Ch. 9. Just One Suitor, But One’s Enough

The bizarre flying vessel altered its descent and angled towards and above the spriggan, pulling in its sails close to the vast airbag above it to hover over the pirate.  As the craft turned in the air, Peino saw the banner fluttering from its stern, bearing the B&J emblem.  Burning bolts began to rain down upon the pirate.

“Mercantile patrol,” Peino exclaimed, “they’re on our side.”

“Who would hire a thing like that?” wondered one of the sailors aloud.

“The Bull and Jackal Society, apparently.  Let’s not question their wisdom at present.  Load those rods.”

“Aye, sir!”

The Spears of Aura Storm flew with a jarring crack of the bows from both ballistas, lighting the air with blazing blue energy.  All four of the missiles found their mark, and the spriggan vessel was quickly engulfed in seeming blue flames that threw the magical energies of the ship into disarray, burning through all the available aura, thus effectively disrupting all its magic – weapons, defenses, everything.  Almost immediately the effect became apparent, as the red and orange flames of the airship’s salvos made it through and began to spread across the sails and decks.  Apparently, the spriggan’s wizard wasn’t all that strong.

“That’s the way,” Peino grinned.  “Well done.  Keep at it, boys, until either you’re out of ordinance or that bucket of piss is sunk.”

Leaving the cheering sailors to their task, Peino turned to the main defense of his ship, only to be met by Tahain o’th’Farwind and Vaet Longblade running up the gangway to the castle deck.

“Status?” he demanded.

“The beast is gone, sir,” reported Tahain.

“Oh?  Good work.”

“Not ours,” replied the bo’sun Vaet.  “One moment, we’re hacking and stabbing away, fit to be tied, and the next, there’s nothing but splashes.  Poof!”

“Huh, that easy, eh?”  Peino cast a glance over his shoulder at the now burning pirate ship.  “Right, get us under way, Mr. Longblade.  Give me all the sail we’ve got.  Farwind, crank up the starboard rods.  We’ll come about and rake those bastards broadside.  Where’s my helmsman?”

“Hit by a sludge bomb,” said Tahain, “taken below.”

“Curse it,” Peino growled, “I’ll take the wheel.  Where’s Watersinger?”

“Here, sir!” the wizard waved from the base of the gangway.

“Put a fresh wind in the sails when we turn, Mistress Wizard, if you please.”

“Aye-aye, sir!”

Freed from the horrific grip of that otherworldly monster, the Marsh King’s Daughter began to move at last.  Her sides were scarred, the armor of sea serpent scales torn away in places.  Teams of crew were still aloft, rapidly improvising fixes to snapped lines, even to the extent of holding them braced by their own strength, as the sails unfurled again, while below, yet more crew manned the pumps and frantically patched the damage the beast had done to the hull.  With all that going on, the long, graceful ship caught the wind and moved away, building up speed.

When the speed and distance were right, she came about and, driven by Nyora Watersinger’s conjured wind, bore down on the struggling spriggan.  Crack! Crack! Crack!  The snap and twang of the medium ballistas sang out as Tahain walked the line signaling the shots of fire that burned and doom that vaporized into the spriggan’s side as they passed.

“Reload!” the first mate yelled, as Peino shouted his own orders to bring the Daughter about again, making a circle around the ship already trapped under the raining fire from above.

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