The Ten of Swords
This is the deck of a two-masted caravel. She flies no flag and is emblazoned with no crest. Her lateen sails are a deep crimson. She is built from dark brown wood which, upon close inspection is revealed to have subtle golden striations in it like a catseye gem.
The wheelhouse is compact and offset to the starboard side. This ship is designed for speed and for operating in shallow waters.
Cyrus stands near the bow of The Ten of Swords looking out to sea. He steps backwards across the deck checking the rigging on the foremast and nodding to the crewman working it. He casts an eye towards the guns and then looks up to the wheelhouse. "All's well, Captain," he shouts up to Dinah.
Gilgamesh leans on the bow like a staff. "They're so cute...."
Molly Grins, leaning against one of the guns. "They are. It's disgusting."
Dinah has a pedestal beside her, upon which rests a heavy wooden box, elaborately carved with strange markings. She flashes a wink to Cyrus, and looks up to the sky. "Good day to rip through Shadow!," she calls out across the deck.
Gilgamesh says, "Oh, what I wouldn't give for a Chantris to translate that box...."
Molly looks to Gil. "Rip?" she asks.
Cyrus looks to Gill, too. "You don't think I've tried?"
Gilgamesh says, "Well, she'd be using super secret Minosian Captain tricks, unless....no....."
Gilgamesh peers at Dinah.
Molly peers at Dinah as well.
Dinah laughs, highly amused. "One day I might teach you, Stormcrow," she says with a wink. The ship is guided past Cabra, and once there, the box is opened, and one hell of an elaborate compass is taken out.
Gilgamesh says, "Well, that's pretty. And it means we aren't hellsailing."
Molly ooohs. "Pretty!" she croons.
Also pulled from the box is a chart, which is held down by little holds on the pedestal. The compass, by means of its own desire, starts to move. "No, I haven't walked the Pattern just yet. Though this gets me through shadow just fine," Dinah says with a bright grin. "Now. Have I mentioned the possibility of several sea-monsters?"
Cyrus grins and says, "This mission requires quiet. I don't do 'quiet' too good." He then leans in for a brief conversation with the only other crewman on deck. Once he's done he looks back to Dinah. "Oh, I'm *hoping* for it, Love."
Gilgamesh says, "Should have let me bring Haley. She apparently kills them from the inside. I'll be below deck, yell if you need me."
Cyrus calls after Gil, "Leave some rum for the rest of us."
Molly looks out to the waves. "SEVERAL sea-monsters?" She repeats with emphasis. "All at once or consecutive?"
Dinah chuckles. "That, luvs, depends on our luck." Her tone is the sort that suggests that all at once would be quite thrilling.
Cyrus pats the small crossbow clipped to his belt and looks to the horizon.
Molly kneels down and opens a box, taking out her own crossbow. She waves it at Cyrus and points at it, grinning.
Cyrus raises a brow and moves towards Molly.
Gilgamesh heads below decks.
Dinah looks between Molly and Cyrus, chuckling and rolling her eyes. "Them and their toys," she says with amusement. A lazy salute is given to Gil and then she looks to the Compass. "Ah! Here we go!" And *riiip*. The stuff of shadow starts to shift around them as they head further into the seas.
Cyrus's eyes widen and he shudders slightly as the ship tears into shadow. He looks away from Molly's crossbow for a moment to glance at Dinah.
Privately, to Dinah, Cyrus has a look that is almost but not quite exactly like the one you give him when he's riding a storm.
Molly mutters to herself, "Smooth ride, Boss. Smooth ride." It's unclear if this is a comment or a hope.
Cyrus chuckles at Molly's words and then turns his attention back to the gunner. "Where'd you get that?" he asks, pointing to her crossbow.
Molly looks a little embarrassed. "I found a Begman goods trader while I was back home in Minos. I got some addresses and commissioned it by mail, since I wasn't worried for time." She looks at it doubtfully. "I'm not sure of it though. I spoke to a Begman in Amber, and he says it's not Company guaranteed." She shrugs.
Cyrus smirks, "It's been my experience with Begman gadgets that most of them aren't. I need to introduce you to a couple of people once we get back to Amber."
Molly looks up eagerly."Really? Begman people with gadgets?"
Cyrus nods and grins, "My cousin, for one. Also the guy who's gonna be my best man." He thinks for a moment and then grimaces a little, "And, once she starts talking to me again, a certain princess of my acquaintance."
Molly smirks."You do have a way with women, don't you? How have you lived so long?" She nods. "I'd love to meet them all."
Cyrus chuckles. "The last time they were all in the same place, I did have to dodge a few dishes."
Dinah laughs. "He makes a good target," she muses, softly. The wind is favorable to their sails, and the ride is, indeed, smooth for the moment.
Molly laughs."So your trick is to keep them separated?" She ponders. "Not such a bad plan, that."
Cyrus nods and says, "You've discovered my insidious plan!"
Dinah shakes her head, amused. A few orders are shouted out to the hands on deck, but nothing urgent. A simple tack, a slight change of course. The compass continues to be generally arcane, and Dinah keeps her eyes upon it.
Molly asks pleasantly, "How do you plan to manage that when you go to meet Dinah's mother?"
Cyrus looks distinctly uncomfortable. "Um," he says eloquently. "Begging? Gifts, maybe?"
"Spleens," reminds Dinah, helpfully.
Molly nods. "Better plan. Yes. Go with both."
Molly shakes her head, puzzled. "Spleens?" She shakes it again. "do I want to know?"
Cyrus smiles, "Dinah suggested I present her mom with the spleens of her enemies. You know, as a way to keep her away from mine."
Dinah nods. "Aye. I figure if he gives her enough, she might consider it a fair trade."
Molly bites back on her smile, teeth clamping down on her lower lip. "It's a lovely thought. Be sure to label them so she knows whose is whose."
Cyrus grins, "I like the way you think, Mol."
Cyrus turns to Dinah, "I see why you keep her on. She's organized."
Molly laughs. "Oh, no I'm not. But I have a friend who fits that description beautifully. She organized my last hangover." She gazes out to sea. "There seems a loathsome lack of seamonsters out here."
Dinah assures Molly, "We're just getting started. We're not deep enough in for," *THUD*, "Sea monsters."
Molly steadies herself. "Should we be worried about that?"
Cyrus moves to the bow.
Dinah clears her throat. "No. Not at all. As long as there isn't another, " *THUD*. "One of those, we'll be quite fine."
Cyrus unhooks his crossbow and looks back to the crewman on the foremast. He makes a couple of complex hand signals and then looks back to the waters.
Molly readies herself, passing a hand over the nearest gun briefly and clicking a bolt into place on her bow. "Lovely. Just don't blame me for this, Boss! I'm not that good." She mumbles to herself, "Sea-monsters at my beck and call... Men..zilch."
"MOLLY!," is bellowed out by Dinah. "This is ALL your fault!" While her tone might be serious, the light in her eyes is all crazy, reckless Discordia.
Cyrus mutters mostly to himself, "Too bad Taine couldn't be here. He'd absolutely hate this."
Molly yells out into the sea wind "Sorry, Boss. Won't let it happen again! I'll call out the fluffy bunnies next time."
One long, ominous tentacle lifts out of the water. It's a rather lovely shade of blood red. Likely due to the blood that's covering it.
Molly shrinks back. "Wonderful, it's already blooded. I hope that's its own." She screams out, "Tell me what you want me to shoot at it, Cap! I ain't goin' after it with knives."
Cyrus watches the tentacle carefully. He raises his crossbow and aims for what he hopes is a sensitive area. Maybe it's got a bunion or something. He also shouts to the aft crewman to bring one of the ballistae about.
"Maybe it's not hungry," Dinah says, hopeful tones to her voice.
A second, third, fourth, tentacle starts to lift out of the water. Poking, prodding, the side of the ship. Shot at, the first tentacle recoils, spurting out foul and green blood.
Molly says, "Not it's blood. Oh, that's not good."
Cyrus shouts, "Hey! We can hurt it!" He seems pleased by this revelation.
Molly raises her crossbow and aims, "C'mon baby, c'mon baby. WORK for mama!" and fires.
Cyrus fires another bolt at the creature and orders the ballista to do the same. The words 'at will' and 'aieeee!' can be heard somewhere in that order, as well.
Dinah seems to completely forget that there's a sea monster. She stares at Molly, and her crossbow, open-mouthed.
Molly grins at Dinah. "You didn't think I was sitting on my butt for three years, did you?"
The Seamonster, however, does not forget about them. It is, infact, getting a bit peeved off about the whole being shot at thing. One tentacle sweeps towards Molly, though when it's thunderstuck, it retreats back below the waves. *thud*
Cyrus is completely distracted by the lightning coming from the crossbow. "Wow," he whispers. The whisper is heard clearly across the deck. The splash gets his attention and he runs to the other side.
Molly screeches at the tentacle and ducks down to reload, muttering to her bow "Good girl, hold on...here we go" She looks up to see Cyrus head to the other side of the ship. "Oh, now what!"
There's another set of tentacles climbing up the port side of the boat. The monster, apparently, is rather large. More green blood sprays out as the first limb that had appeared resurfaces, waving about wildly. There's a screech, below the waves, horrible and cruel.
"Maybe he's not hungry," Dinah says again, optimistic. "And is just bored. That's better, right?"
Cyrus says, "Darling. You know what you're like when you get bored?"
Molly glares at Dinah, her jaw dropping open. "Have you ever SEEN a cat that's not hungry play with a mouse?"
Molly says, "Or what he said. Even worse."
Dinah grins, wickedly, like she's replaying a few memories in her head. "Aye," she says, sounding distant. She is, however, brought back to the current time at the splash of a tentacle against the water. A tentacle that quickly lunges from the water and towards Cyrus!
Cyrus bravely shouts, "Crap!" He leaps to the side to avoid the tentacle and fires his crossbow at it.
Molly runs towards Cyrus and lets loose another lightninged bolt at the tentacle, shouting, an eloquent,"Nuh Uh! No! No NO!"
Dinah yells out, "You bloody bastard, leave my intended ALONE!" It's very fierce, and is followed up by the tossing of an extra painful knife at said bloody bastard.
The tentacle seems intent upon ruining Dinah's wedding. It flops onto the deck and nearly sweeps Cyrus into the water. A quick move by the man at the aft ballista combined with the lightning bolt and the extra-painful knife make the creature rethink its strategy. The tentacle begins slowly retreating.
Molly skids to the side of the ship and peers down, attempting to avoid a tentacleing as it retreats. "Where is its body?" She shouts out "Is it underneath the ship? How do we hit that?!"
Cyrus shouts, "The Ten's not equipped for anything that fancy!" His expression indicates that he might be planning some retrofitting if they survive this. He then says, "If we can sail past the thing we could throw some crap into the water. Maybe it won't like that."
Molly curses down at the creature, enough to make her mother blush, "Well, I hope you can call up the wind, buddy, because I don't see how we're gonna outrun this bastard!" She eyeballs the deck. "What kind of crap do you have in mind? You're not TOUCHING my babies."
Cyrus holds up a hand. "I would never insult something so beautiful. And deadly." Then he looks to Dinah. "On purpose." Then back to Molly. "What's the downward angle like on those? The ballistae can't aim low."
Molly shrugs. "It's pretty good back home, but this was a quick-fit jobbie. We thought we'd be aiming up more." She runs over to one of the cannons and takes a look. "We can give her a go, but if it's completely under the ship we're sunk.
Molly Looks horrified. "I didn't say that! I definitely didn't say THAT!"
Cyrus smirks and looks to the wheelhouse. He's about to shout something when there's another THUD and the wind falls out of the sails. The Ten of Swords is dead in the water. A raspy sliding noise comes from the hull.
There's a glare aimed at Molly, with deadly precision, from Dinah. "Molly!" she grumbles, and then pales as the sails go slack. "Bloody hell," is hissed, and she looks to the Compass. "It's your fault, isn't it? Because Dad wanted you to go to the commodore."
Molly screams out in a voice pitched to carry across the ship, "That's not what we talked about! More wind. More!" She shakes her head and starts jacking up the back-end of a cannon closest to the center of the ship. "Somebody watch my back while I set this up!"
Cyrus moves to cover Molly.
Molly mutters "Bloody good thing we charged up before leaving home." She looks panicked for a second, fiddles with a gauge, finally whacking at it with her palm. "Whew. Yup. Bloody good thing."
Dinah is busy waggling a finger at the compass, like she could intimidate the metal dragons that twine around it.
The Monster doesn't seem to be willing to wait while Molly prepares the Cannon. Instead, it tries to take another go at making Dinah a single woman for the rest of her days. Two tentacles sweep towards Cyrus, like they're trying to scissor him.
Cyrus makes a quick count of the tentacles. Then he compares that to the number of bolts he can fire at a time. He doesn't seem to like the answers he comes up with. He settles for firing at one and shouting at the other.
Molly flips out one of her knives, of the extra painful sort, she tosses it behind her at one of the slithery things.She shouts out, "Ready when you are, Bosses!" Tell me when you want her."
"I swear by the deep, you foul beastie, that if you take my damned fiancee into the water I WILL GO IN AFTER HIM!" Dinah is all dark-eyed rage, in that moment. Perhaps the thing has ears, for one tentacle slithers away. Granted, it's only to *THUNK* against the underside of the boat, hard, making it rock. "NOW!" is called to Molly.
Cyrus hits the deck. Literally.
Molly Shouts out to the cannon, "FAAYAAAH!" as she does so.
Dinah holds to the wheel, tightly. The Storm Cannon *BOOOOMS* with the sound of thunder, echoing in the air, as lightning crackles outwards and into the sea. There's a *zot* and a beastly sound, along with smoke rising from the water. The tentacles start to go limp. "HIT IT AGAIN!," calls Discordia.
Cyrus rolls out of Molly's way as if by pure nautical instinct.
Molly has already jumped to the next cannon in line and is jacking it up when she hears the order. Two more pumps on the jack and it's up. "FIIYAAA! You Sonofa..." she screams. As soon as the gun goes off, she's racing over to the next one in line.
Cyrus is on his feet by now and he scrambles up the mainmast towards the crow's nest.
The second hit seems to do it, lightning dancing across the visable tentacles. *ZOT*. Everything is very, very quiet, except for the static that plays in the air.
Molly calls after him, "Stay away from those damned tentacles!"
You paged Cyrus with 'It seems dead. But it's boyfriend is coming this way.
Cyrus scans the waters and says, "Nice shooting, Mol." Then he looks aft. "Dis!" he shouts. "Get us the hell outta here! Any direction but backwards!"
Molly hugs the second cannon's barrel, kissing it's shining bronze side. "Way to make me proud, girl. Mommy has missed you!" She whips out a grease pencil and starts writing the name 'Tentaclebane' on the barrel.
Dinah does.not.look.behind.her. She turns the wheel, hard, spinning it to the left. "If any of ye gods like me, I could use a bloody good gust of wind!" is called out. And, lo, there's a puff that starts to fill the sails. "And YE! I polish ye better than Corbin ever would," is said to the compass, "So get us the bloody hell out of here before ye end up at the bottom of this sea!" And, lo, the compass starts to move once more, and shadow around them wavers.
Cyrus stays in the crow's nest and looks to the horizon with his spyglass. Every now and then he spares a glance downward.
Molly wipes the sweat out of her eyes and nudges a toe at a splatter of green goop on the deck. "Yeech!"
Privately, to Cyrus, Dinah has that Look. That devil-may-care, reckless and wild PIRATE look to her. Like they've looked at death and just laughed in its face, and like she will be tearing the clothes off of Cyrus soon.
Molly Starts to look around. "Discordia!" She shouts. "I suspect there might not be any rum left belowdecks!"
Cyrus shouts, "If that Karm fella has slept through this AND drunk all the rum, he's going overboard."
Dinah pats the wheel with affection. "That's a girl, Ten," she says, sweetly. Then, to Molly, she grins. "You'd best go check on our supply, Bloody Cute! And toss Gil in the drink if he did do such. Good job, luv."
Cyrus seems to think everything's being observed as well as it can be. He climbs down the mast with as much ease as if he were walking along a pier. He lands on deck with his eyes fairly glowing. He pats the Ten's railing and says, "I love being surrounded by beautiful women."
Molly shouts back, "I can't imagine him sleeping through this UNLESS he drank all the rum!" She beams back at Dinah. She says in a low conspiratorial voice, "Don't worry, Boss. You know those bottles Cyrus's been giving me? I Hid them down there. Hid 'em well. We can celebrate when we dock." She looks out across the deck. "the crew may be out of luck, though. I'll go check on that."
Dinah winks to Molly. "Gilgamesh is a damned sound sleeper," she says with a chuckle. "Believe me." She shakes her head, then seems thoroughly distracted by the sight of Cyrus for some reason.
Molly grins. "I know when I'm not wanted." She heads towards the stairs, patting the guns as she passes. She suddenly stops and sprints back. "Gonna need a new extra pointy knife. I lost one, somehow."
Cyrus grins and moves toward the rigging. He orders both other crewmen below decks.
Molly heads down below grinning. "I still know when I'm not wanted." Stepping down she shouts ahead of her, "Hey! Karm-boy! Wakey wakey!"
"We'll get you a nice, shiney new knife in Pengali," Dinah asures. "G'night, Molly." Her gaze is still on Cyrus, when she speaks.
Molly waves back behind her, already disappearing below decks.
Cyrus finishes with the deckwork and looks up to the wheelhouse. "If you're done with me here, ma'am, I could go wait in your quarters."
Dinah ties off the wheel, and looks over Cyrus slowly. "Oh, I am far from done with you, Stormcrow," she says lowly.
Cyrus grins and says, "Aye, aye." He even salutes. With his hand.
Dinah gestures one of the crewmembers over. "Don't touch the compass," she says. Then, two strides later, she's in front of Cyrus. Two heartbeats later, she's dragging him to her quarters by the front of his shirt.
Cyrus follows willingly. "A first mate's work is never done," he says before the door closes.