still looked like an imp to him, like a wizard’s servant, and he did not feel reassured. Stiff as a rod he stood, unable to move, unable to think, unable to say anything. His eyes did not take in what was going on around him. He could barely hear the voices of the people preparing for battle. It was as if all sounds were muffled by the thick fog of his fear. Only snippets made it through to his ears, and shrieked in his head like ghosts.

    ”Captain, perhaps a place can be found where a wizard might feel safe enough to perform some of his magics?”

    ” I can wield a blade.”

    ”Would it be more prudent to fetch my sword?”

    ”Best you stay well out of harm’s way.”

    ”Get the marines ready!”

   ”I think it best you get below decks.”

Something horrible was about to happen. Fu felt it. Deep in his stomach he knew that this day something would be taken from him that he would never be able to get back.

He had a vision of a sword cutting up a body. The sword worked slowly, methodically, slicing the body into neat little pieces. Like a child that has a piece of cake and uses a knife to carefully divide it into equal slices, intending to share with her friends. The sword cut, and the pieces of body were lying there: a finger here, a slice of belly there, a nose sitting on top of a piece of heart. They were being separated from one another, separated from where they belonged. They were being wronged. They were helpless and alone. And they endured it all.

There was no blood in Fu's vision. Only terror. Cold, stupefying terror.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on January 05, 2011, 07:51:09 AM
There. It was confirmed. They were about to be crossed by rogues. And if they were crimson blades – he would wait to see the ship himself before discrediting that possibility, no matter what Skjangarris said- they were about to engage in a battle they would likely not win. The group was tensing. He could almost feel it in the air; a tightening, gathering feeling. As if the ship and its passengers were readying themselves to spring. That, or readying in anticipation of the blow.
“...But yes, Kyros, I think you should keep your sword handy.” Skjangarris was ordering the group and the crew, now, gathering them into an arrangement that might withstand this attack. Irritation twisted his brow briefly at the sense that short command gave him of being but one in the web the captain was arranging – but he means no ill, Kyros, and you must, you absolutely must tolerate it if you are to succeed. You cannot reach the gold alone. He nodded at Skjangarris’s suggestion, and waited a moment longer to hear the rest of the captain’s orders.

“We’ll ready for battle, but try to avoid a bloody fight.  Truth is, we’ll be outnumbered and we need everyone here to stay alive.  Our priority is to complete our mission for Jorn, not to trade blows with petty crooks.  I need you all to follow my directions, even if you think a different course would be best.” There. The man has good, plain sense, no? This may well be an almost peaceful encounter! But some deep part still scowled to hear another man say that he, Kyros Scaldai, was to follow his directions. I’ll follow your orders, Skjangarris, until they endanger me. I put myself out for no man.

As the young lady was led below deck, he darted away to fetch his blade. The tight feeling was gripping harder with each step. I had almost the same sort of feel in my gut, he thought, as when readying myself and the crew, to engage a target. But while the anticipation of combat and booty was heady, euphoric even, this tension was cold as dread.

By his hammock once more, he crouched and unrolled his pack. His knife was already slung beneath his shirt, so now he carefully unwrapped his sword and pulled the belt of the sheath tight above his waist. It was steadying, somehow, to go through such familiar motions.

He drew the blade, slowly, almost enjoying it, and arm stretched, felt for that balance point. The familiar weight was another odd comfort. Oh, but you are a beautiful creature, he thought as light flashed from the metal. Thick and sharp enough to slice flesh but light enough to manoeuvre swiftly. Rapier has never quite seemed the right word. It makes one think of those silly, finger thick things young gentlemen layabouts engage each other with for sport, imagining a sword fight to be some kind of noble display of skill, not a means of murder: instead something with proper gentlemanly rules where one can never use a fist or a kick- when in battle, real battle, fists and kicks are as important as cuts. But light sword or short sword is not right for you either- belittling sounding titles, indeed.

He thrust once, twice, and satisfied the old skill was still with him, sheathed the narrow sword and began back up to the deck. He had briefly considered wearing his uglier, heavier blade instead- but unless pirates have got into the habit of wearing full mail and armour while I’ve been out of their company, a lighter edge should suffice. Besides, a thrusting sword is so much more efficient than brutish cleavers made for cuts, where one has to hack off as many bits of the opponent as one can and hope something important is hit or else he bleeds to death. Which is certainly very effective, but so sloppy- whereas with a thrusting blade, with a lunge one may puncture a man’s heart and be done with it.

Having a weapon weight on his hip was reassuring and he felt almost content again, as he rejoined the group. He ran a thumb over the fine metal work of the hilt and watched the ship approach and tried to bring his mind to the calm, unfeeling focus best suited to conflict or combat.

But beside him, someone was going from calm to panic. The unimpressive, dark little man had gone positively rigid. He looked quite shut off from all going on around him.

A liability, said the old captain-voice. Fear like that will only tangle things and trip up the rest of us. He should be moved out of the way or else left to stumble over his own terror away from others. He had seen too many greenhands with who looked like that as skirmish loomed, on his crew and on opponent’s. Most of them ended up with a slashed throat or slit belly soon enough.

“Ah, excuse me- sir?” he said, gripping the man’s shoulder in case it jolted him back to sense. “But: are you quite all right? You look rather unsettled, you see.” he looked up to the rest of the group and tried to smile. “Or is this his normal expression? Perhaps you should join the young lady downstairs if you’re unwell.” Huh, unwell indeed- how tactful of you, Kyros- but then to name him afraid and shame the man would hardly help. ” Baveras knows, a battle with pirates is an engagement hardly likely to soothe the nerves, mm?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on January 06, 2011, 11:56:56 PM
A new, calm and more than usually self-assured voice distracted Fionn from her musings on how best to calm Fu. She looked up, and a little further up, at this Kyros Scaldai, smiling in what she hoped was a friendly rather than distracted manner. A small part of her mind, that was somehow not preoccupied with near-panicking big folk and the prospect of pirates, wondered why the big folk so often had such sharp faces. Perhaps it’s the stronger winds up there, carving their features like snow shaped into snowdrifts.

“Best you stay well out of harm’s way, I think.  To be honest, though, I’m not sure we’ll have to fight.  These pirates don’t appear to be Blades, so we might be able to bluff them and be on our way.  But yes, Kyros, I think you should keep your sword handy.”Captain Skjangarris’ words cut through her thoughts, and dragged her back to the problem, or rather problems at hand. One thing at a time, Fionn...

Fu wasn’t any calmer; he looked worse, in fact. Every feature on him frozen and reeking fear, staring blankly as if he was seeing into the spirit world. The eru of fear itself, clasping a person in its great arms and squeezing, filling up their mind and screaming like a child, wanting everything to be like before, even if before was so long ago it barely exists.

A hand fell on the frozen man’s shoulder, and Fionn threw a grateful look to the face at the other end of the arm. A human voice, he needs now. And, if needs be, someone big enough to manhandle him to safety. She nodded to Kyros, one hand absently drawing the short, serviceable knife from her pocket. It looked ridiculous, like a pin wielded by a swamp rat next to the boat full of swords and bows and whatever-a-catapult-is. Still, it was something. And there were always teeth.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on January 10, 2011, 04:55:38 AM
Someone touched Fu’s shoulder. He flinched and gave a little scream. The shock tore his mind away from the nightmare of his vision. But now he faced, once again, the nightmare of reality.

He looked up at the lank sailor. The sun was behind the man, and blinded Fu’s eyes as he tried to make out the other’s face, which seemed to little Fu as if it was floating high up in the sky.

Fu became aware that the tall man was saying something. He seemed to be speaking about  Fu, rather than with him. A bloodrush of humiliation began to whirl in Fu’s head. Had he been lost to his visions for so long that he had already become the subject of disapproving talk, while he was standing right here?

But then the tall man addressed Fu.

”Perhaps you should join the young lady downstairs if you’re unwell. Baveras knows, a battle with pirates is an engagement hardly likely to soothe the nerves, mm?”

Fu’s mortification turned to anger. These sailors were taking course right into pirate-infested waters, they had no idea what they were doing, they were playing with his life, and the lives of everyone on this ship. And now they wanted to send him down into the cabins, where they could forget about him, where there was no escape, where he couldn’t see what was going on.

Before his mind’s eye, he saw the image of the ghost ship, the Laughing Lady, as it was being consumed by flames in the middle of the ocean, like a doomed island, like a fire monster eating itself. Fu and the others had barely escaped from the burning hold. He wouldn’t get stuck inside a ship ever again. And certainly not during a battle.

”No,” Fu gasped. ”I be staying out. Out, be hearing ye!”

He wriggled his shoulder out of the man’s grasp, and turned around. The ship looked horribly small to him now. There was really nowhere to flee to.

On the horizon, the pirate ship was moving closer. Fu breathed heavily. The sweat that had been flowing freely down his body in the heat turned cold, and Fu began to shiver.

Then his legs began to move. He took a few steps. Slowly first, as if trying to see whether the wooden planks were still supporting his body. Then he moved faster, and faster, until he was running over the deck as if his life depended on it. When he reached a railing, he simply turned and resumed his run in a different direction.

He had nowhere to run to, of course. And he knew it. But he had no way of telling his legs this.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on January 10, 2011, 06:33:12 PM
Standing ready with her bow some way from her companions, she realised that she was still too early - the other ship was approaching fast, but not quite that fast. She had liberty to look around - she preferred not to think too much about the ship, lest it ruin her calm. She saw a tall man talking to the little wizard. One of the sailors, she thought - she might have seen him working when they boarded the ship. She could not hear what he said, but the final part of the wizard's answer was clear enough for her to hear - "Out, be hearing ye!" Without knowing what had gone before, the statement left her somewhat bewildered. Then she realised the tall man might have suggested he go inside. Well, that was not what she'd had in mind when asking the captain for a safe place for the wizard. How was he going to do his magics when he couldn't see what was going on?

His following actions, however, puzzled her even more. How was he going to do his magics when he was running around like that? And then he was approaching her, and she saw his face, which explained a lot. He was still panicking, just showing it in a different way than asking Fionn about his health. She took her bow in her right hand, stretching out her good left arm just as Fu was passing. She was planning to grab hold of his clothes and convince him to at least stay behind her, where he would at least stop running everyone in the way.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on January 11, 2011, 05:19:01 AM
“Th’ mate’ll be fixed by th’ bosun's pike
The bosun brained with a marlinspike
And cookey's throat’ll be marked belike
It’ll be gripped by fin’ers ten;
‘n there they’ll lie, all good dead men
Like break o'day in a boozing ken…”1

The mood of Eric’s crew had risen dramatically since they’d started their approach to attack the Silent Tear.  The men sang one of their favourite pre-raid shanties as they busied about the ship, focussed solely on apprehending their prey.  The raucous singing seemed to help power the Runner towards her target.  Eric stood on the poop deck, his scope in hand, bellowing orders to the men.

He was surprised by the sheer audacity of this other ship’s captain.  He hadn’t altered direction or tried to flee, even though it must have been very clear that pirates were heading his way.  Eric had used his scope to spy a small group of hands spying him, and was in no doubt that they had seen the armed catapults.  “Cocky bugger,” he thought to himself as he pondered the other captain’s seeming indifference to his advance.

“Wonder wha’ ‘e’s got aboard ‘er,” he said to the mate standing next to him; a mountain of a man known as Landy.  As usual, the large man gave no reply, just shrugging his boulder like shoulders.  “Ne’ermind, we’ll find out soon enough,” Eric continued as he watched the sea between the two ships get smaller and smaller.  “They’ll be in range soon.”  Eric raised his voice and barked orders at the sailors manning the catapults.

“Give ‘em a warnin’ shot first!” he yelled.  “Then tek out th’ riggin’ if they don’ strike th’ flag!  Looks like they got archerz, so ‘av a care, ladz!”

As the two ships drew closer and closer, Eric carried on getting his crew ready.  Archers were placed in the rigging, buckets of salty water prepared in case of fire, boarding planks readied, cutlasses drawn and a host of other vital details attended to.

Meanwhile, on the Silent Tear, Captain Skjangarris weighed up what he was seeing.  As the rogue vessel drew nearer, he could make out the pirate captain and his motley crew.  By now it was too late to try and evade them, and they knew it.  The Stormcloak flag had been taken down, and replaced by a typical skull and cross-bones.  A confrontation seemed inevitable.  Still, at least his men had been briefed on what to do.  The helmsman had been instructed to try his best to avoid having the rigging smashed, and to outmanoeuvre them if possible.  The archers were aiming for the hands manning the catapults, and the marines knew what to do anyway.  Now there just remained the problem of what to do with the wizard, who was running about the deck like a crazed chicken.  Fortunately, Koka seemed to be on top of it.

“Fu Luft!” the captain shouted, “Keep still, man!  And keep your senses!  Stay with Koka and work your magic!  We’ll be fine if we stay calm!”

With well practiced ease, the helmsman and crew of the Rainbow Runner brought her ever nearer their mark.  As usual, they’d worked their way onto the leeside of their prey.  Eric stood tensed, his every sense heightened.  He was waiting; waiting to give the order to fire.  The sun beat down on his back; the wind whipped past his face; the brilliant blue sea sparkled like the eyes of an innocent child, unaware of the carnage about to come.

“Now!”  Eric yelled, giving the order to fire a warning shot.  Almost instantaneously, one of the powerful catapults unleashed its anger.  The shot sailed past the bow of the Silent Tear, sending a clear message to her captain.

Captain Skjangarris had positioned himself next to the helmsman.  “We’re in range,” he said as he watched the warning shot splash into the sea.  “They won’t give us a second chance.”  He had his scope to one eye, watching the movements of the pirate crew.  “When I say, bring her round to larboard.”

Eric had his scope fixed to one of his eyes, too, watching to see if they’d strike their colours.  They didn’t.

“Righ’, ladz!” he shouted.  “Lookz like we ‘av ter do it th’ ‘ard way!”

A collective cheer went up amongst the men.

“In yer own time, fire!”

Eric knew that his crew were experts at judging distances, and had faith that they’d hit their mark; if not on the first volley, then certainly on the second.

Not long after he’d given the command, one of the catapults fired.  When Captain Skjangarris saw it, he gave the order to change direction.  The Silent Tear lurched violently onto her new path.  At almost the same time, it seemed, the remaining four catapults on the Runner unleashed their chain-shot.  Two of them had anticipated that the Silent Tear would tack to starboard, and their missiles sailed harmlessly over her rigging, but the other two had anticipated that she’d tack to larboard, and they both found their mark, sending wrecked wood and sail cloth to the deck of the Tear.  Whilst one of the captains cursed, the other cheered.  And whilst one of them gave orders to change tack again, the other watched as his men readied and reloaded their catapults.

1Slight adaption of a verse from "Derelict" by Young E. Allison

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on January 11, 2011, 07:06:38 AM
But the little man flinched at Kyros’s touch.
Well, bugger, he thought, irritation rising again, and I thought I’d done reassuring concern perfectly.

”No. I be staying out. Out, be hearing ye!”

Good Gods- if that isn’t the delightful burr of a Darian brogue-
And for a moment he was gone, back in a crooked hovel that stank of sewage and a heavy figure before and above him, cutting off the light from the door and holding a twitching strip of leather in one hand- “Well, Kjorloff? Where be the basket? Well, little woodrosy? I be needing it hours back, yes, hours! Where be it?”
“No, uh, uh, sir, prithee, Da, prithee, I were, I were bringing it, I were I swear I were gon’to bring it, I hant forgotten, prithee I hant-“
and then back on deck beneath a white sun and shadowing a little quivering form.

How splendid, he thought, inner voice laden with sarcasm thick enough to cut through, a native peasant to remind you of your childhood.

Then his annoyance peaked as, bizarrely, the now cross fellow pulled away from him and began to blunder across the deck like a blind man. Mad! He’s gone quite mad, and oh, Queprer stay my hand that ship is closing and we have a mad man stumbling across our deck. This is bad, bad: he’ll be trouble, I know it- he imagined simply scooping the fellow up and dropping him through the cargo hatch, and then all would be sorted. But if he’s crucial to the quest, the others will hardly warm to me if I am uncouth enough to manhandle the key to the gold- but, now, stop blithering, Kyros, and do something. Dear Captain Skjangarris should not have to trouble himself chasing after loose madmen.

Now he tried to piece together the scraps of knowledge he had gleaned thus far about the rest of the party. There were healers, he knew, named Fee or Fi- something and Ulver. No, not Ulver, they were story-book wolf people- something like, anyway. He vaguely remembered a fee-something name being attributed to the odd little bald creature. And he had seen her speaking to the man as he approached, had he not, in what he now decided was definitely a doctor’s manner. Perhaps she is a malformed halfling. They’re the sort to know herb lore, surely. Her smile at his introduction had been kind, as well, and only ever so slightly marred by the sharp little teeth it split to show. He had decided then that he liked her. And, the grateful look she had shot him as he spoke to the madman had been familiar. He had seen that expression of released tension and silent thanks on the faces of stressed ship’s doctors before, when a competent man came to the aid of a patient in his stead. Well, healer or not, may as well plunge in and ask her, dear chap. That accursed ship draws ever near.

“Here now, sir,” he called to the madman, tone still calm and mild, as he returned her look of thanks with a goodness-what-is-he-like, eyebrows raised sort of face, though it was admittedly hard to exchange a conspiratorial glance with a creature a ped shorter than him. “If you are to stay on deck, wouldn’t you be far safer staying close to us?” Then he dropped his voice below the madman’s hearing and ducked his head to the girl-creature. “Ah, ma’am- Fee-ann?” he said the possible name slowly, giving her plenty of time to correct his pronunciation. “I rather fear that fellow is going to do himself harm when we cross these rogues if he carries on wandering about in a blind panic. As it seems I’ve hardly helped ease his mood, I wonder if you, perhaps, ought to speak to him? A doctor’s word can soothe fear, even if you’ve no true medicine to calm him. I’ll hold him, if you require it, of course.” The man was now running towards the archer dwarf, who was moving as if to grab him as he went by. ”Ah, good: I think our dwarven friend is about to catch him anyway. Still, I think it best that we go and try to reassure him, else-”

And then the woosh and thunk of a missile above cut off his words. His throat clamped as his pulse quickened.

”Damn- that was a warning shot- so we’d best hurry and get to him before-”

But then an awful chanking grind heralded chainshot. He had barely glanced up and seen the metal twisting in the air when with a ripping crack, the deck shook. He felt more than saw the snarl of wood and cloth that then plummeted down towards him and in one reflex motion ducked and crouched, shielding the girl-creature in the process. He tensed: but only felt the dull edge of a blow on the small of his back. Immediately he was straightening and pushing off the canvas cloaked about his shoulders. His back throbbed, but rising adrenalin already masked it. Now that was a lucky move- by trying to save yourself you hopefully saved the girl-creature- but, focus- the action is just beginning-

”Ma’am! Are you hurt?” he offered her a hand. For the time, after all, he could do nothing. He might as well seem to being doing something and helping someone to mask the frustration of being helpless in the face of battle. ”Whether you’re to aid that chap or not, if you wish to stay close to me I’d be glad to protect you. That is, if you're in need of protection.” He kept his hand on the hilt of his blade and shot her a small smile, though his gaze was now so locked to that infernal ship he barely looked her way.

Steady yourself, and remember the feel of battle, Kyros. Remember the feel of the blade. You are not captain, but you can still fight like one.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on January 12, 2011, 12:02:55 AM
Fu’s shout, defiance and anger mixing queasily with rising panic, made Fionn think of horses. She’d been terrified of them when she first saw the great beasts, and they way they struck out and snorted if she got under their feet. Fear was dangerous, it couldn’t be persuaded to bide its time, as anger might. There’s no reason to it, no story or song that’ll unravel it.
One thing at a time. Sea battles and pirates will have to bloody wait until this is sorted out, won’t they?

“Here now, sir, If you are to stay on deck, wouldn’t you be far safer staying close to us?”
Kyros’ conspiratorial glance was as much a relief as the tone of voice, which he kept up despite Fu’s clear and unabated panic.
She nodded as he addressed her, a quick smile as he hesitated on her name. Close enough, mate.
“I rather fear that fellow is going to do himself harm when we cross these rogues if he carries on wandering about in a blind panic. As it seems I’ve hardly helped ease his mood, I wonder if you, perhaps, ought to speak to him? A doctor’s word can soothe fear, even if you’ve no true medicine to calm him. I’ll hold him, if you require it, of course.”

She’d seen a lot of fear, but not often as desperate as this. Dim memories of waking in a strange alien world, surrounded by giants who spoke in meaningless tongue and loomed over her, half-blind, delirious, burning... perhaps it was a little like that. Ancestors save him, if so; as she got the feeling there were minutes, not days to work with in this case.

“If I remember correctly, there’s not much that might help, save maybe a sharp slap and as many words as can be poured in his ears. But yes, an extra pair o’hands-“

She paused, as Fu hared towards Koka. Like a bolting horse. Dangerous.  She nodded again, at Kyros’ suggestion, and started to head towards them when a noise unlike anything she’d heard split the air above them.

”Damn- that was a warning shot- so we’d best hurry and get to him before-”
More noise, and even as she wheeled round, one wide eye trying to catch what was going on, everything shook, and a body was shielding and pressing her down. A smell of human, something greasy, of canvas and fresh-broken wood. So much for one thing at a time.  
”Ma’am! Are you hurt?”

“No, I’m fine. Are you?” She was already getting to her feet, the knife shoved back in her pocket, more a hazard at the moment than a tool. She looked him up and down, but could see no obvious injury. His next words surprised her;
”Whether you’re to aid that chap or not, if you wish to stay close to me I’d be glad to protect you. That is, if you're in need of protection.”

Not for the first time, she had to remind herself that she looked like a child to the big folk. She grinned, picking a splinter of wood from her sleeve, and accepting his hand, only to head once more towards Fu and Koka. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see about that, sir. first things first, let’s see if we can’t impose a little calm on things. Be a shame to spoil a perilous sea-battle with a little thing like mortal terror, wouldn’t it?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on January 15, 2011, 11:20:56 PM
“No, I’m fine. Are you?” the healer creature asked, glancing over him. Doctor's diagnosis, I presume. The scarred little thing was already up and steady. She’s tough, then. Not easily flustered, it’d seem, thank Seyella. That silly little man is causing trouble enough, without others panicking and making fuss and getting in the way.

He nodded at her question, straightening his ruckled shirt and waistcoat. “Yes, thankfully. A beam glanced off my back, I think, but it scarcely hurts. It’s damned lucky I ducked so soon. Too late and I’d have been knocked out, and you likely half-crushed, before we were even within spitting distance of those delightful rogues.”

She grinned at his offer of protection. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see about that, sir. first things first, let’s see if we can’t impose a little calm on things. Be a shame to spoil a perilous sea-battle with a little thing like mortal terror, wouldn’t it?”

He laughed, genuinely amused, and surprised at that amusement. Goodness, but this little thing’s tougher than looks might at first suggest, isn’t she? She might not need a noble gent to watch her back if she fights as sharp as she talks.

“Well, quite. If there’s to be storm, we may as well try to enjoy the calm beforehand, no?”

He moved with her over to the almost-caught madman, assessing the damage to the ship. It was, to put it mildly, bad: the deck was scattered with maimed cloth and wood. But the vessel is not wholly crippled quite yet. And we were never expecting to flee, now, were we? Still, such a shame to see a nice craft scarred- those damn pirates- he nearly laughed again as he realised the irony in that thought –how many times have you thrilled to see chainshot or volley catch the sail of another ship, now, Kyros? You can hardly complain to have the same done to you once or twice, now, can you? Think of it as... penance. Yes. Suffer this, and perhaps you’ll be on the safe side of the catapults again one day.

“So- what’s your plan? Shall I help the dwarf hold him down- perhaps we should administer that sharp slap you prescribed? Or would that be too rough for his delicate constitution?” He kept his gaze on the madman. He would grab him if he bolted again. Sad little thing, isn’t he? That’s perhaps the only point you can thank your dear errant father for- for so kindly passing on Erpheronian looks, which bypassed most of the Avennorian blood, Gods be praised. Imagine being so small, so insignificant! Horrid thought, isn’t it? He smirked to himself, and stroked the fine metal of the blade-hilt at his hip. His good mood might be long gone, but that didn’t mean he could not enjoy himself. After all, it had been so very long since he’d last drawn his blade to engage another. Save that adrenalin, Kyros, and stay steady. Then, when the storm breaks, the rush of battle will be so much more heady.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on January 16, 2011, 05:30:12 AM
Running felt good. Well, not good  exactly. But better than anything else. While his little legs raced to and fro, Fu felt as if he was not really on a ship. He wasn’t really on a ship sailing towards a twelve-forsaken jungle, wasn’t really surrounded by sailors preparing for a pirate attack, wasn’t really about to have his throat slit or be sold into slavery or be made to walk the plank by pirates. On and on he ran, and even began to enjoy the sound of the wind about his ears, and the coolness that the freely flowing sweat brought to his face.

He hardly saw where he was going, and had even half-closed his eyes when he noticed a movement on his left. The next blink, he realized that he couldn’t breathe. Something strangled him! It was his own shirt collar. Someone had gripped a corner of his shirt, and Fu was now pulling against this resistance like a dog on a tight leash. While his head realized what was going on, his legs paid no heed, and tried to run on. However, the grip on Fu’s shirt was strong, and so was the shirt’s fabric. Thus it came that Fu, unable to move forward on his legs’ intended path, found himself hurled around to the left. His feet got into a twist, and he stumbled, and fell.

His head bumped on the planks. The impact was deafening. A sharp pain shot from his skull down to his toes, but that was the least of it. Fu felt as if the very ship was being torn apart. The ship, it seemed to him, was shaking as if rocked by thunder. He heard sounds as if wood shattered, and cries of sailors. Old Fu’s head be cracked , he thought. My senses be running wild.

Then he looked up. The first thing he saw was a beard. The dwarf! It was he who had held him. Oddly enough, the dwarf’s eyes weren’t focused on Fu – even though he had obviously intended to stop Fu's run, and therefore (Fu thought) ought to take some interest in the fall he had caused.

Still lying prone, Fu turned his head to follow the dwarf’s gaze. And realized that if his head be creacked, it was not the only thing to be so. The ship was really  being torn to pieces. Wood and pieces of rope rained onto the deck. One of the sails was hanging all wrong and much lower than it should, billowing helplessly and uselessly in the wind, reminding Fu of the broken wing of a bird. The sailors, trying to avoid the falling beams, looked like ants whose hill had just got kicked by some lout’s boot.

The catapults! Fu scrambled to his legs. The pirate ship looked enormous now. So close it had some! Like a swimming cat it be  - thought Fu. And only those who knew Fu’s debilitating fear of cats could have understood what this meant to him. Unable to speak, he watched the pirate ship maneouvre itself into the next good shooting position, mercilessly following the Silent Tear's desperate movements as she tried to wriggle her way to safety.

Then he noticed that someone was walking towards him. Two people, actually – one was Fionn, and the other was the sailor who’d suggested that Fu go inside. Fat lot of good that would have been, with a hail of rocks about to crush the cabins any blink. But then, being outside was no better. Unless it was better for the mouse to see the cat that would eat it.

But hope is a tenacious thing. It doesn’t jump ship easily, and tugs on humans’ hearts even when these hearts are just about ready to stop beating. So, and despite his throbbing head, there was still a glimmer in Fu’s eyes as he asked the Koka, the dwarf:

”What shall we be doing? What shall we be doing?”

He didn't think of running anymore, or of his fall and the sturdy dwarven grip that had caused it. Two rocks hurled by catapults had changed the direction of Fu's panic. He was now certain that it was the intention of the pirates to destroy the Silent Tear, and to leave all its passengers to drown.

”Where be the life rafts?” he asked Koka.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Royce Brodlyn Kristoph on January 16, 2011, 12:34:23 PM
Upon hearing the word pirate, Royce swore; loudly.  In fact, he swore all the way across deck, back downstairs to the infirmary.  He swore as he dug through his belongings and grabbed his sword.  He swore all the way back upstairs and onto the deck.

Pirates?  What bloody god was following them on this accursed trip and deeming it perfect for chaos?  What had he done in life to deserve this orc-assed luck?  First, creatures below deck, then getting stabbed in the back, and now pirates.  Dammit!

Royce grimaced as he swung his sword in practice; limbering up his muscles.  His hand went back to the scar above his hip.  He wasn't ready for a battle.  If he were to try and fight a well trained opponent on deck with them able to move freely, he would only succeed in tearing open the wound.  No, he had to think of something else.  In the army, he was known as a competent tactician.  He was always able to realistically assess his units strengths and weaknesses.  Today, he was the weakness.

He spotted Rhia being led below deck.  That was his niche for this battle.  He made his way to the stairs, then stopped about halfway down.  He turned, readied his feet on two different stairs to give himself the surest footing and waited.  The opening to the deck below was narrow and only one pirate would be able to try and get down at one time, and they would have no room to manoeuvre.  This would give him the advantage, with the darkness shrouding him while they would be fully visible.

As he readied himself, there was a crash, followed by a rain of wooden splinters falling about his head and shoulders.  This was followed by a hollow rolling sound, then a large stone coming through the hatch.  Royce had to spread his legs apart as the rock whistled between them, ruffling the material.  Involuntarily, his hand went protectively to his crotch and he breathed an audible sigh of relief.

He'd need that kind of luck to carry forward.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on January 18, 2011, 09:50:23 AM
[ooc] I'll summarize a bit here so you don't have to  read through lots of quotes to get to what my character is thinking [/ooc]

No sooner than he had thought of pirates, something happened.

One of the members of the new Captain's crew burst in, obviously rushed. He immediately burst out what he wanted to say.

At once, the atmosphere changed. Everyone rushed out of the cabin. Mallorix stayed to the back of the group.

The others stated their opinions on the ship that was sighted, but the consensus was clear. The new Captain and his crew, along with the adventurers, had another fight on their hands.

At once, the marines were called in to come. The rest of the group either went to get their weapons, or were suggested to move below decks. Mallorix did not want another battle, but he prepared his knife and decided to protect the more vulnerable people.

As the other ship grew nearer, the men on board began to prepare. Mallorix moved closer to Fu and the girl, hoping that the confrontation wouldn't be too bad. When he reached them, the sound of something flying overhead forced Mallorix to  look up and see the shot flying over the ship. As the  two ships got nearer, two more shots, this time chain shots, crashed into the ship's rigging. With a splintering of wood, things began to rain down. A piece hit Mallorix's arm, but it was too small to cause real damage. However, it alerted him to the danger.

Near him, the small girl and a man that Mallorix hadn't seen before were also caught in the rain of debris. Fu had disappeared, but another piece of wood glanced off the new man's back as he ducked. Mallorix was close enough to hear that none of them were hurt. Then, they waked away. Mallorix followed to see Fu, along with the short bearded person and the two he was following. The man grabbed Fu, and the four were stopped in one place. Mallorix ran up.

As he came near, he slowed down, until he reached Fu's side. Leaning in, he asked, "Are you all right?"

After the question, he straightened up and turned towards the new man.

" Hello, whoever you are. Thank you for catching my friend. He is a bit excitable. It looks like they might reach boarding distance soon, so we'd better stick together to avoid anyone getting lost and hurt in the fight.'

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on January 18, 2011, 01:22:27 PM
Only half listening to the conversation as she counted her supplies, Ylva’s head jerked up in one stiff motion as the captain informed them of a new threat, more battling, more fighting. The memories of their last fight were still fresh and unfaded within her mind.

A very selfish part of her whispered to her, find a safe place to hide, grab your belongings, preserve your own life above all else. But then suddenly a different memory fell into her head, and Ylva remembered, as if it were yesterday, the words a friend had once told her, ”death is decided by the changing tides of fate; a healer should save as many as possible, no matter the cost to themselves.”
Watching as the others left the room, Ylva sighed, picking up Hildegarde’s box, speaking to the creature softly in her mother-tongue , “Off we go little monster, best hide you away, I might need that bite of yours later…” The murmillion paced quickly towards her room, collecting her draskovaer and steadily pulling her brigandine over her bushy hair. Here at sea, there was no place to hide any longer. All her life she’d been forced to move on, from friends and homes, she'd never questioned it. Had she ever had friends? Few enough to appreciate her new companions. The woman had spent so long stuck in their company that her brain seemed to have gathered tiny details about them. Ylva listed a few in her mind as she wearily but calmly made her way up to the deck, suddenly losing even one of them felt like a strange alien concept.

…Fionn, wears scarves of orange and yellow over her head, must one day ask her reason…if we survive another day that is... Fu, unwillingly parted from his family, good story teller, though he needs to smoke less, bad for his health…

Passing Rhia on the stairs, the doctor gave her a small smile that she hoped held reassurance.

 …Rhia, height? Around one ped and one fore, can play the lute…and on this ship will likely grow up and age faster than I ever did... Koka, easily sea sick, unusual but decorative taste in combs and beard plaits. Mallorix, wears old well-worn clothes that don’t entirely fit him, perhaps handed down from another sibling or relative? Never asked him about his fact I never asked him much....

The woman was nearing Royce halfway down the steps, nodding to him as she got closer,

....Royce…height…over one ped, two or three? At least one tooth missing, still recovering from recent injuries….Malavon, blunt speaker, not very delicate with words…burns on arms and hands, caused at some point on the path Mari led him down…The new guy… the one this captain called Kyros…hmm… ped, three?...taller than Royce? I’d need to check-

-Suddenly the world was filled with a strange ear-aching squeal that seemed to rip through the air, and Ylva found herself thrown back down the steps, watching the world spin as she tumbled, something tearing through the ship, shards of wood flying everywhere, narrowly missing Royce and the place she had just been standing. Cursing strongly in murmillion, the petite woman managed to pull herself up again. Striding up the stairs, two steps at a time, Ylva surveyed the deck to see whether any of the others were hurt, then turned to Royce, her voice suddenly serious and concerned, “You hurt?"

Cursing as she saw the pirate ship getting closer, "Ah...Helvitte, believe in any nice gods, Royce? Good time for a miracle and my god is not generous kind…” The woman’s arms quivered for a moment, but she managed to regain a firmer grip on the weapon before it slipped through her palms.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on January 18, 2011, 07:35:58 PM
Just at the same time that she managed to grab hold of Fu's shirt, getting him to stop running like a maniac around the ship, the mentioned catapults on board the other ship did their job, nearly throwing her down next to the little wizard. She looked to where the impact had taken place. Bits of wood and sail were scattered all over the ship. She hoped that they would soon be too close for those catapults to be any use. She raised an eyebrow at Fu's question - she was increasingly less sure about him, but for herself she intended to take a stand and fight. Before she could answer this however, he asked where the life rafts were.

"Mister Fu, I'm a dwarf, in case you had not noticed. We are not noted for our seaworthy skills. I don't know where the life rafts are."

And then, suddenly, where there had been just the two of them, now there were five or six people. How annoying. They were all expressing their concern for the wizard in one way or another, and Mallorix even seemed to think that it was the sailor who had stopped Fu's mindless running. Oh well, not important, she just had to get them all to go express their concern somewhere where they would not be in the path of her arrows. She demonstratively took an arrow from her quiver and fitted it onto her curved bow. Then she had an idea.

"Mallorix, since you were a sailor before you joined the group, why don't you show Fu where the life rafts are?" That would at least get rid of two of them. She was a bit taken aback by just how annoyed she was by not just Fu, but all the others as well, even Ylva and Fionn, whom she liked immensely. It had to be the anticipation of the battle - the catapults had shaken her more than she cared to admit.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on January 20, 2011, 09:28:23 PM
He laughed, so perhaps things weren’t so bad as they might look. Fionn made a mental note to take a look at his back, though, later. Might need a chair to stand on...  She grinned to herself through the fear still rattling along her nerves from the shots. Fu was down, but a quick glance over him and Koka suggested they were both alright.

“So- what’s your plan? Shall I help the dwarf hold him down- perhaps we should administer that sharp slap you prescribed? Or would that be too rough for his delicate constitution?”

She hesitated, uncertain. Show us a nasty wound or some creeping contagion and we’re fine, you can see the problem and you know it’ll go away if you do the right things in the right order. But with things like this, inside people’s heads... well, how can you know if you’re doing more harm than good?

Mallorix had joined the group, and in response to Fu’s pleas, Koka made the suggestion, "Mallorix, since you were a sailor before you joined the group, why don't you show Fu where the life rafts are?"

Fionn frowned slightly, not sure if this was the best idea, with Fu so nervous, but he was asking questions now, and seemed calmer, so perhaps to be just doing something would help.

“Take care, the pair of you, right? It’d be rude to leave early...”

She trailed off, watching Koka. Everybody’s scared... know I am. Oh ancestors if I never see another pirate after this it’ll be too soon.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on January 21, 2011, 06:55:26 AM
Eric could feel a buzz of excitement run all over his body as he watched the Runner’s catapults disable the doomed ship.

“I ne’er tire o’ seein’ tha’,” he said to one of the crew standing next to him.  “Almos’ sexual, so it iz.”  The mate laughed crudely, and nodded his head enthusiastically.

“Aye, cap’n, givez me a tinglin’ all o’er.  She’s almost ours, I reckon.”

Eric nodded, and smiled savagely.  There was no way the target vessel could escape now, and Eric knew that it was time to see if her captain was a sensible man.  Turning slightly, he bellowed an order to signal for the Silent Tear to surrender without a fight.

Captain Skjangarris watched as the pirate ship signalled to him.  The code they used was well known to him, and their message was clear enough.

“They want us to strike our flag,” he said to the helmsman.  His voice was passive; devoid of emotion.  “But I don’t think we will; not yet, anyway.  If we give up too easily they’ll think less of us, and take liberties that they don’t have any right to take.  No, we’ll show them that we’ve got a sting in our tail.”

Realising that it would be impossible to outrun the villains, and that staying too far away from them would only serve to give their catapults some target practice, Captain Skjangarris ordered the helmsman to close with them as quickly as possible.  He also yelled across the deck that the archers were to fire when ready, and aim for the other archers or men operating the catapults.

“Ah, ‘e’s got ball’z, yet!”  Eric roared approvingly when he saw the Silent Tear start to close.  “Alrigh’, matez, righ’ at ‘em!  Archerz, yer knowz w’at ter do!”

Without wasting any time, the crew of the Runner prepared for the fight.  Boarding axes were picked up, cutlasses drawn, faces covered with scarves, arrows nocked, boarding planks heaved into position, ropes with grappling irons readied, and an almighty, terrifying chorus of shouts and curses unleashed.  Eric covered his own face with a black scarf, and jumped onto the main deck, joining his men in their pre-battle frenzy.

“We’ll cut yer tonguez out!”

“Let yer die slow!”

“’ang ye from th’ yardarm!”

“Strike yer colourz now, ‘n we’ll let yer go unharmed!”

“I’ll tek ye as me slave!”

“Whip yer with th’ cat!”

“Keel’aul yer!”

“Give it up, now!  Mek it easy on yerself!  We only wantz yer cargo!”

Terror had always been a pirate’s best friend, and every obscenity yelled and awful promise made was designed to strike fear into the very heart of their prey.  Hopefully, the captain would crack when he saw the savage bunch get closer, and give up without a fight.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on January 21, 2011, 11:50:30 PM
And then the  pirates were close enough that she could see their eyes. The tension of the wait was over, and she no longer paid heed to whoever was near her. She hardly understood the thick pirate accent, which they used to sling what she assumed were insults at their opponents. She smiled in her beard. Whatever else these people might be, they were not a repition of what happened at the Laughing Lady. It was a relief to actually hear them shouting, instead of just fighting silently beyond all endurance. She drew out an arrow from her quiver and fitted it to her bow. Her feet were planted firmly on the deck of the ship - not even the roll of a wave could have shifted her from her place then.

She could not have said at that moment who from the company were near her. If any talked to her, she did not hear. They were distractions. What she could say, on the other hand, was that her intended target was a rather unsavoury sort of man with greasy hair and a patch over his left eye. His clothing was as haphazard as seemed to be the norm for that whole crew. He was shouting something, though she had no idea what. In his hand lay a cutlass, and he looked as if he knew how to use it. All this she saw in a heartbeat, before she actually raised her bow and drew back the shaft to tickle her cheek. For one moment she was perfectly still, feeling herself to be part of her bow, part of the ship, and part of this man that she intended to hurt. The next instant her arrow flew true, landing in the pirate's belly with what she imagined must be a sickening thud, though she could not actually hear it from this distance. He stumbled back, a surprised look on his face, and then fell down. She didn't know if she had killed him or just wounded him, but he was one less pirate that they would have to fight when it came to hand-to-hand combat. She wasn't very experienced with how these things happened, but she imagined those guys must have some way to come on board, otherwise they could break as many masts as they wanted, no merchant would ever surrender.

In the space that it took for this thought to form, another arrow had been taken, nocked and drawn back. This time she hardly even took the time to aim, only following the flight of the arrow with her eyes to see it land in some pirate's shoulder. He'd live through that wound, she was sure, but even if he could still fight, he'd be a less fierce opponent than if he was fit and healthy. Several more arrows followed in quick succession, and while not all of them hit a target, enough did that she was convinced she had at least made some difference, never mind what the actual outcome of the fight would be. Despite the small number that she could stop from fighting, the pirates still outnumbered them.

Very soon she was standing with her last arrow fitted to her bow, and she decided to wait with shooting that one until she knew what exactly was happening next. It was only then that she noticed the return fire coming from the pirate ship. She had been so intent on picking out targets earlier that she had not even noticed just how dangerous the deck had become. She crouched down, making herself even smaller than she already was, glad for her compact size, which gave the enemy archers less to shoot at. By now the two ships were so close that something must happen soon - either they would bump into each other, which she did not think would be a very good idea, or the pirates would do whatever it was they usually did at this stage. She drew her last arrow back ever so slightly, ready to aim and shoot at a moment's notice, but for the moment still waiting to see what the next step would be.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on January 24, 2011, 07:55:32 AM

”Take care, the pair of you, right? It’d be rude to leave early,” Fionn said. Fu stared at her without comprehension, unable to imagine that someone could joke in a situation like this.

What he did understand was that Mallorix, Koka and Fionn lacked a sense of urgency. Pirates were about to sink the ship with their catapult missiles, but these three discussed the question of life rafts in as calm a manner as if they were arranging a trip on a pleasure boat. Didn’t they understand? All their lives were in danger!

Fu swallowed. His face grew purple with despair. His voice shivered as he turned to Mallorix and said:

”Let’s be going! Where be the life rafts?”

If his question received an answer, Fu didn’t hear it.

He felt a sudden wind, and a sharp noise to his left. Something long and stick-like had got stuck in the deck. The thing was vibrating. In fact, Fu could hear it, pitchless and ugly, like a limp fiddle string. Or at least he imagined he could hear it. Then he realized what it was.

He turned to face the direction from which the arrow had come. The pirate ship was now so close that he could understand the shouts of the attackers:

“I’ll take ye as me slave!”

“Whip yer with the cat!”

Several pirates had bows in their hands and shot at the Silent Tear and her crew. Other pirates brandished cutlasses. Soon they would enter the ship and swing their blades at anyone who stood in their way. As Fu was looking, one of the cutlass bearers suddenly doubled over. An arrow had hit him in the midrift. He fell out of sight.

Out of the corner of his eye, Fu saw that Koka the dwarf stood on deck broad-legged and stable, and had her bow in shotting position. The battle has begun – so it shot through Fu’s head. As if a little idiot imp sat up there, in Fu’s brain, amusing himself by stating the obvious. But the imp's commentary was interrupted. For Fu was hit.

The first thing he felt was a push, as if someone was shoving him backwards. Fu stumbled and twisted, struggling to maintain his balance. His knees were wobbly – wobblier than usual even on this bobbing ship – and he only just managed to avoid a fall. And then, after he had regained some precarious stability, he felt the pain.

The arrow had struck his right arm just underneath the shoulder blade, but the pain shot through him like a lighting that started in his shoulder and shot right into his little finger. Fu’s eyes glazed over. He could not see the arrow clearly, even though it stuck there in his body, just two handsbreadths from his head. For a blink, he thought he would pass out.

But then clarity returned, and with it fear. Fu threw himself to the ground, letting himself fall on his left side, to avoid pressing the arrow deeper into his flesh. Keeping his head as low as he could, he crawled towards the railing. He wanted to get out of sight of the pirate archers. After a painful scramble, during which he once hit the deck with the arrow shaft, pushing the arrow's point deeper into his arm, Fu reached the railing. He turned his body around, leant his back against the railing, drew his legs to his chest and hugged them with his left arm. His right arm, throbbing with pain, hung from his shoulder like a dead twig. The idiotic imp in Fu’s head started talking again: “The battle has begun. You are wounded. You are bleeding. You will die.” For the moment, Fu had no reply.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Hylphán on January 25, 2011, 10:43:50 PM
Hylphán saw that the captain had started to prepare his crew and the marines, and decided he had better take the next few minutes to retrieve his bow.  Running belowdecks, he snatched his bow from where he had hung it along with his quiver.  On the way back across the berthing space, he managed to lay his hands on two more full quivers before bounding up the ladder to the main deck.  He was hardly surprised to see how quickly the pirate ship was closing the distance between them.  The loud screaming whistle of the chain shot, just before it hit the rigging, brought back memories of past encounters.  He deftly dodged falling timbers, sailcloth and rigging, as he sprinted for the rail, nocking an arrow as he ran.  With the practiced ease of many a sea battle, he acquired targets of importance.  First - the enemy archers and catapult operators.  Time seeming to slow with the rhythmic pull and release of the bowstring, Hylphán did not wait for the arrows to hit their targets before seeking another, instinctively knowing they flew true.  He proceeded to empty the first quiver in less than a dozen breaths, knowing that this crew needed to even the odds drastically if they were to survive.  He was aware of Koka, a little farther down the railing, taking a toll with her bow as well.  As he continued to fire, he thought "Time to make these pirates pay the price for this attack!"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on February 11, 2011, 02:04:19 PM
As he stood with the others, the short one remarked,

"Mallorix, since you were a sailor before you joined the group, why don't you show Fu where the life rafts are?"

Mallorix turned around and thought for a moment, before starting to say where the life boats would probably be. Before he could speak, something interrupted his thoughts. A loud yell erupted from the piratical vessel, drowning out his train of thought.

As soon as the men began yelling, arrows started flying from the other ship. They thudded into the deck all around the group. Mallorix reacted by ducking quickly,  but not before an arrow grazed his shoulder. It was a scratch, but the pain still reminded him of the dangerous situation.

The bearded one was standing in a steady position and returning fire. Mallorix watched for a few moments, captured in the beauty  of the perfect arcs of the arrows sailing into the air and then falling gracefully to the earth, some landing on the enemy deck, but others hitting their marks.

Again, arrows landed around Mallorix, but this time, the heavy thud of them embedding themselves in the deck was interrupted by the sickening sound of something hitting flesh, followed by a cry of pain.This reminded the young man of the throbbing pain of the scratch he had received. A realization hit Mallorix suddenly; one of the small group of people had been wounded.

Mallorix crouched down, avoiding the volleys of arrows coming from the other ship, and began looking around desperately to see who was hurt. He counted those still standing. The short one was firing arrows steadily at the enemy. The new man was with the small one, the one who looked like a child yet also like an adult. Suddenly, the young man saw Fu lying on his side, an arrow sticking out from his shoulder. Mallorix painstakingly made his way across to the man lying there helplessly,  hoping to reach him in time.

When he got there, Mallorix took action. He tore off some of his tunic and pressed it around the wound, hoping to clean it up a bit. He spoke into Fu's ear as he was crouched over him.

"You're going to be fine. Do not panic! Help is on the way!"

He then yelled at the girl, who wasn't more than five peds away.

"Help! You! The small one! We need a doctor! A doctor! Fu's hurt!"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on February 12, 2011, 12:46:27 AM
The pirates were well and truly arriving. Fionn struggled to keep her composure, though she very much wanted to bolt for cover. It would be no great feat to find a hidingplace and just sit this all out... no.

The things they were shouting! She felt like storming up to the first one to set foot on board and pointing out that we are all already very scared, yes, thankyou-ever-so-much we managed that by ourselves, and there is such a thing as overdoing it, so could you lot hold your tongues-

She ducked as something hissed over her head- missing her by more than an arm’s length, but still she couldn’t suppress a small yelp. Arrows everywhere, and it won’t take long for some bowman to adjust to my height. Dammit all, not even anything I can do...

That changed, with a yell from Mallorix, and she was running towards it before she could think. Weaving to avoid towering, rushing people, and skidding as her bare feet met splinters of wood and torn canvas, she tried to see the problem, and think clearly. She barely registered the yells from across the narrowing band of water any more, or the hiss and keen of arrows clattering and humming to the deck, besides a fluttering, nervous hope that they wouldn’t find their mark in any more bodies, least of all hers.

She crouched down by Mallorix and Fu, breathing sharply more from fear than exertion. The little man seemed to have got himself out of the firing line, at least. And the wound wasn’t life-threatening, or not yet. Dextrous fingers brushed the arrow, testing how deep it went.

“It’ll have to come out. This will hurt, Fu.”

She glanced over his face, not even sure the wounded man heard her. Looking to Mallorix, she gestured for him to hold him steady if he struggled, and taking a deep breath, pulled at the arrow.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on February 13, 2011, 08:20:26 PM
“You are going to die,” the voice said. The words sounded like drumbeats, played in the slow rhythm of throbbing pain. The pain was the voice, and the voice was the pain. It was loudest in Fu's right shoulder, where the arrow stuck, and echoed through his chest and skull. It even reached as far his left hand and fingers.

His right arm, however, was silent. He could not feel it at all. He tried to look, but his eyes could not focus. For wherever he turned his gaze, and however much he strained, a wooden shaft protruded into his vision and made it impossible to see anything but itself.

This shaft shouldn't have been there. It was wrong. It didn't belong to his body. But it stuck there in his shoulder like an extra limb, stiff and useless and hateful. It moved when he moved, mocking him by bobbing left and right and up and down when he shifted his weight against the railing.

Fu closed his eyes. “You are going to die,” he heard again. There were other noises around him, too. Running footsteps on the deck, shouts, screams. And then a voice, close to Fu's ear. A shout. And then another voice, a smaller one, very close. Fu couldn't understand what the voices were saying. Only the "You are going to die." continued to throb through his body. Until, suddenly, even that was drowned out by an even more awful voice - a high screech, like a blackhog being slaughtered. On and on the blackhog screamed, unable to escape, unable to die. But then it run out of breath. And for a blink, there was silence.

Fu's eyes opened, and through a blurry fog of tears and confusion, he stared into the scarred face of Fionn, the little mullog. In her hand, she held an arrow. Next to her,  Mallorix squatted on the deck. It took Fu several blinks of staring before he comprehended what had happened. Fionn had pulled the arrow from his shoulder, and the high screech – that had been Fu's own wail of pain.

“My arm,” he whispered, breathless from the exertion of screaming. “I cannot be feeling my arm.”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on February 14, 2011, 09:46:40 AM
   “Damn ‘em ter th’ bot’um o’ the sea!”  Eric yelled when he saw another of his men get hit by an arrow.

   “They know what they’re doing, alright, cap’n.”

   “Aye, they doez, mate!  ‘n ‘tiz migh’y strange!  I knew there waz somethin’ funny ‘bout ‘er from th’ start!  Why ‘av trained archerz on board, I won’er?  Cost ‘im a pret’y san, I bet!”

   It was a good point; most merchants skimped on security, and kept skeleton crews to save costs.

   “Still, I’ll find out one way or another.”

   The Silent Tear was in boarding distance, now.  A host of grappling hooks had been thrown over, and planks were already being thrown down to bridge the last thin ribbon of sea between them.

   The marines had rushed to each potential boarding point, and were desperately trying to fend off the first wave of pirates, but it was an exercise in futility.  Soon enough, through sheer, overwhelming numbers, the attackers had secured a foothold on Captain Skjangarris’s boat.  Behind those who had already boarded, more followed, cutlasses drawn and crazed eyes looking for targets.

   Eric was there, too; the whale bone handles of his cutlasses pressing reassuringly into the palms of his hands.  He was looking for the captain, hoping that by subduing him he could persuade him to strike his flag.  But where was he?

   Suddenly, one of the ship’s marines came into view, swinging a forehand strike at Eric.  Stepping into the blow, and angling off slightly, Eric used his left cutlass to intercept the marine’s blade.  At the same time, in the same movement, Eric’s right hand cutlass slashed around on a horizontal arc, and sliced into the marine’s side.  It was only a superficial wound, and not enough to stop the attack.  Rolling his blade off Eric’s, the marine continued his onslaught with a backhanded slash.  Almost as though it had been rehearsed, Eric angled off again, twisting his waist around like a snake, using his right hand cutlass to intercept the deadly blow.  And, just as thunder follows lightning, Eric’s left hand cutlass came crashing down onto the marine’s right thigh.  Almost instantly, the man’s leg gave way, and he toppled onto his knees.  Without thinking, Eric powered one of his boots into his opponent’s chin.  The marine’s head snapped backwards, and his body crumpled like a sack of dropped potatoes.

   Captain Skjangarris watched as the pirate he had been fighting collapsed to the deck, knocked unconscious by a heavy blow to the jaw.  One down, how many more to go, he thought to himself as he surveyed the chaos that had engulfed his ship.  And where was the pirate captain?  He was the man to find, but in amongst this madness it’d be a hard job.  The best bet, it seemed, was to make himself as visible as possible, and let the other captain come to him.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on February 23, 2011, 10:29:19 AM
A few moments after Mallorix had yelled for help, the small one came running. He remembered her name in a flash  once she came near. Fionn! She was quickly there, kneeling over Fu's shoulder.

The medical procedure began. The cloth wriggled under Fionn's fingers as she probed the wound. It was bleeding, and Mallorix tried to mop up the blood as much as possible with the small rag he was holding. Then, her analysis complete, she gave her verdict.

“It’ll have to come out. This will hurt, Fu.”

With a gesture indicating that Fu should be held if necessary, she pulled out the arrow. It came from the shoulder stained in the blood of Mallorix's friend, accompanied by a heart-wrenching scream. As soon as it was dislodged, the young sailor pressed down with the rag to stop the bleeding. He tied it as well as he could before Fu realized what had happened. Mallorix heard him speak in a tired whisper.

“My arm, I cannot be feeling my arm.”

Mallorix turned towards Fu's face and consoled him.

"Don't worry. You're still alive. I'm trying to stop the blood. Don't tire yourself."

Then, as if on cue, the sound of boarding planks thudding into the deck began. The pirates were there. Mallorix turned to see the marines on board rushing to meet them, but not before one broke from the pack and charged towards him.

It was an ugly fellow, with a week's growth of a beard on his face and scars revealing his numerous fights. He came at Mallorix with a cutlass in his hands, ready to cut whomever stood in his way down. As the man neared, the young sailor readied his knife before rising to protect the doctor and patient.

The pirate swung at him with his sword, but, due to the speed of his charge, missed wildly. Mallorix responded, stepping to the side and kicking at the ugly man's chest. While not knocking him over, it did force the breath out of the attacker's lungs. Mallorix then rushed forward to strike with his knife, but was hit squarely in the shoulder but the pirate's fist. He took a step back, only to see the cutlass approaching quickly. Before it managed to reach him, the younger man cut the attacker's wrist with his knife,  breaking his hold on his weapon.

 The pirate, not expecting to be countered, stepped back before rushing forward again. This  time he was met with another kick. The scarred man smiled, showing off his dirty teeth, and grabbed Mallorix's leg, flipping him over with a turn. As he ducked down to retrieve his weapon, Mallorix desperately threw his trusty knife at his opponent. It hit the leg, throwing the big man off balance.

As the pirate fell, the young man rushed to attack again. He punched the man's face, knocking out one of the looser of his grimy teeth. Then, before the other could respond, Mallorix put his arm around the pirate's neck and squeezed with his muscles, choking the pirate into unconsciousness. It was a technique for knocking out someone that his brother had shown him, what seemed like a long time ago when they sparred.

When the other man went limp, Mallorix retrieved his knife and cut another piece of cloth, this time from one of the pieces of sailcloth lying around amongst the wood on deck. He tied the man's arms and legs together as tightly as possible. He then picked up the cutlass and ran back to Fu and Fionn. When he reached them, he spoke breathlessly.

"Hurry! We have to move him. Not much time. I stopped one, but more are coming!"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on March 01, 2011, 07:01:11 PM
The arrow came out shining darkly with blood, but the head looked simple, with no apparent barbs or broken edges, and the wound, though not the neatest, and in an awkward place, was certainly smaller than it might have been. Fu’s scream, however, long and paralysingly loud so close to, reminded her that when you have been hit with an arrow you probably don’t much want to hear how considerate the bowman was in his choice of shot.

Mallorix was quick off the mark with a piece of rag, binding up the wound, though she doubted it would bleed much more.
“My arm, I cannot be feeling my arm.”
 “Well that’s lucky, Fu, isn’t it? Because I appear to be out of Yahrle just at present.”
Fionn smiled, trying to look reassuring and certain of herself, and not be terrified by the sound of blades biting at each other, or the occasional scream of what she very much hoped were the pirates. Slow down, you lot, will you? Only got one pair of hands...

Mallorix’s consoling words to the wounded man were drowned by the clatter of boots on boards, and she couldn’t help turning from her patient to see-
He bore down like an enraged stilted elk, all froth and bristle, and Fionn shrank back, on instinct, before Mallorix was suddenly between them, a barrier enough for her to think again. She forced herself to look away from the fight and back to Fu. Need to get you under cover.  Scurrying round to his other arm, she caught hold of his hand, lifting it to try and prompt him to his feet.

“Come on, how about we head below decks where it’s quieter huh? I need you to help me dear, I can’t carry you- I can’t... “
Panic was starting to lend an edge to her voice, and she fought against it, but Fu was too shocked and weak to stand by himself, and she had no hope of carrying him, and even if she did they’d be the easiest target in the world crossing the deck...

"Hurry! We have to move him. Not much time. I stopped one, but more are coming!"
A look of utter relief flashed over her scarred features, as she looked again to Mallorix, and behind him the pirate, fallen and trussed like a plucked fowl. She beckoned frantically for him to come and take Fu’s arm.

“Can you keep him on his feet like that? We’ll take him belowdecks, this way, quickly now!”
She drew her knife again, starting forward, trying to pick a path relatively free of pirates, aware that Mallorix would have his hands full. So it was down to her.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Hylphán on March 01, 2011, 08:38:55 PM
Hylphán’s shamshir hissed from its scabbard with the sound of a dozen Sand Vipers, and began dropping its prey with the same deadly accuracy and speed.  Hylphán knew that they were fighting a losing battle, but also knew that the pirates would not risk losing too many of their crew to this fight.  He intended on making it a quick and costly conflict.  Sparks flew from his blade as he parried the swings and thrusts of two or three at a time, as the pirates tried to overrun Hylphán and the rest of his party.  Only his experience and quick reflexes saving him time and again from the increasingly overwhelming numbers.  Hylphán worked his way across the deck toward the younger man, Malavon, yelling for the rest of the crew to form a circle facing outward.  He knew that the smaller group would have a better chance of a stand-off with the pirates using this strategy.  “Keep the injured and the non-fighters in the center!”, he yelled to the others.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on March 03, 2011, 01:37:45 AM
Ylva would never find out if Royce replied or not, as the woman became distracted by the arrows that were tearing their way through the solemn white sky, bearing down on them in a graceful arc, almost hovering like a looming rain cloud, before hitting the wooden deck with a thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Ylva forgot any notion of talking, any ideas of decorum, as she half fell and half dived backwards behind a barrel, desperately trying to make herself a harder target. The deck became covered in a thick blanket of arrows, as if a field of flesh-cutting flowers, with sharp roots and feathered blooms, had sprung from the beams themselves.

The hailstorm of arrows slowly ceased, replaced by the slow rumble of cat-calls and curses rising up from the pirate ship. Its grappling hooks sunk its crawls into their ship, pulling its prey closer in. The sound of the raging hoard grew louder, filling the air so it became thick with fear and the hungering for blood. The sound was almost deafening, the united chant of a great number of pirates, a far bigger cry than their own ship could have managed. Doubtless they were outnumbered, with little chance of winning. Yet they had survived before, perhaps, Mari willing, they would survive again. It was a little hope, one that Ylva clung onto as the noise grew louder, till it was joined by the clattering and thundering of running feet.

Silently peering out her hiding place, she saw the looks on their faces, of casual hatred and lustful greed. Her gut stirred and her blood whispered, urging her to make a reply to their taunts. Fury turned ice-cold. Suddenly her shaking hands found stillness. In the heat,her blade-axe felt refreshingly cool against her skin as the doctor thrust the weapon high into the air. Her own normally calm voice suddenly morphed into a blood-curdling demonic roar, "Ùil!  Ùil! LØKEN!"

It probably didn't make any sense to the pirates, but hopefully it had sounded frightening. It was something her father used to shout, simply translated in Santharian as 'Beer! Beer! Onion!'. It was a sort of prayer, for hope, life and health, though Ylva was never sure what onions had to do with it. With one final nod at Royce, a silent 'good luck', the petite doctor jumped up from her hiding place and charged into the fray, to be consumed by the chaos.

Here blood and fury reigned, hard to distinguish between friend or foe. Gone was the serene sounds of the ocean and swaying ship. The gentle creak of beams and gentle ruffle of sails. Replaced by the cries of men. Cries of bloodletting and bone breaking.

Nearby Ylva thought she spotted Hylphan, the elf who had wrestled so well with Malavon. But he quickly disappeared again from her sight. No way to spot her friends amongst the enemy. Ylva tried to cast them from her mind. Worries wouldn't help now. She believed Royce was still behind her somewhere.Ylva positioned herself further in front of the old soldier, hopefully taking some pressure off Royce as he blocked the lower decks.

Still no sign of Fionn, or Fu, or the young Mallorix, or the dwarf Koka, or even Malavon -where was the Wizard killer? Helvitte! They needed fighters of his experience more than ever. Where was the man? If she wasn’t busy fighting for her life, she’d go find him and rant at him for not being there. But there was no time for such plans, no time for worrying or caring. Dark instincts kicked in, fighting now became ordinary reality, and the doctor caught herself humming some old war song her father taught her. It wasn't that poetic or refined, but it felt suitable for this occasion,

From sickle valleys and fire mountains tall,
Drop hammer, drop pick, drop spade, drop scroll,
Pick up your blade. Jump to the call,
Abandon your children and bid wife no more,
Join Dreamer's dance, the one danced by all,

She dreams a dream of death, dream on, dream on.
Be it man or warg, fight on, fight on,
She cheers for us,  kill them all, kill them all.
Let blood spill, Spill it all, Spill it all,
Be it ours or foes, dance on, dance on...

No gaps or pauses came between fighting. Just an endless strain of sword and fist bearing down on her. Her thought emptied, only commands and actions repeated themselves through her mind, like a pattern. It was like  what her people sang of, a dance, but a deadly kind of dance where you try to outwit and defeat your partner. A dance of slicing and stabbing, of spinning parries and dodges, of arching swings and deadly grappling hooks.

Her blade-axe suited this sort of berserking carnage, where you picked off prey one by one, where flexibility was needed. The weapon almost had a life of its own, perfectly adapting to each situation. Unarming and unbalancing pirates, performing quick end-moves before the looks of surprise left their faces. Blocks morphed into slices. Dodges turned into opportunities. She let the weapon swing, spinning, dancing, slicing, building up speed from movement to movement. Flowing from cut to cut. It sang through the air, a merciless tune that chopped a way through flesh and blood.

If only it wasn’t her hand holding such a device.

But it was. And it was her body that was tiring. Her long fingers were losing their grip, her muscles hurt, rough blistering palms ached, limbs stung,, acid poring through her sides, reflexes slowing. It was unused to such endurance. In her gut, Ylva knew her gangly slim body could not keep up such a fight, at some moment it would reach its breaking point. One wrong step, or a miscalculated move, and the woman would fail. Steadily the woman fought on, cutting limbs and spilling blood. Then with a unnerving clang, her draskovaer was forced to stop its merry dance.

A wiry bald pirate with sunken cheeks grinned back at her, the scimitar in his hand biting and scraping against her own blade edge, unwilling to let go. He smiled almost welcomingly as he swiftly parried her blow with a worrying ease. Almost disarming her entirely. Ylva lifted off her feet in her determination to keep clinging to her blade-axe. With sagging skin and a freckled brown forehead from too many days in the sun, his aged but tough knarred body moved sleekly and elegantly as a shingar. He looked a bit too old to be part of this fray. Yet while he had liekly been fighting for too many years, the fact was that he had survived all those years, survived longer than younger men who'd thought to defeat him. His movements beautiful and efficient. His sword moving soundlessly toward her middle, seeking to tear out her intestines.

The murmillion jumped back from the sword edge as it tickled her stomach. But there was no time to breathe, the sword sliced again towards her neck, Ylva pulled her shoulders back as the weapon soared above her, unhappily missing its quarry. Her body bent away from the scything blade, and for a tiny moment Ylva felt relief. Her head turned, her eyes seeing too late the large fist as it slammed against her face.

The punch met her nose, rough knuckles pressing deep into her skin. Her head shot backwards, her small button nose rocketed backwards with a blunt crack. The woman tumbled back, luckily  missing the man's next stroke as she slipped on the bloody floor. Blood flooded her nostrils and poured down her chin, and Ylva felt bile rising up her throat. Her head was spinning and throbbing, slight tears leaking from the sides of her eyes, making her cheeks shiny. Blinking through watery eyes, Ylva saw an elbow descending. No time.Noted her thoughts. Too late, reactions too slow. Whump.

The  elbow connected with her temple with a force that made Ylva feel like her skull was exploding, pain echoing down her spine. Get up. Daylight blinkered in and out around her. Her head wishing to hit the deck, suddenly too weak to hold itself up, the coarse wood under her hands now feeling softer and comforting. Mari laughed sweetly and coldly around her, whispering soothingly to her as the pirate closed in on her. Colours shifted around her eyes, whirling and flittering, like moths trapped in a windstorm.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on March 04, 2011, 12:52:53 AM
As soon as she loosened her last arrow, she knew she would be in trouble. The pirates far outnumbered them, and apart from her eating knife - which was no use whatever in a fight with heavily armed pirates - she had only her strength to fall back on. Of course, she did have a considerable amount of that, compared to these humans, so if she managed to avoid the pointy end of various assorted weapons she might stand a chance. The first unfortunate who made it from the pirate ship onto their own tumbled back the way he came with an arrow in his shoulder. As he disappeared overboard Koka found herself vaguely wondering if he would live through that. She didn't like what she was doing, taking the lives of these people where she could, but then if they hadn't decided to attack them, those men would still be alive. She was only trying to make sure she and her friends survived the attack.

And then they were everywhere. She just had the presence of mind to hang her bow over one shoulder, where it would be out of the way, even in this extreme careful not to lose or damage it. She didn't draw her knife, knowing full well that there was little difference it could make in this environment. She would just have to try and protect some of her friends in a different way. Somewhere in the distance she had heard people shouting, something about moving someone. At the time she had been too busy shooting her arrows, but now she looked around to see that Mallorix was half carrying, half dragging Fu towards the hatch to go belowdecks. And from the side, there was a gangling pirate charging at them. He looked no older than 16, 17 at most. Again, she almost felt sorry for him - except that he was threatening her friends from reaching a safe place. And anyway, he had chosen this life, he must have known it would be dangerous. She couldn't see if the others had seen him or not, and she didn't wait to find out. Both Fionn and Mallorix were too busy to fend him off, and Fu was in no state to do anything.

Without thinking about what she was doing, she came flying at the youth, using her force and the strength of her flight to topple him. With a strange sense of deja-vu she barrelled into him - hadn't she done this once before? The air rushed out of his lungs with a great "OOF" as he landed with her on top of him. Her shoulder had hit him squarely in the stomach. Before he had a chance to recover, she took his head between both her hands and banged his head down on the deck. His eyes rolled back in their sockets - he was out cold, at least until the end of the fight, she hoped. When she looked up, she saw Mallorix's back disappearing below-decks, to be replaced by Royce's head, as well as his sword. Good, so they were safe. Good thing a ship wasn't all that big, at least so long as Royce could keep the pirates away.

And then, in a flash in the middle of the chaos of battle, she saw it. Ylva was there, in a pose that reminded her of the pirate she had just left behind. With a hoarse cry the dwarfess flung herself at the woman's assailant. Of course she should have kept her mouth shut, because the pirate turned just in time and somehow managed to withstand her attack, staying upright with a wicked grin on his ugly face. Well, at least he was not paying so much attention to Ylva. Maybe she could regain her senses in time to help her. And judging from the leer on the pirate's face, help was something that she would be needing fairly soon.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on March 07, 2011, 09:42:55 AM
   Eric looked left and right, his eyes taking in the various dramas unfolding around him; this battle was rapidly becoming a lot fiercer than he had anticipated.  Men were closing with each other, lashing out, falling down, clutching wounds or looking for their next opponent, but none of it really registered in Eric's mind.  He was looking for the captain; right now, nobody else mattered.

   Captain Skjangarris deliberately placed himself in plain sight on the poop deck, his head held high and his chest puffed out.  Hopefully the archers were too busy being brawlers now; there was nothing they'd like better, he thought to himself, than to bag an overly proud captain.  Still, this was the best way he could think of to draw the pirate leader to him.  Looking out over the mayhem on the main deck, Captain Skjangarris found it almost impossible to distinguish between the marauders.  Glancing about the ship, he tried to find his piratical equivalent.  Which one of them called the shots?  Perhaps him?  The one with, he didn't have the right bearing.  Or him?  No, too short to lead.  How about the one with the bare-chest and massive arms?  No, too stupid by far.

   And there he was, standing on the poop deck, exuding pride like a peacock among his hens.  His eyes were darting about the ship as much as Eric's, and the pirate captain knew who he was looking for.

   Bang!  Another blade came hurtling into view.  One of Eric's cutlasses leapt up to intercept it, seemingly with a life of its own.  The exchange was intense, the man on the other end of the blade issuing a blistering attack.  With well-practised footwork and lightning reactions, Eric fended off the blows that rained down.  Then, taking advantage of an opening, he turned the assault on his foe.  His own attack was just as punishing, and with a trademark scissor movement he slashed the other man's sword-arm open just above the elbow.  Defanging the serpent he called it, and it worked well.  Now only armed with a dagger in his left hand, Eric's opponent fell back, watching Eric all the time.  A knife against two cutlasses was suicide, and both men knew it.  With a gesture from his head, and some non-too-polite words from his mouth, Eric let the marine know he should disappear, and fast!

   Turning back to the poop deck, Eric's eyes met with Captain Skjangarris's.  It was a moment of calm amid the madness; as though time itself stood still for a blink.  Their eyes had met, and so had their destinies.  An unspoken message was conveyed; get ready, I'm coming for you!

   There was his man, the one in a battered tricorn wielding twin blades.  His face was covered by a black scarf wrapped around it, but the piercing eyes and fierce demeanour made his rank clear.  His shirt was cut through in a few places; the bright red blood from fresh wounds standing out vividly against the white material.  He struck a forbidding figure sure enough, but appearances apart, the show of mercy that Captain Skjangarris had just witnessed gave him a feeling of hope; these were no Crimson Blades intent on a massacre; here was a business man, and a negotiation could almost certainly be made.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on March 08, 2011, 12:59:39 AM
”I cannot be feeling my arm,” Fu whispered again, clinging to the sentence like a drowning man to a plank of wood. He didn’t hear what Mallorix and Fionn said to him. Around him, a sea of chaos was raging, a storm of shouts and groans. The pirates had swarmed over the ship like ants over a picnic, and they seemed to be everywhere. People fell. Skin was cut open. Bones crunched.

”I cannot be feeling my arm!”

But the weight of his body, that  Fu could feel. His knees shook and failed beneath him as Fionn and Mallorix picked him up from the floor, and half carried, half dragged him over the deck. They urged him on, propping him up with grips held under his armpits. Where were they going? Were they bringing Fu to safety? Had they found the life rafts? Would they all escape in a little rowing boat, bobbing on the waves until they found land?

And then, suddenly, everything was different. The din of the battle was muffled, far away, and the sun was gone, and coolness touched Fu’s skin. How had the world turned so dark?

Fu forced himself to look up. They were belowdecks, inside the ship.

”No!” Fu cried. His voice came out croaky and weak, even though he put all the force of his desperation into it. They were not escaping to safety at all! They were walking into a prison, a floating trap, a cruel tomb that would soon fill either with pirates or with water, and then there’d be no way to go!

”No!” Fu repeated, even weaker this time. He knew he had no strength to resist.

Then his eyelids flickered, and his eye balls turned upwards, so that it seemed that his eyes were completely white. For a brief moment, the outline of his body turned hazy, as an unconscious sense of self-preservation took control of Fu’s mind and tried to wake up the wind ounia to make him invisible. But the desperate spell, worked by intuition rather than craft, wasn’t strong enough, and lasted but half a blink before Fu passed out completely. His head fell backwards on his neck, his knees gave in, and if nobody had held him then, he would have fallen where he stood.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on March 31, 2011, 08:06:15 PM
Fionn didn’t see the approaching pirate until the solid “Thunk” of his head hitting the boards made her turn. She stared with round, frightened eyes at Koka crouched over the prone figure, but didn’t have time to so much as frame a grateful thought before they vanished into the relative gloom and quiet belowdecks. It was like being underwater, except she knew that the feeling of quiet was an illusion, anyone could follow them down.

It seemed Fu wasn’t fooled by the slight hush either, and at his faint cries starting up again she turned to him and forced her voice to calm.

“shhh-sh-sh-shh, now Fu...”
She glanced round, and found a secluded corner, with nothing nearby that might fall over onto him. Someone had left their coat slung over a chair, and she commandeered this and laid it on the ground there, before scurrying back to Mallorix to help with Fu. He fainted even as she tried to support some of his weight, and she staggered, would have fallen if he hadn’t lightened for a moment – what? She frowned, tried to concentrate on making sure he was laid comfortably and safely. Must be the stress, I’m imagining things. She ran a hand over Fu’s forehead, crouching to listen to his breathing. He’s exhausted. Of course he is. He needs to rest...

She looked back at the door they’d come in by. Any second someone could come in, and they’d be cornered. That must not happen. She tried to think whether she’d seen any of the others nearby, and Koka again flashed into her mind, as well as... Ylva? And a tall, hulking figure that could have been Royce? She glanced from Fu, to the door again. The bleeding had stopped, and he was stable, there was little she could do here at the moment, without proper tools or any promise of time... she looked to Mallorix.

“I’m going back out, he should be alright if he stays quiet, but I doubt there’s much chance of that if anyone gets past that door.”  
She waved her knife at the door, getting to her feet and crossing towards it, trying not to hesitate.

“You can stay if you want, and keep an eye on him, but... but I won’t say I wouldn’t be grateful for your help.”

She tried to smile, failed, and turned away, stepping back into the wash of noise and violence. There were no hordes of pirates waiting just outside the door, as she’d feared, but something else caught her eye before she could draw breath: Koka standing over the slumped form of Ylva, locked in combat with a pirate. Fionn swore quietly, and darted forward, skidding round to attack the assailant from behind. She half-jumped for his sword arm, feeling like a ratter attacking a warg, and bit, the knife forgotten. The taste of blood was fiercer and thicker than she remembered, waking memories so vivid that for a moment she wasn’t on a ship swarming with battle and clamour, but back in the Galumbé, sprawled in the moss with her first catch in hand, twitching as it died on her sharp teeth. It had been a water rat, she remembered, and she had been violently ill afterwards.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on April 01, 2011, 11:11:25 AM
Mallorix complied with Fionn's request and dragged Fu to his feet, carrying him towards the door that would take him to relative safety. The young sailor heard his friend's cries and groans as they carried him inside. The chaotic sounds of battle still raged around him, but Mallorix was determined not to be distracted from his task.

There was a thumping of boots on wood, and then a loud thud as something hit the deck. Mallorix looked over his shoulder briefly to see the dwarf standing over a fallen pirate, then rushing off out of sight.

The young man turned his attention back to his wounded friend. Fu was still repeating that he couldn't feel his arm. Mallorix could do nothing about that. It was the doctor's job. They soon reached the relative safety of the interior.

Fu had grown restless again, crying out.

Mallorix shushed him. Fu cried one more time, weaker than before. His body then flickered in and out of vision for a moment, then falling unconscious. Fionn walked over and prepared a coat on the ground. She then turned to the sailor.

“I’m going back out, he should be alright if he stays quiet, but I doubt there’s much chance of that if anyone gets past that door.”

Mallorix  nodded and set Fu down on the coat. She then spoke again.

“You can stay if you want, and keep an eye on him, but... but I won’t say I wouldn’t be grateful for your help.”

The girl left the room then. Mallorix looked down at Fu's unconscious body, before deciding that the best way to protect the wizard's health was to guard the doctor. He went out the door, shutting it tightly, hoping that none of the pirates would notice. The young man looked for Fionn outside in the chaotic scene outside.

He scanned his surroundings before noticing the dwarf, attacking a pirate who was standing over a woman, another one of the travelers on the boat. Fionn was running over there, and she suddenly surprised him; the girl jumped on the pirate and bit him. As the burly man howled in pain, he dropped his sword, leaving him open to attack. With the previous pirate's sword in hand, Mallorix ran forward to aid in the combat. He reached the group in a few moments. The sailor, coming from the side and slashing at the pirate's leg. He then grunted to his fellow passengers,

"Are all of you alright? We have to regroup somewhere. Maybe get the lady some medical help."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on April 03, 2011, 09:04:50 PM
Ylva watched the moths spinning around her, the blow to her head was affecting her thinking, as suddenly the hoard of pirates didn’t seem that dangerous. In fact, how could she be in danger? These weren't decks beneath her, but ferns and shoots. The blue sky above was covered by a thick canopy, keeping out the heat, and these weren't pirates fighting, they were trees. Obviously she wasn't on a ship, but back in Ehebion, walking through the woods. The woman smiled gently, a bit confused as to how she got back home so quickly.

Rustling and noises in the undergrowth caught the healer's attention, turning her head lazily, the murmillion was surprised to see her old group members, Koka and Fionn, attacking a tree.

With a dreamy look in her eye, but with a stern voice, she called out to them “Fionn? Koka? What you doing in the Silver woods? Be careful, there are warg about, don’t get eaten! Mother would be very angry…” The woman tried to get up but dizziness halted her progress, “I think I bump my head, are you chopping wood? We have fire wood back home if need it…”

Another one of her group appeared, the young Mallorix, who seemed to be very worried for some reason. Why was her old group popping up in in Nybelmar? Were they travelling on a holiday?

"Are all of you alright? We have to regroup somewhere. Maybe get the lady some medical help."

Looking to Mallorix, with two black eyes and a swollen bleeding nose, Ylva grinned a bloody smile, “I be fine.” Pulling herself to her feet, body swaying, arms firmly on her hips, confidently she stated, “I am medical help! What lady need doctoring?” The woman looked around the woods, to try and find the lady who needed her medical expertise. “Where is the patient?” She asked, almost laughing as suddenly the world seemed very swirling and uncomplicated.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on April 04, 2011, 03:17:37 AM
The leer on the pirate's face as he faced her changed suddenly into a furiour roar. It took Koka a moment to realise the reason for this change, but then she saw a small figure hanging on to his arm - by her teeth? She'd better attack now, while he was distracted, before he had the chance to smash the child-like form of the Mullog into the wood of the ship. Her best bet was to get him down at least to his knees, so while he was still recovering from the shock of a set of very pointy teeth sinking into his sword arm she jumped up and hooked her arm around his neck, estimating that her solid weight would pull him completely off balance. Of course, it was her right arm that she hooked around him. She knew that she would pay for this when the fight was over, but then it was too late to save herself the pain anyway, and she needed her stronger left arm for the next bit.

Just as she was hanging from his neck - and judging from the sounds emanating from his mouth, strangling him - she doubted for a moment if her action would prove fruitful. Then she felt gravity take hold as the pirate crumbled to the deck. She gave him two sharp hits on the head with her left hand, knocking him out cold. Then took just a moment to survey the situation. His sword arm was still firmly lodged between Fionn's teeth, but his free arm, rather than trying to dislodge the mullog, seemed to have been clutching his leg, which she only now noticed was showing a gash. She grabbed the mullog, wondering if there would be many more pirates to fight as she did so. "Fionn! FIONN! You can let go now!" As she did so, she heard Ylva saying something about warg. Really, warg on a boat? What was she talking about? "Fionn, Ylva is talking nonsense. We need to get her away from these pirates somehow." At the same time, Mallorix was asking if they were alright. He had a bloodied sword in his hand - had he been the one to cut the pirate's leg? If so, she needed to thank him, it had been just what she needed for him to lose his balance.

"Mallorix, I don't have a weapon, but I need to get Ylva to a safe place, I'll put her with Fu. Can you watch my back?" Without waiting for a reply, she turned to Ylva. The problem was of course her great height - she may be small by human standards, but she was still about a head taller than the dwarfess, otherwise she would just pick her up. She was going to have to do this another way. "Nevermind the patient, Ylva." She said in an attempt to reassure the foreign woman. "Fionn is there, she will take care of the patients. I just need you to look after Fu, ok? If you'll come with me I'll show you where he is." From the way she had been talking, Ylva seemed to live under some kind of impression they were in some kind of wood, the Silver woods she had said. Koka couldn't just tell her to go inside, she would have to show her and then come back out to help Mallorix. She grabbed Ylva's hand, trying to persuade her to follow without too much question, before another pirate would attack. She really hoped the fight would be decided soon, one way or another. If the pirates won that was probably the end of the mission, but at least no more people whom she had grown to care about would get hurt. At least she hoped the pirates would let them go when it turned out they had nothing much to offer. She wasn't so naive as to believe the ship's crew would actually win - there had been just too many pirates for that to happen. Right now her biggest concern was to keep her friends from harm any way that she could, even if it meant risking her own life.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on April 04, 2011, 05:48:04 AM
Before her eyes the dwarf, the mullog and the sailor seemed like abstract dancing blocks of colour, that made Ylva feel dizzy when she tried to focus on them. Her eyes stung from the harsh bright light that pierced its way through the canopy. Confused, she could only watch as her group felled a very human looking tree. Suddenly Ylva felt a chill down the back of her neck as she realised that things might be much more dangerous than they seemed. Hadn’t she been somewhere else? Why did she smell blood? What trick was Mari playing?

The murmillion frowned as the dwarf gently guided her inside, like a parent helping a child. “Nevermind the patient?!” Ylva snapped at the dwarf’s suggestion as her head throbbed with pain. The woman attempted to drag herself out of Koka’s vice-like grip, her gangly arms no match for the dwarf’s superior strength. She was still trying to understand the dwarf’s words, her mind fuzzy and slow in translation.

 Suddenly Ylva grasped a few of Koka’s words, and her head snapping round to face the dwarf, her big eyes clearer and more lucid than before, boring into Koka’s, “Fu is hurt?....My doctor’s bag is…” Where was her bag? Had she lost it in the woods? Slowly memories moved within her brain, stirring beneath the surface. “My bag is…” Remember, think, think, where? “My bag is….in the ship…” The ship? What ship? This ship! Pirates! “Pirates!” She called out, almost breaking the dwarf’s hold once again, struggling to go back outside to help the others.

Suddenly everything came roaring back to her, the fight, the pirate….the elbow crashing towards her….Mallorix, Koka, Fionn…had they just saved her?

“Koka, here.” Shakily she pushed the blade-axe into the dwarf’s hands. It was a well designed blade, and hopefully it would be of some use to the dwarf, as the healer wasn't capable of wielding it in her current condition. “…Thank you. Go. I feel better.” Well, her head still hurt, her balance was still awful, her face was still swollen and bleeding, but at least she was feeling more herself.

Turning, not waiting for a reply, the healer went to kneel beside Fu. The healer leaned over the unconscious figure, trying to think clearly as she studied the bandage made of rags on the wizard’s arm, “Neat bandaging.” She mumbled in murmillion, as if speaking to one of her old apprentice healers. “Fionn’s work? Where is Fionn?Ylva looked towards the door, the horrible rumbling noise of the fight making her shudder when she remembered that Fionn was out there, in that chaos. Best not think about it. Turning back to Fu, she carried on her assessment, as if it would bring her be-fuddled mind some order in the chaos.Stopped bleeding, still, needs long-term stitches, and ormelin, he’s lost quite a bit of blood….If I could get my bag…”  Rising to her feet, ignoring the pain, the woman ambled down the corridor, tilting and shifting like a drunkard as she went, quickly praying to Mari that she wouldn’t collapse before she reached her room.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on April 05, 2011, 02:42:10 AM
For a moment Koka was afraid that Ylva would not be persuaded to go inside, what with her snapping reaction. But when she started talking about her bag, it seemed that lucidity returned to the woman's mind. Koka had to struggle to keep hold of the woman's hand, or she would have dashed right back out when she realised there were pirates out there. That was the last thing the dwarfess needed, a half-dazed Ylva throwing herself back into the fray. Bad enough that she needed to get out there again and look after Fionn - somehow she'd attached that task to herself, as the others were at least big enough to hold their own. Small people had to stick together, and where she had the strength that the mullog lacked, the tiny woman had a resourcefulness that Koka could never match. Besides, she just really liked Fionn, and she would hate to see her as lifeless as Fu seemed to be.

Ylva, at least partially back to her senses, thrust her weapon, the blade axe, into Koka's hands. Well, that was something... a weapon is better than no weapon, but this particular weapon was so strange that she wondered if she would even be able to hit an opponent with it without cutting herself. It would have to do anyway, she had no time to look for something else. She quickly rid herself of her bow and quiver, which had still been hanging over her shoulder since she spent her last arrow. At least here they would be safe from damage in the fight, useless as the bow was without any arrows. Leaving Ylva leaning over Fu and muttering to herself, Koka gripped the blade axe firmly in her hand and charged back out, past Royce who still stood guarding the entrance. Once back outside, she looked around to see where Fionn might be. The mullog could never be far away from the entrance. For just a moment she wondered what had become of everyone else, but in the chaos of the fight it was hard enough to keep track of the small group that she knew about. Even though a ship was not that big a surface, the press of bodies was so close that it was hard to find anyone in particular. How much longer was this going to last? It could never be long now - one way or another, a winner would have to emerge.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on April 05, 2011, 06:35:55 PM
The pirate’s arm jerked violently, jarring her and sending a queasy pain through her teeth, jaw, neck... that’s going to be stiff for a while...  she tried desperately not to think of the taste, struggling to keep her grip as he lurched, and seemed to pitch forward. Unable to turn her head she could see only a small area, full of bodies that rushed and dithered about, yelling things she found it very hard to focus on with a mouth full of someone who seemed a very unhygienic sort of person-

"Fionn! FIONN! You can let go now!"

Almost convulsively, she did, staggering back as her feet hit the ground, and spitting blood onto the deck.

“Augh! That tastes-“

She cut off as Koka pointed Ylva’s condition out. Wiping her mouth on her sleeve she eyed the taller healer. It looked like she’d taken quite a knock on the head, and at Koka’s suggestion of taking her to stay with Fu she nodded emphatically.

"Fionn is there, she will take care of the patients. I just need you to look after Fu, ok?”

Fionn smiled a strained, gory smile, doing her best to look reassuring as she took in Ylva’s state- she seemed a little less out of it as she went. Hopefully she could keep Fu stable, but really she needed someone to check on her...

Something lunged at her, just barely caught in peripheral vision so that she had to sprawl across the deck to avoid it. More bloody pirates! The novelty is wearing thin... she twisted like an eel on the deck, scrambling to her feet again and baring the ridiculous little toothpick knife. He was a short, swarthy specimen, and seemed to have purposedly tried to separate her and Mallorix, the better to dispatch them both. Even as she tensed to try and avoid whatever attack would come next, she stiffened, as someone behind her yelled with a familiar voice. Whether Hylphan, Malavon, Royce or even Kyros, she couldn’t tell, but it hadn’t been the growling of pirates or marines.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on April 08, 2011, 06:29:26 AM
   Eric approached the ship's captain, his blades still drawn, and his guard still up.
   “Welcome aboard,” Captain Skjangarris said calmly, “have you had enough, yet?”
   Eric snorted and laughed slightly, “'tiz 'ee 'oo'll 'av 'ad enough, I'd say.”
   The accent was thick, a mixture of sounds that didn't seem to fit any one place.
   “I beg to differ.”  Captain Skjangarris gestured with his head in the direction of a fallen pirate who lay nearby.  “How many more men would you lose for a ship as small as this?”
   Eric didn't even look at his fallen man; he knew that it'd make him too angry to negotiate.  He flashed the captain a golden grin, instead, and wagged one of his cutlasses like a chiding finger.
   “'tizn't th' ship I'z af'er,” he said softly, “but wha'ever'z on board 'er.  Mus' be somethin' worth a pret'y price, seein' 'ow yerv bin so reluc'ant ter giv' 'er up.”
   It was Captain Skjangarris's turn to chuckle, now.
   “I can give you my word, sir, that if it's riches you're after, you've picked the wrong target!  We're bound for Triam on a journey of discovery.”
   “Discovery?”  Eric repeated, “I'z tha' right?”
   “It is, indeed!  We seek to discover more of the flora and fauna of the island, and have come suitably prepared.”
   “Flora n' 'oo?”  Eric said mischievously, “think I migh' 'av discovered 'er afore!”
   The pirate pressed forwards, his blades levelled and pointing at the captain.
   “Now stop wastin' me time, yer dog!” he yelled, changing his mood in an instant.  “If there'z no cargo on board, then 'ee mus' 'av somethin' else o' value!  A lord or ladee, per'aps!  Worth a nice ransom, I shouldn't won'er!  Now strike yer flag 'n we'll 'av a proper talk on it!”
   Captain Skjangarris retreated slightly as Eric spoke, but his eyes didn't lose their resolve, and his sword-arm never lowered.  It was clear that he'd have to surrender, but he wasn't about to do it so cheaply.
   “I'll strike my flag,” he said calmly, “but only if you agree to my terms.”
   “Termz, yer dir'y dog!  'ee'z outnumbered n' out-fought!  I'll giv' ye termz, not th' other way aroun'!”
   Captain Skjangarris remained calm, his breathing measured and slow.  Raising his voice slightly, he continued.
   “You'll agree not to hurt, kill, or otherwise molest any member of my crew.  And you'll leave this ship as it is now; not burnt or smashed any more.”
   “Oh, aye!  'n what'll be in it fer me?”
   “First of all, you won't lose any more of your men.”
   “'n 'ee won' lose any more of yourz!”  Eric bellowed, pushing the captain back a few steps further.
   “And secondly, you can take any cargo we carry, or any medicines, or food that you need.  And if we do have lords or ladies, or other important people on board, you're more than welcome to take them, too!”
   Eric paused for a moment as he considered the captain's terms.  He didn't have a problem with leaving the ship and crew unmolested, but something wasn't right.  He didn't believe that this was a voyage of discovery; the captain was hiding something.  Still, there'd be time to try to find out the truth later, right now he had to bring the fight to an end; every member of his crew was valuable, and no more life needed to be lost.
   “Aye,” he said firmly, “I agree ter yer termz; do we 'av an accord?”
   “Swear to it,” Captain Skjangarris replied, “before Baveras herself.”
   Eric nodded, and manoeuvred himself to the ship's rail.  Then he used a cutlass to make a small cut on the end of his thumb.  Holding it over the brilliant blue sea, he let a few drops of his blood fall into the salty waters below.
   “I swear ter up'old me word,” he said solemnly, “'n abide by yer termz.  May Baveras tek me az one o' 'er own if I don'.”
   Captain Skjangarris nodded his approval, then turned to look over the main deck.
   “Strike the flag!” he yelled.  “Strike the flag; it's over!”
   When the pirates heard the ship's captain give the order to surrender, they let out a collective cheer.  They'd won the prize, now it just remained for them to see what it was!

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on April 09, 2011, 07:03:03 PM
It seemed to Kyros that the first sighting of the pirate ship had sent more feeling than thought through him. It had sent a bolt through his chest like the first dull thud of some distant war drum. Each new threat, each closer glimpse of the ship’s deck and burgeoning crew, clasped in his chest and guts as if the drum-skin down his ribcage had been struck again. Then the little man had bolted, and then the catapult rain had shook the decks, each tightening the anticipation- or more likely dread-  balling inside him and set his pulse faster. And the drums come ever closer –yes- that’s a nice metaphor. The thundering drums of war.

And then the arrow volleys were loosed and from thereon the drum tempo only quickened. At the first hiss of the answering shafts, Kyros ducked to the deck, scanning for cover, and by the time the first wave had hit the planks, he had dived behind a wide crate of something or other, likely abandoned in the chaos the chainshots had brought. An advantage of being tall, but gangling rather than hulking, was that he could fold himself into a surprisingly small space, limbs bending spider-like around the relatively narrow shape of his body. And it’s proving damn useful right now, he thought, huddled up, back against the wood. It’s a horrid, belittling feeling, this sense of uselessness in the face of something dreadfully inevitable. But- he jumped as an arrow hit the other side of his shield, hoped briefly that no-one had seen his probably comical startlement, and was composed again. But don’t grumble, old boy, you’ll be very active in, ooh, mere minutes, I’d say. So get ready and keep calm. He rolled up his sleeves to show the bracers beneath, combed his oiled hair back from his face, and gripped his blade hilt, waiting.

Through the legs of the frantic marines and sailors before him, he saw the little mad-man fall to the deck, an arrow shaft thrusting from his shoulder. He felt, momentarily, a twinge of pity. Fool or not, one hardly ever expects to be wounded and it’s a nasty shock when one is. It feels sort of unfair, undignified, doesn’t it? Men often expect they will be exempt from misfortunate. Well. I know I do. Poor sod, all the same. But Kyros Scaldai was at that time very much preoccupied with Kyros Scaldai’s survival, and everyone else was fading in his mind to so much background noise and rush, little man included. He caught a glimpse of little Fionn and the possibly-sailor young man crouched by the injured fellow, before they were eclipsed in legs, and he forgot them entirely.

The vessel shuddered a little as chains and planks, claw-like, hooked her to the pirate ship.
And the drums become a roar- and the snarls of the pirates rose to shouts, cries for blood and battle. It had begun.
He was stood and drawing his blade in seconds.
And here we go-
He braced himself, ready for the wave.

He saw the first man to spot him and plunge towards several beats before he actually hit. Kyros was ready and parried the brute’s swing with a grunt. In the moment of unbalance as the pirate lurched to steady himself Kyros had kicked the man’s legs from under him, and when he had fallen to deck, with another sharp brunt to the head with his heel, had the man out cold. That first victory made Kyros grin: until something connected hard with the side of his face and his left eye burst into white light. Already tasting the blood that had dribbled from his nose, he spun to face the new attacker, who was a boarish creature with a cutlass in one hand and the other empty, but clothed in a glove studded at the knuckles. The latter having landed successfully, the pirate swung his blade, but just missed, as Kyros leapt back and lunged with his own sword at the man’s exposed side. The blade punctured the man’s shirt and must have scraped his arm as it came out bloodied. But it seemed it was not wound enough to stop him charging at Kyros, who would have dodged again if the elbow of a pirate backing off from a pair of bloodied marines had not caught his jaw and knocked him back, so that he tripped over the crate that had sheltered him before.

Floored already! The indignity of it made him want to yell, which he did, as now the pirate brought his cutlass up over his shoulder to swing down on his victim, sprawled prone across a box, Kyros kicked up and -thank Urtengor for steel-capped boots- struck the pirate under the chin hard enough for him to stagger back. That was long enough for Kyros to spring up once more and stab. His blade pierced the man’s belly and the pirate gargled, run through. A few tugs and his sword was free, leaving the man to crash down, twitching.

And so the battle went on.

He fell into the rhythm and swell of the fight as easily as slipping into water. His mind closed in on itself, shrunk to a white, wordless ball that registered nothing but the nearest weapon swinging towards him and the man who held it. He parried, dodged, parried, saw openings and missed them and saw openings and thrust and hit flesh. Soon he was hemmed at all sides, as the pirates completely saturated the deck. The wild animal thrill at spilt blood, which he had not felt for so long, gave him fire.

But he was horribly out of practice, and it showed, painfully. To add to his punch in the face and knocked jaw, which had all ready set his nose bleeding, Kyros was caught in the ribs by a buckler and winded, and would have been cut down in that moment of paralysis had not a marine’s blade found the pirate about to stab. Not much later he was slashed along the forearm by one rogue’s dagger, not deep and not his sword arm, thankfully, but painful all the same. Yet the more he swung, the more he hit true, and managed to land more blows than were landed on him, and with every man he pushed back or felled completely, the old battle-lust, the old rushing glee at conquest, and he plunged on ever fiercer.

The clashing men around him briefly ebbed and he saw, for a second, Fionn floored by a short, swart pirate. Immediately he had bolted through, and by sheer speed, had grabbed the man round the head with one hand, brought his knee up sharp into the man's groin and as his hands jerked instinctively to his crotch, slashed his throat before the pirate truly realised he was being assailed. The man crumpled.
“Told you I’d keep an eye out for you, didn’t I!” he shouted, grinning with teeth likely bloodied by his trickling nose, and jumping back ready for another attacker. “Though judging by that chap yonder with a pretty chunk out of his arm, you haven’t much needed it.”

Then, suddenly, somehow, the chaos began to still and settle, like dust in shaken water. Someone was shouting, above the dying roars. Captain Skjangarris. “Strike the flag! Strike the flag; it's over!”

Kyros felt his whole body unclench. Glancing down at Fionn, he hoped she would appreciate his act of valour. He had decided he rather liked the whatever-she-was woman-girl. And that meant he was prepared to help her, providing his own safety was not too endangered. And on that subject, I do hope that she only glimpsed me felling pirates like a fine bladesman and saw none of my, ah, lapses in combat- Baveras’s tail, but I hope none of these other rag-tag treasure hunters saw me hit. It’d be awful if they all thought me an clumsy fool who trips over boxes, so soon into the voyage! Pondering his own precious reputation, he wiped at the mess his nose had made with the heel of his hand, absent mindedly examining the blood. It had stopped flowing, at least, and his arm cut was congealing. He lowered his blade, but kept it drawn. He knew pirates far too well to trust this lull to be permanent, captain’s agreement or not.

“I suppose we were hardly expecting to win,” he muttered to Fionn, quite casually. He had managed to control the slight tremble that always followed killing, and his pulse and breathing were steadying. “Regardless, it’s awfully disheartening to lose. Especially to this uncouth lot- it doesn’t really seem fair! Well. If I was more inclined to be cheerful, I’d say it’s technically not a surrender, but a postponement of, ah, hostilities in lieu of our dear captain’s negotiations. But I suspect we’ll be dancing to the pirate’s tune much faster than they’ll lift a foot to ours, if you catch my meaning.”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on April 10, 2011, 07:15:42 AM
The pirate hadn’t hesitated, offered a choice between Malavon and Fionn – a small, waiflike, half-blind creature was just too easy a target to pass by. He struck out with his boot, knocking her off her feet easily. She twisted desperately, her arm thrown up to try and fend off the next blow. The thought occurred that she shouldn’t be defending herself with that arm. If he breaks it, the right hand will be useless, and I need my hands, there will be so much work needing doing after all this...A blur, all sharp movement, and the pirate jerked back, head thrown back and then a flash, a sudden blaze of red at his neck...

He keeled over sideways with a little sigh, and Fionn was looking up at Kyros, grinning red-toothed and bright with battle.
“Told you I’d keep an eye out for you, didn’t I!”

For a moment, she stared, her one working eye round and fearful. Then she blinked, pulling herself together, or at least a semblance thereof, and struggled back to her feet. Automatically, she glanced over him, noting the cut to the arm, bloodied nose.
“Though judging by that chap yonder with a pretty chunk out of his arm, you haven’t much needed it.”

She grinned queasily, feeling her stomach turn.
“Not something I make a habit of, sir... thank you, for that.”

“Strike the flag! Strike the flag; it's over!”

She saw Kyros untense, the fighters still their weapons, before she registered the meaning to the shout. Over? Really over? She wondered if Fu was conscious to hear that. Then, hearing Kyros’ opinion, she hoped he was still out cold, unaware of the bartering over their lives that was going on. Still, she told herself, pragmatism reasserting over the fear of the battle, still, talking is better than trying to kill each other. Maybe they’ll let us see to the wounded. They damn well better because I have had enough of ducking cutlasses just trying to keep people’s limbs together...

“I suppose you’re right, yes... do you have experience with this kind of thing? you think they’ll let us see to the wounded? Only I’m right out of- well, almost everything.”
She smiled, ironically. The bloodthirsty pirates who had been trying to kill them moments before did not seem likely to start handing out bandages, somehow.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on April 12, 2011, 12:52:18 AM
For a beat, and no more, as the pirate crumpled, the girl-creature was all wide eyes and half-bared teeth, an animal caught and desperate. Kyros faltered, feeling suddenly much less saviour and much more hunter. But it was gone from her in a flash, as recognition dawned and a human expression returned, as she picked herself up and smiled as she spoke.

“Not something I make a habit of, sir... thank you, for that.”

He smiled vaguely back at that, and waved his hand in an amiably dismissive ‘no trouble at all’ sort of gesture. “You’re welcome, of course. I’d be a cold-hearted bastard- pardon the language, ma’am- if I stood idly by while that lout had you floored.”

As the strange, fragile unreality of the temporary cease in fighting settled over the ship, Kyros felt his bad mood rise again, like a nasty aftertaste. It felt almost indecently humiliating to now have his fate at the mercy of another. Being at the other end of piracy for the first time in thirteen years was making him thoroughly grumpy. Of course, he felt no guilt at fighting pirates. He’d crossed swords with rival rogues plenty of times before, for even as a self styled gentleman he had bound himself by no honour code more stringent than ‘don’t be too awful unless you really, really must’, as in piracy anyone outside your own crew was a potential enemy. And even within a crew the alliance is shaky- but this sense of helplessness was still very new to him, and highly infuriating. His annoyance was peaked further by the dreadful, if slim, possibility that one of the pirates might recognize captain Scaldai of the east Santharian coasts, and so spoil any chance he had of quickly winning the treasure hunting band’s trust.

Still, years of captaincy had left him easily able to maintain an outward appearance of unshakeability even when thoroughly vexed. He managed to keep his normal, mildly friendly, calm tone as he replied to Fionn, when inside, he was feeling more and more inclined to punch something.

”I’ve had dealings with pirates before, yes- too many, in fact,” And said without a trace of irony! Bravo, Kyros- “And if I were you, ma’am, I’d act now and act quickly, while this lull holds. Provided it’s clear you’re up to no mischief, I don’t think these men are quite savage enough that they’d object to the administration of a few bandages. Anyway, as for supplies: well, I’d give you my own if I had any, but I doubt you can do much good with soap and hair oil!” He half grinned, apologetically, and held up his bloodied fingers. “I’ve only my hands to offer on that count, though you’re welcome to them if you need an extra pair. Surely, there’s a stocked doctor’s chest somewhere on this ship? Unless our friends the pirates have sniffed it out all ready.”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Royce Brodlyn Kristoph on April 13, 2011, 02:24:43 PM
Royce had become aware of another person on the stairs and he looked over to see the healer, Ylva.  Passing him on the stairs, she was thrown backward when the stone hit the deck near them.  While he stood there, checking to see to it that his manly bits were still there,  she bolted up the stairs before turning back to look at him.

"You hurt?"

He checked his privates one more time.  "I don't think so."

"Ah...Helvitte, believe in any nice gods, Royce? Good time for a miracle and my god is not generous kind…”  

Gods?  "No, I don't really believe in gods.  I've seen too much in my life.  None of the buggers are generous."  He looked down to where the stone had left a dust trail on the inside of each thigh.  "Then again, I might need to rethink that."

He steadied himself, awaiting the first of the pirates to come in through the top hatchway.  In the distance, he could hear their calls and taunts.  Typical scoundrel behaviour; unnerve your opponent.  Then came the sounds of battle.  The clash of steel on steel.  The screams of steel on bone.  People were being injured; people were dying.  Perhaps his friends.

With that in the forefront of his thoughts, the hatchway darkened as silhouettes came through.  For a moment, Royce was unable to discern who they were, though he was confident that they were of the ships contingent and not pirates.  As they neared, he could see that one was wounded.  Suddenly, Royce's blood chilled as he recognized the wounded man as little Fu, and those helping him escape the carnage of the deck as Mallorix and Fionn.

Royce pressed himself against the side of the stairs, allowing them to pass.  As they disappeared into the darkness below, he hung his head with shame.  He was a warrior.  He should be above deck, helping to fight off the pirates, not hiding here, nursing an old wound.  Gripping his sword handle tight until his knuckles went white, he steeled himself with several deep breaths, then rushed up the stairs and out onto the deck.

This was war.  No other word described it.  The smell of blood was strong in the air, filling his nostrils.  The deck was wet and slippery with the same blood, as well as entrails, urine and feces.  Funny how those wonderful songs sung by bards never completely told you everything to be seen and smelled in a battle.  Best that children and young men never heard the truth, or there might well be a shortage of new soldiers.  Instead, let the tales tell of glory and courage.  

A crying could be heard, and Royce turned toward the sound.  Crawling along the bloody wooden deck was a young boy, perhaps thirteen or fourteen summers old, no more.  As he propelled himself along by pushing his feet, his hands were busy holding in his bowels and pushing them back intro a nasty slice across his abdomen that nearly cleaved him in two.  With each movement, the boy cried out in both pain and terror.  Where he was headed, Royce couldn't tell.  The boy was from the pirates crew, yet was crawling away from the pirate ship.  Probably had lost his mind, Royce surmised with more than a little pity.

Taking a few steps, Royce made his way to the youth.  He knelt down and placed a calming hand on the boy's forehead.  The boy looked up, in his eyes some kind of silent pleading for help.  Royce caught the boy's gaze and held it until the boy closed his eyes, death enveloping him, as Royce's blade slid across the boy's throat in an act of mercy.  The older warrior then gently laid the boy's head onto the deck.

Who was he?  Someone's child.  Someone here who would see their child and how they had died?  Someone far away who would never know, but would always wonder what had happened to their long wandering son?

Suddenly Royce's sixth sense began to tingle, and he brought up his sword just barely in time to deflect a sword bow from a cutlass wielding pirate.  The force of the pirate's blow knocked the sword from Royce's hand and sent it clattering along the deck.  A second swing from the pirate forced Royce to dive forward and roll, barely evading the sword edge.  Bringing himself up to one knee, he swore at seeing that he was separated from his weapon by several peds and his attacker.

The pirate began to advance, leaving Royce to desperately look for anything to use as a weapon.    Off to his left, he spotted a dagger, and just beyond that, a small hand axe.  He bolted to his left, followed by the pirate, who saw what Royce had in mind.  Yelling a battle cry, the pirate brought his cutlass down in a vicious arc, allowing Royce barely enough time to bring up the two small weapons.  Dagger in his left hand, axe in his right, the cutlass of the pirate came down onto the crossed weapons of the Centoraurian.

Grunting in anger, the pirate took another swing, again bring the cutlass down at Royce, who had climbed to his feet.  This time Royce caught the cutlass with only the axe, pulling the cutlass blade away from him using the axe head, but spinning his body so that his back was facing the pirate.  Thrusting backward, the dagger bit home into the pirate's hip, but only for a moment, as Royce pulled it out again, reversed his spin and brought the axe biting into the back of the pirate's thigh.  The pirate fell to his knees, the cutlass dropping to the deck beside him.

“Strike the flag! Strike the flag; it's over!”

Royce held steady, his head whirling toward the voices that were calling out the truce.  What had happened?  Were they surrendering?  A chuckle from the pirate brought Royce's attention back to his kneeling foe, who was staring up at him through yellowed teeth.

"Looks like dis ain' over yet, eh?  'ave my revenge, I tink."

With a steady demeanour and a deadpan voice, Royce answered the pirate.  "Not today."  The dagger in his hand plunged into the throat of the pirate, who slumped without a sound onto the deck, his lifeblood pooling around him.  Royce then dropped the axe onto the deck beside the dead man and walked over to his sword, where he picked it up and sheathed it.

Spotting the diminutive healer, Fionn, he approached her, giving a quick nod to the foppishly dressed human next to her.  "You two alright?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on April 14, 2011, 08:13:15 PM
Just at the moment that Koka spotted her smaller friend being floored by a pirate and rescued by one of the ship's crew - the fellow who had introduced himself earlier, though she'd quite forgotten his name - a voice was raised to "strike the flag", whatever that might mean. An end to hostilities, it seemed, however long it might last. At least there were no more pirates coming her way, a cheer had gone up from their ranks so apparently they had won. Well, no surprises there really, they'd all along been outnumbered by the pirates.

As she looked around to see what would happen next, the first thing to slow down was her breathing. She hadn't even noticed how hard she had been breathing during the battle, until now when it went back to normal. Her heartbeat also slowed down to a normal rate, and with that she started to feel the aches and pains of the battle. There was a cut across the back of her hand which she didn't remember getting, and a pain in her knee where she must have sprained it at some point.

But by far the worst thing, and which she was never really prepared for even though she knew it was going to happen, was her arm. Her right arm, the one where the wolf had grabbed hold. During the past couple of hours - she had no idea how long the battle had lasted - she had used the arm in ways that it could not really take, and now that things were slowing down, she could feel it starting, right in the middle of the joint, and spreading like fire until it felt like the whole middle of her arm was burning. It was actually a worse attack than usual, since most of the time she could stop herself overusing the arm too much. Now, however, she had knowingly ignored the usual signs, because she didn't want to be hindered during the fight. And she already felt she was going to pay for it.

The pain was actually growing so bad that she started sweating. At first they were just little beads dotting her forehead, but before long they had turned into rivulets of sweat rolling down in her eyebrows, hair and beard. And still the pain was growing. With her left hand she tried to wipe the sweat away, little though it helped. She didn't even feel the stinging of the sweat in the cut there, there was too much pain emenating from her arm. When she started losing focus, she knew something had to happen or she would fall unconscious right there. Gathering up her faculties, she walked over - though to the observer it might look more like a waddle - to where her friends were gathering. She saw that Royce was there as well, but her focus was on Fionn.

Regulating her breathing to try and control the pain - and her consciousness - she asked the little healer: "I don't mean to be a nuisance, I know other people are hurt worse than I, but... do you have something against the pain, by any chance." She fixed her eyes on the mollug woman, who seemed to go in and out of focus at random. Koka hoped an answer would come soon - She was clinging to her consciousness with the nails of her fingers.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on April 15, 2011, 07:58:38 AM
   The two captains looked over the main deck of the Silent Tear, watching as the flag came down in a symbolic gesture of defeat.  It was a strange sight, to see the men who had just been locked in mortal combat lower their weapons and all but ignore each other as they started to search for their crew-mates.  There was a buzz of excitement among the pirates as they congratulated each other and compared wounds; a buzz that Eric felt, too.  The high of victory mixed with the after effects of a battle.

   “I trust you'll want to examine your prize,” Captain Skjangarris said in a matter-of-fact way.

   “Aye, amongs' other things,” Eric replied.  Then, without elaborating further, he took a deep breath, and bellowed for quiet.  The men closest to the poop deck stopped talking, and started to shout for silence, as well.  Soon, the hubbub of post-battle chatter had been subdued, and Eric felt it time to take control.

   “My namez Eric Kattaisson,” he began, “n' yer cap'n 'az given command o' this 'ere vessel ter me!  Yer fought 'ard, n' yer should be proud o' that, but 'tiz a foolish thing ter not know when yer bea'en!  I'm a fair man, bu' mess wit' me 'n yer'll be sorry!”  A murmur of agreement rippled through the pirate crew.  “We've both sidez los' frien'z n' brotherz in th' fight, but anyone 'oo tekz armz agens' another in revenge'll be swimmin' wit' th' sharkz!  I 'av busnezz ter discusz wit' yer man, 'ere.”  Eric gestured to Captain Skjangarris, who was apparently more interested in a shoal of dolpholk that were swimming a little way off from the boat.

   “Landy, I'll av need o' 'ee!”  Eric called, and a giant of a man emerged from the crowd in response.

   “Now, wherez th' saw-bonez?”  Eric called again.  This time, a rugged-looking man shouted a response, “I told yer, cap'n; I ain't no doctor, I'm a carpenter!”  The pirate crew laughed, and shouted some of their own opinions on the man's medical competence.

   “n' I've told, 'ee!  Yer'z a carpen'er n' a doc'er!  Now find th' medicine n' get ter doc'erin'!”

   Captain Skjangarris's voice was the next to be heard; he'd apparently been listening to Eric, afterall.

   “Where's the ship's doctor?” he shouted to the remnants of his own crew.  Before long, a sorrowful voice answered him, “He's dead, sir!”  Captain Skjangarris rubbed his chin in thought.

   “Fionn,” he called, seeing that the healer had survived.  “Find Ylva and see what you can do to help any of the injured.  The ship's medical supplies are in the sick-bay.”

   “Aye, n' Fionn,” Eric added, “be so good az ter show me own saw-bonez where th' cock-pit iz, too!”  The rough-looking doctor started to make his way towards Fionn.  “'n yer'll both share th' suppliez; no 'oggin' 'em; 'elp 'oo'ever needz it, mate; merchan' or rogue, we both feel pain th' same!”

   “My name's Nikneth,” the carpenter-cum-surgeon said as way of introduction to Fionn, “though most of the men call me Knick-Knack.  I know this ain't the best of ways to meet, but if we're to work together, best to keep things civil.”  His voice was gruff, but didn't carry an accent as heavy as his captain's.  “You'll 'ave to excuse me way of working, mind, if you are a real doc.  I'm a carpenter by trade; real good with wood, and I can chop through bone and sew men up, all-right, but that's about it.”

   As Nikneth had been speaking, Eric had been issuing more instructions to his crew.  A group of them had been dispatched to investigate the cargo, whilst the rest had been told to either get patched up, keep an eye on the captives, or have a rest.  For his own part, Eric had left for the captain's cabin, taking Captain Skjangarris and Landy with him.

   “Re'kon we'll 'av a chat,” he was saying as he walked alongside Captain Skjangarris.  “Find out jus' what yer up ter.”  He still didn't believe that this was a mission of scientific exploration.

   Captain Skjangarris wasn't fully listening to his captor, though.  The shoal of dolpholk had drawn much nearer to the boat, and were playfully frolicking in the brilliant blue sea.  Was his mind playing tricks on him, or did that one look like his late friend, calling for him to join him?

   “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
   The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
   Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
   Things fall apart;
   Things fall apart; The blood-dimmed tide is loosed.”
   The words from his strange dream were echoing through his thoughts once again as he walked towards the cabin.  Maybe he should join them.  The water looked so inviting; so warm.

   “The sea's your life, now, boy,” the voice of his first captain came next; disembodied words from years gone by.  “She'll give all you need, then one day she'll take all you have, and there won't be a thing you can do about it...”

   The dream was beginning to make sense in a hazy, nebulous kind of way.  Was he about to lose it all?  Were things going to fall apart?  How many years had he searched for wealth like Jovloff's?  He was so near; could it be taken away from him so easily?

   “I promised not ter 'urt yer crew,” Eric's harsh whisper brought Captain Skjangarris back from his mental wandering.  “But I gave no such word for 'ee.”

   Suddenly, Landy grabbed Captain Skjangarris's arms and bent them up his back, before forcing him into the cabin.  Once inside, Eric confiscated his weapons, and ordered Landy to tie him to a chair.

   “Use this,” he said, throwing the giant some thin rope.

   Captain Skjangarris relaxed, and let the pirate bind him; there was no point in fighting.  Eric turned the key that was in the cabin door, and then slowly approached his victim.

   “Jus' th' three o' us,” he said with a smile.  “Now, why don' we be frien'z?  I know az well az 'ee tha' this ain't no voyage o' discovery.  So tell me - whatz really goin' on?”

   Eric reached into one of his pockets as he spoke, and carefully placed a pair of pliers onto the table.  Landy crouched behind Captain Skjangarris, and whispered into his ear as he tapped the bound man's finger nails with his own, “Tell 'im everything; else I'll tek 'em out; one at a time.”

   Captain Skjangarris couldn't help but look at the now not-so-innocent pliers that lay on the table in front of him.  What should he do?  He was so close to his goal.  If he told them the truth, they'd take it all.  But could he cut a deal?

   Landy had picked up the pliers, and disappeared behind the chair again.

   “I'm waitin',” Eric said patiently, devoid of emotion.

   Should he betray Jorn?  Lead the pirates to the treasure and split it with them?  Even a fraction of it would allow him to start a new life.

   “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
   Are full of passionate intensity.”

   And the pain was intense as Landy started to pull.  At first the captain bit his lip, but the pain just kept on coming; an awful burning that swept up his arm in waves of agony.  The taste of blood filled his mouth as he bit down harder, stifling a scream.

   “Tell me, mate; jus' start talkin' n' it endz.”

   Captain Skjangarris couldn't see Eric's eyes, as his own had filled with tears.

   “Things fall apart!
   Things fall apart!!
   Things fall apart!!!”

   The words were roaring through his head like a sudden swell; his mind latching onto them in an effort to fight the pain.  Somewhere behind him, a quieter voice started to speak.

   “That's the first; nine more to go; then I start on the teeth.”

   Soon, another voice came swimming through the pain; it was his first captain again.

   “She'll give all you need, then one day she'll take all you have, and there won't be a thing you can do about to just give in.”

   The wisdom of those words was beginning to become clear to Captain Skjangarris; it was time to talk.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on April 16, 2011, 11:30:53 PM
“...if I were you, ma’am, I’d act now and act quickly, while this lull holds.”

Fionn nodded, suppressing a lingering, nauseous fear at the idea of being at the mercy of these pirates sunk in. Instead of thinking about that, she looked over the people on deck, counting injuries, deaths, what was fixable and what would be complicated or urgent. She felt herself snap into the calm, pragmatic state where she was a doctor and nothing else, and smiled grimly, looking up at Kyros’ proffered hands. A curt nod, as she thought of the weight of all these sailors and pirates, the likely intransigence.

“That’d be a real help, if you don’t-“
She broke off, grinning as Royce approached. Another mark added to the list of the living.
"You two alright?"
She shrugged, feeling the stiffness in her jaw and neck.
“Nothing more than a bad taste.”

She looked him over, the same quick, thorough inspection she had given Kyros. He seemed unharmed, as far as she could tell.

The same couldn’t be said for everyone, though. Trying not to look in the direction of the dead pirates, she was caught unawares by Koka’s approach, and wheeled round to face him with a sinking feeling, as she registered the strain in the dwarf’s voice. It wasn’t a voice she’d have associated with someone still on their feet. But maybe dwarfs were tougher than she knew, because there he was, though the way he stood, the sweat on his face, suggested he wouldn’t be standing much longer. She put out a hand, catching his shoulder and encouraging him to put weight on her. Can’t see a wound.

“I’m sure we can find something, of course, but what’s wrong, Koka?”

She was about to set off with Koka in tow, to do just that, when the pirate captain’s words rang over the deck, and made her pause. Have to know what’s going on. It all sounded strangely reasonable. Fionn wasn’t sure whether to be reassured or worried that the real price was yet to come.

“n' I've told, 'ee!  Yer'z a carpen'er n' a doc'er!  Now find th' medicine n' get ter doc'erin'!”

That was something, then. She eyed the alleged doctor, was pleased to see little of the viciousness she’d been confronted with so recently. But the ship’s doctor, the real doctor, who belonged here, to this boat...  

“He's dead, sir!”

Fionn froze, still offering a support for Koka but staring at nothing at all for a moment, till the captain’s voice snapped her back to reality.

“Fionn, find Ylva and see what you can do to help any of the injured.  The ship's medical supplies are in the sick-bay.”

She nodded, relieved to have something to do, and not to be prevented from helping how she could. It would be alright. We can fix things.  She was again starting to lead Koka away when the captain Kattaisson spoke:

“Aye, n' Fionn, be so good az ter show me own saw-bonez where th' cock-pit iz, too! 'n yer'll both share th' suppliez; no 'oggin' 'em; 'elp 'oo'ever needz it, mate; merchan' or rogue, we both feel pain th' same!”

She glared at him, just for a moment. That he would even think she could do that!  Not that the idea of patching up pirates didn’t scare her, anger her somewhere behind the presiding calm of there-is-a-job-to-do mode, but the idea that she wouldn’t-! She forced herself not to say anything, waved a hand at the other doctor to follow her.

Turning to Kyros and Royce as she went, she said, “If you’re feeling up to helping, I’d be much obliged if you could bring the wounded belowdecks-“

She glanced over the deck again, taking in the numbers.

“Not all to the sickbay at once, though. Just the worst. The others can wait just inside, see if there’s somewhere with room.”

She really hoped there were good supplies in the sickbay. Heading below decks, she took a proper look over the other doctor for the first time.

 “My name's Nikneth, though most of the men call me Knick-Knack.  I know this ain't the best of ways to meet, but if we're to work together, best to keep things civil. You'll 'ave to excuse me way of working, mind, if you are a real doc.  I'm a carpenter by trade; real good with wood, and I can chop through bone and sew men up, all-right, but that's about it.”

She relaxed slightly, out of the mess and frustration on deck, and smiled at Nikneth. He was matter-of-fact, he seemed clever, and despite herself she found she’d already decided she liked him.

“Carpenter’s better than a butcher, any day. I’m not exactly an old hand at this sort of thing myself, so I guess we’ll help each other out...”

She trailed off, noticing Fu, still where she’d left him. But no Ylva.


She checked the unconscious man over, but he seemed stable. Best not to move him, just yet...  she looked back to Nikneth.

“There’s another healer on board, Ylva, she was... I don’t know where she’s gone.”

Fear crossed her face, but was pushed aside by the great calm doctor that sat in her mind and told her what to do. Now, it was saying, we will get to the sick-bay. Ylva might be there. We will get to work, and if Ylva isn’t there (that head wound, and she was babbling, anything could have happened...) if she isn’t there we will send someone to look for her. This is what will happen.

She turned and headed for the sick bay without a word.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on April 17, 2011, 04:02:41 AM
Koka started to answer Fionn's question, as soon as the meaning of it broke through her increasingly befuddled mind. "It is my arm. An old wound, and I..." Before she could finish the explanation, the pirate captain was explaining something, but she didn't pay him any attention, she needed all her focus to keep on her feet. She didn't want to lean too  heavily on the slight mollug, knowing that her greater bulk could easily push over the fragile creature - even if she had proved herself time and again to be a lot tougher than she looked. The dwarfess held her injured arm close to her body, trying to move it as little as possible. She would cradle it, but she needed her other arm to lean on Fionn.

Focusing on keeping on her feet, she let her friend lead her belowdecks. Some other guy was there as well, she noticed now, but since she hadn't paid attention earlier she didn't know who he was. He was saying something, but his voice sounded more like a murmur, like the echoing drip-drip-drip of water in a further-off cave, that you might catch while going about your day, but didn't really consciously hear. What she did hear, making her exert herself to focus more on the surroundings again, was that Fionn didn't know where Ylva was. There was Fu, unconscious. But as Fionn had stated and Koka had missed when they came in, the foreign woman was not there.

She needed a moment to remember her last words with Ylva. It was even harder to concentrate on something as bodiless as a memory through the fog of the pain, than on the immediate surroundings. Letting go of Fionn, whom she had been leaning on all this time, she managed to find a wall to lean against, so that she could use her good arm to support the bad one and lighten the pain just a little. "I left her here." she said - though it came out more as a whisper, she hoped that the little doctor would hear. "She seemed... better... than before. Clearer in... head." Trum-Baroll, it was getting more and more difficult to speak. She felt as if she was tripping over her own voice. There was something Ylva had done... she could almost put her finger on it... And then it was gone, swept away in a gulf of pain. Whatever Fionn did with the information, she hoped that it would involve a pain killer. And soon.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on April 30, 2011, 12:27:58 AM
From a long way off, faint voices reached Fu's mind – snippets of conversation that he did not have the strength to try and understand.

... carpenter's better than a butcher …

... I don't know where she's gone …

… my arm ...

… wound …

… clearer in head ...

Fu thought that he recognized these voices, but he couldn't remember whom they belonged to. For a moment, he puzzled over this. Why could he not recall? Next, he realized that he didn't know where he was. Around him, everything was dark. He could not see anything.

Well, Fu, he said to himself, them eyes of yours be closed. Why don't ye be opening them? – Too heavy, answered his eyelids. – Really, said Fu. But eyelids be such tiny, skinny things. How be it that they be too heavy? – Too heavy, too heavy, too heavy, was all the eyelids had to say.

And then the pain hit him, again. At once, Fu wished that he had not woken up, and that the memories that now began to finger his mind with their long ugly tentacles would stay away from him.

He had been shot. His arm was gone. He was dieing.

Fu let out a moan. It was a long, hoarse, growling sort of sigh; half bestial, half child-like.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on April 30, 2011, 06:53:57 PM
"I left her here. She seemed... better... than before. Clearer in... head."
Fionn stopped, bending close to hear the increasingly faint words from Koka. Whatever he’d done to his arm it was going to make him pass out very soon if something wasn’t done. But this door here looks like the sick bay... ancestors, the dwarf was heavy...

Fionn smiled with relief, looking round the room. It seemed almost jarringly orderly considering the turmoil abovedecks. Like it was just waiting for us to finish their silly games and make use of it. And that there looks like a medicine chest...Staggering slightly under the weight of Koka, she moved to a chair, and tried to ease him onto it.
“Sit down, before you fall down, I’ll find you something right away, alright? Nikneth, could you-“

She paused as a faint moan caught her ear, and stuck her head out the door. The crumpled mound that was Fu seemed to have stirred. Change of plans.

“Mr. Nikneth could you fetch Fu? Carefully, he was a bit shaken...” She stepped back to the chest, pushing it open and grinning at what was inside. Bottles and packets and boxes all neatly stored and labelled... it was magnificent, it was riches beyond imagining, to a mullog who had been dreading trying to work without the supplies they would need. She darted over to Koka, briefly examining the arm in question, moving it as little as possible.

As he’d said, an old wound, not fresh, so no danger from blood loss or the like. Must have been nasty to cause this much trouble though. Well, first things first let’s try and dull the pain, then we can take a look. Crossing back to the medicine chest, she found a bottle of willowbark tablets. These should take the edge off. She hesitated for a moment, trying to remember what she’d been taught about dwarves – they were tough, resistant, required more of a drug to get the proper effect? No time to fret over it.  She glanced over the label on the jar and counted out three of the small tablets. That wouldn’t be dangerous, but would hopefully have enough of an effect to allow her to look at the damage. Setting the tablets on the table in front of Koka, and offering her own water canteen (need to fetch water, as soon as there’s time) she said, “Swallow these, Koka, they should help. Then I can take a better look.”

She smiled, more calmly than she felt, and turned back to the chest to lay out bandages, cleaning materials, and ormelin. There was even odea powder, she hadn’t been able to afford that in months!

Still, as she laid out the equipment she couldn’t help feeling a stab of fear. You’re not a battlefield doctor, you’ve no experience of this. Ylva where are you?

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on May 01, 2011, 04:32:01 AM
”Aye, aye, Madam,” Nikneth said, and grinned. He was glad to have something to do. Carrying injured men around the place was not too difficult, and it would give him time to get used to the people his pirates had taken prisoner. Some of them were quite odd: these two dwarves not least, the injured bearded one, and especially the skinny hairless one, who probably wasn’t a dwarf at all. But what was she? Nikneth decided to think about that later.

He left the sick bay and looked for the source of the groan that had come from the passage. Presently he saw a scrawny man with a funny hat lying on the floor. Fu’s mouth was contorted as if to wail, but his voice was so weak that Nikneth heard nothing but a faint wimper.

By Baveras, times have changed. They let some pathetic little wimps onto ships these days , Nikneth muttered to himself as he picked Fu up with his strong carpenter’s arms, and threw him over his shoulder. As he turned round to make his way back to the sick bay, he felt a feeble knock to the back of his head. The patient, weak as he was, was trying to punch him!

”Hold still, you flatfish,” Nikneth said, but otherwise did not delay himself. As he opened the door to the sick bay, his patient let out a pathetic wail. And then another, and another. It took a few blinks, but then Nikneth understood that his patient was in fact shouting words.

”Heelp!” Fu cried. ”The pirates be here! I’m being captured! Help! I cannot be feeling my arm! Heeeelp!”

Nikneth stepped into the room. His eyes searched those of his new colleague. When he had got Fionn’s attention, he gave her a professional look, as if to say: We doctors put up with a lot, don’t we?  

Eventually he sighed: ”Where shall I put this?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on May 01, 2011, 09:49:37 AM
Ylva had managed to make it to her room, quickly grabbing her healer’s satchel, to turn and storm her way back down the corridor. Her head still ached, ear still ringing, nose still swollen, eyes still black and puffed up. But it didn’t matter. Her balance felt stronger, her mind clear. Somehow the pain didn't matter anymore.

A loud cheer echoed down the corridor. For a moment, the murmillion just stood pondering at what was happening above her, her big eyes rolled up to the ceiling, mouth slightly apart. No doubt only their attackers could cheer so loud, so had they won? Were her companions captured? Or worse?
No don’t think about it. Concentrate, get bag, get back to Fu, then find others.

She turned a corner and froze as two pirates walked towards her, laughing to themselves, Damn! And I’m weaponless… Backing away from them, she froze as they came closer….then just walked past her?!
Strange...but there is no time to wonder about it. The short woman crept back to where she thought she’d left Fu, only to find an empty space where the sleeping wizard had once been, and more pirates milling around, searching the cargo and chatting to each other casually as if they hadn’t just been fighting.

Glaring suspiciously at the men, clutching her bag protectively as she saw them peer at it. Without her blade-axe, the murmiilion suddenly felt very fragile. Still, I must find out what has happened to Fu. Clearing her throat, she spoke firmly and sharply, perhaps a bit too sharp in front of such dangerous men, “There was an injured man here. Where have you taken him?!”
A few shrugged, a few chuckled, and the rest ignored her, turning their backs from the strange woman. Ylva sighed, “Please. Where is he?”
One finally turned, smiling a bit, surprising the woman that one of them could be friendly to her, “The short one took ‘im.” The healer smiled relieved. Fionn! Good. Fionn has been here. She will have likely taken him to the sick bay...
Spinning round, she ran back down the stairs into the ship. Following the distinctive mixed smell of blood and medicine, she managed to find the sick room, bursting through the door, panting, “Fionn! Fu!” Quickly rocketing to the wizard’s side as he appeared to be struggling with the tall man carrying him.
“Fu. Stop moving. You loosen your bandages.” The healer gently tried to place the back of her hand on the wizard's forehead, to check if he had a fever. Looking to the man helping to carry the wizard, she just smiled, “Please lie him here.” Nodding towards a nearby bed. Glancing over to Fionn with another calm smile. “We’ll need miyu beans.…then...e-quip-ment to” Cauterizing…what’s the word in Tharian? “… burn the arrow wound, then rub in yah-rle...Oh, look odea moss! That help too.” The doctor turned to look at Fu, “Your wound will heal. But we need to make it heal right, to stop bad stuff get in.” Otherwise it might fall off…
Looking across the room she spotted Koka, quickly trying to determine why he was in the sickroom, Cut on hand, minor. Face cringing in pain, on chair, hand roughly clutching other arm as if in pain. Hm, yet no outer signs of cuts or bruising….Muscle pain? Interior bruising? Spraining? “Fionn, what do you know so far of Koka's injury to his arm?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on May 03, 2011, 02:00:42 AM
The women really called the shots here, Nikneth thought. No wonder it had been easy to capture this ship. At least this one was a human, although she talked in as broken a Tharian as Nikneth had heard for a long time. Sounded like some Nybelmarian tribe to him – he couldn’t be sure.

Nikneth stepped over to the bed that Ylva had indicated. On his shoulder, Fu had stopped struggling. Fu could not understand why no-one was perturbed by a pirate walking around below decks with a wizard on his shoulder. But Ylva’s authoritative voice had shone to Fu like a light in the fog, had pierced the haze of pain that was dulling all his senses. He hadn’t understood her words, but her firm, calm tone had told him that things were, in some incomprehensible way, under control.

He relaxed, and concentrated on not fainting. In a brief fit of clarity, he even managed to wonder when the pirate would let him down. That fit was over soon enough, but shortly after Fu felt his body being lifted up, and then flung through the air. He landed on his back with a bouncy sort of thud.

”There you go,” Nikneth said, having thrown down his load. ”Not kicking anymore, but still alive!”

Fu was quiet. The shock and pain of his fall had taken his breath away and choked his voice. He felt as if he had been buried under a mountain, and an earthquake had just started, shaking him around among a tumbling mass of rocks. Fu’s eyes widened in disbelief that this much pain was possible. All colour left his face, and his mouth opened wide in a desperate attempt to give some expression to his anguish. But still no sound came out.

Very faintly, as if from far away, Ylva’s voice reached him: “Your wound will heal. But we need to make it heal right, to stop bad stuff get in.”

Meanwhile, Nikneth regarded Fu with much professional interest, and said to Ylva: ”Do you reckon it’ll heal, then? On our ship, usually we just take the arm off. No good if the gangrene eats up his whole body.”

Fu was too weak even to shudder. His eyes darted around the room, trying to appeal for someone to make this pirate go away.

"I cannot be feeling my arm," he whispered, by now out of a sort of habit, his mind being too weak to come up with anything else to say.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on May 03, 2011, 03:17:24 AM
Fionn gave her a couple of pills and offered a canteen of water to swallow them with. No need for that, really, others might be needing water more. The tablets, on the other hand, she gladly accepted, knowing that if she did not take anything at all she would faint outright, and that would help nobody. With a quick nod of the head, she swallowed the tablets. The relief was present, if not quite instantaneous. She hadn't expected that, either, but at least the pain became bearable now. She felt her muscles unclench, realising only now just how much the pain had tensed her whole body. She was able to let go of her arm, letting it rest lightly on her legs. "Thank you, Fionn." she said, her voice already a little stronger than before.

"I will just be sitting here a while, then I will be ok. It is not the first time this has happened since I was bitten, though it's certainly one of the worst in a long time." Then Ylva was there, and Fu, and injured men were being brought in for the doctors' attention. She would have gotten up and out of the way, but she found that if she moved, her head turned light. Probably a side-effect from the tablets. So she just kept quietly in her chair, letting the others bustle around her, just perking her ears when Ylva asked Fionn what she knew about the injury to 'his' arm. Just then the tablets took full effect, and suddenly it seemed like the funniest thing she had ever heard. How long had they been travelling together now, in the close confines of a ship, and still they had not figured it out yet, either of them? Hiccuping with the giggling, she looked from the human to the mullog and back.

"Not his arm." she finally managed. It was high time to get rid of this farce, even if she had not been keeping her gender a secret. "Her arm." And then she burst into a new giggling fit, the part of her brain that knew she was doing it blaming the painkillers.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on May 03, 2011, 09:04:12 PM
"I will just be sitting here a while, then I will be ok. It is not the first time this has happened since I was bitten, though it's certainly one of the worst in a long time."

Fionn frowned, looking again to Koka’s arm.
“Bitten, huh? I want to take a proper look at it later, and you can stay put for now, no arguments-“

Something was wailing like a lost taenish chick, and she glanced up to meet Nikneth’s resigned look with an understanding grin, and was about to point him towards a bunk when an apparition of gangly limbs and bruised face burst in.
“Fionn! Fu!”

Fionn felt a jolt of relief run up her spine, quickly overtaken by sense, as she looked Ylva over. That bruising looked awful, but from the way she moved and spoke she seemed alright...  still, the mullog determined to keep a close eye on her. With all the hurry and panic of clearing up the mess of the battle, it would be all too easy for Ylva to overdo things.
And not just Ylva. I bit a man less than an hour ago. What usually happens when we get a taste of meat? But I didn’t swallow anything, it should be fine, don’t even feel sick anymore...“We’ll need miyu beans.…then...e-quip-ment to... burn the arrow wound, then rub in yah-rle...Oh, look odea moss! That help too.”

Fionn nodded. “Sounds like a plan. I think I saw irons somewhere... oh, and a stove, perfect.” Some rummaging at the back of the little pot-bellied stove yielded kindling, and she quickly dug out her own tinderbox. At Nikneth’s words she cringed slightly, remembering the few instances she’d seen of the sort of thing he meant. Dockside doctoring, they called it – patching up the poor souls who hadn’t gotten the help they needed on board, had survived sometimes weeks with all manner of wounds.

That will not happen here. It just won’t.

Steel struck flint with the dry sound that was the fire clearing its throat. Sparks leapt, and caught, and grew fat and started to flicker. Fionn smiled.

“Fionn, what do you know so far of Koka's injury to his arm?”

She didn’t look up from the fire, knowing that if you looked away when they were young they tended to pine and die in an instant.
“An old wound – he said a bite, I don’t know what... from...”  

She had to look up now. Koka was- was giggling. Like a girl."Not his arm. Her arm."

Fionn stared. And of course it was obvious now, all the oddnesses of bearing and action she’d assumed were just dwarfish, or individual idiosyncrasies. It had never even crossed her mind! Who could tell anything, under all that hair, it was as difficult as reading the expressions of tall folk!
All that time, and I never even...

She couldn’t help laughing as she looked at Ylva. “Whatever effects it might have on dwarves, I didn’t give him- uh, her anything that strong. It’s true! Koka you scoundrel, why didn’t you say?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on May 04, 2011, 02:33:54 AM
“Whatever effects it might have on dwarves, I didn’t give him- uh, her anything that strong. It’s true! Koka you scoundrel, why didn’t you say?”

Ylva shrugged, "Maybe body weight changes dosage…Wait….did  he say...Her arm?..." The murmillion turned back to look at the dwarf with new confusion and widened hazel eyes.
"But you have beard!?!"

"...Sorry. I mean. I did not know dwarf women have beards...but I did not know any dwarf women. Till now." Smiling shyly at Koka,  then at Fionn who appeared to be finding the whole revelation amusing. The comb, the braids, how come I didn't realise? Ha, I can treat living beings, but I'll never understand them. We really are a bunch of oddballs here. Then the doctor realised that she was still  just standing there and smiling, while there were injuries that needed treating.

Ylva looked over at the pirate who'd carried Fu in and then made his unneeded opinions known. Ylva  straightened up to her full height, frowning at the pirate, contemplating how to get the nosy man out the sick room, How dare he! Dropping Fu, questioning my judgement, talking so carelessly. Oh I miss hospitals. There they treat patients with respect...well the ones who weren't wanted criminals that is...Heathen pirate, I know your sort, and I'll make damn sure you respect what we're doing…

“Hey. Pirate. Please go find others with serious injuries. Oh and," She stepped closer, and in a harsh whisper said, "We not on your ship, we are on this ship. And I say there is chance the arm will heal. Question me again, and it be your limbs that get chopping off!  You want your men healed? Then let us do our job....And bring the next man with more care, not drop them on bed like sack of potatoes!" She eyeballed the man with a stern glare , "Next time you do that, by Mari, you’ll feel the edge of my draskovaer!” …Whenever I get my draskovaer back that is…

Not watching to see how the pirate responded, the healer turned back towards the mullog and dwarf, and seemed to morph into a totally different woman ,with an amused but kindly smile on her face, "Men, hmm? Got to show them who in charge. Koka, do you know why we friends with pirates suddenly?"

The doctor looked over curiously at the mini stove that Fionn was able to nurture into life, "It good thing you know how to work fires so well...where I am from, women not allowed near the furnaces.  Fionn, do you want to do burning? I'll go prepare Fu. There hopefully is a..." cauter "burning-knife in the cabinet." Diving into her own satchel, she retrieved a jar of ormelin and a jar of miyu beans, before going to kneel next to Fu's bed, who was still stirring like a child having a nightmare,
 "I cannot be feeling my arm,"

The healer smiled reassuringly at Fu, holding up the ormelin to his lips, "Stop whimpering. I need you to drink this please." Trying to not let it dribble down his face, Ylva slowly let the ormelin tip into the dazed Fu's mouth, who appeared to cringe slightly at the horrid taste. "There, there. There we go. " The murmillion whispered soothingly, watching as the wizard drifted further into the Mistress' embrace. "Perhaps best he can't feel arm, this will be painful." The healer undid the bandages on his arm, and, ignoring effuse amounts of the leaking blood, began to carefully wash the wound with even more ormelin as she didn't trust the supposedly clean water on ships. When she was finished she squashed about five miyu beans, and started to rub them into the skin of Fu's arm, letting their powerful numbing properties take hold. Looking up calmly at Fionn, she nodded. "Patient is ready."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on May 04, 2011, 10:45:48 AM
The lady was very disoriented. She  mumbled something about her bag, and then handed the dwarf a weapon. The little girl let go of the pirate, and ran off. Mallorix turned, ready to fight more, but suddenly he heard cheering. He turned around, and saw the flag being lowered from the mainmast.

He turned, disoriented, but the others around him had disappeared. There was shouting aboard, but the chatter quieted down. A pirate stepped up, and shouted at his crew, as well as the men of the captured ship.

 “My namez Eric Kattaisson, n' yer cap'n 'az given command o' this 'ere vessel ter me!  Yer fought 'ard, n' yer should be proud o' that, but 'tiz a foolish thing ter not know when yer bea'en!  I'm a fair man, bu' mess wit' me 'n yer'll be sorry! We've both sidez los' frien'z n' brotherz in th' fight, but anyone 'oo tekz armz agens' another in revenge'll be swimmin' wit' th' sharkz!  I 'av busnezz ter discusz wit' yer man, 'ere.”

He called for a doctor, and Fionn quickly disappeared with one of the pirates. Mallorix, having nothing better to do, turned to try and follow them. He moved quickly, but always staying a little behind. The two reached the room where Mallorix had carried Fu only a few moments before.

The woman from before came too, she walked in as well. Mallorix decided that it would be best not to step in randomly. He turned to leave, but his curiosity was too great. The young man stepped back, and stood next to the door, listening in.

He started listening just in time to hear the woman exclaim.

"Wait….did  he say...Her arm?... But you have beard!?!"

He remembered that Fu was in there, and the exclamation certainly seemed interesting. The sailor opened the door, and stepped in, closing it behind him.

"Oh, hello. I was just coming in to check on Fu. How is he? And, what was that about? Who are you talking about?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on May 09, 2011, 01:08:30 AM
“...I did not know dwarf women have beards...but I did not know any dwarf women. Till now."

Fionn tried to keep her laughter quiet, but couldn’t help remembering stories her mother had told when she was small, about the outside folk who were covered in hair all over, like animals. Maybe she hadn’t been telling stories after all. Maybe she meant dwarves!

Stop giggling, Fionn, there’s work to do, and if you stop the stress will get to you...

She winced slightly as Ylva rounded on Nikneth. Possibly I should have explained that he was on our side... but she has a point. This sick bay is ours. Whoever happens to control the rest of the ship has nothing to do with it.With that in mind she returned Ylva’s grin, and prompted the fire a little more. It was strong now, ready to start heating the iron.

"It good thing you know how to work fires so well...where I am from, women not allowed near the furnaces.  Fionn, do you want to do burning? I'll go prepare Fu. There hopefully is a... burning-knife in the cabinet."

Fionn’s eyebrows rose as she rummaged through cabinets for a cauter.

“Not allowed to work fires? Where I’m from that’d be- well, you wouldn’t last long... aha!”

She brandished the iron, pleased to see it glint cleanly in the light. Kept clean. A good sign.
She pushed it among the coals, and found the water barrel. A bucket was filled with cold water, and she set it near Fu’s bunk, walking carefully – the sea was blessedly calm but she still felt the tilt of the waves whenever she had something cumbersome to carry. She glanced over Fu’s face, febrile with pain and fear.

"Perhaps best he can't feel arm, this will be painful."

She nodded, glad at least there’d be no struggling and shouting, and crossed back to check on the iron. It was glowing dully, a warm orange that faded to red along the handle. The gloves she’d found were far too big, so she would just have to be careful to hold it at the end-

"Patient is ready."

Fionn nodded, drawing the cauter from the fire. The heat from the stove made the skin on her hand feel baked hard, like clay. The end, almost milchbutter yellow, drew her eye as she crossed over to Fu. She barely glanced up to Ylva, nodded again, and then pressed the moon-shaped flat of the cauter against the wound, deftly fitting it’s shape to his arm, like a piece in a puzzle. It hissed like a long held breath, finally released, and there was steam, and then smoke. She held it there, as still as she could, keeping as close against the edges of the wound as possible. When the smell of burnt flesh started to fill her nose she lifted it, examining the angry mark it had left. Like a brand. The smell made her want to gag and she plunged the cauter into the dousing bucket, glad of the blank smell of steam.

"Oh, hello. I was just coming in to check on Fu. How is he? And, what was that about? Who are you talking about?"
Fionn looked up blankly, wiping her face and blinking smoke out of her good eye. Oh, it’s Mallorix. Another of us alive, how many still unaccounted for?

“Well the latter I expect is best left to her- uh, to Koka to tell or, uh, not tell, as the case may be...” she glanced to the dwarf, and then to Ylva.
“And the former? Do we think Fu’ll be alright? I’ve not done that many times...”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on May 10, 2011, 05:54:53 AM
Visions, Fu decided. Unhealthy visions. Tricks of the mind. That’s what a fatal injury does to you. It messes up your head.

Fu was seeing humbug, hearing humbug, believing humbug. Nothing that his eyes and his ears told him made sense. For a reason that eluded him, his hallucinations concerned Koka the dwarf, especially. It seemed to Fu that Koka, this calm and steadfast character, was giggling like a wench. Koka’s body shook with glee, his face smiled, and he was, imagined Fu, happy as a little child, despite his being sat in the sick bay and receiving treatment by Fionn and Ylva. But that wasn’t all. Amid the laughter, Fu heard him say – as vivid as if it had been real, and not a feverish dream – that he, the dwarf, in fact was a wench.  Preposterous!

Once the idea of Koka’s femaleness had entered his head, Fu even imagined that the dwarf’s voice sounded female. And when Koka lifted his arm, Fu thought that he saw beneath his shoulder the bulging – not of a muscular chest, but of a woman’s breast! A woman’s breast, caressed by the plaits of a carefully groomed beard. Preposterous!

Starting from this bizarre vision, Fu’s imagination took wings and flew off to cloud-corbie-land. Stranger and stranger his visions became. In the process, they ceased to be ridiculous (such as the notion of a bearded dwarf lady), and took the form of nightmares. At first, the scene seemed almost normal, and even relief-bringing, as Ylva, with her fierce eyes and her sharp tongue, drove away the pirate that had threatened to cut off Fu’s arm. But then the visions took a turn for the worse. It appeared to Fu that Fionn and Ylva were discussing fire and burning, and were throwing glances at Fu, just as if they were talking about him. Maybe, thought Fu, I be dead already, and it be my soul watching as that body of mine be lying here without breath – and the healers, they be discussing how to cremate old Fu? But, Fu objected to himself, we be at sea. Surely it be overboard that a dead one be thrown?

But no, he was not dead, and no cremation was being planned. Ylva kneeled down at Fu’s bedstead.  “Stop whimpering,” she said, and gave Fu some medicine. Kindly her face was, soothing her voice, and Fu lapped up the liquid and licked his lips and made sure that he did not lose a single drop. It tasted like bird vomit, but Fu took this as a good sign, as everyone knows that only medicines that taste horrible are effective. Maybe this potion would make the hallucinations go away? Oh, how Fu longed to sleep, to be relieved of his febrile mind, to forget the pain.

He did begin to feel drowsy, and his sight began to blur. But nonetheless, the halluciations did not cease. Fu thought that he saw Fionn heating an iron poker in a fire. She held it into the flames until the tip was white with heat. Somewhere very close to his ear, Ylva spoke. “Patient is ready,” Fu heard her say, and the next thing he knew, little Fionn stood over him, ready to stab him with the white-hot metal. Little, kind, harmless Fionn – a torturer! The scene was so absurd that Fu almost started to giggle like a wench himself. At that moment, the cauter connected with his skin, and reality hit Fu like a foot that crunches a snail’s house.

Later, what Fu remembered most vividly was the smell. It reminded him of roast hog, and until the end of his life, whenever he recalled this scene, Fu felt disgust at the thought that it was actually rather appetizing. The other thing he always remembered was how, in a single flash, he realized that everything he had seen and heard in the previous few minutes had been real, and that it was now that he actually did have a vision.

He saw a tree. It was the tree of pain, and it was made entirely of pain. The roots were pain, the trunk was pain, the branches were pain, and the leaves were pain. Even the insects crawling around on its bark were pain. And the birds sitting on the twigs, singing – pain. This tree was Fu, and Fu was the tree. His arm was a twig that hung limp; it was half-broken off from its parent branch, and clung on to it by a thin thread of dead wood. The thread of dead wood was Fu's shoulder, and it was the centre of the pain. From there the pain spread through the tree like a foul sap. Everywhere the pain-sap flowed, into every last root, twig and leaf, right up to the crown. There was only one good thing that can be said of the pain, Fu would think later with a reluctant smile. For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, and for what in reality had maybe been one hour, Fu could feel his right arm again. Oh yes, he could feel it. He could feel it far, far too well.

Amid the anguish, Fu caught a brief glimpse of Mallorix, who was suddenly in the room, and heard him inquire how Fu was. How kind he be,  Fu managed to think. Then the world went dark. Fu passed out. He probably groaned while doing so – but he never knew or wanted to know anything about that.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on May 18, 2011, 10:22:48 AM
As he stepped in, and turned around, Mallorix saw Fionn bending over Fu with an iron glowing brightly. She leaned in, and pressed the metal to Fu's open wound. The flesh sizzled as the heat sealed the hole left by the arrow. Mallorix turned away from the grisly sight, his eyes watering from the steam, smoke, and perhaps, from his friend's suffering. The smell of burning skin and flesh wafted through the air. Mallorix coughed, and, as quickly as the cauterizing began, the sound ended. The young man turned, and breathed a sigh of relief as Fionn quenched the still-hot iron in a bucket of water. The steam which came up drowned out the smell of burning, but the scent still lingered, as an afterthought.

Mallorix looked up, and saw Fionn again through the steam. She answered his question.

“Well the latter I expect is best left to her- uh, to Koka to tell or, uh, not tell, as the case may be... And the former? Do we think Fu’ll be alright? I’ve not done that many times...”

The young sailor walked over to his friend's bedside. He looked down at the wound, then at Fu's face. He was out cold. Mallorix stared at the man lying on the bed, looking so small and helpless. He turned to Fionn again.

"When will he be up and about again? I want to know that he will be fine and that he'll recover. Could you promise that to me? That Fu will be okay?"

He moved over to look at the other patient and doctor. In the other cot was the dwarf, and standing near was the tall woman. Mallorix stopped a small distance away.

"Well, would you care to answer my other question? What was the shouting about?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on May 22, 2011, 08:53:36 AM
The smell of burning human flesh was to be expected. It was an almost welcome smell to Ylva, reminding her of home and wargs roasting on spits. But the healer decided to keep this to herself, and secretly just breathe in the thick fumes in delight. She leaned over, eyeballing Fionn’s handy work with approval.

“You did good Fionn.” A small neat moon-shaped scar now sealed Fu’s skin. The wizard was now groaning in anguish from the pain, flittering in and out of the dream world. “And Fu’s arm will heal, though we need to make sure it does not get infection. He now has a good scar to boast about to his family when he gets back to them.” Ylva went to get more medicine from the cabinet before turning to smile at Mallorix. "Fu is lucky to have such a loyal friend. But you worrying away not help him, what Fu really needs is rest. As for your other question," Her large eyes darted quickly over to Koka, the healer wondered how much the willow bark might have worn off. Not my secret so I shouldn't speak it,...but I don't want to lie to Mallorix.... "Me and Fionn were just talking about woman things, stuff you would not want to hear about."   Well technically that wasn't a lie...more just a different interpretation of what happened....

The healer turned back to her patient, frowning as she mixed the odea moss into a thick paste and rubbed it on the wound. What can I say? Fu’s arm may heal, but the truth? The truth is he may never recover the same reflexes, the same sensitivity; the flesh may be too damaged. Even if this arm isn’t chopped off, he may never feel that part of his arm again. Never move it without twinges and pains. Can a wizard live with such a thing? Could Fu? I’ve seen him practise his juggling, his tricks, will all his tricks now be gone?

The ship rocked gently, and Ylva found it comforting as she laid delicately out various implements and medicines on a table, ready for any other patients. I cannot answer these questions, so I best find other things to dwell on. Let Mari decide if Fu’s arm will heal to what it was.

 The murmillion lowered her voice covertly so that anyone outside couldn’t hear as she talked to her three companions, “Why are the pirates suddenly friendly? I do not think Jorek would want them to know of our ‘mission’." Ylva's face remained still and rigid, but inside her stomach knotted. Too many questions. Where was Rhia? What if the pirates had found her? Where was Royce? His injuries were only just healing. "We need to find the others, re-group, talk out of way of these pirates. I don't trust them.”
What's to trust? Pirates, murderers, fishfolk, heathens, maybe even some of them are from Nybelmar, even Santerran...I'll kill them if they dare to drag me back...

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on May 28, 2011, 04:13:11 AM
The reactions were priceless. It was well worth having waited until now. Fionn just kind of stared at her for a moment, then laughed along with her, and Ylva yelled something about the beard. Heh, silly humans and their beardless women. She just could not stop laughing with reactions like that. Until, of course, they started their work on Fu's arm. The smell of burning flesh sobered her right up, and she looked on in horror as the red-hot blade was held agains the wound to seal it. She could practically feel the pain in her own shoulder, just from watching them working on his. Poor little guy, he did not deserve that. So he was taller than her - not by much, and there was something in his manner that turned him into 'little' in her mind. It made her uneasy, having to watch torture like that, even if it was torture for his own good, without being able to do anything about it. By the time they were done, she had lost all appetite for laughing.

Her mind was taken off the proceedings by the approach of the young sailor who had joined them on the other ship. "Well, would you care to answer my other question? What was the shouting about?" he accosted her. Raising a busy eyebrow to look the young man up and down, she considered her answer. She could tell him, of course, but if that was the way he went about talking to people, even if they were shorter than him, he needed to take things down a notch. "Not if you're going to talk to me in that manner, young man. I may be about half your height, but I'm sure I beat you by about a century, so I would not, in fact, 'care to explain' unless you ask me a little more respecfully."

Then she turned to Ylva, who was asking something about the pirates. Ignoring Mallorix for now, she shrugged her shoulders. "It would seem that they won. Whatever happens, I don't think we will be able to really keep our mission a secret. But then, it might take a pirate to catch a pirate's treasure. Who knows what might happen? In any case, I agree that we should find the others. For now, however,  I believe it was the general idea that everyone who could call themselves a healer was to take care of the wounded. All the wounded, pirate and sailor alike."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on May 30, 2011, 11:17:36 PM
   “This iz it, mate!” Eric shouted, his eyes glowing with excitement.  “I recognize th' writing; 'tiz Jovloff's, sure enough!”

   The pirate captain started to chuckle, and then to laugh crazily.  “'tiz all 'ere,” he said, flicking through the pages of a leather-bound book.  “Just like th' man sez!”

   Landy watched Eric blankly, his mind even emptier than usual.

   “Treasure,” he said eventually, the word hanging hesitantly in the stifling air.

   “Aye, mate, treasure!”  Eric cried gleefully, clapping the big man on the shoulder.  “Treasure like 'ee ain't never seen afore!”

   Landy looked at the rather unassuming book, and smiled.  Then the smile turned into a grin.  “Treasure!” he repeated, this time with excitement.  “We'll be rich!”

   “Rich as lords, mate!”

   For a moment, the two men fell silent, each lost in his own day dreams.  Then, as if they had both reached the same conclusion, they turned to Captain Skjangarris, who was still tied to a chair.

   “What'll we do with 'im?”  Landy asked.

   “Well, tha' depen's, mate.”

   Eric sauntered over to the bound captain.

   “Tell, me, mate, 'oo else knowz o' this?”

   “There are some among the crew who know of our mission,” Captain Skjangarris replied, his voice still strong despite the pain that was coursing through him.  “But none who have seen the map.”

   “'n yer were ter fetch it back to Ranskjun?”

   “No, we were to keep and share it.  Jorn only asked for a few items from the hoard.”

   Eric laughed again.  “Oh, aye!  Never trust a merchant!  'e'd 'av yer thinkin' tha' yer'd come off best from th' deal!  Wouldn't risk 'iz own life, but 'e'd keep th' best o' th' loot fer 'imself!”

   “Typical scum!”  Landy spat, his face wrinkled with hate.

   “Still, looks like 'e won't be getting' any o' it, now.”

   Captain Skjangarris wanted to say something, to challenge these rogues and defend Jorn's honour, but he knew all too well that his life was, at this very moment, hanging by a remarkably thin thread.  The pirate captain was studying him carefully, apparently coming to some kind of a decision.  At last, he spoke again, and this time there was no mirth in his voice.

   “Make peace with yer gods; th' time iz near.”

   Captain Skjangarris felt his heart sink to his boots; a dreadful, sickening feeling deep inside.

   “Oh, Grothar, no!” he gasped.  “Have, mercy, sir!  I'm no threat to you, I swear!”

   Eric shook his head.  “There'z not enough room fer two cap'ns on this one, 'n if I set 'ee down then yer'll only come ter haunt us as we're huntin' fer th' gold.”

   “But how could I?”  Captain Skjangarris protested,  “There's only one copy of Jovloff's notes!”

   “Aye, tha' may well be, mate, but 'ee knowz th' 'arbour, n' that'z enough.  What's ter stop 'ee from sittin' pret'y by me boat n' waitin' fer us ter return wit' th' gold already found?”

   “I give you my word!”

   Eric smiled and his eyes narrowed.  “Yer word?”

   “Aye, my word!  I'll swear to Grothar himself not to pursue you!  I'll give up the gold and be happy to have my life!”

   Eric chuckled slightly.  “'ee seemz an 'onest man, mate, but when there's gold or women involved, then there ain't no such thing as a word.”

   “Enough talkin', cap'n,” Landy hissed.  “Let's slit 'iz throat and be done with it!”

   Eric nodded solemnly, and Landy drew his knife.  The colour had already drained out of Captain Skjangarris's face, but it suddenly grew paler, if that were possible.

   “Please, no,” he whimpered as Landy circled behind him and placed the wickedly sharp blade against his neck.

   Eric raised a hand, signalling for Landy to hold fast.  In truth, he'd never meant to have this man killed.  He was ruthless, but he wasn't stupid.  For now, Eric needed Skjangarris.  He was just about to take on some of the Silent Tear's crew as his own, and it would be a lot easier to get their loyalty if he showed mercy to their ex-captain.  Indeed, Skjangarris would know which men would be best to take on the journey, and could help Eric gain their trust.  Yes, it would be risky leaving him alive, but the benefits made it worthwhile.

   “Not so fas', mate'; I migh' be 'avin' a change o' 'eart.  See, I don' wanna curse this from th' off; we need th' godz on our side fer this one.  So 'ere it iz, mate; if yer giv' yer word not ter come a-lookin' fer us, n' not ter tell any one else o' the treasure, then I'll do th' same fer 'ee as th' res' o' yer crew; set 'ee down on a spit o' land n' tell th' firs' ship I see where ter find 'ee.  Wha' doez 'ee say?”

   Captain Skjangarris was ready to do just about anything to get the awful pressure of Landy's blade off his neck, and gave his word freely.

   “Aye, n' now that'z done,” Eric continued, “'tiz time ter find some able 'andz ter join us fer the journey.  We were already men down afore we ran into 'ee, n' af'er tha' bloody bat'le we're in dire need o' some likely ladz ter 'elp us find tha' treasure!  May'ee ye can recom'end some?”

   Captain Skjangarris nodded, the colour returning to his face, and told Eric about the specially recruited team.  It was the captain's hope that, even though his treasure hunt was ending, the others would still be able to complete Jorn's quest.

   “A-ha!  I knew it!”  Eric cried when he heard the news.  “There waz some fine figh'erz out on deck.  I won'ered what they waz abou'!  Well, let'z go get 'em!”

   Landy untied Captain Skjangarris, and followed behind him as Eric led the way back out onto the poop deck.  The sudden intensity of the sun was disorientating, but the cool sea-breeze was a welcome relief after being shut in the baking cabin.  Once his eyes had adjusted to the new brightness, Eric rang the ship's bell to get the sailors' attention.

   “All 'andz on deck!” he bellowed, and stood watching as the message was passed around the ship.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on May 31, 2011, 08:22:12 AM
The woman turned to him after grabbing something from the cabinet.

"Fu is lucky to have such a loyal friend. But you worrying away not help him, what Fu really needs is rest. As for your other question, Me and Fionn were just talking about woman things, stuff you would not want to hear about."

Mallorix nodded, and sighed.

"Well, I'm glad that he's still alive." He looked down upon Fu's face, and moved his eyes to the now sealed wound. "I just hope that he'll still be able to use his arm. I'll take your word about the woman things, I was just curious, that's all."

The woman lowered her voice, and whispered so that only the three could hear.

 “Why are the pirates suddenly friendly? I do not think Jorek would want them to know of our ‘mission’. We need to find the others, re-group, talk out of way of these pirates. I don't trust them.”

He turned back to the dwarf in bed, who was eyeing him with a look of mild hostility. She stared for a little longer, then began speaking in a condescending tone.

"Not if you're going to talk to me in that manner, young man. I may be about half your height, but I'm sure I beat you by about a century, so I would not, in fact, 'care to explain' unless you ask me a little more respecfully."

Mallorix opened his mouth to reply, but she ignored him and started speaking to the doctor behind him, continuing her train of thought.

"It would seem that they won. Whatever happens, I don't think we will be able to really keep our mission a secret. But then, it might take a pirate to catch a pirate's treasure. Who knows what might happen? In any case, I agree that we should find the others. For now, however,  I believe it was the general idea that everyone who could call themselves a healer was to take care of the wounded. All the wounded, pirate and sailor alike."

After she finished speaking, Mallorix began apologizing.

"First of all, I'm sorry if it sounded as if I was being disrespectful. I was just trying to figure out what all the fuss was about before I entered. May you please explain to me what sounded like I was being rude? And would you answer my previous question?"

He turned back to the doctor and nodded. He spoke softly, making sure that the pirate doctor couldn't hear.

"I think there's something more sinister at play. I think I saw them taking the captain away, so they probably do know of the mission. It'll be hard getting rid of them, and they might turn on us once the treasure is found."

Right after he spoke his mind, Mallorix heard a shout from outside the impromptu hospital.

"All hands on deck!"

He turned to look at the door, then back at the doctors and their patients.

"If the patients are fine, I think it's best we go out."

He opened the door, and walked into the daylight, blinking his eyes at the sudden change in lighting. Once his eyes adjusted, he looked around to see the pirate captain ringing the ship's bell. Mallorix shivered, both from the cold sea air and from the sight of their captors taking command of the ship. He walked out farther, closing the door behind him. He stopped a few peds away and waited.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Ylva Rasmussan on May 31, 2011, 11:27:57 PM

"They took the captain somewhere? That does not sound good….."

Both Mallorix and Koka's words grieved her, and the murmillion paced about the room, hands fidgeting with the scrap of her healer's satchel as her brain churned, Koka's right, these pirates will go after the treasure, and what does it matter who pays us to find treasure?  I wouldn't worry about betraying Ranksjun, except he is the man who can get me back my jewellery….but  then again if we get the treasure, perhaps I could use some to bargain with Ranksjun?  But then as Mallorix says how can we trust pirates?

Her brow knotted in fury as she adamantly stated, "As I said, I do not trust pirates. But…" The murmillion paused, her tired face sighing as she let difficult words escape and be mumbled out of her mouth through gritted stubborn teeth. "You are right Koka...All the wounded should  be treated…Even if they heathen fishfolk…" The healer grumbled to herself for a bit as the sound of the ship's bell rung down the corridor, followed by people shouting,

"All hands on deck!"

"Arg, damn that bell to shadow! Fu not in well enough to go, and by Mari I not leave a patient unattended after such a surgery…."

But then again...can we afford to anger a pirate captain by not going? Face it, for all that you said to that pirate, truth is you have little power to wield here, especially without your draskovaer...And you would be able to regroup with any others, see if they have survived. Perhaps one of the pirates could watch over Fu….

Ylva peered over the slumped figure that now smelt of roast meat, "He's still in fragile state, we need someone to keep an eye on him. He risk fever and rot setting in. Fionn, what do you think?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on June 07, 2011, 03:30:59 AM
Kyros listened to Fionn’s request, nodded and then turned to start scanning the deck as she scurried off with the carpenter-doctor Nikneth. At last- a purpose! He might be stuck on a ship on the receiving side of a business he had for so many years been used to inflicting, with the chance of the treasure hunting party even reaching their prize shrinking the longer Skjangarris was in the pirate captain’s company, but now he had something to be getting on with, all those worries could be tucked away for just  a little longer. Even better, he had a chance to command or at least take charge of something again. A dilute, brief held command, certainly, but it’s still a chance at command and by the gods I’ve missed that! It has been so frustrating, these long land-locked months, to watch men acting stupidly and having no authority to order them to stop and instead do whatever it is I know would be wiser.

He mused on this as he darted below decks to assess the best place to shepherd those wounded in the skirmish who would not suffer much if they had to wait a while for Fionn’s ministrations, a category most of those bleeding or bruised but still actually alive seemed to fit. He glanced into the sick room as he went by, where the little arrow-stuck man, folded over Nikneth’s shoulder, was apparently trying to wriggle free from the doctor-carpenter’s grip. Baveras’s scaly thighs, but the chap is absolutely unwavering in his determination to escape, isn’t he?

He was back on deck soon enough. Really, there had been little point descending, as the hold seemed the best candidate for waiting room, as he had predicted when he had begun to descend. It was near the sick bay, and large and easily reached from deck, with plenty of crates for the poor dears to rest on if they were feeling weary. And the pirates could entertain themselves while they waited by taking stock of all the lovely cargo soon to be resting in the belly of their vessel.
“Excuse me, all,”he said loudly to the gaggles moving across or else just waiting. It might not have prompted the snap to attention he was so used to on addressing men, but they did at least seem to be listening. “If you didn’t hear the little lady before- the doctors are below decks, and would appreciate it if anyone who would like treatment  but is not gravely injured waited in line until they can see to you. So if your legs are still intact and you are in no danger of dying without prompt medical action, go and wait in the hold. Or help bring others to the sick room.”
Giving an order –well, sharp suggestion, really, but let’s not belittle this brief moment of pleasure while we might still enjoy it, mm?- giving an order with the sounds of ship and sea all around filled him with such nostalgia, a sense of rightness and comfortableness, that he grinned. Remember that feeling, Kyros. Persevere and you may well be captain again. Persevere and remember Jovloff’s gold.

As the wounded began to clump towards the hold, Kyros strode the deck, looking for the almost-dead, as he had decided to term them. He sucked his fingers as he went, subsequently rubbing beneath his nose to wipe off the crusted flakes from his nosebleed. His arm would have to stay bloodied till he could find some clean water, but he could at least clean up his face cat-style to hopefully stop himself looking too much like a schoolboy fresh out of a playground dust-up.

He nudged splayed bodies with a foot, bent to feel out a pulse or cup a hand to the mouth in case breath warmed it: this one dead, the next dead too, dead, dead. He had seen enough corpses to be able to control his thoughts and say to himself this is an object, meat and nothing more and yet handling bodies still unsettled him, even if he would not think on why his skin tingled and his mind recoiled as he touched them.

Another dead -I think I killed this one, in fact- and then; alive. A young man, no, teenage boy, breathing wetly and all but unconscious as one hand fluttered over the gash through his forearm. He could have been sailor or pirate. He had probably tumbled with the blow across his arm, and judging by the small smear of blood on the length of broken mast-wood nearby, hit his head and been left for dead on the deck as his attacker turned to someone else. It was a horrible wound, cutting the width of his arm and gaping deep enough to have reached bone, though welling blood had covered any white that might have been exposed. Kyros tugged free a ripped piece of sailcloth from the debris of the felled mast and tried to be gentle as he rolled the boy onto it. He noted the tattoo on the boy’s unharmed forearm as he moved him: a skeleton, frozen in a jig. He was likely pirate, then, though he’d seen lawful sailors with such emblems before. It was fresh, weeks old at the most, as the lines of ink were still a little raised and the skin they inscribed a little pink. I’ll bet you were proud, when you got that, Kyros thought as he gripped one end of the makeshift sling-stretcher. Sailor-boys always glow with pride when they get their first tattoo. And I’ll bet you had a few drinks too many to celebrate, as well.

He slowly dragged the boy across the decks, then stopped at the stairway.

“Excuse me, sir-“ he caught the eye of a passing pirate. “Only I’d be much obliged if you could you help me move this boy down the stairs.” The pirate man leered and bowed at him in a nasty mockery of subservience, muttering something about woodrosy and fancy man that Kyros graciously chose to ignore, but bent to take the opposite corners of the sail all the same, so they could lift the cloth and carry the boy, Kyros first, down the stairs. They reached the sickroom to find the women doctors joined by the dwarf and the probably-sailor boy. The little man was unconscious, arrow removed and wound cauterized, or so Kyros guessed from the still-smoking dousing bucket nearby.

”Ah- pardon the intrusion, ladies, but I think this young chap needs seeing to soon. There are possibly a few more besides him who could do with quick attention, but he was the first I came across.” Kyros’s grudging assistant helped him sling the boy onto a surface, and then slipped away without a word into the dark spaces of the below-deck. Kyros raised his eyebrows at his fleeing form, then turned back to the boy. “This chap’s had a nasty chop to the arm, as I’m sure you can see, and I fear it’ll have to come off- that Nikneth said he had skills in amputation, didn’t he? Those who don’t need treatment quite so urgently are waiting in the cargo hold, back there,” he jerked his head in the direction of the hold. “Easy to find, should you want to take stock of them. Everyone all right down here?” he gave them all a quick grin slightly at odds in its warmth with the morbid form of the bleeding boy he leant over. “Nice to have something to keep the old hands busy, eh? Stops the mind from dwelling on our, ahah, predicament.” He would have turned to go back to trawling the few remaining wounded, when the room rang with the note of the ship’s bell and the cry: “All hands on deck!”

“Well, bugger,” he said breezily as he turned to leave, still addressing the room in general. ”We’ll have to go, I suppose. Only it seems dreadfully inconvenient with all those men still merrily bleeding over the hold and deck. I don’t suppose Nikneth might be excused the captain’s summons to attend the wounded?” He clapped his hands and began to move back towards the stairs, his bright monologue to the group becoming ever so slightly strained. He was desperately clinging to the last of the level temperament having something to do had brought him, even as it fractured and his bad mood swept back, throbbing like a headache. Just maintain a calm face and a smile and do not needlessly dwell on what might happen next, there’s a good lad. Baveras knows, you’ve had enough practice at it. “I suspect it’s time to go and see what fate the pirate captain has deemed fit for us! However unpleasant, I for one just want to find out what it is and be done with it. Anticipation can be so simply agonising.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on June 08, 2011, 12:23:37 AM
“You did good Fionn.”

Fionn threw a brief smile at Ylva, grateful for the reassurance, and tried to suppress a smirk at Ylva’s tactful reply to Mallorix. Was it really so extraordinary for women to have beards? All the outside folk looked fairly hairy to her.

“For now, however, I believe it was the general idea that everyone who could call themselves a healer was to take care of the wounded. All the wounded, pirate and sailor alike."

"As I said, I do not trust pirates. But… You are right Koka...All the wounded should be treated…Even if they heathen fishfolk…"

She had nodded absently at Koka’s words, and Ylva’s hesitance unsettled her for a moment. True, the pirates scared her, looming and hostile and heavily armed, but she was used to treating people who scared her; doctoring for the aftermath of bar brawls had knocked that out of her. It had never occurred to object to treating them because they were evil. Any thoughts of moral superiority were quickly squashed, though, as the ugly little truth that bad patients pay better rose to her mind. Fionn wiped at her face tiredly, smudging away clinging smears of blood. Tired. Scared and tired and tired a little bit more. And we’ve barely started-

”Ah- pardon the intrusion, ladies, but I think this young chap needs seeing to soon. There are possibly a few more besides him who could do with quick attention, but he was the first I came across.”

A glimpse of waxy-white face and bloodied shirt past the makeshift canvas stretcher was enough to snap her out of her brief daze. She stepped over to where they’d laid him, and nodded at Kyros’ words, suppressing a shudder at the thought of having to amputate. But it was unarguably a horrible cut. She looked to Nikneth and Ylva. Kyros’ quick words and bright, strange grin washed over her as she reached for something to dull the bleeding-

“All hands on deck!”

"Arg, damn that bell to shadow! Fu not in well enough to go, and by Mari I not leave a patient unattended after such a surgery… He's still in fragile state, we need someone to keep an eye on him. He risk fever and rot setting in. Fionn, what do you think?"

Fionn frowned. She wasn’t too keen on leaving the sick bay, which seemed to have become a stronghold in the short time she’d spent in it; a place they could do useful, sensible things. She put pressure on the bleeding boy’s arm, to give herself time to think. It wasn’t as effective as she’d have liked.

“Well, bugger, We’ll have to go, I suppose. Only it seems dreadfully inconvenient with all those men still merrily bleeding over the hold and deck. I don’t suppose Nikneth might be excused the captain’s summons to attend the wounded?”

Fionn nodded at Kyros’ words, not looking up from the blood that was stolidly and quite unfairly refusing to clot. He needed to survive long enough to take the arm off...

“Can you deal with this on your own, Nikneth? Um, no disrespect, I mean, but Fu and this poor sod, and more likely needing seeing to...”

She looked up to the others, partly to avoid the slightly affronted look the carpenter/doctor threw her, having to turn to see them all properly. Kyros was leaving, following after Mallorix with his words trailing after like a ragged banner.

“Perhaps one of us should stay. If you want to, I’ll vouch for you. Otherwise I’ll stay, though you know of course, that I’ve less experience with amputation...”

The bleeding was slowing at last. Well that was a small blessing.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on July 17, 2011, 05:02:47 AM
   Nikneth smiled at the two female doctors, “Aye, I’ll take care of things down here, though I could do with you back as soon as you’re spare.  And I’m sure you will be; spared that is.  We need doctors on the Runner, and the cap’n ain’t so daft as to let two as skilled as you slip by.  That’s how it was for me; I wasn’t always a pirate, you know; carpenters and doctors are always in high demand on a pirate ship.”  He cast a glance at the injured boy Kyros had brought down.  “I’ll work on stopping the bleeding for now, though it’ll probably have to come off before long.”  Looking back at Fionn, he gestured for her to leave.  “Go on; best not make the cap’n wait!  I’ll be fine.”  Then he turned to Koka, “You too; injured or not, he’ll still expect you to show.”

   Eric stood on the poop-deck, watching the various crew members congregate.  He recognised his own lot, but was more interested in the men from the Silent Tear.  Some were obviously sailors, and others marines, but there were also a few faces that didn’t seem to fit; evidently these were members of the special team Jorn Ranskjun had put together to find Jovloff’s treasure.  And who was that coming now?  The angular face, fiery hair, awkward frame; surely Eric had seen him before, but where?  Damn, how annoying!  The man was like a mental itch; impossible to scratch!  Eric would have to have a word with him later; see if his voice or name would bring any further memories back.

   “All o’ my men ter one side!” he shouted.  “’n all o’ the Silen’ Tearz crew ter th’ other!”  Eric’s men quickly moved to the port side of the main deck, whilst the remaining sailors and marines from the Silent Tear shuffled to the starboard.

   “Now, th’ truth o’ this ‘ere journey ‘az come ter me attention,” he began, addressing both groups of men.  “’n ‘tiz a cause I’m more than willin’ ter ‘elp yer with!”  Landy grinned, and chuckled slightly.  A quiet buzz passed around the rest of the pirates; from the look on their captain’s face they’d stumbled onto something big, but what exactly?  “So ‘ere it iz, matez; all those ‘oo are o’ worth ter us can join me crew.  Th’ rest’ll be set down on a spit o’ land n’ wait there fer rescue.  I givez me word tha’ I’ll tell th’ firs’ ship I see where ter find ye; yer cap’n’ll be with ye, too!”

   Eric turned to Captain Skjangarris, and whispered something to him.  Skjangarris nodded, and stepped forwards.  “All of my crew will be joining me to await rescue, with the exception of Jorn’s specialist team.  I beg you, join Captain Kattaisson and finish the quest.”  Despite wanting to say more, he knew that it’d be impossible to pass any secret message to them without the pirates noticing, so he drew back and let Eric speak again.

   “Now that’z sum good advice, matez!  I’m a fair man; ‘ere are th’ termz: any ‘and ‘oo iz o’ use ter us, n’ wishez ter join us, can do so.  Th’ treazure’ll be split equally among all o’ th’ survivin’ crew.”  A burst of excited chatter rose from the pirates’ side of the ship.  Eric let it continue for a few blinks, then called for quiet.  “Aye, ladz,  treazure I sed!  We’re on a treazure ‘unt now!”  A tumultuous roar of approval met Eric’s declaration.  Again, he called for quiet.  “Now, I knowz yer waz werkin’ fer Jorn Ranskjun afore, but from now, yer’ll be werkin’ with Cap’n Eric Kattaisson!  n’ yer’ll be bet’er off fer it, too!  Why, I ‘eard this Jorn dog would risk all yer livez ‘n keep th’ bes’ o’ th’ loot fer ‘imself!  I’ll tell yer, I’ll walk wit’ yer ev’ry step o’ th’ way, n’ giv’ ev’ry one o’ yer an equal share in all o’ the plunder!  That’z ‘ow we work, see!  So let’z be seein’ yer!  ‘oo wantz ter join us n’ be rich?  Step forward; tell us yer name n’ ‘ow yer’d be o’ use ter us!”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on July 28, 2011, 01:26:20 AM
Koka was mollified a bit by the sailor's apologies. So he had demanded an answer where he had no call to make demands - it seemed that he was unaware of just how his words and tone sounded. And anyway, there was no reason to cloak her gender in mystery anymore, since now more people knew than just Royce. She turned back to the young man.

"You should be careful how you frame questions in the future. You might give offense where none was meant. But no matter - to answer your question, the shouting was about my gender. I know that with you humans only the men grow beards, but it is not the same for dwarves. So yes, I'm not actually a dwarf, but rather a dwarfess."

Not long after this explanation a shout was heard above decks. Nikneth told her to go up as well, and she nodded. The effects of the painkiller had luckily been short-lived, and she no longer felt the need to giggle. And she could at least stay upright again without her arm feeling like it was being torn off. She made her way up behind Fionn and Ylva, assuming that Mallorix would follow behind.

Once up on deck, they were separated - the pirates to one side, their own crew to the other. What followed was a very mangled sort of Tharian, which she just barely understood, much as the other times the captain had spoken. She wondered if he was affecting a part or if he was genuinely incapable of speaking proper Tharian. Anyway, the long and short of it, as far as she could see, was that they had just changed employer. Koka hardly cared. She could not even remember why she had decided to come on this quest in the first place, except that she had nothing better to do at the time. So whether it was for this rich merchant, or for (with, as he said himself) that pirate captain, so might as well see it through. She still had part of the salary which Jorn had paid them to go on this quest. And she did not exactly feel even a smithereen of loyalty towards the man - he had paid well, but circumstances had changed. If he had been a friend, she would not have thought so lightly on the matter, but as matters stood... Well, she might as well.

She tried to remember what Jorn had told them about the items they were to bring back for them. All she really remembered was a ring - the twin of which he still had, and had shown them. It had been the blue gem on that ring that had drawn her attention, which is why she remembered it. Otherwise, he had called them no more than trinkets, family heirlooms without much value. Not so, according to this captain. Well, it would make sense. She was enough of a merchant herself to recognise that you did not flaunt the best items as being worth much, not if you wanted to buy them at a decent price.

Only one problem - she did not know how the rest of the party would react. She would be grieved if any of them did, in fact, feel the mentioned loyalty towards the merchant, and decided to stay behind. She had grown to like them - Even Malavon had his good points, though there was still something about him that she didn't quite like. Still, even he was a better friend than Jorn Ranskjun would ever be. As on the previous occasion where she had to make a decision whether or not to join the same quest, she decided to wait and see what the others' reactions would be.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on August 02, 2011, 08:35:40 PM
“Aye, I’ll take care of things down here, though I could do with you back as soon as you’re spare.  And I’m sure you will be; spared that is.  We need doctors on the Runner, and the cap’n ain’t so daft as to let two as skilled as you slip by.  That’s how it was for me; I wasn’t always a pirate, you know; carpenters and doctors are always in high demand on a pirate ship.”

Fionn looked up at Nikneth, surprised. It hadn’t really occurred to her that pirates weren’t pirates from the start – that piracy might be something that catches you, rather than a questionable career choice. Does that mean we’ll be made pirates as well? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stitching pirates back together so they can take each other apart again!
Head suddenly full of frighteningly unavoidable prospects, she nodded mutely, and trailed out with the others back abovedecks. Back in the daylight, the sea seemed worryingly big. How could anyone spend their whole life here? Maybe they were all lost, but just wouldn’t admit it.

Captain Kattaisson’s speech did little to make her feel better. There was something about Skjangarris’ plea for obedience that she didn’t like – he seemed a long way from the confident, calm seaman they’d met earlier. Was leadership really so integral to these men’s sense of themselves, or had something else happened? Did that mean they should do as he was asking anyway? Fionn took a deep breath, trying to clear her head, and wrinkled her nose. What were the chances that pirate meals would include any fresh fruit or vegetables?

“Why, I ‘eard this Jorn dog would risk all yer livez ‘n keep th’ bes’ o’ th’ loot fer ‘imself!  I’ll tell yer, I’ll walk wit’ yer ev’ry step o’ th’ way, n’ giv’ ev’ry one o’ yer an equal share in all o’ the plunder!  That’z ‘ow we work, see!  So let’z be seein’ yer!  ‘oo wantz ter join us n’ be rich?  Step forward; tell us yer name n’ ‘ow yer’d be o’ use ter us!”

So the adventure goes on, just the same, but under new management? Fionn looked round at the others, unsure how she felt about this. But what choice was there? She glanced down at the smudges of blood and soot on her clothes, and rubbed at her dully aching jaw. Really, it only came down to the one thing.

She couldn’t quite muster the bravado to step forward, and cleared her throat from where she was.

“I’ll uh... I’ll join you – from the looks of things you could use another doctor, but- but only if the others will.”

She tried to level her one-eyed gaze at the captain, and folded her arms, hoping she looked certain of herself, rather than just ridiculous.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on August 26, 2011, 08:55:34 AM
   Eric felt good about his speech; in fact, he felt good about everything; it was hard to remember when he’d last felt this good.  Perhaps it’d been when he was on shore over at Queen’s Harbour; it was difficult to say because he couldn’t remember much about it, which generally meant it’d been a good time.  No, on second thoughts, even days of drunken debauchery couldn’t touch the thrill he felt when treasure was on the table.  Nor could it match the exhilaration of being on a hunt for something, so how could it even come close to the two things combined?  In truth, Eric couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this good.  Life had been fairly hard recently; actually, it’d been downright miserable.  No ships to loot, running low on supplies, and a discontented crew who could ripen to mutiny quicker than a bag of bananas.  This talk of treasure was more than enough to lift their spirits, and what was even better, Eric had a very strong feeling that there was more substance to it than just talk; the diary pointed to that.

   Yes, Eric had every reason to feel good about life, and so when he first caught sight of what he initially mistook to be a talking ape, he could only smile and look on the bright side.  Truth be told, the tiny creature actually looked like she belonged on board a pirate ship; heavy facial scarring that’d probably led to social exclusion at some point; a thin, wiry frame that seemed to be made for monkeying up the rigging, and a generally sinister appearance made all the more monstrous by a misshapen head.  Eric could see her now, padding barefoot across a merchant’s deck, knife in hand, ready to silently slit some throats.

   “Aye!” he cried in appreciation of the new recruit, “A doc’or’s alwayz welcom’ aboar’ me ship!  n’ don’ she look th’ part, ladz?  Jus’ th’ righ’ size fer shimmyin’ up th’ riggin’ n’ sneakin’ abou’ ter do som’ killin’!”  A ripple of laughter went round the pirates’ half of the deck.  Some could see Eric’s point of view, but others could only see a weakling prone to get sick and spread disease.  Regardless of their opinion, though, not one ventured to cross their captain’s appraisal.  “So welcom’ aboar’ th’ Runner, lass; th’ Rainbow Runner; I ‘ope ‘ee enjoyz th’ ride!  Now then, ‘oo else will join us?”  Eric briefly scanned the group.  “’ow ‘bout ye?  ‘ee lookz a solid sort!  ‘n wit’ a beard like tha’, ‘ee mus’ know somethin’ o’ th’ sea!”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on August 28, 2011, 06:32:49 AM
His arm hurt, so he ripped it out. Then his shoulder began to hurt, so he ripped that out, too. His neck hurt, as well, though – so he tore it off, and with it, he also lost his head. One-armed and headless, his legs were weary, so he tore them out, one after the other. For a blink he was relieved to have got rid of the pain, but then he realized that what was hurting most of all was his heart. With his one remaining hand, he reached into his chest, and took out his heart.

When he looked at the thing that he had in his fist, he saw that it was not his heart. It was a little heart-sized Fu. This little Fu had all his limbs – legs, neck, head, both arms, and all. Fu put the little Fu down on the floor. And from one moment to the next, he realized that this little Fu was himself. He now saw the world through the eyes of the little Fu. The big Fu, the one who had torn himself limb from limb, was a giant monster standing over him. This monster now collapsed into itself like an empty skin, and only the little Fu remained.

But the new Fu was not happy. His arm hurt. So he ripped it out …

… and that was Fu’s fever dream. Over and over again he tore his own body apart to get rid of the pain, and at the end found himself small and whole and still hurting, so that he had to start from the beginning.

This went on for twenty-eight years (Fu dreamed). Then one day, he found that he was standing beside himself, watching how he was taking his own body apart. Yet although he was seeing himself as though he were someone else, he still felt the pain. But he was not possessed by it anymore. He was observing it.

Ye must be stopping being your own enemy, Fu , he thought in his dream. And suddenly, his fear fell off him like an all-too heavy cloak that he did not need anymore, and that he let glide off his shoulders onto the floor, to leave it behind and never to look at it again.

Instead, he saw faces. Ylva was there, and Fionn, and Mallorix, and Koka the dwarf. They were saying something that Fu could not understand. But he thought that they needed his help.

He turned his back on himself, and walked away from the desperate figure of a Fu who tore himself to pieces. Towards his friends he walked. He had all his limbs. But the pain had not got better.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Kyros Scaldai on September 05, 2011, 06:44:55 AM
It began as the pirate captain began to speak and grew as he went on: a sense of dreadful familiarity. It was like a voice not-quite-heard but almost understandable, like dark shapes bobbing beneath ice- the vague feeling that there was something before him that he would recognize, if he could only grasp it.

This ship is the Rainbow Runner, captained, what did he announce himself as? Ulric? Alric? No- Eric. Eric Kat-something. Ah, he’s just said-Eric Kattaisson, captain of the Rainbow Runner. Twelve preserve me- but that does sound familiar. Please let it be nothing-please let me be remembering some other pirate and let this man be one I have never even heard of and his crew likewise all strangers because if they know who I am- He stopped himself. He would deal with that problem if and when it arrived. Which it probably would not; he had never really had dealings with any of his more southerly brethren.

But the more he turned that name in his mind, the more certain he became that Eric Kattaisson had been known to him in the good old days of his captaincy.

Well, at least he can’t be someone you knew well, old boy- your memory is better than that! If he is anything, he is a man you have heard of and perhaps seen and spoke to in some dingy pirate haunt, and nothing more. He is certainly not an enemy, and that’s something to be grateful for, isn’t it?

But the awful fact remained that Kyros had met this captain before, it was likely the man had spent a decent time around the Adanian sea, making it even more likely that some of his crew would also be familiar with disgraced captain Scaldai of the Scythe of Queprur. And then, with his real past uncovered, not only would his presentation of himself to Jorn’s band as a simple sailor be demolished, but this new crew would surely laugh at him- for a captain whose crew had had so little respect as to turn to mutiny deserved no respect from anyone else.

The only way to avoid this humiliation would be to join Skjangarris and carry on his slow land-bound hunt for something.

Something that would never come unless he could steal a ship, which would need men, and where would he find any? Something, then, that would likely only come soon if he became a common hand on a pirate ship- and what captain would want to try and direct an ex-captain? All that was left was to become a lawful sailor, or to look for work on land. Both were worlds as alien to him as the Ethereal Void.

Or, he could stay, and try to reach Jovloff’s gold.

Because the treasure is the important thing, Kyros. The treasure is the key. Suffer this further knock to your reputation and you might just reach the gold- and with the gold, build up a reputation once again.

And I will only reach the gold if I accept the captain’s offer.

There- that’s decided, then.
And having come to a decision, he found he felt lightened and don’t jinx it too soon, old boy very nearly in a good mood. Well, he was certainly not in a bad mood. He had a purpose and a plan of action and that always focused the mind so beautifully.

Then Fionn spoke. Kyros was a little too relieved at this brief postponement of his introduction. He was beginning to feel ever more twitchy, imagining that every pirate who glanced his way would start with recognition and nudge his fellow and point and laugh- though none did. He even jumped when all the crew guffawed, only realising a moment later that they had been laughing at the captain’s jest and not at him. He relaxed , trying to compose himself.

Then, just as he was ready to pitch himself forward, the captain continued, speaking to the dwarf Koka.

The dwarf did not answer immediately, stoic fellow that he seemed to be, much given to long consideration and brooding into that ample beard. Well. If I’ve made this decision I’ll bloody well carry it through before there’s time to dither and step out.

Kyros stepped out from the group, putting on the old, breezy smile that was so good at covering whatever it was he was actually feeling.

“While our good friend thinks on that, I wonder if I might put myself forward?” he said with his usual tone of easily confident enthusiasm. One of his old aliases rose in his mind but he pushed it down- what would be the use when he had told Jorn’s band his real, pirate name?

 ”My name is Kyros Scaldai.” ring any bells, does it, you scurvy mongrels, and you’d better not laugh if it does because if you laugh- “I think I should very much like to join you.” join you as captain, yes, that’d suit- certainly not as some lesser little hand no better than any other toothless bastard trudging the deck - ”It seems the best course of action, after all.” only course of action, more like ”I have been sailing most of my life, so I know my way around a ship, so to speak.” know my way better than any of you, I’d bet ”And as a few of your more, hah, punctured men can doubtless testify, I’m handy with a blade, as well. So I believe I’ll prove quite useful to you and would very much like to carry on chasing the treasure. I couldn’t bear to think of all that gold filling other men’s pockets when there’s a chance it could fill mine! I’ve no alliance to anyone but myself, least of all Ranskjun. And, well it’d be such a shame to back out when the fun is only just beginning, eh?”

There. Didn’t come across so badly, if I do say so myself. Now, to see if anyone remembers me. If they did, of course, his nice introduction would seem strange for having conveniently omitted the fact that almost all those years of sailing had been on a pirate vessel-but you haven’t reached that bridge yet, have you, Kyros?

He relaxed and waited. Baveras’s tail, but did they all have to look at him quite so closely?  How strange it felt to not want to be noticed!

For perhaps the first time in his life, Kyros Scaldai wished he was not quite so tall.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on September 09, 2011, 12:51:03 AM
Koka was taken aback for a moment when she found herself accosted by the captain. Then she almost started laughing at the thought that the length of her beard had anything at all to do with how well you did on a ship. In all, the pause was so lengthy that someone else spoke up first - the tall, lanky fellow who'd been making himself useful recently. For a moment she struggled to remember his name, but he was kind enough to repeat it in his introduction: Kyros. Patience did not seem to figure prominently in his vocabulary. Ah well, no matter. With him volunteering, and then Fionn before him - brave girl, to be the first to speak up - there was really no reason for herself to hold back.

When Kyros was done with his swagger, she fixed her gaze on the captain, since he had asked her a question. "Of ships I know little, and what I do know I have learned in the time since setting out with my companions here. However, such as Kyros here is a fair hand with the sword, I'm not a mean shot with my bow. I also feel little to no allegiance to Ranskjun, having taken the job more out of curiosity than anything else. So yes, if you'll have me, I'll join your crew and see the end of this journey - be it to riches or to empty hands." She conveniently forgot to mention the third possibility, which seemed as likely as the other two. After a moment, she added: "After all, can't let a brave woman such as our mollug friend here join you alone, can I?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on September 19, 2011, 12:59:38 AM
The dwarf turned to Mallorix before he left the room.

"You should be careful how you frame questions in the future. You might give offense where none was meant. But no matter - to answer your question, the shouting was about my gender. I know that with you humans only the men grow beards, but it is not the same for dwarves. So yes, I'm not actually a dwarf, but rather a dwarfess."

The young sailor nodded.

"I suppose dwarves are different like that."

Outside, the pirate captain looked over the assembled crew. When most of them were there, he began shouting.

 “All o’ my men ter one side! ’n all o’ the Silen’ Tearz crew ter th’ other!”

Mallorix moved quickly to where the Silent Tear's crew was assembled. He glanced over them, and noticed that many of the crewmen were missing - probably dead. The young man didn't have time to look for particular people before the pirate started yelling again.

 “Now, th’ truth o’ this ‘ere journey ‘az come ter me attention, ’n ‘tiz a cause I’m more than willin’ ter ‘elp yer with!”  

The pirate captain smiled a horribly toothy grin, causing his crew to murmur among themselves. When the talking quieted down a little, he continued.

  “So ‘ere it iz, matez; all those ‘oo are o’ worth ter us can join me crew.  Th’ rest’ll be set down on a spit o’ land n’ wait there fer rescue.  I givez me word tha’ I’ll tell th’ firs’ ship I see where ter find ye; yer cap’n’ll be with ye, too!”

Join his crew? Mallorix hadn't known about the treasure until he stumbled upon the group by accident. Joining the pirates was risky. The young man's thoughts were interrupted by Captain Skjangarris speaking.

“All of my crew will be joining me to await rescue, with the exception of Jorn’s specialist team.  I beg you, join Captain Kattaisson and finish the quest.”

Well, that made things simpler. The pirate captain continued in his nearly incomprehensible accent.

  “Now that’z sum good advice, matez!  I’m a fair man; ‘ere are th’ termz: any ‘and ‘oo iz o’ use ter us, n’ wishez ter join us, can do so.  Th’ treazure’ll be split equally among all o’ th’ survivin’ crew.”

This time, the pirates did not murmur. They loudly and excitedly discussed what they would do with treasure. Again, their captain waited for the deck to quiet down a bit before he continued.

   “Aye, ladz,  treazure I sed!  We’re on a treazure ‘unt now! Now, I knowz yer waz werkin’ fer Jorn Ranskjun afore, but from now, yer’ll be werkin’ with Cap’n Eric Kattaisson!  n’ yer’ll be bet’er off fer it, too!  Why, I ‘eard this Jorn dog would risk all yer livez ‘n keep th’ bes’ o’ th’ loot fer ‘imself!  I’ll tell yer, I’ll walk wit’ yer ev’ry step o’ th’ way, n’ giv’ ev’ry one o’ yer an equal share in all o’ the plunder!  That’z ‘ow we work, see!  So let’z be seein’ yer!  ‘oo wantz ter join us n’ be rich?  Step forward; tell us yer name n’ ‘ow yer’d be o’ use ter us!”

The first to step up was the slender Fionn. She murmured quietly to Captain Kattaisson, and he welcomed her into his crew. It was certain now.  Mallorix would join with the pirates.

The next to go was the tall man, the one who joined at Queen's Harbour. He introduced himself as Kyros Scaldai. He spoke of his skills on a ship, but there was a slight hint of both fear and pride in his voice. The young man didn't have much time to think about it, as Kattaisson accosted the dwarf, no, dwarfess.

She spoke modestly of her skill with the bow, and promised to go to the end as well. Then, it came to Mallorix's turn to step forward.

"I'm Mallorix Volinkov. I could say that I am a sailor, but, in truth, this is the second ship I've been on. The search for this treasure is a journey that I set off on, and I won't stop until I reach an end. My skills are few, but I can fight well, and do heavy lifting if it is needed. I was taught how to survive in the wilderness, so I can catch rabbits and such. Why should I not join, if these others go forth?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on February 16, 2012, 06:48:05 AM
   Kyros Scaldai; there was something about the name that tickled the back of Eric’s brain.  Did he know this man from some past time?  No, it wasn’t that.  Kyros Scaldai, the cocky captain who had a great fall; that was it!  Eric had heard tales told in boisterous bars along the Mithral coast about this man.  How much was true he couldn’t say, but the thought of some of the things he’d heard made the sea-dog smile.
   “Aye, mate; I knowz ‘ee knowz yer way aroun’ a ship!  Pride comez afore a fall, or so they sez – doez I need ter say more?”  Eric winked crudely at Kyros and bowed slightly, doffing his hat as he did so.  “Welcom’ aboard, mate – jus’ mek sure ‘ee rememberz tha’ too many cookz spoilz a broth, n’ therez only th’ one cook aboar’ th’ Runner!”
   A number of Eric’s crew started to snigger as they started to put the man in front of them together with the stories they’d heard.  Those who didn’t know started to chuckle as well, but only half-heartedly and with a questioning look in their eyes.
   Turning his attention to Koka, Eric nodded slightly at her directness.  “Well, we could always do with a good shot; welcom’ aboard, mate!  But I don’ much like yer talk o’ empty ‘andz!  ‘tiz a load o’ gold, or a grave thatz cold!”  The Runner’s crew gave a cheer, almost as though they’d be told to do so.  “So we’ll ‘av no more talk o’ empty ‘andz; or o’ empty anythinkz az it ‘appenz!”
   The next man to speak was Mallorix; Eric listened to him and couldn’t help but admire his humility.
   “Why not, indeed, lad!  Yer speakz plain n’ I likez ‘ee for it; we won’t be long at sea so ‘ee shuldn’t worry ‘bout that.  Aye, a man ‘oo can survive in th’ wild n’ ‘elp with th’ donkey work iz more than welcome ter join us!”
   Eric looked over the rest of Ranskjun’s special forces, “Iz there no more among yer ‘oo wantz ter be rich?” he asked.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on February 27, 2012, 08:44:12 PM
Koka started up when Eric welcomed her to the crew. She had the strangest feeling, as if she had been in stasis for the longest time, and she only just woke up. But that could not be right - everything was as before, the ship looked just the same with everyone in the same place. And yet there was this nagging feeling... Shaking her head, she tried to get back into the present and pay attention to what was happening.

After her own acceptance, Mallorix had also spoken up, so that the count now came to Fionn and herself, Kyros and Mallorix. After that, the rest was strangely quiet. Koka wondered what was holding them back. Surely not loyalty to Ranskjun, in some cases. However, she held her tongue. Each man - and woman - would have to decide for themselves.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on March 06, 2012, 03:06:06 AM
Fu walked to his friends. He bit his own lower lip as hard as he could, bit it until the blood came. It was the only way he could stand the pain in his shoulder. But on he walked, step by step, towards Fionn, and Mallorix, and Ylva, and Koka, and the others …

… and awoke. He was lying on his back, staring at the wooden beams of the sick bay's ceiling. He had not been walking. By the metallic taste in his mouth and the sensation of wetness on his chin he realized, though, that the lip-biting had not been a dream. Neither had, of course, the pain in his arm. Fu moved his fingers, and for a moment he felt an immense joy. He was alive, and at least he still had  his arm, or rather, he still had both of his arms.

Slowly, his memory returned: Ylva and Fionn had performed some sort of operation, though the details escaped Fu for now. In any case, he must have passed out. And now he had awoken, and for the first time since the arrow struck, he was able to feel and move his right arm again, although even to wriggle his little finger sent a pain through his whole body that felt like it would tear him apart any blink.

Slowly, painfully, Fu lifted his head and looked about him. Where was everyone? He remembered that Mallorix had been in the room, and Koka, too. And this pirate, who had carried him here in the first place. Now the sick bay appeared deserted.

But what was that noise? Was that someone snoring? Carefully avoiding to shift the position of his right arm in any way at all, Fu used his left hand to prop himself up into an awkward twisted position. This allowed him to see a corner of the room that had previously been behind him. And there, slumped on a chair, smiling like a baby that had just had its milk, snored Nikneth, the pirate.

What did this mean? Where was everyone? Had the pirates won the battle? What had happened to his friends? Were they alive? Were they dead? Despite his pain, and although he would have much preferred to lie back and fall asleep again, Fu had to find out.

How much pain it caused him to sit up and let his feet slide to the floor need hardly be told. Nor how shaky his legs were as he walked towards the door, or how gingerly he pressed it open, lest he wake the sleeping pirate. Walking through the narrow passages below deck, Fu did not meet anyone. In fact, the ship was eerily still, as if deserted. Memories of zombii pirates on a ghost ship floated into his mind, and the fear of that battle and the fire in which he had almost lost his life came back to him in a vivid flash. But bravely, determinedly, our wind wizard fought the demon's of his mind and soldiered on, until he finally came to the door that would lead him onto the deck. He opened it. What he saw made him shiver.

There were his friends and companions, assembled before the pirate captain like a group of prisoners. They were surrounded by the pirates, fierce-looking with their unshaven, scarred faces, their sun-darkened, leathery skin, their cutlasses dangling from their belts. The captain spoke in that gruff voice of his, addressing Fu's friends. The wind wizard could not make out the words – partly because he was still several dozen peds away from the scene; partly for the ringing in his ears, caused by the drug-induced half-daze he was still subject to; and partly for the captain's unfamiliar sailor's accent. But Fu had no doubt that they were no kindly words.

That was it, then. The pirates had won, and the captain was telling Fu's friends their fate. Walking the plank, most likely, or feeding the sharks, or keelhauling, or whatever method of torment took the fancy of a pirate captain's mind on a sunny afternoon like this.

But this would not happen. Not if Fu the wind wizard could prevent it. Biting his lip more ferociously then ever, Fu stepped forwards, approaching the group. At first he stepped cautiously, his mind racing, trying to decide what to do. But soon he walked faster, and eventually he broke into an awkward, limping sort of run, all the while trying to hold his right arm by his side as stiffly and motionless as possible. The pain was maddening, and while he ran, Fu groaned from it once or twice. But this was no time for hesitation, he thought.

Before he had quite reached the group, Fu, without breaking his run, straightened his back to erect himself to his full height of one ped, one fore, and two palmspans, and began to shout:

”Oh no, master pirate. This may not be! Ye won't be getting hold of these friends of mine. For know ye that I be a wind mage, master of Grothar's breath, and if ye be touching so much as a hair on these brave folks' heads, I will be sending a storm to be wrecking this pitiable ship of yours, and will be making waves to drown those pirates of yours, and will summon a tornado that will lift ye into the sky so high that ye never come down again. Then ye can be taking the clouds as prisoner, if ye want!”

With these words, Fu bravely stepped into the circle of pirates. He was panting. In his current state, of course it was impossible to even think of working magic, but he had not had time to think this far. The little wind wizard tried to look as fierce and merciless as possible as he stared into the pirate captain's eyes.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on March 26, 2012, 06:15:14 AM
   It seemed to Eric as though none of the others were interested in joining him.  He stood in the blazing sun, watching and waiting for another hand to step forwards, but none would.  Then, just as he was about to break the uncomfortable silence, another voice did so for him.  At first Eric couldn’t quite make out what was being shouted, which was no surprise considering the feeble figure who was yelling it, but then a particularly unpleasant word came to his ears.  At first, the pirate captain thought that maybe it had been a mistake, but then, as the little man kept ranting, it became clear that Eric had heard correctly.
   “A mage!” he cried in dismay.  Turning his head he spat onto the deck, as though the word itself left a foul taste.  “Wha’ kind o’ a perver’ed par’y is this?” he cried, his face twisting up in disgust.
   Within the space of a few blinks, Eric’s mood turned from one of elation to one of fearful cruelty.  There was no room aboard the Runner for a meddling magician!  He needed to be dealt with, and quickly!
   “Grab ‘im, ladz!”  Eric bawled.  “Tie ‘iz ‘andz ‘n gag th’ swab!”  A new kind of perspiration was beginning to break out on the pirate’s forehead; a cold, clammy kind of sweat.  The sooner this little rat could be drowned, the better!  Without hesitation, the pirates closest to Fu approached him.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on March 26, 2012, 09:10:07 PM
It would seem that everyone who had not yet spoken up had decided against joining the pirate crew. It was a shame, really - she would miss them. Admittedly not all of them on the same level, but still.

There was, however, one person in their party who had not been given a choice - mostly because last time she checked, he had not even been conscious, let alone in a state where he could make a coherent decision. He had got the better of himself though, and got out of bed, which he probably should not have done. And considering the rant that he was throwing at the pirate captain, his fever had not yet broken. All the more reason not to let them just kill him - even if he could do all those things he was saying, he probably shouldn't, they might just prove too much for his taxed strength.

Stepping from her place with the rest of the party, she stoutly went over to Fu's side, putting a hand on his shoulder - and careful to pick the shoulder that was not injured. She reached him just before the sailors did, and with a glare she defied them to move her, especially since she was more or less used to the movements of the ship, and she had planted her feet wide apart. Then she aimed her gaze at the captain. For a moment she debated whether to go with the fever approach, claim that he was out of his mind and wasn't actually a mage, but she decided that more harm might come of that when it turned out he could do magic, as she knew he could.

"What's this, then? You would tie up an injured man? To do... what exactly? And more importantly, why?" She narrowed her eyes, taking in the sweat, the darting eyes, the licking of the lips. She knew those signs. "You're afraid, aren't you? You actually think he's going to do any of those things? Look at him, he's half dead where he's standing! Tell you what, though, I'm not going to just stand here and let you tie up one of my companions. Here's my proposal: I'll stand safeguard that he will not do anything to you or your crew. If he breaks that bond, you can do with me what you like, but until that time, he is free to join our party. Is that an acceptable deal?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on March 26, 2012, 10:26:34 PM
For a long moment Fionn couldn’t make what she was seeing make sense. Fu wasn’t fit to be out of bed. He was belowdecks, this must be some other small, irate, determined wizard...

  “Grab ‘im, ladz! Tie ‘iz ‘andz ‘n gag th’ swab!”

All her gratification at not being the only one to step forward and volunteer to go along with the pirates dissolved as she watched Eric turn into the sort of cruel, alien creature she’d used to hear stories of as a child. Don’t go out of the Galumbe or the humans will get you, they’ll catch you and keep you as a pet, or eat you for dinner. Suddenly she wasn’t glad that Koka and Kyros and Mallorix had volunteered themselves with her. She felt disgusted at herself, at all of them. What had they allied themselves with? What were they doing to Fu? To Her Patient?

My patient.

That made everything very clear. She bolted after Koka, darting past the sailors to stand by Fu. The dwarf’s words made sense, and she nodded, glaring with her good eye at those closest. They’d seen she could bite, so she made sure her teeth caught the light as she added, “He is my patient, captain. A sick man. I’m sure you’ve seen how sick men can act.”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on March 28, 2012, 11:47:25 AM
After him, no others stepped forwards to join with the pirates to continue the search for the treasure. Mallorix looked at the others there, and wondered why they wouldn't continue, when they had already gotten so far.

His thoughts were interrupted by a thumping noise across the deck. The young man turned to see his friend, Fu, limping across the deck towards the group of pirates. At first, Mallorix thought that he came to join them, but then, Fu began shouting, and he realized what had happened.

”Oh no, master pirate. This may not be! Ye won't be getting hold of these friends of mine. For know ye that I be a wind mage, master of Grothar's breath, and if ye be touching so much as a hair on these brave folks' heads, I will be sending a storm to be wrecking this pitiable ship of yours, and will be making waves to drown those pirates of yours, and will summon a tornado that will lift ye into the sky so high that ye never come down again. Then ye can be taking the clouds as prisoner, if ye want!”

With those words, the pirates turned and noticed Fu. They heard his words, and reacted immediately. Mallorix knew that if he didn't do something, there would be a bad end for his new-found friend.

Before he could act, the dwarf woman strode out and stopped next to Fu. She faced the pirates with a threatening expression. She was joined by the girl, the doctor that had patched up the mage's shoulder.

Mallorix knew that he couldn't let them stand alone. He shoved his way through the pirates to Fu and the others' side.

"This man is harmless. In fact, he's very helpful. He saved my life, once, and is injured. Please, let him join us and recover, and you'll see the truth."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on March 30, 2012, 07:36:08 AM
A man's character, Fu would reflect later, cannot be told by what he does in the routine of his ordinary life. It is the extraordinary situations, the unfamiliar dangers, the unexpected challenges that reveal who he truly is.

“A mage,” cried the pirate captain, and ”perverted party!” And: “Grab him, lads!” Immediately, the captain's raggle-taggle henchmen turned towards Fu and motioned to apprehend him. He be afraid of magic! Fu thought about the captain, and inhaled sharply and with an audible snort. This captain hadn't yet seen the full power of Ximaxian art. Fu be sniffing a whiff of a chance, he be! Enlivened by this thought, the little wind wizard did not feel his pain anymore. Slowly and deliberately, he let the air out of his lungs through his teeth, and began to concentrate. See ye, master pirate captain, how ye be liking this here magic storm in that face of yours!

Unfortunately, his friends seemed intent to spoil Fu's plans. First, the dwarf interrupted his concentration by putting a hand on his shoulder, and shouting out at the pirate captain, with his mouth close to Fu's ear, and his wagging beard creating unwelcome perturbances in the air that really didn't do Fu's art and craft any good. And the things this dwarf said! He called Fu “an injured man” and “half dead where he's standing.” How in Grothar's name was that  supposed to help Fu to scare the Netherworlds out of the captain's bones?

Next came Fionn, the meddlesome mullog, and sang the same tune that the dwarf had started. ”My patient,” she said of Fu, and ”a sick man.” Fu looked aghast at his two friends. Were they going to let the pirates throw them into the water without a fight? Where was the courage they had shown, day after day, battle after battle, on the long and dangerous journey they had all survived together?

And just when Fu thought that things could not get any worse, Mallorix joined the chorus: ”This man is harmless,” Fu heard him say. Harmless! Did this lad have no sense? Did he not see what Fu was trying to do to save them all? ”  injured,” Mallorix went on. ” Let him join us and recover, and you'll see the truth.” At this point, Fu could contain his frustration no longer. But he was going to use it to his advantage, was going to let it all out to stir up an angry storm that he would direct at the pirates.

”Yes! Master! Captain!” he cried. ”Ye'll be seeing the truth of it soon enough!” His voice sounded funny to Fu. Thin, somehow, and whistling. He had shouted at the top of his throat's capacity, but for a blink there he wasn't even sure whether he had been heard. Surely that was just an illusion, though, brought about by the excitement of the battle.

”Look ye here!” he continued, stretched out his good arm, and blew across his open palm. A fine eddy of sea air began to swirl above his hand. ”Soon!” Fu wanted to cry. But it came out as nothing more than a tiny croak. ”Soon...” he tried again, but this time the sound was but a whisper, barely audible even to himself. Despite these setbacks, the magic seemed to be working, for the world around Fu was now spinning wildly around itself. Indeed, the effect was so strong that Fu was hardly able to stand steady on his own  two feet. He swayed, he wobbled, he tried to keep his balance by taking a sidewards step, but only managed to lop-side himself even further. Then his legs turned to butter, his eyeballs spun around like juggling balls, the world went upside down, then the lights went out. Trying to halt his fall, he managed to grab something – something that was unexpectedly furry. Was it the dwarf's beard? But it didn't do any good.

Whether his grip failed, or whether he dragged the dwarf with him, Fu did not know. All he knew was that he thudded head-first onto the deck, crunching his injured arm beneath his body. The pain was so strong that he could not even cry out. His stomach felt as though three trolls had danced a jig on it. His head was a pig's bladder filled with air and kicked about for a boys' game. His eyes, when he dared to open them again, stared up into the stubbly face of a pirate. The man stood perfectly steady on his feet. There was no storm tearing at his clothes. There never had been, or certainly not a storm due to Fu. What had pushed Fu out of balance, and what he had thought to be the beginning of a spectacular feat of magic, had been nothing but the dizziness of a man who was sick (yes) and harmless (yes!), and who right at this moment was feeling exceedingly small.

Yes, thought Fu later, when he had leisure for self-reflection. This episode did reveal my character rather well indeed.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Yurie Yileen on April 10, 2012, 04:01:38 AM
   “Scared?” Eric cried in reply to Koka’s observation, “Scared?  O’ a scrag’y dog like tha’?  Nay, mate, bu’ I won’ ‘av filthy wiz’rdz aboar’ me ship!”  He pointed a finger aggressively at Fu as he spoke.  Landy still stood by his side, seemingly unmoved by the news, but his eyes were staring hatefully at the little magician.

   “I appreciate yer prepozal; there’z more decencee in yer lit’le finger then there iz in th’ ‘ole o’ tha’ wretch!  But th’ dog still diez!”

   Another man had come to stand by Eric’s side, though only a very careful observer would have noticed for he moved so quietly and unobtrusively.  His bright, sea-green eyes darted from speaker to speaker, and seemed to sparkle with a keen intelligence, though he remained silent.

   Eric hadn’t noticed the arrival of his friend, Oksund; his mind was too busy boiling in a steadily increasing rage.  Now the doctor and young lad had sworn their allegiance to the villainous mage.  Surely he’d put them all under some kind of evil spell.

   “Damn ye all!” Eric bellowed, drawing a cutlass.  “A wounded rat iz th’ wors' o’ all!  We’ll finish it off quick afore it can do fer us!”  He was well worked up by now, and could think of nothing more than despatching Fu to his rightful fate.  The rest of the ship’s crew could see that their captain wasn’t in the mood for showing mercy, but they held back from fulfilling their orders.  It wasn’t out of fear that they did so, nor from a sense of pity for Fu; no, they would happily slit his throat and dump him overboard, but they’d noticed that Oksund was whispering in Eric’s ear, and that often changed things aboard the Runner.

   The ever calm and rational Oksund was a balance to Eric’s irrational and wild ways; he had often managed to bring the erratic captain back to a state of mind almost approaching sanity.  In fact, even though Eric didn’t realise it himself, or at least wouldn’t admit it openly, most of the crew knew full well that without Oksund’s influence the Rainbow Runner would have long ago ceased to exist.  The man had an intellect and foresight that was lacking in their captain, and he knew how to sell his ideas to Eric without provoking him.  He’d been watching events unfold, and as usual his brain had been weighing things up without the superstitious paranoia of the rest of the crew.  Certainly, Eric had a point – if this man truly was a wizard then he would be a potentially dangerous liability – but he could also be a potentially powerful friend.  The fact that three of the Runner’s latest recruits stood by his side made the situation crystal clear – it would be insanity for Eric to kill the man.  To lose the abilities of an experienced mage would have been bad enough, but manageable; to lose the proven skills of a doctor, warrior, the labour of a seaman and experience of a former captain at a time when such assets were desperately needed could well ruin the whole endeavour; whether Eric liked it or not, these people were needed; not only these people, but their loyalty as well.  Oksund acted quickly, using his power of persuasion to try and alter his friend’s course.

   Somewhere in the thick fog of fury that had filled Eric’s head, the sound of a bell rang clearly.  Its reverberations spread, dispersing the madness almost as quickly as it had descended; Oksund was right, this unwelcome discovery could actually be made to work in their favour.

   Eric’s face cleared, the distortions of anger lifted, and from the depths of his chest a mighty laugh erupted.  Even though he still despised this self-confessed wizard, there was something overwhelmingly comical about the way he collapsed onto the deck, tugging at the dwarf’s beard in desperation.  Now, seeing the situation with new eyes that weren’t clouded by rage, Eric could see how pathetic this specimen seemed.

   “Aye, a true menace if ever there waz one!” he roared.  The crew joined him in his laughter, unfazed by this sudden and dramatic change of mood.  Oksund had worked his magic once again, and had now melted back into the throng.

   “Still, ‘e needz ter say ‘e’ll join us jus’ like th’ rest o’ ye when ‘e comez aroun’.  I still don’ trust ‘im, but I re’kon we can manage ‘im!  Now, ‘oo else will join us?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Raworaan on April 10, 2012, 07:34:20 AM
From his position at the back of the pirates Raworaan could not see what was going on. Indeed fate had conspired to date to keep him out of the action, and to many it might seem he was just a member of the crew. Ah fate was a funny thing. If it hadn't been that almighty row he had with his uncle Cyradin, none of this would have happened to him.

Whatever the name of that port was, the cause of the argument, and indeed how long it had been since he had come on board had all been forgotten by the lad. In the time that he had been on board, Raw, as he was known for short had become stronger and sinewy and sun kissed. He had shinnied up and down more ropes than he cared to remember and he had scrubbed the decks far too often for his liking. He also learnt rather quickly not to argue about the orders given, as these sailors proved to be far less forgiving of him than his uncle ever was. One thing he had never really got an understanding of was the use of the cutlass. Instead he preferred to use the sling.

Raworaan ascended a rope so as to get a vantage point. He watched as the funny short little man stood up to Captain Eric, and then the others come up alongside the funny short little man. The Captain seemed to take offence at something that the dwarven female said, whatever she said didn't carry to him, but the Captain's response carried clearly to him. Then Oksund stood alongside the Captain and whispered something. The Captain then roared in laughter as the funny little man collapsed, and along with the others in the crew, Raworaan laughed as well.

Raworaan climbed back down the rope and picked his way through the crew until he approached an apple barrel. He longed to get in there and eat some apples and sleep for a while, but didn't want to miss any of the excitement. The lad's eyes were on the dwarf as he approached. She had a beard. That was funny as well. And there was another funnier one with them ... a bald female ... Raworaan laughed again despite himself.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on April 17, 2012, 01:31:58 AM
For a moment it looked as though things would go wrong. She had wanted to shame the captain by calling him afraid, but instead she had angered him more. He almost seemed ready to throw each one of them who stood up to him overboard. Then someone stepped up to him and whispered in his ear. She could not hear what the man was saying, as just at that moment Fu decided to show them all the truth of their words, but collapsing - and grabbing her beard as he did so! So much for gratitude for even standing up for him. She was almost pulled off-balance, but manages to keep herself upright and tug her beard free, though losing a couple of hairs in the process.

By then, the crisis was over. Instead of killing them all, as she had been afraid he would, he suddenly started laughing, roared with laughter in fact, and his whole crew joined him. She wondered if they were afraid of him, so minutely did they copy his every moodswing. Anger one minute, laughter the next... She was beginning to have doubts about the wisdom of joining such a man, especially on a mission which might turn out to be quite dangerous. But she had given her word already. She would not go back on it so soon. Ok, technically she had given her word to Ranskjun as well, but he was not here and Eric the pirate was. She'd rather survive now, and see the end of this quest, than to go back to someone as far away as Ranskjun empty-handed. Besides, she might still get to see this trinket he wanted and see if it really was just emotionally valuable. Probably there was more to it. She would see.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Royce Brodlyn Kristoph on April 17, 2012, 12:24:22 PM
The battle was over, but the danger was about to start.  That was the thoughts going through Royce's mind as the captain and the Captain of the Pirates spoke to one another.  They were nearly at the mercy of these pirates.  Who knew what might come of it.

The Pirate Captain was calling out now, asking for him and the others to join his crew.  Royce spat onto the wooden blood caked deck.  That would be the day.  He was a friend of Ranskjun, and he was not about to forget that and go treasure hunting with the pirates.  Ranskjun had trusted them to get it for him.  Royce had no intention of betraying that trust.

Suddenly, little Fu spoke out harshly against the pirate captain.  Royce felt a deep pride well up within him for the diminutive mage.  Then his blood turned cold when the pirate called for Fu to be detained.  He couldn't let this happen.

"You'll not harm him!"  In an instance, Royce pulled out his sword and stepped forward.

Immediately, two pirates barred his way.  The first forced a cutlass directly at Royce, who parried it easily and came back with a slash that ran across the pirates chest, dropping him to the deck.  The second brought his cutlass straight down.  This, Royce only partially blocked, feeling steel bite into his shoulder.  Still, he was able to thrust his blade forward into the soft belly of this pirate.

His gaze went to the pirate captain.  Only a few more steps, now.  A strange, but powerful pain suddenly exploded in his chest, and he looked down in wonder at the handle of a dagger protruding from his shirt.  Around it, a karikrimson stain fanned out in every direction.

Royce glanced back at Fu, and his mouth slowly formed the words, "I'm sorry", though no sound escaped.  Turning back, he took another unsteady step, but a hulking pirate stepped before him.  The pirate slashed at him, but Royce was able to parry this attack, though at the cost of losing his grip on his weapon, the feeling in his fingers gone.

An evil grin came over the pirates face, as he thrust his cutlass forward, embedding it deeply into Royce's belly.  Royce felt himself falling to his knees as he looked down.  Strange how this newest wound did not hurt at all.  As he stared downward, he saw the pirates hand reach forward, grip the dagger handle and pull it free.  A moment later, he felt his hair being pulled from behind, forcing him to stare into the sky.  As he felt the blade press against his throat, then being drawn across it, he could hear the sound of his grandfather's gentle voice.

"Come, Royce.  Time for some fishing.  Come along, lad."

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: fionn on April 19, 2012, 07:53:49 PM
Things seemed to be calming down, though Fionn barely registered what was said as Fu collapsed; his attempt to cling to Koka’s beard had at least slowed his fall, and she was darting forward to crouch at his side in moments, gently rolling him onto his back so the injured shoulder wasn’t crushed, leaning over to examine the wound, pressing a finger to the human’s throat to feel his pulse. She registered the sudden shift in the captain’s voice, from towering rage to hilarity, and decided, in the matter-of-fact way she decided most things, that she hated this captain. If it weren’t for the others, she would probably just-

Thinking back, she was never entirely sure what it was that made her look up. Perhaps the events of past days had made her more sensitive than she realised to the sounds of edged weapons on flesh. Perhaps she smelt blood, though the likelihood of that through the pungent wall of pirates and the recent bloodshed on the deck seemed slim. But she looked up from Fu, for a moment, and saw something fall to the deck through the forest of legs that surrounded them all. Something heavy and soft and quickly dragged away and confusingly coloured in reds and browns and pinkish tones, and a roll of white like an upturned eye, glassy and empty and dead.

The hand not still pressed to the soft skin just under Fu’s jawline clutched at an amulet.
 “Protect us from the brutalities of the big folk. Ancestors please protect us.”

It was a hoarse whisper, and she sounded younger than herself.
She stared as Royce was dragged out of her sight, and wiped furiously at her good eye, which prickled suddenly at her, and wanted to yell out and point but couldn’t seem to make herself speak anymore, so she simply counted the beats of Fu’s pulse and stared and stared.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Fu Luft on April 28, 2012, 11:22:25 PM
The pain danced a devil's dance all over his body. Fu squeezed his eyes tight shut. He clenched his jaw and and pressed his teeth on his lower lip, until blood began to seep out in the pattern of his dentition. He could not shut his ears, but his hearing withdrew all the same. All sounds were muffled. The laughter of the pirates, the shouting of their captain, the creaking of the ship as it rocked gently on the waves – they were soft and distant, as if they had traversed a massive stone wall before reaching Fu's ears. Eerie it was, dreamlike, but also strangely comforting.

His mind was playing tricks on him, and Fu began to know it. Unwilling to cause himself further embarrassment, he did not attempt to sit up. Instead he left his helpless body in the care of Fionn. She was crouching next to him, gently rearranging his screaming limbs into a marginally less painful position, feeling for the wound she had treated earlier, touching the pulse at his neck. Fu felt like a child, and relaxed into the feeling, handing all responsibility for his life to the young mullog healer.

“I'm sorry,” someone said. Fu heard it clearly, as if whispered by a tiny man sitting in his ear, or even in his brain. He knew the person whom the voice belonged to, but his pain-addled mind could not understand who this person was. Next to Fu, Fionn too was whispering. “Ancestors please protect us,” she hissed, her breath whistling past Fu's cheek. Fu wondered what had made her say that. Did she think he was dying? And then, as suddenly as thunder in the night, Fu realized what he had heard.

He could not open his eyes, or life his neck to look, but somehow he felt  what had happened. He released the clutch of his teeth on his lip, and with great effort asked Fionn:

”Where is Royce?”

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on May 28, 2012, 05:47:44 AM
   Eric turned when he heard a body slump onto the deck; in an instant he saw what had happened.  “Well, I guess thatz one o' em 'oo won' be joinin' us,” he thought to himself as he thanked the eagle-eyed pirate for preventing an attack.  Turning back to the small band of new hands, he could see that the recently deceased man meant something to them.  Not wanting another altercation to break out, he spoke to them.
   “'tiz a shame tha' such a brave man should choose to die like tha'.  I would ov dropped 'im with th' rest on a spi' o' land jus' like I said I would; 'tiz a shame.  We'll see 'e getz a proper burial az befitz a sailin' man.  Now, if thatz all o ye 'oo wantz ter join us, then 'tiz time ter get movin'!”
   The crew gave a quick cheer, obviously keen to get back to work and on the trail of Jovloff's gold.
   “Righ', ladz; tek wha' ye can back ter th' Runner.  Our new 'andz can 'elp!”  With a chorus of aye, ayes, Eric's crew started to disperse, heading off to loot the Silent Tear of anything they needed.  Eric, meanwhile, turned to Landy.  “See tha' th' cap'n 'ere n' iz crew are secured.  Pu' 'em in th' 'old back on th' Runner.”  Landy nodded and started to give orders to round up the members of the Silent Tear's crew who weren't joining them.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on May 28, 2012, 11:28:17 AM
With Fu's sudden collapse, Mallorix's fears that the mage might be viewed as dangerous slowly began slipping away. He stepped over to his friend, kneeling beside him. The pirate captain began laughing, and soon the rest of his crew had joined in. Mallorix knew that, at least for now, Fu was safe.

A cry and a thump made Mallorix turn. He caught a glimpse of someone falling, and a red stain spreading on the deck below the feet of the pirates. The body was quickly dragged away, and in a moment, Mallorix saw the face of the dead man. It was one of the adventurers, the swordsman, whose silver-touched hair and deep stare spoke of many things seen over many long years. On that face was a look of peace, untouched by the angry red wound below it.

The healer girl had seen it as well, and was staring in the same direction. She made no sound, and Mallorix was silent as well.  The silence was finally broken, not by them or the pirates, but by Fu. Mallorix barely heard the whisper that escaped his lips.

”Where is Royce?”

Looking down at the mage, Mallorix could only shake his head. He then knelt there quietly, in respect for the dead.

The next to speak was his new captain, Eric Kattaisson, giving direction where there was nothing.

 “'tiz a shame tha' such a brave man should choose to die like tha'.  I would ov dropped 'im with th' rest on a spi' o' land jus' like I said I would; 'tiz a shame.  We'll see 'e getz a proper burial az befitz a sailin' man.  Now, if thatz all o ye 'oo wantz ter join us, then 'tiz time ter get movin'! Righ', ladz; tek wha' ye can back ter th' Runner.  Our new 'andz can 'elp!”

The pirates, happy to take whatever they needed, quickly dispersed across the ship. Another group went and began herding the crew of the Silent Tear into a group.

Slowly, Mallorix stood and looked around. He turned to a nearby pirate who looked like he had some authority.

"What should we do?"

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on August 18, 2012, 06:42:43 AM
   The loot from the Silent Tear had been safely stashed aboard the Runner and the uncooperative members of its crew were now securely locked in the hold.  Eric had instructed that some of the sail cloth from the doomed ship be taken and used to wrap the bodies of three men.  Most of the fallen had been left aboard the Tear to burn with her, but in Eric's eyes  three individuals were worthy of a proper burial; two of his own crew and the man who had needlessly sacrificed his life.  Actually, Eric didn't really consider the latter worthy of a sea-burial, but Oksund had quietly suggested to him that by doing so he'd be able to gain more respect from his latest converts.

   Now, with the blazing sun beating down, Eric stood on the poop deck surveying his crew.  They'd assembled en masse to say farewell to the recently departed.  Three canvas wrapped bodies lay side by side on the main deck, each a reminder of the inevitability of death.

   “Now, ladz,” Eric began, straightening himself up as he did so.  “Yer all knew two o' these men well; Fridloff and Hannverg, and yer all mus' 'av the same respec' fer 'em az I doez.  Th' thir' man 'ere, Royce, wazn't one o' us, but 'e deserves a propa burial on accoun' o' 'iz courage.”

   A murmur of discontent rippled around the crew, a few whispering to each other about the unfairness of it when there were plenty of more deserving hands from their own crew who had fallen that wouldn't get the same treatment.  Eric raised a hand to quiet the men, and addressed their concern.

   “Aye, tiz true there be plen'y o' good men on yonder ship 'oo deserve a good burial, too.  But on accoun' 'o time we can't do right by all o' 'em.  'n it seemz only right tha' we give one o' the Tear's crew a propa burial, since so many o' them fell, too.”

   The muttering faded away, and although not all were happy with the decision, they didn't raise a voice to argue.

   “So, Fridloff – wha' can I say?  A more 'ardworkin' mate could ne'er be found!  'e gave more ter this ship than most o' yer ever will, 'n 'e ne'er once complained!  Aye, we'll miss 'iz jokez 'n all – alwayz a smile on 'iz face!  Fridloff, mate, yer cheered me up more timez than I carez ter remem'er!  We'll mizz 'ee, mate – but ne'er forget yer!”  Eric paused for a moment before raising a roaring cheer in memory of the fallen man.  Then, without undue hesitation, Landy and three other men lifted the first body and cast it overboard.  Eric whispered a short prayer to himself, and then launched into a requiem for Hannverg, who had apparently been a notorious womanizer and one of the Runner's best drinkers.  Then, as before, Hannverg's body was launched into the deep blue sea and private prayers were said.

   “Now, 'tiz th' turn o' our new recruitz.  I ne'er knew the man Royce, so I givez it' o'er ter ye ter say somethin' o' 'im.”  Eric gestured for the small band of Jorn Ranskjun's hired hands to join him on the poop deck and speak.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Mallorix Volinkov on October 30, 2012, 07:38:31 AM
There was only silence from the others, so Mallorix stepped forward first. He stood there silently for a few moments, collecting his thoughts, before beginning the eulogy.

"I didn't know Royce well. You could say he was an acquaintance, or perhaps maybe a friend in the sense of people traveling together. I didn't know him well, but I still have the greatest respect for him. Royce... Royce was a kind man. He protected the weak, and used his strength to save others. I have never met anyone more selfless. He fought to save everyone from danger, but never thought about himself. He put others first. In the short time I knew him, when we were in danger on these seas, not once did he hesitate to go into danger to help other people. He was a good man, and I wish I knew him better when he lived."

His words said, Mallorix stepped back and hung his head in silence. He didn't feel as sad as he would if a family member had died, but he still felt a loss, a regret that a good person had left the world.

Title: Re: Chapter Four - Things Fall Apart
Post by: Koka Bentarm on November 07, 2012, 09:10:01 PM
Koka's face was set with sadness. She did not cry - she rarely did - but a stone seemed to have lodged in her stomach, and the corners of her mouth were drawn down, hard though that was to see behind her beard. Why did he have to die? And why like that, attacking pirates who had already conquered them? He had shouted something, but she had not heard what. She had, on the other hand, seen the face of the pirate who had killed him, seen the evil grin as he drew the dagger across the man's throat. She was not sure if any of the others had seen it, but she had, and she swore vengeance against him, even if she could not enforce it right at this moment, unless she wanted to die herself. But he would be going with them to find the famed treasure, and accidents did happen. He had not needed to slit Royce's throat. They might still have saved him, but for that.

She only half listened to what Mallorix said. Her face remained stony. It was not that she was not interested. But if she listened too hard, the tears would escape. Not crying was a strength now. She refused to cry in front of these battle-hardened pirates. When the young sailor stepped back, she wanted to have her say. No sign should escape of her plan, as yet half-formed. But she owed her friend at least that. She took a step forward.

"Royce, my friend. We've known each other for a short time, but in that time I have come to respect and love you - not only for your bravery but also for your kindness. I wish you could still be among us now. One thing is certain: I will never forget you." For a moment she looked like she might say something else, but then decided against it. This was all she felt equal to at this moment. She must not let the tears fall.