WORK IN PROGRESS
Twas the ringing of the ninth bell in the Bletherad under the burgeoning shadow of the Library of Bletherad which bequeathed by proxy the small sea port its name some five millennium ago. It was as though the bell had signaled the clouds to part and let the morning sun once more shine upon the Isle of Y-Oda. This morning though was different than the last 464 years before it. This morning was dotted by the billowing plumes of smoke escaping from six sinking ships all flying either the flag of Modeus, Lord of Hades or the Zealotry. There were four birthed ships that could mount a defense of the Library and the inhabitants of the last bastion of unbiased learning in the world.
- The Cutter’s Wail – a Bizantium Corsair that did not make it, however, without the sacrifice of her crew and its noble captain the other three would have likely faired far worse for wear.
- The Noble’s Wench – A partially converted Timirian Viscount ship with some armor and armaments. It’s two ballista and light catapult will be named “Death’s Twins” and “The Lady’s Vengeance” for the damage their crews inflicted during the Battle of Bletherad Bay.
- The Faithful Turtle – A Western Empire Caravel, but fully converted to a warship because it is known to transport shipments of gold. The captain is heralded as one of the few Westerner’s to make FIVE passes around the horn of the Land of the Damned loosing nothing in the attempts!
- Rogtilda – The vessel which became the impromptu flag ship of this motley fleet of sailors, buccaneers, scallywags, and near do wells! Currently it is healing in the harbor having spent the last few hours since dawn rescuing those sent overboard from the other ships. Watching the yellow wood regrow never ceases to make me smile.
Whether or not, YOU, yes you reading this believe the stories of CrIsis and their quest to rebuild Osiris to be real. This battle that I witnessed from the ramparts of Auntie Ev’s establishment paints a clear picture that some do believe, and they don’t like the success of our heroes. However, the legend of the crew of, Rogtilda – the living ship, will spread and its crew have taken their first major jump into becoming heroes and legends of their own!
I had been visiting the great library when word began to spread about a small fleet of six black hauled ships, brandishing sanguine colored sails heading to port. It was the sixteenth bell of the day when all Hades broke loose as the emissary of the dark fleet of ignorance and death landed in the center of the port town. As a first shot across the bow goes, few things compare to a Baal-Rog carrying a Minotaur priestess of darkness! Cries rang out as the gigantic, greater demon landed. I had been crafting a poem on the porch of the in enjoying what has been a quiet day up to that point. To then see one of Hades’ dark captains carrying one of the Minotaurs the Golden, Unyielding Strength of Osiris warned the world was still out there was terrifying to say the least! The greater demon set down his passenger, and this female Minotaur brandished her runestaff crying out, “I broke the Angel of Isis within this staff, both of us serve a lord that doesn’t lie about the world! Modeus is the Lord Hades, Lord of Demons! If you want to be free of monsters then join the camp that controls them all!”
That was an intriguing opening pitch if I ever there was one. Her follow up line was what made her an enemy of the Library. Raising her hand to the Baal-Rog, it withdrew a whip made of elemental fire, “Put not your faith in the words of mortals that have not endured the centuries! We have two objectives for this land. If we carry out both is up to you! I come to take the life of the Golden One! Xerx’ses! Show yourself coward! If you do this we shall not set fire to EVERY inch of this misguided, scroll – ridden, isle! Hide and we shall raze it to the ground! Our friends in the Zealotry are eager for you to hide, for they hunger to destroy the lies of the past, as Modeus hungers for their souls.” A Wolfen monk spoke out in Elvish and then Demongoggian to drive the point home that they would not give up the Golden One, for his aid to the Library has been invaluable. The female Minotaur dark priestess raised her staff in his direction, the fiery whip of the Baal-Rog lashed out! Wrapping its flaming length around the monk in the blink of the eye! Quickly, the smell of burning fabric and fur filled the air! Yanking hard the greater demon pulled the flaming Monk through the air and unleashed a flaming sword, slicing him in twain! As, the upper and lower halves landed behind the evil pair she shouted once more, “Xerx’ses! Show yourself coward! How many more have to die before you accept your fate?!”
As the town went into panic, chaos erupting with various groups running for safety, warnings others, preparing some kind of defense. A shadow covered me from the side. Looking up I saw what was about to become the spark that would set the literary world ablaze in anger and defiance!
Flaring yellow green eyes dart as the female Minotaur turns and two feet above her head of red hot glowing eyes of the abyss made flesh. Flames crackling off of them. “The coward comes forth, tales of your immortality seemed to be a lie just like your heart!”
As Kom’var walked out to the square wearing the leather armor he managed to put together he played the part of his spell-making brother, “Luur’na, whatever people may or may not think of me they are right about one thing! I won’t let you harm any more of these innocent people.”
My ears could pick up the screams inside as the “Spellborn” Minotaur brandished his gifted runic powered flail, Cynic. Inside the inn some of the patrons and Auntie Ev were holding a blond-haired woman back from running out to join our young Kom’var.
“You can’t let him…
They will kill…
By the gods, no…
I can’t watch this again!”
My head was torn back to the battle unfolding in front of me as I heard her bitter words ring out in Elvish, “KILL HIM!”
With Luur’na’s command the fire demon started moving forward as Kom’var, masquerading as Xerx’ses began darting to one side and pulling it into the center of the town. Yelling very loud that he could take the Baal-Rog demon I saw his part of a greater plan. The rest of the crew of Rogtilda that had been on land was helping to get everyone in the town away in case these two giants toss each other into a building!
Then came the FIRE & LIGHTNING as the Baal-Rog & Kom’var clashed destroying the fountain in the center of town as the grappled falling upon it! Kom’var’s free hand doused in lightning kept making purchase against this demon captain of Hades! I have never been this close to a fight between titans in all of my long years! I knew I would never get another chance to watch a fight of this amazing magnitude again and it needed to be recorded for the ages! I did run briefly to the ladder on the back of the inn to climb up to the roof for a better – if slightly safer – vantage of the battle.
Each moment passed like and eternity Kom’var was able to enshroud his form in glowing spell-crafted armor many wizards are capable of. Between the enchanted armor and the natural races ability to within fire abled him to start going toe to toe with the abyssal beast of flame! In between the buildings I was blessed with glimpses of the exodus of the village of Bletherad. The Dark Minotaur Priestess and I were enraptured witnesses to the carnage in front of us! They would break like caged tiger and pounce on each other once again!
SLASHING HISSES of the flaming whip and the ZZZZZT CRACK sounds of the lightning shrouded fist of the Minotaur Wizard. For a bit the added strikes from the Rune Flail, Cynic, were helping Kom’var begin to turn the tide of the battle to his favor! Then the Baal-Rog scored a critical blow and shoved his flaming sword into chest of the Minotaur defender! He threw him and the embedded blazing brand at the Dark Priestess’ now cloven hoofs!
Then came the savior he needed as Luur’na Priestess of Modeus raised her runestaff to strike a mortal blow! 1st Mate and acting captain of Rogtilda – Jershon strode into center of town from the far side of the dark duo, “KOM’VAR I COMMAND YOU TO ROLL AWAY AND STAND UP!”
I looked and ignoring all of the pain young Kom’var did exactly as Jershon commanded!
“KOM’VAR I COMMAND YOU TO PULL THE SWORD OUT AND ATTACK LUUR’NA – THE BETRAYER OF ISIS!!”
Even though it was burning his hand he did exactly that! Which had a startled look on both faces of the Minotaur and the Demon! When the Demon waved his hand making the sword disappear! Kom’var simply swapped Cynic, the rune flail to his free hand once more and continued the assault!
“DON’T JUST STAND THERE EBONBLAZE!! KILL THAT HOOMAN,” shouted Luur’na in a raging elvish quip!!
The bronze skinned Baal-Rog turned to see Jershon cross his arms each holding a sword and smiling. Flexing his flame cracked black wings he began to advance and Jershon waited, smiling till he got to the fountain’s ruined form before shouting, “NOW!”
From two other roof tops stood a practitioners of magic and they unleashed lightning from scrolls that burned up in their hands as the magic took effect! The dual blasts removed the demon’s right arm and wing! The very air felt as though it had been burnt and my nostrils were recoiling from the smell of sizzling demon flash. Between the damage dealt by Kom’var over the last several rounds of their encounter and loosing nearly a third of its form via a surprise attack it began to cloak itself in mystical invisibility. One of the roof top magic users pointed as Luur’na was lifted by an unseen force. The other rooftop magic user fired off what became a giant ball of blue flame. My studies told me this was a spell that delivered cold to its target rather than fire as a freezing burn!
Good grief it was spectactcular watching the explosion of azure fire with exploding ice crystals instead of sparks! Luur’na fell from the invisible Demon’s grasp and crumpled unceremoniously onto the ground. There was a tear in the sky and transparent warbled outline of the demon passing through it as he left this world! A small flask fell to the ground next to Luur’na and she snatched it up with mounting fear. While she was distracted Jershon ran up and got Kom’var to come with him. Luur’na drank the contents of the flask and began to hover a few feet off the ground! A flying potion! Crying out as she fled via mystical flight she made her intent clear, “IMPOSTER! YOU WOULD ROB ME OF MY REVENGE! THE ISLAND WILL BURN AND ALL THE WORLD WILL FOLLOW IN ITS WAKE!!!! PREPARE FOR OBLIVION!!!”
The battle up till now could have gone either way, but Kom’var was the distraction everyone needed to flee the wrath of the attackers! Truly wonderful to watch someone rise to the occasion and survive their crucible! Stupendous! Three others joined Jeshon in the center of town captains of the three other ships I mentioned above.
- Wearing a green long coat with silver otters embroidered along the edges was Harry Lamrith, cousin to Geoffrey Lamrith of Me’zfii Onh, captain of “The Cutter’s Wail.”
- Decked out in blue and gold clothing of fine make with a expensive Dwarven-made Cutlass at his side upon a baldric with steel scales giving it the illusion of dragon hide was Aldus Arachosson, the first child of the Duke of Aracho, and captain of “The Noble’s Wench.” The ship was named for his mother a Priestess of Isis that fell in love and had Aldus out of wedlock! Being illegitimate knocks him out of the line of succession but has useful in his merchant endeavors by having access to certain nobles most captains don’t. He has been on retainer with the Gold Coast Trading Company for some time in Peningshir
- Wearing a reds and gold, lots and lots of gold (rings, amulets, and a golden rod/truncheon). Was the half wizard turned mariner, Ares Traverius Kossig, the legitimate seventh son to Ormod Kossig, the ‘High Wizard of Upper Kighfalton’ and mystical advisor to Regional Overlord, Skluud Ne’klosh, of Upper Kighfalton! Captain of “The Faithful Turtle.” Captain Ares was one of the rooftop magic users that had cast the lightning at the demon using a scroll.
Captains Ares, Lamrith, Arachosson, and First Mate Jershon were discussing the events and could be done. Captain Ares and Jershon laid to rest the most prevalent fear. That painting the ships black and giving them blood red sails did not make them Demon Black Ships! While that clearly made everyone (me as well from my roof top vantage) feel better they were still out numbered one and a half ships to one at 6 to 4, what was more important is that none of the captains had heard about a small fleet of black ships sailing the waters in the last six months. The attackers were all using Eastern Mercantile ships that had been outfitted with ship to ship and ship to land weapons (ramming prows, ballista, catapults, etc.). Jershon mentioned running across a single Western ship that actually had an enchantment to hide the ‘crew’ aboard it and make appear as a ghost ship near the Floenry Isles. Out of all of them only Jershon had access to an enchanted boat but all of them agreed that magic that could change the color of a ship’s hull and sails did not seem so far fetched.
All art done by AZ_RUNE.