Spug – Of merfolk and men.

It was more than obvious that the Charmer was going to require repairs. The captain ordered the crew to drop anchor, and had planned for a few days of repairs. the longboat was used to ferry wood back and forwards to the shore. In the absense of the ships cook, Spug started investigating the ships galley, familiarising himself with the cramped quarters, and supplies. Unfortunately though, this took a lot less time than he’d hoped, and boredom set in quickly.

Climbing the mast to the crows nest, he sat watching the crew scurry around, removing harpoons, recoiling rope, and carrying out the needed repairs. With his dagger, he sat carving a bad representation of the captain into the planks of the nest, finishing up with a speech bubble with a suitable expletive.

Over the next few days, when he wasn’t preparing the crews food, Spug sat in the crows nest. He had a knack for spotting movement in the ocean around him, and watched shoals of fish dart around the shadow of the ship. He watched a pod of Dolphins playing chase, and enjoyed the sunny respite from the week of storms that had previously plagued them.

Eventually, the repairs were carried out, and the familiar sound of the sails catching the wind filled the day.

The crew had agreed it was time to head to port. Excuses for the loss of Lizardmen would be given. The captain would be blaming this on the pirate attack, and evidence of the attack was neatly stacked on deck.

Off the port bow, Spug could see the strange island, as they navigated around it, heading for their mainland destination. The strange rocky shores, and lower lands on the island devoid of plant life, yet at the higher points, Spug could see signs of wild life. Perhaps they could stop and stock up on more meat? The crew were already complaining that the eagle steaks were tasting a little gamey.

Ahead of the ship, Spug spotted movement in the water. A large creature breached, slapping back again into the water. Next to it, two dolphins leapt from the water, splashing back in again.

Spug called to the others “Dolphin pod off the Port Bow!”

Farl called back, “Its not just Dolphins, theres something else there too! I see people!”

Sure enough, two people thrashing in amongst the turmoil. A young man, and girl occasionally showed themselves amongst the splashing. The large creature breached again, a wide gaping mouth, filled with rows of razorsharp teeth. Its jaws clamped down upon one of the dolphins, instantly severing it in two. With a flick, it threw the mouthful of dolphin, and sank below the surface again.

Bitey Raymond had already ordered the ships path changed, and garak stood ready with a rescue rope. Honour stood off to one side, fumbling with a harpoon and a length of rope.

As they drew closer, the signs of struggle increased. The girl in the water was trying to get away, and Garak threw the rope to her. Spug slid down the mast, running to help, and Tempest ran to take up the strain on the rope. In the water, the man battled the giant creature with a glowing spear, whilst also trying to stop what looked like a giant man-shaped crustacean from pursuing the girl.

The girl grabbed the rope, and Tempest, with a little help from Spug, pulled her up to the port holes, where she clambered inside with the help of the crew. Tempest ran to join her, and Spug set arrow to his bow, waiting on the Giant Eel breaching again. He put two solid arrows into the beast, but it shrugged this off, and carried on its attack. Honour threw his harpoon, and now Spug could see what he was doing. The harpoon struck square, and the rope trailing it went taut. Honour suddenly looked panicked, as the rope proceeded to whip through his hands. He quickly circled the rope around the cleat on the deck, tying it tight, and the rope twanged with tension.

At the side of the ship, Garak was winding his crossbow, after firing down at the water below the ship. He gestered to Spug, and Spug looked over the edge. The lobster-like beast was climbing the side of the ship. Spug fired off a shot, but it bounced uselessly from the things armour. Behind him, Spug could hear Farl Incanting, and when he turned to look, a large, somewhat wooden looking Octopus was leaving the side of the ship. Oddly though, Spug could recognise the look in the beasts giant eye. He’d know that look of superiority anywhere!

The was a splash, and Spug ran back to look at the lobsterman. It was now locked in an embrace with the Octopus, and Honour shouted encouragement from the deck! “You know you want to kiss the girl!” Something very odd was happening, but when Honour was involved, odd was pretty normal.

A shout came from below-deck. “WENDLTRAP!”

Then, it was shouted again.

The man looked up from his fight with the Eel, grinned, and made for the boat at speed. The Eel pursued, though it looked exhausted.

“Now’s my chance” thought Spug, “lets try out one of these spells!”

He summoned forth the feelings of tiredness within him, conjuring memories of sleepy sunday afternoons, laying on the riverbank listening to the trout surface to feast on mayflies. he balled up this feeling, and spoke the words Gil had taught him. Flinging these feelings out towards the Eel.

For a moment, he made eye-contact with the beast. a moment of recognition, then it broke, and continued to chase the fleeing man.

Suddenly, from belowships, A Boom rang out. Someone had fired a cannon? Chunks of the eel exploded outwards, poluting the water further with its blood. This was no longer a fight, the Eel thrashed, tangling itself slightly in the rope. Then it flexed, and the rope snapped. The Eel made for the depths.

Below the waterline, Spug could see the Octopus slowly crushing the life from the Lobsterman. Eventually, a suckered tentacle breached the surface, pulling both Farl, and his lifeless victim with him. Spug helped pull the creature onto the deck, then hurried down to meet the two survivors.

Gil translated for the crew, explaining that this was Natilus and Wendltrap. Wendltrap was a prince of the Conch. Natilus was the daughter of the King, Half merfolk, half siren. A great battle raged underwater, and until recently the merfolk had routed the lobstermen, beating them back, and had them on the run. Unfortunately a ship had sunk though, damaging their defenses, giving the lobstermen a route back into the city of conch, and now their city was once again besieged. Princess Natilus needed safe passage to the city. She needed taking to the waterlock in the celestials district.

Spug prompted Gil to ask about payment for this service, as it would take them out of their way. Garak scowled at Spug. he just shrugged, and said “Don’t ask, don’t get!”

Wendltrap passed his spear to Tempest, and took from his neck a gem adorned neckless. He tossed this to Spug, who instantly vanished it into his pocket before Garak could snatch it from him.

Tempest started speaking with Wendltrap in the strange melodic clicking language he used. Natilus moved to stand with her, and suddenly the deal was made. The captain twisted the handle of his trident idly while staring enviously at Tempest holding her new spear. Wendltrap drew a blade from his belt, saluted his princess, and leapt from the ship into the sea.

The Captain looked around the room. Ordered Bitey to set course, and stomped back off to his cabin. With the excitement over, Spug dragged the lobsterman off to the galley. He’d planned to harvest the meat, after all, lobster meat was amazing. This, however, was worse than rank. the smell, and texture of the meat was awful. Spug dragged the meat to the deck, and kicked it overboard. He kept the beasts plating though. The claw formed an almost perfect chef’s hat for him. He stowed the plating away in the hold, keeping just the claw for himself.

Later that day, they spotted another vessel, keeping pace with the Charmer, though maintaining its distance. As they approached the port, more and more vessels showed on the horizon. Huge logging vessels, carrying timber. warships, bristling with Ballista and cannons. This port seemed bigger than Spug’s home city. Newer somehow. the noises and smells were familiar though.

They tied up, and a habour masters assistant hurried over. He asked the Captain if they needed help unloading, but the Captain turned him away. Spug caught his arm as he turned. “Excuse me, which way to the Celestials sector?”

The man looked him up and down and smiled “You want t be careful there! they’ve not a fondness for riverfolk! but its that way!” he pointed vaguely into the city.

Spug smirked, and jerked a thumb back at Tempest. “I’m not worried, I’ve a bodyguard!”

Behind him, Tempest snorted angrily.

“Way to go Spug” he thought, “Piss of the seven foot Tiefling Barbarian. What could possibly go wrong?”

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