Sunday, November 25, 2012

Death before Dawn

Up before dawn for the Morning watch, with Mr. Melen in command on a cold grey morning, with fog and cloud blotting out star, sky and sea. At the forward rail we found the barbarian Warrior asleep in the air, being not used, as I imagine, to sleeping in Hammocks nor belowdecks; but, there being no Harm in it, nor reason to disturb him, we left him there, and returned to the quarterdeck. Whereupon, I discerning a Noise, but not able tell where it came, nor what manner of thing it might be, I ran up the Ratlines to the maintop, and spake with Laithoren, who heard it also, and hazarded that it came from off the starboard Quarter.
As I returned to the deck, a Thing flew past me, which had I seen in time I had caught, but in the Darkness I could not, so it shattered upon our Deck, and a cloud of Fog billowed out, and I cried out to Rouse the Watch, and Repel Boarders. We heard the glass of the galleries breaking, so I sent Greyson below, to Defend the great Cabin, and the Captain, who will be wroth, for the glass hath scarce been repaired for two days, and broke again. I cast Light upon the wheel, to aid us in our fight, and began to chant an old war song. Melen fell to a single arrow. No other Prospers being near, I took to engage the first boarder, he being a Raider of rough mien coming over the side from a long Boat at our starboard side. A quick feint and double thrust, and I slit him from knee to Crutch, and he fell.
An archer shot at me, but missed; about the same time I heard an aggrieved cry from Kanak, on the fo'c'sle, and wonder if the shot intended for Me, might have wounded the blue warrior. If so, it can scarce have done him much harm, for quick thereafter he gave a great roar, and I heard raiders cry dismay from the ship's waist, as he lept down upon them and with mighty strokes he cleft them in twain. I struck my archer foe, yet it little profited me, for two swordmen came to my right, and I chided them, saying, Lo, three great men, to face a single Halfling, be ye not Ashamed? but they wounded me. I took healing, a little, from my Belt, and  wounded the archer again, driving him back, but lo, behind me came two more of the foe, and over the rail, two more again, and I alone in the midst of them.
Having heard glass break belowdecks, I thought raiders might be in the Great Cabin, and the Captain in need of aid; and I misliked to stand and fight alone against six skilled warriors. Therefore, before my foes could strike, I vaulted the rail and, sliding down the tumblehome, landed atop a raider climbing. He, much surprized, lost his hold and fell into the Sea, while I stepped Lightly to the sill of the quarter gallery. Finding the Glass unbroken (although, I shall tell the Captain otherwise), I kicked it in  and stepped into the gallery, and thence into the Great Cabin, where I found Greyson at sword's points with a raider, and a second raider down, and Garrity also, sore wounded. Twas the work of a moment to drive steel into the foe. I tended the Captain, and sent Greyson forward to gather his men, thinking he would Lead them up to take the main deck. Yet in moments heard I the clash of steel on the Lower deck, and hurrying towards the sound, I found Greyson alone engaged with a Raider, and two more besides. I joined him, and dealt with one foeman and he a second. The third fled up to the Main deck, and I hounded after him, but I scarce had put blade to him than he tumbled back over me, cleft from shoulder to brisket, for Kanak stood at the top, and gore dripping from him. I hastened past him to the Quarterdeck, for our Marines were engaged there right hardly, rapiers to axes, and Arrows whirring left and right. We finished them, the last being the angry and wet raider who I had knocked into the Sea, and I offered him Quarter, but he would have none, and struck at me, but my blades were the quicker, and so he fell.
And then it was the weary business of tending the Wounded, bringing the longboat alongside, binding the prisoners, and making reports, and lo, the Sun not even risen yet.

The Men are telling tales of the fury of the half Orc, and if twere that I credited all they say, then Kanak slew fifty men or more, reaping three or four at a time with a single stroke, or tearing them asunder with his bare hands. I saw almost none of this myself, but, pouring the whey off the curds, the true tale, I believe, is that  the raiders clambering onto the Waistdeck, Kanak, in the foc's'l, hurled himself upon them and knocked them all ajumble, and slew three or four. The pirate chieftain being there, Kanak flung him into the longship, where there were still a dozen raiders, and Kanak, though alone and Feathered with half a dozen arrows, leapt down among them, and slew the Chieftain, and his lieutenant, and one or two more besides, and cowed the rest. The half orc then leapt back up to Prosperity's rail, a distance of eight Feet or more as I judge, and slew a man at the Foremast in succor of our archers, and another in the waist who nigh fell on top of me, and then one or two more on the Quarterdeck. And so I make the count to be as Many by his one blade as Greyson, and Laithoren, and I, all together.

That evening
The wind being fitful, the Captain ordered out the Boats to tow, the raiders, having been despoiled of Arms and armor and put back aboard their longship with Kanak to watch, serving also thus. At the end of a long and hungry day, still all a-mist and the Oarsmen weary, the Captain ordered, that the raiders should be released, and let to row away into the night and fog. This was more Mercy than I should have ordered, viz, a quick Blade, but belike he had some reasons.
Our woe that evening was not only over the fallen of our Company, but also for our Prize money, for despite the Travail of the fight, we had of it scarce enough Gold to cover the palm. Yet the Captain, being rueful, divided among us those small Trinkets of magics, which had been taken from the Foe, my own being a Gem of life drinking, the virtue of which, once bound to a weapon, is to heal the Wielder, each time the blade bites home. Tis but a small thing, and I scarcely satisfied at first, but on Reflection, it might fetch a few hundred gold, and moreover, since this voyage seems beset with Peril, I having fought spies and ghosts, robbers and beasts, in our few days out of Waterdeep, a trinket of healing may, perchance, be of some worth.

1 comment:

  1. Kestrel doesn't know this, but Kanak didn't throw the raider chief into the longship. Kanak jumped down into the longship, and the chief and his henchman jumped after him--except the chief blew his rolls and did a faceplant.
    Also, Kanak did not jump ten feet straight up from a standing start, from the longboat up to the ship's rail; he used a magic item with a ten-foot teleport.