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ZONE - Imperial ship at sea ((Chasing Shadows - Chapter I))


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#1 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 11:47 AM

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Lady Amalia, the ship you boarded for this voyage, is a large Imperial vessel with enough room for everyone - plus a decently-sized crew. Those traveling with Caiden are clearly not expected to help on the ship, though it's doubtful that any of them would mind if someone pitched in occasionally.

 

The ship itself is far from some scummy pirate vessel: it's clean, unexpectedly so, and even in the lower decks, the stench of the bilge doesn't escape into any of the rooms. All things considered, it is almost a luxurious vessel, and when a spot of dirt appears, someone quickly cleans it up.

 

A large ballista rests on the forecastle deck, kept loaded and ready to fire, with many more bolts laying about nearby in case of an attack. The rigging runs high to the crow's nest, available for any acrobat to climb if he or she cares for a better view of things. On the quarterdeck, Captain Ritter can usually be found manning the ship's wheel, if she isn't in her cabin.

 

List of Rooms/Areas:

  • Main Deck - The main deck of the ship. Large and open, with nice railings to keep people from just falling into the ocean.
  • Quarterdeck - The back deck of the ship, above the Captain's Cabin. Home to the ship's wheel.
  • Forecastle Deck - The front deck of the ship, just behind the prow. Home to a large ballista.
  • Crow's Nest - A perch at the top of the largest mast. Best place to keep an eye on the seas, but potentially very dangerous for those without good Acrobatics skill and high Agility.
  • Captain's Cabin - Accessible from the main deck. Generally kept locked when Captain Ritter is not inside. A smallish room, but comfortable and lined with many shelves of books and maps, along with a large desk in the center of the room and a medium-sized bed off to one corner. There is also a small wine casket, and several bottles of rum.
  • Forecastle - Accessible from the main deck. Storage. Contains many crates and barrels full of food and various supplies.
  • Hold - Accessible from the main deck. The hold primarily contains rows and rows of bunks for the crew and travelers to bed down for the night. It also has one or two small closets for storage, but most storage is kept in the Forecastle. Several mounts can be kept here as well, though the horses surely are not going to enjoy the ride.
  • Bilge - Accessible from a trapdoor in the Hold. This is the ship waste. It smells awful and you generally don't want to go in here.

List of the Crew:

  • Captain Jane Ritter - The proud captain of the ship. A middle-aged but nonetheless beautiful Achaean woman with pale blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Big Rob - The largest deckhand, an Achaean. Messy black hair and matching beard, dark eyes.
  • Fat Slaadislov - A jovial, portly man from the Black Lands in the Achaean Empire. Short, round, brown hair, blue eyes, usually smiling. Cook.
  • Joe Barnacle - Typical Achaean sailor. Young, eager, cheerful. Brown hair, blue eyes, naive face.
  • Liam "Eagle-Eyes" - Wiry young man with short, light brown hair and brownish eyes. Usually in the crow's nest. Lookout.
  • Assorted other sailors and deckhands.

 

---

 

- Chapter I -

Our Lady Amalia

 

After many days of travel, Caiden at last led the way into the Imperial city of Templaria. One of the jewels of the Empire, Templaria was breathtaking, especially for those who had never seen it before: a city of endless temples, almost every one of them made of white stone smoothed to perfection. Nearly every temple was constructed to have an enormous, columned entrance, and every one had painted frescos above the temple doors, depicting the prime Achaean god of that temple.

 

There were temples to every single Achaean deity one could name, even the most obscure. They passed by a temple of Zeus that was perhaps the grandest any of them had ever seen: columns that seemed to reach to the sky, painted frescos, murals, and in the center of an enormous courtyard, a statue of Zeus so enormous and detailed to perfection that many of them could have believed they passed by Jupiter himself.

 

Countless other temples lined the cobblestone streets. Temples to Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Apollo, Hades, Ares, Demeter, Vulcan, Mercury, Poseidon...

 

And, amidst all these temples, stood still more grand structures: cathedrals to Astra Aeterna, their architecture a bit more modernized. Some were simpler, while others looked more in line with the style of the Black Lands: tall steeples, flying buttresses decorated with grotesques and gargoyles... But nearly all of them had great, stained glass windows, depicting the shining star of Astra.

 

As the large, motley party guided their assorted mounts down the streets, they admired the many different types of architecture. Knights, both locals and Templars, walked the streets everywhere they turned, as did city guards, travelers from lands both near and far, countless priests and priestesses, commoners, nobles...

 

Templaria was a sight to see, but not everyone agreed on its majesty. Kye shrank down in his saddle, gripping his reins in white-knuckled fear. His stallion sped up as he tightened his legs, and he tried to relax and loosen his grip that had started to agitate his horse. Silently, Caiden reached back and patted the animal's neck, trying to calm it.

 

The ride was uneventful. Several Templars they passed offered nods and greetings to certain members of the group, particularly Caiden, Stevan, and Sef. Everyone made their way through the city, though certainly some of them were none too happy to pass by some of the exquisitely nice inns they passed. All of them had stayed in some nice locations on the way to Templaria, but by now, there could be little doubt some of them were thirsty for a good drink.

 

But Caiden stopped for nothing, leading his force all the way down to the city docks. Templaria's docks were just as breathtaking as the rest of the city: ships of every size and shape could be found there, although nearly all of them were Achaean, unlike the occasional Nordling vessel some of them recalled seeing back in Illikon. That felt like so long ago now...

 

The Venator halted before one of the largest ships there: a beautifully decorated vessel, its prow gilded in gold, depicting a great, roaring, winged lion. The words Lady Amalia were painted down both sides in fine print, and many other interesting bits of heraldry lined its railings, decorated its masts, and appeared all over the back of the captain's cabin: animals, gods, holy symbols... Whoever commissioned this ship had to be incredibly wealthy.

 

When Caiden dismounted, it was taken as a cue to do the same. The various deckhands loading supplies onto the Lady Amalia paused to watch the group of strangers - some from orders, some not - prepare to board their ship. Various suspicious glances were exchanged, and one incredibly tall, burly man stomped down to the captain's cabin, knocking hard on the door.

 

Out stepped a lovely middle-aged woman, pale blonde hair shining in the sunlight. She was clad in a red and gold coat of Templaria, bearing various owl emblems. She exchanged a few words with the hairy deckhand who had summoned her, and then smiled and waved him away as she strode down the gangplank, walking showily.

 

"Good morning, good day!" she called, sounding vivacious. "If it isn't Caiden Voros and his merry band of misfits! I haven't seen you in so long, Blue-Eye."

 

Caiden managed what he could of a smile, though it seemed to come to him at least slightly easier than usual. "It's been a long time, Jane."

 

"Too long, friend. And Plexaura! I didn't expect to see you as well - how do you fare this lovely summer day?"

 

"Very well, thank you, Jane," replied Plexaura, offering a smile of her own.

 

Captain Jane Ritter looked around at the others present, taking in their faces: some sullen, some cheerful, some blank, a few unreadable, and still others probably lusting after her already, which was something she had come to fully expect. She smiled at all of them, either way.

 

"Welcome on board the Lady Amalia! Any friend of Caiden's is a friend of mine. We have just a few rules on this ship: first of all, I am a happily married woman who knows how to handle a sword and with a husband who could eat you for breakfast, so please keep your hands to yourself if you're that type," she said with a smile. "Second of all, we have three meals a day, and everyone is welcome to join in. Third of all, I'm not this ship's queen, and I'm open to suggestions as to how to handle our various situations. Basically, be nice, and you'll be treated the same. We hope you enjoy your stay!"

 

With that, she motioned for the deckhands to aid in carrying everyone's supplies on board. Since some of them had horses, those were brought on board as well, as the ship was large enough to accommodate and clearly was even carrying enough supplies. Not all of the ship's crew seemed quite as welcoming as Captain Ritter, but none of them were rude, either.

 

Getting everyone and everything on board the ship was a quick affair. That afternoon, Captain Jane Ritter announced they were ready to set sail and ordered for the ship to be cast off. After their brief ride through Templaria and unloading onto the Lady Amalia, Caiden's companions abruptly found themselves setting sail on the high seas.

 

---

 

With the ship set off, everyone now had ample opportunity to make themselves comfortable and get acquainted with the layout of the vessel - and, with any luck, make themselves used to the sea breeze in their face, the gentle rocking of their home on the sea, and the smell of brine. That, and they now realized who in the group was apparently at least half mindless and was unlikely to respond when addressed. Plexaura looked annoyed to be stuck on a ship again, pacing restlessly on the main deck, while Stevan stood on the forecastle deck, beside the ballista, like a watchful statue. Kye, on the other hand, slipped below deck and found a bunk in the farthest corner to take a seat on in silence and solitude.

 

Caiden headed up to the quarterdeck to speak with Captain Ritter, who gave him yet another smile.

 

"I really have missed you, Caiden," said Jane. "You've never been talkative, but after Redfield..." Her tone became a bit more concerned. "Something about you has changed."

 

"Too much," Caiden replied in agreement. "Thank you for lending us the ship, Jane. I wasn't sure I could've gotten transport if you hadn't."

 

"Don't mention it. So who're all these people with you?" She arched a brow. "Some of them look, hm... Odd. That Inquisitor man and the Templar woman seem nice, though."

 

"You might have to ask Stevan about a few of them," the Venator almost muttered, glancing at some of the stranger ones. But he nodded to Jane again before he descended, returning to the main deck and leaning forward against a railing, gazing out at the sea.

 

Jane watched him go, making sure the ship's wheel was adjusted before she posed to make an announcement to everyone present: "Just so we're all aware," she said, "it will be a few days before we reach our destination of Artorius. Everyone please make yourselves at home. I apologize for the lack of privacy in the bunks - you'll just have to not mind... well, being sociable with one another! But please, nothing untoward in the hold. We really don't want to clean up that sort of thing. Save it for when you're in some shabby inn."

 

"Sails, Captain!" the lookout, Liam 'Eagle-Eyes' suddenly shouted. "They're far off, but they look Viking."

 

Captain Ritter frowned. "If they're far off, let them be for now. Let me know when you can make out any kind of flag."

 

"Aye."

 

Most of those on the ship would know quite well just what a Viking ship could mean: they could simply be traders, explorers, or else they were a Nordling tribe openly hostile with the Empire and prepared to raid any Imperial ships they came across. That could mean bad news for the Lady Amalia, especially if she was taken unprepared, and her mighty ballista went unused... On the other hand, it could be a friendly or neutral tribe, and attacking the ship preemptively could result in a catastrophe, diplomatically and otherwise.

 

 

((As we enter into Chapter I, I want to let everyone know: this is the shortest chapter in the campaign and the one most oriented around encounters. While the prologue was extended due to delays involving a vacation, Chapter I will - I hope - move along at a better pace. This chapter is the shortest because, frankly, I tend to have bad luck with sea adventures. But I do plan to keep it brief, so hopefully it'll remain exciting!

 

Feel free to mingle as you please, look around the ship, and/or react to the distant Viking sails. Another update will be coming soon.))


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#2 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 01:54 PM

Marcus’ correspondence carried on until late in the evening, as he did his best to keep his message cryptic but decipherable, for those who had known him since he first joined the Inquisition.  It would not be helpful in the slightest if even they could not understand a bloody word he wrote, but neither did he want just any eavesdropper, much less a spy in their own ranks, to be forewarned of his efforts.  Or those of his old partner, Kate, for that matter; the poor girl was probably still at least muttering aloud when she could find the patience to read.  He alluded to comrades long gone and waxed poetic about loyalty, making references that only a select few would care about, much less remember.

 

It was close to midnight when the Inquisitor put down his quill for the last time, stretching his sore neck and arms before sealing the missives with plain wax (he would never use the official, expensive black one for personal letters, though he still applied his official seal, so they would be mostly tamper-proof), and removing the rest of his armor for a well-earned rest.

 

---

 

The next morning, those who intended to follow Caiden on his latest mission gathered their belongings and said good-bye to those who could not.  Tom, sadly, was not among them, having disappeared during the night.  Marcus was sullen upon discovering this, but understood the werewolf’s concerns.  Should the time arise when Tom needed his help, Capulet hoped he would be ready.  For now they would part ways, but he doubted that was the last they had seen of the Demon Slayer.

 

Arriving in Templaria put Marcus in absolute awe, and “breathtaking” felt so insufficient a word he feared the city would feel cheated if he used it, or any other unworthy choices in his vocabulary.  Naturally, his pious nature drew his attention to the temples in particular, but there was no time to stop and pay his respects.  He would have to settle for saluting the statues of the Olympians as he passed, hoping they could forgive a simple mortal’s need for haste.

 

The Lady Amalia was no less impressive, with finery and symbols that he had never seen on a ship before.  The privateer ship they had been on was good-looking, but practical; and the black-sailed galleys of the Inquisition seemed dour and drab compared to this craft.  A spark of envy peeked out from beneath Marcus’ heart, only to be swiftly stamped out.  He had no need to show off, his parent’s peers back home did enough of that, and it gained them nothing but resentment.  Still, he hoped the ship was for more than just show.  His heavy mail made swimming an exercise in futility.

 

When the vivacious Captain Ritter welcomed them aboard her craft, Marcus found her smile infectious.  He had feared seeing the traditional hospitality of Veritshire so recently would make all other greetings feel cold and heartless, but was glad to see such worries were baseless.  The Inquisitor avoided eye contact when she opened with the warning that she was married, he had noticed her beauty and apparently was far from the first to do so.  Not that he intended to do or say anything about it, especially since he was...committed?...to Neitha.  “Friend” was yet another insufficient word, “Betrothed” made no sense this early on, “Paramour” sounded like too much (though he was fairly certain Neitha had other ideas)...Marcus was actually starting to regret forgoing such matters for so long, for the sake of his duty.  It wasn’t like he was under an oath of celibacy; quite the opposite, in fact Inquisitors were encouraged to start families, it was one of their most reliable methods of recruitment.  Still, he had always figured there would be time for that sort of thing later, and his gaps in knowledge were becoming increasingly clear.

 

After they were underway, Marcus figured actually talking to Neitha would be a good place to start.  She was usually the one to initiate things, but seemed touched by any gestures he could offer.  He wondered if she had ever been on a ship before, and remembered how sick he had gotten on his first voyage.  Approaching the former pit-fighter with a half-smile on his face, he asked Neitha, “Are you settling in alright?  I’m not sure if you’ve ever been at sea before.”

 

Edited by Lord_Capulet, 08 July 2016 - 09:32 AM.
grammar and clarification

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#3 Sareth

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 08:43 PM

Neitha was not quite as enthralled by the sights of Templaria as some of her comrades, though even she wasn't quite sure why. She appreciated the finer things in life to be sure, having once had, and then lost, them, but it all seemed just a bit... excessive. Or maybe it was just because they weren't temples to her Gods...

 

However, the ship, the Lady Amalia, was unquestionably excessive in its opulence. It must be nice to have so much money that you could not only afford a well-made fair-sized vessel, but then to cover what looked like half of its surface with enough carvings and gold leaf to employ a small army of artisans. There really was no accounting for taste... while she liked finery, it had its place, and tools weren't one of them in her opinion —likewise, she had never understood those people who carried fancy weapons or armor with intricate engravings or that were gilt with gold; if you ever actually used them, they were going to get beat up anyway.

 

'Well, on the bright side, at least the voyage should be relatively comfortable' she thought to herself.

 

She stood beside Marcus, leaning against him slightly, as the captain introduced herself and laid out the ship's simple rules.

 

Once they had got underway, she took a couple minutes to familiarize herself with the ship's layout, before returning to the deck.

 

"Are you settling in alright?  I’m not sure if you’ve ever been at sea before.”

 

"I have —a couple times, actually" Neitha replied. "And I am. I've got —what's the phrase sailors use...?— good legs" she continued with a grin, neglecting to mention that the first time she had spent a whole day bent over the railing clutching her stomach —but she'd never had a problem since then. She knew full well that wasn't quite the right phrase, but she couldn't help teasing Marcus a little. Though, it was sweet that he cared.

 

"What about you?" she asked a moment later, before a thought struck her. "You know, maybe you should store your tin suit belowdecks —I'd hate to think of you falling overboard in that leaden outfit" she suggested, flicking one of the metal plates lightly to emphasize her point. Her tone was light, as usual, but there was a hint of honest concern behind it all.

 

She turned away for a moment as the captain made another announcement. 

 

"... But please, nothing untoward in the hold. We really don't want to clean up that sort of thing. Save it for when you're in some shabby inn."

 

"Hmph. Spoilsport" Neitha muttered half-jokingly under her breath, though Marcus could probably hear it.

 

"Sails, Captain! They're far off, but they look Viking."

 

"If they're far off, let them be for now. Let me know when you can make out any kind of flag."

 

"... Or maybe you should leave that armor on for now" she said a moment later, turning back to Marcus.

 

Vikings. Great. Why couldn't anything ever be simple with this group?

 

***

 

It was most certainly not the first time Sarael had been to Templaria, and yet the sight of the city took her breath away as it always did. She had always liked it here; somehow, just being in the city made her feel closer to the Gods —almost as if she stood at the foothills of Olympus itself. Unfortunately, they were just passing through, without even time for her to visit one of the many Temples of Astra in the city. Still, just seeing the place again raised her spirits somewhat.

 

Their ship, the Lady Amalia, was a sight to see as well; it almost looked like something the Templar might have commissioned, with all the gilt and heraldry decorating its hull. She joined the others as they boarded, and listened patiently as the captain gave a little speech; though, she felt a touch awkward as well when the woman told everyone to keep their hands to themselves. Was that really a common problem...?

 

Afterwards, when the ship had gotten moving, she headed down into the... what did they call it on a ship? —the hold, right— taking a moment to visit Silver Breeze in her stall, making sure her horse was well-situated and had enough food and water; she gave the silver mare a small lump of sugar as a treat —the poor dear seemed ill at ease with being on a ship. Of course, the same was somewhat true of herself, having never been on a ship before. She was trying to convince herself that the motion of the ship wasn't that different from the bouncing of a horse, but it wasn't quite working. Maybe if she just sat down for a little while...

 

Deciding that she might as well pick a bunk while she was down here, she headed over to that part of the hold, searching for a bunk that looked big enough to hold her. She eventually found one towards the back of the hold, coincidentally not that far from the one another member of the group had picked —the dark-haired one with the funny metal gauntlet. Stashing her saddlebags under the bunk, she unslung her zweihänder's sheath from her back, setting it on the bed before taking a seat, and trying to convince herself that the world wasn't spinning. What she really needed was something to keep her mind off of it...

 

"Hey" she said with a little wave and her typical bright smile, addressing the dark-haired man ((Kye)). "I don't think we ever really got a chance to introduce ourselves back in Redfield; I'm Sarael... What's your name?"


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#4 Klaykid

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 10:14 PM

There was a yearning to explore the ship, talk to the sailors, listen to their stories, and mess about the deck. But it felt childish for a woman of Sef's caliber. Just this once she wanted to let her reservations loose and be free to act a fool. She wanted to marvel at the impressive engineering of the vessel and its breath taking architecture. And it really was a beautiful ship (though it made it a prime target for pirates). But there were more pressing matters at hand. Like trying not to vomit on the main deck. One could say Sef did not have the affinity for the sea. She preferred having solid ground beneath her feet where she could freely move about. But this, being at sea on a vessel that rocked back and forth constantly, nauseated her well past the 'danger zone'.

 

"Oh, Lady," mumbled Sef. "Give me strength and see me through this..."

 

The Templar got to her feet, legs wobbling, and gripped the railings. As soon as her stomach calmed (as the ship entered calmer waters), she allowed her mind to wander. Stevan's words about his own salvation gave Sef hope that perhaps one day she would come across her own saving. For a time it felt like she had drifted further from Astra, something that she was afraid of since joining the ranks of the Knights Templar. But faith, devotion, and love for Astra was a two way street. You must put in effort and devotion to Her. Though it certainly felt like Sef had been abandoned when her husband...

 

Her thumb rubbed against the silver marriage band she kept around her neck. The very memories of her husband could drive her to tears. She took the ring from around her neck and contemplated tossing it into the ocean. Then herself. But something in her heart couldn't let go of the only physical representation of her lost love. It was a reminder that her husband existed, that he was an actual being with thoughts and feelings, someone that loved her with everything humanly possible. And this thought made her feel at ease, and at the same time, brought a slow sadness like a creeping storm.

 

Sef placed the necklace back around her neck and wobbled over to Stevan. The captain always had a presence that calmed her nerves. And, though she did not want to admit it out loud, she loved to annoy the captain. She staggered beside him, a wave caught by the ship made her stumble a bit, and she caught the railings to steady herself. An embarrassed chuckle escaped from her lips before she felt something disastrous approaching.

 

The Templar vomited over the side of the rails. Oh, and there was a ship approaching them.


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#5 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 05:48 AM

Once again, Charon's stomach churned, and he threw up over the side of the ship.

 

The Mage usually didn't have a problem with sea-sickness...as long as he didn't eat anything before boarding a ship. But, since they had decided to take the Lady Amalia without warning everyone about it before hand, he now found himself heaving the contents of his stomach overboard into the waves below.

 

Once he was finished, the Man groaned and moved back to the others, finding himself next to Matthias and Rutger again.

 

"So," he said, trying to look like the sea hadn't gotten to him "how are you faring on this fine ship?"

 

---

 

Katrina, in contrast, was having the time of her life. 

 

It was good to be back on the sea again: while she had been in Northrim during her search for her friend, she had gone out to sea in several Longboats, even one belonging to the Wyrmtounges!

 

She was having a good time conversing and joking with the sailors until someone shouted:

 

"Sails, Captain! They're far off, but they look Viking."

 

The Archer raced to the side of the ship where the Northern vessel had been spotted and glanced out to sea.

 

Maybe the ship belonged to a tribe that she was on friendly terms with...



#6 Balder

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 06:42 AM

Rutger stood by the railing on the main deck, deeply taking in the sea air. There was something about the humid air that made him feel... better. Just better. It was as if he'd been suffering from a stuffed nose his entire life and only now could he truly smell the air. He remembered having the feeling before while taking baths but to have it now was... unexpected. Rutger had rather expected to deplore being on a ship as he'd never been on one before and to find that he enjoyed it, despite the occasional tripping as he was finding his sea legs, was indeed a pleasant surprise. I should buy a boat, came the idle thought.

 

His musing were interrupted by the shout of sighted sails. Vikings. A worried frown cowered the scribe's face as he scanned the horizon for the ship and failed to find it. It's far off, beyond the horizon, then. Can only be seen for now from the crow's nest. He glanced up at the towering mast before quickly dismissing the idea. He was not delusional as to his physical abilities which were lacking to put it lightly. 

 

Putting the thoughts of the Vikings to the side for now Rutger went back to just enjoying the sea air while he still could. Taking a deep breath he... What is that smell!? That smells just like- a quick look to the side confirmed it -Vomit. "So," said Charlon Shev with the stench of regurgitation about him, "how are you faring on this fine ship"

 

"Well I was rather enjoying the fresh air until you showed up. By Astra, how much did you heave up? You've got the stench of sewage about you!" Waving his hand about in an attempt to clear the air he noticed the heaving of a woman on the forecastle deck. "It seems you're not alone in your misfortune," Rutger mumbled with a gesture in the Templar's direction. "Oh and stop pretending that the sea ain't getting to you, none'll be fooled with how you smell and you look ridiculous!"


Edited by Balder, 08 July 2016 - 06:43 AM.

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#7 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:21 AM

Kye looked up the instant Sarael came down to the hold, and he tensed when he realized she was a Templar. He quickly made himself relax again and look away from her, instead discreetly watching her from the corner of his eye. And then she spoke to him.

 

"Hey" she said with a little wave and her typical bright smile. "I don't think we ever really got a chance to introduce ourselves back in Redfield; I'm Sarael... What's your name?"

 

He swallowed, looking at her again and forcing a smile of his own, though his was much weaker and shorter lived. "I'm Kye," he said quietly, looking a bit pale. If Sarael assumed anything about him at the moment, her easiest deduction would be that he was slightly seasick - even if that wasn't true. "Weird name, I know," he added, trying to lighten the mood; it didn't work well. "Nice to meet you, Sarael."

 

---

 

As Sef approached Stevan, he turned to regard her and arched a brow at the look on her face. Before he could speak, she vomited over the side of the ship. Stevan grimaced slightly, but he put a hand on her back as a bit of support. Although, after a few seconds, he gently massaged her neck - and shoulders, or at least what he could for her armor - instead, trying to ease some of the seasickness, for all the good it did.

 

"I felt the same way when I was first assigned on a ship as a legionary," he commented. "Only then I was rowing," he added, seeming to recall it very well. "I threw up on my centurion's sandals... You can probably imagine how he took that, being a centurion. He was even holding his whip at the time."

 

He cleared his throat; that wasn't the best subject. Glancing around the ship, he said, "Looks like a lot of us don't have our sea legs. My advice is stay up here near the prow. It used to help me, before I got over it." Stevan managed a wry smile. "I don't know if I got used to it or if I can thank a certain problem of mine for helping to steady my stomach, but I don't have as much trouble keeping it down."

 

---

 

Katrina, try as she might, found that she couldn't make out much about the ship at the moment, at least not from the railings of the main deck.


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#8 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 10:59 AM

"I have —a couple times, actually" Neitha replied. "And I am. I've got —what's the phrase sailors use...?— good legs" she continued with a grin.

 

You certainly do,” Marcus intoned, before his eyes widened as he realized what he had just done.  “Uh...not...not in that manner...wait, that was complementary, right?” The bewildered Inquisitor continued sputtering apologetically for a moment before groaning and comically hiding his eyes behind his gauntleted palm.  “Never mind.”

 

"What about you?" she asked a moment later, before a thought struck her. "You know, maybe you should store your tin suit belowdecks —I'd hate to think of you falling overboard in that leaden outfit" she suggested, flicking one of the metal plates lightly to emphasize her point. Her tone was light, as usual, but there was a hint of honest concern behind it all.

 

Frankly, Marcus was just glad she’d considerately decided to change the subject.  “Oof, that’d be a terrible way to go.  Thankfully, this isn’t my first voyage, either.  The Inquisition has its own fleet and they teach us all the 4 S’s early on: stay out of the sailors’ way, stick to the safety ropes or railings, stand still without sudden movements, and shut our stupid mouths.”  

 

He tilted his head slightly in amusement, musing, “The sailors always laughed when explaining that last one, but Ebonguards like me learn not to take it personally.  Gods know we subject our own newcomers to similar teasing.”  Looking back to Neitha, he added with a smile, “But thank you for your concern, all the same.”

 

"Sails, Captain! They're far off, but they look Viking."

 

"If they're far off, let them be for now. Let me know when you can make out any kind of flag."

 

"... Or maybe you should leave that armor on for now" she said a moment later, turning back to Marcus.

 

Frowning resolutely, Marcus nodded and said, “Agreed.  I trust that lookout knows his business, but I’d rather not be caught unawares.  Actually, I’d rather not have to deal with pirates again at all, but if I must, at least let us be prepared.”

 

Peering out over the rail and squinting his eyes to try to catch a glimpse of the distant sails, Capulet noted aside to Neitha, “Speaking of pirates, did I ever tell you that’s how our little band first met Kye?”  


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#9 Sareth

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 02:25 PM

You certainly doUh...not...not in that manner...wait, that was complementary, right? ... Never mind.”

 

Neitha didn't say a thing —she didn't have to, it was much funnier to watch Marcus trip over his own words— simply arching an eyebrow as she grinned knowingly.

 

Oof, that’d be a terrible way to go. Thankfully, this isn’t my first voyage, either. The Inquisition has its own fleet and they teach us all the 4 S’s early on: stay out of the sailors’ way, stick to the safety ropes or railings, stand still without sudden movements, and shut our stupid mouths. The sailors always laughed when explaining that last one, but Ebonguards like me learn not to take it personally. Gods know we subject our own newcomers to similar teasing. But thank you for your concern, all the same.”

 

"Well, it's for my benefit too, you know. I can't have my new boyfriend becoming fishfood —it's unseemly" she replied, ribbing him mercilessly.

 

"Agreed.  I trust that lookout knows his business, but I’d rather not be caught unawares.  Actually, I’d rather not have to deal with pirates again at all, but if I must, at least let us be prepared. ... Speaking of pirates, did I ever tell you that’s how our little band first met Kye?”

 

"... You're kidding, right?" she replied a touch incredulously. "Okay, story time, now" she said a moment later, taking on a mock commanding tone, leaning against the railing. "This I've got to hear."

 

***

 

"I'm Kye. Weird name, I know. Nice to meet you, Sarael."

 

Hmm... his smile was a bit strained, and he was a bit pale... maybe he was feeling a little seasick too, Sarael reasoned. So, a conversation could help him keep his mind off the discomfort along with hers!

 

"So..." she said, stalling for a moment as she cast about for a subject, her eyes eventually landing on his funny gauntlet again; she knew quite a lot about fighting, but she had never seen anything quite like it. She couldn't help but wonder... Almost before she had actually consciously made the decision, the words came pouring out —an unstoppable tidal wave of rapid-fire questions:

 

"Why do you only wear one gauntlet? I've never seen one like that —where'd you get it? How do you use it —offensively or defensively? Can you stop a sword with it? Don't the long spikes on the fingers get in the way of doing other things with that hand?" 


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#10 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 05:25 PM

"So..." she said - and it took a few seconds for her to say anything else. During that time, Kye froze like an animal who'd just locked gazes with a much larger predator. He looked at Sarael and saw her eyes land on his gauntlet, which he self-consciously and slowly closed into a fist.

 
She started blurting: "Why do you only wear one gauntlet? I've never seen one like that —where'd you get it? How do you use it —offensively or defensively? Can you stop a sword with it? Don't the long spikes on the fingers get in the way of doing other things with that hand?"
 
Kye's jaw opened and closed slightly as he tried to form answers for each question as they came, but ultimately he waited until she was done, blinking as he tried to keep up with everything she'd said. He rubbed the back of his neck with his right hand, not moving his left at all now.
 
"Well, uh - it's kind of a... gladiator style," he said. Thankfully he knew what those crazy mortals who wore half-armor were called. "I kinda use it both ways - offense and defense, I mean. But..." he glanced at it again and finished honestly, "yeah, the claws do get in the way a lot. I'm used to doing things with one hand, though. Well, y'know, certain things. It's-- I've had it for a long time." He swallowed. "It's complicated - and - weird," he said nervously, trying to offer an innocent, dismissive little smile. It wound up being crooked and shaky.

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#11 Burger Warrior

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:11 PM

Percula had remained pretty comfortable around - and occasionally inside - Caiden as they journeyed from Redfield to Templaria. By the time they got there she’d elected to stay in one of his many belt pouches, having heard from the others - in passing, of course, rather than conversation - that this ‘Templaria’ was a really, really nice-looking human city. And it was bigger than any one that she’d seen so far, too!

 

So when she poked her head out of the pouch to get a look around at their surroundings… the pixie was a little disappointed.

 

It’s almost all white! Saffron thought, retreating into the pouch completely after just a minute or two. All of it! How could humans like such a blaaand color? Uuugh…

 

The disgruntled fairy stayed quiet and in her pouch; albeit she nearly popped out when she heard Jane Ritter speaking to Caid like she did, though the woman announcing she was married made Percula pause and simply remain where she was. Suddenly her tone seemed far more convivial. Saffron wondered if that would be the case if she stopped assuming other women were trying to steal her man.

 

But if she didn’t assume, who knew what could happen? Poor Caid needs protecting from the other ladies.

 

Anyway, Caiden was looking out at the sea, and no one seemed to be approaching him. Percula poked her head out of his pouch as some vague shouting went off nearby. Having been on a human ship before, she knew it was probably usual ship-stuff. Then again, that ship had been far, far different. Percula found herself staring at all the decoration and… cleanliness before finally clearing her head with a little shaking. That done, the pixie nudged her lover - just enough to be noticed.

 

“Heeey… do you mind if I sneak off for a bit?” Percula whispered up. “I’m getting peckish.” She admitted kind of sheepishly.

 

Of all the things to bring up right now… but I am hungry!

 

-----

 

The past few days had gone by in a daze for Rosette.

 

Here she was, within feet of her sister, but all through the humans’ (and others) traveling the pixie never had one chance to get to Percula. Practically as a matter of course she had stuck with Kye, since he was the one she’d first bumped into - not the mention the one that was easiest to stick around, as getting to the others could potentially lead to falling into more cups, again. Not quite ready to experience that again, the young Saffron simply found various places to hide with the party’s demon-kin, which proved to be a good thing for him. Especially as they made their way through Templaria, the pixie did her best to relieve the weight on his very soul.

 

There was only so much Rosette could do, though, especially as they boarded a ship surrounded by Templars. Especially especially when one of them approached him.

 

She seemed innocent enough in her questions, but the pixie shifted uncomfortably as the questions grew more invasive. There wasn’t exactly much the young Saffron could do, though, besides sit tight and wait for the worst. Rosette bit her lip, reluctantly sitting down and trying to clear her head. There really wasn’t much she could do but try to clear her head and meditate a little.

Given the volume of the woman speaking with Kye, though, Rosette was kept pretty aware of her surroundings rather than really meditating, much to her growing chagrine...


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#12 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 02:49 PM

"Well I was rather enjoying the fresh air until you showed up. By Astra, how much did you heave up? You've got the stench of sewage about you!"

 

"Not that much," Charon said, looking offended by Rutger's bluntness "I only had a small breakfast. If I had known we were going to sea, I wouldn't have eaten before coming at all."

 

---

 

Katrina, not being able to make out what ship was coming towards them, made her way to where the Venator and the Ship Captain were standing.

 

"So," she asked, trying to keep the excitement out of her voice "have you ever been situations like this before?"

 

The look in her eyes told the Captain that she wouldn't be satisfied with a simple yes or no.



#13 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 09:01 AM

"Well, it's for my benefit too, you know. I can't have my new boyfriend becoming fishfood —it's unseemly" she replied, ribbing him mercilessly.

 

Boyfriend, huh?  A novel term, but it seemed appropriately endearing.  Marcus guessed the equivalent for Neitha would be “girlfriend,” and made a note to attempt to use it in further conversation.  Not excessively, though.  He doubted the word would catch on as any sort of trend.

 

---

 

"... You're kidding, right?" she replied a touch incredulously. "Okay, story time, now" she said a moment later, taking on a mock commanding tone, leaning against the railing. "This I've got to hear."

 

Capulet matched her posture, facing her with a nostalgic smile while angling himself slightly outward, so he could check the horizon for danger when needed.

 

“We were on our way to the ruined temple where you found us, seeking answers for Tom and the resting place of that old idol.  Tom called in a favor with some privateer friends, but not long after we’d been at sea some pirates mistook us for easy prey.  I was ready to help their crew sink the fools, but the Captain took personal offense at their arrogance, and wanted to punish them face-to-face. I rushed to protect some brash lad launching an ill-conceived counter-attack, only for us to end up taking cover in the enemy’s hold.  Not one of my best ideas, I’ll admit.”

 

Pensively cradling his chin, Marcus continued, “We found Kye, the poor sod, alone in a cage, more like an animal than a slave.  I was suspicious of his origins, especially with the assassin’s kit and the foreboding gauntlet he wears all the time, but I didn’t know him, and it would’ve been wrong to just leave him to rot.  We broke him out while Tom finished off the remaining pirates, and he’s been following us ever since.”

 

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#14 Sareth

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 11:57 AM

“We were on our way to the ruined temple where you found us, seeking answers for Tom and the resting place of that old idol. Tom called in a favor with some privateer friends, but not long after we’d been at sea some pirates mistook us for easy prey. I was ready to help their crew sink the fools, but the Captain took personal offense at their arrogance, and wanted to punish them face-to-face. I rushed to protect some brash lad launching an ill-conceived counter-attack, only for us to end up taking cover in the enemy’s hold. Not one of my best ideas, I’ll admit... We found Kye, the poor sod, alone in a cage, more like an animal than a slave. I was suspicious of his origins, especially with the assassin’s kit and the foreboding gauntlet he wears all the time, but I didn’t know him, and it would’ve been wrong to just leave him to rot. We broke him out while Tom finished off the remaining pirates, and he’s been following us ever since.”

 

"Hm. Not quite as amusing as I'd hoped for" Neitha commented, feeling a touch let down. "Still, it seems about right for the level of luck I've observed since I met you guys."

 

"Well, if that ship the lookout spotted turns out to be hostile, I'll know you're cursed" she continued a moment later, jokingly. "Ooh, maybe this time we'll find a vampire!" she said with a sarcastically excited tone.

 

***

 

"Well, uh - it's kind of a... gladiator style. I kinda use it both ways - offense and defense, I mean. But... yeah, the claws do get in the way a lot. I'm used to doing things with one hand, though. Well, y'know, certain things. It's-- I've had it for a long time... It's complicated - and - weird."

 

"Wait, so, did you used to be a gladiator!?" Sarael asked a bit excitedly; she had never met a gladiator before...

 

"Anyway... So, what brings you to this mission?" she asked a few moments later, curious. "I mean... no offense, but you don't exactly look like a Templar, or an Inquisitor, or whatever..."


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#15 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 12:55 PM

"Hm. Not quite as amusing as I'd hoped for" Neitha commented, feeling a touch let down.

 

Shrugging, Marcus responded, “It’s probably just the way I told it.  I could try regaling you with the pitched battle and the regretful cries of the dying pirates, but I honestly didn’t contribute much to that end besides disrupting their attack somewhat.”

 

"Still, it seems about right for the level of luck I've observed since I met you guys."

 

Marcus sniffed in mock offense at this, but relented, “I’ll concede that point.”

 

"Well, if that ship the lookout spotted turns out to be hostile, I'll know you're cursed" she continued a moment later, jokingly. "Ooh, maybe this time we'll find a vampire!" she said with a sarcastically excited tone.

 

The Inquisitor’s sarcastic laughter seemed dry enough to diminish the ocean around them.  “Oh, hahaaaah, very funny.  Well, if the fates happen to be in such a mood, that vampire had better have a compelling argument ready, or I might just leave the creepy stranger where I found it this time.”


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#16 Balder

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 03:39 PM

"Not that much," Charlon said, looking offended by Rutger's bluntness "I only had a small breakfast. If I had known we were going to sea, I wouldn't have eaten before coming at all."

 

"Um, I'm sorry?" The scribe said, genuinely confused at Charlon's offended tone. "Did I say something rude? I did, didn't I? But how was it rude? It was naught but the truth," he said incredulously. Rutger had always been bad at talking with people, missing many mysterious social cues and inadvertently insulting people with what he said. And it was very rare that he left something unsaid, a constant grievance of his parents. If Rutger had something on his mind he said it.

 

"I did not mean any insult, I assure you. So don't be stupid and take offence for nothing," he assured, once again insulting the man without meaning to. "People always do that and I find to be quite idiotic." 


Edited by Balder, 11 July 2016 - 03:40 PM.

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#17 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 08:08 PM

“Heeey… do you mind if I sneak off for a bit?” Percula whispered up. “I’m getting peckish.” She admitted kind of sheepishly.

 

Caiden glanced down at her. He lifted a hand to absently scratch his chin, and she somehow managed to notice that his hand was trembling. She could only guess that meant...

 

"I could stand to sneak off for a bit, myself," he admitted quietly, arching a brow at her a little and confirming her suspicions.

 

But before he could do anything else, Katrina came over. "So," she asked, trying to keep the excitement out of her voice, "have you ever been situations like this before?"

Jane and Caiden exchanged brief glances, before Jane broke out into a grin and laughed.

 

"My dear, this sort of thing is my entire life," replied Captain Ritter with a friendly smile. "And Caiden's, as well, essentially, though he does more of the monster hunting, and I just do the sailing. Perhaps you could be a bit more specific as to what kind of situation you mean?"

 

---

 

"Wait, so, did you used to be a gladiator!?" Sarael asked a bit excitedly.

 

Kye paused, about to say 'no,' but he thought about it for a moment longer and said pensively, "Sssort of..."

"Anyway... So, what brings you to this mission?" she asked a few moments later, curious. "I mean... no offense, but you don't exactly look like a Templar, or an Inquisitor, or whatever..."

 

He forced a nervous laugh. "Yeah - I know, I really don't... I'm just friends with Caiden, that's all. This whole thing is really important to him, apparently, and I just want to help." Kye hesitated a moment before finishing, "He's helped me lately... a lot. And if there's any way I can repay him for the things he's done, then I will."


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#18 Sareth

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 08:07 PM

Oh, hahaaaah, very funny. Well, if the fates happen to be in such a mood, that vampire had better have a compelling argument ready, or I might just leave the creepy stranger where I found it this time.”

 

"At least you're learning, dear" Neitha teased, patting Marcus on the shoulder 'proudly'. A moment later, she ducked in and gave him a quick kiss, to take any sting out of her teasing.

 

As much as she liked Kye, she did recognize that he was —probably— the exception to the rule. Besides, this group already had an excess of weird —she wasn't sure it could take any more without exploding, especially with more ...

 

"Hmm... Hold down the fort here for a few minutes, wouldja? I'm gonna go topside, see if I can't get a good look at this Viking ship" she said, gesturing up at the crow's nest. With a confident grin for Marcus, she then turned, headed over to the mast, and began to climb.

 

She'd head up to the crow's nest for a few minutes, and see what she could see.

 

***

 

"Sssort of..."

 

How could one 'sort of' be a gladiator, Sarael wondered. But, curious or not, she didn't push it —Kye didn't seem too keen on the subject, maybe it was a bad period of his life.

 

"Yeah - I know, I really don't... I'm just friends with Caiden, that's all. This whole thing is really important to him, apparently, and I just want to help. He's helped me lately... a lot. And if there's any way I can repay him for the things he's done, then I will."

 

She nodded thoughtfully in reply. It was as good a reason as any, she supposed. He was quite loyal, to follow a friend into such potential danger...

 

"Have you ever fought a monster?" she asked softly. "A mage? The undead? A demon?"

 

He had the look of a skilled fighter, but if she was going to be fighting alongside him, she wanted an idea of his experience in such matters. Just in case things went like... like last time. Then, every one of her comrades had been skilled and knowledgeable in fighting the unnatural, and things had still fallen apart. And now, having a number of... outsiders along only amplified her vague forebodings about the mission. She wanted —she needed— some reassurance that at least some of them knew what they were doing....


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#19 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 12:24 PM

"At least you're learning, dear" Neitha teased, patting Marcus on the shoulder 'proudly'. A moment later, she ducked in and gave him a quick kiss, to take any sting out of her teasing.

 

Capulet relented, accepting it gratefully with a fond smile.  He had taken his fair share of japes since childhood, but this kind of affection was a pleasant change.  Perhaps he might even get used to it.

 

"Hmm... Hold down the fort here for a few minutes, wouldja? I'm gonna go topside, see if I can't get a good look at this Viking ship" she said, gesturing up at the crow's nest. With a confident grin for Marcus, she then turned, headed over to the mast, and began to climb.

 

Marcus had no idea what specific part of the ship “topside” meant, but any fool could guess she was heading in an upward direction.  With a quick “Be careful!” in her direction, the Inquisitor briefly watched her go, making a note to avoid staring as her lithe form began to ascend.  

 

His own scans of the horizon proving fruitless from his current position, Marcus’ well-trained gaze scanned the rest of his surroundings instead, as he rested his back against the railing.  His companions, both old and new, were either conversing at different intervals around him or were somewhere below decks.  One black-clad figure paced restlessly toward the center of the ship, and when she eventually turned again, briefly facing his direction, he recognized her face: Plexaura, his friend’s younger sister.  She had been on that first voyage he had just discussed with Neitha, yet she seemed even less at ease now than she had back then.  

 

Deeming it rude and dishonorable to ignore a colleague’s distress, he approached the Channeler quietly, his hand making sure the steady weight of the mast was within reach, in case of a sudden bout of rocking.  Plus, this allowed him to maintain a respectable distance which would hopefully keep Neitha from looking down and misunderstanding his intent, while allowing him to converse with his female comrade without shouting her grievances to the entire ship.  Hopefully this was a sufficient compromise, he was not used to having to take such factors into account, but had seen enough arguments to know that these matters could not be ignored.  

 

His tone calm and reassuring as he could manage, Marcus asked Plexaura, “Something on your mind, Miss Voros?”  He could not quite remember her exact rank in the order, but remembered that he outranked her somewhat.  In an attempt to avoid sounding overbearing, he added with a casual half-smile, ”Unlike some of our less fortunate companions, I know this isn’t your first voyage, yet you still seem...concerned.”


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#20 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 06:10 PM

Kye finally managed to meet Sarael's gaze for an extended period of time, listening as she spoke again - though her question made just a little more color drain from his face.

 

"Have you ever fought a monster?" she asked softly. "A mage? The undead? A demon?"

 

"I... have," Kye replied at length, his voice a little low. "I've seen - and fought - a lot of monsters... more than most people, I guess."

 

How was he supposed to put this? If he said all the things he'd really seen, she'd probably just think he was insane - or overdoing it - or egotistical, or... something.

 

Licking his lips, Kye went on, "I've mostly fought demons. Undead - not so much, really, and I don't really know much about mages except how powerful they are..." Mentioning his run-ins with mages would make him sound even more ridiculous - there was no way a mortal could believe the whole truth about everything he'd seen in his life.

 

"And other monsters - I dunno." He fidgeted with his left gauntlet. "But I've fought demons, more than once. I... don't ever want to fight them again," he finished quietly, his tone and stare like a man haunted.

 

He paused, clearing his throat. "But, uh - I'm still alive, so that's something," Kye added. After a moment, he asked, "What about you? Ever fought - or, er, met - any monsters?"

 

---

 

“Something on your mind, Miss Voros?” In an attempt to avoid sounding overbearing, Marcus added with a casual half-smile, ”Unlike some of our less fortunate companions, I know this isn’t your first voyage, yet you still seem...concerned.”

 

Plexaura turned to look at Marcus for a moment before giving a light shrug. "I'm concerned about this entire situation, honestly. Last time I fought against the Umbra Coven, I was with a little group of people I knew I could trust." She gave a rather wry smile. "No offense - I don't mean you, especially, I mean some of these other people."

 

She leaned forward on the railing, sighing. "Anyway, I'm not too big on sailing. I don't like all this water. That, and I'm worried about my brother." After a second, she looked at Marcus again, suddenly even more serious than before. "Has he ever talked to you about the Coven much?" Plexaura asked, sounding almost cautious.

 

---

 

Meanwhile, on the quarterdeck, Caiden politely excused himself, leaving Jane with Katrina. He didn't speak a word to anyone else and generally tried to go unnoticed as he headed for Jane's cabin, unlocking it with a small silver key and stepping inside, shutting it behind him.

 

((Burgs: see PMs))

 

---

 

As the ship lingered on the horizon, Neitha scaled up to the crow's nest, where she found the gangly lookout hanging around precariously in some rigging. He offered her a wave and a smile, but he didn't seem too keen on conversation... probably one reason why he chose to isolate himself up here.

 

Turning her attention to the ship instead, Neitha could make out the sails and the flags. The sails were white with red stripes, and the flags flew the emblem of a boar and a sword. She didn't recognize the exact tribe, but there seemed to be no indicators of hostility. The flag looked like a tribe, not some lone group of pirates, at least... though whether or not this tribe was openly hostile with the Empire, Neitha was not sure.

 

With each passing second, however, the ship grew nearer. She could barely make out several shapes on board now: men rowing, one giving orders, and one looking out at their ship, as she was doing to them.

 

---

 

The ship continued to draw nearer... but something else reached the Lady Amalia first.

 

"Wreckage, dead ahead!" shouted the lookout, 'Eagle Eyes,' whose primary concern had turned from the Viking ship to the field of debris in front of their own vessel. He began to call out the best way for the Captain to avoid sailing straight through the large hunks of some other ship that now surrounded them, floating dead in the water.

 

From the forecastle deck, Stevan leaned forward on the railings and narrowed his eyes. "Hold!" he called to Captain Ritter. "There's a survivor!"

 

"See if you can get him," ordered Jane, and she motioned some other crewmen forward to lend some aid.

 

With the guidance of the lookout and Stevan, the crew carefully lowered a dinghy over the edge, sending a small party out to retrieve the one survivor floating in the wreckage. He was unconscious, clinging to a piece of debris from what was left of the vessel. Within moments, the dinghy returned and everyone was hauled back aboard, including the stranger.

 

"Get him below decks and tend to him," said Captain Ritter. "Stevan, I think you'd be best suited to letting him know just who it is that saved him."

 

With a nod, Stevan accompanied a few other sailors below decks as they carried the survivor to a more comfortable environment to check him for wounds. The wreckage of the ship, however, left everyone even tenser than before.

 

After all, if there was ship wreckage here, what could have caused it? Did the Viking vessel have some means of wrecking a ship so thoroughly? And if so, did that mean it was hostile and they should prepare themselves? Had this ship been torched? From what was left of the vessel, it was hard to tell just what had happened, particularly as much of it had now sunken. But whatever the case, it certainly meant some unknown danger lurked in the waters ahead...

 

And, meanwhile, the Viking ship kept drawing closer. Unless it diverted its course, it would meet with them all too soon.

 

---

 

Errol Stengard awoke below decks, laying in a bed. Two sailors tended to him, checking him for wounds, but they soon finished up, bandaging what few injuries they found and then moving off to do work elsewhere, leaving Stevan by Errol's bedside.

 

As Errol blinked his eyes open, Stevan watched him and said, "Easy. You're safe; we pulled you out of some wreckage, but you should be fine."

 

 

((Going to allow more time to finish up some conversations and allow some players more time to reply before the encounter begins. It probably won't begin for a few more days, at least, so feel free to continue interacting.))


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