Sozo awoke with a start. His eyes darted about. The grass swayed gently under the canopy of stars, and snores rose from the laborers asleep on its cool bed. Two months he’d been travelling with the caravan heading slowly toward Falmor ,with many stops to trade at towns along the way. At least he was earning some money.
His breathing eased. The crashing waves were gone, it had been a dream, no, a nightmare. One that he’d had too many times before, but returned anew after each encounter with Lt. Harris Lottamen. It was the day his life was ruined, the battle of Blood Bay. As painful as the memories were, he knew he wouldn’t sleep until he played them to their end in his mind. He was transported back to the Titan, flagship of the pirate fleet.
Sozo bounded up the steps at the Captain’s call. Damage was evident on the far side of the quarterdeck, another flaming Mythron orb flew overhead, and a single helmsman battled the tide proving there wasn’t a man to spare.
Cap. James Benit ordered him over with a flick of his golden cutlass, “Hasten, lad, launch the dinghies! It is over!”
“Aye, sir!” with that Sozo turned on his heel and took flight.
He was down the stairs in an instant. The first dinghy, the captain’s lifeboat, was gone, its rope severed badly. That only drove him faster.
He leaped over a pirate’s smoldering body where a Mythron catapult had struck hard.
Charging down the vessel’s flank again, he cast a glance to sea. The Cleaver, rear guard ship of the Titan, was turned fatally on its side, ablaze. A gunboat from Carthal now sailed into its place. It was over, indeed.
His focus returned to the task at hand, closing in on the next dinghy. Someone was already aboard and was tossing out the excess paddles. Lt. Harris Lottamen.
“What are you doing!?!?” Sozo cried over the noise of combat, slowing as he approached, “Where are your men?”
Lt. Lottamen looked over his shoulder, “Why you… vermin!”
Sozo couldn’t believe his eyes, as the pirate pulled his sword and lunged.
He was just able to jump out of its range, but Harris pursued with crushing blow. Sozo caught the blade with his dagger, yet the impact jarred his bones.
Releasing a strained yell he shoved back with all his might. The lieutenant was thrust off his feet and slid down the deck.
He rallied, up in a moment, but instead of reentering the fight he hightailed it in the opposite direction. It was as though he’d seen a ghost, or a flaming orb.
Sozo barely had time to dive out of the way before it struck with horrific force and heat.
There was a great crash and then crumbling sounds and popping. The deck shook hard, punching him like a hammer. He opened his eyes for a moment to find a spinning world, then he blacked out.
Voices brought him back to his senses. A pirate climbed over the debris and crouched at his side, “Are you okay?” It was Joshua.
Pain stabbed Sozo as his shirt was raised and a bandage was secured over a gash in his back, but he answered, “I’ll be fine. The captain says it’s over, we have to launch the life boats.”
“Then let’s move,” Joshua helped him to his feet and over the wreckage. The other pirate, a gunner, emptied the last of his water barrel on the dwindling flames, tossed it aside, then led the trio into a hallway that reached to opposite side of the Titan.
The shrapnel sprayed across the floor had dealt a mortal blow. They rushed on. A pirate halted as they approached and called to him, “It is over. Come with us!”
He nodded, then turned and moved with them. The gunner kicked open the double doors to a large room that now served as an infirmary, beckoning those able inside, but at the same time the door at the hall’s far end burst open. Mythron sailors stormed through, they’d boarded.
They clashed with the enemy. The bearded pirate fell as the first casualty.
Sozo pounced forward and avenged his death. Joshua won his fight, but the gunner was still locked in combat, with an elite soldier about to assist.
Suddenly the ship rocked to the side, taking the floor out from under them. Sozo crashed to the wall, but others went flying overboard.
He reached out and grasped Joshua’s hand before he too was swept to sea. Some of the pirates had managed to get a hold on the deck or dinghy, but the foe was lost.
It took some doing, but Sozo and Joshua were able to get the dinghy loaded with ten men. They stayed behind, determined to save as many lives as they could.
They repeated the task, then rushed for their own sake to the last lifeboat. It was already occupied by six, including Lt. Lottamen, and was about to set out. “Wait, wait!” they shouted, hopping into the boat.
As soon as they were situated, and not a moment later, Harris sliced the rope with a mighty swing. Neither he nor Sozo ever spoke of their encounter, but they were all too eager to part ways when the time came.
Reality returned to Sozo, the caravan with its many wagons and the snores of both men and beasts. Still, sleep would not come, for new questions plagued his mind.
Why had the captain’s lifeboat fallen? How could the last dinghy to sea be the only one to reach land? Why had Lottamen attacked him? The answer that came to him was worse than the nightmare.
(Below are a few bonus pictures)
The Carthal gunboat.
The flaming orb. I really like how this turned out.
A ballista. I built this for the Titan but couldn't bring it into the story.
First, I want to say that the fig posing when the ship rocks to the side is great, it really gives a sense of emotion. Second, seeing your great stories and builds, we would like you to have as the leader of the Outlaws in LoM. I'll shoot you an invite, so if you're interested, join the staff group ;). I hope to see you there soon ;).