Upon the Waves I.

5th of Vhalar 721

From Tried's Mouth to the mysterious Tower, the waters around Scalvoris and the island itself hold a vast array of secrets, just ripe for discovery. Here are landmarks, jungles, mountains, forests and islands of note.

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Praetorum
Approved Character
Posts: 1425
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:08 am
Race: Ithecal
Profession: Mercenary
Renown: 1020
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5

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Upon the Waves I.


Timestamp: 5th of Vhalar, Arc 721

Leaning on the railings along the deck, Praetorum watched the waves lap at the side of the ship, listening to the water burble and play below them. They were two trials into their journey to Gunvorton from Havardr, and they should dock by tomorrow morning, or so he'd been told. All in all, it had been a relatively boring trip, which was completely fine by Prae, especially with rumors of pirates attacking unguarded ships over these past seasons. Boring meant everyone was safe, so Prae was perfectly happy. 


Aurien, on the other hand... "I spy with my little eye... something that begins with S." 


Prae's tail swished as his other diri emerged from the tip to consider the game. "Is it me?" Sap asked. The little diri had grown a bit more talkative now that it had a conversation partner other than Prae, although it was still somewhat aloof and standoffish. Aurien's playfulness seemed to have rubbed off on it a little. 


"Nope," Aurien declared, hopping down from Prae's head to his shoulder. 


"Is it the sea?"

"Still no. It's a ship! I think."

"You think?" Prae interjected, amused. "I'd be worried if it turned out this wasn't a ship after all."

"Not this ship," Aurien said, shaking its little head. "That ship." It pointed behind Prae, out towards the foggy sea. 


Prae squinted in the direction his diri pointed, trying to see what it was talking about. Sure enough, there was a faint dark smudge in the fog that Prae couldn't really make out clearly. "Does it really count if you can't tell what it is?" Sap objected. 


As the diris started arguing about whether that counted for a point or not, Praetorum waved at a nearby sailor, and pointed the smudge out to her. The woman frowned, and nodded, immediately scampering up the rigging towards what Prae had been told was called the crow's nest. As he understood, there was a sailor stationed up there with a seeing glass who acted as a scout, which Prae found sensible. One couldn't very well scout the normal way on water, after all. 


He put the thought from his mind, and returned to his position at the railing on the other side of the ship, half watching the coastline go past, and half listening to the water sing. It was simple, lazy and peaceful.


He should have known it wouldn't last. 


"Pirates!"

The word shook him from his reverie, and Prae turned to look. Sure enough, from the direction Prae had seen that smudge earlier, there was now a ship bearing down on them, rapidly approaching. Sprinting to the other side of the deck, Prae reached out his hand, calling to the waters beneath the encroaching vessel, and then...

He hesitated. 


He'd crushed pirate ships before—the only one who could match a defier like him was one kin with water, or a blessed of U'frek, and chances were there were none of those on board the pirate ship. But rumor had it that these pirates didn't just kill their victims. Word was, they took captives too, young women and strong men. If there were any prisoners on board...

Muttering an Atvian curse under his breath, Praetorum let go of the water. They'd have to do this the old fashioned way, then. Calling to the wind instead, Prae shifted its direction, blowing back against the ship coming up towards them. Prae couldn't stop it entirely without overstepping, he was pretty sure, but he could certainly slow it down. Even so, the pirate ship was faster than they were, the pirate vessel sleeker and more mobile than their own. A confrontation seemed inevitable.


"Captain," Prae called, turning around to search for— there. Striding over to the captain of the ship, Prae summoned his crossbow into his hand. "Captain, how many of your crew can fight?"

The captain's eyes flicked to and fro. "Maybe thirty, myself included—we're a transport ship, not... We've never had to deal with pirates before." Her voice was steady, Prae noted, but her hands were shaking. 


"It's going to be alright," Prae said, laying a hand on her shoulder. "I promise, we're going to make it through this. Now, find me your ten strongest fighters, and bring them to me. I can make them into a core fighting force, and we can fend off these pirates." 


Not the most inspiring speech Prae had ever made, but it did the job—the captain nodded shakily, and ran off to fetch their crew, just as Prae's only companion on this trip strolled over.


"Seems like we attract trouble everywhere we go," Clarissa said cheerfully, and Prae shook his head. Yari. 


"We certainly do," Prae sighed. "Now, hold still." Quickly, Praetorum drew his normal set of runes on himself and Clarissa; focus and sight, speed and strength and endurance, and a rune of resistance. She already wore his Celarion bond, so there was little else he could do to improve her skills right now. The gift he'd gained from Lovalus... he'd use that on the crew. Clarissa was strong enough not to need it. 


"I have them," the captain said, hurrying back to Prae with nine other sailors in tow. "What do we—what are you going to do?"

"All of you, hands in the center." Prae demonstrated, laying his hand out flat in front of him. Clarissa helpfully followed suit, putting her hand on top of his, and the sailors followed her lead until all their hands were stacked. "Now," Prae said. "Don't move."


Deep in his chest, Praetorum's Saviour spark writhed, sensing a chance to show off. Clarissa's runes began to crackle with glowing blue lightning, the brightness of it sharp as electricity began to arc between the runes on her head torso and limbs. Then, without warning, the lightning burst out from her, and shot towards each of the sailors touching her hand, bouncing between all ten until they were each of them shrouded in blue electricity, glowing and crackling. A few made noises of alarm, but a firm look from Prae kept them from trying to withdraw as identical runes began to form on each of them. 


Prae gritted his teeth as he felt himself weaken. This was a power that took a lot out of him, and even with his mutations slowing the process and reducing the ether required, Prae knew he wouldn't be doing any more truly powerful magic for the rest of the trial. That was alright. He'd learned not to rely too heavily on magic by now; he had more than one trick up his sleeves.

As the lucis bond continued to form between the sailors, drawing Prae's runes on each of them, he focused on each of them, and in his own mind, named each of them his ally. Unlike with magic, there was no flashy lights, no outward sign that any change had occurred—but Prae knew. Lovalus had granted him a boon like none other—the power to increase, not just strength and speed, but skill as well, making even relatively mediocre fighters into skilled warriors. 


It would have to be enough. All around the deck, he could see the remaining twenty or so sailors begin to arm themselves, along with a couple of passengers. He had no idea how many pirates there would be, but he thought it best to assume they were outnumbered, but not ridiculously so. The pirate ship was smaller than the transport ship, and surely they'd leave some space in their hold for cargo and prisoners. 


The lightning faded after around a bit, and Prae gestured to the ten who now wore his runes. "Grab your weapons, and quickly get used to your new strength. You're going to spread out across the side of the ship and stop them from pushing onto the deck. Meanwhile, Clarissa and I are going to board them and kill their captain."

One of the sailors made a strangled noise. "That's suicide!"

Prae smiled slightly then. "Not for me." He nodded at the sailors. "Go prepare. They'll be in shooting range soon."


Turning, he strode over to the side of the deck, getting as close to the pirate ship as he could. "Everyone who has a ranged weapon, with me," he shouted. Within a few moments, he had a dozen archers, along with himself and Clarissa standing on the back of the ship. "On my mark," he called, and loaded his crossbow with an explosive bolt. 


"Ready—" He lifted his crossbow, and aimed down the sight towards the encroaching pirate ship. From this distance, he could make out dozens of figures scurrying about the deck, maybe forty in all. 


"Aim—" He found a knot of five pirates huddled on the deck, and angled his crossbow just so.

"Fire!"

A dozen arrows and bolts went soaring through air, and vanished into the fog. There was movement from the pirate ship, a clear sign that at least some projectiles were hitting their mark. Prae's in particular, seemed to have landed somewhat true—the knot of pirates he'd been aiming at scattered as a bang sounded, the crossbow bolt he'd used exploding where it landed before reappearing in his quiver.

They shot a few more volleys, and recieved a few, until the pirates were almost upon them. Soon...

"Prepare to be boarded," Prae shouted. "Don't let them get below deck!" He turned to Clarissa. "Ready?"

"Ready as I'll ever be, boss."


"Good." He wrapped his tail around her body, just as the first grappling hooks began to land on the railing of the deck, dragging the two ships together in preparation. "Let's go," he told her, and leaped into the wind.
word count: 1665
Let's play 'What's Weird About Prae'

Head

  • A fiery rune shines under his right eye
  • A firey glow in the back of his mouth

Arms

  • A ring of blue runes floats over each of Prae's wrists
  • A silver shield marks the back of his right hand
  • A ring of light around his left forearm

Misc

  • His tail is about eight feet long, usually knotted around his waist
  • His body temperature is uncomfortably high

Surroundings

  • Wind gusts with every step he takes
  • The area around him is slightly more static-y than normal

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Jackalope
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:34 pm
Race: Human
Renown: 0
Wealth Tier: Tier 1

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Re: Upon the Waves I.

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Experience: +10 xp

Magic xp? No.

Collaboration: No.
Renown: +10, for being a leader, and the first into the breach!
Injuries/Overstepping: None.
Loot: No.

Skillplay: Appropriate to level.

Knowledge:

Leadership x3
Detection x2
Tactics x1

Comments
A cliff hanger! Well, a mast hanger, maybe?

I had forgotten all about the pirates around Scalvoris. I’m glad you decided to do something with it. I enjoyed the interplay between the diri at the beginning, and the way their game of “I Spy” segued into actually catching sight of the pirate ship.

The idea of enhancing as many of the able-bodied crew as possible to form the nucleus of a fighting force to resist boarding seems like a good one. I hope Prae’s sortie goes well in the next part!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 134
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