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Winter's Bounty

Winter's Bounty

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There are treasures in the world, some grander than gold and silver. To seek these prizes is to invite grave peril upon yourself. If only pirates weren't accustomed to such stakes as it were...

1,066 readers have visited Winter's Bounty since The Adversary created it.

Introduction

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“O, ye colors wax and wane, as the go fe wind and rain.” – old buccaneer's rime


It has been said that during the time of the ancient Archontia, whose shores spanned nearly all of Gliesa's fringes, there was not a trace of piracy in the eastern world. Baijat's vast fleets of coastal galleys, deep water carracks, and huge merchant armadas transformed the once ungoverned waters of Gliesa into a heavily regulated dominion – the so-called “Azure Province” of their empire. Piracy, once thriving, had been brutally exterminated through systematic and all-out warfare, and thus the “Baijarn Peace” extended well beyond their conquered lands and into the very oceans themselves. As should be expected, when the Archontia dissolved, so died the order their puissance had held intact. Within two short decades corsairs had reappeared in fervor upon the waves, harrying the fledgling Gliesan successors and thwarting early attempts at naval expansion. Later, even Valiesan pirates would migrate further south to reap the rewards gained by raiding the developing countries' shores, igniting fury in the hearts of the Gliesans towards such violent interlopers.

While the efforts of early titans like St. Daré's Empire certainly made conditions more favorable for coastal enterprises, it would ultimately fall to the Second Kingdom of United Ports to fashion a modern equivalent to Baijat's maritime regulation. The Ports, interested solely in defending their own merchants, built up a mighty navy and worked to suppress every pirate who dared to operate in Gliesa. The terror they posed registered so thoroughly that many pirates simply fled north, eager to escape the growing wrath of the Gliesan empires. While the frigid waters of Idara and indomitable Batheon held little love for their kind, it was certainly a more favorable arrangement than dying at the hands of Portish galleons, or being paraded to a hangman's noose.

Congregating around the abandoned Tarnish Palatinate of Hache Isle, they built up a micro-state of their own; a haven for piracy in the east. The last great bastion for privateers to call home. From this harbor sails a ship of moderate renown, the Winter's Bounty. Once in service with the Spears, it now roams the waters like the wooden mockery of a great glacial shark in search of prey to devour. For a day now it has stalked its next meal, a simple merchant vessel under the Kingdom of Tarn's flag carrying something of great value within its hold. Soon the Bounty's colors will hoist, and Essus will be paid a blood sacrament.

Winter's Bounty
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The Bounty began her life as the sloop-of-war HIV (High Imperial Vessel) Myrmidon's Mantle in Batheon's navy. A smaller warship, she is built for speed and maneuverability, able to slip about larger vessels with ease. With a complement of roughly sixty able bodies, and a sizable hold, her versatility gave her a long life with the Spears. Following many proud years of service, she was finally declared of an obsolete design. Rather than scuttle her, she was sold to a nation in the north, yet still south of the Cradle. She changed hands yet again after arriving in her new home, eventually finding her way into the possession of a wealthy nobleman to be used as a private vessel. She was refitted with an icebreaker and a thicker hull to withstand the northerly conditions. Soon after being relaunched, she found herself yet again in the service of another master, but through much less cordial means. Taken for a prize by a pirate known as Old Marcos, she found a new calling as a ship of fortune, now called Winter's Bounty. For several years she ploughed the seas in search of riches, striking fear into the hearts of whomever came under the shadow of her new standard, and inspiring renown about a ship with blue sails that haunted the northern seas, preying upon any that caught her eye. In time, the man who rejuvenated her decided his time had come to an end, and decided to retire and live off of his amassed wealth. In his wake, a new captain was raised to her helm. A foreigner by the name of Lei Xing, who had come from far to the west.

Roles
Captain | The Adversary
Quartermaster | Imperial Waltz
Master | phoenixheart
Boatswain | TheCrimsonLady
Gunner | Open
Doctor | TheCrimsonLady & stealthpanther (both roles filled)
Carpenter | Imperial Waltz | stealthpanther
Merfolk | Open - ShaShaBoomStar | Imperial Waltz | The Adversary
General Crew | Open - Quakernuts | The Adversary | fading-into-eternity


SST Wind In the Barley

A relatively simple brig, born into the life of a merchant vessel. Sleek and quick, with plenty of room in her hold. Bound from her native ports to a harbor in Batheon's northern tip, straddling the Cradle, laden with fare and goods to be sent ashore at her destination. As chance would dictate, this will likely be her final voyage, and neither crew nor passengers will see their goal. The Bounty shadows her, hungering for what she carries.

Races
  • Human - Humanity, like all species, was born of the gods' will. Unfortunately, the truth behind this fashioning has been lost to the ages. Furthermore, no god or gods have come forth to claim them as their creation. It has since fallen to scholars and priests to debate the theories postulated about how humankind was born. They are, through various means, by far the world's dominant species. Motivated by a stern will and a decent helping of greed, humanity has spread far beyond their traditional demesne. Even in lands where nothing had taken hold, humans colonized and made it livable.
  • Elf – Once a mighty race commanding a vast empire, fatally xenophobic leanings led to the dissolution of elven liberty in favor of human imperialism. Elves, in general, are slightly shorter than humans on average. While most can live from between fifty to even two hundred years longer than humans, they are physically weaker. They are most iconically set apart, of course, by their pointed ears and fair features. Sédalian elves are regarded as being the most similar to human, though set apart by their universally blue-white eyes. Due to their status as a client state and culture of Batheon, they are also the most fairly treated elven ethnicity on the planet. Most other elves face various forms of racism, up to and including slavery. Because of their frailer physicality, they are best suited to more servile tasks. Those elves yoked into hard physical labor experience dramatically shorter life spans. Because of this divide, Sédalian elves face persecution even from their own kind. Oddly enough, they are numerically the minority in their own homeland, but the largest by ethnic group. It is also worth noting the irony of their plight. Their ancestors had set out to eradicate humankind, but in the end they nearly suffered the end of their own race.
  • Mermaid – One day, a very long time ago, Essus, god of the sea, noticed a beautiful young woman wading through the shallows. Consumed by lust, he immediately stole her away for himself. The goddess of the earth, enraged by the theft of a being who dwelt in her sphere, sought to retrieve the girl. Thus, the gods of earth and sea battled over the mortal in contest to claim her. The conflict was so tumultuous that the world as mortal knew it was very nearly ended as a result. Deciding to put an end to the quarrel, the other deities intervened and mediated a compromise. The woman's time was to be divided between the land and the sea. For half of a year she would dwell on land, and for the duration of the other she would live within the sea. From this coupling came the race known as mermaids, ubiquitously beautiful sirens who live in tribes throughout all known waters across the world. However, unlike their ancient mother, they are not bound to return to dry land. Rather, it is a choice for them, and upon venturing from the water their tails transform to human legs. They ardently worship Essus above all other deities.

Here be the skeleton, for further information regarding the setting and lore- and a plainly written version of the Articles- feel free to check the OOC tabs.

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[b]Name[/b]:
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[b]Position[/b]:
[b]Gender[/b]:
[b]Sexual Orientation[/b]:

[b]Race[/b]:
[b]Age[/b]:
[b]Height[/b]:
[b]Description[/b]: [[Mandatory one paragraph at least.]]

[b]Nationality[/b]:
[b]Creed[/b]:
[b]Motivation[/b]:
[b]Likes[/b]:
[b]Dislikes[/b]:
[b]Strengths[/b]:
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[b]Personality[/b]: [[Mandatory one paragraph at least.]]

[b]Equipment[/b]:

[b]History[/b]: [[Mandatory one paragraph at least.]]

[b]Ship Currently Aboard[/b]: [[Winter's Bounty or the Wind In the Barley.]]

Toggle Rules

Let's not tarry here, these should be basic.

Thou shalt not godmod, lest thy wish to feel'th the wrath of.. well.. whatever I happen to pull out of my very fine hat at the time.

Thou shalt'th not be a dick, lest thou desire'th Imperial Waltz to gnaw upon thine ankle..th.

Thou shalt post as often as thou art able. Otherwise, let us know if you're going to be away for a while. Y'know.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 7 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing
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Early Morning
Sea of Dray
Aboard the SST Wind In the Barley

An impenetrable grey blanket had wrapped itself snugly around the sea, as if Essus himself had drawn it in so he might retire to sleep. Even he sought warmth from Injia's bitter demesne. Not a thing could punch through it. No shadows of land in the distance, and even the lanterns they had hung could do barely more than illuminate the deck. It even appeared to muffle the world, diminishing everything to its most subtle state. The Wind only rocked and creaked, the gentle settling of the timbers offset by a constant and subdued sloshing from the swells as she sliced neatly through them. There were stories told of these waters. Some said that Pellar himself would haunt the mists, plucking unfortunate sailors at random so they might never be seen again. Others told of ghost ships obliterated by the ocean's divine wrath, and doomed to wander forever; eternally chained to the material world. These stories trickled through the beams and boards, as if the whispers of the damned and lost had come a-calling from the haze.

Of a more immediate concern to Captain Jakobin Marston was the threat of icebergs or other much more mundane threats that preferred to hamper a voyage. He was a tall and dignified man, once a celebrated bare knuckle boxer in his prime. Some vestiges of that past could still be seen in his large frame and squared jaw. His once burnt-orange hair was now a distinguished silver, and hung down from beneath his hat in a tidy tail. His comportment was one of distinction and the grooming of a proud heritage. Prim and proper, his coat neat and tidy, thrice-high resting even upon his crown. He looked a man who had deep knowledge of the seas. There came a soft snap as he shut his timepiece, directing his gaze back over the horizon. Or rather, where the horizon would be if not otherwise obscured. Irritation was written clearly into every line on his wrinkled face, and that had been somewhere past the tenth time that morning he had consulted the watch. The fog was very much overstaying its welcome, and he dreaded continuing onward whilst its devilry was in full effect. He stood upon the quarter deck, one hand on the railing immediate before him. Below, deckhands toiled away about their duties in such a solemn hush that one might almost presume there had been a recent death.

A few paces back from the captain stood a surprisingly healthy looking, though admittedly scrawny elf bundled up in a heavy woolen coat. He appeared rather well off for an elf aboard a Tarnish vessel, in any case. Wisps of faintly amber hair poked out from beneath the red topplue atop his head, which had been pulled down far enough to hide the pointed tips of his ears. His verdantly hued eyes seemed sunken, worriedly darting hither and thither. Occasionally they returned to a book laid between his hands, a map unfolded across the pages detailing the most commonly used shipping lanes between Gliesa and her northern sister. He muttered nervously to himself, running swift and frantic calculations. Everything looked to be going well, apart from the fog. He briefly referred to his compass, surreptitiously murmuring a prayer beneath the disguise of a sigh.

The elf carefully folded the map and quietly shut the book, tucking it away into an interior pocket. He looked back over his shoulder, into the choking grey. “Pellar's blackened bones, this is horrid,” he hissed. Throwing a glance to the captain, he cautiously made his way around the towering man and down the steps to the weather deck, his footsteps making hardly a sound as he tread. He would pay the price if they were off schedule. Serving aboard a Tarnish ship was dangerous for his kind, and his position was ever in threat of being removed. The only thing keeping him in marginally favorable standing was his skill as a navigator. He had an aptitude for the science, and had easily outclassed the several humans that initially vied for the same spot. So far the god of fortune had been on his side, all things considered, and he was not about to hinge his job on blind luck.

With anxiety settling into his soul like the skeletal fingers of the creeping cold, he wandered between the deckhands, sparing none of them more than a fleeting look. Upon reaching the fo'c'sle deck, he frustratedly gripped the gunwale, squinting as he peered off into the fog, silently willing it to abate. Miraculously, before his very eyes, it did indeed appear to be lifting. A ton of bricks was lifted off of his shoulders, and a smile broke out across his face. That look of relief was doomed to be short lived, unfortunately. For just as the sun seemed to begin burning away the first layer of fog, something caught his eye. A deadly black shape loomed through the gloomy curtain, steadily consumed by definition. Masts and a bowsprit, spearing out from the wooden flesh of another ship. It was close, and just near enough that it would clear them when it passed. A portentous susurrus chilled his blood. Indeed, it was close.. but he doubted it was by fate's fickle dice roll.

He whirled around, a warning poised on the tip of his tongue, when a crack! split the morning. A round punched through his skull, knocking his corpse to the deck.





Winter's Bounty
a short time earlier


Captain Xing stood before the grand cabin's doors. His mouth was set into a frown as he pensively observed the thick valance that Injia had graced the morning with. An old jacket was draped across his shoulders, the sleeves empty and limp, the whole article looking like an impromptu cape. He had become accustomed to the chilly northern air, and kept the jacket with him for little more than insulation. There was nary a sight to be seen, but for the heavy cloud enveloping the Bounty. He chose to view it in a more positive light. It was a shroud, cloaking them from the sight of their quarry. A most welcome advantage, and one they were hoping to use in full. Everything had been going according to plan thus far, and he was not about to question providence's smile. Else it might turn to match the look upon his own lips, and sour their schemes.

Shrugging off the invisible ropes fastening his feet to the boards, he climbed the steps up to the quarter deck, passing by a rifle propped against the gunwale. His pace was cool and even, as if he were out for a morning stroll. There was no rush, they had a window before anything would begin. The vantage offered him no better a view, but that was not his intention. The Bounty's Quartermaster, Adalrik Baltasar, had perched himself on the raised level as well. The man was seated in a corner, nose buried in the pages of a book. Xing recognized the title: The Saga of Varyes. Something of a classic, he heard tell. Baltasar was peacefully engrossed in the tome's contents, not bothered by thought of the coming row.

Xing stopped. With a thoughtful tilt of his head, he broke the silence. “It is cold today.” There was a weight to his voice. This was no absent obiter dictum, and the simple phrasing of his thoughts served only to convey the tone. That was where the true meaning hid itself. As ever, Xing's speech was measured. Every word was precise, as if it had been chosen for a reason.

“Is it?” Adalrik queried from behind his novel. If he had caught on – which, he likely had – there was no immediate indication.

“Hmph.” Came a gruffly reaffirming grunt. “Winter is coming.”

Adalrik continued to read his book. “Indeed. Faster than usual, this year. Injia must be stretching her legs early. Crew's going to start complaining soon. Every man, elf and mermaid. Our Sea Angel will be pleased, though. Wherever she is.” The mermaid in question had been gone for some time. She was free to ebb and flow as she pleased, but the loss of even a single mermaid from their complement could be felt in every raid. They were terribly useful little nymphs.

Xing abruptly turned, peering at the bowsprit. A minute ago it had been just a dark line in the fog. Now he could make out the grain of the wood. The fog was beginning to tire of its rest as well, it seemed. “Perhaps she knows how many of us do not belong in these waters. We predate in her realm without concern, so far from our homes. I wonder if this displeases the Cradle's queen.” He began to trace a finger around the pommel of his sword, eyes remaining steeled toward the bow.

Adalrik insouciantly turned a page. "They say when the ground chills to the point where even the furthest roots of the greatest tree can feel it, it means a war is coming. And in her displeasure, the Goddess of Snow releases the Pale of Death upon the world.” He spoke as if discussing what he would be having for dinner. No concern, nor forbidding menace in his tenor. “It's an omen. Generally more flowery in its description, but you get the point. Frankly, Essus is my more immediate concern." His lack of interest was in jarring juxtaposition with the topic.

“A lovely story,” Xing remarked. “I am sure it is taught to all the little children of Daré when they attend church.” A smokey laugh, very nearly a cough, made its way up his throat. “Such tales fascinate me, perhaps you could.. elaborate later.” He knocked his foot against Baltasar's boot to gain the Quartermaster's attention, and pointed off into the fog. An inelegant tactic, but it sufficed. “I believe that our prize is approaching.” A shadow had appeared, steadily growing in size.

Adalrik rose immediately to his feet, now full of energy. “Excellent!”

Xing went to the railing, and with raised voice he declared, “All hands, make ready! Bring us in close and prepare to board! I wish to do business with our esteemed merchant friends. First, a hush now for our Quartermaster,” Xing entreated, holding aloft a hand. He turned his gaze back to the man in question. “Mister Baltasar, you may initiate talks at your discretion.”

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Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing
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"Well that's my cue, isn't it?" Adalrik asked to no one in particular and handed Xing his book. Patting the Captain on the shoulder as he descended the stairs to the main deck, their quarry zeroed in Baltasar's vision. Without even looking - his eyes never leaving the closing ship - he picked up his marksman's rifle off its perch against the railing as he walked by. Almost as if choreographed. Clearly this was a scene that had been repeated often. A ballet of ships, a scene of drama for the pleasure of whatever god cared to witness.

The crew was silent as he passed, all eyes were on him. The anticipation in the air was palpable. This was a ritual for the crew of the Winter's Bounty, and the attention of every member aboard was squarely upon him, rapt. His coming actions would dictate if Pellar was destined to bless or curse them on this mist strewn morning. Some considered it the fancy of superstitious sailors, but in a world where the divine were very much a reality it was not wise to tempt fate. Regardless of the reasons why, these "talks" as their esteemed captain - ha! - put it would not commence until Adalrik completed his task.

Walking up to the port side gunwale, Baltasar tucked the butt of his rifle into his shoulder and caressed it like a man caresses his lover. His daft hands nimbly coaxing this exquisite instrument of death to life with practiced ease. From his perch Adalrik gazed upon his prey, already picking the tell tale signs betraying a vessel of Tarnish origins despite the fog. A moment later, a moment closer, and he could make out figures on the deck scurrying about, going about their assigned tasks. One unlucky individual was soon to die, but fate rarely took just one in these displays, so if there was any small comfort for the person who was about to part from this world, it was the fact they would be joined by many of their fellows soon enough.

Baltasar tended to assign each kill as a mark. Each kill was another mark, a white line he scribbled on a mental chalkboard. Every engagement the list was renewed, and as they drew to a close the chalkboard was wiped bare again. No mere notch on the belt, this was how Adalrik mentally traversed the field of battle. Counting the seconds until the next mark. "Are you ready, boys?" he absentmindedly asked the crew of the Chase Cannons that knelt ready around him, not for a moment peeling his gaze away from the distant ship. With grunt of acknowledgment by the crew chief, Ad raised his rifle and took aim. Then began counting.

Two likely targets immediately took shape, and Adalrik casually shifted his aim between them, deciding who would be the first to die. Would it be the one huddled closest to port, likely fixing something or another? No. The gunwale meant he didn't have a clear shot. Could he make it? Probably, but why take chances? That left the one leaning against the railing peering out into the fog. Eyes focusing, Baltasar watched the world fade way until the man under his sights was the only thing he saw. Details sprang to life out of the nether and Adalrik began to study the man with expert precision. He appeared in this thirties, and clear stress lines marked his features. On closer inspection Baltasar realized it was an elf. Elf on a Tarnish ship. No wonder he was stressed. In a way, killing him would be a mercy.

Adalrik briefly wondered if some part of him felt sorry for the man, and after a few brief moments of reflection decided that was irrelevant, and promptly allowed the question to slip from his thoughts. Aiming for the elf's head, Adalrik took a deep breath, exhaled, then fired.

Mark.

After the last echoes of his rifle's bark faded into silence, Baltasar casually lifted his arm into the air with his hand in a fist.

Then the Guns opened up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing
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Meira shivered at the helm as dawn's golden fingers caressed the horizon, sending the waves into a frenzy of dancing light. The fog of that night still had not lifted, and maneuvering the ship through the icy darkness had been treacherous indeed. Mei was great full for the awakening sun and sighed with relief even as the fog still settled on the deck. She kept one hand on the wheel as she tipped her hat back with the other, brushing her damp hair out of her eyes. She hadn't slept much the past few days, she had been needed on helm as much as possible with the icebergs approaching and hadn't had a proper chance to get any shuteye, not that it mattered, being at the helm was calming for Mei, she enjoyed the ebb and flow of the ocean below her and the sounds of life on deck.

She wrapped her coat about her and watched as the captain stood distinctly on the quarter deck, looking pensively off into the distance. She wondered what his next move would be, glancing back out to the sea ahead of her to see if the fog had lifted. It hadn't. It would be difficult to continue much further in these frigid waters if the fog did not give, and Meira knew that the captain was well aware of that.

"Pixie," the Captain said, turning towards Meira suddenly. She looked back to him.

"Aye, sir?" Her voice sounded rough from not speaking in a while. She cleared her throat.

"Get yourself some coffee or something, you look tired," he continent without any real trace of concern in his voice. Mei frowned down at the man. Why would he suddenly ask her to take care of herself, he knew she was an elf, and was one of the few people who did, which was probably why she had enjoyed relative peace and quiet while living with this crew. The captain wasn't an overpowering man, but he had never really shown her any concern before. "We'll need you in top shape for this next leg of the journey, you'll be following a difficult route in these waters." Ah, there it was.

Mei nodded at the man before leaving the wheel in his care as their navigator came aboard. He looked flustered, which didn't often happen, and Meira a bit nervous. The shorter elf nodded at her and she greeted him back as she made her way below deck. Even in the early hours of morning the crew's quarters were alive with sounds and smells. The cook was dealing out coffee and biscuits to the groggy group and Mei grabbed a mug and filled hers up, leaning back for a moment as well as she could against the side of the ship. She sipped delicately in the mug and smiled a small smile of relief as the warm liquid sank down her throat. She glanced around the quarters and chuckled at the waking crew who were trying desperately to bundle up before changing shifts and getting to work.

Meira finished her coffee sooner than she would have liked and began to make her way back to the helm, putting her normal, serious face back on. Her hand rested naturally on the hilt of her sword as her face came above deck and she saw a look of terror pass over the navigator's face. What was wrong? She didn't have time to think before the ship shook with cannon blast a bullet hit the small man directly between the eyes, a clean, cruel shot. Her eyebrows furrowed together as she dashed to the man, keeping her head covered by her hands and ducking down to keep her balance as the ship was rocked with hit after hit and trying to avoid the bullets from the longer range rifles. The guns of the other ship were doing a fair amount of damage to the Tarn ship, though the crew were luck that it was still slightly too far for most shotguns to reach. The ship rocked dangerously as they were hit yet again. She looked down at him. Dead.

There was blood on her boots as she raised her eyes to find the source of the killers, eyes sharp, feet stable. She could see it now, the fog had lifted. This would be a bloody dawn. She looked towards her captain for direction and drew her swords, hiding the fear that she suddenly felt for her freedom and life. The wood of the hull was splintering as it took on more hits.

"Captain!" She shouted, voice no longer quiet. A bullet whizzed by her head and she flinched. "Your orders sir?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride
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Abe was worried, probably less so than he should be, but he was worried nonetheless. The cold was beginning to creep in. It wasn't just an odd cold day sort of cold. This was the deep, frozen colds of the beginning of winter. It was probably his imagination, he thought as he studied his maps, but winter seemed to be rolling in particularly early this year. Abe pulled his bottom lip through his teeth. He knew exactly where they should be, but this fog made it damn near impossible to see anything. If it didn't clear by night, then navigating by the stars would be near impossible. As it was, a man could barely see from one end of the ship to the other. It was some consolation that the oceans were deep out here. At least they didn't have to worry about running aground. Still, there had been no complaints from the captain, so they were still in pursuit of the Tarn ship. That could only be good.

Abe checked his compass and clicked it shut. They were still on course. Of course they were, he was the best navigator to sail the seas. There were better navigators than he, but they didn't sail, they swam. That was entirely different. He briefly wondered where their Sea Angel had got to. It had been some time since she'd been on deck. Not that it was unusual for her to be gone for a considerable amount of time. Truth be told she still unnerved him. He had always been a sucker for a pretty face, and probably always would be, and she was certainly pretty, but there was something about her that was off putting. She was so utterly un-human, unlike anyone he knew, even the other mermaids he had met.

Abe sighed, the restlessness of cabin fever beginning to set in. They had to be close to the ship by now. He rolled the maps back up, carefully lining them back up in the drawers of his desk. Abe pushed up his sleeves and grabbed his bow and quiver. There were a handful of arrows still in the quiver, but he had others hidden about his quarters. He slung the quiver over his shoulders and headed onto the deck. Outside, the air was damp and heavy, the fog only just beginning to lift into a mist. The sun was pushing through weakly. Visibility was much better than it had been earlier that morning. A shadow appeared through the mist. The Barley. Abe felt himself relax. Everything was working out according to the captain's plan.

“All hands, make ready! Bring us in close and prepare to board! I wish to do business with our esteemed merchant friends. First, a hush now for our Quartermaster." Abe heard Captain Xing call out. He nocked an arrow and took his place next to the captain, keeping an eye on Adalrik, making sure no one on The Barley was pointing a weapon at the quartermaster. Good quartermasters were hard to come by and Abe really didn't like the idea of stealing one from The Barley. For a moment, everyone on The Barley seemed to be waiting on their captain's orders. Then their guns opened, blasting holes into the Tarn ship. If they had any sense, they would surrender soon, while they still had a ship left to salvage. Too many times he had seen men value their ship over their lives. There were few things worth dying for and, when it came down to it, despite the love and the memories, a ship was just wood. A new one could be made. But people? No, people couldn't just be replaced.

Abe held steady, blocking out the sound of the cannons. They were closer now, close enough for someone on deck to maybe land a mark on Adalrik. He saw a man take aim at Adalrik and Abe raised his bow, pulling the string tight. The arrow flew straight and fast, unseen until it buried itself in the would-be marksman's chest. Abe grimaced. He wasn't getting that arrow back anytime soon. He nocked another arrow and waited.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xandra Ravenswood Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride
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“All hands, make ready! Bring us in close and prepare to board! I wish to do business with our esteemed merchant friends. First, a hush now for our Quartermaster,” The Captain spoke, his voice loud and proud. Xandra could only smirk. Adalrik wasn't going to say anything, he hardly did, she didn't know why the Captain felt the need to hush them as if he would say some sort of speech before battle as if some how this time would be different. Granted, she hadn't been aboard the ship very long, but this she knew as fact. She only wanted to hear three words. "Give No Quarter..." but that would be like hoping the sun would rise in the west.

Her eyes followed Adalrik as he moved about the ship, making his way toward the cannons, this part, she liked, she could feel the static in the air, the rush of coming battle. Her hands rose to the hilt of her dual blades at her hips, her muscles tensing beneath her skin, her breathing coming to her, long and deep as the wind blew her long dark hair, her blue green eyes narrowed with her lips in a firm line that hinted at amusement.

Watching Adalrik work was like watching swordsmith, it was violent as it was elegant as odd as it was. Not that she would ever let those words pass her lips, this was one of the few times, Adalrik didn't frustrate her very being. They had an odd relationship, starting from their first meeting, and had been growing ever more strange. She didn't bother with trying to make sense of it.

Turning her thoughts back to the task, she watched as the fog lifted and Adalrik prepared his shot, a few breaths and he fired, making Xandra smirk. Then the chaotic sounds of cannon fire, warmed her blood. Her fingers curled tighter around the hilt of her blades, waiting the coming bloodshed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Layen McGuillen
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**Collab Post between Quaker, The Adversary, and Imperial Waltz**

Beneath the decks of the Winter’s Bounty lay the barracks of the deckhands, a communal sleeping area for most of the hands on the ship. While not offering much in the way of privacy or ownership over any particular part, there was a small table with a single object resting on it obviously showing signs of belonging to a singular person. Shining with a blue-ish white tint sat a small statue of an ice shard, about the size of one’s fist. Fashioned onto a small round stand so as to sit properly on the table, it was as close to a shrine of Injia as one was going to get. Layen “Frost” McGuillen knelt in front of it, one hand in a fist up to his mouth and the other resting on the floor in front of him. He had donned his entire battle gear for the upcoming engagement. His rifle sat in the middle of his back, ready to pierce the air with its cry. His pistols clicked slightly as they banged against his chest, and his swords touched the ground from their scabbards. A mix of leather and steel armor covered his body, and at the moment, a bandana was wrapped around his mouth, leaving only the top section of his face visible, from the eyes up.

His lips moved in prayer underneath the black bandana. “I am of the ice born, a frozen man given life by the breath of Injia. It is my duty, privilege, and honor to prepare for the upcoming battle in the name of the Frozen Maiden, the Winter Queen, The Lady of Ice. Should I fall, may the frost take me. In Injia’s name.” Layen looked up at the ice shard miniature statue, slowly standing and still staring at it. After a moment, he gave a nod and wandered over to the stairs leading up to the deck of the ship.

Layen opened the door, revealing the mist that currently surrounded the entire ship. Visibility was extremely poor, and the crew quietly complained about it to one another. The biting cold air, while uncomfortable to most, was a blessing to Layen as he stood and simply enjoyed it for a moment. It reminded him of his homeland, of his Goddess Injia, and all the trials he had to overcome to simply be standing here. He gave a smile underneath his bandana as he wandered the deck, helping out wherever he could. Tying down ropes, prepping the grappling hooks, and generally making ready for the boarding action that was to come.

Layen paused for a moment, looking out into the fog and seeing a faint shadow start to emerge. Their target had appeared, and soon they would be overtaking it and gathering everything on board for their own desires. Such was the way of life on a pirate ship, and while morally questionable by everyone’s standards, Layen absolutely loved it.

“All hands, make ready! Bring us in close and prepare to board! I wish to do business with our esteemed merchant friends. First, a hush now for our Quartermaster,” The Winter’s Bounty Captain, Lei Xing stated. A decent man, all things considered. His foreign ancestry seemed to bring about a certain amount of distrust among others, but Layen could care less about what the man looked like. He had been signed into the man’s service a few months ago and that was that, end of questions. Layen’s word was his soul, be it written or spoken, and as such he followed the Captain without hesitation.

“Mister Baltasar, you may initiate talks at your discretion.” Lei continued, pointing to another. Aldarik, marksman, bit of a mouth on him that caught Layen off guard more than once but all in all not a bad man to have at your back. His skill with a rifle surpassed Layen’s, most likely due to his military training, but in an overall combat sense Layen liked to think he was the better combatant. He had yet to test that fact though, and considering they were both working for the same man, he doubted he would ever get the chance.

Aldarik came down to the deck, grabbing his rifle as he did so and taking up his spot. This was almost a ritual by now, a superstitious way to determine if the battle would go in their favor. Layen grabbed his rifle from his back, holding it in both hands before him, but not moving from his spot near the bow of the ship. Aldarik was to have the first shot or two depending on how he felt that day, and then after that the battle would enter open season. Their target was edging closer now, details emerging about the hull and its crew. The air was tense as the marksman readied his shot and picked his target. He would need to fire soon, they would not stay concealed for much longer.

Everything was silent, even the rambunctious pirate crew holding their collective breath as Aldarik slowly pulled the trigger, as if expecting the weapon to break. The shot rang out, a deafening crack amidst the quiet sea and fog. With that opening round, he held a fist in the air and the chase cannons immediately fired their payload into the unsuspecting enemy ship. Aldarik pulled off two more shots, each passing clean through their intended targets. A head was perforated, followed by another man's chest. All the while Aldarik's composition never faltered as he zeroed in solely on the killing shots. He was well deserving of his epithet, the 'Calm One'. Layen took a few steps closer, kneeling and bracing his rifle on the wooden railing of the Bounty. The firing of the cannons was rocking him and the entire ship though, and his aim wouldn’t be nearly as good in this situation, but he doubted he would get the chance to properly use his rifle once they were within boarding range, so he took a deep breath and fired between cannon bursts.

First shot miss, second shot hit, third shot hit, fourth shot miss…

On and on he went until all ten rounds of his rifle had been expended, the barrel heating up and smoking to show it’s lack of magical fuel to continue. He replaced the weapon on his back, looking over all the cannons and seeing them hard at work loading shells and balls into the weapons to continue firing. Their target didn’t stand a chance, not after the crippling initial salvo. Layen quickly went to the nearest cannon, taking his spot on the arming crew and helping load the next round of shots. They were nearing their target at incredible speed, and so Layen made ready. He retrieved one of his swords from his sheath, and grabbed a pistol in his other hand. He stood near Aldarik, flexing his hands ever so slightly as he watched the pirates cheer and shout, cannons firing as a few of them twirled grappling hooks above them.

The Quartermaster rallied the boarding crew with a call to arms, ebulliently shouting, "Do you boys want to live like princes? Well look who's stopping you! We can't be having that, now can we?" The answer rang out in a concert of voices, the varied responses intermingling into an uproarious mess.

Soon they were close enough to attempt a boarding action, and several grappling hooks flew through the air. A couple fell short, bouncing off the deteriorating hull of the Barley. Most, however, found their mark. With the strength of a dozen sailors, they heaved the boat close enough to jump over. Aldarik was the first to cross, as was his right, and Layen wasn’t far behind. The enemy vessel’s troops were making ready to repel boarders, a few grabbing rifles and attempting to fire from a range. For the most part though, they grabbed swords and attempted to hold them off with good ol’ fashioned steel.

Layen jumped, landing in a roll and ending it in a near dead sprint for the closest enemy combatant he could find. The man made to swing, but he was either scared, tired, or both. His swing was high and slow, and Layen capitalized on it, sending his sword halfway through the man’s stomach before quickly retrieving it, sidestepping around the man, reversing his grip on the weapon and sending it backwards through the man’s back. There was a slight gurgle as he slowly started sliding off the steel, and more defenders turned their attention to him.

They charged, their weapons ready and entering a do-or-die mindset. A dangerous foe, one who had nothing to lose, and yet an easy one to predict. Layen’s face was stoic, his eyes narrowing as two of the defenders charged him from across the deck and he raised his pistol to meet them. No sufficient armor to protect them, they faltered in their step as they too reached for non-existent pistols at their belt. It was almost sad to watch…

But not sad enough to spare them.

His pistol barked off two harsh reprimands, the rounds performing as intended and splintering on impact, sending multiple shards into their body as they dropped with high pitched screams of pain. Layen looked around the deck, the other pirates of the Winter’s Bounty having joined the fray and the deck of the Wind in the Barley turning into a full blown bloodbath and deathmatch.

Layen took only a moment to situate himself, and he was off to join the fray again.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Samara DeVries
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A lone figure mingled in the Bounty's infirmary, isolated from the bustle of the rest of the ship and completely consumed by a singular task. Several supplies lay about a long table, most of which had been used by this point in time. In front of all the used or partially used implements and ingredients sat ten small, squat glass jars- each of them currently empty and paired with a corresponding lid resting beside it.

Stirring the mixture once more, Samara- or Alvar as she was known now, carefully tipped the pot over each of the jars in turn, filling them up until only a half a centimeter of space lay between the smooth liquid and the rim of the jar. Stepping back to inspect her work, the doctor smiled and relaxed as she deemed the process finished and perfect. Now the only thing left was to let the beeswax and coconut oil mixture cool and set into a solid, then place the caps on the jars.

Setting the pot into a small wash basin in a corner of the room, Samara set about cleaning up after herself. A small amount of left over beeswax and two vials of oil were returned to their spots on her shelves. Gathering up the spoon and grater, she added the two tools into the basin with the pot, allowing them to soak before being scrubbed. Going back to the table, the woman dusted off the surface and gathered up a few beeswax shavings that had escaped her in the process of making the balm, sweeping them into a small pouch to be placed next to the remaining block of wax. Looking over the jars, she saw they seemed to be setting properly so far.

The balm was for the lips and hands of the crew, though she was sure at least one or two would protest the use of such a thing. Every doctor would come upon at least one person who would argue over treatments- whether it be because of stubbornness, skepticism, or a lack of understanding as to why it was needed or why it would help. In this circumstance, though a balm seemed a silly, unnecessary thing, Samara knew she was just being well prepared. The chill of winter was coming early it seemed, and the cold wind meant chapped lips and skin. Chapped lips and skin led to cracked lips and skin. Cracked lips and skin led to split skin that bled.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the muffled sound of voices and the not-so-distant sound of footsteps. Everyone seemed to be gathering for something, and she supposed she should attend as well, seeing as she worked on this ship too. Removing the cover-smock over her head, she felt the ship rock more than usual, prompting her to look frantically over at her table and the jars on top. Thankfully everything seemed to be stable for now, but the contents of the shelves rattled a bit.

Taking the jars, she moved them to a small ledge extending from the wall, the shelf a lipped one she had requested be put in. Now more confident that the cooling liquid wouldn't be disturbed drastically, she set about gathering up new supplies at the sound of cannon fire, cursing the weapon for making the ship rock. She hadn't expected the Bounty to reach it's prey so soon, otherwise she'd have everything ready! Quickly fetching bandaging supplies, Samara set aside the standard assortment of items she'd most likely need in the aftermath of a battle. Taking a roll of bandages and a tourniquet in case, she headed up to the main deck. Even as she arrived, she remained at the entrance, knowing she wasn't much use in a fight.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xandra Ravenswood Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Layen McGuillen Character Portrait: Asad al-Hezzeri Character Portrait: Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride Character Portrait: Samara DeVries
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Smoke filled the air. It wafted slowly upwards in loose clouds of esoteric and half formed shapes, lingering against the ceiling, packing the room full with a dense miasma of strong tobacco. There was something strangely organic about its behavior. As if it were trying to contrive images or convey thoughts. The pungent aroma was overpowering, and it seeped into everything. So much so that you could easily tell what kind of leaf Asad preferred just by taking a whiff of his clothes. A pot of coffee was simmering away on the galley stove, its own redolence intermingling with the scent of burning tobacco. The galley was a smallish room, sequestered underneath the fo'c'sle deck. The stove was the dominating feature, its black wrought iron body was designed to incorporate as many necessary amenities in as compact a space as possible. The Bounty's past life as a pleasure ship for a nobleman had meant she was equipped more than adequately. Apparently he had been looking forward to some choice meals.

Things were much too quiet above, and so he had resigned to remain below until things got a bit louder. Or, as he would say, waiting for the party to begin. These chilly northern mornings were a bit dull, and not just because of their oft drab color schemes. The overbearing grey was just the tip of the iceberg- a very fitting metaphor, considering their environs- but more importantly it was warmer down in front of the stove. He was already shrouded in a coat, but all that did was take the edge off. He needed something stronger. In this case, something dosed with caffeine. Coffee was an enduring element in southern Gliesa, with its popularity spreading north later due to Baijat's expansion. Even with its adoption and fame among other peoples, he still saw himself as bringing a bit of real coffeehouse culture to these northern barbarians. Truthfully it was better as a traded commodity, but he always managed to scrape a little aside whenever they found some in a haul. He liked to argue bullshit sentimentality, and even though he got his way he was fairly certain the Captain knew full well he was lying through his teeth.

If anything, it only ingratiated him to Xing even more.

When it was finally finished, as he transferred the concoction into a cup, he began to mutter absentmindedly to himself. "Life, represented in a cup." He brought it to his lips, taking a sip of the steaming hot drink. Following a sigh of contentment, he continued, "Dark, bitter, concealing complexity and vigor. Requiring careful heed to dig up the truth." He took another sip, savoring the conjoined flavors of smoke and coffee. "Maybe Aron should replace Daré with a bean. Talk about a much more interesting godhead. That would really be something to explore."

He was halfway through another draught when a row from above snagged his ear. Moments later a sailor stuck his head into the galley. "Colors are hoisting, we're near to boarding," he cried. With that, the crewman turned and made swiftly for the stairs.

Asad hesitated, carefully pondering his predicament. He was not yet finished with his drink, but now they were on the verge of an attack. Brilliant. He considered taking his sweet time, as his usefulness in a fight was questionable at best. Eyeing the dark liquid sloshing gently around in its vessel, his brow steadily furrowed it looked as if he were weighing matters of grandiose importance. Releasing an exasperated sigh, he downed the rest of the coffee, ignored the scorching heat, and snatched his long gun from its resting place. He marched haltingly to the stairs, climbing up to the deck where the crew was assembled, preparing for the barney to come. Propping the rifle against his shoulder, he absentmindedly stroked the bowl of his pipe with his off hand. Adalrik, the Quartermaster, was preparing to set off the powder keg.

He had to bite his tongue to keep from reflexively remarking on the ritual. He doubted Pellar weighed events based on silly little rites like this, but he would also deny the notion that he remotely understood the gods. Perhaps there was something about these little games that the lord of fate enjoyed. Regardless of whether or not those damned dice were rolling, Adalrik landed his shot. The crack of his rifle marked a clean kill, the round punching straight through some poor sailor's head.

The funereal silence abated with an eruption of violence as the chase cannons cheered. He picked out Xandra and Layen, both anticipating the oncoming brawl. As the rest of the crew prepared for the boarding run, Asad tucked his own rifle into place and shifted his pipe over to the other side of his mouth. He peered down the barrel, leveling it toward the Wind as she came even with the Bounty. There were a myriad of dark shapes scurrying about her deck, and he held his fire. Waiting for the most opportune moment. One of them paused, and he immediately trained his sights on the figure. Just as he was about to squeeze the trigger, a mighty swell slammed into the Bounty and sent him swaying. Angrily thrusting the barrel skyward, Asad leaned over the starboard gunwale, glaring at the sloshing sea below. "Your input is most appreciated, and I do thank you, now quit it!" Finished barking at the God of the Sea, he settled his rifle again and hunted for another target. They would be boarding soon, and he was much less trusting of his aim during an intense melee. As soon as he had a shot lined up, he took it. The sailor's head jerked back, and then slumped to the deck.

“Mm,” Asad shook his head, almost mournfuly. “Lovely kill.” A figure in the corner of his eye grabbed his attention, and he glanced over his shoulder. Alvar, the doctor, was stood at the head of the stairs, watching the bloodbath unfold. Putting on a grin, he plucked his pipe from his mouth, almost in the same manner someone might doff their hat. “A fantastically grey morn to you, sawbones. Looking forward to a few mercy killings, are we?” He barked out a laugh, and freed his off hand to load another bullet into the rifle.





"Captain!" Meira shouted against the sudden din of battle. "Your orders sir?"

Marston stomped down the stairs from the quarterdeck, a fierce glower on his face. He was the embodiment of composure, the stern exterior layered over a fiery rage burning in his gut. “All hands to general quarters, gather your arms! Be damned the ones who let their ship fall victim to blackguard scum!” He took deep breaths to calm his rage, which had long been a bane of his. He needed to think clearly, and fought against the bile that seeped into his veins and muddled his mind. Pirates were no longer a threat in Gliesa, but he had felt his share of their bite before the Ports kicked them from his native shores. Working back and forth between the two continents meant you were right in their firing line all over again, because the sheer size of Batheon's territory provided a refuge all in itself. Little changed in their tactics, aside from employing the oft inclement weather to their advantage.

“Keep eyes peeled on the surf, watch for any signs of fishwives in the waves!” He bellowed, sending his gaze about like a lighthouse's beam scouring the darkness. Only he was hunting for cowardice, not wayward vessels. “Spear 'em afore they come aboard!” He did not so much as flinch when the pirates' chase cannons took to barking, and it only served to make him angrier. “Cut their lines when come across, knock them into the drink! Every one that comes aboard is an insult to the Kingom! We are defending sovereign land, repel them from His Majesty's property!” He caught sight of an arrow impaling one of his men, the poor soul clutching uselessly at the shaft as he dropped to the deck.

When the two ships came even, grapples sailed over from the Bounty, finding purchase in the Wind's gunwale. The pirates surged over in force, and Marston was ready to meet them. His cutlass sung a grim note as it left its scabbard, and he rallied his crew with a vicious cry. One of the first seamen who came across met his end upon Jakobin's blade, and fell to the weather deck in a pool of his own dark ichor. For an aging man, he put up a fight with every drop of strength he had left, and was a terrible opponent. He would either see these dogs in pieces, or fall in battle. He would allow nothing in between.

Another pirate came a-swingin' at him, forcing him to take a large stride back. He waited for an opening, and promptly planted the bottom of his boot in the man's gut. With his opponent knocked off balance, Marston gave a mighty swing of his cutlass. Half his blade sunk into the pirate's neck before it came to a halt, and the attacker gave a single gurgling shout. Blood gushed out across the silvery steel, and he viciously ripped the sword back out with both hands wrapped 'round the hilt. Knowing he could not so much as pause, he immediately stepped forward into another lunge. Pirates were merciless cutthroats at best, and gods damn him if he did not meet them in kind.

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Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Layen McGuillen
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Shit it's cold.

You know, people think Jack's smart. Learned is the word they use. Book read. Use a fancy, shmancy edumacated word like "substantiated" or "emphatically" and the local bumpkins think you're a goddamn genius. Well, here's a little secret; he was a stupid dumbass. Why? Because it's cold. And he hates the cold. Not just because the cold agitated his many - many, many, many, godsforsaken many - ailments, but also because he was born in the riverlands of the Tarnish heartlands. Which was considered a paradise by many around the world including the Tarnish people themselves, who would of course gloat about it endlessly. Speaking of Tarn, the Bounty was soon to assail a Tarnish merchant brig sailing for the northern reaches of the Spears just outside the Cradle. Perhaps it was even a ship under the seal of his family's enterprise, wouldn't that be fun?

If you think that'd bother Jack all that much then please sit down and allow him to laugh in your face. His family's trade empire was the largest private enterprises in Tarns and rivaled Port's Alga Vitter in wealth. His father's company could afford to lose one insignificant brig, and besides anything that stuck it to that filthy pig fucker was worth endorsing. The only thing that might concern Jack is if one of his sisters were on board, but that was a pipe dream. They'd travel in something far more grand then a simple brig and their escort of warships would make a coward out of any pirate ship. This was all conjecture anyway as Jack had no idea what seal was stamped upon the ass of their prey.

Jack wasn't the most patriotic of fellows around and for good reason; The Tarnish people tended to act like idiots. The Kingdom of Tarns had all the ability in the world to become the most powerful nation on Gliesa and the whole world knew it. There was just the one little goddamn issue of that wonderful Tarnish ability to fuck it up. Take what happened a century ago for example, some jackass in the Palatinates thought, ''Let's invade another continent and start in the land of dick freezing cold. Oh and let's forget the nation in question is a natural fortress and friends with the most powerful empire on the goddamn planet. That's nothing we can't handle!' and his jackass buddy went, 'That's a fabulous idea!' Imbeciles.

You might have noticed Jack tends to go on tangents. Yeah, get used to that. Getting back to the matter at hand, Jack is currently in the process of repairing a rifle. Magic etching was a delicate, time consuming process that required a practiced, steady ha- Godsdamnit! The ship began rumbling as the Bounty began engaging it's prey. Could someone have come down to go 'Hey Jack, the raid is about to begin. You are an essential member of the crew and we value your presence on the ship.' or somesuch? Noooo of course not. Ingrates. It was always 'Fix this Jack. Do that Jack. Oh Jack my precious ass scratcher that's been passed down for generations in my stupid bumpkin family broke, can you fix it? Hey Jack, direct the mermaids in fixing the ship's hull.' Okay, he didn't mind that one.

Suddenly stricken, Jack's body heaved as he went into a coughing fit. This was not an uncommon occurrence and he has long since written it off as a fact of his ever dwindling life. Jack looked at his hand only to be greeted to the sight of his own blood he had hacked out. It was getting worse.

The ship rumbled again as the battle outside continued. Walking up to a window Jack stuck his head out and screamed, "Shut the fuck up, I'm trying to work!"




The very moment Adalrik's boots touched the deck of the Barley the entire world seemed to compete with each other for a chance to take a crack at him. Apparently winning that contest one sailor charged him with his sword as another maneuvered to take a shot. Baltasar immediately brought his rifle up, shooting the one pointing the gun at him through the head before snapping his own firearm around to perry the swordsmen's blow with it's length. Bludgeoning the man's head with the butt of his rifle, Adalrik sidestepped around him and kicked the man over the gunwale and into the drink below. If he was very, very lucky the hulls of the closing ships would crush him, if not the mermaids would get him.

Advancing further into the whirlwind of action with one specific target in mind, Baltasar kept his rifle in hand as a blunt force weapon. There was no time to reload another shot but in trained hands longarms could be deadly close quarter weapons. Quickly scanning the field of battle Adalrik observed as Layen tour through the crew of Wind as the rest of the Bounty's boarding crew entered the fray. Sensing someone behind him Baltasar turned just in time for a rather young whelp of a sailor to run up to Adalrik and attempt to wrestle his rifle away from him. Not playing that game Adalrik let go of his rifle, sending the boy falling on his ass from the unexpected motion only to die by pistol round to the face for his trouble. Tossing the rifle back into the air with his foot, Adalrik grabbed it and moved forward.

Overhearing something that sounded rather suspiciously like someone bellowing orders, Baltasar turned to witness a rather well dressed man skewer one of their men. That must be the ship's captain. Before Adalrik could say hello one of the auspiciously dressed captain's men rudely interrupted him by trying to stab Ad in the face. What nerve. Blocking the blow with his rifle Adalrik kicked the man's knee in before caving in his skull. With that distraction out of the way Adalrik looked to the man who was busy trying to stage an honorable defense of his ship, and for his part the Tarnish captain starred right back in righteous fury.

"Greetings, good sir. You must be the captain. Shall we talk?" Adalrik spoke as if he was conversing with a good friend.

"Only if you're to request the manner of your demise!" came the rather dour captain, motioning to Baltasar to begin the fight with his sword.

Before he could oblige the captain was already upon him, swinging his sword with brutal precision whilst trying remain in close proximity to Baltasar as to prevent him from swinging his rifle effectively. The man was well trained. For his part Adalrik expertly blocked the man's attacks until he found an opening and kicked the Tarn's captain, forcing him to step back. Adalrik threw his rifle at his opponent before drawing his own sword and going on the offensive, but the Tarnish man was quick to recover and parried Adalrik's blows.

A flurry of strikes, counterstrikes, blocks and parries ensued. Neither opponent giving an inch as their collective years of training and experience were brought to bare in this single life or death duel. Their engagement seeing them cross the width of the Barley twice over. Seizing advantage of a momentary lull in their struggle, the captain kicked Baltasar against the gunwale and drew is pistol upon him, only for Adalrik to tackle the man before proper aim could be taken sending the offending round zipping harmlessly into the air. A brawl ensued and in it's ferocity both gentlemen's swords were lost in the fray.

Breaking off from one another the two warriors looked upon each other once more, the raging battle around them lost in the moment. Panting heavily, Adalrik complimented the captain, "Haven't had this good of a fight in years, sir. I applaud you."

Equally exhausted, the good captain shot back, "A few years less.. and you would not be standing right now."

"Fair enough." Was Baltasar's honest reply.

With that the two nodded in a silent understanding that this would be the end of their dance, one way or another. This particular act in the gods' great theater was coming to close. Unholstering their respective pistols, a short few moments seemed to stretch on into the endless eternity before, finally, they fired.

Adalrik was hit in the leg and the Tarnish captain was hit in the hand. Before the man could really react Baltasar was upon him and struck him across the head with his pistol sending the captain to the ground, unconscious before Adalrik's feet.

Pausing a moment to take a breath, Baltasar gazed upon what was left of the engagement. With most of the Barley's crew dead or wounded and the rest out numbered significantly it was rather obvious that this battle was at it's close.

Rummaging through his pocket Adalrik took out a simple whistle and brought it to his lips, it's high melodic tone serving as a well understood order for the pirates of the Winter's Bounty and such an unexpected occurrence to the battered defenders of the Barley that it stopped them in their tracks.

The world seemed eerily silent as Adalrik approached the largest surviving group of defenders. Everything about Adalrik was once again calm and friendly as he spoke simply for all to hear, "I think we're about done here, no?" The sailors nodded in agreement. The battle was over.

Ignoring the growing pain in his leg Adalrik walked over to pick up his rifle and looked across the ship to Xing, proclaiming, "Captain Xing, the opening negotiations have concluded. The ship is yours!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Asad al-Hezzeri Character Portrait: Samara DeVries
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Alvar lingered at the head of the stairs leading to the main deck, making sure she wasn't entirely blocking the path by keeping to one side as much as possible. Hazel eyes watched the mayhem that was part of all battles, paying special heed to her fellow crew members for anything requiring her to brave the melee in order to retrieve anyone requiring immediate attention. Thusfar, the battle seemed to be going in the Bounty's favor, and no one's current injuries were in dire need of prompt treatment.

Alvar's thoughts and careful observations were interrupted by a familiar laugh, the woman turning to see Asad with what seemed to her like an almost ever-present grin. With a sort of sophistication seen in upper class gentlemen greeting a lady, the exotic and colorful man greeted her while plucking his pipe from his lips. Alvar refrained from the conditioned response to curtsy, the effort required to hold back thankfully minimal by now. Tilting her head at the nickname, she vaguely wondered if Asad was engaging in friendly banter or trying to goad her. If she were perfectly honest, she was never entirely sure what Asad was thinking or meaning, but she didn't think he was trying to be malicious. Nodding in response, she returned her eyes to the fight as she answered in a well-practiced male tenor.

"And morning to you as well Asad. I think the mercy killing business should be left to you. I am simply clean up."

Alvar noticed Asad reloading his weapon from out of the corner of her eye, still keeping the better part of her attention on the fight going on between the members of the two ships. She fidgeted slightly where she stood, her inability to see everything- namely how the crew mates who boarded the Tarn ship were faring. There was only so far she could clearly see and determine what was going on, and every time someone was obscured by a mast, ledge, or even other fighters, she tensed slightly, waiting for the crew of the Bounty to reappear within her line of sight.

Two simultaneous shots rang out from the deck of the enemy ship, and Alvar strained to try and see who was involved. A moment passed before she heard the tell-tale signal of Adalrik's whistle, the sound of victory. Either the enemy captain had surrendered or been incapacitated.

Letting out a sigh, Samara left her position at the top of the steps and swiftly began to move about the deck. "Alright, alright, fight's over. Anyone with injuries come see me before celebrating." she said, slipping naturally into her new voice...the voice of Alvar.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xandra Ravenswood Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Layen McGuillen Character Portrait: Asad al-Hezzeri
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"All hands to general quarters, gather your arms! Be damned the ones who let their ship fall victim to blackguard scum!” the captain took a deep breath as he ordered his crew after Mei's shout. "Keep your eyes peeled on the surf, watch for any signs of fishwives in the waves!” He bellowed, his eyes scanning the sea sharply, cutting through the lowering fog."Spear 'em afore they come aboard! Cut their lines when come across, knock them into the drink! Every one that comes aboard is an insult to the Kingdom! We are defending sovereign land, repel them from His Majesty's property!”

Meira listened to his long call as she held Dawn and Dusk at the ready, eyes scanning the horizon for any sign of help. There was none. She felt herself awaken more in the brisk air as she held herself at the ready, feeling the adrenaline rushing through her.

A man's shadow was cast long behind her and she turned quickly to face him, cutting him down in one clean swipe. She was ruthless, but never messy with her kills. It was a good idea to back her captain up at the moment and she turned her back towards him so that he could fight another man one on one. She fought off attackers from seemingly every angle, the ship rocking from guns and battle.

Her arms were becoming heavy in the heat of the battle, but her adrenaline rushed on, that is until there was the clear sound of a shot being fired very near to her right side. She grunted in pain. As the bullet pierced her arm, leaving Dusk dangling at her side. The man who took the shot was grinning as he reloaded as quickly as he could to fire again. Not quick enough. She turned swiftly towards him, using her momentum to swing Dawn sharply through his neck leaving a clean, bloody line as he fell with a thump.

She heard another shot ring out behind her and turned in horror as the two fighting men, her captain and a pirate shot at each other, each being hit by the other, but not fatally.

She clutched at her arm as the sweet sounds of battle began dying about her, many of her crew mates had fallen, although they had done the it fair share of damage to the other side as well. It looked grim and her vision swirled around her leaving her dizzy and aching. Too much blood loss for ome morning. She leaned on the side of the ship as the man who had been fight in the captain rang out "I think we're about done here, no?" Many of her mates agreed in solemn murmurs. They had lost.

Meira sheathed her beloved swords in her belt and held onto the edge for support as she awaited orders from anyone willing to give them. And she was really starting to enjoy herself on this crew, for the first time since she could remember in a very long time.

She clutched her bloody arm and whispered. "Aye Ansley, if you could see this now." She gave a small sad smile and then turned towards the man who had called the end of their fight, nervous for her fate but stoic nonetheless.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar Character Portrait: Leah Payne Character Portrait: Lei Xing Character Portrait: Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride
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Abe stood, arrow nocked, watching the lines they had set up. If anyone got too close, he would take them out. One or two brave souls would come to close to the lines and get an arrow through the chest for their troubles. Evidently their captain hadn't realised that as he continued to give the orders for the lines to be cut.

Three, four, five. Abe's arrows were hastily dispatched.

As more men went on board, it became harder to tell friend from foe and Abe's arrows slowed. Not that the crew needed any help. They were doing a wonderful job of cutting down the Barley's crew on their own. He heard a cry off to his left. Abe turned and saw a line fall, a few good men with it. He pressed his lips into a thin line, searching for the soul who had severed the line. He saw a small, dark haired girl pulling on an axe. Frowning, he pulled the bowstring back, waiting for a clear shot on the girl. As he was about to release his arrow, she moved, lifting the axe and spinning away. Then she was gone.

Abe relaxed the bowstring, lowering his bow. From the corner of his eye, he saw another man reach for the line. Quickly and surely, Abe let his arrow fly into the man, keeping the line in tact. A familiar whistle sounded and the crew stopped. Abe lowered his bow and relaxed. They'd made it again.

"Captain Xing, the opening negotiations have concluded. The ship is yours!"



Leah held the nail steady, gently tapping it into the wood. She held another two between her teeth. How had they managed to break the bunk so badly? On second thoughts, she didn't want to know. What the crew got up to in their free time was down to them. Still, she thought, it would be nice if she didn't have to clean up after them. Leah hammered the last nail in, barely paying attention to the world around her. A war could have started there and then and she would have been none the wiser.

A loud crash echoed around the cabin. Leah started, looking around her. What? Oh, oh no. Leah scrambled to her feet, grabbing her axe as she did. She briefly remembered hearing that they were being pursued by another ship, pirates was the word bandied about by some of the more fanciful members of the crew. Whatever the truth, that ship had caught up with them and was now blowing holes in the ship; holes that she and her master were going to have to fix if they came out of this. Leah shuddered at the thought of that seat. She might as well cling to the side of the ship herself. She made her way to the deck, albeit reluctantly. All the way she could hear the cries of battle on deck.

Pirates.

Actual pirates.

Attacking the crew she had worked for for years. The same crew who had afforded her little respect because she wasn't as useful as she could be. She was just an apprentice. May their deities help them if she ever made it to master carpenter. Or would it be mistress? Who knew? More importantly at this moment in time, who cared? Leah gripped her axe, looking for the lines. If she didn't cut them, and the crew came out of this, she would be blamed for not helping. Leah sighed, heading for the lines. In the confusion of the battle, it became difficult enough to get close to a line without being killed. She swung her axe down, severing the rope and sent a handful of men into the ocean. She heard a yell behind her. Leah looked over her shoulder and saw a giant of a man coming towards her. Leah began tugging on the axe, trying to lift it free of the wood. She felt the head give and the axe came free. She spun, using her momentum to bury the axe in the side of his neck. He gave a strange, surprised sound. Evidently being killed by an elf girl wasn't on his list of things to do today. Leah pulled the axe free. Blood spurted from the wound as the man slumped. Leah looked down at her bloodstained clothes. Even when they died, men were filthy buggers.

Leah took a moment to look around. They were losing. She wasn't sure how she felt about that. Maybe if she knew more about the pirates, she would know how she felt. They took from the rich, right? Wealthy merchant ships like this one. They couldn't be all bad. A whistle rang out and the pirates stopped. Leah shifted her grip on the axe, waiting for the next move. There were perhaps a handful of the crew left. Where was Jones? She cast a cursory glance over the corpses littering the deck, not looking at any one for too long. She didn't want confirmation of what she feared.

"Captain Xing, the opening negotiations have concluded. The ship is yours!"

Well, shit.

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View All » Add Character » 15 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Lei Xing
Character Portrait: Xandra Ravenswood
Character Portrait: Samara DeVries
Character Portrait: Ethon Jordanye
Character Portrait: Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride
Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar
Character Portrait: Tysinni Bethe
Character Portrait: Asad al-Hezzeri
Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar
Character Portrait: Amphitrite
Character Portrait: Jack
Character Portrait: Leah Payne
Character Portrait: Ulysses

Newest

Character Portrait: Ulysses
Ulysses

"Don't swim away, little fish. I prefer it when they fight."

Character Portrait: Leah Payne
Leah Payne

People are people, who knew?

Character Portrait: Jack
Jack

"You're a asshole, your father was a jackass and your mother can fuck right off."

Character Portrait: Amphitrite
Amphitrite

"You are curious of me, no?"

Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar
Meira Drakkar

"I will go anywhere as long as it is forward."

Character Portrait: Asad al-Hezzeri
Asad al-Hezzeri

"I'll strangle silence before you can quiet me."

Character Portrait: Tysinni Bethe
Tysinni Bethe

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar
Adalrik Baltasar

"You, my friend, are an idiot. Idiots don't tend to last long."

Character Portrait: Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride
Abraham 'Abe' Gillbride

Have I ever got us lost yet? No? Well then

Character Portrait: Ethon Jordanye
Ethon Jordanye

"Perhaps this wasn't the best idea of mine..."

Trending

Character Portrait: Samara DeVries
Samara DeVries

known as 'Alvar'

Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar
Adalrik Baltasar

"You, my friend, are an idiot. Idiots don't tend to last long."

Character Portrait: Xandra Ravenswood
Xandra Ravenswood

"I will be feared...."

Character Portrait: Amphitrite
Amphitrite

"You are curious of me, no?"

Character Portrait: Lei Xing
Lei Xing

Yes, yes, ask away. My life is not locked away as if a treasure in some box. I have no qualms answering your questions.

Character Portrait: Ulysses
Ulysses

"Don't swim away, little fish. I prefer it when they fight."

Character Portrait: Jack
Jack

"You're a asshole, your father was a jackass and your mother can fuck right off."

Character Portrait: Tysinni Bethe
Tysinni Bethe

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

Character Portrait: Ethon Jordanye
Ethon Jordanye

"Perhaps this wasn't the best idea of mine..."

Character Portrait: Asad al-Hezzeri
Asad al-Hezzeri

"I'll strangle silence before you can quiet me."

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Xandra Ravenswood
Xandra Ravenswood

"I will be feared...."

Character Portrait: Jack
Jack

"You're a asshole, your father was a jackass and your mother can fuck right off."

Character Portrait: Adalrik Baltasar
Adalrik Baltasar

"You, my friend, are an idiot. Idiots don't tend to last long."

Character Portrait: Samara DeVries
Samara DeVries

known as 'Alvar'

Character Portrait: Ulysses
Ulysses

"Don't swim away, little fish. I prefer it when they fight."

Character Portrait: Meira Drakkar
Meira Drakkar

"I will go anywhere as long as it is forward."

Character Portrait: Amphitrite
Amphitrite

"You are curious of me, no?"

Character Portrait: Leah Payne
Leah Payne

People are people, who knew?

Character Portrait: Tysinni Bethe
Tysinni Bethe

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

Character Portrait: Ethon Jordanye
Ethon Jordanye

"Perhaps this wasn't the best idea of mine..."


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