Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mohryn's Tale 4

Get up, get up!!! If yer lazy arses don’t get us sunk then the dwarves ‘ll do it for ya!” The captain’s shout rang clear through the floorboards of the ship’s deck, startling the cook some 3 decks below. The merchant ship cut mercilessly through the undulated surface of the water…only a few leagues from harbor as the crow flies. The captain’s order was greeted with the sullen nods of the still half drunken sailors fresh from slumber as they slowly reached deck.

Mohryn had seen this all play out many times before. He fastened the clasp to his journal and stood, awaiting the day to come. The ship seemingly had more fine spirits than real cargo which probably had a lot to do with why no real pirates bothered them. The “Echinoid”, playfully called that since it usually had more barnacles than wood it floated on, had a reputation for carrying very little worthwhile cargo but somehow managing a hefty payload for its captain and crew.

A red dawn greeted all aboard the Echinoid as they sailed towards the Eastern Kingdoms. The rays of blood hued sun danced across the growing mass of clouds, beckoning only the crazed or iron willed to enter its maw. Though it had been a month of ‘hard sailing’ as the captain said, it would be a few more days of the same if she was to get her payload into port on time. ‘Through the blood dawn we go..’

Mohryn glanced at the enigmatic captain from his view on port side. The crew often called her “mistress”…others called her “cap’n”, but to Mohryn she introduced herself as Equinox. She certainly looked it…Her oddly soft, pale skin was matched by jet black hair which was often slung over her shoulder in the form of a braid. She was equally dark and light in her presence and tone using every curse known to man and dwarf yet sparking more than her fair share of coy remarks.

“You bless us with your presence yet again, master elf.” She said with a playfully sarcastic tone. “It’ll be but two days before our parting.” She left it at that, taking a moment to lean over the rail.

“Bless is not the word your crew would use…” It had been a tough month for adjusting, more so for the crew than for Mohryn. He spent his days wrapped tightly in cowl and cloak and still felt the wary stares of the crewmen.

“Don’t be modest now. The crew has taken a liking to ya…I have taken a liking to ya.” She winked and went back to bellowing out orders to her crew before any of Mohryn’s reactions could be gauged.

Just as he stowed his journal away into his pack the first mate called out the day’s role. The greenhorns were always relegated the remedial chores of cleaning the night’s dinner or maybe even checking the ropes if the first mate was feeling ‘froggy’. To Mohryn went the lines and main sail. He was the most nimble and comfortable even amongst the old sailors…to which came more glares.

As he went to his post he could hear the sailors talk amongst themselves. “Red dawn..” they said. He had seen a life’s worth of superstition in just one month…this being added to the growing pile that he did not yet understand. Red dawn or not, he climbed up the ropes and began the day.

The morning drew to midday and the sun threw off the cloak of haze that threatened to envelop the Echinoid. The bleeding rays of light passed and offered a reprieve through the storm ahead. Boredom, the bane of recent days, had become the routine the closer they came to Menethil Harbor. But not every day was a red day…a red dawn.

“Three vessels on the bow’s horizon, cap’n!” called Three-eyed Johnny. They called the ‘old bilge rat’ that because they swore he could see a ship a mile behind all the while looking at two barmaids in front. Mohryn, half way to the crow’s nest, looked across the calm waters. Three smaller ships were indeed there. “They are sailing towards us, mistress. Right outta tha storm.” Johnny called once more.

“Thank ya, Johnny. Can you see their mark?” Equinox said calmly as she strode to the bow’s railing, looking for herself.

“They bare no flag. By the looks of ‘em they be bigger than schooners, mistess”, he called back.

“No mark, bigger ‘en schooners, and they be sailin t’wards us…”, she turned towards the crew, sage hued eyes cutting into each. “Greenhorns get below deck. Tell Mr. Barley that he best be holding off on makin tha stew…” Mohryn watched the crew scramble to their new positions. He knew little of open sailing and what three ships sailing towards them meant, but he judged the captain’s tone well.

“Throw open the standard of Stormwind, lads. Let’s see what size cannon balls they think they have.” The crew raised the flag bearing Stormwind’s insignia. Its tattered edges thrashed against the changing wind, heralding the shifting fates to those aboard. As Equinox strode to the wheel of the ship a brilliant flash of lightning descended through the curtain of storm. Like the touch of the vile gods, its outstretched hand struck at the water between the Echinoid and its unforeseen fate…


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