MAS Fenrir, Part I
The sunset lazes over the horizon, tossing brilliant scarlet flares into the air. The passenger schooner, Fenrir, takes its leisurely time from the port of Emberstrand on its way to the Imperial City of Archades in the Archadian Empire. It's six bells past the noon sun, and passengers are taking to eating in the holds below, supping with the Captain of the Fenrir.
Kamina is more or less enjoying the smell of the air and the rush of the clouds. A simple deckhand, at least that's what he was hired for, but the young man views it as so much more. Once again a crew is lucky enough to have him, his leg hooked into the rigging as he leans back into the open air, arms outstretched as he feels the micro currents from the wake of the ship. Feeling the wind itself...almost leanining all the way over across the ship.
Below decks, the people are laughing during their dinner. One of the more esteemed guests, Lady Seipola Anath Getzrik, is rumored to be aboard. The second course has started in the mess quarters, the chef's helpers passing out the dishes.
Kamina almost loses it, untill a quick shout from one of the boatswains brings him out of it, "Oh hey! Ya ya I know I know, rig for night." he smiles, the sails furled up as the sun sets, letting the ship ride upon the night currents. He smiles and salutes the swain crudely before he'll flip back up the rigging. Feeling the currents again as he scampers across the yard, tugging upon various ropes along with several other crew members. Though they're all professionals and soon the ship is squared. "So I did hear we had a great woman aboard" he interrogates one of his mates, "Heard she's a fine form, strong willed..." a smack or two administered to him for that, an older salt "Well out of your league, or any man's boy, get your head out of the clouds before you take off." Though Kamina simply laughs, "I'm a sky pirate, my head's already in the clouds!" with that he just grabs a rigging rope and slides all the way down to the deck to land with a thump, "Ah, though woman or not, food's ready and I'm hungry..." paying no heed as he'll head below deck for his ration.
The sound of laughter is heard below decks as a story is told from the Captain to entertain his guests. One can hear a woman's laughter in the mix of everything before the Captain returns to his story. "So he says to me, 'Aubrey, I want you to take a look at those two weevils and pick one.' So I says to him, 'I'll pick the larger one since it's moving faster.' He beats on the back and says, 'My boy, in this line of work, you must always pick the lesser of two weevils!'" And with that, another rousing chorus erupts.
Kamina ducks below deck, walking slowly back towards the purser, looking back at the group and smirking, "if we're lucky there won't be weevils in our handtack." he grabs his bowl and moves to the cook, "Salted beef, pease and hardtack, ah, the food of the air." grinning, grog too, but that's a treat. His rations gotten he'll find a place to settle somewhere near the crews table, and probably closer to the passengers to eat as the stories unfold. His eyes are sharp, working from face to face to examin each passenger at the voyage.
One of the passengers of note is in fact the noblewoman that's been rumored, sitting just off to the captain's left. She laughs gaily at the story before she returns to her food along with the other passengers. Amicable conversation breaks out between the passengers at the table.
However, on the horizon comes a dark speck, like a bird high in the air. The crow's nest has ignored it thus far, too far out of range to be seen with a scope.
Kamina mmms, and he tears into the beef with little hesitation, gulping it down...being down below he would not see such a thing, but the young man is dressed a little finer then a regular crew member...and armed of course. Especially on journies like this, his brace of gear is as much part of his uniform as weapons. The laughter is infections, and he's soon jovially laughing along as well "All right all right. I have one...so two hawks were flying through the air, when suddnely an air racer belchs along, fire and smoke, the hawks scatter and the racer erupts away. One hawk says to the other, "That bird sure was going fast!" Well the second hawk replies, "You would too if your tail was on fire like that!"
Soon seven bells passes, and then eight bells pass. The dinner is winding down and soon the cordials are brought out for the passengers. The conversation is starting to lull, and the passeners are excusing themselves to their cabins. That speck on the horizon, however, still remains off into the night sky, the sun dipping beneath the horizon and the stars coming out to twinkle. The speck blends with the darkness.
Kamina will eat a little bit more and finishing up, cleaning his mouth and his bowl he finishes his grog in a great big gulp, "Ah, good lot of people to chat with, you're all wonderful." he smiles once more and will stowe his chow kit. Not getting in the way of the guests as they head to their cabins. He'll retreat to his sanctuary too, up on the deck in the air. The stars, and the moons just twinling, "Ah, there you are georgous, always liked sisters." grinning at the pair of moons and tapping his foot upon the deck. Taking an assement of the ship as it's ready for the night.
With the other passengers, Lady Seipola makes her way from below decks to take in the air of the topside. She waves off one of her handmaidens, assuring the woman that she'll be just fine up on the deck on her own. The noblewoman makes her way toward an unoccupied bit of railing.
Kamina is satisfied with his inspection, watching the stars twinkle in and out, and some of the passengers comining out for air. The young man stepping towards the rail too, "Quite a sight isn't it, the fresh open sky, not surrounded by walls, or the lights of a city, just pure sky" he leans over the railing, and enjoys the currents.
Seipola unsnaps her fan from her belt and flicks it open with practiced ease. She looks to the deckhand brazen enough to approach her. "It is beautiful, yes." The other passengers take a few minutes to get some air before going below decks to their cabins for the night. But not the Lady Seipola; it appears she wishes to get some more fresh air before bed.
Kamina is most certinally the brazen youth, lifting his arms up to feel the wind, "Ah, a ship on the wind is majestic, if I had wings I would fly...haha, but lacking such I'll setting for a ship." he turns back to the woman, in reality he didn't even know he was talking to, he was focused on the currents of the wind. Only a quick blink is any indication that he realizes he may have caused troble, but if you're in for a penny then you're in for a pound and he jumps in with both feet, "Ha, especially up across the bow, or up on the topsail. Hm, you ever felt the wind across your body up off the deck? Or swayed through a cloud?"
The fan comes up to hide the lower half of Seipola's face as she looks to the youngster. "No, I have not. I find it best to stay in the areas I'm allowed to by the ship's captain, rather than exploring where I shouldn't." She lets the fan lilt slightly, the darkness hiding her amused smile.
Kamina laughs, "Ah dosh! that's no fun at all, come on!" he motions to the rigging, "If you can handle getting up on the rigging you'll do find along the top sail, now there's a heck of a feeling, the wind itself comes at you"
Seipola smirks again behind the fan. "I'm afraid I'll have to decline. I much prefer my feet on the solid decking than anything else. My prefered method of travel is by chocobo."
Kamina chuckles again and hooks an arm around the rigging rope and hikes himself up upon it, "really now? You were watching the stars and the moons as intently as I was..." he leans back on the rigging, "Quite a pair if I do say so myself." he grins at the sister moons, "Sure you wouldn't like the fresh wind?"
As night descends, the speck on the horizon approaches, barely visible in the moonlight. It grows quickly, too quickly. There can be little doubt that it is another ship, and approaching under the cover of darkness, but little more than that fact can yet be seen.
"I can feel the fresh wind from here, actually." Seipola gives another smile to the young deckhand. The darkness prompts some of the deckhands to move a bit slowly to alert the Captain of an upcoming ship passing near the passenger schooner.
Kamina is a man of the air, and while he is enjoying the moon, and the company the fact that a different type of black can been seen across the sky means he would eventually pick it up. He gives a faint hmm. Turning and cranining his head to watch it, pausing in the middle of his conversation. "That's odd, no runnin lights on that thing..." he says in a way which equates odd to that's-not-good. He flips on the ropes and leans over right close to Seipola, "Excuse me just one second. I'll be right back." another cheeky smile and he's scrambling up the rigging to the nest up top, "Oy, what's that you see comining at our stern?"
The ship comes closer, the moonlight beginning to reveal something of its nature as it approaches. It is a bit larger than the schooner, yet sleeker, more streamlined as it slices through the air like a blade. As it comes to within about a hundred yards of the passenger ship, those running lights Kamina searches for burst all at once, blood-red magelights illuminating the approaching ship... and, especially, its pair of bow-mounted cannons.
"No lights," says the deckhand in the crow's nest. He calls down below, "Alert the Captain! Ship coming up on th' stern!" Seipola is knocked over as deckhands scurry to their stations, the woman smacking her forehead on the unforgiving deck. From the below passages comes the Captain, hollering for all he's worth. "Throw every bit of sheet to sail! Roll out the cannons!" Sadly, it's only a total of eight cannons, four to a side. It's a passenger schooner, not a warship.
Kamina lifts his head, "Blood and ashes, I really hope they're just all asleep." he tries to take the glass form the watchman and have a look forward at he ship trying to make out detail...to have his nightvision blown by the blood red mage lights...oh and cannons, he can see that. "Ah...right." it only takes one beat of pause before he breaks out in a grin and shouts down at the rest, "ALERT! ALL HANDS!" then once more he grabs the belayiing rope and slides right down to the deck! In his excitment he'll nearly runn over Seipola! Though the woman knocked down upon the deck with a hard thunk gives him pause, "Ah bloody hell that's not good. Leanining down over her he tries to roll her over, "hey Ma'am, you all right? Still with us?"
There's no doubt about it. The ship approaching has no good intentions. The ship behind--almost certainly a pirate, by its actions--continues to close the distance, a bit more slowly but steadily, as its own rigging is already optimized for the chase. Amidst the bustle on the pirate vessel, two stationary figures stand out--a rather drably-dressed but confident-looking woman, and a tall, enrobed man gazing up at the sails. It would seem that the pirates have a mage to work the winds in their favor, as if the luck could not be worse.
Seipola shakes the daze away as she's rolled over. "What's going on?" she demands. She looks up to the stern for her answer. Pirates. Her gaze looks to the crew, knowing that they will be captured.
The first cannon shot is fired, a shot that falls wide to port and at least ten yards short--likely a warning shot. The pirates come still closer, now maybe fifty yards away, closing faster and keeping bow-on with the schooner as it turns to bring its pitiful broadside to bear. The woman calls out now. "Stop your turn at once!" The accent is clipped to the point of sharpness, the words coming fast like a barrage. "Prepare for boarding or you will be fired into!" She glances at the presumable mage up on the sterndeck, whose eyes suddenly come down to gaze upon the passenger ship. The pirate vessel starts to slow--his attention is elsewhere now.
It takes Seipola only a moment to catch a glance at the enrobed mage on the pirate ship. She calls out to the Captain, "Captain, slow and heave to. We're no match for them!" The Captain snarls at the noblewoman, "Shut up, woman! I have my own ship to captain!" He turns to the deckhands. "We'll not be taken. Bring her about for a broadside!" The ship begins to lumber to port.
The woman--the pirate captain, likely--shakes her head. At this range, her pointed ears, decorated with gold rings, are visible--of elven blood, clearly. It may be that somebody amidst the schooner's crew knows what that presages. She glances at the mage in the sterncastle and nods, and the second warning shot fires--not from the other bow cannon, but from the mage, a jet of fire burning through the sky perhaps five yards to starboard, the heat tangible on the deck of the doomed vessel.
The Captain snarls at his crew, forcing them to come about and prepare for the broadside into the bow of the pirate ship. Seipola finds her feet and rushes to the sterncastle where the Captain is giving orders. In the midst of the chaos, she aims a punch for his midsection to drive the air from his lungs. The guncrews wait for an order from their Captain, but the man shakes his head, trying to draw breath. The guns wait, and presumeably the ship's crew waits for orders.
"This is your last warning!" the pirate captain calls out, her voice loud and clear. "I am Nakamora Noriko of the Excoriator, and your ship and your worthless little lives are MINE!" The first cannon is, by now, reloaded, ready to fire, and the mage awaits his orders. One way or another, it will likely be over soon.
The crew loses some of their zeal in trying to fight off the pirate, the first mate stepping to give the order. "Heave to, men. Bring down the sails!" An air of dread falls over the ship and its passengers.
Something like a grin crosses Noriko's face, predatory and vicious, as the ship heaves to. Before long, the Excoriator has come alongside, grapples swinging out to tie the schooner down and railed gangplanks being laid between the two ships. A cluster of men and women with bared blades board the schooner, and Noriko and the mage cross after them, claiming the prize. The woman, in particular, looks over the people on board, considering.
The Archadian noblewoman acts very much surprised, letting loose a scared squeal as she's shoved into line with the rest of the deckhands and crew from topside. Others are hoisted from their cabins below, brought forth in their sleeping attire. The Captain regains his breath finally and mutters curses none too quietly.
The gathered pirates look over their captives, many of them, men and women both, leering openly. The captain, meanwhile, has eyes only for the noblewoman, whose clothing speaks of wealth, and the captain himself. "If anybody here has a purpose worth more than my crew's amusement," Noriko says after a long moment, "speak now." The crew themselves look positively gleeful--it would seem they see much amusement to be had.
The noblewoman's gaze is steely in the dark, but her actions are timid. "Please, don't hurt anyone here. They haven't done anything wrong!" she says with a nervous timbre to her voice. She steps forward, her hand gripped tightly about her fan as though it were some sort of weapon.
Noriko chuckles at the noblewoman. "They stumbled in the Excoriator's way," she says, baring her teeth. "So now I claim what pitiful lives they, and you, may have." She glances back to her crew, whose lurid gazes are in no way sufficiently well-concealed by the night.
Seipola glowers at the pirate captain, her eyes glinting in the darkness. "You don't have to do this," she says, trying in vain to negotiate. Her hand still remains tightly wrapped about her fan. She's worried for the other crew, that worry crossing her brow.
"Ah, but I -want- to," the Elvaan woman replies with a toothy grin laden with rapacity. "Besides, my people need to eat, and this ship certainly carries stores enough to do that a bit. And the coin this ship can fetch should do more." That toothy grin widens as Noriko pats the sword pommel at her waist. "And my people need entertaining, too. You probably won't be anybody's first choice... my Lady," she adds with a sneer. "But I'm sure some of the deckhands will give you a toss."
Seipola draws in an astonished breath, keeping the part of the scared noblewoman. "Please, let them go. Take me in your place. I can offer a rather handsome ransom from the Archadian Embassy if you let the crew and the passengers go, Captain ...?" She trails off, not quite familiar with this denizen of the sky.
Noriko's sneer deepens at the noblewoman's idiocy. "Nakamora Noriko, and if you want me to let anybody go you'd best start convincing me how much you're worth." The glint in the elvaan's eyes makes it fairly clear, however, that she's already weighed and measured the Archadian's weight in gil, and found it to her liking.
"My lady! Don't!" shouts one of the noblewoman's handmaidens. She's met with a stern slap to the face from one of the pirates.
Seipola looks the Elvaan squarely in the eyes, no fear shown, only a promise of hardship to come. "I am Lady Seipola Anath Getzrik. I suggest you let these people go in exchange for myself."
Muttering starts to come from the crew, a sound of impatience that their captain hasn't given the order they crave. Noriko, meanwhile, mulls over the name. "And what sort of ransom do you offer in exchange, Seipola? What price do you put on their scruffy heads?"
"Two million gil to let them go. My family and the Archadian Embassy will pay it," Seipola says boldly. Her fingers tremble at how tightly she is gripping that wooden fan. Recognition shows in the noblewoman's face at the pirate's name.
Noriko nods after no more than a moment. "That will suffice, I think." She glances to one of the people at her side, a short man with a bared blade. "Assemble a prize crew. And keep... oh, that one." She points randomly at Kamina out of the crew. "Drop him off near Emberstrand, then haul this thing to be fenced. You know where, and when." She glances to Seipola with a grin. "You and the others are going to come aboard the Excoriator. Can't be unloading everybody near the city, you know--somebody might raise an alarm, and we can't have -that-." She nods to her crew, who start roughly gathering everybody up.
Seipola dons a look of fury on her face. "But they are to be let go in exchange for me!" The noblewoman steps forward, menace radiating from her small form. Her hand goes for a decorative knife tucked into her sash. How reckless!
"Oh, I will let them go, and they will go unharmed," Noriko replies with a chuckle. "But as I said, I cannot unload them all at once so near Emberstrand." The woman stops a moment, thinking. "There is a village about three days' ride north of Emberstrand--not too far from here. I don't know the name. We will let them go there. Unharmed." The captain glances to Kamina. "And you can tell everybody in Emberstrand that, too, when you give notice of the Lady's ransom." And with that, the herding begins.
Seipola is shuffled along with everyone else, hand holding still upon the decorative knife hidden in the sash at her waist. Other people give cries of outrage as they are herded along like common cattle, the crew leering at them.
Leering, yes, and quite openly and lasciviously, but no more--their Captain was clear on that much, and they are merely taking what tidbit of pleasure is being allowed to them as a result of the Lady's ransom. Before long all is sorted out, a small prize crew with Kamina aboard the schooner, and the rest of the passengers and the schooner's crew, and most of the pirates and Captain Nakamora herself, back on the Excoriator. The gangplanks are removed, the grapples released, and before long the ships are setting off in opposite directions, the schooner for Emberstrand and the Excoriator to the promised village.
The Archadian noblewoman takes the time to watch the pirates, her eye taking note of armaments, manpower, and even the types of cannons. She's silent as her handmaidens jibber in her ear, begging for her to reconsider. A glower from the noblewoman stifles their quiet chatter, as does a leering look from a passing crewman.
"Have the Lady taken to my quarters, for now," Noriko says as the Excoriator gets under way. "Close guard, of course; she's not to touch anything." She considers for a moment before addressing Seipola again. "Keep your chittering horde with you. And if you -do- touch anything, I'll let your guards take turns with them."
Seipola glowers at the dread Captain as she's shuffled along with her handmaidens. She keeps a close eye, watching for small signs, such as a loose lock here, perhaps a small bolt out of place there. The noblewoman's hand releases the decorative dagger from her sash, the knife worthless to her for now.
The pirates assigned to watch over Seipola and her handmaidens do not stop the noblewoman's scrutinizing gaze--their orders are simple, to keep her from touching anything, and to their dismay she seems bright enough to not make the attempt. Meanwhile the Excoriator makes its way to the nameless village where freedom for the rest has been promised.
The time seems to pass on far more quickly than Seipola would prefer. Her gaze continues to take in small details of the cabin, trying to remain calm in a sea of tulmultuous fear. Her handmaidens are rife with terror.
After a while, the sun crests the horizon. The ship begins to slow, and before long Noriko steps into her quarters. "On deck, dogs," she snaps at the guards. "And bring the -Lady- and her cronies." The guards herd the women out, ignoring any protests. On deck, the other captives are on their feet but clearly weary--it's very doubtful that anybody has slept.
"Unhand me, curr. I can walk perfectly fine on my own," Seipola snarls angrily, putting on once again the front of an offended noblewoman. The quartet of handmaidens seem to act as one, scared and timid as they huddle about their mistress.
"Don't think the old lady would appreciate it," says the pirate with his own toothy grin.
The captain, meanwhile, moves to the center of the deck, waving one arm first to the port railing, then to starboard. It takes only a minute before the captives are lined up along the rails, pirates behind them. Noriko gives Seipola an evil grin. "As you can clearly see, Seipola, I keep my word. We are here, and they are unharmed." Her next words raise to a shout of command to her crew. "Show them off the ship!" And with that the crew starts pushing captives over the rail--if the captain has indeed kept her word, presumably into a village some unknown distance below.
Anguish burns in Seipola's eyes as she watches each person be pushed over. It plays slowly in her mind, watching the look of surprise and then blame as they shriek and fall to their death below. Seipola starts forward, trying to put a stop to things happening.
Noriko raises a hand to Seipola, a halting gesture. "Your ransom means I have denied my crew their pleasures, my Lady," the pirate captain says coldly, seeming unmoved by the cries of people cast over the railings. "Your maidens stay, and if you step out of line so much as once before the gil is in my holds, then their bodies are forfeit."
A ragged breath tears at Seipola's lungs, the guilt of all those deaths weighing on her conscience. She glares at at Captain, her voice hitching. "You have been Judged for the crime of mass murder, Nakamora Noriko, Captain of the Excoriator." Her hands clench tightly, fingernails drawing blood from her palms.
The response to Seipola's declaration is a peal of laughter. "Oh, my, you do that -well-, my Lady! Perhaps you dabble in the theaters?" Noriko's laughter dies down after a moment. "You very nearly sound like you think you're some sort of Judge or something." Meanwhile, the captain of the schooner, held by three pirates, is... -about- to be thrown over--but a parchment is being pinned securely to his clothing. Apparently, a message beyond a field of bodies is going out."
Seipola withdraws the knife from her sash, blade bared and the timid noblewoman's look dropped. Perhaps there is some worth to her words? She moves to lunge forward toward the nearest pirate, the blade slashing out. The noblewoman's anger has spilled over into undeniable fury.
The movement is quick, and the pirate holding her wrist--the wrong wrist, worse luck for him--isn't paying nearly close enough attention to the posturing noblewoman. His throat is opened in a gout of blood, and he reflexively releases Seipola to clutch uselessly at his wound. Noriko, meanwhile, grins widely as she draws the silver-bright scimitar and dagger at her waist... mythril, to any properly discerning eye. She doesn't say anything--yet--as the noblewoman appears to be ready to start slaughtering the crew of the Excoriator.
Blood sprays across Seipola's rich clothes as she rolls forward, going for the next pirate in her sight. The dagger slips in between a pair of ribs in the chaos and fury. The cries of her handmaidens are lost in her ears as the full fury of the Law boils up inside Seipola.
The rustle of unsheathed weapons all up and down the deck is unmistakable as the other pirates follow the captain's lead. "That's enough of that, Seipola," Noriko calls out. "Remember, one maiden for each of my crew."
The chilling words cut through her animalistic rage, her arms spread wide as her hand slowly unwraps from the dagger, letting it rest in the man's ribs as he clambers at it before falling in a heap over the siderail. A snarl of fury erupts from Seipola as she waits to be taken back into custody.
Noriko clicks her teeth in frustration as the man falls overboard. "Pity. That little knife looked like a pretty penny." Not a hint of concern for the slain crew in her voice. She starts snapping off orders to the crew. "Let's get set for the Point, folks. Jennah, Kailan, take her Ladyship down to one of the cages. Strip her down and make sure she's unarmed, but then lock her up and bring me the key--she's to be returned undamaged once we get our payday." The captain gives Seipola a smirk. "Pick two of your magpies to attend you. I promise you'll have the others returned to you when we're paid."
The handmaidens are confused, looking back and forth to each other. Their mistress capable of killing two men without so much effort, and now they are all to be seperated?
"You lie," Seipola says, her voice filled with fury as her arms are grabbed up and twisted roughly--this time to ensure that she does not get loose. She looks to the gaggle of girls, seeing their terror at being seperated.
"I've done nothing of the sort, -my Lady-," the captain replies with a sneer. "If you like, I will speak it plainly for you, so you understand. When we receive the two million gil you've offered, you and your handmaidens will be allowed to return to the ground safely and go on your way."
"I won't choose," Seipola says as she looks away from the handmaidens. Not willing to choose their fate when the fates of all those dead are now on her shoulders.
"And if I choose all four if you don't, would you choose?" Noriko replies with a wicked grin. After a moment, though, she chuckles. "No, I won't make you choose. Two homely magpies aren't worth risking your ransom over." She snaps off more orders to the crew. "Have them all taken below, stripped down, and locked up tight. Women only, now--no liberties with the lot of them. Fuck each other if you need relief that badly, else you can wait til we get to the Point."
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