Cursed by the Gods

Captain Ozzi's Log Part 22 a

Swallow Thunder /Spit Lightning

The fleet is in the harbour. There is a storm raging as it waits for the attack. The cold driving rain chills the sailors to the bone. They’ve bottle necked Marid’s Gate and Rock Bay, hoping to force the enemy to either run the gauntlet or land on the shore and attempt an overland attack. Admiral Sandy has outfitted The Water Naga with a massive organ. It was his huge reveal, the thing he had been working on for the last few weeks. It is a grandiose contraption. An elaborate water proof keyboard surrounded by towering brass bellows and silvered pipes that seemed to poke out of every plank of his ship. The only crew left on board is the Admiral and Silissa, who stays in the water to avoid the noise of the massive instrument. All others have been assigned to different vessels. His plan is to have a ghostly crew pilot everything for him from now on. The Admiral is angry and is playing the massive thing with all the stops out. It is a deafening cacophony. “Wait for the C Major Cord,” The Admiral has told his other captains as they drift nervously in the rain.

But it’s been an hour and they still haven’t seen another ship yet. Every sailor watches the skies and wonders if the rain and howling wind will soon stop. Ryrun stand on deck of The Water Naga and hums along with the music as the Admiral plays. Renza paces and Ozzi applies make up while cursing the rain. Idoki stands next to Ryrun and smiles blankly at the horizon. She has assured everyone that their enemy has plenty of time to make their attempt; the storm will last for hours. Renza watches for a signal from the various towers on land for a sighting but none arrive. Ryrun and Idoki converse about the wizard Doloruso. Idoki is confused about the situation. Why would she be interested in this woman? Granted, the pirate is very powerful and the two have a great deal in common but isn’t she someone Ryrun has his eye on? She discretely casts a spell and makes a note in her large journal to remember to explore this idea at a later date. Albreth, the sword that Ryrun had enchanted with a part of his own soul, silently informs it’s owner that Idoki has cast an Owl’s Wisdom and is writing down her thoughts about social interaction, especially romantic interactions, into the black bound leather book. Ryrun realizes that Idoki is artificially giving herself insight into these interactions and writing them down so she can study them later, trying to memorize what it means to be empathetic. He laughs and shakes the rain from his hat. Idoki, not realizing what he has learned, acts like a child surreptitiously spying on a sibling. She watches him from the corner of her eye and writes down that he spontaneously laughed at nothing.

Renza, trying to find something to take her mind off of the waiting, watches the two and asks Ozzi what he thinks it means. He looks at her blankly and responds back in Common that he doesn’t speak her weird barking language. She ignores him and asks The Admiral, who explains what Idoki has been doing to keep herself from getting killed by her own ignorance. He plays an angry melody as he speaks, punching the keys as if they have personally offend him. He stops and suddenly looks confused. Ryrun follows suit, his eyes darting around. Then Idoki, then Ozzi and finally Renza all receive the Sending: “Port Peril under attack by Chelish fleet. Come at once with all ships you can spare. Come at once.”

Admiral Sandy answers that he is coming. Ozzi says so as well but winces and adds he expecting bad weather and will be there as soon as possible. The Admiral looks out over the storm into the open sea and says they were planning this, to ambush them when they left to defend Port Peril.

“What’s the plan?” Ozzi asks as he finishes smearing black grease paint over his eyes.

“We go to met them,” The Admiral responds and orders the signal flags to inform the rest of the fleet.

“And then?” Ryrun asks as he followed after his Admiral.

“We sink The Wormwood,” Admiral Sandy Foundling responds bitterly. “We burn her to the waterline. We finish this.”

*

The Wormwood sits with her fleet, her bow into the wind, a wedge hidden amongst the choppy waves. Gilbrook the Tongue, drenched from the storm he summoned, stands beside Acting Captain Doloruso as they watch the sea. The plan has been simple so far. The Chelish Navy fights Port Peril and the pirates wait. But, rather than sitting safely back at their fortified base, they were send out here to ambush The Water Naga’s fleet, to get a little bit of pay back for insults Harrigan feels he has been given. The man’s obsession has brought him very far but now he has his best people laying an ambush for unimportant incompetents. Gilbrook licks his lips with his long tongue, his namesake, and watches with irritation as the scrags on board pick their noses. It is a disgusting sight and the officers are having trouble keeping the fearful crew under control.

The plan is to cripple The Water Naga, then close and board her. The first priority after that is to destroy Idoki. That is what the trolls are for. They will have to surround her and pin her arms, if they can, or get her into the water where she’ll have a harder time using her magic. More importantly, they are to chop her into chum with their cruel cleavers. The three officers, Krine, Kipper and Patchsalt, all have orders to push Ozzi overboard. His heavy armour will hinder him and it’ll take him too long to climb back up. As the Ship’s Enchanter, Gilbrook the Tongue’s job is to foil Ryrun by charming him. The fighter’s lack of will is legendary. Doloruso will eliminate Renza, leaving Sandy, who is know to be pretty helpless in a fight. It is fittingly that he will be last.

They see the fleet approaching, running wild over the churning sea. Acting Captain Doloruso, with a glint of anticipation in her hard eyes, signals for the elimination of the three lead vessels and the ships concentrate fire on them. As the siege engines fire, however, a low booming sound erupts from the water while the rigging of The Wormwood rattles ominously.

*

Underwater, The Water Naga furtively approaches her prey. Ryrun, who is in the Crow’s Nest, watches the surface and points to the hull most likely to be the flag ship. Renza, while casting her defensive spells, nervously asks Idoki if she can use her fireballs to damage The Wormwood from below. Maybe sink her before they have to climb aboard her and engage the notoriously dangerous crew. Idoki says yes, then ignores her as she keeps casting her own defensive spells. The Admiral supplies that the spell would hit the end of the air bubble that they are travelling in and explode, causing more damage to them rather than the ships above. The ship is filled with worried sailors, the best boarders and skirmishers from across the fleet, all of whom had never been under the ocean like this. They watch the silty brown water from the churning sea pass as they move through it. They see Silissa swiming outside the bubble, keeping pace with them and they quietly pray to Besmara to keep the magic that holds the bubble intact. Ozzi is with them, his crudely skull painted face watching the surface and muttering how beautiful it all is.

The admiral plays his cord and The Water Naga breaks the surface. Idoki see Doloruso and cries out madly, asking if she would like to join her tonight.

*

Gilbrook the Tongue hears the crescendo and sees the ship burst up beside them. Acting Captain Doloruso wheels in shock at the nonsensical battle cry and sees Ryrun, as if propelled by the waves themselves, leap out of the bubble and slash at her. She teleports suddenly, escaping the blade but leaving Gilbrook by himself. He lunges to take the spinning wheel. Renza, her body that of a feminine rush of smoke trapped within an inferno, darts out over The Wormwood’s bow and sprays fire over the unexpecting crew. While they duck and try to escape her, Idoki’s rolls a fireball into the mass of sailors. Between the two they kill many of the crew, including the three hapless officers tasked with killing Ozzi. The one officer, the Master Gunner named Kipper, staggers and flails to the ballista, trying to fire the massive weapon as his skin chars but he falls short and dies screaming on the wet deck. The sizzling trolls look around with fear and hate in their beady eyes. They are hurt and unsure of where to attack.

Idoki smiles pleasantly and casts again, her sigils turning into deadly spraying fire that kills most of the trolls. She also accidentally burns Doloruso, who had teleported into the middle of the panicking crew. Ryrun leaps, sailing effortlessly over the bodies of the slain, and slashes the Acting Captain, cutting her deeply. Suddenly, with her eyes wide with terror, she simply vanishes. A contingency teleport. The final troll, as it’s siblings curl and die from the magic fire, lumbers after Ryrun, chopping wildly with it’s great cleaver but missing the nimble elf. By the wheel, Maka-Ruku, Gilbrook the Tongue’s monkey familiar, tosses Dust of Disappearance on his master, while Gilbrook the Tongue, in a panic, sketches a sigil to throw on Idoki. He watches it dart towards her, yet she bats it away with a dangerously calculating and bemused smile on her lips. Renza shapes a rapier from her flaming body and stabs him, somehow seeing through his invisibility with ease. He howls in pain and tries to back away but bumps into the armoured Ozzi, who took his time crossing the gap between the ships and has marched up to the wheel, shoving the remaining fearful crew of The Wormwood out of his way. The Admiral, as he plays his organ, crafts a delicate sigil that floats over the fight and fine glittering powder drifts down over The Tongue, covering both him and Ozzi in sparkling effervescence. The cleric, now that he can see the frightened Ship’s Witch, reaches out with a hooked hand. It glows with a malevolent energy that matches his black grease paint smile. He brushes the Tongue and sends a near fatal shock into his injured body. Ryrun spins and beheaded the final troll. It crashes to the deck and spurts blood before it’s body disappears over the side of the roiling ship. The Tongue tries to scramble away. His blubbering pleas are to no avail. Idoki fires a force dart into the side of his head, knocking him into unconsciousness. Maka-Ruku squeals in a panic as it’s master falls. Renza scoops up the little monkey in her flaming arms and, as it screams and burns in her sizzling grip, she bites it’s head off.

The storm breaks. Harrigan’s fleet, demoralized by the sudden loss of their flag ship, breaks and runs. The Admiral furiously fumes and demands the cowards be hunted and destroyed. But he belays the order and sends the boarding party back to their respective ships after they, under Ryrun’s watchful eye, quickly plunder The Wormwood. It will be piloted by a true skeleton crew now, conjured by The Admiral’s magic, and sailed to Port Peril as bait. Ozzi makes a stink about not being allowed to keep it but is silenced by a glare from the raging Admiral. The wounded are sent back to Marid’s Gate while the rest of the fleet makes sails for Port Peril. The Admiral sits once more behind his keyboard and plays, the music heralding his approach.

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