Why can’t things ever just go right?, thought Beau Bergeron as he took his place in the firing line, shouldering his crossbow and aiming for the dragon befalling the ship. He’d never seen anything like it before in his life, yet he wasn’t afraid or shocked by it, his home having described them in some detail in their myths and fairytales.
Just as its green scales began to be shown towards his viewport, Beau let loose his arrow, aiming for the yellowish underbelly, having been led to believe that that was the weak point. Yet as the burst of flame erupted indicating he’d scored a hit, there was nothing to show that it had done any real damage. The rest of his firing crew were shooting for all they had, most yelling out whoops and whistles, others telling morbid jokes in the din of battle. Beau had been around soldiers in his time. Those actions were more for keeping one’s nerves in check more than any indications of victory or elation.
Beau, himself, however was an assassin, and as such had long since had any such nerves ground out of him. He took another bolt out of his quiver and placed it into the firing mechanism of his mechanical bow. Then he took the butt of the device and placed it against his shoulder, deciding to take a different approach. As the dragon came around for another pass, he steadily held his aim at its head. While the crew continued their fire at a fevered pitch, taking his time to exhale slowly, he saw his spot and in the blink of an eye Beau Bergeron pulled the trigger…
Tayliana Winddancer Dahtaligaar cursed under her breath. Dragons, why me? she thought. Of course she knew perfectly well why she was having to tangle with the creatures, as her parents had told her countless times, and that was the fact that she was flying around on a gods forsaken insane asylum of a boat. She cursed her parents too, as much out of stress as out of spite.
She was working on setting up her enchantments in what she was told was once called the “engine room”. It was a simple wooden hold with a window containing a great view of the expansive ocean when the weather was right, but which currently was dominated by a wagon-sized bundle of reptilian rage and hunger. She sighed, the process that she’s embarked on involved delicate scented candles and incense, and required much in the way of concentration from her. Something she was ill-prepared to give at this time. These enchantments, of course, were the key to the Calinda’s success (or simply lack of death, if her parents had anything to say about it) as they allowed a quick burst of aura into the feathered sails of the strange contraptions attached to the stern of the boat. “Propellers,” her captain had called them, something she’d never seen before.
But she held a particular gift for them, a gift she was desperate to use, one her Unseelie parents refused to acknowledge, as they wished for her to enter into the family business, far away from sails, boats or any other area where her prowess in the magical arts might prove useful. And that’s why I joined him, she thought, as she finally found her zen and began to exude peaceful calm, way back when the strange eorman had washed up on shore looking for work. Most everyone had thought he was crazy (and she had to admit, he had seemed a little lost), as there wasn’t a mercantile port for miles. But, having had word of the man reach her ears, and that he was looking for anyone with the technical skills to run his ship, she had taken her opportunity, running away from home to join him in a desperate bid for freedom.
A great rumbling threw the ship as she kneeled beneath the now inert and rusting alien contraption that had once powered the ship in another life. Incense and candles spilled over, setting flame to a nearby carpet, but she ignored it. Finishing the chanting under her breath and getting herself, and the crew, out of danger and alive was a far bigger priority. But just as she finished, feeling the gust of wind rush past her outstretched hands as she opened her eyes with a smile, she saw it out the window. The cause of the disturbance in the ship. The great beast was clutching its eye, an inflamed arrow apparently having miraculously pierced it.
It was fortunately the last she saw of it, as the whole of La Danse Calinda splashed into the relative safety of the oceans below, and Tayliana smiled: Where else could one find such exhilarating adventures?