Quest Into the Storm

A great clash more violent than the storm itself rocks the sea.

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An inland sea created by Ivak's cataclismic fury during the Valterrian, the Suvan Sea is a major trade route and the foremost hub for piracy in Mizahar. [lore]

Into the Storm

Postby Anchor on April 8th, 2013, 9:18 pm

63rd of Spring
Northwest of Ryker's Point


Waves rolled fiercely, reaching up and then crashing down again only to be carried by their cousins back up to repeat the pattern. The ships caught in its motion were pitched back and forth, breaking through some and riding others in a fiercely inconsistent motion that sent some people scrambling. Rain fell from the sky and wind ripped across the decks, creating a cacophony of noise that buffeted the crews like the storm. As vessels rocked back and forth, forcing those on board to find a rhythm somehow to stay on their feet, the sails pulled the ships in all sorts of directions. The wave were by far the worst of it however, and while they weren’t so bad at the edge of the bad spot of weather they would soon easily reach over the decks and even higher. It was the kind of situation no one wanted to find themselves in at sea, yet several had intentionally chosen the dangerous sea for their own reasons.

One of those reasons was the Stormwind, which sought to escape or at least shake off some of the pursuing Svefra pods. The high bow meant that it was having an easier time than the smaller ships with lower decks following, which shook less but had water constantly spilling in over the sides. The casinors in the front were having a particularly rough time of it, being so small and shallow, their crew constantly bailing to keep themselves moving after the Stormwind. The design of the boats meant that they were fast gaining on the land-designed vessel, but each casinor was in constant danger of capsizing, tossed about by the waves like a little toy fleet. While the children of Laviku would likely be able to find some way to make it, the same could not be said for the brave land-dwellers who had decided to join the frontal charge. They’d been taught to swim, but this storm was something else entirely. There was no guarantee that even all the Svefra would survive if they got tossed into the great waves.

Red hair being whipped about by the wind, Braten stood at the stern of his ship, watching behind him as the large number of Svefra vessels swarmed after him even in the harsh weather. Many times a ship of the blue-eyed devils was nearly cast aside by the sea, but always they managed to pull through to keep up the pursuit. Such was their strength. In his hand by his side was a large thick ax, about the length of his arm and head resting heavily in his fist, which tightened its grip suddenly as he turned. His boots thudded against the wood as he faced the main deck from his elevated position.

“Crossbows!” he ordered, the Inarta’s voice booming across the deck even above the din of the storm. Immediately about a dozen men and women rushed belowdecks, returning with a quiver and crossbow each and running towards the edge of the boat, winding up the cranking mechanisms and preparing to fire at the Svefra fleet.
Last edited by Anchor on April 13th, 2013, 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Will be gone for a couple days, grades need lifting


The Suvan Sea

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Into the Storm

Postby Razkar on April 9th, 2013, 12:20 pm

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"Ahh... finally, a man worth killing..."
-Cedric

++++++++++



Blood and water. That was how it began. That was how it would end.

"BWOOOOOARK!"

... and vomit, apparently.

Razkar had since gotten used to the bile-laden explosions from the other land walkers on board the Cuttlefish. They were a hodge-podge of the races littering Mizahar, and the only things they had in common was at least a modicum of fighting ability and... well, the same thing that had drawn him into this maelstrom.

They wanted to fight.

The Myrian stood alone, however, feet braced so the rolling, tempestuous motion of the sea didn't hurl him from the deck, and it was was certainly trying. The Stormwind loomed huge and forbidding ahead of them, getting even more massive with every passing chime.

Quick obsidian orbs surveyed it. Tall, broad, fast... probably a crew of dozens. No visible armaments, but Braten and his men were pirates. What was the point in destroying their prey? He kept looking, hands flexing and loosening and-

There.

Imperious and proud as some pagan god, he saw an unmistakable figure on the stern of the Stormwind. The rest of the scurrying crew were doing just that, a constant whirl of movement, but that one... was was calm and settled as a mountain. Ax in hand, eyes glowering at the horde of pursuing vessels.

Razkar felt his heart quicken. Braten...

He was a walking and ready armory that day, terrible and strange to behold. Gladius and hand ax were at his hips, kukri and twin lakan strapped across his back and chest. His cloak had been left below decks, too bulky and fair to be in the grinding, howling wind and spraying water. Toughened leather squeaked and moaned as the knuckledusters covering both his fists tightened... released... tightened... released...

"Patience." A calm and educated voice said to his right. "We're getting closer."

Razkar spared Eranis a look but did not comment. He did not want to sully this with words, not unless he had to. For long months he had been denied a true challenge, a real fight against a deadly enemy. Only the champion he faced in the Gideon Arena had come close. But he knew what this day would come to... and he had prepared.

The Myrian was covered from topknot to toes in ash from last night's bonfire, looking grey and dusky as a buried corpse. But yellow green and red ink was scattered across him, too, mainly his chest and stomach. Runes... prayers... promises...

Razkar whispered them to himself now as the Stormwind doubled in size over the space of a few chimes. So close.

The aching in his face had subsided, thanks to the steady spray of salt water bathing them, cauterizing his wounds. Four long, shallow cuts were carved into him: on each pectoral and each cheek. The blood flowed freely in tiny droplets that were borne away by the wind and rain and vanished.

Promises sealed in blood. Repaid in blood...

"Braten is mine." He said quietly, voice barely above a growl, speaking slowly so his Common would not be mistaken. "I will kill him."

On his left, Turak raised an eyebrow and gauged the reaction of those Svefra around him. Oddly enough, there wasn't one. The mood was so charged now that there was no guarantee he'd even been heard, let alone heeded. Captain Tonio stood with his face screwed into a grim mask on the pilot's deck, occasionally snapping orders to his harried first mate. The others were busy with bailing, or rigging, or sails, or weapons, or maybe they just didn't give a petch what some blood-hungry savage wanted.

The hulking Akalak grunted and shook his head. If you can get to him, he's all yours, friend. If.

The lips of Razkar of the Shorn Skulls kept moving in an endless litany, eyes fixed on the looming target ahead of them. Blob-formed figures glimpsed through rain and squinted eyes became humans and Inarta with hair, eyes, noses and shouting mouths.

And crossbows.

Razkar snarled out his frustration. He would not risk his own skill with the shortbow, not on this brutally, mercilessly rocking surface. He was as likely to shoot his own side as the enemy. He tensed, ready to take cover, allowing his concentration to slip for two more blinks. In the first, he gave thanks in his savage tongue to the Goddess-Queen, she who was his Mother and his Blades, his purpose and his protector, and bid her view his offering with a bloody roar of approval.

In the second, he hope Edreina stayed down and didn't try to be brave. That shit could get you killed in a battle.

A roared command from the Stormwind, and crossbows were raised.
OOCMeh, not my best work by a long chalk, but still, here I am guys! Oh, and there'll be a cool pic courtesy of Svasra to add to this, soon...
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Razkar has been cursed by Yahal, and as such finds little acceptance from others; they will instinctively view him as being deceptive and traitorous. However, when close to one blessed by Yahal, the effect is negated. The curse is etched onto his left pectoral, and viewing the mark causes others to feel dirty and unclean.
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Into the Storm

Postby Fubuki Kouri on April 9th, 2013, 1:37 pm

Fubuki Kouri




OOCI've fixed Tsukiko's ship name to the Crescent, read her post for details. :)

Amidst the raging waters and battle-hardened warriors. A strange ethereal figure can be seen, sitting on top of the highest pole on one of the ships in the Svefra horde, heading to battle against the Stormwind, Captain Breten's massive ship. She was a bizarre sight, a little girl wearing a white dress, amongst the battle-hardened men and women of the horde. She was boarding a ship named "The Crescent" belonged to a Svefra woman named "Tsukiko".

----------------------------------------------------

A few days ago before they set sail, at night, Kouri accidentally met Tsukiko at the Svefra camp on the northern shore of Syliras. She was struck by her... celestial beauty. Her silvery blue hair, bright indigo eyes, and pale skin... but what enchanted the ghost girl most was her horns, it was very unusual... her slender white horns at her head.

At first, Kouri thought that this... woman might be a goddess. After gathering the courage to talk to her, Kouri found out that her name was Tsukiko, and she was indeed special, her form changes with the bells and seasons. She was one of those race called "Ethaefal".

Completely intrigued by Tsukiko, Kouri immediately asked if she can come with her and to her extreme delight, Tsukiko said yes and she even owned her own ship. "Thank you, Madame Tsukiko~!!" was her reply as she hugged the Ethaefal woman. For not rejecting Kouri because she's a ghost and allowing Kouri to stay on her ship.
----------------------------------------------------


"Hmhmhmhm~♪" Kouri was humming her favorite song while playing with her steel dagger, her long ethereal white hair swaying as if a gentle breeze blew amongst them, completely unaffected by the fierce corporeal winds around her.

Ehehe~ So, I'm going against... pirates, eh? Ahaha~ I wonder if their cutlasses and arrows can hit me~ Kouri giggled in her mind, Kouri thought it was unlikely that a group of violent men and women has a magus amongst their midst. I hope master will be alright, but... ehehe~ he's my master, he can do anything~ Kouri quickly shook her worry as she knew that Cyrus was more than able to take care of himself. We'll defeat them together! Her humming slowly faded as she saw a massive ship loomed over ahead.

Ooooh~ So that's the Stormwind~ Ehehe, so uuh.. big and fat, how can it move so fast? Kouri tilted her head in curiosity. Moments later, she could see that lots of pirates aboard the 'fat' ship gathering and preparing to fire some kind of weapon. Oooh, I believe they are called... crossbows, ahahaha~ Kouri laughed in her mind as no sense of fear can be detected in her, for all she knew, crossbows are physical weapons and thus, as long as she was unmaterialized, no harm could come her way.

Still in the same position on top of the tall pole, Kouri, unmaterialized, grinned in anticipation while spinning her steel dagger all around her using her Soulmist tendrils.

Can a corporeal shooter hit an ethereal being?
Last edited by Fubuki Kouri on April 17th, 2013, 8:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Into the Storm

Postby Edreina on April 11th, 2013, 2:48 am

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Edreina maneuvered her smaller Casinor into the wake of the larger Cuttlefish. Fighting the savage wind, it was easier to keep her ship in the slipstream of the other ship than have it sail alone. Beneath her foot was the mainline which she manipulated gently with slides of her foot on the deck, made easier by her low, crouched position. The tiller was constantly being jerked by her left hand as she encountered the constant roiling of water as it churned, signalling the storm to come. As the two leading ships approached the Stormwind, a sense of restless calm settled over the fire-maned captain.

Her casinor had been one of the ones chosen to accompany the lead ships with its slightly higher bow and solid deck. Many casinors had the entrance to the cabin built into the deck and it seemed to be the perfect catch all as water washed up and over the sides as they cut through the stormy water. But, whoever had fashioned her ship had sacrificed some cargo room to make her cabin take up the center of the hull, only able to be entered by a water-tight trap door. A fresh coat of wax on the deck also helped the water slide off through the drain holes built into the side of the railing, just above deck level. Despite all of this, she was drenched quickly and made glad that she had the foresight to bind her hair before setting out.

Despite her conviction, Edreina was not one to fight unless it was absolutely necessary. The tyranny of this Inartan captain, a blasphemer who did not respect the rule of Laviku beyond the fact that the Ocean was his domain, made her involvement more of a calling than a nonchalant interest. Braten did not see Laviku as father, caretaker, and provider... only as a means for sailing from one point to another. It set her Svefran blood boiling and roiling as if placed over an open flame. Taking Braten down was more than a territorial dispute as some of the land-striders saw it, it was a calling of blood to join blood in taking down one who had no respect for their way of life.

Deep down, she knew that the events of today would be a day to be sung about in generations to come - she felt honored to be a part of it. In the days before the assault, the Flotilla seemed to swell as Svefra from across the Suvan answered the call of their kin. And, in the bells before they departed, the Anchorage seemed to dissolve to a size Edreina had never seen. Only the oldest, most integral ships remained. Older ships were volunteered to hold more fighters, more weapons, more space to place the injured so that they could be tended.

As they neared Ryker's point, ships split into two hunting parties to stalk the fleeing quarry. The Cuttlefish and Goldengrotto were quick to take after the vagik Inartan's ship, the Stormwind, leading others. Edreina silently admired the courage of the land-striders who, knowing nothing of the conflict, had been quick to join it. Courage? Or folly? Deep down, she knew that many had joined simply for the sake of fighting, for victory and honor. She also silently hoped that they were not getting in over their heads.

As the accompanying ship, Edreina would be sailing about constantly as the main party boarded and attempted to take over the Stormwind. As fighters were forced over the edge, into the churning water, it would be her job to retrieve them and return them to the Cuttlefish or one of the medic ships if their injuries were grievous enough.

A fine tremble ran over her golden, freckled frame caused either by the cold, biting wind or... fear? Yes... fear... She was not a fighter, she could barely defend herself. She knew that she would have to fight the urge to plunge in over her head and try to keep others from harm by entering the fray - such action would only cause more trouble for the others. She would just have to hope that the Goldengrotto's unimposing stance, free of light mounts or warriors filling the decks, would save her from direct attack. She would have to hope that she would not be too exposed upon the open deck, that the vagik's crew would not seek to attack her directly.

If so... Edreina felt the whip wound around her waist, seeking its comforting warmth. The leather was smoothed by age beneath her fingers, softened to the point that it would move without pause through the air to strike exactly where its wielder aimed. As the Stormwind grew ever larger, Edreina forcefully thought her way through the few lessons in fighting Razkar had given her in the days leading up to the assault.

Closer and closer they drew up to the larger ship. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the unmistakable figure of an ash and paint covered Myrian move towards the railing of the Cuttlefish. Despite the rain sheeting between them, she could see that his face was set in a grim mask. He was ready for a fight. Despite herself, Edreina let out a whoop and lifted her hand for an instant, saluting her friend. He was strong, a fierce warrior, she knew. But, she could not stop herself from worrying after his safety. In an uncharacteristic instant, she closed her eyes and summoned everything that Razkar had told her about Myri, hoping that she would hear the prayers of one that was not her child. Guide his blade... Her evocation was silent, a secret.

"Crossbows!"

The booming, authoritative roar was heard above the growl of the tide, and the screaming of the wind. Laviku guide us... she prayed in the instant of silence before the first volley began to scream through the air. The time to fight was now. She could only pray that she would have the strength to endure.

OOCFor anyone wondering, she will not be joining the fight directly if she can help it. Any injured warrior that can get themselves to an engaged ship will find her there waiting to take them to a medic vessel. Also, if anyone finds themselves falling or pushed into the roiling surf below, she will do her best to retrieve you.
Good luck everyone!
Last edited by Edreina on April 24th, 2013, 1:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Into the Storm

Postby Cyrus Blackfire on April 12th, 2013, 10:37 pm

Cyrus had prepared himself for the coming conflict both mentally and physically, just as he would any other. This would prove to be a test of his abilities and his ambitions, he would of course succeed, anything else would be rather disappointing. He stood tall amidst the warriors assembled upon the deck, dressed as always in his banded mail armor with his greatsword across his back and his short blade at his side. The ship he was on, known as "The Crescent" was a fine vessel, strong and powerful. Hopefully it would see them through to the end of this hunt.

Cyrus took stock of his stratagem for the coming conflict, the quarters were much too tight for him to effectively use his greatsword, likely he would be limited to quick strikes with his shortsword. This was unfortunate but to be expected, he had no wish to injure his comrades so unless the situation allowed it, no greatsword. Magic was also out of the equation, the Svefra were unaware of his powers and so were the enemy. It would be an option of surprise to be used at the opportune moment, like all things today would call for patience and careful planning.

The warrior looked on and noticed the Stormwind fast approaching, men already moving to battle positions. Cyrus allowed his hand to stray down to his short blade, his eyes carefully scanning over the enemy vessel.

"Crossbows", The cry came loudly and clearly through the air, which Cyrus noted with dread.

If he wanted he could have probably summoned a gust of wind to knock aside any coming projectiles but that would alert the enemy to the presence of a mage. It was always wise to assume that one's enemies were not stupid, likely this Braten would become much more cautious in how he handled himself if spells started flying about. That would ruin the surprise.

So the warrior braced himself, falling back a subtle and cautious step so that a Svefra warrior was conveniently positioned in the path of any on coming projectiles. He probably wouldn't mind dying to protect Cyrus anyway.
Last edited by Cyrus Blackfire on April 17th, 2013, 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Into the Storm

Postby Caran Icewave on April 14th, 2013, 8:41 am

"Zulrav smiles upon us this day."

Grimly, the words were spoken into the wind and rain as the speaker wrenched the helm to straighten her course and keep in line with the cut waters of the ships before her. Blonde hair, darkened by rain, plastered to a pale face devoid of any markings. A dark sort of look glinted in blue Svefra eyes, cold and merciless as the soul that drove for death behind them.

Caran probably looked fiercesome, the glare hardening her face and turning her from somebody that looked ready to laugh to somebody that looked ready to whip out her cutlass and gut the nearest body.

The ship rocked uncertainly as a particularly high wave shoved it, the tiller fought the hands that sought to guide it, and the Svefra captain of the recently christened "Shark's Fang" cursed her luck. Zulrav may smile upon this day, but Laviku raged his seas at it all the same. The Seagod was wrathful and so was Caran by extension, the roiling waves of her Oceanus reflecting those that danced beneath the casinor and threatened to capsize it.

Even as Caran abandoned the helm for a chime to bail some of the water, she smiled at the charm the seas had. Death would come this day, by merciless waves or cold steel, but if it found her she would know she passed at the defense of her God and his domain.

Caran returned to the helm quickly, just in time to wheel the tiller out of collision with the nearest ship. She barely cast the ship another glance as she returned to the course, narrowing her eyes but holding her tongue. She owed no apology to the land dwellers aboard, but would give her words to the captain later once the others were gone and the Svefra remained. Allies they may be at this time, but Caran could never like them for all they have done and would continue to do to the seas.

The sailor of the casinor before her whooped, the sound carrying before being consumed by an answering wind, and Caran shouted out a gleeful war cry as well, echoing the Myrians that had once encountered her pod at the fringe of the jungle as they sailed past on their yearly migration. When they had an annual migration up and down the Ahger.

She drew her cutlass and waved it, even as the wind and rain tried to pull it away, before lowering it. Of what could be said of her, she was happiest with something to fight. Anything. Better a pirate ship with a full crew than anything else yet, however.

The call for crossbows came from the Stormwind and Caran's eyes narrowed further. She resheathed her blade and crouched low behind the tiller, peering above only far enough to see the rear end of the ships before her and the further away shape of the Stormwind they pursued.

"Crossbow fire!" She shouted back, to give some sort of warning to the ships behind her that wouldn't be able to hear, before she focused on the pursuit.

Yes, Zulrav smiled on this day, she thought as the rain wept from the sky. It was a good day to kill... and be killed.
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Into the Storm

Postby Tsukiko on April 17th, 2013, 8:05 am

'Petch it all,' she cursed silently, as she tried to maneuver her catamaran along side the other vessels, struggling to keep from capsizing. It was quite the challenge, since though she had the advantage of speed, her double hulled ship was less maneuverable than that of her earthbound kins' casinors. The Crescent was situated near the center of the fleet, and she was glad for it, for it gave her a small bit of shelter, not by much, but she would take what she could get. She grimaced when her sails caught the wind, ropes creaking with tension as the ship rose slightly, only to lower back into the waves with bounce. Though the sky was so darkened with clouds that it was hard to determine the time of day, she knew it was not the time of Leth's reign. In earthbound form, Tsukiko appeared to be one of Svefra, her blue eyes gleaming in the dark of the storm. 'Thank Laviku I took on passengers,' she thought as she swept her gaze over them to check on them, making sure that they had not been swept off the deck along with the wild waves.

"Crossbows!"

The Etheafal hear Braten's order just before with snatched it from her hearing, and was grateful that the Inartan had such a projection to his voice; it allowed his pursuers prepare for the assault. Tsukiko did not have much as far as weaponry went, but she had a crescent shaped sword which she had favored ever since she had first received it as a gift from her adoptive pod, the Oceangems, and it had been given as her heirloom, just as much as for protection. "Prepare yourselves," she called out to those on board her ship, the ghost child catching her eye. She was thankful that she did not have to worry so much for the girl; one so unsubstantial was unlikely to be harmed.

----------------------------------------------------

A while ago, the she had been wandering the beach at night, at last more comfortable among the others when in her ethereal form, she had first seen the young ghost. The girl had piqued her interest, for the child had been the first ghost she had happened to have met. The girl, Fubuki as was called, had no affect on the weight of the ship, taking up no real room, and so, she had quickly agreed to accept dagger wielding ghost aboard. It never hurt to have an extra hand where you could get it.

----------------------------------------------------


Returning her attention to steering the catamaran, she was surprised when one of the Svefra who had joined her offered to take charge of steering. Looking up at him, she saw that he seemed to be used to such work, and thankfully relinquished her position to him, knowing that it had been a matter of time before she lost her stamina. Wind ripped her hair from their tie, while her blue eyes raged like the sea as she caught sight of the pirate ship, the Stormwind, her kin had called her to pursue. "Steal in our waters, and you pay the price," she whispered, her words quickly carried away on the wind. Sending quick, silent prayers to both Laviku and Leth, the Gods of Sea and Moon, she readied herself as much as she could, taking her position near the mast of The Crescent, and braced herself for what was to follow.

OOCHey, sorry for the late post; definitely not my best. Fubuki & Cyrus, sorry for not making it clear, but the name of Tsu's catamaran is the Crescent. The Oasis is the catamaran of a retired PC (I think Cascade said it was one of Gossamer's? anyways) who was also an Etheafal Svefra, named Norae, and used the picture to get an idea of the dimensions and such. Sorry for the confusion!
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Into the Storm

Postby Uleru on April 19th, 2013, 3:39 am



"Crossbows!" booms the Inarta captain.

"-and shove them up your ass you blasphemous sod!" a much more feminine voice shouts over the sound of the clashing storm, and you can almost hear the pitch dark smile on the senders face.

The irregular flashes of the Otani's back as she cuts under the waves shimmer in a grey, steely colour; like smoke and granite. And her body fluctuates in shape as a half remembered form is pulled from her mind and quickly dissipates. A common symptom of her anxiety, not that she would ever admit it. This in itself is unusual for Uleru, but fitting in the tense state before the battle.

And she plans to join the battle. Though she has never heard of an Otani joining in with the flesh-and-blood to truly fight. All the songs they sing are of her brothers and sisters watching from below, pulling down ships and the enemies of their Father should they fall. But to climb aboard and fight with the humans? For the humans? She must be mad.

Any dispute over who rules the sea in their flimsy boats is seen as strangely childish in her perspective. It's like arguing over a snowball in the middle of Avanthal; shallow and wasteful. There is much more under the waves than these humans will ever know. But to stomp around on her fathers back in such a blasphemous way is unthinkable. They slaughter his people, pillage his bounty and spit in the eye of their beliefs. So she plans to help the Sevfra make all of Bratran's crew give up the ultimate tribute of flesh and bone for their god.

Uleru chances a look behind her and sucks her newly formed teeth with an irritated popping noise. The convoy chasing the Stormwind have been steadily overtaking her for the better part of a bell. Despite the ability to cut under the storm that the ships must weather like corks in a swinging tankard, she is hardly the swiftest of Laviku's children. She has to get aboard or they will leave her far behind.

So without any conscious decision or discrimination she rides the crest of a breaking wave and crashes into the first Casinor she can get her hands on. The wave drains through the holes in the railing and the Otani pulls herself aboard, catching a glimpse of familiar freckles and flaming red hair plastered with moisture. And she realizes she just hijacked the Goldengrotto.

She smiles grimly for Edreina but doesn't greet her. The seriousness of the situation has silenced any remarks she would have made. And although she can not hear them, she knows the pirates are setting their sights on their pursuers flesh.

Turning to the prow she does her best to stand straight and exposed on the tossing deck. Although she is not fond of the idea of being perforated with the dozen arrows sure to fly her way, neither is she willing to let herself cower behind cover in front of her fathers enemy. So damn him, she will stand here and take their fire like a champ. Then she will find every single one of them and show them just how deep the ocean goes.

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Into the Storm

Postby Anchor on April 20th, 2013, 2:16 am

As Edreina let loose her battle cry, one by one the voices of the other Svefra joined her. Caran’s sharp voice cut through the storm with Edreina’s, then one by one voices aboard the other ships as well began calling out for blood in the name of the Sea Father. From as far back as those old large ships to the leading saique the Cuttlefish a collective roar echoed the discord of the storm, a wall of audible hate and bloodlust ripping through the treacherous waves and hitting the Stormwind. Cutlasses and fists were raised, an army of blue-eyed sea hounds hot on the heels of their prey. Those land-dwellers who had accompanied this war party watched the clamor around them in surprise for a quick moment, but it did not last long as their own voices joined the noise, and soon enough it had drowned out the storm and replaced it with a harsh bellow of their own.


Then steel was flying through the air.


Screeching through the air, a harsh shrieking that pierced even the roar of the pursuing fleet, twelve bolts sailed for random targets among the front lines of the ships before them. Most hit the decks or fell into the sea, too distant to hit with any high degree of accuracy, but it was enough to send the message to the Svefra: the battle had begun.


Though the initial volley had not scored any valuable hits, its failure was rendered unimportant soon enough. Once the first row had fired their shots, they pivoted and backed up closer to the center of the deck, kneeling down and cranking their mechanisms as a second line moved forward to take their place. The movement was too fluid and the change too quick for it to not be practised, as mere moments after the first bolts thudded or plopped into their useless targets the second bolts were already screeching through the air. This time, there was damage. Men and women aboard the leading boats cried out in pain as steel pierced their limbs and torso, not expecting a second wave so soon. Those in the middle of the fleet and backwards were amply protected by those before them, but more than half the projectiles had found valuable marks, taking at least half a dozen out of the combat already.


Aboard the forward casinors, those Svefra who knew how to fire ranged weapons readied to do so. Several hands drew back and fired arrows, a reply to the series of bolts they had received. However, the Stormwind had a higher deck and coupled with the wind of the storm most arrows either hit the wooden railing or splashed into the waters below. One or two managed to reach up onto the deck and scare away some too-curious pirates, but none had the success of the crossbow volley. During the lull in which the pirates took to reload, the Svefra began caring for those who were already injured at this point, taking them below decks where they would remain out of harm’s way until someone could ferry them to the medics.


While his crew prepared for another round of crossbow fire, Braten shouted orders that sent another dozen below decks to return with crossbows of their own, joining their comrades as they stuck their feet in the stirrups and began winding back the launcher. Even while the sea made the ship pitch and roll and rain washed over the deck, most managed to retain the concentration enough to at least make progress on their task, their bare arms and chests cascading with water. The whole crew wasn’t made of crossbowmen though, and more men and women emerged from the hatch below with large weapons at the ready. Axes, large swords, hammers, even a glaive was carried out from the hull of the Stormwind, each borne by a bulky body with glowering eyes and a toothy grin. Yet even as these brutish figures emerged, there were those who looked out of place among the muscled crew. Slim figures bearing shorter sabres, often being dual wielded, stalked onto the deck, as well as people bearing seemingly no weapons at all. A few even came out wearing cloaks that didn’t seem the typical garb of a seafarer, moving towards the stern. One mounted the stairs to the elevated platform, his clothes being whipped behind him by the storm.


Braten stood watching those that came nearer, their roar from earlier a declaration of their war on him. He stood unwavering though, deflecting their abuse off his broad shoulders and crossed arms. Turning from the affairs on his own deck, which he was convinced were all in good order, the Inarta watched the pursuing hunters as his red hair flapped and coursed in the wind. His own eyes stared back at the approaching fleet, a steely glare that scanned the decks of those closest. From his perch, he saw the land-dwellers on the various larger ships, the multitudes of Svefra cramming the casinors and palivars, the wall of white sails that followed him like a wave that would engulf and drown him at last. A wave that was five years late.


The cloaked man that was mounting the steps walked up to the captain’s side, eyes scanning the pursuing fleet as well. “The roar was heard from beneath the deck,” he remarked. “I’d figured you would be tracked down eventually by a war party, but I’d never have guessed you had a legion like this after you at one time. Your reputation has grown it seems.”


Nodding, the captain looked to the deck one of the nearest small boats, a casinor, and watched as a watery not-quite-formed being sat crouched on the wood with eyes glaring up at him. “There are far too many for them to have simply congregated by chance. Notice the large amount of non-Svefra as well in this horde, all armed and ready. It is not common for land bound warriors to travel with the Svefra, as they usually have their own vessels to carry them across the sea. There are too many for this to be mere coincidence; I suspect they have been recruited. Even without taking them into account, there are too many Svefra for them to have happened upon our location suddenly.”


The cloaked figure glanced at captain Braten. “You think they knew where we were?”


“Yes,” was the captain’s short answer, nodding again. “Or at least, they knew there were going to know, to have gathered this many.” His eyes continued scanning his attackers, keeping a lookout for anything or anyone he would need to notify his crew to watch out for when ships inevitably grappled. Apart from the watery figure near the front, which he had identified as an Otani and dismissed without much thought, there seemed to be an assortment of colorful warriors and interesting characters after him. “One for Melkelm,” he said suddenly, pointing to a translucent figure sitting atop one of the masts.


Eyes following the meaty finger, the dark-cloaked figure nodded, a motion mostly hidden by the cloth wrapped around his face. In fact, with that cloth and his hood, the only visible part of his head was the area around his eyes, leaving much about him to mystery for those who did not know him. “I will make sure that he is made aware,” came the response. “Any others, perhaps some I should inform the general crew of?”


Braten continued searching, but he didn’t have to look for long before his eyes settled on a group that had caught his attention early. Leading the charge was not a palivar but a saique, and aboard it with the Svefra milling about and preparing for battle were three non-Svefra who were very clearly people who were worthy of notice. Two large colored men, Akalaks, one with a large sword strapped to his belt and another whose weapons were too small to see at this distance, and a dark-skinned man in only a loincloth bleeding from the chest and cheeks. His eyes settled at the latter, staring through the storm at the adversary.


“Let the crew know we have some fierce warriors among our enemies,” Braten told his cloaked comrade. “Some men worthy of testing our mettle. Two Akalaks are on one of the front boats, one of the first to board us most likely. Make sure to let the crew know, especially the slighter ones. One of the Akalaks look as if they could cleave some of our less brawny companions in two. Also, there’s a Myrian among our enemies. Let’s see to it that Mundaz gets his fun.”


Without another word, the cloaked pirate pivoted and returned to the main deck, leaving Braten alone with his red hair which coiled and snapped like a swarm of snakes. His eyes had not left the Myrian he spotted earlier, and it was no surprise when he realized that the Myrian was likewise staring at him. So, you’re out for my blood, are you, son of Myri? thought the veteran sea prowler, his brow creased in a frown of concentration and adrenalin. Then, in a challenge that was directed to both the Myrian and everyone else beside and behind him, Braten stepped forward to the edge of the ship, unfolding his arms and clapping his hands down on the railing. Face twisted into a growl, he opened his mouth and roared from his throat a challenge that cut through the deafening storm like an ax blade.


“Come and get me you devils!” he roared, voice heavy and harsh, thick with anger and excitement. “Come and die!


At those words, another volley of crossbow bolts screeched through the air and struck the following boats, which were now close enough that both the captain’s voice could be heard easily and the bolts found their targets more often than not. None were fatal marks, but a good deal more warriors, Svefra and otherwise, were rendered unfit to fight because one of their legs were hit or their abdomens were punctured. There was no respite however, as moments after the first volley had slammed home the second was on its way, catching another batch of poor suckers and rendering them incapable of challenging the Stormwind. This time however, when sailors and comrades rushed forward to help the injured, thinking that the danger had passed for a short while longer, a third volley came through and tore through these people who rushed to help their fallen friends. These projectiles proved much more deadly, binding together the surprise of an unexpected volley with the closer targets and the exposed passengers aboard and culminating in several killing shots. Howls flew into the wind as warriors fell, hitting the decks and clutching their chests or throats or even their faces in a case or two. Some gurgled and spluttered on their own blood, and soon enough those who were going to be helped ended up helping the next wave of victims, trying to drag as many as possible below the wooden shelter of the decks and letting more able-bodied fighters take their place. Those that were alive at least.


Even though some of the crossbowmen were cranking their weapons again for another shot, the majority of them had simply hurried over to the armory within the stern cabins and returning with melee weapons. There would be not enough time to get off another series of volleys, but the damage had been done. Blood painted parts of the decks of the first wave of the Svefra and their allies, though it was quickly being washed away by the rain and waves. More seemed to crowd the decks now, sensing the impending battle and that there would be no more minor skirmishing. Boarding was only about a chime away, and everyone could feel it. On both sides, weapons were unholstered and brought to bear, ready to spill the blood of the enemy just beyond the railing.
Will be gone for a couple days, grades need lifting


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Into the Storm

Postby Razkar on April 20th, 2013, 2:19 pm

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Steel bolts swept across decks and punctured all they touched. Armor was almost useless against those vicious little projectiles, taut, mechanical crossbows flinging them through the air at an ungodly speed. Razkar saw bolts bury into solid oak, pass through torsos-

-and there was plenty of them.

The Myrian raised his weapons and gave a bloody, razor-toothed grin when the fire-haired Inarta bellowed his challenge. He answered it in kind, roar carrying over the wind and rain... and the screams. Suddenly there were screams.

Razkar leveled his gladius at the captain of the Stormwind. He made sure the man saw it... and then nodded.

It is decided. We face each other soon.

He allowed himself one volley's worth of bravado when the crossbows twanged and a swarm of bolts flew towards the closing Svefra fleet. At that range they were still powerful, but even experienced bowmen would be hard-pressed to fire with accuracy. The Myrian kept his grim expression, body high and tall, as he watched the bolts dart past around him, saw the first line of pirates turn with surprising precision, crossbows lowered, hands already levering the string back-

-making way for the second line.

"Down!"

His knees collapsed and he hit the slick deck at the same time as the Akalaks. Muted, thudding impacts hammered into the wood they took cover behind, and Razkar roiled and raged inside but did not expose himself. He was not an idiot, nor did he imagine himself immortal. The time would come. They were getting closer.

"Wait!" He realized a Svefra next to him was scrambling forward, hand outstretched towards one of his comrades with a black bolt through his stomach, writhing in pain. "I'm coming, just-"

"No!" Razkar barked, grabbing him by the back of his pants and yanking him back. "Not show yourself to enemy!"

"Let go of me!" The man all but screamed, ripping himself free and padding forwards on all fours. "He's my friend, you-"

Two bolts caught him in the chest, just like Razkar knew they would. He winced as the Svefra toppled over onto his side, mouth moving like a landed fish but no breath coming forth, not mattr how hard he tried... but blood was flowing the other way. Twisting and writhing like a living thing, spreading over the deck, carried and encouraged by the thick layer of rainwater.

Razkar gritted his teeth and winced. "Petching fool..."

He swung his head around to the ship where he'd glimpsed Edreina. A pang of fearful worry thrummed through him, and he allowed it, just until... yes... she was there. Hunching and hiding like a smart girl, and as far as he could see... unsullied by those evil blades.

The Myrian closed his eyes for a moment and mumbled a quick thanks to Laviku. Hopefully his favor would continue.

"Playing it clever, aren't they?" Eranis said over the din, lakan in each hand, risking the tiniest glimpse over the railing, then jerking his head back down. "Three crossbow lines, drawing out targets with our wounded... and they're not just Inarta."

Frowning, Razkar raised himself up slightly, tilting his head to the side so it was only his eye and ear that showed itself. The wind and rain battered all without concern or favor, making him squint, but the Stormwind was far closer now, and he could make out...

Plenty that walked and bore pink or tanned skin. But scales, also. Fur. things that loped and slink rather than walked. His eyes widened as he glimpsed with a shiver of horrified excitement what could be a Myrian on the deck.

"A fine feast," he muttered in his own tongue, and both Eranis and Turak were slightly perturbed by the way the Myrian ran his tongue across his sharpened teeth, "Challenges and variety... a hard fight, and the victory all the greater for it..."

"Prepare to board!"

Tonio roared his command, blood running down his arm from a bolt that had winged him but the stubborn bastard would rather take one in the face than abandon his perch. He glared at the Stormwind in withering contempt, judging speed and distance as the Cuttlefish drew close... waiting... waiting...

"Captain?"

"I know," he growled at his first mate, hand twitching on his sheathed sword, "But not yet. I want to get us good and close before we launch lines."

Below him, Razkar had no idea what the Captain was barking at his subordinate, but he had a rough idea of what would follow. He could hear the screams and yells and challenges bellowing from the Stormwind, the creaking of the hull and the deep flapping of it's sails. Once they crashed into her, lines would be loosed and the two ships would be tied together, and then...

Yes, Razkar thought to himself, grinning savagely and gripping his weapons tighter, and then...

More yells and moaning from the deck around him, snapping him out of his blissful moment. Blood sloshed on the deck nearly as thick as blood. Bodies were crawling for cover or laying still as stones. Others were cursing in non-stop Fratva as they patched up their wounds as best they could, furious eyes focused on the looming bulk of the Stormwind. On their enemies, the blasphemers and murderers. On Braten himself.

Much had already been lost. But Razkar knew that could be a benefit.

It drove you harder to revenge, and made it taste all the sweeter.
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Razkar has been cursed by Yahal, and as such finds little acceptance from others; they will instinctively view him as being deceptive and traitorous. However, when close to one blessed by Yahal, the effect is negated. The curse is etched onto his left pectoral, and viewing the mark causes others to feel dirty and unclean.
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