A Crimson Shore: 28.1 Below the Surface

Iricah stutter stepped quickly to the stern when the signal came from the crow’s nest. She threw her straw hat backwards and let it fall to her back by way of it’s cord tied around her neck. A few strands of her strawberry blonde hair got caught in it and obscured her view. She brushed them away quickly as best as she could and peered downward into the wake of the Vengeance.

To arms. To arms. Something in the water. Something coming in fast from below the water!

She had reached the rail and looked out over and past the large wooden rudder just in time to see a dark form, as large as the ship itself slip ahead and out of view. Like a massive wraith, silently gliding beneath them all. It looked black at first against the emerald blue, and yet as it slipped away under them, she knew it wasn’t. It was blue itself, dark, deep blue. It was all wrong, all too fast.  Nothing that big should move that fast under the water.  Besides, they were already under a heavy wind. Whatever was down there must be going twice their speed, and that was just crazy.

She turned around as if to see if anyone realized that a massive object was at this very moment beneath their ship. Suddenly, the enormity of The Vengeance looked  much much smaller to her.

Thunder bounced up alongside her responding to the alarm himself. “What is it Iricah?” His catlike cry was like Common with more m’s.  It usually reminded her of Thrak with his S’s.  Now though, the slippery form below her was all she cared about.

“I think we’re about to find out, Thunder,” the bard replied and she wound her foot into a metal brace.  She had seen the others tie off ropes there, but in heavy winds she knew the men called them “forgetmenots”. She figured she now understood why.

Yelling to the officers on deck she called, “It’s under the ship! The blasted thing is under the ship and it’s big! Brace yourselves all!!!!!”

There was a pause. The crew stood at their stations, ready. Or they thought they were. Many of them tied themselves off as well, and were thus saved when the ship was thrown into the air. Like a toy in a tub.  Barrels and boxes went airbone in the blink of an eye. The central mast burst into splinters. Iricah and Thunder ducked instinctively as the bridge wheel hurled at them, spinning out and then disappearing into the sea.

And then she saw the eyes, blue and deep, bright as two plate sized azure gems. They floated over the side and around what was left of the ship’s rail embedded in a beast’s mighty face. Behind the snout and fuming nostrils and glaring eyes, wound a mighty neck which spun itself out of sight below the churning waves. Iricah did not need to guess at the size of the rest of the thing.  She had seen it before.  It was the ancient blue herself.

“HASAI!!!!!! It’s HASAIIIII!!!!!!!!” She called.  She grabbed desparately for a hold and her fingers found a rope just as she began to slip downwards towards it’s gaping and snarling mouth. Thunder bounded over the debris of the ship and withdrew his rapier.

Just then the others came on deck. Weapons drawn. Frank, whose mace shone brightly was held at the ready. Zy’an the monk zinged upwards from belowdecks as though he were flying. Genoran, the prince came last.  He stopped cold, when he saw the beast.  Fear, beyond his control, slowed his feet and stopped his hand upon his weapon’s hilt.

“Children of Kasille…..Prince of the great Cellinor….you are mine…..at lasssssssssttttttt!”

______________________________________________________________________

Frank stood, bleeding. A frond brushed his leg behind the plated armor and it made him nearly jump out of his skin.   His shoulders rose and fell as he breathed in the warm tropical air. He spoke the words of a soft prayer and felt the radiance, the familiar radiance and calming peace of the flame. Next to him, Iricah’s footprints appeared in the sand, assuring him that he wasn’t dreaming what just happened.

Pop!

Next to Frank appeared Zy’an, and Iricah, her hands traced the frame of an imaginary door, starting above her and down to the sand. Frank could smell the sulfuric aroma of magic. “That’s two,” she counted. Then, Pop! Iricah disappeared again.

Frank looked at Zy’an. “The ships?” asked the cleric. “Hasai?” As if the name might conjure her back, he shrunk down into the shrubbery, looking around.

“I know not,” replied the monk, “the battle was not going well when I left.”

A few moments later. Pop! Iricah was back. With Thunder, the catlike creature she had befriended on the voyage here.

He couldn’t be sure, but he thought, perhaps, through the trees, he could hear the sounds of screaming far off in the distance. A gigantic snap! As if a giant stick had been broken in two, far out into the sea.

“She will not have come alone!” cried Iricah. “You remember her forces in Enceladus! They will search for us, knowing we cannot teleport far. You are all I could save. The others….” She didn’t finish.

“Then how do we get away? How do we get off this isle? Our ships are most likely lost. The griffons scattered!”

“We can call them to us,” said Frank. He looked from one to the other of them. The implication of doing it was clear. He said it out loud anyway. “It won’t take long for her to find us if we do. We’ll have only moments. The griffons can outrun her, but only if we get away from her first.”

Iricah rubbed her hands together. “Well what are we waiting for! I’m a big fan of this plan.”

 

28.2 This section is in the works detailing how the party escaped from Hasai and met with Governor Canton in an attempt to catch up to Thrak’s mission.

 

 

 

 

 

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