((OOC Note: The following post is written with the consent of the players involved.))
In the vast northern reaches, far from the city of Rhydin, the last snow of the season settled white and quiet through the breathless air onto the decks of the ship. It was a wet snow with large heavy flakes that piled on the lines and the rigging, turning the tarred ropes into thick white cables. The sea was black, and the swells rose and fell without sound. From the stern came the low measured beat of a muffled drum that set the beat for the oarsmen. The sifting flakes settled on the shoulders of the sailors and in the folds of their cloaks as they pulled steadily through the snowy morning. Their breath steamed in the chill dampness as they stretched and straightened in unison to the beat.
Kyrith?elle and Zandramaschal stood at the rail their cloaks pulled tightly
around them, staring somberly out through the filmy snowfall.
?Miserable morning,? the raven haired human noted, distastefully brushing the snow from his shoulders.
Kyrith?elle grunted sourly.
"You?re in a cheerful mood today.?
?I really don?t have that much to smile about, Zandramaschal. I would rather be any place than here in this miserable mess. I so hate sea travel.? Kyrith?elle, the quasit, now wearing the fa?ade of a sylvan elf, went back to glowering out at the gloomy black-and-white morning. His thoughts lingered upon the turmoil he faced back in Rhydin and its reason; his master, Teryani, the demonfey lord of House Dlardrageth who had summoned him to this realm to do his bidding. The quasit was searching the arcane lore in his memory for a way to break his master?s bindings. His master?s demand for him to play baby sitter on this voyage sat sourly upon the demon?s thoughts. This bone-chilling cold that accompanied this demand was soon becoming the proverbial last straw.
A sudden thought came to the human, people mostly referred to as Zan. The hardened hunter leaned forward and spoke very quietly. ?You know,? he said, ?we could go someplace, at that. We?ve got a ship here; a ship goes wherever you point it. We could easily turn course after dealing with a few of the crew.?
?It is an interesting notion, Zan, but..? Kyrith?elle?s words were cut off by
the human quickly.
?There are only two us, Kyrith." Zandramaschal pointed out. ?..But I?m sure we wouldn?t have much difficulty in taking over this ship and this sorry excuse for a crew. We could turn course and be halfway to warmer climates before Belial realized we weren?t returning to Rhydin after all." The more he thought about the idea, the more the idea excited him. ?Then we could sail south along a tropical coast, anchor in some remote port. We could get on with returning to our own business, instead of playing errand boys and nursemaid for your master and Blood House Onyx.?
?It?s got some definite possibilities, Zan,? Kyrith?elle added, ?You are quite
sure of yourself.?
Kyrith?elle scratched thoughtfully at his chin, squinting out into the sifting
snow. ?It may be possible,? he admitted. He looked slowly at Zandramaschal. ?But what do you think we ought to do with all these Blood House mercenaries and the ship?s crew, once we get to this secluded coast of yours? You weren?t planning to sink the ship and drown them all, were you??
?Of course not! Do you think me daft, elf??
?I?m glad to hear that?but then how do you plan to keep them from rushing to the nearest garrison just as soon as we have left them behind? I hear Blood House Onyx has informants everywhere. I don?t know about you, but the idea of having a contract on our heads and assassins hot on our heels doesn?t excite me all that much. Plus, you are forgetting the fact my master, Teryani, for reasons I am unsure of, has guaranteed the safe passage of this ship back to Rhydin. I will protect the cargo of this ship, until we have reached port. Besides, will you be the one that tells Belial?s toy, Welverin, we are changing course? He has returned to Blood House Onyx once more and does he not share the interests of Belial now as well as her bed? Or have you forgotten?? The quasit paused momentarily, ?If you are brave enough to stand against the wrath of that House, you are a braver soul than me.? Kyrith?elle could not help but chuckle at the situation. ?You have grown quiet. I guess it is decided. We are returning to
Zandramaschal frowned somewhat. How he had ever let Welverin talk him into coming along and overseeing the retrieval of some mysterious cargo from some northern port on the edge of the known world, was beyond him at this point. While docked at that northern port, that he couldn?t even recall the name of, Welverin had a meeting with the leaders of some obscure cult regarding some primordial nonsense, but the drow had refused to go into detail. Personal business was the only explanation the drow had given. The ship was only at port for three days, just long enough to load the cargo into the holds. The ship had left port immediately after being loaded and was rerouted for Rhydin. Needless to say, Zandramaschal was less than happy with the situation.
?I guess I hadn?t worked out all the details yet,? Zandramaschal admitted. His gaze lingered on the quasit. He silently wondered what role the demon and its master played in all this secretive Blood House business. Protection, he thought not. Neither he nor the drow had required outside protection before.
?I didn?t think you had. It?s usually best to work your way completely through an idea before you put it into action. It avoids a great deal of
spur-of-the-moment patching later on. I know you?re impatient Zan, but
impatience is a poor substitute for a well-considered plan.?
Did he just call him impatient? Zandramaschal growled at Kyrith?elle. He was not about to be lectured by some bound denizen of the Abyss in elven guise. ?Enough. Your point is made.?
The cabin door suddenly opened, and Welverin, the drow elf, who had been asked by Belial to captain this ship and oversee the delivery of a highly precious cargo, emerged. From the moment, Lord Dlardrageth had agreed to protect the ship?s cargo; the drow had been polite and strictly correct in all his dealings with his henchman. He had also been very firm about his intention to deliver the cultists message personally back to Belial in Rhydin without delay. He was dressed in a pair of simple leather breeches and a tunic the color of alabaster. He seemed to be unaffected by the cold, having warded himself against such bitter elements way into the beginning of the journey. He came up the slush covered deck, heedless of his highly polished boots.
?Good morning?, to Zan?Kyrith,? He greeted them with a stiff, nod. ?I am
trusting you slept well??
?Whatever drow,? Zandramaschal replied. Neither he nor the quasit required sleep so to speak, and as he suspected the drow was just being his usual self, a sarcastic arse. He was far from being in the mood to deal with his former sire?s antics on such a cold and bitter morning.
?It seems to be snowing?, gather that.? Welverin said, looking about and
speaking in the tone of one making small talk for the sake of courtesy. The drow rested his hands upon the rail.
?I noticed that,? Kyrith?elle replied. ?How long is it likely to take us to
return to Rhydin??
Before the drow could answer, a shout of alarm came down from the crow?s nest above. ?A caravel be on the horizon captain! Flyin? a black cutlass, lined in red, mind ye!? the young sailor shouted down, thanks to his spyglass, he was able to discern the snapping flag of the caravel fast approaching.
The three associates, mumbled in unison at the rail, ?Great?pirates??