Chapter I - Restless Seas, Stormy Hearts - Myth-Weavers


Chapter I - Restless Seas, Stormy Hearts

Chapter I - Restless Seas, Stormy Hearts

The sea is angry.

Whether seasoned veteran or jelly-legged landlubber, it takes no amount of experience to know that the waves thrashing your boat do so with personal vengeance. The rain that has been battering the ship for three days straight bears a grudge. And the ferocious thunder and lightning join in on this vendetta.

The trip to Dunlock has not gone quite as planned, though through no human fault. It has been a constant fight to stay on course and keep the Enbarr’s Heart from capsizing. The crew has been pushed to their limit—sleep has come sparingly ever since the storm descended upon you like the hand of God. Every man and woman, regardless of their nautical knowledge, has been pressganged into service, whether bailing water from the ship’s bowels or clinging desperately to the rigging, in the hope that Dunlock lies just beyond the next wave’s crest.

The superstitious among the crew might take it as a sign, that some force of nature wished to keep you from the distant island, whether to protect it or keep it prisoner. But even those who believed such things dare not speak it aloud, lest their words make it true. All they can do is go about their duties and pray for either a miracle or a swift death.

It’s only when a shrill call pierces through the cacophony of the blistering wind and buffeting waves that the pall of inevitable defeat breaks.

“Light!” cries Saul from the crow’s nest. “I see light! It’s land, I say, land!”

The sea is angry. But she is not without her mercies.

Bernadette Janacek (The Captain)
Bernie stood at the starboard rail of the quarterdeck gripping on to the wood with a vice-like grip. She leaned over the edge and stared down at the violent sea. Down in the dark there, she knew it was a different place, heavy and calm despite the storm above. There was so much longing in her heart she could nearly feel her fingers loosen from the rail and her feet prepare to jump. Down in the deep there, she knew it was safe. Safe from everything, from humankind, from this storm. This storm that threatened to tear her very ship apart and drown her entire crew. It was the crew that kept her there, she couldn’t leave these men and women to die, despite all the legends about her kind. She scanned the deck for trouble and strained her ears for a sign, a warning, anything. She could barely hear above the discordant clanging of the halyards in the wind, but then her ears heard a cry from aloft, “Light!” Saul shouted, “land, I say, land!”

She looked up and spotted it, there, off the starboard bow. “Bear away! Get us out of this wind!” She cried to Fitz, the helmsman as she jumped into action and strode across the quarterdeck shouting down to the leadsman, “Fathoms, now! Take in the main! And someone for the love of the sea get ready the anchor!”

Elijah Locke
Oh God! Elijah had never been so wet, soaked through to the bone and marrow. The heart pounding away in his chest rivaled the thunder for its volume. He was as much a landlubber as they came and had never spent so much time aboard a ship as he had the Enbarr's Heart. It showed. His endless questions at the start of this journey had given way to an eager duty in this storm. Surely, he knew nothing but, surely, that did not make him useless. Elijah had willing put himself to the ship's service, bailing water in the hold.

So here he was in the hold, barefoot and in his shirt-sleeves. His jacket, tie, and shoes were floating about somewhere. His ears where clogged with water and his hair was matted and tangled. The boatswain was above deck and a sun-scarred woman ordered Elijah about in the boatswain's place, when he could hear the words at all. His actions became a mindless rhythm and all he wanted to do was find land again. One more bucket, one more bucket, one more bucket . . . eventually, this would end. It had to end, right?

His heart beat harder and harder. He lost sight of everything, couldn't hear. Only the fear of drowning in the sea was left to him. The ship rocked and he lost his bucket and his footing. Down into the water he went, flat on his back to the deck. Oh God, save my soul.

Dice Roll: 2d6z
d6 Results: 5, 4 (Total = 9)
Act Under Pressure (9)

Obadiah McBay
Like Elijah, Obadiah had been sent to bail. He would've thought his medical acumen would've been more wanted at a time like this, but that wasn't the case. In these conditions, if someone needed a surgeon's hand, it was already too late.

Obadiah was silent as he did his work. Some might think he was simply focused, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The motion of the bucket was automatic. Where his mind sat now was in the hands of God. Some say when the going gets tough, all you can do is pray. The going had been tough for quite some time, so he'd been talking the Lord's ear off. He was lucky Quaker prayer was silent, otherwise he would've been written off as a lunatic long ago.

Obadiah's eye caught Elijah just before he hit the water. For the first time in hours, the motion of his bucket halted. He dropped it, barely hearing it splash.

The prayer repeated loud in his mind as he reached toward his fallen friend, and before he even realized it, it slipped out his mouth.

"Lord, I need your strength."

Of all the men and women on board, Connel was perhaps the only one that had something to be thankful for. The storm made no distinctions: everyone was equal under God’s wrath. If it weren’t for the storm, he would have still been rotting away in confinement, in all likelihood, as he had been for much of this trip. But now, all hands were needed on the deck or below, and while the storm raged, the crew would forget Connel’s affliction, at least for a little while.

It must have been an angry God that pummelled them so, Connel thought, one full of rage and vindictiveness. Yet death on the seas was far better than anything the leper colony could offer. At least he had made it out. Even if he did not manage to get far, this was a victory in and of itself, however meaningless. Connel smiled and spat in the storm, defiantly.

Suddenly, a cry from the crow’s nest, followed by orders from the captain. Finally, a lucky break, and with it, a hope for a safe port. Connel manned the deck with the rest, pulling up his heavy hood and keeping silent. With any luck, soon they’d be back on land, and away from the storm, and then all would remember once again who he was, and perhaps many would want to see him returned to the brig. But he had no intention of going back.

The crew on deck reacted almost before Bernie’s words left her mouth. Though she had only commanded the ship a short while, her crew was seasoned and motivated. They moved about the ship with an urgency born of desperation, their focus hardened by the promise of land.

Below deck, as Elijah and Obadiah slopped about in the water, a grizzled hulk of a man paused in giving shouted commands to the other bailers and grasped them both by the collar with a pair of meaty hands. He hauled them to their feet and thrust their buckets back into their hands.

“No reason to lie down on the job now, laddies,” he said with a tired grin. “Word from above is they’ve sighted land. So bail, friends, and if we make it to shore alive the drinks are on me!”

Peering through the biting onslaught of rain and sea water, Bernie could just see the dim outline of land, a slightly darker splotch against a dark horizon—and on it, a tiny dot of light. As the ship heaved drunkenly beneath her feet, the light grew steadily larger and brighter, piercing the veil of the storm and guiding the battered ship toward it. As it grew closer, the source of the light became clearer and clearer. And with that clarity came a sickening realization.

Dunlock’s port was on fire.

“Captain, the docks…” Saul called down solemnly, though he knew Bernie could see it too. One of the buildings at the dock was engulfed in flames, and despite the sheeting rain, it clutched greedily at its surroundings, threatening to take the piers and moored ships into its ravenous maw. Blurry figures—obscured by smoke and rain—skittered about, attempting to keep the fiery beast at bay.

The sea’s mercy, it seemed, was a fickle thing.

Bernadette Janacek (The Captain)
Bernie gazed upon the blazing port with a foreboding feeling, her inhuman ears could hear screaming above the rain and wind. The fire was like a starved sailor drinking up the wooden dock like ale, probably drinking up actual barrels of ale while it was going by the judge of a few violent explosions. She didn't remember much about the man-made features of Dunlock, this could be the only safe harbor in the storm. Those people needed help, and besides she got to Dunlock at least- that was her goal. She didn't let herself hesitate, "Well, Saul! At least we know it's warm!"

Bernie stumbled down the stairs of the quarterdeck, keeping one hand for the ship at all times and shouted, "Okay men, you know how to heave-to right? Let's bring this lady into land!"

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