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Author Topic: Chapter Two - All Aboard!  (Read 41524 times)
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Fu Luft
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« Reply #150 on: June 11, 2009, 05:47:00 AM »

The captain held out his pipe to Fu. It stuck in the air like a taunt. Did the captain think that Fu was some sort of small village market performer, who just let things fly about for any old Tom, Dick and Frodo's cheap amusement? Well, actually, Fu had  performed on village markets, and occasionally, Tom, Dick and Frodo had  been amused. The secret of a good village market performance was to come up with something unexpected. Fu closed his eyes. His head was still aching, and the heat didn’t help – but his breath was steady, his mind calm. The wizard could feel the wind ounia in his lungs crackling with mischievous intent.

Fu opened his eyes and looked at the captain. He wore a stylish uniform with a formidable hat. The hat had three points: one on the right, one on the left, and one on top; its silhouette formed a triangle with curved sides. It was an interesting shape, and Fu could almost feel the sea wind caressing it, tearing at it, probing with tentative gusts the strength of its grip on the captain’s head. The sea wind, decided Fu, could do with a little help.

Fu inhaled and focused his mind. The ounia were tingling in every part of his body, shivering with the desire to move about. The wizard formed a perfect “O” with his mouth, and slowly let some of the wind that had gathered inside him flow out into the space between himself and the captain. A gentle breeze began to stir. Ever so slightly, Fu’s hair fluttered – and so did the sleeve on the outstretched arm with which the captain was still holding the pipe. There was a curious tension in the air; or did Fu only imagine it? He was about to risk annoying the captain – the person on whose benevolence his freedom and wellbeing depended. But then, reflected Fu, there was no guarantee that the captain would be merciful, no matter what Fu did. So there was no reason for procrastination, was there?

Most people don’t think about their diaphragm very often. This is despite the fact that we depend on its activity almost every blink of our lives, just as we depend on our beating heart. For each and every one of our breaths we have to thank the humble diaphragm, whether we acknowledge it or not. Despite the general indifference about this industrious muscle, some occupations predispose people to respect the service that their diaphragms provide for them. Among these occupations are: singing, the playing of wind instruments, and the breath-inspired wind wizardry that Fu had made his profession.

As he had done a thousand times before, Fu tensed his diaphragm with a sudden, sharp effort, and forcefully pushed the wind out of his lungs, directing it at the underside of the captain’s hat. The gust hit the tricorn just where it met the stern forehead. A sailor’s hat, of course, is designed to stay on its owner’s head even when Grothar is in belligerent mood and blows gales at the ships that have commended themselves to his fickle mercy. The gust that hit the tricorn, though, was not an ordinary one. Controlled by Fu’s concentrated will, a bold band of wind ounia danced underneath the tricorn’s rim, teasing it with upward movement, pushing the stiff fabric until it slowly overcame the resistance of its tight fit against the captain’s skull. The hat began to fidget and wobble. At first its upward movement was very slow and gradual; as if the hat hesitated whether it should remain on its present perch, or overcome its inertia and fly free. When, after a couple of blinks full of suspense, the hat finally made up its mind, the effect was sudden and surprising: the hat gave a sudden jerk, released itself and with a soft rushing noise swiftly soared up, up, up – several peds into the air above the deck.

For a moment, the hat hung in the sky like one of those birds of prey that can hover almost motionless on the same spot, scanning the ground for the movements that betray their victims. Fu looked up at the result of his work and was rather pleased with himself. It was always satisfying to see a tricky spell well cast! But what to do now? Fu would have liked to gently put the hat back where it had come from - just out of courtesy, you understand! -  but his telekinetic skill was not sufficient to direct an object as large and as intricately shaped as a captain’s tricorn so accurately that it would just snuggle back onto its owners skull. What was more, Fu had rather exhausted himself. This morning, he had already let a biscuit, a pipe and a hat fly about - and this with a headache and a rather uncomfortable uncertainty regarding his future looming on his mind. Now that he stopped to think, he started worrying about the consequences of his action. How would the captain take his little demonstration?

So Fu just let go. In the hollow space inside the hat, the wind ounia were released from Fu’s control, ceased their wild dance and merged back into the sea wind. They swished and swerved and did as they pleased, or as Grothar told them. With nothing left for support but ordinary air, the tricorn spinned around a few times, beginning to slowly drift downwards, until a gust – an ordinary gust this time – grabbed it and took it on a steep downward curve, delivering it just within the grasping range of the mysterious lady who had talked so kindly to Fu and Mallorix. Would she catch the hat, or would it fall onto the dusty deck?
« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 05:48:17 PM by Fu Luft » Logged

Yurie Yileen
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« Reply #151 on: June 11, 2009, 05:30:32 PM »

   At first, nothing very much appeared to be happening; the rather fine pipe that the captain held in his outstretched hand, remained in his outstretched hand.  But then, ah!, did it just move?  A faint wriggle, perhaps?  Alas, no; it remained as motionless as an exceedingly idle man who had just settled into a comfortable chair!

   Captain Fjorwek reluctantly changed his focus of attention from the pipe to Fu.  Of course, this might all be a part of the trick.  Most of the 'magicians' that the captain had met before relied on distracting their audience before they accomplished their trickery.  Perhaps, once the captain was no longer looking at the pipe, it would mysteriously jump out of his hand, and Mr Luft would claim a victory?

   But still, the pipe remained stationary.

   Then, just when the captain was going to tell the small man how disappointed he was, he felt a sudden gush of wind rush past his sleeve.  The words that he was about to utter got caught in his throat, for although the pipe didn't seem to be restless, his hat certainly did!  It was a most disconcerting sensation, as though his hat had taken on a life of its own, and was no longer content to merely sit atop his head.  Little by little, it became looser; and then, rather unexpectedly, it detatched itself completely!

   Quite shocked by this sudden abandonment, Captain Fjorwek tilted his head back and gazed in wonder; his hat had become airborne!  Flying high above the deck, it hovered over the ship, apparently contemplating what to do next.

   "Oh, my!" the captain exclaimed in admiration, "I've had that hat these past five years, and it's never done such a thing!  Why, look at how it follows the ship, like some kind of a predatory bird!"

   The first mate, whose eyes were also fixed to the uncanny spectacle, could only manage to grunt a brief, "Aye, sir."

   Olsen, however, was far from impressed; he watched in horror as the captain's hat took to the sky.

   "I told ye, sir!" he cried at last.  "That little fella ain't right!  We should toss 'im overboard afore he meks trouble fer us all!"

   Olsen's words brought the captain back from his brief state of wonder.  He glanced at the pipe, which still sat stubbornly in his outstretched hand, and then at Olsen himself.  The man's outburst had been highly inappropriate, and under normal circumstances, Captain Fjorwek would have reprimanded him instantly; but these were not normal circumstances.

   "I would remind you whose company you are in," he hissed sharply, fixing the terrified sailor with an icy stare.  "Do not presume to tell me how to run this ship!"

   Olsen bowed his head and let his gaze fall to the deck; his feet had all of a sudden become of the greatest interest.

   "Sorry, sir," he mumbled uncomfortably, "It won't 'appen agen, sir."

   The captain noticed that Olsen was shaking slightly, and he was sure that it had very little to do with the prospect of being put onto rat duty.

   "Very well, Olsen, be sure that it doesn't."  Captain Fjorwek was reluctant to punish the man.  If his fear had caused him to temporarily lose his senses, how would the rest of the crew react?  Sailors were indeed a superstitious bunch, and the knowledge that a real magician was onboard could cause all sorts of trouble.

   "You are to say nothing of this to the other men.  If they ask you what became of my hat, you are to tell them that a freak gust of wind took it; nothing more.  Do you understand?"

   Olsen nodded, and muttered a rather subdued, "Aye, sir."

   "If the men get word of this, I'll hold you responsible, and you know what that means!  Now, get back to your duties!"  Olsen made his obedience, and turned to leave.  But before he did, the captain added, "And thank you for reporting your discovery; it was the right thing to do.  I'll see you get an extra ration of grog tonight."

   Once Olsen had left, the captain turned his attention back to the sky, but there was no sign of his hat!

   "What in the name of Grothar did you do to my hat?" he asked Fu, his previous feeling of wonder rapidly changing to anger.
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Rhia
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« Reply #152 on: June 12, 2009, 08:32:47 AM »

Rhia watched uncertainly as the captain and the prisoner stared at each other. Her first reaction had been incredulity, but it the prisoner -Luft, was it?- seemed certain in his abilites, and the old sailor, Olsen, as well, although the captain and first mate appeared to be disinclined to believe it. However, there were no miniscule signs that Luft was lying- he kept eye contact with Fjorwek, didn't blink, spoke with an air of confidence that is only found in the truth. She observed the two men so intently that she didn't notice anything until the captain's tricornered hat decided to shoot up into the air. Rhia stepped backward with alarm. Was that Luft doing that? The flight of the hat -Hah, wouldn't that make a humorous ballad!- resulted in a shaking outburst from Olsen.

The sailor's crusty old eyes, big as saucers, clung to the sight of the hat. "That little fella ain't right! We should toss 'im overboard afore he meks trouble fer us all!"

Fjorwek turned and dealt chidingly with Olsen, bribing the man's silence with promises of an extra ration of grog. Rhia watched vaguely, thinking about what powers were contained in such a small vessel. She was jerked out of her contemplative revery by something stiff and light landing on her shoulder and then falling on the ship's deck. Rhia gaped at the object. It was the captain's hat. After a few moments she slowly bent down and picked it up. She was in raptures. To have such power!... I did not know such things were possible in the world... Cautiously she held it out for the captain to take back. Or at least, hadn't seen them before...

But Fjorwek was not looking at her. His golden eyebrows were knit angrily as he glared at Luft. "What in the name of Grothar did you do to my hat?" It was funny. Rhia had never known that his face was slightly aquiline until she saw him in an angry state, with his hawk-like, piercing glower. Well, good thing the only thing the prisoner had to do was point out -meekly- to the captain that Rhia was holding his hat in her hand. ...He rather looks even more handsome when he's raging. Something about those blue eyes flashing so fiercely, his hawk nose flaring angrily, made her want to cling to him, or... or... Turtle crap, don't go to pieces! Don't go to pieces! The worst thing that could happen was for Fjorwek to turn around and see her gazing adoringly at him...
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Fu Luft
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« Reply #153 on: June 15, 2009, 03:50:12 AM »

While he had been concentrating on the wind ounia and their purposeful dance, Fu had not been able to follow the conversation among the sailors very well. He had picked up just enough to understand that Olsen – the sailor whose pipe had started the whole kerfuffle – would not hesitate to feed Fu to the fishes, if he had a chance. Just because Fu had taken the liberty of a few puffs from his pipe, the sailor now seemed to believe that Fu could turn him into a white ship-rat, like the one the mysterious little ship domovidge had been riding on last night. These sailorfolk were so superstitious!

The captain, on the other hand, evidently possessed the gift to believe his eyes and to not get frightened about what he saw. Only his tricorn was a little bit more precious to him than his generally dignified demeanour would suggest. ”What in the name of Grothar did you do to my hat?”, he cried, a thunderstorm in his voice and a tornado in his eyes. Fu couldn’t help wishing that he himself was in a position to complain even half as fiercily: after all, he’d lost his own hat for quite a bit longer than the captain his!

Fu lifted one of his shackled hands and pointed at the lady who had picked up the hat from the deck. She was stood slightly behind the captain. Fu smiled sheepishly.

”There, master captain! If Fu be permitted to be saying something, master captain: Please ye be believing me that I was having means of my own to board this ship of yours without the aid of a plank or a boat. And that I was being able to be hiding from poor innocent Mallorix here. Captain, I be begging ye to be releasing him. He was being blown into this here tight spot by Grothar’s unfathomable design and this old foolishness of mine that was telling me to be hiding below in your cargo hold.”

Fu squinted his eyes to avoid the glare of the injera as he looked up at the captain. A dozen questions were gathering on his tongue, jostling each other for first place should he continue to speak. But the wizard decided that it was wiser not to expect answers any time soon. He hoped that at least he could make amends for getting Mallorix bound in chains.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 01:04:08 AM by Fu Luft » Logged

Yurie Yileen
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« Reply #154 on: June 16, 2009, 06:52:45 PM »

   Turning slightly, Captain Fjorwek saw that his hat was in the care of Rhia.  With an almost inaudible, "oh", he let the anger fall from his face.

   "Thank you, Rhia," he said with a smile as he took the proffered tricorn from her.  As he did so, his gaze met hers, and he couldn't help but notice that there was a strange look in her misty eyes, something that he hadn't seen for a long time.  Something like...

...but it only lasted a blink or two, and then the hat had been returned.

   The captain held his hat warily, looking at it as a man would an unpredictable beast.  Then, satisfied that it wasn't about to jump out of his hands or bite him, he placed it back onto his head as he listened to Fu's pleas.

   "I must say that I'm impressed, Mr Luft; you certainly have a unique ability.  But to move a ship, or to become invisible are, quite frankly, in a rather different league!"

   The captain suspected that Fu was trying to trick him into believing that he had powers far greater than he actually possessed.  But he couldn't deny that there might be some truth in the man's claims.  He also couldn't deny that he was feeling a little uneasy.  The real power of this unexpected stow away was still a mystery, and that was unsettling.  Would it be best to release him, and try to discover more about him through friendship?  Or would it be better to keep him here in irons, unfed and too weak to prove a real threat?

   On reflection, the latter idea was probably the most sensible; a weakened man would always be easier to control.  But, for some reason, the captain felt more inclined to the former.  Perhaps he was getting softer as he got older?  Maybe he'd never been that hard to begin with?  Or, as was more likely, Rhia's gentle gaze had melted something deep inside of him.

   "Still," the captain continued, "I cannot completely rule out the possibility that there is truth in what you say."  He paused and looked thoughtful for a moment.  "And so, taking this into account, I believe you should be released forthwith!"

   Almost immediately, one of the marines approached Fu, and undid the chains around his hands and feet.  The first mate's face remained emotionless, but inside she was bitterly disappointed.  She only hoped that Mallorix would at least be left to languish in his misery a little longer.

   "And the same goes for you, too, seaman."  The captain indicated that the marine should also release Mallorix; the first mate's scowl came back.

   "'ere!  This cove's bin tryin' to escape, sir!  'e's bin tryin' ter pick the lock!"

   The first mate's scowl was replaced with a smirk as she watched for the captain's reaction; this would surely earn Mallorix a taste of the lash!

   Without saying a word, Captain Fjorwek went over to inspect the lock.  The marine was right; there was no doubt that the shackled sailor had interfered with it, successfully loosening it a little, probably by using a concealed knife.

   The captain turned his back on Mallorix and walked a few paces away from him; his face visibly darkening as the storm that had been brewing in him earlier came back.  After taking a deep, steadying breath, he turned back to face the rebellious sailor.

   "It seems your insolence knows no bounds, boy!" he snapped.  "And to think, I was going to show you mercy!  This is the third time you've crossed me this very morning!  Maybe you think that you're better than me, eh?  Maybe my orders are not to be obeyed?  Is that it?"  The captain wasn't shouting, but his voice was sharp and full of danger.  "Three times!  There will not be a fourth!"

   The first mate could feel a wave of excitement start to rise through her body; she was savouring every blink of this!  "Go, on!  Giv' 'im the lash!" she thought to herself with savage delight.

   "Hadgrun!"  the captain yelled.  One of the marines bolted to attention, and rushed over to the captain.

   "Yes, sir!" he said, saluting smartly.

   "Fetch the doctor, and the lash!"

   "Aye, aye, sir!"

   "The rest of you, unchain this man and fix him to the whipping post!"

   As a small group of marines went about the work of unchaining the doomed Mallorix, the captain watched on impassively.


   "Very impressive," Lieutenant Ustaskjan said to the dwarf in approval.  "Twenty is a respectable score by anyone's standards."  She paused momentarilly, before adding, "And I'm tempted to give you an extra ten for the shot that hit Bates!"  She couldn't help it, and started to laugh as she remembered the sight of the stray arrow penetrating the poor man's backside.  "You have to remember, though," she continued once she'd composed herself, "ship's are constantly moving; it's not like on dry land.  But practice makes perfect!"

   Then, after slapping Koka on the back, she shouted down the deck to Royce.

   "Over to you, Royce!  Twenty's the score to beat!  On my command!"

   She stepped out of the way, taking Koka with her, and then counted down, "Three, two, one; fire!"

   As Royce started his turn, the lieutenant turned to Koka and asked her a question; "Where did you learn to shoot?  Are you ex forces?"
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Mallorix Volinkov
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« Reply #155 on: June 17, 2009, 02:35:35 AM »

Mallorix had silently watched Fu and the Captain as Fu was doing his magic or tricks. The Captain seemed uncertain about what to do with the two prisoners, but he finally made up his mind.

   "I must say that I'm impressed, Mr Luft; you certainly have a unique ability.  But to move a ship, or to become invisible are, quite frankly, in a rather different league!"

   "Still," the captain continued, "I cannot completely rule out the possibility that there is truth in what you say."  He paused and looked thoughtful for a moment.  "And so, taking this into account, I believe you should be released forthwith!"


The sailors moved to free Fu, but did nothing about Mallorix until the Captain intervened.

 "And the same goes for you, too, seaman."


The First mate, who was clearly smirking at Mallorix's state, suddenly frowned. It seemed as if she enjoyed the young man's misery.

As a marine moved to unlock him from the chains, someone exclaimed:

 "'ere!  This cove's bin tryin' to escape, sir!  'e's bin tryin' ter pick the lock!"


Blast! The sailors had discovered Mallorix's handiwork. He thought that the small one sixteenth turn of the lock would go unnoticed, as it may have been just a mistake. He would not have been able to reach his biscuit otherwise. Mallorix was glad that he had concealed his knife in a small pocket on the inside of his shirt. There the fabric was thick, and nobody would see the knife.

At that moment, the Captain was not amused. He had inspected the lock, and he saw what they all thought to be lock-picking.

 "It seems your insolence knows no bounds, boy!" he snapped.  "And to think, I was going to show you mercy!  This is the third time you've crossed me this very morning!  Maybe you think that you're better than me, eh?  Maybe my orders are not to be obeyed?  Is that it?"


Mallorix exclaimed:

" Sir, I have no idea of what you are saying! I have not touched this lock. Please, I am innocent. I have not crossed you three times! At first, I did not hear your orders, as my ears were hurting from the First Mate's shouting. I did not hide the stowaway! I was caught when I saw him! Please, I have done nothing to deserve this!"

The First Mate, however, had other ideas.

"Go, on!  Giv' 'im the lash!"


The Captain agreed, despite Mallorix's pleas. He was soon tied onto the whipping post, where he was left for doomed. The lash quickly descended upon the man's now bare back.

Mallorix was tempted to cry out in pain, but he restrained himself. Maybe the Captain would have mercy if he showed no outward signs of pain.
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"I despise merchants. All of them are fat, rich men who yell about things and take your money."
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Rhia
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« Reply #156 on: June 18, 2009, 01:56:57 PM »

The captain let his anger melt away at Fu's words, turning to Rhia with a smile and a look that enveloped her, warmed her, softly touched her cheek with an invisible finger. Then it was gone, leaving her with a giddy sense in her stomach and heart. She stood, eyes closed, a small smile on her face. Her trance was shattered by the captain's voice, sharp with anger, stabbing and cutting the air. Rhia's grey eyes unshuttered wildly. Who... who now was he angry with?

The sight that met her eyes was that of Fjorwek standing irately in front of the taller prisoner. Every line of his body spoke of his ire.  "The rest of you, unchain this man and fix him to the whipping post!" He threw the words furiously at the man... boy... man-boy. His face was stony as he watched the sailors do his bidding, stony as he cooly watched the prisoner's reaction.

The first lash of the whip struck the prisoner's back. Grey eyes, framed by thick brown lashes, widened in horror. The pain! The pain the boy must be feeling! And yet no cry escaped from his lips, no grunt thudded dully through the air. Clear shimmery beads collected in Rhia's sea-hued eyes, longing to slip down her cheeks but restrained by the mind residing in the body. Already, a welt was rising on his back, a red raised streak cruelly slashing the smooth sun-tanned surface.

Rhia's gaze rose to the captain's face as he looked on the whipping. His expression was flinty and unyielding, so different from what it had been just moments before when his eyes were looking into her own. Her own visage hardened. What had the boy done? Taken pity on a hapless, lost man, and get punished for it. She watched the boy prisoner with soft eyes. He was taking it so bravely, although he seemed only about the same age as Rhia herself. Though blazing with pain, there was a steely resolve that shone through to the core in those eyes. Blue eyes, like the captain's, but these were different... Smiling eyes, sky-hued orbs filled with laughter. ...At least, a few minutes ago, they were. Now she could detect only a trace of that benevolent mirth. It was the whipping. Rhia could not stand to see that gaze surging with silent pain, devoid of laughter.

The second lash began its descent through the air. Acting on a spur-of-the-moment decision, one built up to in a few moments' thought, Rhia dashed forward, half stumbling over the captain, with her arm extended. Yes, this was the right decision. She could not bear to watch the prisoner's suffering-filled eyes another minute. What's more, her little deed was dramatic, sure to get a reaction. And yet all that was coursing through her mind was the expectation of the whip, the stinging line that would strike her slender limb. The dread filled her mind, spreading to every nook and cranny, overwhelming every other thought. Her eyes, widened by terror, screwed shut at the last second. The black whip curled around her creamy white forearm, making several circuits around the slim appendage. A biting pain rushed throughout her being, and she could not help the high-pitched cry that burst its way through her strawberry tinted lips. Pain! She had not known the meaning of the word before this instant, had not comprehended that which now surged and pitched within her.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 07:52:05 AM by Rhia » Logged

Yurie Yileen
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« Reply #157 on: June 18, 2009, 05:57:31 PM »

   Doctor Jorek had just finished treating Bates's arrow wound when a marine entered the sick bay, carrying a whip.  With a sigh, the doctor straightened up and nodded to the marine.

   "So, it's another whipping, is it?  Very well, let me get my things."

   Then, after collecting a few items and placing them into a black, leather bag, Doctor Jorek invited Fionn and Ylva to accompany him back onto the main deck.

   "Jameson here should be able to manage whilst we're gone," he said to reassure them that the variously afflicted men would be looked after in their absence.  "But I hope this doesn't last long.  If there's one thing I can't stand, it's to see a man inflict injury upon another."  He smiled slightly as he said this, but his eyes showed no sign of humour.  "Still, I suppose that's why I'm not a captain," he added as he followed the marine out of the sick bay.

   The sun was beating down mercilessly now, causing Doctor Jorek's bald pate to shine like the full moon.  A small group of idlers had gathered near the whipping post, where an unfortunate sailor had been secured.  The doctor noticed that this man's back was free of scarring; he was obviously new aboard ship.  "The first cut's always the deepest," the doctor thought to himself as he took his place next to the captain, whose stony face showed no sign of emotion.  "I wonder what he did to deserve this?"

   "Five strokes, if you please, Master Hadgrun!"  the captain barked as the marine who had fetched the whip approached Mallorix.

   In truth, it was a very light punishment.  Kari Fjorwek had never been a "flogging captain", and he didn't intend on becoming one now.  He knew very well, as did his crew, that there were plenty of captains who would have meted out a much harsher penalty, much earlier.  Still, five licks would suffice in this particular instance; Mallorix was new on board a ship, and had much to learn.  Like the doctor, Captain Fjorwek noticed the distinct lack of scarring on Mallorix's back, which made him think of his own, less fortunate skin.  Kari had served under many captains before coming one himself, and he'd felt the sting of the lash, too.  When had been the first time?  Could he even remember?  Of course he could!  It wasn't something that could be forgotten so easily!

   The sharp slap of leather striking skin brought the captain back from his memories.  Mallorix hadn't cried out, but his eyes were bulging with the pain.  "The next one will be worse," the captain thought to himself as he watched Hadgrun prepare for the next stroke.  An angry, red welt was already beginning to form where the whip had made its cruel caress, and the captain knew that Hadgrun would use it as a target; he prided himself on accuracy.

   But this time, Hadgrun was completely off target; he didn't even hit the right man!  In a foolish, but brave act, Rhia dashed forwards and placed her arm in the way of the second stroke.  She almost pushed the captain over in her desperate attempt, and for a moment he was shocked into inertia, his mouth falling open slightly as he watched the horrific scene unfold.  It was bad enough to see a man's flesh disfigured by a whip, but to see a young lady's smooth, creamy skin become its victim was much worse!

   A short, piercing cry shot its way to Grothar in protest, bringing the captain back to his senses.

   "Doctor," he cried as the distraught Hadgrun stepped aside, the whip hanging impotently at his side.  "Tend to the lady Rhia!"

   "What was I thinking?"  Captain Fjorwek scolded himself in his mind.  "Why didn't I order her to leave?  How could a woman bare to see such things?  Damn!  She'll hate me forever, now!"  Still, the damage had already been done, and there was nothing that could alter it.

   Doctor Jorek jumped to attention, and took Rhia's arm in his hands.  An ugly, painful looking welt was rising, almost exactly the same as the one on Mallorix's back.  But the violent red looked so much worse on this delicate limb.  Fortunately, no blood had been drawn.

   "Fionn," he said, "could you pass me the amber bottle that's inside my bag, please?"  He nodded towards the black, leather bag that he had brought with him from the sick bay.  The bottle contained a soothing ointment, which could ease the pain and reduce the swelling.

   "I'm so terribly sorry!"  the captain said as he watched the doctor go about his work.  "I really shouldn't have let you see such a thing.  What you did was...brave...and compassionate...but..."

   The captain's attempts at consolation were cut short by a sudden cry from the crow's nest.

   "Deck, there!"

   Slightly relieved to have a distraction, for he was rapidly beginning to feel like some kind of an ogre, the captain snapped back into his official role.

   "Aye, what is it?" he shouted back to the lookout.

   "That boat we spied earlier, sir; we're almost on top o' 'er!  'n there's a right queer couple o' folk on board, 'er, sir!  I think ye should 'av a look!"
Logged

fionn
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Mullog


« Reply #158 on: June 19, 2009, 03:35:20 AM »

 Fionn couldn’t help but smile at Shiana’s enthusiasm, and wished she knew a proper answer for the man’s questions. Glancing at Ylva, it seemed that she was sensibly staying quiet and observant. Fionn was about to mumble something largely inaudible about a search for buried treasure, when the thick quiet of the sick bay was broken by the clatter of feet and the familiar shout of people in the presence of injury. Fionn watched wide-eyed as a man was carried in, his injury obvious. I doubt he sat on it by accident – she remembered the other “adventurers” were doing training and weapons-stuff. Some band of treasure hunters we’re shaping up to be. I hope the sailors are being well paid to cart us around and get shot at. It must be bad enough with pirates, but if we’re s’posed to be the remedy, what must they think of us.

"Ylva!  Fionn! Could you spare me a moment?  I'm curious to know what you make of this."

Fionn couldn’t help herself. Maybe if it had looked serious, or if the man had been really distressed (his moaning had quietened, as he seemed to have realised that people were looking, and that he didn’t want them to), she would have been silent or said something clever. Instead, before she even realised she’d said it:

“He’s been shot, doctor. With an arrow, in his Hab, uhh, his bottom” she blushed as she quickly edited the blunter mullog word to something more polite in Tharian. Realising that she’d said it now, there was no point in pretending otherwise, she looked him straight in the eye and grinned guilelessly.

“So do we pull it out, or what?”

They did. The poor man made a noise like a stilted elk that’s gotten trapped in the clothelines, and followed on with an impressive volley of curses. A couple were new to Fionn, and she made a mental note to find out what exactly they meant later. After that, it was all over bar the mopping up, though Fionn suspected that the sailor would be choosing his seat with care for some time. She wondered if this kind of thing happened often.

"So, it's another whipping, is it?  Very well, let me get my things."

Fionn’s stomach turned as she heard the Doctor’s resigned response to the man who’d just entered the sick bay. The thing he carried in his hand suddenly seemed like a coiled spring, and he had only to loosen his grip slightly for it to lash viciously at anyone in reach, clawing at them with its terrible barbed tongue. As she followed him out she caught hold of the little man-shaped talisman.

When she saw who was tied to the post, she stopped, eyes wide and unbelieving. He was anything but smiling now. The talisman was pressed deep into her hand, indenting itself in her pale skin.

Suddenly, the girl she remembered as Rhia was under the whip, the movement of both so sudden it took Fionn’s eye a few seconds to catch up. The whip didn’t care that it had bitten the wrong person, and curled eagerly round her raised forearm. For a split second all were frozen, like a tableau of a fearsome monster being fought off by a brave heroine.

It seemed to have struck the right chord with the captain. Rhia’s cry of pain roused an almost equally anguished cry from him. The whip was unlatched from her arm, and looked to be dragged away for now, Mallorix forgotten.

 "Fionn, could you pass me the amber bottle that's inside my bag, please?"

She dove for the bag and found the bottle – she recognised it as an effective – and slightly more expensive than she could usually aspire to – ointment for pain and inflammation. Loosening the top she passed it to him, not paying attention to the cries of the sailors, who seemed to have found yet another spectacle to attract their attention. She didn’t she decided then, like boats like this. Probably they were about to be attacked by fearsome sea monsters.
Logged

"If it's teeth are longer than your fingers, for the Ancestors' sake, assume it doesn't want it's belly tickled..."
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Fu Luft
Befuddled Spellblower
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« Reply #159 on: June 19, 2009, 04:54:45 AM »

Fu looked aghast at the brutal scence: once the whip crashed down on Mallorix’s back, before the petite mysterious lady threw herself into the whipmaster’s second strike. When he later thought back to these events, Fu asked himself what had been the most frightening: the strange and inappropriate jolliness of the whip’s crack; the stoic silence with which Mallorix took his blow; or the young lady’s sharp cry of shock and pain that rang out so loud and clear and defenceless that the sea wind seemed to stop blowing for a blink, listening in surprise.

And it was being Fu's fault, Fu would berate himself for a long time after. By revealing the extent of his skill, he had hoped to help Mallorix. He had felt elation when the captain had ordered both prisoners’ release. As soon as his shackles had been undone, he had stood up. He had rubbed his wrists – they had gone stiff and slightly chafed by the chains – and turned to Mallorix to congratulate him on regaining his freedom.

Then the world had turned black. Fu had felt his hands grow very cold, and the blood leave his head. Fearing to lose consciousness, he had staggered and held on to the first person that came within his reach. That person happened to be Olsen, the superstitious old sailor who didn’t like his smoking utensils meddled with. Olsen had suspected “stryke-sharky designs, mate!” – strange that Fu should have remembered it, but that’s how the sailor had put it – and had pushed Fu’s body away. Fu had stumbled and fallen, and although he only lost consciousness for a blink or two, had felt so drowsy that he had decided to lean against the railing for a while and wait until Mallorix would emerge.

Nobody had paid attention to him anymore – popular interest appeared focused on some other event. Fu had watched the backs of a group of sailors who had stood between him and Mallorix. It was only when he had seen a muscular sailor walking past with a whip in his hand, had Fu suspected that Mallorix wasn’t actually about to be released. With a sense of evil foreboding, the wizard had struggled to his feet, and had helplessly witnessed the events that would, for a long time afterwards, sting his conscience with needles of guilt whenever he remembered them.

Two young people, who had both been trying to help Fu, felt the cruelty of the lash – and the ultimate cause of it was he, Fu, himself. Ye be a source of trouble, foolish Fu, he thought. Ye better be staying home and not be going out and not hoping that ye be any good to anybody. Not that he had a home, of course. Not really. And the way that I be acting, my little Bronya may be better off if she never be seeing me again.

Well, at least the captain seemed sufficiently shocked by the lady’s intervention to stop the punishment. Why had she thrown herself into the whip, anyway? Maybe the two be secret lovers, Mallorix and her, speculated Fu. This be the explanation also why she was being so kind to us prisoners earlier. In any case, Fu decided he needed to apologize to both of them. But there was so much busy movement on deck that he didn’t know how he should get through. Before long, the quack and his impish sidekick arrived, probably to treat the victims of the whip. What a strange tradition this be – first ye be whipping the blood out of a man, then ye be all concerned for his health and be calling the healer to be treating him.

Dazed by the sun’s heat, his continuing headache, and the confusion the events had caused in his mind, Fu looked about. He hoped he would be allowed to go on land soon, to leave this wretched ship and never to set eyes on it again. But while he was here, he might just as well use the time to learn what he could about the strange folk on board. Oh, and where was it that he'd lost his pipe?
Logged

Koka Bentarm
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« Reply #160 on: June 19, 2009, 05:11:14 AM »

Koka watched Royce's performance, one hand gripping her bow so that she would not lose it to some freak movement of the ship. The lieutenant asked her where she had learned how to shoot.

"Ex-forces? I am sorry, I don't know what you mean by this word. I learned how to shoot from my mother, as she did from her mother before her and so on, down a long line of mothers. You see, back home in the caves hunting is women's work. I had hoped to teach my own daughter the art, but, well..." Koka shrugged. "Up here I'm not too likely to meet another good man like the one I lost. Though we mustn't loose hope, must we." she added with a grin.

It was only after she said this that she realised she had given away her 'secret'. Ah well, it wasn't much of a secret to begin with. Before the lieutenant could answer, though, Koka was distracted by a group of sailors gathering. She could even see some of her own adventuring party joining in. Smiling politely at the woman next to her, the dwarfess wandered over. She wanted to know what Royce's score was, yes, but on the other hand... ah well, she admitted it, she was curious! She arrived at the group just in time to see a sailor - oh, wasn't that the boy from earlier? - tied to a pole, his bare back bent and colouring a deep red colour where something had hit him. And then she saw the girl, the one who seemed to be family of their employer, with the 'something' curled around her arm. What in ThrumBaroll's name had happened here?

Soon enough the girl was being taken care of by the doctor and his two assistants. Koka stuck unobtrusively close as she listened to the Captain's confused words. Brave but foolish, huh? Well, that certainly gave her enough information to piece some things together, and the tone of voice in which this was said gave her even more information. She smiled - behind her beard, where nobody could see it. This was one piece of information she was keeping to herself, for now anyway. After all, a woman's gotta have her secrets, no matter which race she came from!

Since she was standing so close to the captain anyway, she had no trouble hearing the shouted conversation to the top of the ship. A boat, eh? Interesting. Deciding that what's-her-name was well taken care of by the doctor, the foreign girl and the mullog, Koka scooted over to the railing, which she peered over in an attempt to see said queer characters.

This turned out not to be such a bright idea. As soon as she concentrated on anything outside of the ship, she saw the sheer vastness of the sky. It went on forever, seemingly, not broken by a single silhouette. Somewhere in the far distance, the sky and the sea merged and became one, and it ... just... didn't... stop.

Koka blindly felt for the railing, grabbing it with all her might. The sheer magnitude of unbroken blue overwhelmed her, pressed down on her, crushed her to pieces. It was dizzying, nauseating. Her breath came in short, ragged bursts, struggling to get air into her lungs that just wouldn't come. If she had thought that this feeling was bad on land, at least very often there were clouds there, and she could look at something close by to ignore that vastness above her, that... that emptiness. She knew that she was having a panic attack, and a little voice in the back of her mind told her to snap out of it, but she couldn't. Her legs buckled under her, and she fell down on one knee, still clutching the railing and gasping for air. Another, louder voice in her head screamed HELP but it did not come out of her mouth, nothing could come out, she was falling, falling up and up and up into that great wide space of blue without anything to catch her and she stared up and all she could see was the blue and why could she not breathe if there was so so so much air and how could she be kneeling when she was falling and tolling and falling and up Up UP!

Her hand had let go of the railing and she reached out, out for anything to get a hold of, and she found something, something small and soft and real, it was a hand, a small hand that was all that was real right now, she clutched the hand like a lifeline, though somehow, even in her panicked state, she managed not to use all her great dwarven strength, because if she did then the hand would break, and if the hand broke than she would have nothing but blue and air and blue and air and no air, no air, help me "Help me"

It was a whisper, no more than the merest thread of a sound, but it had to be enough, it was all she could manage in the blueness. It had to be enough. Please help me.
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Rhia
Songbird of the Sea
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« Reply #161 on: June 19, 2009, 11:52:57 AM »

The whip was gone from Rhia's arm, but it had left its mark, an ugly red line of swelling that ran around her tender forearm several times.  The contrast of the red-pink welt against the ivory creaminess of the untouched skin was almost ironic. Her face was turned downwards, hiding her slightly gasping breaths. The initial pain was gone now. All that remained was a raw throbbing in her arm near the wound. Her other hand gingerly touched the welt with a long index finger, and it seemed to her that she could physically feel the pulsating.

And then, suddenly, she could hear the captain. "Doctor, tend to the lady Rhia!" His face was a picture of horror as he shouted, staring at her in dismay. She could not tell what was going on in his mind. She didn't exactly care, though, at the moment. Her eyes passed backed to the prisoner. She was noticing things about him now- his brown hair, the slight build, pleasing face... Things that she hadn't before, when her attention had been on Luft, the one who had captured her initial sympathy. But now, now, after he was liberated, her worry for him was lessened. But the other prisoner... (She didn't even know his name!) He would surely be punished, even... even after her theatrical little act.

Gentle hands took her arm and held it firmly. A low, pleasant voice spoke close by Rhia.  "Fionn, could you pass me the amber bottle that's inside my bag, please?" Oh, it was Doctor Jorek. He was comforting to her, how similar he was to Uncle Jorn in some ways. Mainly the roundness and pleasant face, she supposed, but it helped nonetheless.

Jorek's thick, confident fingers spread an ointment onto her arm, working softly but quickly. Stinging senstaions abounded, but the balm was cool and felt good on her arm, a pleasant contrast to the sickly warm temperature of the skin near and of the welt. Meanwhile, the captain blustered nearby, watching the doctor, Fionn, and Rhia helplessly. "I'm so terribly sorry! ...I really shouldn't have let you see such a thing.  What you did was... brave... and compassionate... but..."

And how was she supposed to respond to that? She didn't even know what was going on in Fjorwek's brain. At the moment, she didn't feel like answering. Her silence did not get the chance to penetrate. A loud call pierced the air, distracting the captain from what was sure to be awkward. "Deck, there!" Rhia listlessly wactched the doctor and his assistant going about their work and tuned out whatever was going on with Fjorwek and the sailor in the crow's nest. Her mind whirred with thoughts of the taller prisoner. She had to find out his name- he was far too good-looking to miss a chance on! Besides, he might prove to be a good distraction from Captain Fjorwek. Oh aye, that was another place a possible romance with the tall prisoner would benefit- if the captain felt any fondness for Rhia, there was a chance he would become a bit jealous. Yes, Rhia was feeling better.
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fionn
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Mullog


« Reply #162 on: June 19, 2009, 06:57:36 PM »

Rhia seemed to recover quite quickly from the shock. Fionn looked to the young sailor, who seemed a little short on attention. She was about to go over to him, when she heard someone moving heavily close behind her. She almost yelped when something took hold of her hand, left trailing behind her as she stood indecisively, a little apart from the others.

The something was alive, hot and clammy with sweat, and tugged desperately at Fionn’s childlike fingers with a strength that was frightening. She turned, clasping her free hand reflexively at the charms round her neck, to see who, or what, had caught hold of her.

It was Koka, but not as Fionn had seen him before – the dwarf seemed entirely transformed. Crouching huddled on one knee, half slumped to the floor, she could clearly hear the gasping breaths trying to force their way into his lungs. Somehow he was able to speak, his barely audible words heavy with fear.

“Help me.”

An image presented itself to Fionn; a pale little boy from a town long since forgotten. His mother, a drawn, tired looking woman with sharp elbows, had brought him along, presented him to Fionn, and asked how much to cure him. That Fionn might not automatically know what was wrong had not occurred. Talking to him he seemed fine, until the subject of bed-time came up. When the conversation turned to the dark, he turned white as paper, and stopped breathing. It had been almost as terrifying for the mullog as it must have been for him, but a little quick thinking had helped somewhat.

Without trying to remove her hand from the dwarf’s panicked grip, Fionn began rummaging through pockets, bringing out small bottles and vials until she found what she was looking for – a tiny bottle, shorter than her own thumb, with a minute amount of cloudy liquid inside. Thank the ancestors you don’t need much. She looked Koka in the eye and smiled her reassurance. Though it would have been useful to know just exactly what the cause of all this was, it seemed unfair to expect him to speak in this state.

“You’re alright, just concentrate on breathing for me, please? Can I have my hand back? Thank you.” She undid the bottle, put her thumb over the end and tipped it up. Yahrle juice was potent, but this much was hopefully only going to make him relax a little. Giving her friendliest smile, the mullog reached forward and smudged the sweet-scented juice under Koka’s nose, where the scent would be easy to breathe in – provided that he could breathe, that is.

“Try and breathe in through your nose, then out through your mouth, see? We take in healthy air and get rid of the bad. I must say, I didn’t ‘spect a tough one like you to get fearsome eru stuck in your chest. You’re bigger and stronger than them, you can get rid of them easy, see?”
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"If it's teeth are longer than your fingers, for the Ancestors' sake, assume it doesn't want it's belly tickled..."
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Mallorix Volinkov
Adventurous Peasant
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« Reply #163 on: June 20, 2009, 08:37:36 AM »

The whip had left a horrible red welt that stung with pain on his back. He held his breath, bracing for the next blow, but instead he heard a lady's cry of pain. He struggled to turn around and see what was happening, but all he saw was a glimpse of the kind lady who offered to help the two prisoners. A moment later the Captain called for the doctor.

"Doctor, tend to the lady Rhia!"


Mallorix was puzzled for a moment, but then he pieced together what had happened. The lady, whose name was Rhia, had either blocked the blow or had accidentally gotten in the way. She did not seem like someone who would stumble into the way of a whip, so he assumed it was the former. What a kind person she was!

As the doctor and some of the passengers attended to Rhia, the young man thought of what would happen to him. Perhaps the Captain would free him. Most likely the whipping would continue.

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"I despise merchants. All of them are fat, rich men who yell about things and take your money."
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Royce Brodlyn Kristoph
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« Reply #164 on: June 20, 2009, 09:00:30 AM »

Royce had been stringing his bow, getting ready to partake in the next exercise, and for the most part had been ignoring the goings on with the others.  It mattered little to him if there were stowaways on board.  And the punishment doled out was appropriate.  Personally, he wouldn't have seen it as too much if the stowaway had been tossed overboard, and the other man as well.

Once the bow was strung, he pulled the string back a few times, feeling the strong spring in the wood.  He ran a hand over it lightly.  He loved this bow.  It had been his fathers, and now it was his.  Though he only had a few memories of his father, one of them was of the two of them out in the woods, the older Kristoph teaching the younger how to fire a bow.  Royce had to have been no older than 6 or 7 years old at the time.  If he closed his eyes, he could still smell the woods and hear his father's voice.

"Pull back slowly Royce, and hold it there.  That's right.  Now breathe slowly... slower... every breathe you take moves your body and each movement makes you less likely to hit your target.  Now... look down the arrow and aim... that's right.. good.. Yes!  See, I told you that you could do it!"

Royce opened his eyes.  So long ago, he thought remorsefully.  How much of his life would have been different if his father hadn't have died?  He felt a pang of loneliness as he stabbed the points of arrows into the wooden planking of the ship, so that a row of arrows stood in front of him, making it easier and faster for him to grab the next arrow after each was fired.

He then stepped to the spot from which he would shoot from.  He knocked the arrow and aimed, and just before he let it fly, heard heard a commotion from behind him from the dwarf.  Dwarfess?  Dwarflet?  Dwarfette?  Regardless, he was a bit put off that she would pick now to cause a curfuffle.  She wouldn't be trying to cheat, would she?

Probably not, he told himself, but he wasn't going to let her disturb him regardless.  He made sure of his aim, held his breath, then fired.  After each arrow was loosed, his free hand hand grabbed at the next arrow with practised ease.  He might not win, for the dwarf had done well, but he wasn't going to be embarrassed either.  He knew what he was doing.

At the sound of the lieutenants bark, he stopped firing.  It was then that he noticed Koka was having a rough time of it, and that the strange looking healer girl was tending to her.  He might have felt bad, but he knew that if this were a real battle, and Koka had been wounded, or worse, killed, that a moment of distraction on his part could mean more dead.  No, in battle you couldn't have feelings of remorse.  And this was a build up to the next battle.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 09:09:58 AM by Royce Brodlyn Kristoph » Logged

Royce

Violence is not the answer.  But, it will buy you time to think of one.
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