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Author Topic: Chapter Three - Stranger Things Happen At Sea  (Read 31233 times)
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Fu Luft
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« Reply #120 on: May 25, 2010, 06:31:34 AM »

"Captain, I believe you were asking for me?"

That was Mallorix’s voice. How did he get to be right behind Fu, where a different sailor had stood just a blink ago?

“Ah, yes, I wanted to see you both,” the captain said. “Please, have a seat.”

Slowly, Fu’s eyes were getting used to the dim light in the cabin. He saw a free chair and sat down. Once again, his attention was caught by the fidgety box in Ylva Rasmussan’s lap. It was definitely wriggling, as if of its own accord. Fu wanted to ask Ylva about the secret behind this strange behaviour. But then the captain spoke again.

Some of what he said Fu had learned already from Ylva. But from the captain’s mouth, and after the experience with the zombiis, the whole adventure sounded even more perilous and sinister.

“It is by no means certain that all those assembled here shall return to their loved ones alive; if at all,” the captain said, and paused to terrifying effect. When he resumed his speech, something in his tone had changed, or so it seemed to Fu.

“And so, we come to the point. It has been noted that you would both be of great value to the expedition, and it has been agreed that you should be invited to join. The conditions offered are the same as those that were offered to the others; an equal share of the treasure.”

While he listened, Fu’s mouth opened gradually like a heavy gate; first with surprise, then with disbelief, then with terror.

“If you have any questions, you may ask them now, and I shall try my best to answer them.”

”No!” Fu said.

”Or, um, yes. I be having a question. Captain, I be dead. That be meaning to say, I be as good as dead if I be fool enough to be going and seeking pirates and stealing back their treasures. That Wizard’s Bane …”

Fu’s eyes dashed to and fro, searching the room; and there he was, the tall elf with his long sword. Next to Ylva he sat, looking broody. Although Fu had heard this man call himself the Wizard’s Bane, he was not so sure whether the elf would appreciate Fu calling him that.

”Without that, um, gentleman, my life would have been ended there and then, by them zombiis on that other ship. Valiant swordsman he be!"

Fu made a quick and nervous bow in Malavon's direction. Aware that his befuddled mind wouldn't allow him to succeed in courtly gestures at this moment, he hastily went on:

”But not Fu, captain, not me. I want to be seeing my loved ones again, if I can. So all I be asking, master captain, be this: what our next harbour be, and if ye could kindly please be letting Fu off this here ship if ye not be minding, so he can be having solid earth under his feet again, and can be starting his journey back to his loved ones. Never should I have left them, I shouldn’t.”

Fu paused a moment. He felt uncomfortable in a peculiar way, like in the dreams he sometimes had, when he was in the company of archmages and found himself speaking and uttering one profanity after another, unable to stop himself, yet fully aware of the disapproving faces around him.

”Fu not be the kind of person who be getting to be possessing treasures,” he added.

Whether this was meant to be an apology or a fortification of his argument, Fu himself would not have been able to say.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 06:56:58 AM by Fu Luft » Logged

Mallorix Volinkov
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« Reply #121 on: May 31, 2010, 04:50:59 AM »

The captain spoke, “Ah, yes, I wanted to see you both.”

Gesturing towards a few empty seats, he added,

“Please, have a seat.”

Mallorix respectfully walked up to one of the empty chairs and sat down carefully, not wanting to knock anything over. 

The captain began speaking after Mallorix was seated.

“First of all, I want to thank you both, on behalf of all of us here.  You showed great bravery and initiative during our ordeal, and I think it safe to say that we all owe you our lives.”

The captain paused, as if for dramatic effect.



   “And so, I think it only right that I let you know the true nature of this journey, and why we have undertaken it.

Mallorix sat up, his curiosity sparked by the captain's words.

   “In short, gentlemen, your ship-mates here are working for a very wealthy merchant, who has contracted them to help him locate a number of precious objects.  These objects have been taken from him over a number of years, by a certain, villainous individual.

   “The individual in question is a notorious pirate, who goes by the name of Tendrim Jovloff.”


A pirate eh? This voyage was getting a bit too interesting. After a pause, the captain continued.

  “Needless to say, Jovloff stole from a number of merchants, and not just our employer, Jorn Ranskjun.

Of course. Wasn't he a pirate? Pirates steal from anyone.

  “The quest to locate and recover a very large amount of treasure has therefore fallen onto the shoulders of those assembled here.  If successful, the entire amount, minus a few, selected pieces, will be equally divided among those involved in its recovery.

   “And believe me, gentlemen, we are talking about a fortune greater than either of you could ever hope to amass in your lifetimes.

A great fortune, amassed by a pirate. This was starting to sound like a story and not reality.

   “Of course, such riches do not come easily, and the way ahead is a dangerous one.  It is by no means certain that all those assembled here shall return to their loved ones alive; if at all.”

Oh, of course, the stark reality. The pirate's treasure was guarded. Well, Mallorix was not going back to his home. He had nothing to lose, aside from the fact that he still had the rest of his life ahead of him. The young man pondered. Would a chance to become rich and be educated outweigh the certain danger ahead?

The captain spoke one more time.


“And so, we come to the point.  It has been noted that you would both be of great value to the expedition, and it has been agreed that you should be invited to join.  The conditions offered are the same as those that were offered to the others; an equal share of the treasure.

   “If you have any questions, you may ask them now, and I shall try my best to answer them.”


Almost immediately, Fu responded.

”No!”

Then, seemingly contradicting himself, he said,

”Or, um, yes. I be having a question. Captain, I be dead. That be meaning to say, I be as good as dead if I be fool enough to be going and seeking pirates and stealing back their treasures. That Wizard’s Bane …”

Fu paused for a few moments, his eyes darting around the room. He stopped at one passenger, and then continued speaking.

”Without that, um, gentleman, my life would have been ended there and then, by them zombiis on that other ship. Valiant swordsman he be!"

Fu bowed slightly towards the tall, long-eared man who stood brooding in a corner.

”But not Fu, captain, not me. I want to be seeing my loved ones again, if I can. So all I be asking, master captain, be this: what our next harbour be, and if ye could kindly please be letting Fu off this here ship if ye not be minding, so he can be having solid earth under his feet again, and can be starting his journey back to his loved ones. Never should I have left them, I shouldn’t.”

The small stowaway stopped, fidgeting in place. He continued nervously,

”Fu not be the kind of person who be getting to be possessing treasures."

Mallorix waited for a few moments to see if Fu would speak more. He then began speaking.

"Well captain, this offer is interesting, but I must consider all my options before accepting. After all, if I go, I could die. I also would like to know which harbor is the nearest, in case I do not choose to go."

Mallorix stopped, unsure of what to say next. A question arose to his mind.

"Captain, do you know anything more about this Jovloff fellow?"

Mallorix stopped speaking, awaiting a response from the captain.
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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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fionn
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« Reply #122 on: June 01, 2010, 10:13:04 PM »

You had to give him credit for frankness, Fionn thought, as the captain explained things to Fu and Mallorix. It might have been easy to spin tales of adventure and wealth beyond their wildest dreams. But what then? What happens when they find out the truth? That’s assuming they’d believe such stories, of course. They both saw what was in that hold. They both got away as narrowly as we did. Tales of daring and heroism pale a little in the light of reality.

Still, she couldn’t help feeling... not disappointed, exactly, but a little crestfallen, as Fu declined. And he was right, clearly, and sensible, to do so, probably. He had loved ones, he’d never wanted to get into this... it was mercenary and calculating to expect him to come along purely because he’d be useful. Still...
It would be an adventure, wouldn’t it?


She scowled at herself slightly, even as the thought occurred. She couldn’t help it, though. She was on a boat in the middle of a vast ocean! And it might have been scary, what happened (terrifying, horrible, stamped on our memory forever and on our skull for at least a few days, thankyou), but they were almost all of them alive... almost. Yes, there is that.

So when Mallorix, instead of declining, simply asked "Captain, do you know anything more about this Jovloff fellow?" Fionn smiled slightly. Whether it was because he was asking questions, or because he hadn’t said no yet, she didn’t know. She glanced at Fu, wondering what would become of him on his own. And had Malavon really saved him as he said? It occurred to her that really she knew barely anything about any of the people here.
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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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Yurie Yileen
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« Reply #123 on: June 07, 2010, 06:17:55 AM »

   Captain Fjorwek sat quietly as he listened to Fu and Mallorix express their initial reactions to his offer.  In truth, he wasn’t much surprised by the answers.  Fu would of course prefer to return home to his loved ones.  A brief pang of loneliness tugged at the captain’s heart strings as this thought crossed his mind.  He’d sacrificed a stable home life for one on the sea, and sometimes he couldn’t help but wonder what he was missing.  But the thought, and its attendant emotions, soon passed by.  Perhaps there was more of an adventurous spirit in the younger man.  Although he hadn’t accepted straight away, he hadn’t dismissed it, either.

   Sitting back in his chair, the captain pushed his hands through his hair, and stretched.  Then he brought his eyes to rest on Fu.

   “Of course, your sentiments are understood, Mr Luft,” he began.  “But I’m afraid it may well be quite some time before you arrive back at your home.  You see, I have strict instructions not to stop this ship until we make port at our final destination, Queen’s Harbour, which is in the Scattersand Shoals.  Of course, if I were then bound back to Ciosa, I would of course grant you passage; alas, I am not.  After handing over my valiant guests to Captain Skjangarris, I am bound further west, to Nybelmar, on other, unrelated business.

   “And unfortunately, I cannot think of any ships of good repute which would be making the journey from the Shoals up to Ciosa.  You see, the waters around the Scattersand Shoals are rather dangerous for honest merchants, on account of a pirate by the name of Arkan Delath.  He’s made the area close to lawless, I’m afraid.”

   The captain paused, and rubbed his chin in thought.

   “It might be quicker, and safer for you, Mr Luft, if you join this group on their quest.  I know that I mentioned dangers lie ahead, but to be honest, I believe Tendrim Jovloff to be dead.  Arkan Delath and his men are, however, very much alive and well.”

   Captain Fjorwek smiled, and looked to Mallorix.

   “Ah, the stories I could tell you about Tendrim Jovloff!  How he menaced the high seas with his crew of blood-thirsty wretches.  How he stole, killed, and tortured his way to infamy.  How he wore necklaces made from the finger bones of his victims, and drank ale from the skulls of his enemies.  Perhaps how he had the ability to call up a storm, or set a mighty kraken on his foes!”

   The captain was beaming now, and he started to chuckle.

   “But to be honest, lad, I never met him.  Not many did, and lived to tell the tale.  He was like most pirates; desperate, cold, and cruel.  He was remarkably hard to catch, though, and unusually intelligent.  He caused a great deal of misery to a lot of people; not least of all, Jorn Ranskjun.  The world is undoubtedly a better place without him, and I’m only sad that he met his well-deserved end in a remote forest, and not at the end of a rope.

   “As for his treasure, I’ve no doubt of its existence.  But Captain Skjangarris will be able to tell you more of these things.  He was assigned by Jorn to learn as much about Jovloff as he could, and I believe that he did a very good job of it.

   “The question you really need to be asking yourself, lad, is whether you can afford to let an opportunity like this pass you by.  I suspect that you’d regret it for the rest of your life if you did.

   “Let me be honest with you, a life at sea isn’t an easy one.  It’s extremely hard work heaped on top of extremely hard work, undertaken in harsh, unforgiving conditions.  It’s been my life, and I’m happy with it, but with a share of the coin from that treasure you could make a lot more of yourself, lad…a lot more…”

   The captain’s eyes lost focus a little, as though he weren’t talking to Mallorix at all, but a distant, vague ghost somewhere in the echoes of his mind.  Then, after a brief moment of silence, he came back to the present time, and smiled.

   “So think it over, lads!  Don’t be so fast to dismiss the opportunity, Mr Luft!  Just consider what a share of that treasure could do for your loved ones.”
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Rhia
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« Reply #124 on: June 11, 2010, 06:46:42 AM »

Rhia fiddled with the ring in her left nostril. The captain's words had began a struggle in her mind between her buoyant idealism and stark reality. Death always seemed so far away- she was young and not bad-looking, she hadn't even hit the prime of her life yet, and it was hard for her to imagine dying from anything but old age. And Fjorwek had just said that there was no guarantee that they would ever see their family again. Seli, Poppa, yes, even the rude old bat Mother. Yes, she had to admit that it would be more than unpleasant to never see them again. To never see them again, and, what's more, be dead. Yes, that would be quite disagreeable.

This was not some trivial jaunt or some epic ballad, was it. She could not dramaticize about her trivial pains and grievances any more, no more exaggerating and romanticizing. Fjorwek's speech had sobered up the always dramatic Rhia. It was more than a pity when the next words that she heard coming out of his mouth were about Tendrim Jovloff and his terrible legend and how Mallorix and Fu would proabably always regret not coming on this adventure.

Just like that, she was back to the old Rhia. If a rather weary, sore one. Any doubt of whether she would stay with the ship vanished from her mind, replaced as before with images of wealth and fame. She ran a few grubby fingers over the arm that Fionn had treated with ointment. "Thank you," she murmured to the small person next to her. Or tried to. Her tongue was only a piece of sandpaper, and thus inadequate for the process of speaking, and her throat was as dry as a particularly arid part of the Ráhaz-Dáth desert. It came out as a raspy "'Hak oo." She wetted her lips and tried again. "Thank you, Fionn. For the ointment." Oh, the smoke. She was not sure yet how or to what extent her voice was affected, but it would have to wait until later. At the moment they were waiting for the responses of Fu and Mallorix. She looked between the two. The Rhia of a minute or two ago, the one grounded in reality, would have carefully weighed the pros and cons Captain Fjorwek had presented them. The old one that she found herself being again- not so much. Surely they would not choose to pass this opportunity by.
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Fu Luft
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« Reply #125 on: July 05, 2010, 08:05:34 PM »

The talk of pirates made Fu feel queasy in the stomach. And the prospect of being stuck in some strange southern town without hope of returning to his home made his mouth go dry, and his throat tight and uncomfortable. He reached to the collar of his shirt and tugged at it to make it easier to breathe. It didn’t help.

Fu was surprised that Mallorix hadn’t agreed to join the quest straight away. Weren’t he and the little lady lovers? Maybe they were trying to hide their relationship. They might have reasons of their own. Well, Fu wouldn’t tell. He knew what it meant to be despised for the choices of your heart.

”Don’t be so fast to dismiss the opportunity, Mr Luft!  Just consider what a share of that treasure could do for your loved ones,” said the captain.

Fu scratched his head. The captain’s eyes were shining, and deep within them Fu believed he saw a heavy wooden chest. The chest’s lid was opened to reveal diamonds, and glistening jewellery, and gold coins from Nybelmar, and sceptres of long-dead kings, and crystal daggers, and spoons made of silver, and a little necklace just wide enough for the neck of little Bronya, his daughter, and a dress of silk just pretty enough for Sillis, Bronya’s mother, whom Fu still hoped would one day love him.

The captain was insisting that Fu come along on the adventure. Fu felt the eyes of the other passengers on him. The imp, it seemed, even smiled at him. Did they really value him so much?

Fu remembered the hold of the zombii ship. The spell had worked! For the first time in his life, he had been able to make a thing disappear. He was sure that it would remain the last time, too – but he took comfort from the thought that the wind ounia had obeyed him in the moment of greatest danger. Maybe it wouldn’t harm to at least make an inquiry?

”And this captain Skjangarris of yours, will he be bringing us back from the jungle?” asked Fu.

After all, what use were gold and necklaces and silk dresses if Fu was stuck with them in some southern jungle, while Bronya and Sillis were in Ximax in that  dreamlice-infested shack of theirs, dressed in their tattered rags, and eating their mouldy bread?

”If you promise me that he will be bringing me back to Manthria or Xaramon, I be coming,” said Fu.

This was madness. His own sentence echoed in Fu’s head, sounding like something not he had said, but somebody else. He hoped the captain would say no. He hoped the captain would say: ‘Well, you have to make your way back by yourself, Mr Luft’. Then Fu would have a way out, and could tell the captain that in this case, he thanked him very much, but would rather make his way back by himself before getting eaten by some jungle cat, rather than after.

The other adventurers had remained silent. Or had he just heard the little lady murmur something? Oh, these heroes, to take on such a quest. They didn’t know what a pathetic wimp they were inviting to join them. They would be disappointed by Fu. Or maybe they did know that Fu had just been lucky on the zombii ship, and that he wouldn't be of any use to them when it came to pirates and jungles. In which case they were fools to let him come along.

The longer he thought about it, the more Fu regretted what he had said. This would end badly. He felt it in every wind oun of his body. He would die in this adventure, just as his father had died, and his mother and sister before him. Fu’s family was doomed for some reason unknown to him. Maybe it was better for Fu to die, before he could pass on the curse to little Bronya. He just hoped that he hadn’t already done so.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 08:13:00 PM by Fu Luft » Logged

Yurie Yileen
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« Reply #126 on: July 14, 2010, 11:21:03 PM »

   Surprisingly, it was Fu who spoke next, all but agreeing to join Jorn’s quest.  Captain Fjorwek smiled slightly; evidently his speech had ignited a fire somewhere in the wind wizard’s heart.  Was it the call of adventure?  Probably not.  There was no greater motivation to risk one’s life than gold, and this endeavour promised it in abundance.  Fu had asked a serious question, though, and the captain’s face took on a suitably sombre expression.

   “Captain Skjangarris is a fine man,” he began.  “A tougher nut I’ve yet to find.  Certainly, I don’t always agree with his methods, but there can be no doubting his capabilities.  I can think of no better man to get you safely home.

   “But I can give no promises when it comes to such matters.  I truly wish that I could, but I cannot.

   “Perhaps it would be best for you to meet Captain Skjangarris before you make your decision?  I’m sure that once you’ve had a chance to find out more about him, your confidence in his abilities will be more than enough to convince you to go.”

   Captain Fjorwek sat back in his chair, and allowed his eyes to roam around the table.  Most of his guests had fallen quiet; not surprising given what they had just endured.  In fact, now that he had a chance to be quiet, the captain felt a wave of exhaustion wash over him.  It was difficult not to yawn, and suddenly his eye lids felt as though anchors had been chained to them.

   With a decided effort, the captain shook his head, and forced his eyes open.  He needed to stay awake.  Perhaps further conversation would help to keep him awake.

   “What say you, Rhia?  You’ve fallen uncharacteristically quiet over there.  What advice would you offer these two men?”

   Surely the young lady, with her youthful optimism and romantic outlook, would be able to fan that fire he’d started in Fu.
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Rhia
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« Reply #127 on: July 16, 2010, 12:36:43 PM »

Even through her exhaustion, Rhia couldn't help but beam as the captain handed over the torch to her. He was trusting her to win the two men over! Perhaps she had been mistaken about him. She flashed him a bright grin before turning to Fu and Mallorix.

"I would say," she said quietly, "that however many tales of adventures there are out there, the chance for adventure, I mean real adventure, comes only once. Once in a lifetime, to- people like us." She let the last words slip out from her lips regretfully. She did not like them, but they were true. "We're no heroes. But to pass up the chance to become them!" A faraway light danced in her eyes as her voice grew louder, and the direction of her gaze had nothing to do with what she was seeing. "And fame and glory and maybe even to be in a ballad or be part of the story a bard performs! And then if we succeed, if the tales of Jovloff's treasure are true, won't we never have to worry about means of living again?" Was that greed shining in her grey eyes? Then again, one might be mistaken, for her entire face was gleaming in spite of its layer of soot.

She refocused on Captain Fjorwek. Now that they were friends again... "Will we be under the supervision of Captain Skankgris? Are you not going the whole way with us?" Wait, did she say that name right? Ehh, never mind, she'd never been great with names.Even a blind man could see that Fu was reluctant to jump on board with the voyage. Loved ones? Rhia couldn't relate as much there... Love her family as much as she did, they didn't need her. Besides, it wasn't like she was going to die. She was too young, those things didn't happen to people like her. But this man... He was not old, but he could easily have a wife and child. Rhia had a bottomless desire for fame and such, but did he?
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Fu Luft
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« Reply #128 on: July 18, 2010, 06:46:34 AM »

Fu’s heart lifted. The captain could not give any guarantee that this Skjangarris would bring the party back home. That was all Fu needed: it was his chance to get out of the mess his moment of madness had got him into. He would tell the captain that he was very sorry, but that it was surely not reasonable to expect him to track through a dangerous jungle in search of some treasure which probably didn’t exist, only to risk being marooned on some strange Southern island, with no way to get home?

Fu had stopped listening to the captain and was only waiting for him to finish, so that he could deliver his final and irreversible rejection of the offer. He didn’t think about the fact that he would be marooned in the South anyway, even if he didn’t join the treasure hunt. The only thing on Fu’s mind was the chance to get out of this adventure that was surely going to break his neck. Excited by the fact that he had found an excuse to cop out, Fu licked his lips, cleared his throat, and kneaded his fingers. Finally the captain fell silent. Fu opened his mouth to declaim his bold reply, but then …

But then the little lady spoke. Rhia, as the captain had called her.

“… the chance for adventure, I mean real adventure, comes only once. Once in a lifetime, to people like us," she said. "We're no heroes. But to pass up the chance to become them!"

Missed chances. How many chances had Fu missed in his life? He didn’t dare to count. In fact, he didn’t need to. As far as Fu was concerned, the answer was that he had missed all his chances. Was he about to miss another one, by proving himself a coward once again?

Rhia continued: “… if the tales of Jovloff's treasure are true, won't we never have to worry about means of living again?"

Fu saw himself standing in the shack where Bronya, his daughter, lived with her mother Sillis in a single room. In his vision, little Bronya was asking him for something to eat. But his hands were empty, and the child turned away in disappointment. Sillis looked at Fu, and there was worry in her face – and also scorn and even amusement. In fact, she was laughing at Fu. At Fu, the coward.

No, this would not happen! He would not return to his family empty-handed. Either he would not return at all, or he would save Bronya and Sillis from their desperate poverty. Isn’t that what he’d set out to do when he left Ximax? Isn’t that what he went to Ciosa for? But what good had Ciosa been to him? On his very first evening, he’d been accosted by a gang of ruffians and hounded through the streets. Why was he so eager to return there, where he would at best scrape a living as an occasional scribe, and at worst get mithatoes thrown at him while doing juggling tricks in the street?

Never worry about means of living again … The lady knew, then, thought Fu, what it meant to be hungry, and what it meant to see your loved ones clad in rags and living in filth. Maybe she was here on a desperate mission herself? This little lady, shorter even than Fu himself (though infinitely more graceful) – if she had the courage to go, why not Fu?

He didn’t wait for the captain to answer Rhia’s questions, but instead burst out:

”The lady be right, by Grothar. The lady be right!”

He beamed at her, not realizing that he’d just interrupted her conversation with the captain.

”I be coming. Just be telling Master Skjangarris how Fu be not the sort to be having many experiences in adventures, but be willing to be doing what he can!”

That probably didn’t sound too confidence-inspiring, thought Fu. Couldn’t he find something more heroic to say?

”Um, I be meaning to say: that magic of mine be at your service!”

Yes, that sounded better. Fu leant back in his chair. His head felt light. At this moment, he was ready to take on any pirate and zombii and jungle monster in the whole of Santharia. Also, he was ready for a smoke.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 07:10:18 AM by Fu Luft » Logged

Mallorix Volinkov
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« Reply #129 on: August 04, 2010, 01:41:52 AM »

Mallorix quietly listened to the captain's response. Afterwards, he waited until Fu said a definitive answer to the question of whether he was going. The answer Mallorix heard surprised him.

”I be coming. Just be telling Master Skjangarris how Fu be not the sort to be having many experiences in adventures, but be willing to be doing what he can!”

Fu paused, then added,

”Um, I be meaning to say: that magic of mine be at your service!”

It was decided. If even Fu, the one who was the most doubtful about going, would go on the quest, then Mallorix would go as well.

"Captain, I accept your offer. I shall use my few skills as best I can to help find the treasure of Tendrim Jovloff. I hope I can be of service to the rest of the team."
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Yurie Yileen
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« Reply #130 on: August 13, 2010, 02:04:50 AM »

   “Excellent!”  Captain Fjorwek exclaimed with a broad smile.  “I’m sure that you’ve both made the right decision.”  He turned his attention back to Rhia.  “Unfortunately, as much as I would love to go all the way with you, I…” he paused for a brief moment; something about the way his last words had been phrased really didn’t sound right.  “I regret that I cannot.  My assignment was to deliver you safely to Captain Skjangarris at Queen’s Harbour; that is all.  From that point onwards, you will be in his capable hands, and I shall be continuing westwards.”

   The captain once again felt tired, and slightly out of breath; the smoke from the Laughing Lady’s hold had affected him more than he had at first thought.  It was clear that the others were feeling the strain, too.

   “Very well,” he continued, “since we’ve had an extremely trying morning, I think it fair to say that you should rest for the remainder of the day; your bunks are already prepared if you wish to lie down.  Also, if any of you feel ill, please don’t hesitate to see Doctor Jorek; I’m sure that he’ll be able to help.

   “I still have business to attend to, and so must return to the deck, but I’ll be back here for the evening meal; I hope that you will join me then.”

   Having effectively given his guests the rest of the day off their training, the captain reluctantly got to his feet, and bowed slightly to the whole table.  His legs still felt a little wobbly, but there was a ship to be run.  Trying very hard to disguise the weakness of his legs, he strode to the cabin’s door, and made his way back into the dazzling sunlight.
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