Things were looking grim. Half the crew had already boarded the ship, and Spug barely had the energy to move. His wounds had taken a toll, and he was slumped to the deck, hoping for some kind of divine inspiration. From his laying position, he watched as Honour prepared to board the pirate ship. Spug called out weakly, and Honour turned. A look almost resembling pity crossed his face, and he snapped his finger, and touched Spug with his forefinger.
Spug felt revitalised, energy flooded through him, and he lept to his feet. Ahead of him, Gil stepped out onto the gang-plank, preparing to cross. As he stepped out, the sea swelled, and the two ships parted. The plank slid a little, and Gil tumbled, falling to the sea. Spug considered grabbing a line, and leaping after him, but after his earlier dip, he could still feel the icy waters on his clothes. Instead he ran to the railing, and threw a line down to Gil. Garak joined him at the railing, and together they pulled the drenched sorcerer back to the deck. Spug hopped nimbly across the plank, and headed into one of the holes in the side of the ship.
This room looked similar to the room Spug was in before. Flames licked across the floor, though in a different location to where he’d thrown his lantern. Stairs let up, and down from this room, and he was pretty sure that down would lead to the room he’d been in previously. He yelled back to the ship, stating he’d be climbing up, and headed off.
Climbing the stairs, he came to a corridor. At the far end, Farl was playing his beam of moonlight across the deck, clearing out any shadows he came across. Farl yelled out “These rooms are clear, just cabins!” and send his beam along the corridor to sweep for shadowbeasts. Spug tagged along, checking the corners as he did for missed beasties. He nudged open the door at the end of the corridor, and looked into the smokey corridor. a path ran left and right, and both curved towards the front of the ship. Through the gaps between the planks in the floor, Spug could see the glow of flames catching on the deck below. He darted into the corridor, wasting no more time searching, and started to check doorways looking for Tempest.
The first room he came to, was some kind of ships kitchen, he’d heard the sailors refer to it as a galley. He rummaged through the cupboards, in the hope of finding something shiny, but everything here was rusty and pitted. He stepped back out of the door, and saw Farl enter the corridor behind him. They moved together along the corridor, and pulled open another door.
Spug expected more decay and ruin, but this room was surprisingly well kept. Books and sample jars lined the walls, and in the middle of the room, and old man muttered to himself.
“No, this is wrong, its not that one… My poor babies…”
Spug cleared his throat.
He tried again. “Err, hello, excuse me?”
“No time, no time, go away!” the man responded, and turned back to his jars. “Hmm, yes, it could be this one, this could work!”
“Hey, Mister!” Spug tried again, and once again he was ignored. He started to get angry, and next to him, he could see Farl bristling with rage. If he didn’t do something, Farl was going to go nuts and tear this man limb from limb.
Spug drew his dagger, and walloped him on the back of his head. Expecting him to drop cold. Rather than falling though, the man stepped back, and fixed Spug with a gaze.
“What did you do that for?”
“Your ship has attacked us. Why are you doing this?”
“Not me! Not my department! This is my precious research! Go away!”
Spug was losing patience now, and Farl tugged at his arm. The smoke in the corridor was thickening, and they needed to move clear.
In one final act of rebellion, Spug flipped a candle onto one of the large tomes, and stepped back out of the room, closing the door behind them. Muffled curses followed them, and they hurried back to the stairs.
From the outside of the ship, a large splintering sound filled the air. Cries of “Monster!” rang out from the charmer, and Spug and Farl hurried to investigate.
Reaching the stairs, they took them two at a time. Reaching a large hold, they saw a gaping hole in the side of the ship. A large orange tentacle stretched along the ceiling, and as they watched, a giant eye rose up, followed by the torso of a monsterous Octopus. Farl wasted no time, dragging his moonbeam across the deck, bathing the nightmare in its light. It shrieked and shriveled at the contact, and seems to retract in upon itself. Spug dragged a dagger from his belt, flipped it, and furled it at the beasts giant eye.
It wasn’t much of a challenge, they eye had to be a foot across. The dagger plunged into it, spilling a murky gloopy liquid, and the beast shrieked once again. More tentacles came into view, as it thrashed about. One tentacle held a large figure prone, and as Spug watched, he realised this was Tempest. He drew a second dagger, but Farl’s moonbeam continued to shrivel the beast. It dropped Tempest, and with a roar of anger, she slammed her axe into its head once, twice, a third time, and the beast lay still. It continued to shrivel, and as Spug stepped closer to retrieve his dagger, it contracted one final time, to the size of a small cat. Spug leant down, and grabbed the dagger that impaled its eye, and shoved it clean through the creature. A smell of cooked flesh emanated from it, and Spug held it aloft for Farl to see.
As he did so, he spotted the shadows behind him shift. A number of Shadow coalesced and attacked. Spug darted to one side, dodging the first blow, but the second caught him off guard. He also drew his sword, slinging wildly to give himself room, and plunged his dagger into the shadowbeast. The sword’s wild swing embedded it in the wall next to his head, and with no time to worry about it, Spug left it stuck there, and grabbed another dagger. Across from him, Farl also drew his sword and attacked. His moonbeam swept across the room, taking with it the two shadows in front of Spug. He turned to thank Farl, just as one of the shadows blurred, and threw large shadowy chains at Farl. Large hooks adorned the end of the chains, and sunk deeply into Farl. He let out a scream of pain, and the shadow yanked on the chains. Farl shuddered, and dropped bleeding to the ground.
This wasn’t good. Spug wasn’t good enough to take this creature on by himself. He glanced around wildly, looking for Tempest. Surely the barbarian would help? She turned on her heel, and ran from the room.
This was confusing. Spug recognised that voice.
“Spug, what are you doing?”
He turned around. The beast had left. Climbing in through the hole in the ship, was someone Spug hadn’t seen since, well, since he was little more than a child, a youngling.
Maryanne, a young girl, who had befriended him on one of her many trips to the city to trade. Maryanne, who traded shellfish from her fathers skiff. But he’d heard she was dead? how was she here? Her fathers craft was a river boat, surely not suited to seas like this? Hadn’t it capsized in a storm, losing all hands?
She reached her hand out, and he took it. She lead him slowly towards the back of the ship, and he followed willingly. Questions flooded his mind, but he couldn’t find the right words.
Through the haze of his thoughts, Spug heard something gutteral. Tempest shouted words that made his skin crawl, and something roared with joy. Spug turned to ask Maryanne what was happening. In her place, stood a beast that rivaled Tempest in size. Covered in chains and tattoos, this horned monstrosity was roaring with pleasure, as its skin, bones and muscle flaked and turned to ash, floating away as he watched.
As this happened, Spugs eyes were drawn to the creatures feat. Laying in a sizzling pool of blood was Farl. The floor around him smoking as it started to catch fire.
Using every ounce of strength he had, Spug pulled Farl from the room, while trying frantically to stop the bleeding with the limited resources he had.
Looking frantically around, Spug spotted that Garak and Gil had joined them. Both looked dazed, and were looking around in confusion.
“GARAK! GIL! A LITTLE HELP HERE PLEASE!”
Both heads snapped round to focus on Spug, and the half orc lumbered over, tossed Farl over his shoulder, and the three of them made a beeline for the exit. Behind them, Tempest shoved jars into her bag, and tried to avoid the smoking floor.
The air was getting thick with smoke, and flames had taken hold of the decking in some spots. The trio made for the gangplank. Spug took the lead, shouting out for Honour to be ready for wounded. Garak followed close behind.
As Spug made it back to the Charmer, he turned to help Garak with Farl, just as the ship listed, tossing the Orc with his cargo into the sea. Garak made a valiant attempt to through Farl to the ship, but with his footing already lost, the pair stumbled into the sea. The crew threw ropes down, and the Captain made an almost perfect swandive into the sea, pulling both Farl and Garak to the ship. Gil waited for a calm moment, and ran across the plank making an expeditious retreat.
On the ship, Spug watched the Pirate ship begin to list in the water. With a creak, the main mast came loose, falling in slow motion towards the deck. Moments before it hit, Tempest burst from a hole, trailing smoke behind her. she barely touched the plank, landing gracefully on the deck of the Charmer.
With a groan, the burning ship split in two, and began its journey to the bottom. The crew of the charmer frantically fending it away, and staving off flaming debris.
As it sunk, Spug spotted the old man, through a hole in the hull, carefully rearranging pots on his shelf, and humming to himself before the waves claimed the hulk.
Assuming the position, Spug slumped back down to the deck, and let the crew work around him. He’d earned a rest, after all.