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  #31  
Old Jul 7th, 2012, 12:10 AM
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Cain’t tell if’n the feller what jumped in is still tailin’ him, but it don’t rightly matter. Tain’t gonna ketch him, no way no how – if there’s one thing Naethin knows how ta do, it’s swim. Fast and strong. Ma ain’t taught him much, but she shore taught him that real good.

Maybe she was afeared he was a-gonna drown someday, like some a’ th’ kids back in Greenvale did durin’ that there summer flood back when he was a babe. Big ol’ storm, it was, come down from the mountains after what’d been an awful hell of a winter, too, so’s it brought with it months an’ months a’ meltin’ snow and plumb ‘bout washed away the entire town. Killed a mess a’ folk, ‘cluding some kids Ma knew. Cousins an’ sech.

Poor ol’ Ma. She right proper schooled him inna swimmin’, it’s the one thing she took serious like that, really. She musta been so skeered – like ta how she’s prolly skeered right now, in this moment, Naethin’s gotta admit to hisself, ‘cause he didn’t leave much of a letterin’ behind, jes’ a goodbye an’ I’ll be good, you take keer a’ yerself, Ma. He’d kept it simple like’n ta she ain’t got much letterin’ herself, not as much as he’d got from th’ school. So as Naethin pushes on with weakening strokes, he ponders his mother’s fate.

’She was so skeered... ain’t wanted me ta die of a drownin’... wonder where she is now...’

CRACK-THOOM.

Which is when Mother Nature herself done decided ta give Naethin a good shakin’, remind him jes’ wat he’s up to his neck in. The thought hits him with a cold splash: ‘Whar 'r you, kid? Inna ocean, ya dumbass boy! Yer gonna drown yerself outta some mule-hide bit thinkin’ ‘bout not bein’ no slave? Idjit. Ya shoulda seed how bad them pirates was at keepin’ yer, shoulda seed it right off. An’ ya shoulda picked a smart time ta ‘scape, not go leapin’ a-board atcher first light!’

Naethin slows further.

‘Ma... I don’t... I don’t wanna die. But I don’t wanna be no slave neither!’

CRACKLE-SPIT… THOOM.

”OKAY! Gorram!! Witch-kissin’ demon-lovin’ cussed mother nature of a...” Naethin comes to a halt, and sights the pirate ship – which, mixed blessing, seems to have halted its own forward progress, ‘llowin’ Naethin some hope of recovery. He kicks into another, stronger swim, blasphemin’ to hisself and to anyone who’ll listen as he goes, snatchin’ breaths of air, in and out of the waves.

’I’s sorry, momma. I’s sorry....’
  #32  
Old Jul 12th, 2012, 09:25 PM
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The whistling on the wind strikes up a resonance in the ship, works into the creaking wood, works into your head until everything's whistling, everything, everyone, pauses a moment...listening...and then the sails beat out a percussion and everyone's too busy to listen. Heat thunder cracks across the cloudless blue, and a wall of wind smacks into the ship sideways. Everything lurches, one man drops out of the rigging with a hard thump, and a lot of others begin shouting at one another. It's a chaos, to anyone who isn't a sailor - to anyone who is, it's only work. "Weigh the kedge, an' make ready t'be spinned about!" the captain yells. "An' clean up yer own sick, this time!"

Scourge can be heard, as well, shouting orders over somewhere astern. You get the impression that Scourge is the type who can always be heard shouting orders, somewhere in the background. So long as he isn't somewhere in the foreground, that's alright. Meanwhile, Mister Plugg is the sort who doesn't shout, and isn't heard, unless he's talking directly to you, and nearby. This is disturbing in it's own right, especially in a sailor. He appears beside Sandara, unruffled by wind or events, hands clasped behind his back. "You, go help Cog manage the kedge and then both of you to the lines." He points to an older man with a Varisian bandana, then turns to Aydan. "You'll have to play nursemaid to your fellow newcomers. I've set the dwarf to work, but that halfling is unconscious again, and the gnome is, frankly, useless as yet." He frowns, perhaps realizing that press-ganging is less than entirely efficient. "Secure them somewhere out of the way, if you please, and then see Mistress Longfarthing on the foredeck."

Sandara nods to Plugg, then waits for him to walk away before turning to Aydan. "I'd be better at the lookin-after. Wanna switch?"
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  #33  
Old Jul 13th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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His first inclination was to tell the woman no. They had not been asked, they had been told. Plugg didn't seem like the kind of man to accept people making value judgements when he'd already made a decision. Then Aydan has another thought.

He turns to Sandara with a broad smile and mischief in his eyes. "Of course, dear lady. I would be happy to switch duties with you." He bows formally and fairly dances as he heads aft.

"This should be a fun game," Aydan chuckles to himself.

Pitching the kedge over wasn't much trouble. The thing didn't weigh overly much, even on a vessel of this size. It's rope snaps-to as the last of the slack is taken up, sending a spray of water into the air. The ship lurches starboard with a groan.

Aydan braces against the rising wind and surging sway of the ship. He marvels at how so massive a thing could be so nimble. Ocean spray reaches him at the rail and he breaths in the salt spray. He is thrilled to finally be at sea again, even if it was under less than ideal conditions.

"Quite an eventful day, yes?" he blusters to Cog. "Let's hope the rest are as interesting."

Cog clearly didn't quite get why 'interesting' was good or what Aydan thought was so amusing. He didn't have much time to worry about it though; the ship had finished her snap turn and the two needed to wrestle the kedge back on board.

Though his hands burned from fierce effort and his muscled strained from the load, Aydan threw himself in the work. He'd often felt that anything worth doing should be done with the strength of your whole soul.

"Loving, fighting, drinking, sailing: the what did not matter. Do it with all you have, or don't do it at all. That is how joy is found. And what good is life without joy?"
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Last edited by kenneth; Jul 13th, 2012 at 09:51 AM.
  #34  
Old Jul 18th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Naethin c’n hear that there ship goin’ near abouts ta break herself apart, creakin’ an’ crackin’ like ‘at. She’s gettin’ a right nice slap ta the face by some a’ Ma Nature’s best winds. It ain’t doin’ him no favors, as usual, but at least it was nice ta see the bastards what gone an’ tried ta enslave him -- them what he was about ta go back ta their slavery, too -- gettin’ a little what-fer.

But he ain’t got time ta enjoy all ‘at. Naethin jes catches a glimpse of sight an’ sound, an’ swallows down some sea stew fer his troubles. Cain’t stop ta cough er nothin’, neither. Tha waves is gettin’ taller awful fast, an’ ‘at ain’t no fun ta swim across. Which is why the teen begins to swim underneath, much as he can. Cain’t get low enough ta ‘scape tha top-tides, but it keeps him from doublin’ his efforts ta go the same linear distance.

No, Naethin don’t know the word “linear”. Might’ve heard it once, but that’s another matter.

'Don’t drown. Don’t drown. Momma wouldn’t like ‘at. Don’t drown…'

rollsSwim rolls

Last edited by cyranojoe; Jul 18th, 2012 at 03:01 PM.
  #35  
Old Jul 19th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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The older man laughs and opens his mouth to reply, but the wind changes and whips his words off the other way. He turns and offers a cheerful Varisian curse into it, then turning again to Aydan, he raises his voice - only to have the wind change back and amplify it. "Old Varisian sayin - every day's an interestin one!" He laughs again into the mocking wind, ties his bandana tighter, says, "An' I thought Desna was a tricky bitch when the mood took her...hah!" Old Cog seems to be having a good time of it, though, and after the kedge anchor is secured, he finds a man on the lines to see what needs done. A quick exchange, and he motions Ayden to follow him over to the foremast. "Nary point askin' Scourge what's what - he don't seem to ever know. Plugg knows, but he's gen'rally busy, one thing or another - better ask under than over, aye?" Testing a few ropes to see where they go, he unties two and hands one off to Ayden. "I'll keep the pressure on this one, an you yank on that one to furl the whasname, the jig." The whasname? Either this fellow's not the old salt he looks like, or he's been early to his rum ration.

While the two men are hauling at sails, the redhead stands in close conversation with Mistress Longfarthing. After a moment, the silver-haired woman hands her a flask of something, which the redhead drinks down, pulling an awful face. Aydan, half a deck away, can hear her go, "Yaugh!" He can see her take a few steps back, then, and run full-tilt, just like the boy did not long ago, to dive over the edge. All things considered, Sandara is considerably more graceful about it.

There are now three overboard. Between the mad wind and a lot of back-and-forth sailwork, the ship spins forward, fishtailing already as though it's itchy to turn back the way it was going before the boy jumped and this mess began...





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  #36  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 10:39 PM
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The ship was driftwood, least as far as Jackie could venture, the burned out yet miraculously still floating wreck drifting listlessly, somewhere that was 'north' near as she could tell. Still, moving in a direction was better than capsized, she'd have to admit. Her bare feet slap the deck as she jumps down from her vantage a short way up the creaking mast, her balance kept with a mixture of practice and instinct; being a child of the waves was one thing, learning how not to fall flat on your face upon a floating shell of wood was a skill set of its own. Her tangled mass of black hair, not helped one bit by the healthy accruement of salt from both the ocean breeze and her time overboard, billows about in the sudden gusts of winds she feels batter the beleaguered hull and ruined sails of The Aspirant. The thing was basically a ghost ship now, and though Jackie had done her best to secure everything and repair what little she could, it was at the complete mercy of the elements.

Who were being none-too-merciful, mind you.

Her half-dried clothes cling to her form as she checks on her charges, ducking into the cabins to survey the four 'survivors'. At least, she thought that they were surviving, in that they were breathing and not bleeding. She'd dumped most of the corpses overboard, panicking each time she'd see a body, turning it over with a sudden relief as she found it wasn't Lash's face staring back up at her. Eventually she found him, still in the crow's nest against all odds, apparently he'd secured himself there when the crazy started flying. Saved his life, though he might have broken his ankle while getting thrown around inside the nest, she can't be sure.

"No doctor, no sir." She mutters to him, slapping his face a little, watching his head roll from side to side with the rocking of the ship. She'd done her best to secure him, and the three others, so that they wouldn't roll overboard or crash their skulls into the inner side of the ship. No doctor, no sir, but head trauma seems like a bad way to go about business when you're already unconscious. That's what she guesses, anyway - when one of those rocking blasts hit the ship, she went into the drink, a place much safer than aboard when the fire and brimstone was raining down. And the fog. When she climbed back up, which is far harder than it sounds unassisted, she found everyone dead, missing or 'sleeping'.

"Magic," she says the word like it's envenomed, dribbling some water into each of the men's mouths from her water skin,
"Who needs it, yeah?" She seems to carry on a conversation with the clearly unresponsive fellows, perhaps to distract herself from the dire straits, or simply for lack of a better thing to do.
"Can rain down fire and pain just fine without no bloody spells, only got us 'cuz they took us by surprise, right?" She asks Lash, clipping him on the nose with a half-hearted slap, leaving the skin slightly reddened.
"Know what that means, Lash? Means you weren't doing your bloody job, 'lookout'!" She speaks with a reproachful tone, though she hardly means it, just happy to see the big lug alive.
"You're a nightmare to carry down that mast, you old bastard, nearly broke both our necks." Lash doesn't stir from his unconsciousness, and Jackie takes that as a victory in her favour, which means she's winning handily in their constant contest of 'witty banter'. At least five points ahead.

The boat rocks again, and she can almost feel the thing groaning in pain, as if it knows its days are numbered. Won't be anything more than scrap wood if it pulls into a harbour, but she's got no illusions about that - least she can hope for is the sight of land, and the strength to carry Lash ashore. And maybe the other boys, if they're lucky and she can manage the trip, but at the moment things seem relatively grim, if peaceful. Peaceful bar the wind, at least, which is kicking up a storm in what feels to be a literal sense. Jackie ducks below deck, preparing a musket and a powder horn, keeping it at the ready at all times - nothing beats preparedness. She also checks on the cargo briefly, noting most of it intact and in good shape, taking a jug of rum and uncorking it and taking a long, drawn-out swig. Preparedness, and a means to weather the storm, all you need.

She dabs some of the rum on Lash's lips, hoping he can appreciate it at least somewhat in his comatose state, making her way back on deck to the sounds of howling winds. She's not climbing back up that mast, no way no how, but she'll keep a lookout as best she's able. And take a swig now and then, for good measure, she has to drink for five after all.
"Said I'd Captain a ship one day...not really what I had in mind." she remarks, the wind carrying her words to nobody and nowhere, staring to the horizon as the ship sways violently once more.
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Last edited by Darkling; Jul 21st, 2012 at 12:35 AM.
  #37  
Old Jul 23rd, 2012, 02:24 PM
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MERMAID!

"Hey! Got -- I's -- yer purty an' all, but -- HEY!" Aggressive b*tch, ain't she? Naethin didn't 'member no mermaid stories where the ladies'd molest yer right off, normally they was all stand-off, wasn't they's? But this one was grabbin' at 'im like ta drown his ass, maybe she weren't no mermaid but some kinda sea temptress 'r sommat.

Waitasec. Red hair....

Naethin recalls a redhead aboard the ship, connects it with the diver he'd just seen go o'erboard tha pirates' vessel. "You! Git off! I's goin'! I said I's goin'! I's, I's goin' back dammit! Hey! NOW YOU! Get bit! Get bit! Getcherself bit!"

Arms flapping and slapping at each other, waves rising and falling, liftin' 'em ta bob away an' together so's all kindsa body parts get pressed together, an' now she's usin' her legs, some damn nice soft strong legs ta wrap all around him an' make him more uncomfortable than the thought of drowning in this briny bath gets him, so he fights back more, only it seems ta make her take it at once more seriously and put a big ****-eating, lips-kissin' grin on 'er face, and then allofasudden...

BAM. B*tch clocks him!

"I's... whuh..." Yeah, and that's about it. He ain't full gone fer tha rest of it -- he senses movement, tuggin' an' gettin' closer ta the boat -- but he ain't all there, neither. "B*tchin' mermaid..." he mumbles more than once.

  #38  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 11:13 AM
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Nemat, being a strapping lad just shy of twenty, is stunned by the closeness of the girl in the water - to the point that when she spits the potion into his mouth, he almost spits it out in surprise. It isn't until the liquid hits his tongue that he realizes what she's done. He swallows quickly, nods his understanding, says, "Careful; he's not showing it, but he's terrified," and begins the effort of
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swimming back toward the Wormwood.
  #39  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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While these folk called an old sailor 'Salt', Aydan remembers them being called something different: Tar. Hundreds of gallons of the stuff were used in the construction and repair of ships. Tar is both the salvation and doom of ocean going vessels. It protected, but if there was fire, it burned so very hot.

Tar is soaked into every bit of hemp rope to protect it from water. Unlike the sails, rope tended to stay wet once it got soaked. Water weakens hemp fibers and tends to cause breakage when it's strength is needed most, in a storm. Tar keeps the fibers dry and protects against rot too.

During construction, when the planks are still bone dry, wool batting is soaked with tar and pounded in between. Once the boat was launched, the planks would swell with water, forming a tight seal. Not every seal was perfect and there is always constant repair on a sailing vessel, so some old tar-covered sailor would be over the side with a bucket of the black stuff, a bag of batting and chisel, stuffing the gaps.

Both seemed fitting, he supposed: Salt and Tar. Both could be equally unpleasant. But salt could be washed away. Tar was more tenacious. Tar became part of you. It stained and stank and stuck under your nails. It was much more like what sailing does to a man. A sailor may take a scrubbing and put on a new set of clothes, but he can't hide the tar. It marked him as a man of the sea.

Aydan looked at his red and swollen hands. Already they had picked up a few stains. He smiled.
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  #40  
Old Nov 16th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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A Sunken Ship Of Mildewed Scrolls


Here lies my first attempt.

Sad panda.
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