Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

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Re: Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

Post by Guilty Carrion on Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:50 am

The shouts from above jolted him awake, although the sudden movement sent the barrel which he was sleeping in tipping over. Before he could even fathom what happened, the barrel rolled forcefully with the rocking of the ship and crashed into the far side of the cargo storage. Rubbing his head quietly, Rai managed to crawl halfway out of the barrel before it decided to reverse its trip, dragging his half exposed body along with it.

Dizzy and slightly nauseous, the fire eater pulled himself out of the wooden death trap and climbed to his feet, golden eyes searching the cargo hold for some hint to the cause of the ship’s sudden turbulence. “Maybe a storm?” He wondered aloud, retrieving his staff from its hiding place as he cautiously peeked into the next room. Most of the crew had been generous about keeping his stowaway escapade hidden from the captain, but he didn’t want to risk bumping into one of the ones who didn’t like him.

A few more shouts and cries of panic sounded above, and Rai’s curiosity was replaced by a feeling of dread. He could clearly see the sun shining down from the top decks, and yet the ship was rocking about as if a monsoon had descended upon it. At least, he thought a monsoon. Sailing had never been his forte, or the various angry weather patterns of the sea. “Maybe I’ll just go back in my barrel and wait for dinner…”

Something thumped on the deck above him, and he glanced up slowly, only for a small trickle of red to drip down onto his face. “Oh…” He paled, eyes dilating as his heart leapt into his throat. “Oh! Oh! That is not good!” As if on cue, a strange creature dropped down from the deck above, screeching furiously at him as it’s massive tentacles raced forward. Rai yelped, spinning his staff in front of him and ensnaring the creature’s tentacles. Blinking once, he looked at the strange squid like monster. It tugged furiously against his staff, and he tugged right back, the two engaging in a strange tug of war.

“Can’t we talk about this? I’ll give you your arms back if you just let me go hide back in my barrel! Everybody wins, right?” His pleadings had no effect on the furious creature, and it simply tugged hard on its trapped arms, lifting the fire eater clean off his feet and dragging him halfway across the room before its arms managed to free themselves. Scrambling back up to his feet, Rai ducked nimbly under another vicious sweep of the tentacles, sprinting forward blindly as the squid tugged itself closer.

Jumping, he stepped roughly on the bulbous creature’s head, launching himself upwards and snagging the ledge to the next deck. “Sorry!” Rai hauled himself up, feeling the squid’s snapping maw at his feet. The next deck was no better, filled with both squids and crew members in various states of life and death. Ducking and weaving through the hazardous melee, the fire eater never took his eyes off the ladder to the main deck, blocking out the dead and dying in his mad dash.

“Should have got off this boat! Why did I have to oversleep?!” He moaned, scrambling up the ladder to what should have been the safest part of the deck. His eyes locked on the towering squid that loomed over the ship, and his already pale faced turned white. “…oh. Well…that’s…that’s just not fair, really.” An explosion rocked the ship, and the squid screeched in fury, the sound practically bursting his ear drums.

“Ow! Ow!” Clutching his ears, Rai soon found himself scrambling about the deck, once again dancing between the furious battle between monster and man. “Can I go back to bed? That sounds so much nicer than this nightmare! I miss my barrel!”
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Re: Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

Post by Artorius on Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:37 am

Alphonsus rolled about the middle deck like a bowling ball. When he finally managed to regain his footing, his ears were accosted by the fould shrieking of the giant squid once again. Alphonsus covered his ears and fell to his knees as the screeching of the beast outside invaded the middle deck as well. After recovering, with great effort, Alphonsus approached one of the larger cannons which fired twenty four pound rounds. Nailed next to the cannon was a barrel filled to the brim with cannon balls. Alphonsus then began the process of firing the cannon.

The merchant captain grinned- one of the giant squid's tentacles was wrapped, perfectly situated, right in front of the cannon's opening. Alphonsus reached into his pocket for a pack of matches. He scraped the red tipped match against the harsh packaging of the matchbox and a flame burst into being. The fat captain giddily reached to light the cannon. Just then, one of the baby squids latched its tentacles around Alphonsus' neck. The captain dropped his match and the package of matches and clawed at the slimy, red, powerful tentacles squeezing his neck.

Luckily for the hapless captain, a distressed Scrappy emerged from the lower deck with a sword in hand. The sword was coated in the black lifeblood of the ugly, wicked baby squids. Without hesitation Scrappy rushed to the aid of Alphonsus. He cleaved the squid's tentacles clean off. The tiny thing shrieked, however its shriek was nowhere near the severity of its mother. As the baby squid approached Alphonsus to deliver a killing blow Scrappy kicked it onto its side.

"You useless- finish the damn job!"

Alphonsus scolded Scrappy, he wasn't usually one for polite words. He picked up the matchbook and grabbed a second match, lit it, and lit the cannon fuse. The cannon roared as a mixture of cannon ball, flame, and gunpowder erupted from its innards. The recoil from the devastating weapon struck Alphonsus in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him and sending him clear across the deck. He hit the wooden floor with a blunt thud and once again rolled helplessly around the middle deck. When he got up, he could hear the shriek of the squid once more. As the shriek expired, Alphonsus felt a second of personal gratification.

"Got you, ya bastard!"

Scrappy rejoiced in the deeds of his captain as well.

"Good job captain! Excellent work!"

"I know you oaf! Now go get help and fire some more cannons!"

"Yes, sir! Right away!"

Scrappy traversed all three decks of the Golden Albatross as he gathered help. Only a few cannons had the capability of hitting the squid, so Scrappy grabbed only three additional crewmates. The four crewmates prepared to launch a barrage of cannon fire at the great beast.
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Ramya Moshe

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:13 pm

Ramya Moshe went straight from the brig to the deck and made her way back to Fasar’s Hoard. She’d seen the look that had passed between the woman in the brig and the Master Gunner, and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. It was going to be quite fun. The first place she looked was the first place she found him. He could be rather predictable sometimes. His need to keep busy with one thing or another made it easy to find him in the storage compartment.
She slipped inside through the shadows and leaned against a support beam, crossing her arms over her chest as a half-smile quirked her lips. “Well, Bors, I always figured ye fer a lady’s man, but I ne’er knew ye liked ‘em so feisty.”

Bors froze at the sound of Ramya's voice, a cast of powder half lifted. He cursed under his breath and closed his eyes, breathing in and trying to calm himself. His mind was in turmoil, a thousand thoughts spinning through his mind as he worked, trying to get all facts straight and figure out what to do about Dyna. He should have known Ramya would see things, and hunt him down. She always had been one to stir up trouble then sit on the side laughing. That trouble making side of her had always attracted Bors, but kept him wary around her as well. After a moment he had himself under control and lifted the barrel up his shoulder and turned to Ramya with a somewhat shaky grin.
"Aye," he said with a slight chuckle. "Ye be a feisty one. Did no think ye be after me this early, though. Be guessing a few weeks out ta sea and a fight o’ two be enough ta rile yer blood, eh?"
He was talking a lot and that alone was a sign that something was wrong, and he knew that Ramya know it. He shut his mouth forcibly before he made an even greater fool of himself and heaved up a second caste, hoping to escape topside before Ramya cornered him.

Ramya smiled inwardly. Ah, Bors… He was so easy to read sometimes. He knew why she was here; he had to know. His smile was false, and her keen eyes were quick to see it. He was trying to play her, to deflect, but she wouldn’t allow that. She would keep them on track.

The darker woman took a step toward him, gracefully and subtly maneuvering herself between the gunner and the only escape. “Bors, ye should know me better ‘an tha’ by now.” The pirate-femme moved closer to him. “Knowledge be a far more powerful tool ‘an brute strength.” He spoke more now than was usual, and she knew it just as he guessed she would. It meant he was nervous, and that was good news for her though it likely wasn’t so good for him.

“Fer instance, I be knowin’ some’in’ ‘bout tha’ woman in th’ brig tha’ e’en she hadn’t guessed, and I may jus’ let ye in on th’ secret if’n ye’d be willin’ t’ let me in on yers. How d’ye know her, Chandler? It be an awfully big coincidence tha’ we attack a ship on’y t’ have two people from each ship recognize each other, ye know? That’s why I be interested, why I want t’ know who ye be t’ her and vice versa.”

Ramya's talking had given Bors the time he needed to collect himself. The woman was now standing very close and was looking up at him, her eyes sparkling with interest. He sighed to himself and adjusted the castes he was carrying. He would have to give her something, or else she would not leave him alone, and they both knew it.

"A' least right now she be friendly and trading information, has no resorted to blackmail o' threats. But, tha' no means I 'ave ta give 'er a lot, o' full truth," Bors thought to himself.

"Ol' friend," he said slipping back into his regular speech. "Shor' fling, nothin' more."

She could see his gearing up to tell her something, and she was prepared to listen. However, she was incredibly disappointed by what he gave her. Her left brow lifted skeptically. “Shore fling, aye? Can ye help me fer not believin’? Come on, Chandler. Ye wouldn’t o’ rushed outta there like a bat outta Hell fer a simple shore fling.”

Ramya looked at him prettily through her lashes. Her voice was soft and coy as any lady of the court trying to flirt with potential beaus, but the words that emitted from her lips didn’t quite sync. “Bors, if ye ain’t gonna tell me who she be t’ ye, I’ll just have t’ inform our very own Mary Alice that the babe in the woman’s gut be yers. At least if I can’t be getting’ the truth from ye, the first mate can.”

Bors froze. His mouth worked wordlessly as he stared at Ramya. A kid. His kid. A million thoughts shot through him. Memories of his own father, his time with Dyna, flashes of his childhood. He didn't want a kid, didn't have time for one. Bors shook his head sharply to get rid of such thoughts and glared down at the pirate femm. She was enjoying his reaction, it was written all over her face.

"Babe? Ye be goin' too far dis time lass," his anger building inside him. "She no be out ta sea if she has one, and it no be mine if she did." Bors turned around to leave, then stopped suddenly. "Aye, me and Dyna had a thing," he said quietly without turning around. "Spent more n' a score o' days wit her. Got too comfortable, had ta leave. Have no seen her since. Now, if you be done, I 'ave work ta do."

Ramya’s dark eyes gazed hard at the Master Gunner as she spoke. She could see the transition from understanding to anger, and she knew she’d struck a nerve. It pleased her because she knew he’d do what it took to get her off his back. The pirate’s amusement was more important to her at this point than his discomfort. In a way, it was a little like sibling rivalry, for the crew aboard Fasar’s Hoard was her family, and the Captain and Fire Mate were a little like their parents. Given, it was a very skewed family, but one nonetheless.

“I don’t be knowin’ tha’ she’d o’ been stopped by a babe in her belly regardless o’ whether she be knowin’ ‘bout it.” She knew when the time came to leave, and while she wanted her fun, if she pushed too far, bad things could happen, and she didn’t want to make an enemy of him. However, before she left, she wanted to say one more thing, “Ye should talk t’ her. If she no’ be a harlot, she be knowin’ better’n any who th’ father be. If it be ye, don’ ye think ye should know?” Her voice was softer. Though she was definitely not the family oriented sort, she had once been in a family that was happy before her father had scorned her for her… gift. Perhaps, if Bors was the father, he would be more likely to love it regardless of whether or not it had any talents. The real question was whether or not he would even try, and Ramya wanted to see how this would play out.

Leaving him to his thoughts, she made her way back to the deck, but she would be keeping an eye on him in case he decided to visit his former paramour.

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Re: Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

Post by Guilty Carrion on Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:47 pm

The door to the Jolly Possum’s brig swung wide, and the lone ‘guard’ practically came out of his skin as the First Mate entered the room. Her eye narrowed, and she crossed her arms across her chest. “Ike, I gave ye this p’st to let yer leg heal, n’t sleep.” The injured guard tried to stammer an explanation, but she simply waved her hand dismissively. “Stow it. Git some grub, Greaves is serving.” Lowe wasted no time scrambling out the door, paling as he shuffled past the looming shadow lurking in the hall.

Mary Alice shook her head with a sigh, before looking to the prisoners. Each one was examined thoroughly, and she muttered her thoughts quietly under her breath. Finally, she came to the lone woman of the bunch, and if the crew was to be believed, the luckiest one alive. Facing both Ramya and Tobias and managing to beat Ramya and almost best Tobias, it was a feat. Her features hardened as she approached the cell, locking eyes with the captive. “So, yer th’ mum’t’be, aye? Awfully bold t’ charge in’ta the fray with a babe in yer gut.”

Dyna looked up and held the woman’s gaze. Though most of her time in the brig she looked like she was asleep, she was always listening. If her guess was correct, this was Mary Alice. She had heard a couple of pirates discussing their…distaste for the woman, and a natural worry that their captain was all but keelhauled by the dame. She had two choices. Find a way to use Mary Alice as leverage, or find a way to win Mary Alice over. If what was said was true, she could whisper anything into her Captain’s ear and would see it done. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like Dyna was getting started on the right foot.

So, leverage then.

“So, yer de First mate then? Funny, I din’t see you in t’ fray at all.”

Mary Alice chuckled, leaning on the bars of the woman’s cell. “Aye, that I be.” The woman seemed defiant for someone with nothing left to play. If living with pirates had taught her anything, it meant someone was cheating. Caution would serve her best. “Someone has t’keep the crew shootin’. P’ty. Woulda stuck ye meself.” She grinned, although it was far from a pleasant thing. She pushed off the bars, pacing down the length of the brig as she once more examined their captives. “A fierce lot, ye be. Took ple’ty o’my crew wit ya.”

Idly, the pirate woman fetched one of her knives, spinning the weapon about in her palm as she walked, her grin growing ever wider. “Din’t keep ‘em from the locker, tho’did it?” Dyna heard the Bos’n growl. She quickly intervened

“Fine lot of a threat t’ward an enemy bound n’ locked behind bars, Miss Alice,” Dyna said sweetly, while visibly testing the bindings on her arms and legs. “No matter. We know how’t get a job done, whatever the cost may be. Wha’ was it…two t’ one? Again, no matter. Empty threats is all you got, along wit’a pretty little empty soul o’ yers.” Dyna felt more in control than she had had since the attack. Perhaps it was the desperation. Perhaps she was on to something. Perhaps it was just luck.

“F’rgive me, I din’t realize I was in the company of a priest.” She stopped her pacing, eye locked on Dyna as she struggled against her binds. “Aye, empty threats.” She tossed a knife casually through the bars, the weapon sliding up to Dyna’s feet as Mary Alice leaned back casually against the wall. “Git th’ job done. I’ll skin ye both, and if ye manage to best me, ye’ll be dead before ye reach the helm t’escape.” She gestured towards the knife, still smiling wide. “Come git me, hunter.”

Dyna looked at the knife, and then to Mary Alice. She could cut her own bonds…eventually. But it was a grueling process, one that would leave her vulnerable on the floor while the First Mate watched on. Dyna got the feeling Mary Alice was hoping for the entertainment. Dyna leaned to the side, and used her feet to kick the knife behind her. Mary Alice’s eye widened slightly, not a fearful face, just somewhat surprised. She was looking beyond Dyna.

Dyna glanced back and noticed the quartermaster leaning slightly over the bench. In his right hand was the knife. Dyna smiled. He was fearsome to behold, burns and slashes all over his body. Dyna inched backward and nearly laughed as he, with what seemed to be little effort, sliced her bonds. Dyna stood, stretching, and gently took the knife from him. He laid back down, letting his head fall toward the wall. The effort was far much more than he had let on. Dyna glanced at Mary Alice several times as she cut Doc, Carmichael, and the Bos’n free.

All four stood, arms crossed, staring on at the first mate. Dyna even considered tossing the knife back just to spite the woman, but Dyna knew better than that. She couldn’t let her anger carry her off into a worse situation. She needed to keep her head on straight. She gave the knife, hilt first, to the Doc. Of the five of them, the Doc was the least trained in battle. He needed an this case, a knife's edge.

“Well, Arch be damned. Ye’ve g’t a mind in yer head.” The First Mate chuckled at their hard faces, raising a slender eyebrow. “So, if ye din’t mind me askin…yer stuck in that cell still, so why ye look like ye just bested me?” There was a moment of silence, before Mary Alice laughed. “Unless ye think I’m gonna toss ye the key.”

Dyna’s face flared with embarrassment. She was starting to lose it. She wanted to grab the knife and thrust it through the bars, but only an idiot wouldn’t be able to move fast enough to avoid that. It was also clear that she wasn’t going to get anywhere with this woman. She hoped, secretly, that they could use the knife to pick at the lock later…but she wasn’t too sure of success.

At this point, the Bos’n stepped in, all smiles. “We very well know where our place be, Master Alice. We’re all just happy to stretch our legs.” Dyna glared at him, but said nothing. She refused to admit defeat, even when it slapped her in the face. Doc, as if on command, gently touched Dyna’s elbow. It read, “Back off, or you are going to get us killed.” Dyna sighed, and let her shoulders slump slightly. Carmichael arched an eyebrow, letting his arms fall to his sides. They didn’t have to win every battle.

Mary Alice grinned, straightening out to a more proper stance. “Ye seem a tad wiser. If yer willing t’a listen, the Cap’n has an offer he’d like t’a make.” Stretching her hand over, she knocked twice on the brig’s door, and it opened not a moment later.

Tobias entered silently, dark jacket hung over his frame and his hair tied neatly back in a pony tail. Letting the door swing shut behind him, the pirate gave the captives a once over, his dull eyes barely moving as he did. “Cut them loose, Miss Cordelia?”

“Shan’t listen well bound, Cap’n.” There was no delay in their back and forth, Tobias looking to her curiously.

“And the knife?”

“Ye can handle ‘em, Cap’n. Maybe a scratch or two, but ye’ll be fine.” The captain simply shook his head, looking back to his captives. He simply stared for a moment, as if considering which course of action to take.

“I trust all your wounds are healing well?”

This was doc’s expertise, and the rest were silent as he took reigns on the situation. “Very nicely, ah, Sir. Your physician is quite talented.” Tobias nodded.

“I will pass along your praise.” He approached the cell, pulling a key from his jacket pocket and holding it up in plain sight. “If it’s all the same to you, I believe we can cut to the chase. Your crew’s unexpected tenacity took many of my crew with it, and now we’re ill crewed to keep both your ship and our own running properly.” He lowered the key to the lock, pressed it into the hole, and slowly unlocked the cell. His face never betrayed his thoughts, a spitting image of calm that even Mary Alice found troubling.

As the cell slowly opened, Captain Ormsby stepped into the opening, hand resting gently on the hilt of his cutlass. “So, what can you do to remedy the situation you placed me in?”

Dyna looked to the rest of the men, they looked back at her. This was a decision for Quartermaster Angel, not herself. There was no love between them and scarcely any respect, but she knew better than to overstep her bounds. There was no time to consult, no time to consider. This was their only offer, for all she knew it’d be the plank with them if they chose wrong. Nervously, she turned around and placed a firm hand on Angel’s shoulder. He opened his eyes and looked at her. She sensed he had not been asleep. "What say you, Quartermaster?"

"We do our job."

Tobias locked eyes with the Quartermaster, and the two seemed to have an entire conversation with naught but the intensity of their burning gazes. The pirate smiled, and held out hand towards the doctor. “You won’t be needing that anymore.” The man seemed hesitant, but eventually relinquished the weapon, and Tobias turned his back to the prisoners, holding it out for Mary Alice. “Keep a tighter grip on this, Miss Cordelia.”

She rolled her eye, snatching the weapon back from his and tucking it away. “Put’em t’work?”

He nodded, glancing over his shoulder to the four who were in condition to fight. “Aye. Your quartermaster has spoken, and as of now, you’re all my crew. Miss Cordelia will get each of you a task, until I see what you’re best at and get you sorted.”

Each of them gave a glance back to the Quartermaster, who nodded to them in turn as they left the cell and followed the First Mate out of the brig. With Mary Alice’s back turned, Dyna risked a quick touch to her belly. It felt the same as it ever had, and yet, completely foreign. She let her hand drop once again before the First Mate could notice.

Bos’n Walter started speaking jovially, as if with a long lost friend. “Master Alice, I am great man with numbers, organization is key. I’m a great people person too. There be plenty o’ work I can do for ye. Doc here, well, he’s doc! Mayhap your lady physician needs a hand. Carmichael is t’ finest sailor I ever laid eyes on, and I’m an old man m’self. And Master Cherali, well –“ His voice was interrupted by Mary Alice calling out “Swabbies!” Her voice was not shrill, nor demanding. It was almost as if she were calling for a puppy.

“Ma’am? Surely you don’t mean-“ Another sailor dropped a bucket, mop and few rags on the floor.

“Surely I do, Bos’n.” Her voice reeked irony. “Cap’n said he’d organize you lot later. Fer now, git this blood cleaned up.”


Tobias watched the new crew depart, before looking back to the still weak Quartermaster. His features hardened, and the Captain slowly approached as he drew his cutlass. To his credit, the dark skinned man didn’t seem to fear the approaching pirate, simply staring with that blazing gaze of his. “If you’re going to kill me, pirate,” He practically spat the word. “…then get it over with. Save me the pain of looking at your face any longer.”

Captain Ormsby stared silently, his cold eyes sharpening into lethal points. “Killing you, while it might save me trouble later, would cause far too much now to be worth it. Four of them or no, I don’t need anymore dead crew before we venture into the break.” His cutlass pressed gently against the man’s leg, not hard enough to break skin. “So, Quartermaster, we’re going to strike a very simple accord. I’ll let you run this ship, keep your crew, even have a share of the bounty we get from the Irinen.” He pushed on the blade, driving the tip into the man’s leg, earning a painful hiss.

“And what do you get out of this, pirate?”

Tobias pulled the blade out, sheathing it away and offering the man his hand. “A little extra luck.” They stared each other down, neither willing to break the battle of wills. Reluctantly, Angel clasped Tobias’s forearm.

“We have an accord…Captain.”
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Hasina Onnos

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:15 pm

That screaming! It was all Hasina could do to stay on her feet when that giant screeched its agony. Her hands clamped tightly and uselessly against her ears, trying to block the assault. Really, she couldn’t remain standing, and her knees hit the deck hard, her limbs slipping in the mixture of blood and foul, black ooze. Finally, it stopped, and though her ears were ringing and her head ached something fierce, she forced herself to rise and continue the fight.

She rushed forward toward… the swabbie? What was his name? Ron? Roe? The latter sounded about right, but there was no time to contemplate this or the acute skill in fighting he displayed that seemed beyond what a swabbie should be able to accomoplish, for his life would soon be ended if that miniature squid had its way with him while his attention was on its loathsome parent. With a flick of her wrists, her fans – which had closed when the beast had wailed – flew open, and with deft, graceful movements, they cut through the smaller squid like butter. She kept the blades very sharp.

He must have seen the squid at the last moment, for he gave her a grateful nod which she returned. However, that brief moment of inattention did little for her. She felt a slimy tentacle grasp her calf, and pain seared through her flesh. She gasped in pain, but she did not give up or panic though her heart raced wildly beneath her breast. Instead, she hacked at the tentacle with her fans until it was severed from its host, and she attacked the body itself. Her leg dripped blood, and she hoped there hadn’t been poison in its beak. She tore the sleeve of her shirt and tied it tightly above the wound just in case, and she prayed to the gods that the doctor survived this battled.

Pain shot through her with each step, but this was no time for giving into such a thing. Lives were being lost, and if she gave up, hers would also be forfeit. She continued to fight, to hack and to slash, to try to save both the wounded and the healthy. There were just too many of these tiny squids. Could they truly win?

The ship lurched, and her fans skittered from her grasp. As she went after them, the wailing began again, and her head was assaulted anew, bringing her to her hands and knees. She felt illness rising in her throat from the pain, but she couldn’t let herself be sick right now. It was too important that she retain her breakfast for energy and so she wouldn’t be caught off guard while heaving.

Finally, it ended, and she was able to regain her footing. She was a bit dizzy, so she allowed herself a brief moment to be still before tearing into her shirt once more and plugging her ears with the cloth. She couldn’t take a direct barrage against her ears like that again. At least the cloth would muffle the sound a little, so she wouldn’t suffer quite as much.

She witnessed Scrappy gathering a small handful of people to the canons, and it struck her what their plan entailed. Hasina gathered a few more people, dividing them into groups. They would protect those manning the canons from the miniature squids. The giant squid may not have been quite as immediate a problem, but without her, they would have a fighting chance against the young. Perhaps they would retreat or become confused enough that they could easily be taken out. This was important, so she stood and fought off the squidlings while the canons were armed and fired. She noticed that others had taken her cue and stuffed cloth into their ears as well. When the next squeals of pain and anger flourished, the pain wasn’t quite as intense or debilitating.

Last edited by Kathryn Lacey on Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:57 pm; edited 1 time in total

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James Roe

Post by Gadreille on Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:02 pm

Of all people, it was the lackey that gathered everyone into a somewhat organized plan. Scrappy had gathered men to the cannons, and more men were gathering on any cannon that they thought might take aim on the giant beast. Hasina had, by example, gathered the rest to guard those trying to load and aim the cannons.

James followed suit, also ripping a piece of his shirt into three bits: two to shove in his ears, and another to tie around his head like a bandana. It was smart thinking; the squid's main offense was that blood curtling scream that constantly knocked them off course and allowed the smaller ones to move forward without consequence.

James had had some practice on cannons, but long range weaponry had never been his forté and he didn't think that it would be any different today. Instead, he moved to take his place among those protecting the cannons from the squidlings. While backing away from the larger beast, he tripped over another fellow who had been traversing the deck from stern to bow. Where exactly he was going, James hadn't figured out. Who the man was, even more of a mystery. James had not yet seen him on the ship. He weilded a staff nothing like Grintawh's, and muttered an apology as James shoved off of him.

"Watch yourself," was all James said as he untangled himself from the other. There was no time for any more words, for three squidlings were approaching him and he'd not fallen into the best position on the ship. He relieved his swords from their scabbards and worked to cut them to pieces as artfully as possible. Someone screamed "FIRE!" and cannons pierced the giant squid's body. Even with his ears covered, he still fell to his knees from the pain of that horrible noise. While on his knees, a squidling fell atop him. It's beak was at his neck, its tentacles wrapped around his arms, pinning them to his torso. His neck burned something fierce, and he tried to remain calm as he worked to move his sword in a direction - any direction - that might get the squid to release it's death grip. It was to no avail.

James felt a pounding that only made him hurt more, until suddenly the pressure of the tentacles was released and the squid fell away. James sat up, instinctively reaching back to feel the damage. It was bad, but no time for that now. He ripped the rest of his shirt off and tied it round his neck and under one arm, to keep the pressure there. He looked up to his savior, it being none other than the mystery man with a staff. Of all the things a man might do when saving another, James never expected one to giggle. Of all the responses a man might give when in the presence of the man who saved him, James did not expect himself to laugh. But laugh he did.

Then he stood, blood dripping down his bare back, and turned to face the beast. It was up, but it was bloodied. Another round from the cannons ought to do it. If only everyone can keep alive long enough for one more round.
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Re: Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

Post by Artorius on Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:18 am


A volley of cannon ball fire tore through the giant squid, the mother, the monster. The agonizing shriek rose up again, but higher than before. Alphonsus, Scrappy, and the others were brought to their knees, then their backs as they rolled around in great pain. Just as the shriek had reach its apex, the bulk of the squid- it's large bulbous body- exploded in a mess of black, sticky blood and steaming red organ bits. The deckhands would have quite a mess a to clean up. In suit, the baby squids exploded as well, leaving behind just as thorough a mess throughout the whole of the ship. All that was left of the squid mother was a giant yellow beak that rested on the deck of the Albatross.

Alphonsus laughed. Scrappy eyed his captain with a concerned gaze before inquiring.

"What's so funny cap'n?"

"The deck hands have to clean the mess! HAHAHAHA!"

Alphonsus was a cruel man at times. The chubby captain got to his feet with some aid from the ever loyal Scrappy.

"Well, I suppose we should make for a port then," said Alphonsus.

The journey was miserable. The deckhands did indeed clean the ship single handedly, and it was made to be spotless, unless they wanted to be out of a job. As for the rest of the crew, most were alright, save for the unlucky few on the top deck whom had received an unpleasant shower of squid remains. Needless to say, the entire ship smelled, and despite the best efforts of the crew, it would need some sort of potent aroma to purify the Albatross of its stench.

Finally, the Albatross docked at the small Island of Toalla. It was one of the many islands often left off the more popular maps, just to the east of Mathyr. Hasina had probably been to Toalla before, Alphonsus certainly had. It was an ideal island for trading; the people needed supplies, being ignored by most, and Alphonsus often needed a place to land. Although many of the Albatross' goods were damaged, Alphonsus managed to turn a profit, being the smart businessman he was. Most of these profits went towards the repair of the Albatross, being that the giant squid had caused much need of repairs. Having not a way to get rid of the stench, Alphonsus purchased many barrels of limes- both to stave off scurvy and act as a sort of perfume for the ship.

As the fat captain returned to his quarters, he pondered on the activity of the last couple days. He wondered exactly how many men were chasing after the Irinen, and how much valuable time he had lost in a fight with a squid and in getting ship repairs. It would be at least another day before the Golden Albatross was ready for a real journey. As Alphonsus slipped into a sweet slumber, visions of gold and riches unimaginable danced in his head; the treasure of the RS Irinen would be his.
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James Roe

Post by Gadreille on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:37 am

Much like when the roar of the cannon caught one’s ears unawares, James ears were ringing. He untied the cloth he’d wrapped around his head and shook his head a little, assessing the damage to his ears. He heard a roaring laughter behind him, and he turned to look. It was his captain, pointing at what was left of the giant squid, laughing hysterically. His captain mentioned that the deck hands would be cleaning up the mess, and James wondered…was that still in his contract?

Using the cloth in his hands, James futilely tried to wipe the squid gore off his person. That was when he noticed Daniel Cotton staring at him from across the ship. He moved purposely, toward James, and James looked away and busied himself with cleaning off his weapons. “Don’t do this…” James thought, but it was far too late.

Daniel pointed the sword at James’ feet. “I’d ask ye to clean me blade, swabbie, but’ seems that ent your title. Who are you?” With the last question, he lifted his sword to James’ neck.

“I’m just hired hands,” James replied calmly and clearly as one could with a blade to their neck.

“Hired to do what, exactly? Don’t ye lie to me,” Daniel glared.

James put his hands up, “Look, the captain needed an extra blade. Take it up with him,” James offered.

At this point the crew had begun circling the two, watching with keen interest and much enthusiasm. James looked out to the crowd, and it didn’t look much to his favor. Most were grinning at his peril. As he searched the faces, he locked eyes with Hasina. She wasn’t smiling. She met his gaze for a moment and then turned away abruptly. James wasn’t sure what it meant.

A few moments later, he heard his captain’s voice. “Mr. Cotton, what is the meaning of this?” Alphonsus bellowed.

“Found some scum on board, sir. He says you hired ‘im!” Daniel tore his gaze away from Daniel and toward the captain.

“What of it, Marine?” Was all the Captain said.

“Men like ‘im can’t be trusted. Ye can’t even know if you’re his client, Captain. Mercs’ allegiance is to the highest bidder. Though’ that’s why you hired a Marine. Leas’ I’m legal.”

At this point James spoke up. “My contract is good as any Naval Officer’s oath. As I recall, we wanted to remain out from under His Royal Majesty’s eyes.”

Alphonsus’ eyes, lit with anger. James was playing a delicate game here. The Golden Albatross was for all intents and purposes a legal ship on a standard route. Not all the crew even knew what they were after. It was why Alphonsus’ had hired both a Marine and a Mercenary. It was why the Marine he’d hired had been the rougher sort. He was walking the line with doing what needed to be done, and doing it quietly.

“Where the Albatross lies with His Royal Majesty isn’t of anyone’s concern, Mercenary,” Alphonsus said coldly. “But I’m curious, Mr. Cotton, as to why you give a damn?”

Daniel looked back at James. “Bad dealings with these lot, Sir,” he said.

“What would you have me do, Mr. Cotton? We aren’t pirates. I don’t send mates to walk the plank.”

“Y’ said we’d be making for port. Drop ‘im off.” Daniel replied.

So it came down to this: one or the other had to go, and whichever Alphonsus chose would set the tone for the ship’s fate. Toss Cotton and he loses the legitimacy of his ship, possibly even revealing his destination. Who knows what Cotton would take to the navy. Toss Roe, and lose a valuable asset to the crew on what was bound to be a perilous journey.

There was dead silence when Hasina’s voice rang in the crowd. “We’d lose one fantastic swordsman,” she said, without any anger or enthusiasm. It came out as a straight fact, and the thought locked into each pair of eyes on deck. Many began mumbling in agreement.

The decision was made. “Put that sword away son,” Alphonsus said to Daniel Cotton, “And see yourself off at port."


James no longer had to conceal his weapons. Though he was no longer a swabbie, he wasn’t much of a sailor either, so he did his part cleaning up the squid mess. As he stood on the pristine but stinking ship looking to shore, Daniel turned back and looked him in the eye. The look said that it wasn’t over between them, and James believed it. It was a look much like the one his brother gave him, years ago, when they had run into each other. James understood hatred. He knew where it stemmed from –


As James stood at the ships railing, brooding as Daniel disappeared into the crowd, He noticed Hasina emerge from below deck and make for the ramp. James walked toward the ramp and met her just before she descended from the ship. He called out to her.

"Master Onnos! A moment?"

She turned and looked at him. "Yes?"

"Good day, Ma'am. I'm James Roe. The...ah, the guard. I never got to thank you properly for saving my skin the other day," he said to her, "On more than one occasion. Thank you."

Last edited by Gadreille on Fri May 25, 2012 12:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Hasina Onnos

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:38 pm

Hasina fought bravely against the baby squids who mercilessly attacked the crew of the Golden Albatross. The dark skinned woman would have been lying if she’d said there was no worry in her mind that the humans wouldn’t survive. The squidlings were powerful, and combined with their vast numbers and their mother’s blood curdling shriek, they were a formidable foe. It was a shock that so many of the crew continued to live long enough to shoot canons at the largest enemy.

Perhaps the will to survive against all odds was the only reason why they were able to destroy those terrible creatures. After all, a human’s will could be a powerful thing, especially when it was so concentrated. Emotions were infectious. At least, that’s what Hasina’s people had taught her. All souls of people were connected on some level, and when one person felt something strongly enough, others could begin to feel the same thing. The more people feeling an emotion, the greater it affected them. A person could become consumed by something simply because a great number around her or him felt it. Sometimes, it wasn’t a good thing, but in that instant, on the Gold Albatross, it very well could have been what was saving their lives.

Protecting those manning the canons was dangerous work. After the first one hit the giant, the infants because to swarm against the key offenders, mostly ignoring the rest of the crew. That is… until they realized they would not obtain access to the true enemy without taking out those protecting them.

Hasina slashed and hacked at the squidlings, their black life’s blood coating her brown flesh as it sprayed her. Two caught her off guard, gripping her arms with their suctioned tentacles. They dragged her to her knees just as another moanful shriek wailed from the mother, causing bile to rise in her throat at the pain that couldn’t quite be dulled enough by the cloth in her ears.

Her flesh seared in pain as their beaks penetrated her skin, and more converged on her as she struggled to free herself. Even through her desire to live and her fight against death, Hasina recognized that this could very well be her final fight, that she would probably die. While emotionally accepting this was difficult, being as logical as she was enabled her to realized the truth of her situation.

Like any human, the thought of death gave her a fresh surge of energy. She fought harder, slicing with her fans as fiercely as she could despite her tentacled bonds. She managed to cut herself momentarily free of their limbs, and they squealed at the pain though they were not yet of the size like their mother that their voices could debilitate a person. As peaceful a person as she was, she didn’t want her death to occur without taking out a few of the enemy with her. After all, if she could kill even a few, those few could no longer attack her comrades.

Another squeal from the squid mother, this one ten times more terrible than the previous ones, filled the air. It was so agonizing that her muscles seized and could no longer be made to move. Five squidlings rapidly grasped and bit into her as the screech amplified in volume. So much pain coursed through her body that she was losing herself to it. The certainty of death filled Hasina, and tears streamed down her face at the realization. She didn’t want to die, but she couldn’t face this agony forever. Death was seconds from grasping her in its claws.

Then… it stopped, and the squidlings began to expand until their bloated bodies could take no more.

The navigator was splattered with black ooze and stinking flesh so thick that her own wounds could not be detected. She fell onto all fours out of weakness, and the putrid aroma of the dead squids caused her to gag and retch repeatedly, but she somehow managed to keep her stomach contents down.

It was over…

By some miracle, she – with many of the crew – had survived. Relief was brief, for the pain of her wounds and the sorrow of those lost began to settle unpleasantly over her. The crazed laughter of the captain did nothing to ease her pains.

However, just because the squid battle was over, it didn’t mean peace had been achieved. She forced herself to her feet, to look around at the mess of the ship. It wasn’t too bad. There was some damage to the wood, but for the most part, the worst of it was the gore of the squid and human bodies that littered the deck. She sighed, weariness settling into her as well as the pain she tried desperately to ignore. She didn’t seem to have any serious wounds though some were deep. The squids must not have encountered humans often enough to know just where the deadliest spots to attack on their unfamiliar bodies would be.

Carefully, she removed the cloths from her ears. They were caked in black ooze, but where it had been pressed into her ears, it was still white with a few specks of red blood. She hadn’t realized that the agonizing shrieks of the mother squid had actually caused blood to leak from her ears. Knowing this, she realized she was lucky she could still hear at all, that worse damage hadn’t occurred.

Then she heard a voice, one that spoke with contempt, and she turned to look. Daniel Cotton was confronting the swabbie whose name she still could not recall. She moved slowly toward the two, and she felt her heart begin to beat faster as Cotton lifted his sword aggressively toward the other. While the others gathered around seemed to be enthused – after all, this fight had nothing to do with them this time – Hasina felt no glee at this clear display of ignorance and accusation.

She met the eyes of the false-swabbie, and she knew she had to do something to stop this. She turned away from him and sought the Captain. They were friendly enough toward one another on a regular basis, and he had personally asked her to accompany him on the ship to seek the Irinen, so she knew he wouldn’t discount her word. He respected her, and she respected him, and that was what mattered most when she found him and told him there was a confrontation that needed to be stopped.

Her depleted energy caused her to move more slowly than Captain Gillard, but she made it back to the gathering just in time to hear the Marine tell the Captain that men like Roe – yes, that was his name – couldn’t be trusted. Hasina was adamantly against discounting anyone based on anything other than who the person was and how they acted. Basing the merit of a man on his looks or occupation was something that truly bothered her, for she had faced both racism and sexism ever since she’d left her home, and she was sickened by such things.

Then it came down to a choice: either the mercenary stayed or the marine stayed. Neither men were truly familiar to her, but she’d seen the mercenary fight, and he had displayed more honor in this confrontation than the marine had, so the choice of who she’d rather have aboard seemed clear to her. “We’d lose a fantastic swordsman.” There was no emotion in her voice as she spoke, for speaking emotionally would only damage her cause. Facts were that to which men responded in times like this, not the emotions of women. Slowly, a wave of agreement seemed to sift through the crowd, and it was decided that Roe was the man they’d rather have aboard in the event that any other attacks came.

A short series of funeral rites were held for the deceased in which the bodies of men were sent to sea. Those like Hasina who had been wounded were tended to by the doctor who had miraculously survived with hardly a scratch. Several of her lacerations had required stitches, and while she was told to take it easy, she helped to clean the ship as well as she could. She had cleaned herself to the best of her abilities, but taking a dip in a sea was a bad idea when one had so many wounds to be agitated by the salt in the water. As a result, her hair still smelled terrible, but she was able to clean herself enough that her presence wasn’t entirely offensive. It probably helped that the wood of the ship seemed to have absorbed the foul odor, so she didn’t seem so smelly herself.

At last, they made it to land, the small island of Toalla. Hasina had been here once previously, a year ago. The people had initially been distrustful of her, for they didn’t get many outsiders aside from the odd merchant or two, but even their visits were few and far between. However, once they’d grown accustomed to her exploring their land and socializing with them, they were quite kind and welcoming, and she liked them quite a bit. She wondered if some of them would recognize her after the year she’d been apart from them?

Hasina moved to leave the ship as it was anchored securely. She wanted a bath, and she wanted to help restock supplies. She had things she could trade to the people that they may like, and she remembered where some of the good spots for gathering food and water were. Plus, they had streams in which she could properly bathe without hurting herself with salt water.

As she moved to leave the ship, a voice stopped her by calling to her in a very formal way. She turned to face the Mercenary with a soft, “Yes?” She smiled softly as he officially introduced himself and thanked her for saving him from the squidlings during the battle and from mutiny after it. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you legitimately. I apologize that I did not take steps to do so sooner.

“You’re welcome, but to be fair, if it wasn’t for your idea to bomb the mother squid, we would all be dead. The rest of us were too preoccupied with the small ones to even worry about their leader. For that, I owe you my thanks. Perhaps our life-debts are now evenly balanced?” Her golden eyes peered into the man’s grey orbs. He seemed to be a private man, so she didn’t ask anything of him about his past. If she had, he likely wouldn’t have responded to her, and even if he did, it was none of her business. If he ever wanted to speak of himself to her, he would do so of his own accord and not with her prompting. It was that simple.

“Would you like to go to shore with me? The locals have good food, and once they get used to you, the Toallans are a friendly people.”

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Dyna Lee

Post by Gadreille on Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:09 pm

It wasn’t until late into the night that they finally got the ship cleaned up. It was an unpleasant task, tossing the bodies out to sea without much more than a tilt of the head up to whichever god was in their heart at the time. Dyna tried to ignore the shark fins that protruded from the water, encircling the floating dead as if taunting the poor man’s soul. They lost quite a few men that night, good men, and their hearts were dark.

There were three pirates that sat watch of them, two of which she had no name for the faces of. The last was Ramya, the surgeon, who was working on the Jolly Possum to make her sea worthy again. Doc worked alongside her, and together they got the ship in working condition much faster than if Doc was alone. Dyna tried not to feel any jealousy for the fact that Doc had something better to do than scrub blood off the ground. She filled that part of her with pride that he refused conversation with her. While he was a naturally quiet guy, she hoped Ramya took it for the contempt that it was. Doc was a subtle man, but she learned to know when he was angry.

Once or twice Dyna thought of trying to take on the three pirates and make sail. Ramya was distracted, and the other two were lounging lazily on the deck. It would be easy enough, except for two problems. One was communicating to everyone about an attack without letting the pirates on. Especially with quartermaster below deck; there would be no way to warn him of any sort of plan. The other problem was the sad fact that the Jolly Possum would be difficult if not impossible to sail with just five men. That’s assuming that they could sail out of range of the pirates fast enough. All in all it seemed a suicide mission, and Dyna gave up hope of escape. At least, of escaping that night.

In the darkness, Dyna, Bos’n, Carmichael, Doc and she finally finished. Ramya bid them goodbye, telling them to get some rest because they would be sailing in the morning. One by one they slowly marched below deck. Dyna was the last to descend, and before she did so she glanced behind at the two pirates who were keeping watch. She noticed that they were being replaced by two other men. It was too dark to see their faces, but Dyna’s heart stuck in her throat as she imagined Bors standing guard over her imprisonment. It was anger, she told herself over and over, ignoring that something else feeling that made her heart hurt.

Below deck the crew found Quartermaster Angel in the captain’s quarters. He filled them in on the agreement he made with Tobias, and they each in turn told him everything they had learned interacting with the pirates. It wasn’t a lot of information, but they shared every scrap of information they had heard, who distrusted whom, who seemed like an enemy to be wary of and who was cannon fodder. They shared it all but one detail: Dyna was mum on being pregnant or knowing Bors. She was glad that no one else offered up the information either. It wasn’t going to be a secret for long, and it wasn’t that she didn’t want the quartermaster to know. Likely the Bos’n would tell it to him when she wasn’t around. She was embarrassed of it…and they all knew it.

“It’s agreed then; we should be keepin’ our heads down and waitin’ for de right moment. When that is, I make de call.” Quartermaster Angel said.

“Yes, Captain,” they all responded in turn. Hearing it made Dyna’s eyes mist. Chance had been a fine captain to sail with. His body was not one found among the dead. She could only imagine that he fell to his doom during the battle.

He shook his head. “Na. Perhaps when we be sailing freely again, I’ll take de title for me own. But what use is it to us now? As useful as an empty bottle o’ rum. Call me quartermaster.”

They nodded to him, murmuring “Quartermaster,” before finally retiring. They had only a few hours before sunrise, and as much as they didn’t want to take the advice of a pirate, sleep is what they needed. The captain’s quarters emptied as everyone retired to their original quarters for the night.

The next morning Dyna woke early and dragged herself above deck. She was feeling very nauseous, and wanted very much just to puke over the railing. However, when she emerged into the early morning dawn she found the ship already occupied. There were four pirates already above deck.

“Good Marnin’, Sailing Master.” One of them said with a devilish grin. “I’m Quartermaster Renshin, and ye’ll be takin’ orders from me from now on. This be Ike, Wain, and Terry.”

“This is it. We havin’ t’ sail on nine hands?” She questioned him, trying to hold back the queasiness she felt in her stomach.

“Eight hans’, really.” Renshin responded, smiling. “I’m jus’ ere’t watch.” With that he cocked his pistol and aimed it at Dyna’s head. “Now get t’ work. We’ve got ground to cover!”

The rest of the Jolly Possum crew had emerged behind deck and stood behind her. She turned and looked at them, arching a brow at Angel. He just shrugged back to her. “Ye heard what he said. Let’s get dis boat movin’.”

It turned out that Quartermaster Renshin wasn’t really there to give orders as much as make sure Angel was giving the right sort of orders. He was a glorified babysitter: a threat. A good threat too, he was one of the men that they had assessed as a worthy foe. However, in the days following she found that he was as agreeable a foe as one could be. He carried conversation, told jokes and laughed with the crew, and even helped out sailing when they caught a rough wind. In fact, she could almost forget at times that he was an enemy…which was undoubtedly what he was trying to do. He may have been friendly, but he kept one hand on his holster, and she did the same.

It was a little over a week of sailing when very suddenly, Fasar’s hoard pulled up their sails and dropped anchor. Dyna shouted orders trying to get the Possum to stop before crashing into the ship ahead of them. She turned the wheel and guided the ship up next to the other, the both crews working to slow the fast moving vessels. She looked over to Sailing Master Mosey, who was frantically pointing ahead. She turned and looked, pulling her hat back to get a clear view.

Carmichael handed her the looking glass and she turned to scan the horizon. In the distance the dark blue water turned to a murky green, and beyond that, a deep brown.

“The Tolian Reef,” she murmured, gazing out beyond. “The break must be near.”
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James Roe & Hasina Onnos

Post by Gadreille on Fri May 25, 2012 2:21 pm

James turned and looked along the length of the Albatross. He knew that the Captain was still aboard the ship. While a lot of the crew had rushed to shore, there were enough who had remained that James felt that his leaving would not bring any harm to the ship. While he had never been to Toalla himself, there was nothing about the dock or its surroundings that spelled out any immediate danger.

“I could use a warm meal,” James admitted. “And a new shirt,” he added, holding up the ripped shreds of the bottom of his shirt. The ink blood of the squidlings never did quite wash out.

The only dangers found in Toalla were some of the smallest creatures who roamed the forests that were uninhabited by humans. Some were so poisonous that a small bite could kill in hours. Thankfully, there were also antidotes in some of the plant life, and the indigenous peoples had ready supplies of these available to those unfortunate enough to be bitten and lucky enough to be around the general population rather than dying alone in the shadows of the trees.

There was a frog with deadly spikes that had stung Hasina last time she had visited, and the effects had not been pretty. She’d become dehydrated from sweating so much, and a terrible rash had broken over her skin. Nausea was also commonplace with that wound which had made it difficult to consume the curative, but after feeding it to her every few hours, she was eventually able to keep all of it down, and she had gotten better after about a week.

This had not deterred her from exploring, but it did make her a lot more cautious about where she placed her hands, feet, and bottom while she did so. It was a shame she wouldn’t have more time to explore this island again, to map any changes it may have had. At least she would be able to converse with its people before she left.

“I think we could all use a good meal after having been at sea, and some new clothes for us all is appealing as well.” Her own shirt had been tattered and stained with black and with red blood, and she was looking forward to a nice bath to remove the stench of squidling from her hair.

“Come. Their cuisine is not quite what many are used to eating, but it is delicious nonetheless.” She slung the strap of her bag over her shoulder and led the way down the ramp toward the shore. Many of the natives had gathered around the port to see what travelers had come to them.

One of the adults stepped forward. “Hathina?” She asked. In their native tongue, there was no true S sound, so they tended to supplement it with another sound. Hasina smiled and quickened her step toward the familiar face. “Janen!” They clasped hands like old friends. It may have been a year, but Hasina would never forget the woman who had saved her life after she’d been so badly poisoned by the horned frog.

Janen’s nose wrinkled unpleasantly. “Ick… Thmell.” She said simply which caused Hasina to laugh. Neither was fluent in the other’s language, but they each knew enough to get by.

Hasina pointed to the sea and rose her arms while wiggling her fingers like tentacles. “Mal creature.” She said with a menacing face. “We win.” Janen laughed and clapped her friend on her shoulder.

Hasina grinned and motioned toward her companion. “Janen, this is James. James, this is Janen. She cured me of poison about a year ago.” Janen nodded and bowed her head, for that was custom among strangers. Touching was a personal deed.

“Good! Food. Clothe, vonto. Bath, too, var both.”

She led the way toward the baths where there were also clothes being laid out. Because the Toallans got some trade among the sea-faring merchants, they had learned how to fashion some clothing that was similar to that which the sailors wore. However, they had a bit of Toallan flair with the bright colour schemes. The vast majority of the sailors who came by were men, so the clothing would not fit Hasina properly. After her bath, she would have to wear the clothes of the Natives until the sailor clothes could be taken in for her slim figure. Thankfully, she was tall, so things didn’t have to be changed too much, and it would take less time.

Janen, recalling how prude Easterners could be, led Hasina and James to separate areas of a stream to bathe. It wouldn’t take long, and the roots they were given as a cleaning agent would help eliminate the smell of the squids. When she was finished, Janen helped Hasina to wrap herself in the surprisingly soft linens of red and white. It was one long piece of cloth that wrapped about the body in a way that was flattering for the women without being too revealing though her abdomen was bare. “Decoration var your man to look?” Janen asked when she’d secured the last length of cloth and began to pin bits of Hasina’s hair with a comb made of bone with a flower carved into it.

Hasina looked at her friend quizzically. “My man?”


Hasina’s eyes widened as the meaning became clear. She was asking if Hasina wanted to be painted as was on par for women who were being courted by one or more men. “Oh, no. James is not… we are not… No.” Her dark cheeks must have been scarlet with embarrassment, for Janen laughed heartily.

“Your pick.” Janen responded cryptically.

Janen gathered up Hasina’s messy clothing and handed the bag to the taller of the two before the two women left to go meet with James and Janen’s husband, Rando.

James emerged from the hut with Rando patting him on the back and laughing. He looked down at himself, looking at the ridiculous blue and white sarong they’d offered him to wear while his clothes were being scrubbed clean. He was barefoot, and also unarmed, his weapons left piled neatly in a corner of Janen and Rando’s hut. He was somewhat uncomfortable with the idea, but there really was no way to carry a weapon unless brazenly bared by hand. That wasn’t the sort of impression he wanted to leave on Hasina’s friends, so he grudgingly left them behind. James crossed his arms over his chest, only then noticing how much darker his forearms were to his torso. He had been a fair-skinned man, once, but being at sea had turned him a golden tan.

He heard what was obviously a giggle and looked up to see Hasina and Janen returning from their end of the stream. It was Janen who was giggling – Hasina wasn’t even looking his way, but rather down. She was also clothed in the same garb of the Toallan people, though hers covered far more skin than his did.

“Hathina, you leave me Jamie and ith a very vair trade!” Janen said, laughing, as she walked away to join her husband, who just shook his head and smiled. James arched an eyebrow but said nothing, finally turning to meet Hasina’s eye.

“When I said I needed new clothes...this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

Hasina’s face was still a little red at Janen’s poking fun at her about James, but that didn’t stop Janen from continuing to point out that the man was – at least in the Toallan’s eyes – quite the catch. The cartographer had never really considered anyone to be a catch – least of all herself for another – since the death of her husband. She had never looked at James as anything more than an ally.

Now, as they approached the hut, she lifted her eyes to see him with a sarong wrapped about his hips. A grin materialized on her lips. He definitely was not the picture of comfort, and there were stark lines separating his tanned flesh from his naturally pale tone. Hasina had a few lines like that herself, but her skin was naturally brown, and the lines didn’t seem quite as obvious on her flesh.

She’d never realized how well muscled he was. Perhaps it was because, covered in clothing, he looked thinner, especially with his height. However, she could now see that he was leanly muscled, and she could clearly see the scars that littered his skin. He’d been in many battles, and from the looks of it, not all had been easily won though he clearly must not have truly lost if he was standing before her today. Hasina realized she was staring and looked away, her face reddening once more.

Even among her people who were not as modest as some of those who lived on the western half of the main continent, bodies were still usually more covered than this. One had to be protected from the sun because there was not always shelter to be found from it. Here, on an island that had many trees and shade as well as much humidity, the Toallan people could afford to and were encouraged to wear less.

As one who normally wore men’s clothing at sea though a bit baggier for the sake of the men on board, she was very aware that her own skin was only covered where it needed to be. It was true that while the style of her draping was more modest – a style due more to women who were older than herself – it was still revealing. Her flesh was smooth and relatively unblemished by scars. She took good care of herself, and her body was fitter than most women she’d met which also meant her curves were less pronounced on a normal day. Today was not a normal day, and her style of dress gave more definition to her curves as well as left most of her legs and torso bare. Last year, this had not been awkward because it was a style of dress of the people, but she hadn’t been among easterners at the time. She found herself wondering if James was looking at her any differently and if he’d be able to go back to thinking of her in the same manner as before when they were back at sea.

When they were within speaking distance, he confessed that these garments were not what he’d had in mind when he’d expressed the hope for new apparel.

Hasina took a deep but quiet breath and held her shoulders back. Was she really worrying about it? It wasn’t a big deal. She was among another culture, and she would follow their culture as best she could while she was among them. If someone didn’t like it, what did it matter? There were going to be people who disagreed with the way other people lived their lives all the time. Obviously, James was unhappy with the sarong, but he was still willing to accept it until new clothes could be given. If he was okay with it despite his own discomfort, so too would she!

She smiled. “You will have clothing more to your taste soon.”

At this point, Janen reached into a pouch she had and pulled out a string with a series of red marks on it. She ushered the two to stand still while she wrapped the string around their waists and chests, along the length of their arms and legs and around their necks. She wrote down something in symbols that James did not understand, and when she finally finished, she nodded at them and then called for Rando. She spoke to him in their native tongue, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and then rushed inside the hut.

Rando walked over to them and smiled. “Take you to view village, da?” He said, and away they were off. He introduced the two to several other people, ranging from the elderly to mere children. The children that they met began to parade behind them, playing a wondrous game of ‘see who gets closest to poking the tall foreign man with a stick.’ Anytime James would turn around, there would be an explosion of tenor screams, and they would fly in every direction away from him. Then, as Rando led them on, they would all creep closer again.

At first the game was somewhat amusing, but it quickly became an annoyance. When one brave child was but inches away from jabbing James in his spine, he spun, wrenched the stick out of the boy’s hand, and tossed it off into the foliage. The little boy stared at him a moment before dashing away, sending the other children off screaming. This time for good.

“Tactful,” Hasina said to James, and he said nothing in return.

Hasina did not quite approve of the way that James had handled the game the children had been playing. After all, men of this tribe had a tendency toward being no taller than Hasina herself, so a man of his stature who towered even over her was a rare and strange sight. They had only been trying to seem brave, and they had no way of knowing that he was anything like the men of their own tribe because he looked so different. Hasina, despite her great height, slim build, and the strange white streaks in her hair, at least seemed normal with her darker skin. This man was pale and tall and fierce looking.

Clearly, he had no patience for children like Hasina did. She loved children; she just wasn’t sure that the gods would ever grant her any of her own for which to care. The time she had been married had not gifted her with a child, but she had never experienced an act of love with any other men, so she could not be sure if it had been his body or hers that had been unable to bring life.

Tearing her thoughts from such unhappy ideas, she looked about the village. It had grown a little in the last year. There had been many children on the verge of marrying age their rites of passage when she’d last been here with few older people on their last legs, so that would explain it. She would have to amend her maps if she got the time.

As the sun began to set, Rando brought the two back to his home, and he ushered the sailors into the hut for food. They were not what many would consider wealthy, but their home was comfortable, and the scents of cooked food wafted welcomingly toward Hasina. She had missed this couple dearly, and she would make a point to have the Captain stop in Toalla on their way back from finding the Irinen… if they made it that far.

There was thea (a delicacy made from sea-slug innards) for the strong of heart and stomach, thupathui (beef marinated in soy sauce with ginger, garlic, and onions) for the main course, various cooked vegetables, and vauthi (carmelized coconut cream over baked pumpkin) for dessert. The meal was probably what they would have had for only themselves, but they always made their meals in good portions in case company stopped by their home. Perhaps their good meals were why the Toallan women were so curvaceous while the men varied between being very round and bulkily muscled depending on what they did for a living. Janen had once expressed concern that Hasina was malnourished.

Janen purposely made sure that Hasina and James had to sit next to each other before handing them their plates. Rando offered James the thea. “You eat. Good var you!” He patted his belly for emphasis.

Hasina leaned toward James and whispered, “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

Janen and Rando laughed at this. “Ith var men!” Janen exclaimed between giggles. “Var to prove worth.”

Hasina laughed and shook her head. “I stand by my words.”

James took the root jug from Rando’s hand, and held it to his nose. It smelled like rotten fish, mixed with salt water. Rando shouted encouragement and Hasina tactfully averted her eyes. James gave a shrug and tipped back the bottle, letting the contents slide into his mouth. It was…processed enough that it slid right down his throat, which was for the better because it tasted no better than it smelled. One great swallow and he set the jug and its contents down on the ground, resisting a shudder as he wiped his face off with the back of his arm.

“It’s not so bad,” he said to Hasina.

"That you managed to keep it down is a testament to your lack of taste," She responded, turning away to eat the non-meat portion of the meal.

James shrugged, and Rando laughed. “Good man! Brave man!”

They finished their meal with very little conversation. Rather, there was plenty of it, but James wasn’t a part of it. Rando and Janen asked Hasina questions, which she responded to as well as she was able considering their destination was a secret. Few questions involved where they were going – rather, Janen was interested in places Hasina had been. James leaned back and listened to the stories she told of places even he, well travelled as he was, had never been.

It was at the end of one of Hasina’s stories when Rando whispered to Janen, head jerking toward James. James noticed the attention and turned to look at Janen, who seemed to be thinking about how to say whatever it was that Rando had wanted her to say. It was apparent that Janen had a better grasp of their language than Rando did.

Finally, she just crawled forward and touched him gently, her finger pointing to the scar on the left side of his chest. “How you got that?” She asked, leaning back to give him some room.

“A knife,” he said, and Janen translated to Rando, who quickly responded with another question.

“Who knive you?” She asked.

“Ah,” James said, taking a breath and trying to find the words to describe the situation. He didn’t know what they knew of mercenary work, and wasn’t at all sure of any of their opinions on that matter. The details of the attack were gruesome, and the situation itself wasn’t at all an innocent one. Even beyond all of that, James just didn’t know what to say when pressed to speak. He finally finished with, “A bad guy.”

Janen translated to Rando, who frowned and said, “And other woundth?”

James shrugged. “Other bad guys.”

Before Rando could ask another question as he was about to do, Janen interrupted with asking Hasina for another story. The pattern fell into place once again, and no one asked James anything for the rest of the evening.

After dinner and conversation, Janen excused herself and returned with two sets of neatly folded clothes. “You keep what you wearing, too,” she said, and handed them their new clothing. James delicately unfolded the white shirt, which almost looked new. One could barely make out the stitching that Janen had done along the side to make sure that the large shirt would fit his slight frame.

“Thank you so much for your generosity,” Hasina said to Janen and Rando.

“Yes, thank you,” James echoed.

“Ith nothing, var friend,” Janen said with a smile.

“Would any of my weapons suffice as payment?” James asked.

Rando shook his head. “Nah, nah, nah, you keep your weapon. Thip Captain pay whole village for thing needed. Good pay. Good Captain!”

“It’s not enough for the length of kindness you have given us. If you will not accept a weapon from James, please at least let me draw a portrait for you.”

Janen asked, “Portrait? What ith Portrait?”

“A picture.” Hasina said, pulling a portfolio from her messenger bag. She showed them a picture of another person, a man whom James did not recognize. “A portrait of you and Rando. Please, let me do this for you.”

Janen squealed with delight, and James watched as Hasina set them next to each other, lit a few extra candles, and then stared at them while her hand danced across the page. James had never really thought at how much of cartography was actually art, but Hasina showed him so. Even in the bare sketch James could see the essence of Janen and Rando’s kindness shining from the page. It was almost magic.

James moved his attention to her face. He noticed that her eyes, though staring toward Janen and Rando, seemed dazed as though in a trance. Her chin tilted downward toward the page, which made her look as though she was looking upward. It was too dark to see the color of her eyes, and he couldn’t help but wonder why he never noticed her eye color before. It seemed such an easy detail to pick out, but he had never thought to catalog it in his mind.

James looked back at the couple and met Janen’s gaze. She didn’t giggle or laugh, as was her way. She smiled a knowing smile, the one that leaves a man wondering what she could possibly be thinking, but yet too afraid to dare ask. He looked away from her and busied himself with staring out of the open window into the starry night sky.

Dinner had been lovely, and Hasina was pleased with their new sailing-suitable clothing. Janen was a master seamstress of sorts. Hasina had never met anyone as talented as the woman, and it was strange to think that her bone needle could work so much better than the slight, metal ones of the east. The clothing was slightly more colourful as was custom for the Toallans. Their shirts were stark white, but the trim was red for Hasina and blue for James. Their pants were black with similar trimming as their shirts though it was even less noticeable here. The woman knew her friend had shown great restraint in colourizing their clothing. Even James seemed impressed – though it was a little hard to tell – with his newly refurbished attire.

Janen took Hasina out back to change into her clothes. They were a little tighter than she normally wore, but they weren’t considered harlot-esque by any means. The taller of the two suspected her friend had purposely made the clothing a little more snug to help her curves be a little more noticeable. “Ah, you look good. Tall Jamie will like.” She wished Janen would stop trying to help her. For a woman of her stature, it would be difficult to find a husband as far as Janen was concerned, so when there was a chance for her to help Hasina, she was going to take it whether her assistance was wanted or not.

“I don’t think James will care, Janen.” Hasina shook her head, but Janen only grinned.

“You wait. You look.” The Toallan replied before they went back into the hut.

Exchanging gifts was common among the Toallans, but it was also common to initially refuse to accept them though it was custom to offer. This was partially why after they told James they would not accept his gift of one of his many weapons that she offered her own services. Rando had been right about the Captain giving the Toallans many gifts – including weapons – so she wanted to give them something they couldn’t get from him.

She was pleased when they accepted her service, and she set to work setting the lighting and positioning her subjects together comfortably. Hasina liked that Janen did not have a blank face like so many easterners were wont to do, for on Toalla, portraits were not as common, so there was no cultural norm for frowns in pictures here. Rando puffed up his chest and frowned but that was because it made him look manlier. Janen’s lips smiled softly with a mysterious but sensual appeal. However, both man and wife had a kindness to their eyes despite it all that softened the overall look.

Hasina’s eyes were deft and quick. This was not going to be something simple and unsatisfactory in her mind despite the fact that she had limited time and wasn’t being paid in gold. These two had paid her more than enough in kindness and generosity, and she would give them something they could cherish for ages to come. Perhaps even their children, when they began to bear them, would be able to look on this and enjoy it, recognizing it as their beloved parents.

She sketched for a while, making sure the shadows in her image and the details were right before she was finally finished. In the bottom, right corner, she signed her name in the Toallan symbols they had assigned to her name the previous year. In smaller letter, she signed her name in her native language which was not the common tongue of the east. Then she looked to James.

“You should place your mark upon this.” She said simply, offering him the finished drawing. A strange look passed on his face before it disappeared an instant later and he shook his head.

“Janen and Rando will have a piece of you, too, when we are gone. They’ve shared their home with us, and I’m certain they would love the reminder.” Hasina insisted.

“Da, da! Ith true!” Janen exclaimed excitedly.

At least, James consented, and she handed him the bit of charcoal. His writing was clumsy, but it was his, and Hasina was glad that he had signed the sketch. She took back the paper and writing utensil and wiped her hands on a bit of stained cloth from her bag. Her fingers were stained with the grey-black, and she didn’t want to smudge the work. Finally, she removed a vial of clear liquid from the pouch. Dipping a large brush into the container, she stroked the clear stuff all over the page. “Let this dry before touching, and you will have this for a very long time.” It would prevent smudging and fading of the charcoal.

Janen grinned ear to ear as she accepted the completed work. “You big.” She said to her husband, flexing her arm muscles.

“Da!” Rando exclaimed, his chest puffing out with pride. “And you vaya.” He said, stroking her hair lovingly.

“Vaya means beautiful in their language.” Hasina whispered to James as she packed away her art supplies.

Janen heard her whispering and turned toward them. “You… ah… duermoe in home.” She said, struggling with the translation a bit.

Hasina smiled and shook her head. “No, we couldn’t. We must sleep on our ship, not here. Thank you so much. You have both been so good to us.” She embraced the other woman, leaning down to kiss her cheek before hugging Rando as well. He patted her hair before she turned toward James. The Toallan gripped the pale man’s right forearm with his right hand. James seemed to get the hint and gripped Rando’s forearm in return.

“Go well with Dievath.” Rando said to them, releasing Jame’s arm.

“Go well with the Gods.” Hasina returned.

When they had left the village and were back to the ship, Hasina looked at James. “Was it what you expected?” She asked. He hadn’t spoken much during dinner, and she had no idea what sort of cultures he’d experienced, so she wasn’t sure what he had imagined when he’d accepted her invitation to go to shore with him. She would be lying if she said she hadn’t enjoyed herself immensely, for Janen and Rando were her friends, and James had proven to be good company.

“No, it was not what I had expected.” James said simply. Hasina’s golden eyes peered up toward her companion. In the darkness, it was difficult to decipher his facial expressions, and his words had been said matter-of-factly enough that she didn’t know if their connotation had been negative or positive. She decided not to press it, for she’d already grown accustomed to his discomfort with speaking too frequently. Some people were just quiet, and she respected that they preferred to keep things to themselves.

“Well, thank you for accompanying me. I had a nice time.”

They parted to put away their Toallan clothing before returning to the crew to help carry their new wares and supplies below deck.

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James Roe

Post by Gadreille on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:05 pm

The Golden Albatross set sail just before dawn, moving away from the rising sun as they made their way further west, to the Tolian reef. Everyone was busy, perhaps most of all Hasina. James would glance toward her once in a while, but she was back at the helm and took no notice. He spent most of the day either busy or pretending to be, especially when the captain was on the dock taking notice of the crew.

It was smooth sailing the entire day. In the late afternoon James found himself relaxing, leaning against the ship railing and looking out at the nothingness beyond. As he leaned there, he suddenly felt the prescence of someone beside him, and he turned to look.

"How long have you been standing there?" James asked Grintawh.

"Oh. Longer than you have," Grintawh said, a glimmer in his eye.

James tried to respond, but didn't quite know what to say. He said nothing, turning back to look out at sea.

"Why are you moping?" Grintawh asked.

James looked at him, incredulously. "What? I'm not - I'm not moping."

Grintawh held his hand out in front of him. "No one sits and stares at the sea...unless they are moping. A wise man once said that sitting and staring at the water would not get you where you need to be. If you look out, you will not find what you are looking for."

"Who said that?" James asked.

"I did!" Grintawh said with a laugh. Then his face dropped all mirth, and he jammed his staff in James' chest. "Now stop moping, and find what you are looking for."

James caught his breath in his throat, and involuntarily stole a glance at Hasina. It was a mere second, but a smile had returned on Grintawh's face. "I very much like looking out at the water, don't you?"

James rolled his eyes. "Don't you have something to do?" He asked Grintawh, but there was no sting in his voice. He'd long gotten used to Grintawh's strange ways.

"Oh yes. I was going to ask you if Rai was going to be alright."

"Who is Rai?" James asked.

"...The stow away. Scrappy told me you were going to let him out of the brig this morning, and leave him on the island. Didn't you?"

"What?" James said, but without waiting took off below deck.

When he reached the brig, there was a lone captive within, fast asleep on the bunk. His white outfit was dirty with wear and tangled around him awkwardly.

"Ey. Uh...Rai?" James asked, grabbing the keys that hung on the opposite wall and unlocking the door. Even though the door opened with a painfully loud creak, the small man remained asleep on his belly, though his sudden inhaling snore suggested at least a subconscious startle.

James walked up and prodded the man with two fingers. Rai suddenly jumped up with a scream, backing away. "PLEASE get away from me. Get your gun away from me. You really -"

James put his hands up, away from his weapons, and backed away. "I'm just here to let you out."

"Oh." Rai stood up, straightening his outfit. "Good then. Where are we docked?"

"Ah...we're not."

Rai's jaw dropped. "Seriously?" He voiced with a squeak.

"Ah...yes." James responded.

Rai scratched the back of his head. "Well...what do I do now?"

One Week later

James heard Rai cry out, and he ran to the front of the ship, looking out to sea.

"There! There! You see it?" Rai cried.

James looked up at him, posted at the crow's nest atop the center mast, before looking back out at sea. Several others had joined him, hands shielding their eyes from the early afternoon sunlight. There was a slight lurch as the ship suddenly took on greater speed.

Suddenly, the horizon cleared and James saw it. In the distance, the water became more shallow, with shoals emerging sporatically from the depths. On the path directly ahead of them, the water was deep and swift....a narrow current that was pulling them on a swift maze through the shallow waters. James had never seen anything like it. But that wasn't what Rai was calling about.

Just beyond it was the Tolian Reef...and apparently, the only way to pass it.

The Break.

"We 'it it dead on. Wat'r th' chances?" Scrappy said, nudging James in the ribs.

James said nothing, but looked to Grintawh who was near Hasina at the helm, arms slightly outstretched, eyes closed in concentration. It wasn't chance, he thought.

The crew was cheering in excitement, relieved to have finally reached their destination. The wind suddenly changed direction, their sails billowing backward. The ship continued to take on speed. Grintawh's arms were now crossed, head bent as if in struggle. What is he doing?

The cheering suddenly died, and James looked back out to see what had caused the change in mood. At first, he didn't see anything but a bunch of rocks, ones that could easily be avoided. They were coming upon the rocks faster than anything else. How is that possible? Unless...unless the rocks are moving!

"By the power of Ton, what in creation is that?" The captain bellowed.

Hasina cried out, "They are crabs! Enormous crabs!"

James tried to count, but it was beyond impossible. More poured up from the depths by the second, piling on one another, making a wall of sorts that crumbled forward.

"If we hit that at this speed, we'll sink!" Hasina cried, and the crew took off to tie up the sails.

"No!" Grintawh bellowed, and the crew stopped short. He said something to Hasina quietly, rolled up his sleeves, and waved his arms.

Hasina cried out, "Hold onto something!"

The wind suddenly changed from east to south, and the ship lurched to the left. The crew scrambled for the tie-downs, a few of them shouting out curses toward Grintawh himself. Magic, James noted to himself. There was no time to think about it. He had to make sure everyone was tied down.

As James was just finishing tying himself down, he heard a familiar scream, and looked up. Rai had his arms and lets wrapped around the mast, trying dearly not to fall below. "Damn," James shouted aloud, and quickly released himself from his safety harness. He began climbing up to the crows nest. The ship tilted dangerously, and James clung on with all his might as the wind whipped at his back. He didn't dare look back to see if the crabs were following. As the ship rose once again to reach its balance, James again continued climbing.

Rai looked over the side. "No, no, don't come up here!" He shouted.

"Come down!" James shouted.

"No! Rai shouted back. "Go back!"

Just then, the ship lurched forward again, as if freed from fighting a current. Rai flew backward off the crow's nest, and James' reached out to catch him. Just as he did so, both of his guns suddenly fired. Caught off guard, James lost his grip on the rope ladder and they both tumbled down onto the dock.

James sat up with a groan, the winds dying down very suddenly. He struggled to stand, leaning against the railing and looking back. Grintawh had collapsed on the main deck. Scrappy was seeing to him. Beyond that...empty sea. The crabs did not pursue.

Hasina shouted, "Bring up the sails!" and everyone rushed to do so. James could hardly move, so he just sat back down. He glanced at Rai, who was still sitting where they had landed. James raised an eyebrow.

"I told you not to come up," Rai said with a shrug, and then he winced and rub his shoulders.

I'm going to be needing some explanations, James thought, but let it go for now. His back ached severely, and his head was spinning.

Just as he thought about going to lie down, a sailor shouted "Land Ho! She's coming up quick!"

James sighed, and stood. Just ahead of them was what could best be described as a glorified sandbar. Hasina brought the ship to anchor, and James figured why: it would be a great place to stop while they decided how exactly they were to get past the wall of crabs they'd left behind.
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Re: Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

Post by Lumeus on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:28 pm

No man can truly know what is beyond the horizon. What goes unperceived cannot be wholly understood. A man may make a grand and educated assumption as to the contents of the world on the other side of the brink, but therein can be found no more truth than in the words of a blind man on the subject of color. Man is confined to the reality of his observations, and everything else falls into the realm of possibility. Under that notion it can be concluded that life should hold no surprises, so it stands to reason that, with the extended premise that what can happen, will happen, any attempt made to discover what is unknown is an unachievable endeavor, given that what is unknown is prone to an infinite multitude of changing variables making it impossible to give an accurate accounting of that which is not immediately evident to those present.

“So you see class, being an adventurer, or a scallywag on one of those great dirty pirate vessels may sound delightfully intriguing to those of you with the prospect of being a tree for the rest of your foreseeable futures, but I’m afraid that the truth is far less grand.” Benji paced slowly down the line of students with his hands clasped behind him. The white sands were warm beneath his calloused feet; the fine grain was soft and comfortable to stand upon. “Now some of you may be thinking, ‘but Professor, once explored, what is discovered becomes retainable knowledge that can then be presented elsewhere as factual information based on physically witnessed events,’ and I can see where your line of reasoning may lead to that conclusion. However! Once the observed data is no longer observable it becomes subject to the mental interpretation and recollection of the one who observed it in the first place, and is then no longer based in fact but in hearsay.” Benji paused to allow his words to sink in with his students.

After a moment he resumed his pacing with a grin. “And I suppose your next rebuttal will sound something like, ‘But Professor Twain, if multiple people all recall the same knowledge of something that is no longer perceived by any of them does that not lend to credibility of that knowledge and prove it to be factual?’” Benji stopped pacing and turned to face the class. “If many relate the same information in regards to a certain subject it does prove that what they say holds truth, but that truth only applies to what was witnessed, it is not a truth of what one would find were they to go back for a second observation. And so their subject of discussion continually remains an unknown.” Benji turned his back to the class and gazed out across the waves to the distant horizon where sea and sky met to create the illusion of a perfectly horizontal line that stretched in either direction as far as the eye could see. “That will be all for today class. Please do the assigned reading for tomorrow and come back with thoughts and questions!”

The students bowed and waved their goodbyes as a cool tropic breeze rustled their giant palm leaves and set their collective shadows into a steady swaying motion that made the beach sand appear to be moving. With his classes concluded for the day Benji set off towards his favorite dining spot, the Salty Crab, for a late lunch. The Salty Crab was a little known place located on the northwest tip of the key that served an assortment of seafood dishes native to the local reef. One of the unique features that Benji enjoyed, other than open air dining consisting of several tide pools that all fed into one another, was that you were required to catch your own meal. With a sizable, oval-shaped stone in hand, Benji set about catching, smashing, and slurping down the meat and innards of the many assorted crabs that sidestepped their way through the shallows.

After his hunger was sated, Benji laid down on the rocky outcropping to stare up at vast blue above. The white billowing titans that clouded the sky were moving fast into the west. A wind mighty enough to do that was capable of bringing about great change in the world, but down on the island Benji felt only the warm breeze left over from the great upper currents. On his back with his hands behind his head and one leg crossed over the other he began to hum the tune of one of his more favored songs, and before long his was singing the lyrics to himself in a scratchy baritone.

“Clad in froth and crowned in foam,
The churning waters roar.
Harken the tide to the starboard side,
And watch the shore no more.
Beneath the mirrored sky of sea,
Lies waiting coral tomb;
The rolling surf ‘tween heaven and earth,
Sings the sailor’s doom.”

Benji couldn’t recall the other verses so he just hummed and clapped along to the tune until an avenging crab latched ahold of his calf muscle and held on for dear life while Benji jumped, and flailed, and hollered down the northern beach head. Once removed from his leg Benji flung the evil crab as far out into the ocean as he could chased by a string of curses. Then came the arduous task of climbing a nearby palm to fetch one of the top leaves to make a wrap for his wound, and it was while plucking the leaf that Benji noticed something odd on the southern horizon. The clouds were moving funny. Low in the sky they appeared to be gliding on the water, growing bigger, and before long it was apparent that they were in fact not clouds at all.

“Sails,” Benji whispered. His heart beat faster in his chest. Was this real? He had dreamed of ships coming to his island brought on by strong currents and dwarfing white sails, but that accursed crab had just ensured him that this was no dream.

It took exactly 346 footsteps, 658 steps if one were walking on their hands, or 117 cartwheels to get from the tip of the north beach to the sands of the south beach, unless of course you were running. Then it took roughly 129 footsteps, unless of course you tripped on a rock. Then it took a fair amount of crying, cursing, and crawling. Luckily no such travesty befell Benji as he sprinted across the length of his island to get a closer look at the rapidly approaching vessel.

“I never thought this day would come.” Salty tears began to well in his eyes. “I’ve waited for so long.” He wiped them away and smiled. “I thought maybe they didn’t receive my letters, or they were ignoring my pleas all together, but the day has finally come!” Benji could barely contain his excitement.

“The academy has sent me more students.”

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Re: Bram: Hunt for the Irinen IC

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