Thorfinn was glad to be amongst is compatriots. Recent weeks had bonded them all in a short time, yet he was very uneasy about today’s turn of events: they were to take to the sea again and this time to join battle with notorious pirates…Thorfinn shuddered at the thought. He could think of very few places he would less rather be than bobbing around on the the thrice damned ocean let alone in a battle!
Thorfinn, a farmer turned priest of Chauntea, still had deep ties to the land and agriculture. He had never been in water past his chest until the terrible day that he had to flee to Faroth with all the other refugees. The fate of his dear parents still unknown to him. On that panicked voyage he had quickly discovered he had no stomach for sea travel (his stomach had let him know with a burning vengeance) and he had mostly lain in a miserable heap at the bottom of the boat. Coming above deck to see if the fresh air would help his condition only to be driven back below by weakness and nausea.
This subsequent voyage had gone somewhat better but still battled waves of nausea. Now he was heading into battle against notorious pirates and lives would be depending on him…he shuddered again. He boarded the Toothless Skull along with one of his newer companions, Eliza, a capable looking elven fighter. Apparently she was responsible for keeping that elven wizard, Simon, safe–so by proxy that would be one of his tasks as well.
Eliza bounced her two swords against her legs in anticipation. Even though she hailed from the forests of Sing’jar, she seemed at home on the rolling deck. Jealous, Thorfinn sighed to himself and unsteadily walked towards the bow, gripping the railing with each step.
Three craft of about 30 souls each sailed purposefully out of the harbor. The Red Hook and the Swinging Arm escorted them. Had the two other ships been commissioned by the mayor? That little gnome, Bogan, seemed to organize this right in front of Lothric, Eliza, and himself…yet somehow the mayor appeared in charge when they met at the harbor master’s office. Was Hollycrown really was in charge of this, or just good at showing up at the right moment? With all these acrimonious, distrusting sea merchants–somehow this mission unified them. Maybe orcs have that effect on people…
…by Chauntea, that ship is a behemoth! Thorfinn thought, forgetting his nausea, as he gazed across the presently placid waters of Bibbon Bay to the menacing, dark and tattered three-decked galleon in the center of the bay. Cannons lined its dark wood and metal hull. He didn’t need to make out the name Jobin’Gahr…it wasn’t there–the only markings were a crude silhouette of a skull and the orc runes for J and G. As the they drew closer, the hulking ships became hives of activity: sailors sprang up the rigging, cannons were packed and soldiers were mustering on deck…and staring at the orc marines packing the deck of the Jobin’Gahr–Thorfinn’s nausea returned.
The ships quickly closed the distance: at 200 yards the three ships from Bibbon Bay turned broadside and let loose a volley from their broadsides, and cannon balls screamed towards the Jobin’Gahr! With a satisfying crash they struck the ship and orcish howls filled the air as debris crashed down upon the deck and into the sea. As the smaller and more agile ships turned back towards their target, brilliant bolts of energy streaked towards the galleon and into the horde on deck. More grunting bellows and cursing filled the air. But where one orc fell, seemingly two more would take their place…Thorfinn’s spirits started sinking again. How badly are we outnumbered?
Magic ripped through the air back and forth between the vessels, then another volley of cannon fire! Sailors and soldiers–screaming–fell into the water–or onto the decks. As the ships were about to collide a noxious green cloud of gas settled amongst the orcs. Only coughing and cursing could be heard from them until the cloud was blown away…and paused…and blown again by the sea air. Failed wind spells by the orcs? But its terrible toll was revealed: a pile of bodies…contorted, faces stuck in rictus agony. Thorfinn bent his head and whispered…or tried to, between urges to retch…prayers to Chauntea…our Great Mother…prayers asking for forgiveness for the suffering caused and prayers for the strength of heart to do what must be done.
The ships collided with explosions as their bowsprits splintered against the tin-plated hull of the galleon. The violence threw junior sailors off their feet to the decks, but the leather-skinned pirates that suffered the hate of the orcs cheered fiercely! Quickly overpowering them was the orcish roar coming from the deck of the Jobin’Gahr. Men, elves and minotaurs from the islands swarmed up the sides of the galleon and onto the decks to take the battle to the pirates.
All…except Thorfinn, Eliza and Simon. Simon, swaddled in what must have been four cloaks and standing between two braziers on the aft deck of the Toothless Skull, was trying to continue his magic assault on the galleon. Thorfinn saw an opportunity to call down a sacred flame on a orc barking orders–but just as he was about to begin his incantation, bile and vomit filled his mouth and he gagged and vomited, his vision blurring… Chauntea, please…not now! He groaned as the sea sickness overtook him again.
As Thorfinn recovered, to his horror he saw three large orcs had jump aboard their ship, advancing on him! Then two flaming spheres streaked down from the crows nests of the Jobin’Gahr and rolled along the deck towards Simon…so close behind Thorfinn he was convinced his own cloak was on fire! He spun to hear a pain-soaked scream from the aft of the ship as Simon was briefly engulfed…but Simon smartly flung off one of the burning robes to escape. With smoldering hair and scorched skin, Simon groaned but started casting another spell. Spinning…no…swaying…forward, Thorfinn hefted his mace and faced the boarding orcs.
A horrible cacophony filled the air as sailors and soldiers bellowed, screamed, mewled and weapons crashed. Thorfinn’s senses were overwhelmed with the chaos of the battle…but twisting back towards the bow, he saw Eliza battling for her life! He snapped back into action: holy words of life and healing were an effortless response to the jagged wound across her shoulder. Grateful for the Grain Goddess’s power, and seeing Eliza healed with sacred energy, he shook his mace and loosed a primal howl!
Thorfinn reversed the words of healing into an ugly cant that made his fingers black with necrotic energy, he lept forward and desperately dug his fingers into the face of a broken-toothed orc, tranferring a burst necrotic energy! Twitching and gurgling, the orc fell to the deck, its face blackened and diseased. With swift and efficient sword strokes Eliza felled two orcs that stepped around and their blood slicked the deck.
From the Jobin’Gahr, Thorfinn recognized a familiar voice rising above the battle: his companion, Lothric, called: “Sailors of Bibbon Bay–press them! Forward and cut them down!” Eliza and Thorfinn glanced at each other and saw each other’s fear…but in spite of the dread in their stomachs, they began to scale the hull of the Jobin’Gahr…