Hunt for Corsairs (Open)
“Oi never seen so many beasters afore.” Amburr said, clutching her digging claws together.
“I’ve never clapped eyes on so many beasts before either.” Ripple had heard that there were a lot of beasts at the port but she had never imagined this many beasts. Or so many different species. There were some otters like herself, but even more big sea otters, as well as mice, shrews and other beasts. There were even vermin like rats and stoats that made Ripple want to have her javelins in her paws instead of strapped to her back. Ripple had to remind herself that the vermin here were not the same as the ones that raided her holt.
“This is noplace furr a mole.”
“There are all sorts o’ beasts ‘ere.” Ripple said, though Amburr was the only mole she could see. It was hard to picture a mole in the port, Amburr looked like a fish out of water.
“Burr. Oi wudd ravver bee sumwhurr else.”
Ripple was going to argue but Amburr looked so unhappy and scared. Ripple could see the whites of the mole’s tiny eyes. Ripple knew Amburr had only tagged along to the port because she never thought about herself. Ripple wished Amburr found a colony of moles, she would be happier. She sighed. “Why don’t yeh cut along back to that pile ‘o rocks we saw this mornin’? I’ll find you after I get a crew t’gether an’ a ship.”
Amburr perked up. “Ho urr.”
Ripple watched Amburr walk off. “Sink me, she didn’t argue.” Ripple muttered. “Righty-ho. Ter find me a ship an’ crew.”
Ripple strode towards the docks, her long tail swinging. The otter climbed on top of a barrel. “Lissen ‘ere!” Ripple called. “I’m Ripple Longrudder. My holt was raided and enslaved on the corsair ship Eel with many other goodbeasts. Me matey an’ I escaped when The Eel took water when fightin’ other corsairs. But th’ rest o’ my holt and the other innocent slaves chained ter oars didn’t get away an’ got picked up by th’other corsairs.” Ripple did not entertain the thought that the other oarslaves went down with the ship for a minute, at least not now. “What brave beasts want ter ‘unt corsairs an’ free slaves?”
The pile of rocks were three times as high as Amburr was tall. It was a noticeable landmark sitting at the edge of the beach. Amburr had wanted to get a better look at it when she and Ripple passed it earlier, but Ripple was anxious to get to the port. Amburr circled the pile, tapping the stones at the base experimentally with her claws. She climbed a few of the stones, but did not want to climb very high (moles don’t like heights) and climbed back to the ground. She grew tired of scratching stones and turned her attention to the ground. She sniffed the soil, sunk in her claws and started digging.
(OOC> So finally got the thread started. Not as great a post as I was hoping for but the summer heat has my brains melted :-/
And if the accents get to be too much or hard to understand give a yell.)
Serena Rosebud last edited by
Narcissus looked around the bustling port with more than her usual amount of confusion. She had come with the hopes of finding a job, something to occupy her time while she tried to regain her lost memories, but in this hectic place it looked like it would be difficult.
“Lissen ‘ere!” Ripple called. “I’m Ripple Longrudder. My holt was raided and enslaved on the corsair ship Eel with many other goodbeasts. Me matey an’ I escaped when The Eel took water when fightin’ other corsairs. But th’ rest o’ my holt and the other innocent slaves chained ter oars didn’t get away an’ got picked up by th’other corsairs.” Ripple did not entertain the thought that the other oarslaves went down with the ship for a minute, at least not now. “What brave beasts want ter ‘unt corsairs an’ free slaves?”
Or, maybe not. She pushed her way to the front of the crowd and looked up at the otter. "My name's Narcissus Blackthorn. What sort of positions do you have open, Miz Ripple?"
Ripple sized up the tall black otter. She looked strong and like a fighter.
"That depends on what ye can do." Ripple grinned. "What do yeh do wi' those blades?"
Serena Rosebud last edited by
Narcissus shrugged. "Anything that's needed, so long's it don't harm any innocents."
(not introducing my character just yet but i think it is time to throw you in the right direction.)
Many beasts walked by the small crowd snickering at the otters attempts. As the time progresses a smartly dressed wild cat overhears the otter and approaches to listen in. 'This fool is trying to find a ship.' The wildcat shook his head and was about to call her a fool until he listened a bit more. Then while he thought about the otters words he remembered. "Pardon mam," The wildcat spoke as he adjusted his spectacles. "I do believe there is one beast who just might help you, he is actually very popular back in the southern seas and he has recently docked his flagship here." The wildcat said as he noticed that he just might had caught the otter's attention. " Now Miss, the beast you are looking for is captain of the The White Angel. He goes by DeSota and even though it might take some convincing he is your best bet."
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Mav crossed his arms as he listened to the otter's proposal. It certainly wouldn't be an easy task, that was for sure, but the unspoken reward of ransacking corsairs' ships was more than promising. The ferret stepped forward, arms still crossed. "I'll join ye. If you're aimin' to take down some corsairs then there's bound to be a hoard of good loot in it. Plus I like the sound of the revenge for your family bit," he said with a grin.
It didn't take much really for Tul to attempt the trip to these only vaguely familiar docks. The call of the Sea was way to strong for unfamiliar faces to deter the navigator. And there were often vacancies for his position so work shouldn't be an issue. Also generally safer in a crew of his fellows then trying to wander the forests waiting for bandits, brigands, bands of 'goodbeasts' searching for any 'vermin' they could find, or more organized groups like the Hares.
Ok so there were a lot of reason for Tul to be out here at the dock. But he didn't need most of them. Hence one of the reasons he had arrived fairly early in the morning and had been spending the day wandering around look at the docked ships and crew manifests. Seeing what positions were open and seeing if the captain's were names he recognized from when he as on his old ship. It had been a good fact finding mission so far. And there were a lot of possible ships that would probably take him. But none of them we're leaving untill at least first light tomorrow so there was time to examine all the possibilities and weigh the odds.
He was however distracted when an Ottermaid hopped up on some boxes and started to shout about history and job opportunites? Interesting but it didn't seem like she had a vessel and was instead looking for a crew. So no for that one. Mentally crossing 'Screaming Ottermaid' off the list of ships Tul started to head down toward The White Angel captained by a Mr. DeSota.
The air was filled with sound. Raziah closed her one blue-green eye, and listened as she balanced precariously on the top yardarm of the mainmast, one paw holding a rope to keep her steady. The wind ruffled her fur and played with the royal blue cloth around her neck. It whistled about the myriad of sheets and halyards that were spun like a web between the ship's masts and yards, and echoed off the quiet shoreline. Raziah's ship bustled with activity below, corsairs scurrying across the decks, their voices echoing up to her. The carpenters were busy carving up a good, strong spruce tree to replace the damaged bowsprit, and the sailmakers were patching up the holes in the mainsails from their last battle. The ship clung to its anchors in the mild current, and gently swayed in the sea's swell. Raziah opened her eyelids, revealing the minutely etched gold orb that served as her false right eye. She gazed down at the beach, where the ship's boat had been pulled ashore. A party of corsairs had gone to forage for food, luxuries like seagull eggs for the trip back to Sampetra. Raziah turned her gaze from the beach, and narrowed her eye. She could just see the hazy bluish outline of a two-masted schooner as it started to dip below the horizon. It was the Redspar, scouting out prey for the larger slaving ship.
The Smiling Seductress had brought in a good haul this month at sea. She had captured one trading vessel out of Southsward, the Popinjay, with all her cargo. Raziah turned to look at the stubby, smaller ship anchored downwind. She had sent over a skeleton crew, and planned to sail it back to Sampetra, where it would be converted into another corsair slaving ship. They had already painted over the ship's original name, since Popinjay would hardly strike terror into the hearts of their victims. The ship was now called the Drowned Harpy, a reference to its previous captain, a flightless popinjay whom had obviously named the ship after herself. When they had taken the ship, the popinjay had been pushed overboard with a ballast stone tied to her talons. Raziah was still working on what the ship's official motto should be, since every corsair ship in the slaving fleet had one as a battlecry. Her own ship's motto was "No Return Voyage," and the Redspar's was "A Sharp Death." Perhaps something like "Down to the Depths," or "Take on Water" would do? The ferret frowned. She would have to work on that.
Her thoughts drifted back to the second ship they had encountered not long ago. The Eel had itself been a corsair ship, but it did not make port in Sampetra, nor did it pay tribute to Emperor Pantaleon, as Raziah did. So, it was fair game for the Smiling Seductress and the Redspar to ambush the Eel and take her loot and slaves. It had been easier to steal from other thieves, since they had already done most of the work for Raziah. Unfortunately, the crew of the Eel had scuttled their ship once they realised all was lost. Raziah's corsairs had managed to pull a great deal of treasure out of her hold, along with most of the slaves, but the Eel foundered before the job was complete. The surviving crewbeasts of the Eel were now prisoners and slaves, thrown in with the otter holt as an ironic punishment. Raziah had moved all the slaves to the Drowned Harpy's hold while her own ship was being repaired.
A screech broke Raziah's concentration, and she looked up to see a shadow cross the blue sky. With a rustle of feathers, a sooty tern, a seabird so named for its black feathered head and wings in contrast to its white body, perched upon the mainmast's flagpole, fluttering its primaries and peering across at the captain with a glinting black eye, as if it was sizing her up. Raziah wore many gold rings in her ears, on her claws and even her tail, and a jewelled cutlass scabbard hung from her belt. She certainly looked the part of the successful corsair captain, but in truth, this was her first voyage in command of the Smiling Seductress. Until recently, she had just been the First Mate, but she had risen to power when the last captain had been killed. The ferret smiled softly, and stepped her way along the yardarm until she was just below the great black-and-white bird.
"Greetings, Gold-Eye," the tern cawed at her.
"News from Sampetra?" Raziah enquired, smoothing down her sharkskin tunic with her paw.
"The Pine Marten grows impatient," the tern declared. "He needs strong bodies, able bodies to replace the dead ones. The harvest comes! Caw!"
"We'll be back in time for the harvest," Raziah answered coolly. "And with a full load of fresh slaves. A big otter holt that can do all the work our masters demand, yes? He can have the best, strongest otters to work the fields as tribute from me. I'll sell the rest, pay for the Drowned Harpy's new crew, and then I'll be Admiral Raziah, with her own slaving fleet! Entirely at the Emperor's pleasure, of course. I'm sure his Spymaster will convince him to approve, yes?"
The tern clacked its beak, and flared its wings. "Gold-Eye is bold, Gold-Eye takes many slaves. Careful she doesn't bite more than she swallows!"
Raziah laughed as the tern took flight, swooping down at the deck before curving back skyward, its white feathered breast flashing in the sunlight as it caught a warm upward draft and head back out to sea, for Sampetra. The one-eyed ferret watched him go with a grin, before grasping the shrouds and shimmying down the thick ropes to the deck of her ship. Once the repairs were finished, the Smiling Seductress would be on her way to Sampetra, and success. For the slaves trapped in the dark and uncomfortable confines of the Drowned Harpy, the future could not look more grim. Once the two slaving ships made port in Sampetra, they would be split up and scattered to the four winds, never to meet again.
"Ye won't be hurtin' any innocent beasts, ye'll be 'elping 'em, shipmate!" Ripple clapped the other otter on the shoulder approvingly. She frowned at the ferret, she was not sure about vermin- the vermin she had met killed and enslaved her holt.
“There may be loot, but the goal is freein’ slaves. It’s too late to avenge me holt, the corsairs that enslaved ‘em were defeated already- prob’ly dead an’ drowned.” Ripple said sadly, she could picture the oarslaves enslaved on other corsair ships but did not picture the slavers being enslaved too. “If yeh’ll ‘elp fight corsairs you can pick up whatever loot ye find- as long as it doesn’t get in the way of freeing my mates.”
The wildcat also got a suspicious look from Ripple. But what the wildcat said made Ripple tap her long tail thoughtfully. She needed a ship. As long as this DeSota cove was not a slaver he could do. “Th’ White Angel yeh say?” Ripple hopped down from the barrel. “It ‘as a good name.”
The wildcat gave a nod. " Indeed it is mam. Though he may be a bit of trouble to catch in the town but last I head he and a young beast was heading to the chapel. It is downthat road right next to the market. It is a rather lovely building you cant miss it, it is ran by a old otter by the name of Father Ringabel." The wild cat said as he pointed down the road he came from. "If you hurry you just might find him oh and if you are heading that way be sure to tell the Father that Yoland Ferra sends his regards." The wildcat said as he bidded farewell to Ripple amd went on his way.
There was still a good amount of daylight left when Tul arrived at The White Angel which turned out to be good for himself when he was directed toward the chappel in town as to where the Captain currently was. Bit odd but Tul was starting to feel a bit peckish and so going to see the Captain and grabbing a bite to eat would still leave him plenty of time. Thanking the crewmember that directed him, the crewbeast raising an eyebrow about at his accent and thinking to himself that this bumbling rat couldn't be a navigator but was soon back to work.
Entering the town proper from the docks Tul was still in great spirits as he heard the hawking of wares and the smells of roasting food. Just another reason to love the sea because of all the culture and beasts attached to the land it touched. Handing over a few coins he soon had himself some bread and berries to munch on as he he headed toward the chapel itself. He hoped that The captain was looking for crewbeasts. The noticed around had said so but Tul had been on the receiving end of; 'not looking for rats' 'not enough combat experience' 'can't even understand you' and the like. But best to look on the bright side as he hopped up the few steps and carefully opened the old looking doors.
He of course waited until he had seen someone else enter and leave before trying to enter as he stepped inside and waited for his eyes to adjust to the much dimmer interior then mid day's light outside.
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Mav nodded his head, he understood her apprehension. "'Course, can't say I respect slavers much to begin with. Just lazy if ye ask me. It'd be a pleasure workin' with ya," he replied, walking up to shake hands with the ottermaid.
“Aye.” Ripple might have him on her crew but she was leery of shaking paws with a ferret. Instead she gave the ground a smack with her long tail.
“Righto. We need a ship so let’s go find this Cap’n DeSota ‘fore ‘e can ship out.” Ripple said and began heading in the direction the wildcat had indicated towards the chapel. “C’mon mateys.” She called to her ‘crew’.
On the inside the chapel was quite a site. The building was well lit thanks to the large romanesque open areas and stained glass. There was a fair amount of beasts of all kinds who was in the building doing things from admiring the statues of saints to prayer. Towards the end of the chapel there was elderly otter who was dressed in rather elegant robes. The beast was currently tending to the altar by cleanin only stopping to assist any beast or idle chat
By the afternoon, the Smiling Seductress' bowsprit was seaworthy again. The hulking slave ship and her smaller escort was almost ready to get under way, and nobeast was more eager to leave the shores of the mainland astern than Raziah. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a hundred other little problems that were getting between the captain and the tiller of her ship, and most of the questions being directed at her seemed utterly trivial. Did she want them to take on more fresh water? No, she had checked the supplies that morning. Did she want the bow examined for any damage that had gone unnoticed since the battle? No, they had looked at it already and she didn't want to waste time and energy by beaching the ship. Raziah had almost reached the relative quiet of the aft deck when none other than the new first mate was suddenly in her face, breathing heavily as if he had run a marathon to catch up with her. Raziah instinctively leaned back, a scowl on her face and her paw on the hilt of her cutlass.
"What is it now, Tchana? Why are the crew not aloft yet? I wanted full sails set ten minutes ago!" Raziah growled, trying to keep her voice from carrying too far. In truth, she had wanted the sails set far earlier than ten minutes ago, and the continued delays were grating on her nerves.
"Cap'n! Oh, my cap'n!" Tchana, the short fox blustered, holding up one stubby claw whilst he regained his breath. "P'raps it would be wise, on account of our good fortune, to call upon Illas an' Annas to watch over our journey home? You know, our former cap'n-…"
"I knew our former captain far better than you ever did, Tchana," Raziah cut in, the grip on her cutlass tightening with each word. "And he knew my opinion on the matter too. There are no spirits in the salt spray, nor drowned ghosts in the tides watching over corsair ships. You heard me say this every single time we held a sacrifice to Illas and Annas! Now the old captain is dead. His tradition dies with him, no?"
"But captain," Tchana protested, fully pronouncing the word as if that would make the ferret take the fox more seriously. Raziah stepped around him. Tchana jerked his paw towards her as if to catch her by the arm, but at the last moment thought better of it. He didn't want to lose the arm, after all. He trotted after as she strode to the tiller, the two tillerbeasts standing smartly to attention as she pulled her compass from her sharkskin tunic.
"All paws, to stations! Weigh anchors! Set full sail! Tiller, come about and set course Sou'-Sou'-West!" Raziah bellowed. The shrill blast of sailor's whistles set the crewbeasts scampering up the shrouds and across the yardarms. The bigger, more brutish corsairs strained their bulging muscles pushing on the spokes of the capstans, the heavy wheels dragging the wet, seaweed-slicked anchor chains from the water. The sails were unfurled as the Smiling Seductress slowly turned to her new course, the Drowned Harpy preparing to follow her.
"P'raps not a full sacrifice, cap'n, but at least lemme say a few words," Tchana begged, trying clumsily to bow low before Raziah, and finding his belt and bandolier of knives getting in the way. "It may give the crew wot takes comfort in the spirits o' the wind'n'waves some courage for the long days at sea ahead."
"'Whom take'," Raziah corrected.
"Er, wot, cap'n?" Tchana scratched the messy rust-coloured fur atop his head.
Raziah's whiskers twitched in amusement. She had obviously been spending too much time with Kawldkan Marlfox, and his Palace manners and speech were rubbing off onto her. "Never mind, Tchana. You are free to speak, sing and curse at the sky and seas all you please. Just don't tell me I have to expect a reply."
"Aye aye, cap'n!" Tchana tugged his chipped ear gleefully, and hurried off to find the young fox kits that served as the ship's drummers. On occasion, the Smiling Seductress used drum signals, mainly to frighten enemy ships with the noise of doom and death, and to encourage the corsairs to fight harder. However, the drums were also used when somebeast called upon Illas, Spirit of the Salt Spray, and his sister Annas, the Drowned Ghost whom controlled the tides and currents. As the slaving ships caught the wind, and the slaves desperately peeped through any crack in the hull to catch a last glimpse of the mainland, the terrifying hammer of the drums began. Tchana screamed over the drums and the wind to be heard by the corsairs, whom all roared and cheered him on.
"Lady Annas, Terror of the Deep! You, who hold the all-devouring Kraken in chains, you whose tears salted the seas, you whose severed claws fell into the ocean and made the first flesh-eating sharks! Guide our ship, O Annas! With a mighty sweep of your tail, send us a current back to Sampetra! We are all doomed beasts, a watery grave lies open before us! But let us survive our voyage, and many more sacrifices shall we send to your Kingdom Below the Waves!"
The short fox spread his arms wide, and turned his gaze from the sea to the sky. He called again, the steady Boom, Boom, Boom of the drums intensifying and growing ever faster.
"Lord Illas, Scourge of the Sky! You, who build treacherous twisting towers of wind to crush our ships, you who sends killing strikes of lightning, you whose mighty voice we hear echoing after them! Fill our sails, O Illas! With your wrathful breath, send us a gust back to our Emperor! For you, who never suffers a foolish sailor, chose Emperor Pantaleon for greatness, and you chose us to serve him! Cleanse our bodies with salt spray, that our spirits be prepared to survive this voyage!"
The drumming was a cacophony of madness at this point, the baying and yelling and stamping of corsair's footpaws making the din unbearable to the trapped slaves. As if Illas himself had indeed heard Tchana's call, a draught of wind billowed the sails, and made the mainsail thump and snap until its ropes were tightened properly. The anchors were secured, and the corsairs were ordered over to the port side of the ship, so their weight would counter the tilting of the ship as it caught the wind.
Raziah stood with her back to the commotion, studiously scanning the coastline with a telescope. A parting gift from Kawldkan as she had left Sampetra, the device was virtually unheard of in Mossflower, as far as the ferret knew. However, the Emperor had connections far and wide, and so rare and exotic items like the telescope occasionally found their way to the island. Raziah had a curious feeling about this voyage, and it wasn't just the drumming in her ears. She felt a prickling around her neck as if she was being watched, and not by Illas or Annas either. Perhaps somebeast was watching the slavers from the shore? Raziah did not like being spotted by mainland beasts. News that a ship as infamous as the Smiling Seductress had been spotted would travel fast. The ferret captain hoped they would be well on their way to Sampetra before any troublemakers started to look for them, hungry for the big slaving ship's precious loot.
((OOC> Ok, do we need some Red Bull?))
(I say that those who can post go ahead and post since this is becoming forgotten….)
((Meeting Captain DeSota seems to be the next important plot point. Maybe Rodo-Takosu could post again to introduce him to the story?
Also, it's entirely an option for anyone to write a secondary character as either a slave or a slaver. I'm planning to introduce some more corsair characters in my next post. ;) ))
(Yeah he will be introduced in the chapel. Atleast I plan on that.)
(Doing that now seems like a good step as I have little idea what he looks like and no idea what hes doing in the Chapel for Tul to try and offer his experience for his ship.)