Balance

Maddy Cat POV

3rd of Floodtime, time unknown

Meow, meow, meow…. Meowith meow… MMMMMEOW!

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MEW!

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The Fall of Salkire

33rd of Planting 383 ONT, Salkire Keep, Cainia, 6:43am

James Hasson Forbes blocked out the screaming of his men, the pounding of the battlements and gates, the frantic rushing of his people as he approached his quarters. His hand paused a moment over the latch as he quickly pulled it back and took a series a quick breaths. He pulled his sleeve to his face and wiped the tears that he desperately wanted to keep at bay; a few more calming breaths came as he slowly mastered himself, only then did he enter. His chambers were a mess, with several bags laid across the bed. His sweet wife Anya was shushing his baby daughter Faith in one arm while whirling about the room pulling clothing and equipment and packing it in the bags with the other hand. A hard lump formed in the back of his throat as he saw her. His heart filled with nothing but shame, knowing he had failed them completely and they would soon pay for it. Doing his best to hold back his emotions he strode into the room and quickly gathered some woolen cloaks adding them to the pile of items to be packed. Anya paused and looked at her husband, studying him

“So it is decided then… how soon?” she asked with an air of calm that her husband did not have

“Gunther doubts we will make the noon hour, if we still want to attempt this plan, we need to start now, it’s the only way it will even have a chance” James mumbled looking down at his feet

“What do you mean if we still want to attempt it? James, your plan is brilliant” she said forcing him to look her in the eye

“Gunther and the others think it is ridicules, and…” she cut him off before he could go much further

“Gunther and the others aren’t Forbes nor are they the Lord of Salkire Keep, besides… do they have a better idea?” he shook his head in response and hugged her deeply

“I’m not a real Forbes… not like Arturo or Gregory or even Trenton… Trenton would have killed any who dared attack the home of his wife… and Gregory would have come up with a brilliant strategy to save the keep… I… I got nothing but a convoluted…”

“Your father is brother to the King, and you are every bit a Forbes as Gregory or Arturo… The King trusted you with Salkire… you, because you are a Forbes and have his trust… he didn’t trust Trenton with it, or Harry, his own sons… he trusts you… and so do I… my Lord” he looked up at her, tears in his eyes and couldn’t help a small smile… she was his everything, she always knew just what to say and how to keep him grounded. He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding and wrapped his arms around them letting out a single long sob. The embrace lasted minutes before he finally regained himself.

“You will need to travel light and fast, only a few days food, berries are in season, it won’t be much but should sustain you as you make for Aravik Hold… my father will be able to help you from there” she looked hard at him

“You speak as if you aren’t coming with us…”

“I am not… the only way this works is if I can stall them, if I am not here they will see through the ruse immediately, Guntar, Diego and twenty others will remain with me”

“Surely you can slip away and…” she saw the look in his eye, the pain that rested below the surface and knew. She knew he would come if it were at all possible. She leapt forward into his arms once more giving him a long embrace as fresh tears sprang to both their eyes. “Goodbye my love…” she said kissing him deeply

“Farewell my sweet” he replied in their usual manner


35th of Planting, 383 ONT. Salkire Keep cellar, Cainia

Catherine Undertoe paced the room once more as she looked at the last three survivors of Salkire Keep. Lord James Hasson Forbes, Master of Arms Gunther Alright and The Bard Diego. Two days ago her people as stormed the keep, it had looked like the majority of his defenders had pulled back possible to try and hold an inner build or room, but upon breaking through they had found maybe fifteen or so guards left in addition to the current three, there was not a trace of anyone else, almost one hundred souls missing. It had been two days of interrogations and executions, but so far it appeared that the defenders left behind had been left on the wall and were not told what had happened to their families or loved ones… this left only the three left. After two days of torture the men were in rough shape, but they had not yet cracked. Catherine had felt it time to bring them together and see if she could break one this way.

“Lord Forbes… I should remind you before another one of your companions needlessly die, that it need not end this way… all three of you are valued prisoners and can be confined in comfort at Darwheaton Castle. Tell us where the remainder of your people are and we can all be on our way” the swollen faced Lord looked up at the Halfling mercenary and offered a bloody grin

“Did you misplace a bunch of people… I certainly hope you’re not paid by the person Undertoe… Ha” he let out a strained barking laugh… half delirious with pain and lack of sleep. The Halfling mercenary just shook her head slowly as she drew out a long dirk and walked behind Diego.

“Tell me where they are or I will slice his throat right here and now… last chance James” she said… Forbes looked at the bard with a sadness in his eyes

“You are the best I have every met Diego” James said to the Bard… Diego managed a curt nod before he began to spasm and gurgle as Catherine opened a line of red across his throat. Catherine did not pause, pulling the Master at Arms in front of her and placing the dirk in the same position. She didn’t even bother to speak the threat, merely gesturing to James once more. Gunther looked at his Lord

“It was a good plan Lord Forbes… a good aghhhhg” he never finished his throat being neatly sliced open he fell shuddering to the ground. The Halfling was losing her temper, this was infuriating. She was ready to kill the Lord and be done with it when she heard boots of one of her Captains approaching. A black bearded dwarf entered the room saluting the Halfling

“We’ve searched the entire keep ma’am… they are not here, dead or alive” she glowered at the dwarf… one hundred people do not just disappear, in frustration she took a chair and flung it across the room and into the far wall

woomp

She paused… the noise was not right… she stalked across the cellar to the far wall and knocked on it. The wall appeared to be stone, but had the thud and feel of wooden planks… planks cleverly painted to look like the stone cellar wall.

“Pull this wall down at once!” she called to her men, and quickly the boards were dismantled showing a tunnel leading away from the keep. Her triumph was tempered by rage… to have been duped so easily and for so long. “get me fifty men, geared to travel light and fast… I want the found” she said to her Captain and turned stalking in anger towards the Lord of Salkire.

So Passed James Hasson Forbes, Baron of Salkire Keep, Lord of Cainia

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Gathering Darkness pt 1

32nd of Planting, 383ONT, Faurthur Port, Cainia

The two hooded figures entered the small port by the thin moon of the luner blur. They marched from their ship of black sails to the keep and waited out front for the guards to challenge them.

“Who goes about at this hour” the guard called down, annoyed to be roused from his nook and pulled from his warming fire. The first hooded women reached up with pale hands that were marked with light blue swirls and pulled back her cowl. She had ghostly white hair, almost no trace of the blue left in it, and her face was hauntingly white.

“Serenity Fair and Echo Thane on business of Baron Muldark of Don-Ton” her clear voice rang out. There was a long pause before the gate opened the chains clattering in the mild chill of the night. When at last it did, they were met by a short blond elf, wielding a bow of amethyst. She was flanked by six helmed compatriots. The white haired traveler stole a glance to her dark haired companion before turning to face the elf “may we enter?” she asked in a sickly sweet voice.

“The last of the elves will be long and dead before I invite twin vampires into a keep” the elf said. There was a momentary pause from Serenity before a curt nod and replacing of her cowl. “State your business beast and be on your way before the sun finishes you. You’ll find no shelter in Omaru” the elf finished

“On that I believe you are mistaken… we travel on behalf of not only our lord but to the benefit of your cause as well” Echo said, he dark eyes a sinking void that devoured all light.

“We come in search of the interlopers who traveled on the Champions Boot… they would have been a dwarf, and elven knight with an eagle, a Strix, a frog man, a one armed man perhaps a fat balding man…” the elf raised her hand signalling Serenity to stop.

“I know of the group you speak, some of them at least, what is it to you?”

“These creatures have made it their goal to harry your land and will continue to do so out of misguided loyalty to a human…” Echo said “Our master wishes these ones destroyed, with but one of them taken prisoner and brought back to him…. Give us access to your land, and shelter from the sun and we shall hunt them down and handle this little problem for you.

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What lies between Part 2

Dear Sir Horace,

I want to be perfectly clear: The Lady Alyss did not tell me anything about what was going to happen to me. She asked if I wanted to have the courage of a hero while I was trapped in the fear effects of the largest and most frightening dragon I have ever seen. At first, I was still in control, you and I could speak to each other, and my situation, though strange, did not seem so dire. I agreed to give up more and more control, as my friends were dying all around me. How could I not? The people on this ship have become my family, what would it say about me if I were not willing to sacrifice to save them?

I watched as your corpse became mine. I watched as this new version of my body, the one that carried the playful nature of the wind, the one that my wife fell in love with, the one that survived unspeakable horrors and refused to die, be burned at sea because the Lady Alyss insisted it must. Now I have no body to return to. This body, that you and I inhabit, was mine, and somehow it has become yours and I am to understand that it can never be mine again?

The Lady Alyss won’t even speak to me when I transform into myself at the full moon. She will not open her door to comfort me, she pretends I do not exist. I know that you love her above all others, but she did this to me and now she won’t even acknowledge that I ever existed. Because no one else that has suffered this fate has ever been able to remain, it has been easier for her to pretend they never were.

I am not saying that she is evil, but what I am saying is that her love for you has clouded her judgement in these matters, and she needs to understand the gravity of what she has done.

I want my body back. I miss feeling the wind on my skin. I want to find a way that we both can survive, but I do not want to be a stuffed bear, I want to be Aurellia. My victories may seem minor to you, but Aurellia always gave everything she had, she never held back if there were innocent lives at stake. She was a survivor, the very fact that I am still holding on is proof of that. I am begging you to help me bring her back. She did not deserve to have her story end so abruptly.

At your Mercy,

Aurellia Oulette

Post Script – I will do what I can to honor you, please do the same for me. I have no desire to touch your body, but when I am myself, I will do as I please.

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What lies between Part 1

Dear Aurellia,

First of all, I would like you to know that you have my sympathy. Your situation is unfortunate, and I do wish to help you.

You chose to be my host, to allow me to continue to be a force of good in this world, to fight for the right, and to bring me back to my love. For this I am eternally grateful.

However, I now know that your nature as a lycantherope has imprisoned you within this body. That your consciousness is tormented, and that you wish to live. I realize that you did not fully understand what you were agreeing to. I am certain that Alyss would have taken more time to ensure you understood the sacrifice completely had she not been in a state of peril and afraid for both of your lives.

A Mr. Keiger seems to think that he could help you. My hope is that we can find you a more suitable vessel soon. I will be co-operating in any way I can. Fear not, I mean you no harm.

Truthfully,

Sir Horace

Post Script – Please be mindful of my reputation as a knight should you find yourself in control of my body at any time. Please be aware that touching yourself/myself in that way is unknightly… anticipation is best and builds character

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Glandora Bound Pt 2

11th of Planting 383 ONT, Yalmona, Dusty Hat Inn, Omaru (Formally Glandora)

Constable Buck Frobisher looked around tired at the fifty or so bound and gagged mercenaries. The fight had been difficult and was far from finished. He stepped behind the bar grabbing the only bottle that had not been smashed in the fight and took a long drink form it before stepping out into the street. Already he could see the townspeople coming from their homes, curious at what had happened. He would need help, if these folks wished to avoid retribution he needed them to help him take the small camp about a mile out of town, there would be at least a hundred more men there. If they did not, the down would likely be burnt. He looked at the young women and elderly men who made up most it’s populace… they would need a stirring speech… something that would go down in the annals of time, that would rally their spirits to his call… he cleared his voice and stepped forward.

“They have called this day The Eleventh of Planting! And whom-so-ever of you gets through this day, unless you are shot in the head or somehow slain… you will stand at tiptoe… when e’er you hear the name again, and you will get excited!…At the name Planting The Eleventh! We happy few, we few, we band of brothers…our names will be as like…household names. And those who are not here, be they sleeping or… doing something else… They will feel themselves…sort of crappy. Because they are not here to…to join the fight. On this day, the Eleventh of Planting!”

The towns folk looked at him with confusion as he climbed into the saddle raising his musket over his head. “MOVE OUT” he said pushing Talisker into a light trot as he headed for the camp… the people of Yalmona shrugged at one another, some following the constable, others heading back into their homes.

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Glandora Bound

11th of Planting 383 ONT, Yalmona, Dusty Hat Inn, Omaru (Formally Glandora)

Constable Buck Frobisher rode his faithful stead up to the Dusty Hatt Inn. It appeared to be full, the noise that came from within showed that the men who had taken up residence were well into their cups, and in a rowdy mood. He dismounted from Talisker and fixed the horse with a stable look.

.

“You cover the back, I will take care of this quickly” he said to the horse, it fixing him with a vacant stare. The Constable then adjusted his red tunic and wide brimmed hat before walking up the three wooden steps and entering the Inn. The bar was indeed crowded, it looked to be filled mostly with the mercenaries who had taken over this town, the Children of Steel, as he had come to hear of them. Rumor had persisted that they had murdered the towns garrison and elders and now kept its populace under martial law and fear. The old constable shook his head, he had been in the wilds for a few weeks hunting down a particularly foul bandit, but for something like this to occur in absence… it was just unheard of. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat calling out to those assembled in the bar.

.

“EXCUSE ME, IF I COULD HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!” his voice echoed into the room, causing the bard to quit playing and most of those assembled to look up at him questioningly, by his count there were some fifty persons in the bar. “Thank you” he said in an authoritative voice. “I AM Constable Buck Frobisher or the Glandora Mounted Force. It has come to my attention that many of you are in this country illegally; if those of you who are can please place any weapons you have on the bar and line up along the far wall, we can do this peacefully” there was a stunned silence for a moment and then from the crowd a throwing knife whipped through the air and slammed into the doorframe beside his head. “No need to give them to me directly, please place them on the bar” he said completely deadpan. There was a grumbling from the crowd as a few begun to stand pulling swords and axes from their sheaths. “I will warn you, if violence ensues I will not go easy on you” one of the Halfling’s raced across the room, sword above their head as he raced across the room in anger, and battle was begun
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Brotherly Love

11th of Planting 383 ONT, The Champions Boot, Mess Hall, Confluence of Tryb and Upper Prometheus, Glandora, 8:18pm

Prancer walked down from the deck into the mess hall, making his way to the kitchen window for some warm tea. His eyes locked on Trenton, sitting at the long table drinking from the stash of dwarven spirits he had liberated. Prancer felt his cheeks go red as he stomped up to his brother and batted the cup from his hand.

“Selwyn’s perky tits you little shit! Why did you do that!” Trenton said anger in his face as he leaned back to collect his cup from the floor

“You’re drinking again? NOW?” Prancer said accusation in his voice

“Of course I am drinking now dip shit” Trenton said, his fingers just reaching the cup… Prancer kicked it from his grasp sending in flying across the room until it smashed against the fall wall. There had been a few other crew in the mess hall… resting up while the officers debated rowing up the Tryb or continuing down the Promethean

“I think maybe we should head into the oar wells” Robinson said to Paolo, Baker and Willhym as he stood up seeing the tension in the air

“Go where you want to, this is just starting to get good” Willym said turning on the bench to get a better view.

“I’m not in the mood for a speech Harry” Trenton said in a dangerous tone, standing up and moving to push past Prancer to get another cup from the kitchen. Prancer blocked his path and didn’t move

“Just like you weren’t in the mood to cut down Dante, or Courtney or the Girls?” Prancer retorted pushing his brother back a few steps. Trenton cocked his head to the side as he reached out grabbing the bottle and taking a long pull from it directly.

“Seven Silver on Prancer” Baker whispered across the table seeing where things were going

“I don’t know if we should be gambling here, what would the Bosun say?” Robinson murmured

“I’ll take that action, I saw Trenton on deck, bet he draws first blood” Willhym said. Money was quickly placed on a plate on the table.

“Well, We don’t all have big titty’d monsters to fly up there and do our dirty work Harry” Trenton said, finally pulling the bottle away from his mouth and stepping forward again to get into Prancer’s space. Prancer was having none it. He pushed his brother back and ripped his rapier from its sheath pointing it at Trenton

“You will speak of Miriel with a civil tongue or I will cut it out” he spat, nearly frothing at the mouth

“I think I’m going to get the Bosun…” Robinson said as he slowly tiptoed over to the stairs… no one stopped him

“Or else what… you’ll get your whore monster and hide behind her…. OOOWE!” he had barly said the words when Prancer had lunged forward stabbing his brother in the arm before bouncing back to where he had sat… a red patch began to show in Trenton’s breeches.

“shit” Willhym murmured as Baker smiled and scooped up the coin “Go again? I say Trenton puts him down in under two minutes” the Halfling asked fishing out another seven silver. Baker nodded adding the other half to the pile

“Well…” Trenton was saying as he finished another pull from the bottle and drew his own sword “look who fucked off for two years and tried to grow a pair of balls… I didn’t see you anywhere when Faurther was attacked” Prancer dropped his guard an expression of disbelief on his face

“I was on a ship coming here Asshole!” he declared, but quicker than anyone could register Trenton’s sword flashed up and stabbed him in the shoulder. Prancer roared in anger bringing his sword up there were about four clangs of steel on steel before Prancer’s sword when flying across the room.

“nice…” Willhym whispered collecting half the money, but leaving the rest as the offer of another bet “…to the winner?” he offered. Baker nodded and dropped more silver on the plate. Prancer put his hand up, but his rope arm shot up, over the rafter and around his brother’s sword wrist drawing it tight. As the sword arm went into the air Prancer stepped in and laid a solid punch into his brothers nose.

“I wasn’t hiding in a bar, while my family was being murdered!” Prancer roared

“No… You weren’t there… you don’t know what happened you sanctimonious asshole! At least I fought them off” Trenton said dropping his sword and grabbing the rope. He then pulled hard, ripping his brother off his feet while he smashed his face with the bottle still in his other hand… Prancer staggered under the assault throwing a wild haymaker to no luck “Too little too late, as always Harry… you saved the wrong brother, long after it was needed… big surprise” the condescension seemed to hurt Prancer almost as much as the blows as Trenton knocked his brothers feet out from under him, he then knelt down landing several punches.

“Shit” said Baker leaving the money on the table as he and Willhym got up moving to break up the now one sided fight. They were almost there when Flitt’s voice boomed in a way it never had before

“WHAT BY HIS HOLY BOARD ARE YOU DOING!” the grippli roared leaping down the stairs into the mess hall.

“Stay out of this Frog Man, I’m …” Trenton started but was surprised to receive a punch to the face from the grippli before he could say more

“Get him off Prancer!” Flitt ordered, spurring Willhym and Baker into action as the two grabbed Trenton and dragged him off Prancer. Prancer, locked in his rage, rolled to his feet and delivered a jab at Trenton. That was as far as he got before Robinson grabbed the swashbuckler and hauled him back

“You coward!” Trenton yelled still struggling

“I’ll rip you throat out you shit head!” Prancer called back fighting against the iron bars that were Robinsons arms.

“By the kiss of Aleau, Knock it off! You two… take Prancer into the front cargo hold… put a guard there, nothing but water until he calms down! Robinson, put Prancer in the pantry, same deal” Flitt shouted over the two screaming brothers. The crew nodded their understanding dragging the two away to their respective cells. “Like we need this right now” Flitt growled picking up the dropped hats and swords… Paolo the only other one in the room just looked back to his tea and took a long slow sip… was best not to be noticed right now.

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Roebuck Chase

11th of Planting 383 ONT, The Roebuck, Upper Promethean River, Cainia, 6:31pm

“Mr. Rodak, collect my senior officers, and have them assemble in the briefing room… have the Bosun send a skiff to the Magdalen to assure they need no assistance and get a full report from them” Captain Kinnotox said, his voice showed his annoyance as the anchor took hold and he watched the Champions Boot flitter away behind the now flaming river.

“Aye Captain” The First Mate called as he snapped a firm salute and went about his business. The Captain turned to his Mate, a stocky dwarven women who had served for some time.

“You have the Bridge Ms. Carole, I suspect we will be hold position for at least an hour”

“Aye Captain” She said, stepping up to the helm and assuring all was as it should be. The Captain turned and stocked off the bridge, quickly heading down a short flight of steps and entering into the briefing room. It wasn’t long before a small dwarven boy, maybe twenty years of age entered; The cabin boy nodded to the Captain before lighting a brazier and placing a full kettle on it. He went to a near drawer pulling out tea cups and set the table. The Captain took his seat his fingers drumming on the table as he awaited his officers. It was under five minutes before they all drifted in, each knowing their seat and taking it. Once assembled the Captain began.

“Liam, how long before you can resuit the griffins into scouting armor?” The Captain asked, looking at one of the twins who sat at the end of the table

“Maybe fifteen minutes, but I wouldn’t recommend it Captain… They tire faster in the heavy barding, but that other ship as an eagle rider… a real one from Wing Hove… I guess what I am saying is he knows what he is doing, I wouldn’t want to risk the Griffin’s without their armor Sir” the half stammered out, he had always been more comfortable with animals then people. The Captain scratched his chin in thought before responding

“What’s the flight time that they can handle in the heavy gear?”

“Maybe twenty minutes Captain… I can stretch that to thirty if the wind is with us and we are gliding home, much longer and we can have troubles especially if you want them to be battle ready” Annaka replied for her brother. The Captain shot a look at his First Mate, understanding the unspoken question Khov spoke up

“Maybe ten kilometers of scouting sir… not much farther, and he is right… The eagle will catch them even if they are in their light barding… best be ready for battle when it comes” The Captain nodded briskly

“OK, keep them in the heavy armor for now… give them a fifteen minute breather and then have them do an initial scout… do not engage, just get eyes on the Champions Boot again for us”

“I can’t believe the crew of the Champions Boot would do this? Blow up the tavern? Murder guards? Steel our wages? Light the town on fire… it just doesn’t seem like them” Kennedy said a little sadly

“Actually lighting the town on fire is kind of their MO” Khov said with a bit of a grin, the Captain didn’t seem to find the jest funny though, giving his First Mate a stern glare

“Believe it…” he said to the sorceress “I have confirmation that this was the same command crew as at Kezranad, they committed these atrocities and broke the law… that makes them pirates, which puts this squarely in our domain”

“Pirates sir? Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” Kenndy asked, knowing how her Captain treated pirates

“No I Don’t Ms. Martins… they robbed our store house, lit a peaceful town on fire without provocation or warning and opened fire on several ships. Good men and women are dead, some of them peaceful townsfolk… In my book they are murderers and pirates, and that is likely to good for them. The Champions Boot will be scuttled and its crew executed!” the Captain’s voice boomed, he appeared to be personally offended by this bunch, Kennedy had never seen him get this worked up before. But she gave the

“Aye Sir” along with the rest of those assembled

“Mr. Rodak… as I recall it is one of their sailors who is the Grippli?” The Captain asked… Khov reached into his satchel pulling a bunch of sheafs of parchment out

“Aye Captain… Flitt Fargazer, from reports of the dinner last night he appears to have made Bosun”

“How very fortunate for him” The Captain said dryly, venom dripping from his words “We will need some counter measures against him and that shark he was riding. Ms. Martins that was excellent thinking to lightning bolt the water, but we won’t be able to count on you having the spell ready always, Rodak, have something else in store for the Grippli before we encounter his ship again.” He turned looking further down the table “When you aren’t scouting I want you two practicing specific tactics on how we are going to bring that eagle down, we were lucky this time that their Strix didn’t get involved, but she is a known flyer, and we will have to assume that without archer support from land we will have to deal with both, a long engagement is not to our advantage”

“I have some thoughts on that sir” Kennedy offered, receiving a nod from the Captain “The way she changed after the archers hit her, and then alter changed back… she may be a shifter… or even a necromancer, siphoning life force from someone or something to maintain superior strength… we saw it before on that Orc Ship the Gromp Eye… If that is the case, she must have a magical item, usually a crystal or pendent that is allowing the siphon to operate, we should attack or disarm that and it should reverse the spell. Destorying it may even kill her depending on how much life force she has siphoned.”

“Excellent point Ms. Martins… make sure that memo gets to all crew members to keep an eye, and take targeted attacks when possible. What else do we have?” This time is was a short blond women who spoke up, her hair pulled back in a tight ponytail

“Well Captain, they are firing a standard bow facing Bombard, considering they seem to only have a three man team they were holding up a reasonable rate of fire. Their crew also responded quickly with a mix of pistols, muskets, longbows and crossbows, them seem to understand the benefits on black powder but are not dependent on it”

“Excellent point Master Gunner Hopkins… Rodak?” the Captain queried

“it is as you thought sir..” Khov said shifting through his parchment, “they didn’t have the bombard in Kezranad or Lockland, that is new… Their Master Gunner used to be Aurelia Ouellette… no sign of her on the ship or in Faurther Port… their new Master Gunner appears to be Sir Horace Altman… The Oakleaf Knight of Pelagius.” There was a sharp intake of breath around the table at this revelation, the Captain quickly interceded

“It is not Sir Horace! I don’t believe that the hero of Pelagius is burning down small towns… an imposter, out smearing his good name, and helping buy credibility in unfamiliar ports” The Captain Hrumphed

“That may be so… reports showed him wielding some kind of firearm, and there was no sign of his legendary sword, also no sign of magic use from him…” Rodak trailed off looking back over to the Master Gunner

“Either way sir, they are capable of putting up a reasonable ranged defense, but actually seem stronger in face to face combat…recommend extreme caution when boarding, most of their crews seems skilled with a blade, and none appear to have any misgivings about killing”

“Understood Master Gunner” The Captain nodded “Mr. Rodak, assure any boarding party is at least three to one odds in our favour, and assure that at least a third are fully armored before going over”

“Aye Sir” Khov said, making the appropriate notes. The Captain stood from his seat and looked down the table at the officers assembled

“Ms. Martins, please connect with Arjunn and OMAR, see what else we can find out about these Pirates and if there is any more information that we can use in battle” The Sorceress nodded to the Captain as he continued

“I want them found, and this business dealt with quickly, the good people of Faurther Port will need our aid in the rebuilding process, let’s try to have this… unfortunate business settled in the next three days. Mr. Nortron…” He said turning to his Master of Sails “let me know as soon as the river has cleared enough that we can be underway without distress”

“Aye Captain” he said

“The rest of you have your orders, see to them”

“Aye Captain” They intoned as they stood and shuffled out of the room.

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Fly you Fools Fly pt 3

11th of Planting 383 ONT, Faurther Port Harbor, River Promethean, 6:23pm

Ser Thalion noted the sails on the Champions Boot unfurl and fill with wind, perhaps they weren’t completely doomed he thought, leaning hard to the right and thrusting above his head as the eagle rolled in mid-air, passing close by one of the Griffin riders. He grunted in pain taking a slash back in the exchange from the second rider’s sword as it zipped in at the ideal moment. They were good, the eagle rider had to admit; and well trained to work as a pair, one always waited until he committed to the other and took advantage of that moment to come in and land a blow. Eltheron let out a shriek of agreement, the Griffins were well trained as well, taking any chance to rend or claw or even peck at the eagle whenever they passed close enough. Add to all this the damned wizard on the Magdalen firing off a spell whenever the fought took him in in range, or the archers along the shore line, shifting to target him if the battle drifted to close and Thalion was finding his sky was a little too small for his liking this day. He ducked uselessly as five magic missiles unerringly found their way to him, each offering a small shock as they collided into him. The Griffins took the opportunity to circle for a joint pass and that made up his mind, pulling Eltehron into a dive and wheel maneuver he turned flying maybe twenty feet over the water and passing right in front of the bow of the ship.

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG

The Griffin Riders got a taste of their own medicine as Willhym and Aurelia opened fire on them as they followed Thalion’s course. One rider remained committed but the second hearing the protests and seeing fresh wounds in his mount broke off, setting wings wide and gliding for the safety of the Magdalen.

Willhym reloaded his pistol with uncanny speed taking aim at the faltering creature before Aurellia barked at him.

“Kill the ones still fighting first, then we can worry about the wounded.” The Halfling grunted but didn’t argue as he turned and squeezed off a round at the other rider. He then went back to work on getting the bombard loaded once more. They had a slight reprieve on the port side. Most of the elves were running to cut the corner on the point, likely getting a little down river where they could fire on the ship once more, until then however there weren’t arrows whizzing passed his head while he futzed with the ammunition.

“POWDER!” he called, already kicking the box open and reaching for the large leaden ball that would follow Tar-Di’s black powder. He opted to take a glance behind him and was surprised by what he saw on the starboard stern deck. There was Captain Dastron and his boys, huddled around three large tubes and quickly pulling components out of what seemed to be an unending bag. Willhym squinted more closely trying to figure out what they were doing when he heard the words from the Sergeant and his eyes widened.

“Mortars ready if five Captain” Willhym smiled, this would be good

“Lieutenant Ambertoe… Get Sir Thalions attention, Lieutenant Deepstone, Please find me Ms. De’Jairi, I’m going to speak with Captain Cailana. Sergeant, you have until I get back to get these mortars operations and secured… no excuses!”

“Boo Ya” the three offered as they went about their specified tasks.

Rikka killed off her final elven swordsmen and she looked across the bow. Four Chokers had just winked into existence. Doing a quick mental calculation she figured they must be summoned, there was no way that the enemy just happened to have four flying chokers stationed here in Farthur Port.

“They have a wizard or a summoned, they need to be close, within 60 feet of the ship, probably invisible” she shouted to his crewmates as he joined Trenton in the battle against the Chokers.

As the wind took up the sails and ship picked up speed there was a rush of Ceilia, Thitmed, Robinson and Thor coming up to the deck. Ceilia grabbed the ropes with THitmed trimming the sails to better catch the full breeze. Robinson crouched by a locker grabbing his war club and a crossbow. As Thor began to spin his Hammer and approached one of the Chokers.

THWAM

With one mighty strike he sent the Choker flying backwards and hurling off the side of the ship, it vanished from existence before it hit the water.

“I doth declare these cowardly foes!” Thor proclaimed spinning his hammer and approaching another enemy “I shall smite them in my Father’s Name and send them back to…”

WOMP

The breath was knocked from the dwarf as he lost grip on his hammer and sent it spiraling off into the air towards the shore. He looked down at his chest where the amethyst light had hit him

WOMP WOMP WOMP

Three more collided with his chest as he dropped to his knees. At last Robinson grabbed him and pulled him flat onto the deck

“ARCHERS ARE BACK, GET DOWN!” He cried desperately trying to patch the dwarf’s now gaping chest.

“but… but… I… am… a… God?” he whispered, the confusion evident on his face as he shuddered another breath and fell still

“NO!” Robinson cried, scooping up his comrade and carrying towards the stairwell. He took two arrows in the back for his trouble, but still the mighty ogre raced onwards, crying for Hatrutt and Belinda to make room, more wounded were coming. The clear red of the evening sky began to disappear as clouds raced in unnaturally fast and thunder began to rumble. The temperature noticeably dropped as the first freezing cold droplets began to fall.”

“By Yolo’s Big Brazenly Brass Balls!” Sergeant Thunderpike shouted as he pulled off his cloak throwing it over the mortars he was still working on trying desperately to keep the tubes dry from the oncoming rain. “Can’t we just get one little break!”

BOOM , The bombard fired into the shoreline causing some of the elves to dive for cover

BOOM BOOM came a response. The bow cannons on the Roebuck. The shots fell short by about 30 feet, they were likely just getting a sense of the range, but that didn’t bode well.

Captain Dastron jumped over the rail from the bridge bringing him back down by the mortors, he pulled of his cloak giving the tubes some extra protection as he reached into his pocket pulling what appeared to be an entire twenty five pound barrel from it. Deepstone came running up with Miriel

“The Ginger dwarf says you require my assistance?” the Strix said kneeling beside the dwarves. She was a little surprised as Rikka ran up stepping off her shoulder and diving towards the bridge

“THERE!” the elf said, her sword glowing brightly as she took a huge swipe and rolled to land on the bridge… her efforts had worked, A human winked into existence, floating maybe five feet above the bridge and directing the chokers he had summoned. Rikka turned and began a dizzing series of attacks and thrusts battering at the wizards magical armaments desperately attempting to keep him from casting anymore spells. If this fazed the Strix of the dwarves they did not show, keeping their minds on the task at hand.

“Ms. De’Jairi? I’m gonna need you to take this barrel and spread its contents between us and the Roebuck, don’t get close enough to be in trouble, just enough that we have a little room”

“I will do as you ask strange bearded man” she said taking the barrel and taking flight. Eltheron landed midshipon shaky wings.

“Flitt, Eltheron needs some love when you can” the elf called as he began racing across the deck to the dwarves.

“Aye” Called Flitt madly dueling with a large summoned ape.

“Sir Thalion, with your permission we believe we have a strategy that could help end this engagement, or at least buy us some significant time. If you like I can go over it with you…” Captain Dastron began

“What do you need?” The knight asked cutting off any explanation of the plan. The Dwarf watched the Strix finish her task, with a look to the Sergeant and another to the Captain both nodding they were ready he turned.

“I need a large wave of water pushing everything directly behind us back up river, them a wall of ice right behind the Champions Boot, I know it won’t block the entire river, but as much as it can would be good, it only needs to last about 30 seconds.

“Done” Thalion said. They waited for Miriel to be clear, before the large wave was summoned, as soon as it was the Captain turned further down river and called for all sails to be opened as he headed further from the shore line.

BOOM, the bombard fired once more, keeping the elves in the cover of the trees. Thalion summoned the long icy wall.

“Fire the mortars Sergeant” Captain Dastron ordered. Sergeant Thunderpike pulled the cloaks off the mortars and set the fuses causing all three to fire off in quick succession. The rockets did not fly for the Roebuck, but exploded along the surface of the river, lighting up the thick greasy substance Miriel had poured out.

The results were immediate, The Roebuck seeing the danger, its wizard ran and began filling the front of the sails with wind to slow the ship as oars came out and began desperately back paddling. The anchor was quickly dropped as well. The Magdalen being further back began a long wide turn to avoid the danger area. Meanwhile the ice wall slowing the advance of the flames gave the Champions Boot Plenty of time to speed onwards down river. The pursuers taken care for the crew and Banana Slugs looked to the few who were left onboard or near their ship. Willhym and Aurellia focusing on the last griffin rider while the swordsmen finished off the wizard and his summoned creatures… carefully the ship glided forward, being granted a brief breather if nothing else.

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