RP:D Day; The Naval Assault on Rynvale
NOTE: The outcome of this role play came under administration review. It was determined as having occurred as written, except that the battle was determined inconclusive. Please assume allied forces faced a push back from Imperial fleet remnant that forced eventual retreat again.
Part of the Liberation of Rynvale Arc
Synopsis: The rogue led fleet of the Eternity and allied pirate vessels, as well as the Labryinth, sail into confrontation with an already sabotaged Imperial fleet. Skirmishes ensue and ships and lives are lost on both sides. Drake’s ship is destroyed and he is assumed killed in action.
Characters: Mahri, Drake, Leoxander, Rowen, Reece, Parsithius
Location: Rynvale; Rolling Waves
Playing time 7 hrs
Of the one hundred seventy five ships, nearly half were conspicuously absent. A sense of satisfaction swelled within the lycan as she stood at the prow of the Illoria. The hired captain was shouting orders she ignored, mostly because they weren't directed at her. Of the hundred galleys, only eighty made it out of dock. The same is true with the cannon galleys and battle ships, a fraction had never made it to sea. Mysterious holes or explosions rendered them useless by the time they were to sail. That might account for the black smoke that rose up against the sky. That or the fighting that was taking place on land. Cutting through the waves, the blockade runner took the lead. It was her ship after all, and she was not about to let her go without being aboard. Sharp eyesight kept straight ahead, searching the horizon for the fleet she was expecting. Lips pursed, the lycan looks to the port and starboard sides. Too bad she hadn't had more time in the last few nights. As it is, sleek battle ships teaming with imperial sailors ran along side the Illoria, barely keeping up with the elven crafted ship. In the distance, shouts can be heard, orders given and obeyed without question. The same is true behind her, though she hardly pays it much attention. Trailing behind are the few galleys left. Slowly they make their way out of the loose formation, coming broadside as their portholes open and cannons make their debut. Gods above, she prayed, let her efforts not go to waste.
She crests a wave and falls with a booming slap to the ocean's flat; and here, in a three-masted bloom of midnight sail bellowsed forward by the arctic sou'westerly gust she's brought with her, is the ironwood frigate Labyrinth, flagship of the rebel fleet. Monstrous both in size and truly by nature, the vast vessel creaks and groans with unweathered planking; her black-as-iron wood, sourced from the Xalious foothill forests by Craughmoyle, which will prove as hard, almost, as that metal. Along her sides are rows of long bronze cannons, which gleam in her gunwhales like twenty-four new metal teeth in a sardonic death's head, mortars alternating with flat trajectory guns, all of them loaded, wadded, and primed to fire. Intimidating as she is, the horrific ship still further brings despair to those who face her, with a supernatural fog that follows in her wake, gathering about her when she slows; and the overwhelming sense of gloom that pervades her very look and tends to gather deep in the soul of the observer. What dark secrets lie below her decks, what fell magics pervade The Labyrinth, few will ever know before today-- but one among that number is the man standing tall at her helm, a dark-haired villain in a shapeless cap, whose grin is maniacal as his lady-love breeches the Cenril coast like a marauding wolfess snapping at the white heels of the sea. He is hardly visible among the billowing shrouds of her sails, but can be glimpsed as the lone figure manning the wheel, while below on the main are his few men, all hired with a mercenary's soiled gold, and who seem mainly preoccupied with keeping the cannons manned; a skeleton crew for Drake's beloved, newly-summoned ghost.
Drake shouted, "Bringin' her round! Sharp to starboard! "
Drake 's order would bring Labyrinth adjacent with another tall ship allied to his cause; this one red-sailed. A shout went up, men ran to their duties. Drake stalked the deck like a caged panther, waiting.
Leoxander had a tendency to be fashionably late... a habit that carried through right into their day of War. From Rynvale shorelines, the view of vast, wind chopped waters was an empty and gray scene for the majority of that cold morning, giving away no telltale sign to the conflict that was to arise. The sun would detach itself from the horizon as slowly and hesitantly as the Captain and his ship had left the sanctuary of his cove, glancing back only once in the direction he'd known his family to depart for safety, aboard another. Then Leoxander would focus his mind entirely on what lied ahead. For the first time since Cenril's shoreline assault, the Eternity sailed to war, and not on her own. Bearing her blood red sails of No Quarter, seven of them rippled and pulled in the wind, causing that sleek mahogany vessel to pick up speed and slice more smoothly through the mild waves. Flanked at either side were two glorious, three masted, multi-decked ships belonging to the fiery haired Captain to command them, who was just as intensely concentrated upon the mission as the rogue was. He'd stood near the wheel at the top deck letting nature guide her until that moment that the dreaded Labyrinth came into view, restored sea worthy, as promised. Ignoring the shiver that stole down his spine, his eyes would graze across the surface of his own vessel, stocked with the only crew he'd ever trust to sail along side. Ignoring the whisper of death that tallied how many of them would float in the waters with debris when all was set and done, he finally gripped a peg of the ship wheel to coax a patient turn before the ghost might just show up to hold the course. Descending those steps, he barked out orders in echo to the deep shout across the waters, which sent several of those hands into action, forming a chain of men where keg sized barrels could be transported to the rails, swiftly. "All hands on deck! I won't second think throwin' one of you worthless dogs to the deep just to lighten the load. GET that cargo to the main deck and waiting."
Rowen crawls off of Julien's shoulder and scampers over to where Leoxander is stood. Perched atop a barrel. "Pssst Captain!" She calls to Leoxander her voice is still that of Rowen, despite her body being that of a rat with only three paws. Dark magic has strange effects at times. "It's me Rowen, I have never been more glad that you do not let cats on your ships captain. I have been blessed by the Goddess Daedria once more, turned into a rat.See I was over in Frostmaw..for..for secret stuff, and I was browsing through the books in this dark library and I thought it would be interesting to read the one entitled. 'Danger, Rat Curse.' Then, by an amazing coincidence, just as I opened the funny glowing book, the goddess blessed me with rat form once more. Truly I am blessed!" She cleans her whiskers "So what is this shindig all about cap'n? Who we going to be stealing from? Think we can capture me a windowmaker." The rat is distracted by the appearance of 'The Labyrinth' "I knows that ship, it had me garden and me treehouse with me pink ropeladder and we rescued my mum, Diiroehn from it, and my cat tiddles.”
Reece winces as the sea spray stings his face, the illusionist rising from below decks for the first time on this little trip. He'd been meditating and hoping against hope that this would work. As Leoxander finishes his motivational tirade the avian arrives just behind his left shoulder. "Captain, Reece reporting in." He'd thought of saying more but as he considered it the ship rolled in the swell again and more sea spray spattered him.
Mahri raised a hand against the setting sun. While the display of orange, reds and purples would have been given the proper attention they should have been at any other time, this was not an ordinary day. Or evening for that matter. Tension held sway. In the set of shoulders and the jut of her jaw it showed. Despite her lack of sleep and the exhaustion that bores down on her, the lcyan is as alert as ever. Turning away from her post, she stalks across the deck until she is side by side with the captain. A few quiet words are exchanged. His expression one of brow-raising disbelief, hers of dogged determination. The braid was almost a lost cause as she shoves her hands into the dark strands in agitation, "Trust me on this, Captain. An' don't fail me. I'm payin' ye after all." After a subtle nod is given, she points out the five she'd spotted earlier that morning. "When I tell ye an' not before." From the 'nest, no word is sent down of anything spotted. She knows they're out there though. She can feel them deep down to her bones and damned if this was not going to be one of the worst days of her life.
Drake shouted, "Bring 'er alongside! Man the planks!" The frigid mists built, roiling in plumes from the waters below. Men paled, but scurried to their duties, more afraid of the predators in command than any preternatural fog. Thus, all but those in the thick of it will be blinded to the two ships' meeting, to the hoist and roll of barrel after barrel in an exchange that had said goods thunking ultimately to the Labyrinth's ebon decks. It did not take long, the rogue's snapped command having had effect to galvanize his crew, and Drake's forsaking the cannons to roll and stack. A baritone voice, an octave deeper than Leoxander's own growl, came rumbling over the side as Labyrinth's new Captain planted a boot on the rail and leaned toward the schooner. "Orders, Admiral." He used the term he'd heard in conversation with the rogue's squeeze, a grin toothy accompaniment to the jab while oceanic eyes scanned the redhead's two, and the Eternity, with open approval.
Leoxander paused at the base of the stairs to survey the crew's effort, when the 'psst' caused him to take his eyes from the scene. A slow turn of his head fixed his attention upon the rat, who he highly doubted was the one to call for his attention until he saw her little rat whiskers twitch, and heard the sound of her voice. So his cabin boy had showed up, after all, although not entirely in war ready status. Not unless they were fighting the rodents of Rynvale sewers for their territory... "Truly." Stated matter of fact with a 'whatever you say' kind of look as she pronounced herself 'blessed'. Reece's arrival was acknowledged with a nod, showing none of the relief he felt at seeing the Avian arrive. No one would know that twisted feeling of nerves that should reside in the rogue's middle, as he wore the same solemn expression he always did. As Rowen pointed out the cursed ship ahead, he moved into action, first tying a black mask around his newly shaven features to conceal the neutral frown he wore. Adjusting the skull marked jacket on his shoulders to snap the hooded collar down, he offered Rowen a sleeve to scale to shoulder with before he crossed the deck toward the port side, where barrels of powder seemed like plenty, but he knew how short supplied they were for a fleet of ships. Particularly since more would arrive, just as the Eternity and Labyrinth came face to face for a second time, a curious mist hovering in the air above the water, around them. Old rivals, their hulls would bump roughly together as a plank was established and cargo transported as quickly as Leo could have hoped for. Around the bend, a second division of the fleet would arrive from the horizon, gliding steadily nearer. Two familiar ships often seen transporting goods in Pirate's cove had joined the cause, leaving them only eight times outnumbered, rather than ten. On his side of the railing, he came to face the newfound Captain of the Labyrinth, and trailed his mismatched eyes toward the east, where he knew the Empire's army to be waiting. "We'll wait until the sun is behind us to advance in, which doesn't leave us much time." It would be an advantage, distracting the aim of cannons perhaps only slightly, but already that blinding sphere was dipping down to the western region of the sky, painting over a gray backdrop with the warmer colors of an impending sunset. "We'll hit them head on. I'll expect you to be coming in from the south, just give us the time to get the Parasite's attention." Rowen only had to listen in to realize she'd boarded a ship on it's way to warfare.
Rowen happily scampers up onto Leoxander's shoulder and address the captain once more. "I feel like a parrot. Anyhow, maybe I am best suited for espionage duties in this form Cap'n. Or I can sneak aboard the enemies' ships and ties their shoelaces together, so when they try to stand up, they fall over. Or I can leave a little present in their stew as only a rat can, and they will all get belly ache and the runs!" her duckling waddles over and stands beside Leoxander's feet. "Did you ever meet Nasurate? He has been reincarnated as a duckling. He is much less trouble in this form. I have yet to see him get blind drunk or run away and abandon his pregnant wife for example. So who we fighting Captain?" Rowen once more pays attention to the Labyrinth as the ebon ship draws alongside them she calls to Drake. "Hey Hank, was it you what fitted up that ship all nice a pretty like a doily? I hope you left my tree house and rope ladder intact and that giant wooden hand what grabbed hold of my mum and Anshera. They were the best bits! I will be one angry rat, if you destroyed my treehouse.”
Reece accepts Leo's nod as being all he was likely to get with the Captains nerves drawn so tight. Considering briefly he moves towards the prow of the ship, a single silver waif among the hustle and burliness of moving men and cargo. Once there the illusionist climbs onto the forward-most section and seats himself in front of the bulwark. In the quickly setting sun his brilliant silver form reflects orange sunlight like a beacon and the wind and spray wash over him with a hissing sound as he anchors himself magically to that forward point of the ship. Reaching out he establishes a tentatively tenuous mental link to Leoxander's mind, "Captain, I believe it is time for me to begin preparing my illusions. Once I begin I will still be able to hear you but I will not be able to respond to you anymore and so you will have to simply make sure your orders are clear. I will maintain this link with you but my attention will very much be elsewhere."
Mahri moves away from the captain and climbs up to the quarterdeck. The helmsman gives her a cursory look, not one accustomed to a woman on board, let alone one who gave his captain orders. As the sun set, she planted her feet and readied for whatever was to come. Now, if her own plans came to fruition..well, best not to dwell on that as orders are shouted and a steady course set. The last rays of sunlight glint off golden wood and white sails filled with wind. Sending up a wish and prayer to whatever Gods see fit to listen, good or bad, she watches Captain Tennison mingle among the crew, stopping briefly to issue hushed orders to his first mate and a few others. Each and every one nod, a brief glance tossed towards the five Mahri had pointed out. Soon, very soon. That's what her instincts screamed at her. All around, similar preparations went on, all seeming to be in order. From behind the frontal line of ships, and explosion sounds, sending pieces of masts, molten cannon and other sundry parts flying through the air. A particularly well armored cannon galley sinks beneath the waves to the startled shout of, "It's about.." she almost said 'damn time.' That particular charge had been meant to go off much sooner. Luckily enough, more attention was paid to the hands floundering in the water and the four ships the explosion had taken out than what the lycan was yammering on about.
Drake squinted through the thickening fog that would become more bane than boon if he did not shift his ship out of the rebel fleet's way and soon, at the rat-bearing rogue as a high squeaking voice uttered threats he made no sense of at that distance. "Aye, Cap'n," the mercenary called, all business... at least until the fray was done. More orders were barked, the haunted frigate wheeling like a great black-winged seahawk through the waves, repositioning in a circular berth to the south of the fleet's brunt. Aboard Labyrinth, the crew were rugging up against an increasing chill, and more than one would snap his head about suddenly, as if having heard some unpleasant sound, and all shivered miserably, most buoying their spirits by thinking of what Drake's gold would buy for wives and mistresses back home as the great midnight ship took up her post. Drake closed his eyes briefly at the sudden, muffled 'boom' somewhere to the east, a hint of a grim smirk playing as he turned the dark-timbered wheel.
Leoxander had a chittering rat in his ear. He was debating on changing the 'C' of the sign below to an 'R', in those moments. But alas, poor Sam would never forgive him. Doing his best to drown out the cabin rodent's screech so near the ear adorned with a small bone hoop, a look over his shoulder was cast toward the Avian at the forefront of that four hundred ton vessel, hearing a voice in his mind that he knew not to be his own conscience, since such a thing didn't seem to exist. There was a significant pause that left the crew shifting nervously, most eyes trailing toward the Captain of the Eternity to await the order they knew would come. A soft 'raak' from the duck near his swashbuckler boot caused a casual glance down as Nasurate turned a half circle on his webbed feet, as though simply bored of standing still and quiet. Eventually, that growl of his voice would tear through his throat again. "Alright, listen up, every damn one of you." This would hopefully earn the attention of not only those aboard his own ship, but those lining the railings of several others, most of which were concealed from long range view by that mysterious fog, thickest around the black hulled ghost ship. "All hands below deck for our approach, save a select few. If you're on the deck of a ship, you're dressed in Empire colors and not to be recognizable. If you're below, I want every cannon prepared and stocked, weapon stores unpacked and handed out. Archers I was to see armed with a full quiver and then some. No one aboard any ship is to go empty handed, that's an bloody order." It was a good thing Rowen had brought along that doll. The rogue crossed toward the stairs that would take him to the upper deck, where he would have a clear view of the horizon beyond, particularly with that mist beginning to dissipate, trailing after the ghostly movement of the ironwood ship. "No one is to open fire until I give the command, and you'll heed your Captain's direction specifically. Understood?" He would speak to Reece separately, once he'd heard a rousing cry of understanding from each crew.
Rowen glances over at Reece surprised that the Avian did not even acknowledge her, she is, or so she fervently believes. the leader of his clan, the Fold after all. She resolves to have a word with the Silver clan illusionist about the behaviour expected from a member of the Round Guard at a more convenient time. The rat jumps for joy as she sees Mahri, the last time they had met, they had robbed Cenril Bank together. "Hey, yah stinkin' old wolf, it's me. Rowen, the chief cashier of that bank we robbed and the Queen of the Dragons etc, I forgets all me titles" It is a good thing Rowen can not read minds as she would not be happy to find out the Leoxander was considering changing his 'No Cats' sign to 'No Rats.' She loads up her Nodding Myrall doll with sleeping darts. "If we just puts the scum to sleep we can sell ‘em as slaves afterwards and make a fortune."
Leoxander would close a hand around Rowen's little rat mouth to prevent her from screaming across the waters in a rat-high pitch.
Reece is beginning his illusion before Leoxander speaks but he still hears, he's not that lost yet. He knows that for his planned illusion to work he must exclude the minds of those on friendly ships or natural disbelief would fracture it, leaving it to unravel to the winds. grimly he smiles in his own mind. This would be complicated, he couldn't trust himself to keep everything in his mind simultaneously and so he resorts to something he hadn't done in a very long time... he begins to sing. The melody is soft, haunting and would be inaudible to any who were further than a few metres from the illusionist. His mental web spreads wide, encompassing all ships in the fleet except for this one and slowly, like mist in the morning they fade from view. Well, not from their own view, and not from the view of anyone aboard The Eternity. However, all ships of Rynvale would see is empty air, and that be all they would hear too. As the image of the fleet fades so too does the sound that it makes. This illusion gradually becomes more and more layered, removing the fleet from everyone else's reality until such a time as they began firing cannonballs. Then, a second melody seems to overlap the singing and this one is the cincher. The Eternity begins to change. Like paint being brushed on, so too is an appearance of an Imperial ship brushed on to the lead pirate ship. This illusion is far more complex than the one of invisibility and the first melody fades into the background as the slender illusionist fiddles with perceived reality. When he is finally done The Eternity appears as an Imperial Warship, damaged and limping towards the enemy fleet, something they would hopefully rush to assist and then fall into a trap of cannonfire. His singing continues. As he finishes the fleet crests the horizon and invisibly comes into sight of Mahri's fleet, his singing continues.
A shout goes out among the warships, one of their own seems to be making its wounded way towards the fleet. This is not what Mahri had been expecting. Far from it, but perhaps there'd be word of the coming brigands that had been rumored to be in the area. Though..she shakes her head as she peers across the leagues of water at the approaching ship. For a moment she thought to have seen something else. As the fleet gets closer to the floundering vessel, Mahri's nostrils flare, testing the salt tang of the air out of habit. She, however, has yet to move from her spot, content to wait and watch while planks were readied for boarding and a medic made available to aid any who might be hurt. Low and fast, archer carrying battle ships that didn't stop to offer aid round the disguised Eternity, keeping their course for more open waters and the suspected route any opposition was thought to be taking. Heavier and slower ships, all eighty or so of them, hung back. The Illora too trimmed her sails to slow her progress purposely keeping pace with those bigger cannon heavy ships. On either side, gunports opened, iron cannons rolled to the openings. Luckily for Mahri, neither boat on either side could or would suspect that the ball, powder and wad packed into those barrels were for them rather then the Empire's enemy. Or so she fervently hoped. All that is needed now is a reason to fire. The captain had his orders, the crew had theirs. It's all a waiting game now.
Leoxander moved through the crowds to separate them, and the man powered vessel that was the Eternity would come to life, even as the visage of mahogany and teak rails and walls altered. "Hoist the anchor and man those sails, I want her full ahead. Fix the lines and get your sorry asses below deck, and I mean three ticks ago, ye scurvy dogs!" It was the last of his brutal, motivational yelling that could be afforded, knowing how his voice would carry across the water. And certain enough, once the illusion was in place and the fleet moving in a strict, well tended formation toward an uncertain fate, he would drop his pitch to something mellow, something that wouldn't startle the avian and ruin that necessary magic. "Keep the 'guise as long as you can, mate. The more time we can buy off them, the better." But he knew, standing on the edge of the upper deck overlooking the prow, that they simply didn't have long. If the Empire rushed to assist as they bargained for, the countdown would begin, and it was only a matter of time before they realized all their wounded ships accounted for. Reluctantly, a hooded cape of enemy hue was drawn over his shoulders to conceal the black of his attire, careful not to knock the rat from his collar in the process. Now, reflecting Mahri's thoughts from across the water, all he could do as he witnessed the rows of enemy ships coming into view, was wait and hope. Leoxander did take notice of the archer ships slipping around their position into the waters, and he would keep this in mind as something to make their retreat all the more difficult.
Drake heard that last order, faint over growing distance, and had his sparse crew armed. Some took swords, but the majority bore great-bows of sturdy elvish make, nearly as tall as themselves, and this is why he'd chosen the big men he had, for strength to pull the tendon back and fire so it mattered when arrows needed to matter. As Labyrinth pulled away from the fleet, that masking fog would only gather about her, spreading through the encroaching dark at a pea-soup thickness that the wind fattening her wide black sails did not dissipate. Onward she crept, the salvaged hulk a shadow among the mist, only waiting her chance to entangle fate once more. If a ship could lick its black lips in anticipation of a bloody kill, this one would surely be doing so right now. The man his crew knew as 'Hank' spoke the word, and barrels were set by the railings, close to long planks lashed there, and men dressed in Empire colors clambered rigging and rail, and nocked arrows wadded with cloth where normally arrowtips should go. Under illusion's guise and a blanket of fog, the ship suddenly hushed her creaking as if sentient to the danger. "Full sail ahead, Mate, " said Drake softly to a fair man with a scar on his cheek. "Open her up, til we gain their midst." A word to the bo'sun then, and that man was poised to give quiet orders down the line of archers and barrel-men waiting on the deck. ... They were outnumbered, even with Mahri's sabotage, and though the sick ship had infected the mercenary with her hunger for souls and sacrifices, here he'd feel a twist in his gut... Onward sailed the ghost-ship, bringing with her foul airs and no graces, sliding smoothly through the miasma she carried with her like a plague. And should the illusion last long enough to keep her from sight, only the faint splash of powder-loaded barrels sliding into the water, rolled silently down those readied planks, woud be audible. But then, it could just be waves slapping Empire hulls. Soon ten large explosive barrels bobbed among the Parasite's fleet, and as they cleared at least three quarters of the gauntlet, Drake risked a prayer to gods who probably disapproved of him that he could slide out the rear of the formation unmolested. "Set your arrows alight, lads.. and steady..."
Rowen splutters as Leoxander puts his hand over her little rat mouth, she is very tempted to bite his hand, but if she did he might kill her and then she would miss all the fun of the sea battle. She hears Reece singing and calls to him "That's a rather dreary song for a glorious sea battle, don't you know anything more cheerful, my good man?" She can't understand why Leoxander suddenly dons a hooded cape. "Is this really the time to be worried about wearing the latest fashion accessories captain?" She peers in interest as they sail right close to the enemy ship with impunity "Why ain't they firing at us Cap'n? Are they stupid? You think they are all frozen to the spot with fright cos they heard the great Rowen was aboard The Eternity?" She readies her Nodding Myrall Doll with the sleeping darts, but no enemies are in range yet.
Reece takes note of Leo's words as they draw ever closer to the enemy. Though, lost as he is with his magic the most Leo would get was a faint feeling of assurance coming down the link, and nothing else for Reece was far too focused on his actions. As the cursed ship slides through enemy ranks the illusionist finds it very hard to maintain the deception, having to extend the cloak of invisibility individually to each of the barrels set afloat by the pirate's crew. Despite the grey, blue and black streaked warpaint which turned his features into a mask he felt sweat bead on his brow as he wrestled for control of a melody that grew ever more complex and drew ever more power from him. Very soon the avian must begin to draw power from where it is stored in the many silver items which adorn him... and the battle hadn't even started yet...
The thud of blanks and boots on wood echo across the water, reaching the alpha's ears with hardly a problem. Her attention, however, is no where near the crippled warship, but rather somewhere in the distance. Something dreadful was out there, a sense of unease coming over Mahri before she shakes it off. Calls of aid offered drift towards her, drawing her regard once more. Now she does move, urgency present in every step that gains the stairs down to the main deck where she gives Tennison a nod. That would be her signal and he responds promptly. Gathering the few trusted men he'd spoken to, the dozen or so surround the five who had thusfar been keeping together. "Give it up, mate an' things'll go well fer ye. Dirty Imperial dogs," comes the gruff order. It's almost too easy, the Emperor's men giving up while the rest of the crew looked on. Mahri didn't stick around to make sure the men were chained and taken below into the hold she'd specially prepared for just such a situation. She went below herself, the order given to open fire on the two closest ships, one on either side. From the port and starboard side came the boom of cannon, even it were only two on each side. Catching the Imperial fleet unawares was the goal and seemed to succeed as massive holes blew through the galleys, sending splinters of wood flying every which way. One rather jagged piece happened to find space enough in the gunports to lodge into a youthful gunner's shoulder. Not a deadly hit, but they'd still be one man down. Before either can retaliate, the jerk of wind catching sails shifts footing for a moment. A grin pulls her lips up. The captain had earned his gold. The Illoria was pulling forward, away from the Imperial fleet. "Reload an' fire on anythin' that comes our way. Anythin' bearing the Empire's colors," she calls down the line. Short as it is, her words carry rather well.
Rowen is plotting stealing all of Reece's silver apparal, as the young avian seems too busy with his silly song to even notice if she er shall we say 'receives an donation towards The Fold's coffers.'
Leoxander crossed his arms over his chest in his dark, hooded cloak, turning his attention ahead once more despite that Rowen had noticed those archer ships glide right by, as well. All the more reason to hold fire and not jump into drastic measures right away, until the wind had time to carry those enemy sails into the open waters between Cenril and Rynvale. "Sounds plausible, kid." A mutter offered to Rowen's suspicion on why they simply kept going, not bothering to point out the purpose of Reece's haunting song. One last warning was then given to his blessed crew mate suggesting that she ditch the darts and keep people in line below, because he knew her so unpredictable tactic so well, all the while carefully and subtly unstrapping the bow from his back. A quiet call was given to a crew hand crouched in the doorway to the hold, who descended the stairs to make the order known until such time as the 'Cabin boy' took rank. "Target enemy colors. Aim for their gunwhales and the flame in the water." A strange command, to be sure, but it would make sense in due time to those firing arrows and cannons. He glanced toward the ship wheel to make certain it was manned, perhaps by the memory and thought of his navigator, if nothing else, then Leo would head onto the main deck where a few should linger in appropriate confusing attire. They were closing in, whether it was the Empire's urgency of confronting the situation, or the eager speed of his own vessel, and at that range the thick fog trailing between their enemy and the shoreline could be seen. And then he saw the Illoria, who would come to realize she had the cover of several not-so-Imperial-Ships. The paint of their disguise might very well melt away the moment Reece heard the Captain shout. Hell, all of Rynvale would hear it.
Leoxander shouted, "Drop the ruse and cover her retreat! -FIRE ON THE EMPIRE-!"
Drake shouted, "Fire 'em, laddies!" The moment those Empire ships blew, Drake gave order for the flaming arrows to be raised.. aimed.. FIRED! And if the barrels did not blow in useless water or rip hulls asunder right away, they'd be marked as flaming targets for rebel cannons. His own, he was saving, because -- hey, he was in the middle of the enemy fleet on a ship loaded with ten huge barrels of black powder, and Drake had no desire to meet with deities he'd blasphemed against since childhood this day. To the music of explosives, he voiced a single a word, "Avast!" The signal heard clear, the Mate and crew set the rigging to catch the winds in full and sails huffed like cheeks filled with air. The black frigate ploughed the waves, cutting it's path as the crow flies to the east, in an attempt to get out the other side before they were.. BANG! Bang! BANG! Too late, the enemy had fired, cannonballs thudding into Labyrinth like flying brass fists, splintering even the metal-hard woods of hull and deck. But still she sailed, Drake's fear at last showing in the whites of his eyes. By the kraken's scaly arse, he'd make it out.. with his ship.. and block the Empire from return or retreat while he was at it-- or he'd take a dozen of 'em to Hell with a stopover at Davy's locker, when he went.
Reece could feel the change coming. which was good because the illusion was barely held grappled within his mind as sweat trickled down off his face and slicked war-paint into runny patterns. Mahri's cannons fired followed by Leoxander's shout and his focus slips. Here he might possibly have maintained it, which would have made for an interesting few seconds of invisible warfare, however it is at that moment that Arien's voice floods down the mental link to inform them that the land battle had been won and the illusion shredded, tearing away on the wind and revealing the entire fleet, now at quarters close enough to spit at the enemy ships in some cases. His ears are assaulted by the deafening blast of hundreds of cannons firing as pirates and panicked imperial troops set off weapons at foes who were suddenly warring but metres from them. Opening his eyes the avian wipes sweat and paint from his brow smearing what was left of the grey, black, and blue marks into a mess. It seemed almost perfect in the execution and he knew that now was the chance to get past the fleet in the chaos, a sharp mental command is sent to the avian bomb-squad at the rear of the ship and almost immediately they rise into the air, gaining height as they flew back over the fleet before circling around and passing higher over head. On shaky legs the fragile illusionist rises and turns, calling to Leoxander with mind and voice, "The land battle is won! All we have to do here is keep these guys busy until they're clear." A hand waves overhead but he doesn't get an opportunity to discover whether or not Leoxander heard him of the sound of cannon fire and splintering wood as at that very moment the prow upon which he stands is struck by a cannon ball. With a soundless yell the avian is tossed amidships to land with a groan near the forward mast.
Mahri is on her way to the gangway that leads to the deck when a cannon rips through the hull just behind her. Searing heat scorches her back, shredding the shirt she wore and lodging splintered wood into her thigh. An answering volley is sent out amongst shouts and curses. Thrown against the stairs, the lycan looks back first, eying the damage before hobbling to one leg and making her way up. The crew will do their job so long as they are able. Already the injured sailor had been replaced and cannons were being reloaded. Appearing from below, silver eyes squint through powder smoke and ..was that fog?..to spy the familiar rigging and outline of the Eternity. "Oh shi--" a well timed boom drowns out that and many other colorful curses as she limps towards Tennison. Grabbing his arm just as he's about to shout another order, this one to bring the Illoria alongside another Imperial frigate, "Don' fire on that one!" she yells into his ear, pointing out the pirate ship, "Nor any wit' her! An, for the sake of the Gods man, get us the hell outta here. Ye think this ship was built to fight? She was built to run." Shoving a lock of hair out of her eyes, the lycan stalks to the port-side rail, leaning over just as a ball comes along to crash into the topmost of the foremast. Creaks and groans announce the toppling timber. Hopefully they could yet break through and make open seas. Meanwhile, the ships that had slipped past the Eternity and her disguised sisters come about, arrows lit and at the ready. The twang and hiss is unmistakable as each is let loose, sailing through the air and right for the heart of the battle.
Leoxander listened to a symphony on the water. The clash and crack of wood and the toss of waves, the spark of illegal black powder, leaving inky puffs of smoke across the fiery violet horizon. Finally, the rapid beat of his heart would match the chaotic rhythm as the battle began. Noise and fear erupted around him, and the term 'fire on the water' came to make complete sense as the aim of cannons altered, wasting their rounds to the ocean, it would seem. But no - not a waste - for no sea water any sailor knew could burst like that... it was the impact of cannons striking barrels of powder that caused them to explode like floating mines, the force of that impact causing Imperial ships at either side to tilt precariously on their sides, throwing a few spare men and supplies to the rough waters. For every lull in the vibration he felt from below deck, he shouted another command to reload and fire, until every one of those intricately placed barrels had been destroyed, and half the wood from the hulls and masts of enemy ships with them. The sturdy railing of his own ship snapped like a broken limb as enemy fire finally made it's mark, tearing a piece of his beloved vessel from the quarterdeck near the wheel, dragging damage along the edge though it was nothing that would sink her to the bottom. "Oh is that all?!" The lycan bared his teeth for a yell as he ducked a broken sail jib that threatened to decapitate anyone standing around, when the lines broke. He took only one step toward the Avian before another successful shot wounded not only the swashbuckler prow on his ship, but the illusionist, as well. Fire spread quickly and hungrily among the crates and tattered strips of cloth, and the impact of that cannonball dropped Leo to his hands and knees a few feet from where the winged one had fallen. Yet for every attack aimed their way, the echo of a fleet flanking either side of the Eternity would counter, and it was only too likely that one by one, the Time Lord's navy would submerge below white capped waters, their tall masts groping for rescue. Ironic, but appropriate, that the brass hourglass the Eternity held was as cracked and damaged as the Parasite's hold on that distant mass of land. He gripped the back of whatever clothing Reece was wearing to firmly tug the Avian to his feet... and if it happened he was out cold, then Leo would simply pass the unconscious male on to be taken to that makeshift infirmary, below. "Watch our backs for the others!" This reminder shouted gruffly before he climbed the stairs and rails to the highest vantage point he could achieve, despite that he was in line of open fire. The arrow he drew from the quiver at his ribs wasn't aflame, nor explosive, but when knocked into that dark compound bow with metal woven strings drawn tight, back near his shoulder, the release would target naval officers and commanders on remaining ships, displaying enough of Leoxander's sniping skills to be significant, before he'd be noticed and his location pinpointed. There was no need to call a retreat. Eighty ships had quickly folded into forty, whether it was through destruction or retreat.
Drake was fighting to outrun the Empire among plumes of seawater and the deafening blasts of cannon-shot hitting its mark on black timber. She was built and sailed to take the brunt, to be sacrificed to the war, but Drake honestly had clung to every confidence Labyrinth was fast and furtive enough to attack and flee, relatively unscathed. There, he'd been wrong. As quickly as she gained ground she lost it again, and with every loss there was more damage accumulated; the rear mast hung in half, the main shattered so that its sail sagged over the deck, impeding what few sailors hadn't bailed on her as a lost cause. Ragged wounds in shattered wood pocked her hull, and half the crew lay dead on deck, a fitting scene for the ghastly frigate. The mercenary Captain spat every curse he knew, and made a couple up on the spot for good measure when a persistent schooner tailed him hard, and Drake called the order to start dumping those goddamn barrels, to hell and back with the plan now.. too late, once more. The Empire ship turned hard for a broadside volley as the third barrel hit the sea. And then that terrible, dark ship, its crew and its Captain went up in a wall of water, splintered ironwood and shattered flesh-- and you'd think this was the end of it, but the Labyrinth had a soul, even if it was blacker than the eye of the devil himself, and she wasn't going down without a fight. Where a ghost ship once sailed, remained debris and flotsam that still rained down from above to join the rest on the water, and for a moment it seemed things would calm. The Empire's ship would feel it at first, the swirl of the vortex that started out and worked its way in, sucking detritus, dead sailors and enemy ships alike into what became a colossal, sucking maw in the midst of the wreckage. The fleet closest were capsized or dragged under, and as the very last stick of black wood vanished at the point in its center, all was a sudden, dead calm again. And Drake, nowhere at all. Drake jumps overboard, swimming out to go after the sailor.
Leoxander watched the doomed ship in the distance through a shrewd and silent stare, his features masked by the black fabric that soaked up the trickle of blood ignored, from a nick at the front of his scalp. He knew by the way she tried to outrun the last of those enemy ships, Drake was abandoning the plan. But then, he'd always expected the rebellious mercenary to go out of his way and improvise for the sake of his pride and reputation. Without so much as a flinch or a breath of worry, he witnessed it all from that spot on the top rail, flame engulfed shreds of red sails falling like the final curtain, to the deck of his ship. The Labyrinth exploded into pieces with a heavy spray of water, half of those bodies already dead as they fell among the debris and even a few barrels of powder ironically left in tact. There was no surprise, no remorse, no emotion whatsoever as he watched what he assumed was his half sibling's end, and the revenge that the cursed ship would seek. Finally, a softer spoken command, while that whirlpool of death ate the last of it's victims. "Fall back... we're finished here."
Mahri glanced back at the sound of explosion. Eyes widening in horror as the Labyrinth either exploded or imploded, it was hard to tell. Even with the damage to the Illoria, the top of the foremast hanging by the rigging, broken railing and a myriad of gapping holes, she cries out in denial. Shoving her way past crew to the wheel, she shoves the navigator out of the way. To hell with getting away. Planting her feet and clenching her teeth, the spokes are spun, bringing the Illoria sharply around to the starboard side. The captain, for a hired hand had some brass ones, storms up to the lycan, "Are you daft, lass! We can't go back there, that'd be suicide." Curling her lip at him in a show of very human teeth, she spits out, "An there might be men yet alive there. If ye don' want te go, I hope you can swim." In effect, the captain was fired. Hopefully, all the powderfilled barrels had been set off. If not she ran the risk of crippling her own vessel, if not sinking her altogether.
Leoxander started to turn away from the scene when he noticed one ship swiveling around and back toward the wreckage, or what of it should remain, since something had mysteriously swallowed up a considerable amount of debris from the surface. Even if that whirlpool was gone, he wouldn't trust it not to take any other victim it could before that day was through. "Mahri!" His yell cut across the water, no matter how far away she was. "Mahri - don't!" She probably wouldn't hear him, or heed him, or even look at him, anymore. But that didn't mean he was going to leave her. With only five out of seven sails in tact, the ship would take time to catch up to the Illoria, but due to the fact her mast was snapped, she had no hopes of outrunning the warstocked schooner. The crew to the Eternity would spare uncertain, nervous looks as they thought the Captain might just turn them around to chase after the addled female. First, he would wait to see what she decided.
Mahri heard something over the splash of waves and blurred vision cuts towards the sound. The Eternity wasn't so far off that she couldn't make out the captain. Blinking away the moisture that clouded her vision, the lycan steps away from the wheel, letting the previously dismissed hired captain take over. The sails were ordered trimmed and the ship brought about as a stunned and quite in shock lycan can only watch. Imperial ships, oddly enough, didn't give chase, most too crippled to bother and the others searching the water for survivors. It seems to take entirely too long before the blockade runner and the pirate's own ship are close enough to contemplate one boarding the other.
Leoxander made eye contact with the Alpha from all that ways away, their wolf vision locking even through the blur of her tears. Then he witnessed the step back, and let go of the breath he'd been holding. A soft spoken order was issued to the closest trusted crew mate with hands and not paws to take the wheel, and guide her home. He didn't often let anyone beside the Navigator steer the ship, and perhaps that's who guided it in the end, afterall, but his boots carried him toward the edge of the ship where a piece of railing was broken, missing. Rather than retreat immediately as he'd demanded, the Illoria and the Eternity would meet side to side, and Leo would wait patiently for Mahri to descend those stairs and approach him. When and if she did, he would hold out his hand to help her board his ship, even if she denied or ignored him. Not a word was said, and his expression still concealed in black.
Parsithius , from the distant shores, amidst burning buildings and frantic cries, shouts distinctively, "Mahri! Retreat!"
Parsithius pauses, narrowing his eyes to attempt to discern the ships' position; is the Illoria beside the Eternity?
Leoxander was Captain amidst an injured but victorious fleet, his gaze turning toward the distant shout of a survivor on shore. It hardly mattered, now...
Parsithius shouted, "Mahri! It's too dangerous! Retreat!"
Mahri says to Tennison, "Take her home." The tone of voice is flat, though thicker than it should have been as she makes her way towards those stairs and to Leo. From hand to shrouded face she'll look before slipping her smaller hand into his own and makes the short jump from one boat to the other. With out so much as a hitch to her breath, she'll stare up at the pirate, "He's gone, isn't he?" What ever the answer might be, she can't retreat from it as the Illoria pulls away, limping towards the port in Rynvale. She either didn't hear or was ignoring the shouts from land. Her ears were waiting to hear Leo's anwer.
Parsithius watches as the ships peacefully drift away from each other, lowering his hand and falling silent. The Knight, upon the shore of the island, stands in silent stoicism as buildings burn, bodies line, and the dead reign in wake of a vicious, blood-skied war.
Leoxander eyed Parsithius in a scrutinizing way, a murmur heard under his breath. "...Load a port cannon."
Mahri does now notice the figure on shore, eyes widening in recognition of the knight and the pit of her stomach sinking. That's one that would never understand the betrayal of friendship, nor forgive it. Two losses in one day. Just how much were the Gods expecting her to take anyway?
Parsithius said to the nearest officer, "She's gone. Find the remnants of the troops. Check the castle for any survivors. We lost this day."
Leoxander looked at Mahri, reluctantly letting go of her hand, in case that solemn, cold composure in his eyes coaxed her to jump ship and swim for the body of his half brother. Unable to find an answer, or perhaps the answer she wanted, He turned to survey what was left of their ships and crews, some of which were pulling ahead on the voyage home to safer shores. He new better than to return to the cove that his map lacked, due to Caedan's 'advice', and so he would eventually command the ship to trail after the others, the Eternity being the last to drift away from the scene of the battle. Not without one last burst of powder, one resounding 'BOOM' that sent a warning shot arching over the shallows, further destroying an already ruined building not twenty five feet from where the Knight was shouting. He didn't know the right words to say to comfort her, and he was too cautious around her still to make any physical contact, but the pirate would hover near her shoulder and have his own ready, if she broke down on the way back to cry.
Parsithius doesn't flinch as the ruined building explodes into debris, "That's not a surrender. She's definitely gone. Never trust a lycan, folks; trust your damn human selves. Let's get a move on!" And with a final glance, mournful and disappointed, toward the ships, the male disappears further onto the isle.
Mahri was grateful, really, for Leo's presence even as she watched the place, or as close as she could be to watching it, fade from view. Too many times she'd lost her composure in front of the pirate. This would be no different, but unless he physically offered that shoulder, the tears falling mostly silently, catching strands of dark hair against dampened cheeks. Since all was said and done, she had another promise to keep to the Parasite. Nails bit into leather covered pals as she curled her fingers into tight fists.
Leoxander only stayed at her side, watching the water cut beneath the wounded ship ahead.