Spug sat with his face plastered to the gunwale, feeling overly sorry for himself. at least four crew members had made ‘amusing’ comments about him being ‘river folk’, yet unable to tolerate the slighted storm. The world around him rocked again, and the horizon refused to remain in the same place. His stomach rebelled again, but no longer held anything worth ejecting, so he slid closer to the deck.
High above him, two large seagulls circled. The first matey had corrected him a number of times. Claiming they were Giant Eagles, but Spug wasn’t stupid. Eagles don’t hunt at sea, these were obviously seagulls.
The crew, and passengers argued around him, discussing the best course of action. Should they release the enslaved lizard men onto this island, should the investigate the now dormant pirate ship? Should someone go ashore and find out why the island had no vegetation below a certain point? Spug didn’t care. He was just happy to be away from his home town. Escaping from the cell, and assisting with the capture of the overseer’s right hand elf wouldn’t have made him popular. Though he’d gone up in Fat Gog’s perception.
Rolling to his back, he stared up. Those seaguls had gotten bigger. That was a bit odd. They seemed to be getting bigger all the time. He was about to comment on this pecularity, when a shout went up!
“We’re under attack! the eagles are coming!”
Spug climbed to his feet, He was about to draw his daggers, when the sky went dark, and someone grabbed his stomach. Any other day, this wouldn’t have been a problem, today though… Spug threw up again.
The Seagull beat its wings, lifting him into the air with it. Everything about this seemed wrong. The ship started to drop away underneath him.
Suddenly the Seagull gave an almighty shriek. Arrows thudded into it, and a whirl snapped around its leg, narrowly missing Spugs face. He stretched, trying to free his arm, and reach the whip. Above him, the Seagull burst into flames. This was new. It dropped Spug, and he tumbled to the deck, rolling out from under the beast.
It smelt delicious though, all he’d need now was a large barbeque pit, and they were sorted.
The second seagull dropped for the deck, shrieking as it came. it completely missed his shipmates though, and climbed again for the skies. A volley of arrows followed it, but its climb was too fast, and the shafts dropped into the seas.
It continued to climb, and eventually was out of sight.
He dropped back to the deck again, laying on his back, to ease the queasiness, and give some relief from the bruising on his stomach caused by the beasts talons.
Spug was feeling very sorry for himself, but more importantly, he was feeling bored. He dragged himself up, and went in search of something to do.
In the hold, the enslaved lizard men moved around listlessy. Still chained up, they clanked as they tried to get comfortable. Thinking back, Spug was sure he’d overheard the others mention that they were freeing the slaves. If not, well, this would make things interesting. He pulled his tools from his hidden pocket, and started unlocking their chains. They seemed excited by this, making a series of clicking noises, and pushing to get unlocked next.
Behind him, Farl entered the room. Things could be about to get shitty.
Farl smiled, drew his own tools, and started to help. It took a while, the locks were ridiculously well made for simply chaining slaves, but between them, they got the majority of the locks removed. By the time the crew had taken a vote, and set sail, the pair of them had unlocked the majority of the lizard men. They worked into the night, and eventually picked the last lock.
From the crows nest, a call of “Land Ho” came, and the former slaves emptied onto the deck. They communicated with Honour and Gil, a strange affair with clicks and tongue flickers. One of the females become increasingly more agitated with Honour.
Then, with a nod to the crew, the majority of them slipped over the gunwale, into the sea. They swam in place, 10 feet from the ship, while three of their number (including the female who now held Honours arm) continued to speak. Eventually though, these three also slipped over the side, and the band swam for the shore.
“Ship ho!” Another cry from the crows nest.
Almost as one, the crew turned to face the sea. The black masts of the pirate galleon were noticably larger on the horizon. The sales billowing unnaturally in the calm evening.
First mate Bitey called the crew to task, and turned the ship broadside. There was no point attempting to run. There was no wind to speak of, and the approaching ship would intercept before they got far. Spug ran to the ships bell, sounding it loudly, and the remaining crew poured onto deck.
The first mate shouted orders, sending crew to their stations. The cannons were undermanned, so Spug headed below decks, in the hope he could help out. The cannon master barked orders, and with a little help, Spug was able to load the cannon with powder and shot.
Now it was just a waiting game.
Across from him, Spug could hear Garak murmering under his breath. “Fire the cannons, fire the cannons. Come on man, issue the order.”
Gil, by comparrison, was incredibly calm, and sat crosslegged, watching his cannon.
Above though, just the flap of sail. Then ‘Hold… Hold…”
An almighting cracking sound. The hull in front of Spug exploded inwards. A 6 foot bolt passing through the hull, and lodging itself in the deck. A long rope stretched from the bolt back out of the hold, into the darkness.
Dangling from this rope, limply supported by it, hung one of the cannon operators. Garak looked Shaken. Spug hadn’t known him that well though, so meh.
He backed into the cannons shadow, readying his dagger. Any moment now (if the bards tales about pirates were true) a cutlass waving sailor would appear in the hole, yelling “Yarr” and muttering something about pieces of gold. Spug was ready for him, he’d instead be yelling “argh” and clutching his spilling intestines.
A few minutes later, said pirate still hadn’t appeared.
Spug was getting bored, and poked his head out of the hole. As he did so, a seven foot tall barbarian went sliding across a rope between the two ships. Tempest did so without a sound. Spug shook his head in disgust. If you’re swinging between ships, you need to look good while doing it! He reached out for the rope pinning the sailor to the ground. As he did so, Garak cut it, letting the sailor slump to the ground. Spug looked around for a second rope. Garak cut this too. This was getting daft. Spug fixed Garak with a stare, and jumped onto the last remaining rope. He shimmied along the rope, then remembered how important looking good was, and flipped up onto the rope, running along the remaining distance. He glanced up, and saw tempest roll inside the porthole. It was going to take a bit of exploring to find her, but so long as he wasn’t spotted entering the ship, he should be ok.
He rolled into the porthole, standing next to the ballista mounted inside. Quickly glancing around to see if he’d been spotted, Spug was surprised to see the lower deck empty. Lantern light flickered across the deck, and out of the corner of his eye, Spug spotted movement. He juked left, bringing his blades up. There was nothing there. More movement. Something was up here. There was nothing in the room, yet Shadows were still being cast as if the room was fully crewed. One of the shadows lurched forward, grabbing Spugs feet.
Nausea hit, and he stumbled. the edges of his vision dimmed. Around him, more shadows coalesced. “Things are looking pretty dark” Spug muttered. Then he chuckled to himself at the pun. The shadow continued to grasp at his feet, but he leapt away, grabbing a lantern. he dashed it to the floor, scoring a perfect hit on the shadow. The oil burst outwards, puddling, then igniting with a woompf. Scanning the deck, more shadows flickered towards him.
With only a moment to make the decision, Spug grabbed the rope connected to the Ballista, he turned, saluted the shadows, sliced through the rope, and leapt through the window.
‘I bet I look awesome’ He thought, as he swung back towards the ship. Unfortunately though, he had misjudged the angle, and the cold sea helped rid him of any thought as it rose up, slamming into him.
As he surfaced, he noticed that the ships were still moving closer together. He still had the rope wrapped around his fist, and he pulled himself hand over hand towards the Discreet Charmer. The Galleon closed quickly, and no matter how fast he pulled on the rope, he seemed to be making no headway. This was a bloody embarressing way to die.
Suddenly, the rope leapt upwards, pulling Spug with it. He was dragged against the side of the Charmer, pulled at speed towards the deck. He managed to get his feet against the hull, and ran up to match the pull of the rope. Landing on the deck, he saw that Garak had been the one helping. though with the speed of his ascent, he’d expected to find 3 of the crew on the rope.
The first mate ran screaming past him, Yelling “Board them!” and leapt across the gap between the two ships.
Honour grabbed the plank, and dropped it across the gap between the two ship. The crew of the Charmer mustered ready to cross, and the night held its breath in expectation.