Darkness hung thick on the Achaean sailing ship. The interior was designed for a large crew - of humans. The assorted monsters now held below deck could barely even fit through the doorways, though some had far more trouble than others, and yet the rooms that held them now were spacious enough... Perhaps because they had been cleared out specifically to serve that purpose.
This ship, whatever its goal, was already at sea. The prisoners could hear the waves against the ship's hull and feel the vessel rocking on the water. For now, their voyage seemed calm. No windows in their containment rooms meant they couldn't look outside, but at least they weren't in the middle of a storm.
Only a few lanterns hung from the ceiling here and there, providing sparse illumination - but they weren't of Achaean make, like the rest of the ship. In fact, they were strange indeed, made of twisted, silvery metals and holding a single glowing crystal each.
But the unidentified appearance of these lanterns matched the unidentified appearances of their captors. They were fairly short, all of them, standing a little under average Achaean height, and all were clad in full suits of plate armor, most of it bearing spikes and almost demonic-looking designs, and they all wore helms that concealed their faces from view - but, from a few of them, the prisoners could catch a glare from glowing red, purple, or yellow-green eyes under those helmets. They carried and assortment of weapons, always armed to the teeth, and yet... There weren't really many of them to go around. The guard patrols could be somewhat sparse.
No matter the strange lanterns or the heavily armored strangers who kept them prisoner, everyone was restrained in their own ways, and the first order of business would be to find a method to escape those shackles and recover the possessions that had been stripped from them...
That, and not all the prisoners were in the same room. In fact, though they themselves did not realize it, they were sorted by value as slaves.
In the first room below decks, one entered the doorway and found two cages, one on each side of the room. In the center of the room rested several crates and barrels of unknown contents. Here, each trapped in their own individual cages, there were four figures: Dgurritz the Wild, a goblin, in a cage to the left side of the room; Vilk the Coward, a rat-man, in the left-side cage adjacent to Dgurritz; and, on the right side of the room, there were two more cages containing Gertrude Gwendolyn Galvin and Menorel Vaylis.
They could each recall vaguely the sounds exchanged by the guards as they had been dragged aboard. The voices were well-spoken, but they had been using a language none of them understood. They had all, individually, been brought before an armored figure whose helm bore a crown of horns...
Dgurritz remembered his encounter being very brief. The figure had looked at him for all but two seconds before he barked something in his tongue and gestured for the goblin to be taken away.
Vilk recalled his experience with the figure as an odd one. Several words had been exchanged between the figure with the horn-crown helm and the guards flanking the rat-man. But they had been brief, terse phrases, before the one with the crowned helm gestured angrily, and Vilk had been taken to his cell.
Gertrude most assuredly believed her time spent before the figure in the crowned helm was impressively extensive. In truth, it had been almost as brief as Dgurritz's experience. She had been dragged before their leader and glanced over by all the guards present before the one in the crown of horns laughed and motioned for her to be taken away.
Menorel, meanwhile, had a terrifying experience indeed. The leader of the slavers had looked at her for a long while before clamping the void iron shackles on her arms. He barked something to his guards - and one of them had drawn a sword. She remembered his helmet had two ram-like horns. But another guard, his helmet bearing a crest of spikes and a pair of swept-back horns like a dragon, leapt to put himself between Menorel and the blade. He spoke hastily in their strange tongue and seemed to beseech their leader. After a moment or two, she had been taken to her cell... But she couldn't shake the feeling that she owed her life to that guard whose helmet bore a crest of spikes and two sweeping horns.
And now they were here, locked in their cages. Their room smelled particularly like bilge. In fact, there was an opening near Dgurritz's cage that led down to the bilge deck. All of them had been given similar accommodations: straw to sleep on, some ale to drink, and a bowl of unknown, somewhat grey-brown substance to eat... Except for Menorel, who also wore a pair of void iron shackles on her forearms and hands; presumably she could eat by licking from the dishes.
Only one guard came and went periodically throughout the room, giving the cages a cursory glance and leaving again. Sometimes it was one with ram-horns on his helmet, sometimes it was one with a crest of spikes and two large horns instead. A single lantern hung from the ceiling in the center of the room, holding one glowing blue-white crystal and lighting the room in a glow almost like moonlight.
Worst of all, however, they had simply devastated Gertrude's lovely hair while hauling her around and roughly shoving her into her cell like a bunch of barbarians. It looked like a nest fit for the humanoid rat in the cage directly across the room from her.
In the next room, separated from the first, were four more prisoners. Their room was laid out almost exactly like the first: two cages on each side, with crates and barrels in the center. They had water to drink and grey-brown muck to eat. Overhead, in the center of the room, there hung a lantern containing one glowing yellow crystal that lit the room almost like sunlight. Now and then, one or two guards would enter the room and glance around before leaving again.
In the cage to the upper left, farther from the door, was a sea elf: Jordan Attwater. In the cage adjacent to him was an Achaean woman, Captain Adriana Dewitt. In the cages on the other side of the room, Chryseis the Dryad was contained farther from the door, while the siren Kyra Gustin was in the cage adjacent to the dryad.
They recalled their encounters when first dragged aboard the ship. Individually, they had been presented to one of their captors who wore a helm crowned with horns, and they had listened as the armored strangers spoke in a language they didn't understand - clearly discussing their fate.
Jordan remembered his encounter as a brief inspection by the armored figures. They looked him up and down before the leader snapped something that sounded halfway disgusted, and then he had been brought here.
Adriana recalled hers as largely silent. The leader had examined the crest she wore before snorting something amused and ordering her off.
Chryseis remembered hers as almost confusing. The armored figures had all seemed very interested in her, looking her up and down, and even the leader was asking questions of his underlings. They spoke with interest, curiosity, and amusement. After a conversation, of which she hadn't understood a word, she had been taken to her cell.
Kyra had been gagged already when she was taken before the leader. He lifted one of her wing-arms and examined her feathers, speaking to his men. One of the guards, one wearing a helm with ram-like horns, had laughed. The one wearing the crest of spikes and two sweeping dragon-like horns on his helm had not. Shortly thereafter, she had been thrown in her cell.
And now they were here, in their cells. Most of them had no special restraints - all except for Chryseis, who wore void iron shackles, and Kyra, who had a metal gag locked firmly around her entire lower jaw, to keep her from making a single sound.
In another room, four more figures were restrained. This room was not quite big enough for the comparatively large prisoners it held. Crammed up in the four corners of the room, wrapped in layers of silvery chains that they couldn't break even if they tried with all their might, were four beastfolk: Prisk, a formican; Khasan, a crocodilian; Grimfang, a monster no one would have even recognized as a beastman, given no one on board the ship knew what a gorilla was; and Tuukka, a verrbjorn or bear-man.
They recalled their encounters when first dragged aboard the ship. Individually, they had been presented to one of their captors who wore a helm crowned with horns, and they had listened as the armored strangers spoke in a language they didn't understand.
Prisk remembered the conversation about her as a lengthy one. The armored strangers had chatted over her, looking her over with curiosity. One of them had pointed out her missing arm with concern, but their leader had dismissed it. Shortly thereafter, she ended up in chains.
Khasan's encounter had been almost just as lengthy. A handful of guards had stood around him with weapons at the ready and spears pointed at his face to keep him from moving as their leader looked him over. He'd sounded impressed when he'd ordered Khasan taken away.
Tuukka's imprisonment had been similar to Khasan's, though he wouldn't realize it. The guards had kept weapons trained on him, ready to kill him the moment he made one hostile move, as their leader inspected him. Impressed and perhaps even a little amused, the leader of their captors had ordered him put in chains.
And now they were here, chained to the walls, with restraints wrapped around all their limbs. and great shackles holding their wrists in place. Khasan even had chains around his powerful tail, and Khasan, Tuukka, and Grimfang all wore strange, muzzle-like devices that didn't keep them from talking, but they would have to unlock them before they could bite down on anything. They could, however, still pour water or the mush they had been given to eat through the bars on their faces.
There were no crates or barrels in this room, and hanging from the ceiling in the center of the room was a single lantern holding a glowing red crystal, which lit the room in a strange, unearthly glow. Just barely within reach of each prisoner was a bowl of water and a bowl of grey-brown muck to eat. Now and then, three guards would enter the room at once, always staying well out of reach and with their weapons drawn, and they would leave hastily once they were sure everyone was still restrained.
In yet another room were two humans, or at least they appeared human... Charlotte Finch and Jack "The Dog" Carver. Both of them wore silvery chains that they couldn't break, and Charlotte could tell that even her man-bat form would be restrained under such shackles. Their chains were attached to the walls, wrapped around their limbs and with heavy shackles around their wrists. Carver had a rope gag in his mouth, and so did Charlotte.
Their lantern, however, did not hold a crystal to light the room. Instead, hanging above their heads was a lantern that formed a sturdy glass prison for the pixie Daria Whitefoam. She was unaware anyone else was in the room with her, nor could she quite look down enough to see that there were other prisoners around. All she could see from her lantern were the wooden walls of the ship. Likewise, the two prisoners chained up in the floor couldn't see the lantern well enough to discern that it held a pixie.
Just like all the others, they had been brought individually before an armored figure wearing a helm with a crown of horns, who had assessed them using an unknown language...
Charlotte's encounter had been brief enough. Their leader had looked her over, and he exchanged a few words with the guards. The one wearing the crown of horns had fallen silent for a moment or two before he ordered her taken away.
Daria's encounter had been... different. The guards had brought her, one carrying her by one wing - it had hurt quite immensely, and her wing still ached and was twisted from the experience. She wasn't entirely sure she could fly. Their leader, however, had looked at her closely - she remembered smelling his breath that wafted out from the holes in his helm - and then laughed. She'd been thrown in a lantern and hung in what, to her, at the time, had looked like an empty closet.
And now they were here, with only Charlotte and Carver aware of each other's presences, not knowing Daria was there, and Daria couldn't be sure anyone was in the room with her, either. The room was almost the size of a closet, with the two humans crammed up in their chains, their knees almost touching. The door was to one side of them, closed tight. Now and then a guard would crack it open enough to glance at them before it was slammed shut again, leaving them in either a dim light or total darkness except for what leaked in through the crack under the door, depending on Daria's desires. Nearby, they each had one bowl of water and one bowl of grey-brown muck - Daria even had tiny bowls of the same substances with her in her lantern.
((Just to let everyone know - I plan to put a bit more emphasis on skills and talents this time around, so keep in mind your character's strengths as you plan your escapes and inspect your environment! Note that not all details of your environments have been given, and that there are numerous possibilities for escape.))