Saffron Skirmish I - The Bloodsky Rises.
Feb. 18, 2017, 8 p.m.
Outside Arx - Black Point Wharf - The Bayview
Comments and Log
Atrid arrives, following Ford.
Attn: Ford Kennex, Gyre Squadron 3 (Flag: The Storm Breaker)
Lord Atrid Darkwater (Cmd: The Dance Macabre),
Costas Voducce (Cmd: The Dauntless),
Lady Caelis Malvici,
Colonel Jeffry Constanza (Cmd: Darkwater Expeditionary force)
Prince Abbas Thrax (Cmd: The Blood Tithe)
Attention to Orders: Smallport Hold (Kennex, Knights Fief, Saffron Theater, Frontieer) has not checked in with Quayside Command in several days. Their supply ship is over due. Dispatch with all haste to investigate.
The Squadron was already at sea, as part of its usual patrol. No one left from Arx just to go run off to the ends of nowhere. As such, the order to investigate is not out of the ordinary. Squadron Three, patrolling the far reaches of Kennex waters, is the one on station. It's also under command of the Marquis, despite the fact that a Prince is present, because its still -his- waters. Technically. He's claimed them, but the vast majority is populated by shavs and abandoned.
The orders reach the squadron as they are a few hours from making port at Quayside, a resupply base set up by the Gyre taskforce. It's not much of a town, but it has the space to tie up all four ships to a proper pier, a decent tavern and a chance for the people to get on solid land for a moment and discuss the situation.
The town of Smallport is exactly what it sounds like. A very small port on the furthest fringe of the Kennex claimed domain. The area is ruled by Sir Marlin Wavecutter, an older, retired captain who served in the Kennex navy before Ford was born and retired just before the failed coup. In his late 60s now, he oversees the small town of some 300 people. Fisherfolk, salvagers and explorers, the town's entire economy revolves around sending out one ship a week with the products of their efforts, to Quayside.
That ship, the Seabitch, never made it into the port and no messenger birds sent have returned.
Counting on the fact that people know who the fuck he is, Ford Kennex walks into Quayside Tavern like he owns the place. And let's be honest, he kinda does. He takes a short look around before glancing back at his fellows before calling out, his voice booming over the idle chatter of the small tavern, "I'm looking for Marlin Wavecutter." He announces, "Hundred silver for the man who gives me the least amount of bullshit."
Ford checked command + leadership against difficulty 15, resulting in 18, 3 higher than the difficulty.
The Thraxian Warlord did not make much of his being part of the patrol. Naturally some recognized Prince Abbas but he took his time at the oar of his ship just like any other butcher. He was known to partake in patrols concerning the Gyre and he operated without considerable assertion of his authority. His fleet was far to the north after all. When word arrives Abbas does not respond and he lets the others decide their course of action. He does finish his ale though and he rises from the table silently.
With the barracks being built on Darkwater Watch still, Colonel Constanza has had his men doing more training exercises with the Darkwater ships than anything else. Nonetheless, the orders came in, and the Lord General made it clear their contract is to Count Darkwater. The mustached, scarred man is along for the ride for this one, his new Blue Company is one hundred men strong of heavy infantry/marines, who have sailing and archery training. Most of the Company is in the base barracks, but the Colonel and his two Majors are walking along. "Major Hazgel, round up the Company for briefing. Major Komtag, I want our armor for land operations grabbed from the depot and ready for shipment within the hour." The two give their Colonel a salute, before Jeffrey heads for the tavern to discuss business.
Costas trails in late to the party having lingered aboard the Dauntless to dress down his crew who, despite the Malvici uniforms sported by their officers, looked less like proper navy and more the mean sort they were down here to hunt. Cut-throats and blackguards to a man, the whole lot peer across the bay at the Thraxan ships with grim faces. Avaricious and bloody-minded. None dare raise a voice in jeer however, and as their captain and his lovely guest make their way to the tavern the officers set idle hands to work with rough invective. The tall, shaven-headed warrior holds the door open politely for Caelis, his calm eyes surveying the little port from within the gloom of his hood one last time before he steps in behind her.
The Tavern (called 'The Tavern' as there are no other taverns within 50 leagues...) is small and... well, a real estate agent would call it 'cozy with an open floor plan'. Which is to say, small, cramped and a single room. Still, its empty save for the command staff and the bartender, a retired sailor himself who lost an eye and ear to a splintering hull plank. One Eye MaGurk by name.
Arriving mere moments after Costas and Caelis in his long waxed leather violet coat, that through years of use and wear, is now more of a...dirty burgundy color, Ford Kennex's eyes move to those already present, "Is this everyone?" He asks, moving his hands to push back his dampened hair from the sea mists.
Depot Commander Sarius Fullsail approaches a few moments later. A Darkwater man, he's just the commander of the depot, and was the man who raised the alarm. "My lords. Lady. Master Voducce. Welcome to Quayside. I'm here to help you with any information you need." Sarius is a tall, lanky sort of man, who's getting his first command here on the outskirts of the world, and seems to take it seriously. He's a career man.
Atrid lumbers in he had spent a little more time on The Dance Macabre getting things ready and prep.
He orders his crew to be prepared for departure and to make sure they have everything they need when he returns.
He wears his black leather armor with the Darkwater sigil emblazoned upon it. Atrid looks around but remains silent taking in his surroundings.
Observing Costas with his crew, Caelis nods her thanks at Costas opening the door for her and looks around. "Alright, lets see what this is about." She says softly to Costas looks to Ford as he sweeps in after them. "Seems like." She says and looks to the new voice. "So we have a missing supply ship, and messengers aren't returning? Do we know what supplies it was carrying?" She asks and looks around the room.
Commander Sarius says... "They were bringing in dried fish, lumber, the occasional bit of salvage and a small cask of pearls, by the manifest sent ahead last week."
Abbas levels his gaze on the commander, "Any fresh reports from the Salt or nearby? Raids? Sightings? Anything within say... three days sail of where we must send the patrol?" The man rests his hands on his one-handed axes. "We should likely check the port of call and investigate around the area with reach of the last report."
He didn't feel his hackles raised in alarm nor the deep, animal desire to wrap his hand round his weapon, so Costas wagers, "Don't think Abbas is here yet." The rogue nods lightly to Caelis, agreeing. "Aye, let's see." Though a moment later it becomes clear he's talking about the selection, as he makes his way over to the bar. Leaving Thraxan commanders to talk with Thraxan nobles.
Commander Sarius looks to Abbas. "My prince. The shavs have been... quiet for a few weeks. Unseasonably so. We suspect they are pulling back and massing somewhere. This would be the first raid in about a month, if it is a raid. But Sir Marlin has a strong keep, as things go out here in the wild isles..."
Jeffrey arrives around this time, just as the questions start. The leather armored Colonel gives a small nod to those gathered, "Lord, Ladies." As questions start, the Colonel has one of his own. "Any reports of undead at all?"
Commander Sarius looks to the COlonel, tipping his head. "Not that we've seen. Our problems mostly revolve around the living."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Maximilian before departing.
"Sounds like raid bait." Caelis nods and looks around at the men. "There has been talk of cult worship-to the Gyre. Might be they're pulling in and preparring for something." She suggest and looks around more, trying to get a sense of people. "If she was attacked at sea, we might need to adjust our search for drift."
Atrid moves forward a bit his left hand resting on the scabbard of his cutlass. "So there seems to be a few things that seem off that point to the possibility of worse things to come." He says in a gruff tone. Atrids fingers tap idly on the cutlass scabbard "So Theres a possibility of a larger scale problem." He murmurs to himself.
"Any idea of possible numbers we may be looking at as far as force is concerned?"
"My bets on Gyre enslavement. Shavs don't stop raiding out this way unless they've found a better target, or are massing for something big." Jeffrey replies, the Colonel looks to Atrid, then. Then back to Sarius.
"That does not bode well." Abbas answers Commander Sarius. The man simmers in his brooding thoughts for a time. He lets the others get their questions answered. "When we sail.." Abbas looks to those gathered, "We will use signal flags and horns to communicate intent to each other. When dealing with things out this far it is often unknown what we may encounter. If there is silence then go to the flags should the horns not sound true. If some of you need reference scrolls to our common communicate methods I will have them delivered to your vessels before we depart."
One Eye Magurk, he glances over - one eyed as one does when you have that kind of name... "I talked ta Mari Da Bosom back two days ago... Sails on the Ruster Flipper, says she came across Mark Deepfish, what who sails the Blackbark... who says that Sydne Miles, of the Barnacle, says that he sailed past Smallport about 6 days back, and the Seabitch was still tied to the wharf what they got there."
Costas returns to the knot of conversation with a bottle of whiskey in hand. He's got no glass, and instead pulls directly from the bottle as he listens to the back-and-forth. When Abbas speaks of Thraxan communication methods he smirks faintly. "Unless you changed them in the past year then aye. I know your signals."
"So the hearsay is six days ago, the Seabitch was still at wharf. It's a start." Caelis says and looks from Costas to Abbas. "I would welcome a copy." She speaks up to the Prince and tries to find Jeffrey. "If enslavement is the case, pinning down reliable numbers is going to be a sight trickier. Slaves don't tend to have much shelf life." She looks to One Eye after a moment. "What's the gossip on slave driven ships raiding lately?"
The old cyclops shrugs. "Depends on who's flag yer talken, ladyship." Thralls. Slaves. At a certain point they are the same thing.
Atrid raises a brow and looks to Abbas with a Nod. "I too would welcome a copy." He says with a bow as he goes back to listening to the information being given.
Ford's neck nearly breaks itself when he turns back towards the bartender, "What did you say that ship was called?" The Marquis shifts in his seat to look at the old one eyed bastard, "The one in Smallport."
"Seabitch, Lord." Says Sarius.
Sarius then adds... "Sir Marlin named it after his ex wife."
"They mean a different kind of slave, Lady." Costas taps his skull with one long, callused finger. "Gyre makes men go wonky in the brain-pan." After taking another long draught from the bottle of whiskey he looks to the rest of the group. "So we sail down to Smallport then, eh? Seems the only thing to sort is how far we space the dragline."
"I change them every few months due to the fuck'n treachery and ability of our enemy. I have four sets currently. I'll make sure everyone gets a fresh copy." The Reaver Prince then motions, "I'm here for the ride. The hand of the man gestures to Ford, "This is your show. Your lands."
"I was actually talkin' about that thing the Gyre does to make shavs loyal to him." Jeffrey replies, before he tsks, "I'll need a copy of those instructions. Blue Company is new to Thrax protocols."
Ford nods to Abbas, "Right then. Smallport it is then, yes?" He rises from his seat looking down to Costas and taking the bottle of whiskey from him and setting it in the middle of the table, "We've work to do. Get to your ships. Make for Smallport. Use the signals if anything rears it's head between there and here. We in agreement." He says looking to the rest in attendance.
"Intel on that, Colonel..." Says the Depot Commander. "Is not in my pay grade."
Jeffrey snorts, then looks to the others. "I don't think we're going to get any further with this without going ourselves."
Out <O> is now locked.
Atrid nods to Ford as he says his piece. "Aye Im in agreement. Me crew is ready as am I let us get to the bottom of this yea?" He asks more as a rhetorical question than expecting an answer.
"I've read." Caelis says dryly, looking up at Costas. "Men like-" She copies his gesture "Tend to sail or fight with little regard for life. Well, I'm ready to go. Too long sitting around in this city as it is."
One Eyed Mugurk scoffs loudly. City. Hah.
Costas flashes Ford an rough, toothy grin but doesn't complain about being stripped of the bottle. He only shrugs and makes his way to the bar to pay his tab. While he's there, counting off silvers, he mutters to the bartender. "This Smallport sounds like a right shithole, eh? Why do I got the feeling I'm on a snipe hunt and we're gonna find a deck full of drunkards and a captain with his face mashed between some barmam's tits?" It's typical, colloquial talk common to barflies, but the silver remains there, jangling in his hand as he raises an eyebrow.
There's definitely a look is Caelis' direction at the word 'city', but Jeffrey says nothing. "I'll go get the men. Who is Blue Company sailing with? Lord Atrid?" Jeffrey gives a nod over to the Darkwater noble.
"Naw." Says Magurk to Costas. "Ol Marlin's a right hard ass. He'd have that captain in stocks before the day was out... Naw. Ol Marlin's a right good'n, he is."
They had their orders. He knows they heard them. So Ford turns and heads out of the tavern, ready to pull in the lines and set off again. Certainly better than hanging around this place.
The Thraxian Warlord looks to Magurk and stares at the man for a time. He then is the last out. Abbas sets about to getting his longship prepared. And into the Salt.
Abbas checked perception + sailing against difficulty 25, resulting in 68, 43 higher than the difficulty.
Ford checked perception + sailing against difficulty 25, resulting in 21, 4 lower than the difficulty.
Atrid checked perception + sailing against difficulty 25, resulting in 23, 2 lower than the difficulty.
Caelis checked perception + sailing against difficulty 25, resulting in 10, 15 lower than the difficulty.
Tobias checked wits + leadership against difficulty 15, resulting in 36, 21 higher than the difficulty.
SCENE: SMALLPORT WHARF
The smoke from Smallport's wharf is visible several hours before you arrive - a column of black smoke as pitch treated wood smolders and burns. Arriving on site, the ships drop anchor, seeing the Seabitch heeled to her side, burned to the water line, while the Wharf itself has burnt to the water as well, collapsing upon itself. The small town has been ransacked, by the looks of it.... but the keep, a stout timber and earthwork long hall in the Mourning Isles model (Easy to build and maintain in the middle of nowhere) looks intact, further up the hill.
As he's walking the deck at some point during the voyage Costas stops, something on the horizon catching his eye. After a bit of staring across the waves he clambers up the rigging to get a better vantage. A few minutes of squinting and then he curses, rough abuse shouted at the man who was on lookout. On sliding back down to the deck he quickly scans the scrolls Abbas had sent over and then rifles off some commands to his first mate. Moments later the horns and flags get going, calling out the semaphore:
MULTIPLE SHIPS. RED FLAG. FOLLOWING.
As the group goes, Astrid gets a call from Jeffrey, "Got unknown dark banners following us, Milord. They're slipping around us." Jeffrey repeats this once more during the voyage.
The blare of the horn thunders out from the Blood Tithe once they set sail. As the voyage continues the serpent bow of the ship stretches up and dips as the oars pierce the surface of the water. The men take to the Salt and each ship of the party to watch for signal flags. Soon a signal flag rolls up from the Blood Tithe. The signal when checked against the scrolls is for ships being spotted. The blow of the horn signals that there a multiple contacts in pursuit of the patrol to confirm the earlier signals. The Reaver Prince' men bellow out their songs as they row.
In my eyes, indisposed% In disguises no one knows
Hides the face, lies the snake
The sun in my disgrace
Boiling heat, summer stench
'Neath the black the sky looks dead
Call my name through the cream
And I'll hear you scream again
Black hole sun
Won't you come
And wash away the rain
Black hole sun
Won't you come
Won't you come (won't you come)
When they reach the small town Abbas sends a signal to be prepared for battle and to not dock or leave the ships just yet until they are close enough to directly communicate.
While en route, Ford was going over some notes and things in his quarters when he heard the call go out "SAILS!" He bursts through the door onto the deck. But by the time he's got the spyglass to his face... the sails are gone. Lost to the horizon. "Son of a bitch." He looks to his quartermaster, "Mr. Coils, keep an eye out. I don't want anyone sneaking up on us out here."
"Aye sir." Mr. Coils replies before scurrying off to relay those orders to the men in the rigging.
Caelis seems so preoccupied with being at sea again she doesn't notice the ships in pursuit until the warnings go out. "Rocks, and storms, and death defy you sailors." Caelis says quietly, doing what she needs to to help prepare for battle.
Horns call out from the keep on the hill - carrying over the smoldering wreckage of the small feifs water front. Three blats - one sharp, one flat, one sharp.. a call and respond. Identify please.
As the ships land, Jeffrey and his men don their heavy infantry kit, and begin to march off the ship in a two column, with Colonel Constanza leading the way. As they hit the beach, "Line formation, secure the beach!" The Company reacts with perfect timing and move into position, Jeffrey behind them as he observes and listens.
Ford stares out at the keep on the hill, one of those thousand yard stares as the horns blare out. He hesitates a few moments, taking in a deep breath. "Mr. Coils." He says finally.
"Sir." The stocky Quartermaster at his side in a flash.
"Respond. One call. One call only. Let's get a bit more information out of them."
Aye Sir." Mr. Coils was such an obedient little QM.
OOC: Tobias's last pose is struck.
"Lord Atrid. That looks like a disaster waiting to happen if we land without heavy support. "Jeffrey states as he spyglasses the burning village. "I recommend we hull the ship so I can get my people off with heavy kit without issue."
Up on the hill - there's a bit of a clambor - and then a flagman appears on the top of the wall. 'P I S S O F F N O T P A Y I N G T R I B U T E'
'A S S H O L E'
Ford slams his spyclass closed and looks to Mr. Coils, "Let the others know. We're going ashore. No one calls me an asshole in semaphore."
A ripple of rough laughter echoes across the water from the Dauntless, Costas' crew apparently tickled by the response. The captain himself spares an amused grunt, the edges of his lips briefly curling before he murmurs to the first mate, "Stow that, Tig." It's stowed right quick by the bellowing hollers of the big islander, the crewful of lowlifes settling back down to go about their work.
Abbas checked wits + war against difficulty 15, resulting in 49, 34 higher than the difficulty.
Eventually, the first mate brings Atrids ship onto the beach, and Blue Company starts to hop off the ship two at a time, "Line formation, secure the beach for the others. Time to earn our pay, Crimson Blades." The Colonel gives in a professioal tone as the heavy infantry disembark in front of Jeffrey, before Jeffrey himself hops off onto the beach, giving a glance to the other ships.
Mr. Coils brings the Stormbreaker in along side the Dance MAcabre, to make the beaching manouver.
The flagman gets a snort out of Caelis, she ensures her gear is settled and looks to Costas. "Well Captain, it looks like we'll get a bit of a skirmish out of your snipe hunt after all." She says with a cheerful smile, squinting to catch sight of the ships a little clearer.
Caelis checked perception + war against difficulty 20, resulting in 9, 11 lower than the difficulty.
Abbas checked perception + war against difficulty 20, resulting in 43, 23 higher than the difficulty.
Costas checked perception + war against difficulty 20, resulting in 20, 0 higher than the difficulty.
Ford checked perception + war against difficulty 20, resulting in 7, 13 lower than the difficulty.
Tobias checked wits + war against difficulty 15, resulting in 61, 46 higher than the difficulty.
AS the ships come to the shore, it's clear that the small town just beyond the wharf, could hold about 300 people at the total. It's not a bad little hamlet, but its just that - a hamlet. Its deserted. Ford and Caelis can tell it's been ransacked. Nearly everything of value has been taken.
Costas, when he comes ashore, recognizes the imprints of other hulls on the sand and the remains of troops hitting the ground.
Abbas recognizes the tactics used here. THey bypassed the dock, probably hit at sundown and twilight. Beached the ships and came swarming out. Caught the Seabitch still tied up.
Colonel Jeffrey stops to examine the biggest rut in the sand made by the previous ships. He recognizes a pattern - a little tell in the way the sand is moved.
The hull was built in Stormward.
"These are fucking professionals and not just stupid shavs or mindless Gyre." Abbas asserts. "They will attack only when we are fat for a trap. And the advantage is perceived to be theirs." This advice is delivered to Ford. It's his gig. Abbas is just here to lend a hand.
Ford nods to Abbas in agreement, "Indeed." He turns to the Colonel, "Colonel. How many shield men have you got?"
"I suppose we'll see if we really get a fight." Costas rumbles to Caelis, checking the straps and buckles on his armored harness as they move up the beach. "With all the shiny bought infantry maybe they just surrender without a fuss." The look on his face says that he hopes that isn't the case however. The warrior's movements have become more fluid in tandem with the sense of growing danger, a sort of anticipatory energy giving his steps an extra bounce.
"They torched the harbor and now they've lured out several more ships. This was a trap." Caelis shakes her head and looks around them, her eyes taking her up to the town. "We need to consider moving nonessentials up to the long house and get ready."
As Jeffrey examines the ground. "My Lord, This was a Stormward built." Jeffrey then gestures to one section of his forty man line. "Twenty in all. Not enough cargo space, and not enough notice to get the full Company here.
Ford glances towards the Stormward ship. It gets a long wary glance, but he doesn't recognize her hull by name. He shifts his jaw and turns back to Jeffrey, "That's fine. I only need enough to scare as many archers to the facing wall as possible. Most archers can't resist shooting at a shield for all it's futility. Costas, your men will support the Colonel's shields, make it look like we have more men than we do. Abbas you and your reavers are going to work around the back. While the archers are distracted." He automatically assumes the reavers are decked out with ropes and hooks. What kind of raiding party wouldn't be?
Out <O> is now unlocked.
Out <O> is now locked.
OOC: Strike Ford's last pose.
Upon the Colonel's mention, Ford looks towards the ground. He was right. That wide splaying hull that had marked the sand -was- a Stormward vessel. "Fortune Class by the looks of it. A breaker." He looks to each of his party for a moment while he worked out if any had been stolen, or went missing in the last... whenever.. but nothing was particularly coming to mind immediately. With a huff through his nose and a shift of his jaw, "Right. We need to get in that long hall."
The marines from Costas' ship are a mean-looking lot wielding a motley of weapons but all have the bearing of seasoned murderers despite the fact that they move in a rabble rather than a line. "Alright, you piss-smelling layabouts." He turns on the blackguards, his leathery mug gone grave-serious, devoid of compassion or human decency. "Time to earn your damned keep. Every single one of you remember the gutter, cell, or noose I saved you from as we shed this blood today." His leather-wrapped hand falls to the wooden scabbard at his side. "And that is all that's waiting for you if you don't do your damn duty, which is to stay with these fine upstanding gents with they pretty shields. You won't make half what they do, but if you live I'll shower you all in booze and peaches when we get back home."
"COLONEL!" Calls out Private Simi, one of the newer recruits. "Horse on approach with foot! One and ten!"
Abbas stares off towards the horizon. And his men wait for their orders. The Reaver Prince grunts and draws out his axes. He fights the urge to issue orders. He bites his tongue. The salty savant looks to the sea with a growl.
Nodding to Ford, Caelis looks to Costas. "Ready for that scuffle, Captain?" she asks sweetly and loosens her sword in it's sheath so it's an easier draw should she need it. Looking to Costas's crew she takes a considering look too the water. "Should consider getting some archers on the ships, get some burning arrows in out friends out here or we might loose our own ships home."
"They probably think we're the old raiders coming back." Jeffrey gives rhetorically, more to himself. "They don't seem like they're in a parleying mood, either." The Colonel looks up to the Long Hall. Then... "Major, get your men into-" Then the Colonel looks over, "Shields! Formation towards the incoming, but no offensive movements!" Then Jeffrey looks over to Ford, "Probably parley, My Lord, but we're ready for offensives."
As the rider and his group approach, Ford glances aside to both Jeffrey and Abbas, "Keep an eye on these fuckers. If they even imagine reaching for their blades, turn them to paint." Then he steps forward to meet the welcoming committee.
The flag flying is that of House Wavecutter. Which is to say - its Sir Marlin's flag. House Wavecutter is probably a too grandios title for what you have here. There's no need for him to ask identification - as once the ships hulled on the beach, their flags were visible. "The Honorable Lord Marlin Wavecutter bids you welcome to Smallport. Now much smaller."
Ford lofts his eyebrows at the horseman, tilting his head, "-Lord- Wavecutter? Where is your -Lord- now?"
"It's My fooken land! Makes me a lord!" Says the old man, coming down from his horse to approach. "I ain't on the sea no more, your Lordship." Says Marlin, coming to take a knee, though with a grunt and a need to use one of his men to help him settle down. "Sir's a young mans game."
Costas mixes himself into the group of his marines, coming up shoulder-to-shoulder with the lead-man, a mountainous islander covered in tribal tattoos. Watching the parley, the pair hold a low conversation in the dialect of the lycene shavs, pitched too low to make much sense of.
The Crimson Blades are easy to identify, with their tabards and heavy armor, along with their turtle formation towards the footmen. Jeffrey remains near his men, watching the surrounds as much as the party.
Ford makes a slight face as the old man barely manages to take a knee. Glancing back to the others, with hint of exhasperation, "It's my land, Wavecutter. You watch it. You saw my flag right? The flags of the other ships yes?"
"I'm sitten here in the dirt in front of ye, Marquis Kennex, ain't I?" Ask the old man. "Don't do that for just no one now."
Prince Abbas watches the exchange and smirks a bit. He looks over his shoulder to his longship flying the serpent banner. A grin breaks his mouth.
"Then perhaps you'd like to explain to me and my fellows here, as well as Prince Abbas Thrax why your flagmen saw fit to tell us to piss off?" Ford says, resting his hand on the hilt of his sword, "Then, once you've done that, you can explain just what the fuck happened here."
"Flagmans got shit for eyes, Lord. And your ships' the spitten image of the one what hit us."
After a moment, Jeffrey looks up to the Kennex flag, comparing it to the one he saw earlier.
"Then get a new fucking flagman." Ford says, "Clearly who hit you came in Stormward ships? I recognize the cuts in the sand from where they beached."
Caelis is content to fade in with Costas' sailors, quiet and watching the conversation tensly and glancing up at the long house drawing a breath.
"Did get a new one. Old one was on the Wharf when we got hit, Your lordship. New ones his da'."
"You mind if I stand up, or you want me down here answering' your questions?" ASks the old man.
Ford draws in a deep breath and glances up towards the sky. Oh dearest of Mangata, keep me from striking this old asshole. "Yes get up. You were in the Kennex navy a long time Wavecutter, do you recognize the ship that hit you? Her captain?"
"Oh yes, M'lord." Says the old man, coming to stand up. "It was the fooken Bloodsky."
After a moment, Jeffrey frowns, then looks back to the others.
The old man brushes himself off then. "I got about half me people into the long house and buttoned up - but... he got the rest. Took em all... burned the Wharf and the Seabitch."
Costas glances aside at Caelis, his eyes slipping over her shoulder and narrowing in a deaths-head glare at a group of his men eyeing her backside. Afterward he turns his attention more fully to the Malvici noblewoman. He speaks with her quietly, the words not carrying past the knot of marines.
Ford's face falls flat, expressionless. He moves right up in front of Wavecutter and grabs him by the tunic. "You're fucking sure?"
"Yes, M'lord." Says the old sea knight. "It were him. I know the son of a bitch. We served in the Tyde together. He came right up to my gate, asking for tribute. We refused, so he torched the docks and ships."
Ford glances back to Abbas. The Salty prince may appreciate the fire in his eyes before he looks back to Marlin, "Tribute? To whom? Just him?"
The old man exhales, then looks away. "He sails for the kraken now."
"He's turned pirate? A shame." Jeffrey replies.
Well. Turned may be a little bit of interpretation. He was always Saffron Thrax...
Ford releases the man's tunic, "How long did we miss him by? Which direction was he sailing?"
"Fucker sails for the beast." Abbas growls in time with the old man, "He will drown with him, too." The corded muscles of the Reaver Prince quake slightly. His eyes narrow, "We should run them down at sea and flay them alive. Send his boat straight back to the kraken with the groan of the dying men as a message to all who bend the knee to the fuckers."
The old man stumbles back - his boys coming to his side to steady him. "I did me best, Lord. I don't have much, but I got my people out as fast as I could. I did you good work." He says, reaching up to smooth down his tunic.
"You did well Marlin. I'll see that you have the appropriate wares and supplies to rebuild." Ford says.
"So we're sailing on?" Caelis asks and looks to the Thrax prince from the crowd of Costas' men, Costas at her side because hands, gentlemen.
"Well. I did better than well." Says the old man. "Ye grabbed me shit before I could tell ye.." A pause. "Caught me a fish."
Ford is just about to tell everyone to pack it in when he turns back to Marlin, "One of the raiders?"
The old man grins then - jerking a thumb over his shoulder to the long house. "One of their boys fell off their damn ship as it pulled out - but was stone ass drunk and no one noticed. We pulled him in and got him up in the long house."
The old man then admits. "Problem is, we don't speak shav."
"Better than well Marlin." Ford gives the old sea dog an approving nod and looks to Costas. He heard that muttering.
Catching the look from Ford Costas steps out of the crowd of his marines, fully half of which look like they probably "speak shav" themselves. He dips his head in a martial nod, ready to provide.
"Have him brought here." Abbas tells the old man. He then turns to face the Salt, "We can threaten to flay him and see what he will spill. We need to learn their tactics and orders if we can. If we cannot do that we must lure then into an unfavorable current and wind in their shadowing of us. Then turn suddenly and come at them full spead to close the gap."
"Can he actually talk, or is his brain all gone?" This being the Gyre and all, Jeffrey keeps his priorities straight.
Ford takes a few steps over to Costas, "Can you or one of your men do the translating?"
"I can." Costas confirms, settling his hand on the pommel of his weapon. "Assuming he's talking and not screaming."
Ford nods then, looking back to Marlin, "You heard the prince. Bring him here."
"Oh he's screamen'." Says the old man as he sends a runner to have the man brought down. "But it's normal like screamen. For shavs."
"I can take a walk, see about some herbs to calm him. Might be tricky on this space." Caelis says and squints along the beach.
The man is brought down in chains. He has been beaten. That was a given. The men reveal in casual conversation that half the population was taken off as slaves or captives of some sort, so they took it out on the man they had available. This poor son of a bitch.
Grimjaw Banjack is thrown at thefeet of the group, and he looks up - defiant. "YOU SONS OF FLEA RIDDEN BITCHES ARE GONNA PAY! THE FUCKEN KRAKEN IS GONNA EAT YOUR BALLS, DRINK YOUR BLOOD AND FUCK YOUR GODDAMN CORPSES!" He shouts. In Shav-talk, so probably only Costas gets the gist of it. It's Saffron Shav, which is close enough to Lycene for the raider to get the most of it.
"Charming fellow." Jeffrey gives in response to the utter nonsense he speaks.
"He's not super pleased about the accommodations." Costas translates, then looks to Ford for the question.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Abbas before departing.
"The usuals, Mr. Costas. Where they were headed once they left here. Where they made port." Ford nods, "Things of that nature."
Grimjaw looks between Ford and Costas as they talk - fitting together who's in charge here. OKay. Everyones deferring to Ford. He's the head cheese. He points at ford, shaking his chains. "HES GONNA CARVE OUT YOUR SKULL AND DRINK WINE FROM YOUR GODDAMN NOSE!" Maybe thats a thing. "HES GONNA BRING THE <BLOODSKY> DOWN ON YOUR ASS AND CORE YOU LIKE A FUCKEN APPLE!" Bloodsky happens to be the same in Arvani as Shavarvani, so that comes through.
Costas peers down at the captive man, waiting patiently for his tirade to finish. "You ever seen this Kraken, mate? He a personal friend of yours?"
Grimjack whips his head back to Costas. "Fuck you, cocksucker!"
As it happens, Cocksucker is ALSO the same in Arvani as Shav'Arvani.
Really, none of that needed translation.
Looking to Ford, Caelis arches a brow. "I think I may be learning shav."
That earns the man a crack across the jaw, the lacquered steel shot woven into Costas' hand-wraps adding extra sting to the blow.
"Tell him this, Costas. Exactly as I say it." Ford moves over to the recently backhanded Grimjaw, who's jaw was looking a little more grim than before, "Your Bloodsky will reach the same fate that his pitiful little son did. I'll open him up, drain him of his blood and use him as my fucking catapult bolders. Now where the fuck is he hiding? Or I'll make sure you're the first in my ammunition to be launched from my fucking ship."
Grimjaw's head rachets to the side, and he falls to his hands and knees, spitting blood onto the ground. There's a wheezing bit of laughter... and he slowly comes back to just his knees, letting the blood trickle down across his lips. He's not a madman, not like the others they may have encountered. He's just -mad-.
Abbas does not watch. Instead he goes about the ships and starts to distribute harpoons he keeps on his longship for the day he lusts for (encountering the kraken) and sweet revenge. Just in case. He has his men carry two wicked steel harpoons to each ship.
Costas nods seriously to Ford, then returns his attention to Grimjaw. "<<The Thraxan lord here seems pretty sure your Bloodsky is fucked, friend. He's got some colorful things to say about what he's going to do with their corpses. The two of you could probably have a nice little poetry contest.>>" The rogue looks back at Ford again and gives him a thumbs-up and an easy bullshit smile. "<<So here's the thing, just to get this all moving..>>" He leans just a bit closer to the man, just out of reach. "<<You can either drag this on until that big fucker over in the back gets tired of waiting and decides to spend the rest of the afternoon flaying you into little pieces..>>" Subtly, his hand on the wooden scabbard at his side shifts meaningfully. "<<Or you tell me where we find the ones we're after, and I end you quick.>>"
Ford didn't see any gestures of catapults. He doesn't think his message was conveyed correctly.
Costas checked command + intimidation against difficulty 15, resulting in 23, 8 higher than the difficulty.
The man eyes Costas for a moment. As if considering his offer. "You know." He says, spitting more blood atop Costas' left boot. "This conversation goes a lot better if there's a solution where I get to live. Tell your lord I got information to trade. If he wants his people back..."
"He's re-thought your hospitality, my Lord." Costas tells Ford, eyeing his bloodied boot with a wrinkled nose. "Wants to trade information about where you can get the captives back, in exchange for his life."
Ford doesn't even hesitate, "Done."
Grimjaw ahhs! He knows that word. "Now, tell your man... I want longboat. For me. I put information in bottle - sail off in long boat, and throw it back to you. Otherwise, I think you just kill me."
:sighs, then relays the shav's terms verbatim.
Costas sighs, then relays the shav's terms verbatim.
Ford looks over his shoulder, around at the still smoldering warf and it's ruined ships, "You're not exactly spoiled for choice, you've burned up all your ships. You'll get a single rowboat and that's it."
Grimjaw looks at Costas. That was a lot of words.
"<<All he's got for you is a rowboat, friend.>>" Costas lowers his voice to add. "<<He's not one of the rich ones.>>"
Grimjaw looks askance at Ford. "Fine. Ships boat with sail. I go. Leave information."
Costas nods smartly, grinning. "I knew we'd get there in the end." He reaches into his long-coat, producing a flask. "This deserves a nip."
"Good. Also, ask him how long he's been sailing with Bloodsky." Ford asides to Costas.
Costas relays the question
Jeffrey gives a glance to the flask, but says nothing before he turns his attention back to the interogation.
"About a year." Says Grimjaw. "He hired me from further east. He pays good. Lots of money."
Costas raises an eyebrow at that answer. "Well that's interesting.." He comments to the group. "He's sailed with this Bloodsky about a year, and apparently he's got coin a'plenty."
That wasn't the answer Ford was hoping for, but he waves to Marlin, "Get this idiot a boat with a sail on it. Something pathetic."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Ford before departing.
THe old Man shrugs and starts to move off to find a boat for the asshole who has been his guest for a few days.
When Abbas gets back from being Ahab. He looks to prisoner. He then speaks quietly in his native tongue, "Do not kill him. After you get the bottle bring him back and flay him a little. Harpoon the boat and we will ship him for interrogation." This is told to Ford. It is the one time he will pull rank. Other than that he continues to go and speak to the men on how to use the harpoons. He will give them each enough rope. His obsession is evident. All else is meaningless in the tide of revenge.
Ford opens his mouth to start telling Costas exactly what Abbas just said to him, "Exactly."
SCENE: THE NOTTEROGATION
Grimaw sets the sail on his little boat - then sets off into the little bay. He reaches back and throws the bottle with the location of Bloodskys base.
AHHH! CURSE YOUR SUDDEN BUT ENEVITABL BETRAYAL!
THe Ballista shatter his little boat! CURSES! OH GOD! NO GOD, NO!
Grimjaw is fished out of the water, half drowned now...
He, realizing he's probably gonna die, just sort of stands there, between two of the Crimson Blades. "Your boss is a cocksucker." He says to Costas.
"<<My boss is a smoking hot warrior woman with thighs that could crush your head, friend.>>" He jerks his head toward the Thraxans. "<<There are just some of her idiot lackeys.>>"
The man just lifts a brow at that. "Worse ways to die than a face fulla twat. Like, for example, whatever comes next. So... Lets speed this up and maybe forgo the torture. What does the angry <<Catapulting Cocksucker>> want?"
Costas glances over to Ford. "He's feeling extra talkative right now, Lord. You got any specific questions?"
"All of it." Ford says to Costas, eyebrows lifting, "What kind of resistance we're to expect, if it's just Bloodsky and his men, or if there are more."
Costas relays this to the captive.
Grimjaw glances around. There are no options here. "He's basing out of Lands End... it's an old what do you call it... smoke mountain - the kind thats collapsed back into the sea for the most part. He is setting up a forward base there for raiding Stormward and Darkwater lands. He really hates some motherfucker called '<<Ford>>' and hes' gonna probably murder everyone who owes that guy money."
Costas expresses all this faithfully to Ford.
Ford smirks and nods, "Good. Keep him talking."
Prince Abbas Thrax returns and tugs out his flaying knife from his boot. He then leans down and slides it through the sand to get it nice and dull. When he approaches the prisoner he poiints to the bow of his ship where the serpent is adorned with shackles. He makes a motion as if peeling and struggling to flay skin while Costas talks to him, "Tell him he gets to go as a captive in a thrall net. Or he gets to ride on the bow of the ship to his new home depending on how correct he is when answering about the amount of defending forces."
Costas grimaces for just a brief moment when one of those fucking knives comes out, but continues to play the good interpreter to whatever questions are asked of the prisoner.
"Hey hey hey! The knives are bullshit man! I said I'd talk. Tell the fucking Snakelover to back it down! I'm talking. Shit!" Says Grimjaw, spitting to the side. "Bloodsky's got himself a navy. Probably.. 12 ships, give or take. A thousand men under arms."
Grimjaw then adds... "but they arn't all at Lands End. Thats just a forward operating base."
Archimedes the White Horned Raven arrives, delivering a message to Maximilian before departing.
Costas grunts after relaying this last bit, frowning as he looks to the rest of the party's reactions. "That's a lot of damn soldiers."
Ford sighs, assuming that all of this is being translated in real time to cut down on poses, "Then how many are at Land's End right now?"
Grimjaw shrugs. "Depends on how many ships are in. 50 per ship. Dock can take... 4 ships. Could be 200. Could be less if his ships are out raiding."
"Thats rough odds if we sail on them now...but we could muster out?" Caelis says quietly and looks between the mean folk, leaning into a hip as she surpresses a sigh.
Ford folds his arms across his chest and lowers his brow, looking between everyone, "Could have one ship sail by, lure out theirs to pursue. We could easily take one or two and then clean up what's left in Land's End."
Information obtained: Land End is a small jut of volcanic rock that was once part of a larger complex, that eventually eroded and fell into the sea. The upside is the waters around it are trecherous, making it a great base if you know the waters and where the hullrippers are. The base itself is inside the old magma tubes - which have been expanded and carved out to create a warren of rooms and chambers. Bloodsky is very confident hat the Gyre will be leaving the Deeps soon and will have - and this should be concerning - Overhwhelming numbers no his side, so Bloodsky is trying to carve out his own little empire first, while working as 'advance' troops.
"If we had the full Company here, I'd say we have good odds in our favor." Jeffrey gives in response. "The shavs don't exactly have much training anyway, so it'd be pretty even if they're hide bound barbarians like most of them tend to be."
The Reaver Prince grunts, "Find a good current. Don't go direct to the fuckers. We need to turn on the shadowing ships and take care of them first or drive them away so they are not a threat. Let me sail us in the right stretch of wind and current. Kill them. Then we go deal with the rest. We can be caught between the docks and those who followed us here." Abbas looks around and then shrugs.
"The Prince has got a good point." Costas agrees, crossing his arms. "Them ships in our wake need to go before we do anything else."
Ford looks between everyone else, "We're in agreement then."
"I trust in Thrax sea power a lot more than I trust in dealing in a hostile landing with unknown numbers. Blue Compacy is well trained and disciplined, but a ground assault is still a gamble unless we can find a chokepoint for my men to do a holding action from." Jeffrey adds.
Ford paces slightly, moving back and forth, "Fucked if we do, fucked if we don't... recommendations?"
"This is your show." Costas shrugs toward the Thraxans, content to let them make the call. "I ain't sure what the alternative to hitting the base is though. Just trying to deal a blow to some of their scout ships?"
"My recommendation is to do a naval action against those ships, and use the battle as a cover for scouting." Jeffrey looks to the water. "But then, we'll know we're coming with those ships following us."
"If we can ditch the tail, we'd have a much easier time of getting in while as few people as possible are home." Ford says, turning to the rest of the group.
Costas says, "Whoever leads them off will have to do some damn fancy sailing." Costas remarks, rubbing the back of his neck. "That's a tricky proposition.""
Ford looks to Abbas, "Abbas is the best damn sailor I've ever known."
"Mangata knows the more intel we get the stronger our odds are." Caelis says, looking to Abbas curiously. "Your men up to fancy sailing?" She asks and lets out a tense breath. "If we do send a ship out as a distraction, I'd like to be on it-in case she needs to get somewhere safe, I've a fair sense for that-saved a few ships."
The smirk that corsses the Thraxians lips is follow by a shrug. "If you want me to lead them off, that's not an issue. They will not be able to catch or take my men. That is your choice." Abbas looks to Ford. "If you wish me to do such it will be done." The confidence is resolute. It is not a matter of 'if he can' but a matter if that is what is desired.
Ford nods once to Abbas, "Then it's settled. Abbas lures our tail and gives us the opportunity to get balls deep in that base."
"We'll need to do an initial scouting pass to find landing sites that aren't directly near the base and can afford us a chokepoint. After that, it should be easy to advance with archery." Jeffrey nods to Ford.
"It sounds to me like we have a plan then." Ford draws in a breath and nods to everyone.
Costas nods smartly, wandering off toward his marines. "Tuck it into your boots, boys. The blood's gonna run high." A rough cheer erupts from the gaggle of thives and murderers.
Abbas moves and goes to his men. "I need rowers only. The rest of you join the others. Split wigs for me." He addresses his first mate, "Who wants to die old and frail in their beds?" He inquires of his crew, [Not I] the first mate answers. "Who wants to die in glorious fucking battle like proper Thraxians? Wig-splitting, sailing and doing what none have ever dared? Like the Gods of the Salt we are?" The men echo, [[WE DO!]] Abbas turns and then grins to those gathered at the beach. "Tears in our wake..." He tells Ford. The reavers that remain behind go to join Ford. The one's that stay -- they board the longship. They begin to row. Even Abbas takes his turn at the oar. And the men back the longship out, catch the wind of the sails, and they turn straight towards the red flags that hang unknown in the horizon. The dot that is the longship fades. The war sound of a horn bellows out in the distance, ''''ARRROOOOOOOOOO''''. The Reaver Prince goes off to work -- savage man of the Salt. Doing that which would make others shit themselves. A proper fucking Thraxian. Killin in the name of.
Abbas checked command + leadership against difficulty 15, resulting in 48, 33 higher than the difficulty.
Abbas has rolled a critical success!
Abbas checked command + sailing against difficulty 25, resulting in 205, 180 higher than the difficulty.
Looking at Costas, Caelis props her hand on her hilt and blows out a breath. "Well, bloody and glory, my lad. I'll keep the ship safe, might find us a good natural harbor to lay up in." She offers to the Malvici captain and looks towards the power sailor and his rowers. "Rocks, storms, and death defy you, sailors."
Ford claps Abbas on the shoulder as he rallies his men, all them howling, "But never at our wake." He finishes the words and then moves down to get his shit ready.
Costas appears somewhat dubious about the idea of leaving Caelis on the ship. "You wouldn't rather be in the thick? Might be some nice booty for the taking after, and layabouts get a beggar's share."
Sighing, Caelis looks at Costas and presses her lips together. "Oh, I'm not staying on the ship, but if I say I know a safe place to leave the ship-trust me?" She asks and pats her sword lightly. "I'd be forlorn not to get some exercise in."
INTERLUDE - THE DISTRACTION.
The Blood Tithe will earn her namesake today. Rowers bend their backs with a fanatical fervor, the oars slapping the water with a steady, droning rythm that sounds like the beat of Mangata's heart. AS they dissapear over the horizon, several black dots move in after him - presuming him the prize. Perhaps they think the ship with sails down and low is trying to sneak away. But something draws them to Abbas's vessel like flies to meat.
As the Blood Tithe hits the Horizon, the horizon crackles with light and furious energy, the dark line of a Saffron storm suddenly coming into view. Six distinct ships move in after Abbas, following him into the storm. The power of rowers here in this storm, is what will decide the battle that takes place in the violence of that storm, as waves tower and crash, as lightening peels and thunder clashes. What is known, is songs will be sung of that battle, the glorious battle that saw a half crewed Thraxian longboat take on six fully crewed ships of the Gyres best.
Madness, bloodly madness reigns inside that storm as ships are thrown into the air by the waves, as wind shreds rigging and shrouds and The Bloodsky's Elite ships find themselves, one by one, picked off. Ramming, boarding in the middle fo the storm and finally, when the Blood Tithe launches off a wave and comes down, crushing the last vessel with its own hull as it lands with a shuddering thud.
Despite dire circumstances, Abbas Thrax never stopped laughing - his men never stopped singing - and there was never, not once, in a single mans heart that they would prevail that day.
As the storm comes in, Jeffrey watches the ships disappear with slight concern, before he looks to Ford. "That takes care of that."
"Mangata's sopping boneyard." Costas murmurs under his breath, sipping on his flask as he stands at the rail of his ship.
Ford narrows eyes at the horizon, "If any man can fight a storm and Gyre vessals at once, It's fucking Abbas Thrax.." Then he looks to the rest of them left, "Let's get underway."
Costas checked perception + sailing against difficulty 30, resulting in 26, 4 lower than the difficulty.
Ford looks to Costas, "Mr. Costas. The helm is yours if you please. Take us out."
Max checked charm + linguistics against difficulty 15, resulting in 24, 9 higher than the difficulty.
Tobias checked wits against difficulty 15, resulting in 13, 2 lower than the difficulty.
Caelis checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 14, 1 lower than the difficulty.
Ford checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 11, 4 lower than the difficulty.
Tobias has rolled a critical success!
Tobias checked dexterity + leadership against difficulty 15, resulting in 130, 115 higher than the difficulty.
Caelis checked dexterity + archery against difficulty 15, resulting in 38, 23 higher than the difficulty.
Costas checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 33, 18 higher than the difficulty.
Ford checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 66, 51 higher than the difficulty.
SCENE - LANDS END
Lands end is a crumbling spire of rock, overgrown with lush tropical vegetation. The roughly crescent shaped island has in its cradle, a natural harbor bordered by jutting teeth of bare rock. A left over remnant of some long forgotten volcanic cataclysm, the island is rumored to be riddled with tunnels. Basalt gives way to softer rocks under the surface, allowing it to be carved out and hollowed.
And based on the evidence of the small wharf in the cradle, thats exactly whats been happening. The words of Grimjaw Banjack allow Costas Voducce to narrowly thread the approach into the harbor? which due to the BRUTAL METAL efforts of Abbas Thrax, is denuded of ships. There is the sound of scraping along the hull of the Dauntless, the southport flagged ship in the lead of the little procession? a rock skitterscratching along the wooden hull and no doubt leaving a furrow in its wake. This is repeated for the Stormbreaker and then the Dance Macabre?. But they all make it through without serious damage.
There's the sound of shouts from inside the tunnels, and everyone hears it. Soldiers know they are coming. And they start to line the docks. There's probably a hundred of them left? and they are angry. Furious even. Weapons brandished, they wait for the landing so they can spill Thraxian and Lycenian blood. But? they won't get the chance. As the ships turn broadside, the archers come to the fore. The Southport contingent lead by Lady Caelis Malvici looses their arrows at the men on the Wharf and the sounds of shouts and jeers turn to the sounds of screams as arrows slam through flesh. Blood flows - leaking into the water as they fall back. But the soldiers at the back push forward, stopping their retreat.
And thats when the archers of the Dance Macabre open up, Crimson Blade mercenaries, the best money can buy, each with a bow at the ready. They open up with a volley - and then another volley - and then another volley. Like machines, the hail of arrows never ends.
Into this maelstrom of pain and blood, launch the marines of the Stormbreaker and the Dauntless. Lead by Ford Kennex and Costas Malvici, those who can stand against the arrows, find themselves swiftly falling despite their best efforts. The Kennex Marquis is a dervish, death dancing along the length of his blade, quickly sheathed in flesh, to unsheath and flash onward to find new purchase. The attack on his people has him enraged and it shows in the crackling fury that roars through him.
In short order? the battle is over - here on the docks? and there is no more sound of men coming out. Only the silence of the dead and the moans of the dying.
Out <O> is now unlocked.
Out <O> is now locked.
As they come through the tunnels, Caelis hears the noise and the brief warning. Watching a man fumble to raise his bow, Caelis slides in smoothly, taking the bow and raising an arrow to it. "On my mark!" She calls out in a clear voice, loosing the first of the volley and keeping them coming while Costas rallies the landing party.
The swooping and swirling violet leather gets redder and deeper as the Kennex Cutthroat slices his way through those that stand in his way. Hands, legs, and heads come up and off the men who stand before him. It's not long before his blade is so soaked in the blood of others it flecks those around him as he swings it into another. It doesn't help enemy morale to see a man almost completely coated in the blood of their comrades storming closer. Striking fear into the hearts of the Shav bastards one devastating blow at a time.
Soon, when all the heads he could have possibly removed have been just so, and his skin is covered in a delicious mix of blood and sweat, he looks back, to see if everyone else is okay.
When it becomes clear those at the base have no ranged weapons? Jeffrey gives this very sadistic grin from the edge of the Dance Macabre deck. "Blue Company, line up at the edge and ready bows!" The leather armored line brings up arrows. Jeffrey himself? He's directing the chaos. "AIM!" The Crimson Blades nook, and arch. "Mass formation to the right! FIRE!" Jeffrey yells as arrows fill everyones vision. "READY!" Another set of arrows, "FORMATION IN FRONT! GIVE THOSE MARINES SOME COVER!" They adjust "FIRE!" Another swarm of missiles fills the vision. With the majority of the massed enemies starting to fall... "FIRE AT WILL!"
Atrid checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 17, 2 higher than the difficulty.
Atrid charges in with the marine parties storming the docks. Cutlass raised and ready to do his duty, Atrid isnt the best fighter in the group but he holds his own. Cutting, slashing and parrying attacks. He helps hold the line courageously and with honor.
Ford checks on Costas who's still totally here, then he calls out to the others, "Atrid, Caelis, Colonel! Statuses if you please? Are we all in one piece?" He wipes his blade on his sleeve and uses a rag from inside his coat to clean -some- of the blood from his face.
As the fighting dies, Jeffrey holds up a hand. "Stand down! Switch to melee. Alpha squad and beta squad, two column advance to land." The Crimson Blades start to march onto the dock, over the bodies, with Jeffrey at their head. "All accounted for and ready to help secure this holding, My Lord."
Atrid looks himself up and down for a few seconds breathing heavily. "Aye a few scratches, bruises and a small cut or two. But nothin that's gonna permanently affect me." He calls back with a chuckle as he cleans off his blade on the shirt of a fallen enemy. "Everyone else in one piece?"
SCENE - LANDS END - Denouement
The battle is swift and messy - but not for our heroes. The few men who survive the onslaught are taken as Thralls by House Kennex. Only a handful will make it, with the most being kicked over the side into the blood streaked harbor of Lands End. Sharks circle and team, thrashing in the water, giving the little portage a new name: Port Sanguine. No matter how hard the officers try to dissuade the name, it is what the soldiers will call it, the marines will call it, and how every sailor will refer to it.
Only about seventy five of the one hundred and fifty men and women taken from Smallport are recovered, the rest - having left only moments before the crew arrived? leaving aboard the Red Tide, Jakrics personal ship, thralls heading deeper into the unknown expanses of the Wyld Isles, the deep Saffron. There, in what was once the dread Pirate BloodSkye's forward base, with simple red banners along the walls, we draw this adventure to a close.
The Gyre is coming. The infernal master of house Marin, the fallen lord of naught but the beasts of the sea and those who sail it, has confidence in his overwhelming numerical superiority.
But this day is for the House of Kennex, The House of Thrax, the House of Darkwater and the House of Malvici.
He can be beaten.
"Excellent." Ford says looking over his shoulder, "Teams of four, room checking and clearing. Anything of value, you and your men are welcome to."
"All square here!" Caelis calls from her archers and leans over the edge of the ship as she counts Costas and the rest of the Malvici squad. "Looks...all set, Costas and his are fine too!" She adds. Turning, she swats at the hand of one of Costas's sailors. "I saw that look he gave you. My warning won't be a hard stare." She tells him briskly and moves to rejoin the other leaders. "The Gyre won't take that laying down. We should expect more raids at the least-to replenish his numbers." She says briskly, borrowed bow still in hand in case it's needed.
Atrid looks at the devastation all around them and a small glint comes to his eye. "Let them come we shall be ready." Atrid says to Caelis, not a man of many words but these he is truly sincere about. "Let us secure the holding and see what we find yes?"
"Mr. Coils!" Ford calls to his XO, "If you would be so kind as to raise the Kennex banner on this port, I think it's safe to say it's ours."
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