Today’s snippet, titled “Mironae’s End”, is a piece I wrote about the Pathfinder campaign I’m running – “The Serpent’s Skull”.
Be forewarned, there may be mature themes and naughty language below.
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Everything was dark and quiet at first. The rhythmic sway of the ship she had come to know so intimately was jarringly off-kilter and as she struggled to open her eyes, Mironae knew something was terribly wrong.
She reached up, rubbing her throbbing temple. A sharp pain blinded her as she did and when she pulled her hand away, it was smeared with blood. Her vision was dark and blurry; she blinked rapidly, trying to clear it.
She turned, wobbling on her unsteady feet. It was not her father, but she was relieved anyway, to see First Mate Alton Devers moving toward her. She frowned – he looked unsteady on his feet too. It took her a long moment to realize that he was bleeding as well, a handful of sword slices had set his fine shirt to tatters.
“What- what happened?”
“No time to explain,” he gasped, steadying himself upon her shoulder. “I need your help. We have to get them off the ship.”
“What about the rest of the crew?”
He shook his head.
“And- my f-father?”
Alton lay his blood palm against her cheek. “I didn’t see him, but the lower deck is mostly underwater. He’s a strong swimmer, ‘Nae. Maybe he got out. I just don’t know.”
Swallowing thickly, Mironae pushed her wavy blonde hair out of her eyes and nodded. No time for tears, she told herself, biting them back. Fa got out, I know he did. I know he did.
“Please, ‘Nae, give me a hand. I can’t manage them all by myself.”
Together, they managed to drag nine of the passengers up to the deck. She had tried to wake dear Lars with slaps and kisses and kicks and caresses, but like the others, he was deep in oblivion and did not respond to any of it.
“Where are the others?” She cried, helping the first mate, loose the moorings for the life boat. “Miss Karren and Vic and-”
“No idea. They weren’t there when I got to the dining room. Forget about them, ‘Nae, we gotta get as many of them to safety as possible. The shore isn’t far – but the seas are rough as the Captain’s bloody ego. I can’t swim it. Gotta use the boat.”
“Right. Take Lars first. Please?” She avoided his gaze, twisting here and pulling there with expert hands. For a long moment she could feel his eyes upon her, then he grunted and moved to the half-elf man’s body. He looped his arms under Lars’ and she grabbed her lover’s feet. Together, they slung him haphazardly into the boat and returned for one of the Hrothgar twins – Mironae was not sure which one, she had not made much effort to discern which was which.
“I’ll be back for the rest. Grab what you can from their rooms, ‘Nae. Anything that looks important. Food, if you see it, aye?”
“Aye,” she nodded. Hastily, she bent over the edge of the dingy and planted a kiss on Lars’ smooth forehead. “Dream sweet, sweetling. I’ll see you when you wake.”
Without a word, Alton pushed off and lowered the boat into the crashing surf. He disappeared into the gloom a few minutes later and Mironae found herself standing alone on the deck. The Jenivere was listing, half-braced against a sheer cliff, with her ass beneath the surface and her tits to the sky.
Mironae had seen shipwrecks before, but she had never been on a wrecked ship before. It broke her heart, the piece of it that was married to the sea, to see such a proud vessel rent upon the rocks like a freshly split coconut. She felt tears upon her cheeks and wiped them away hastily, ducking quickly below deck to retrieve another armful of equipment.
She was half-way up the steps when she heard Alton’s cry. Mironae leapt up the last few steps and dumped the gear she had found before leaning way over the railing to see the First Mate. Alton had returned, bloodier than before but looking somehow fortified and less haggard. He motioned for her to start the crank.
Grunting, Mironae put her entire body into the effort. It took twice as long as it should have, but she managed to raise the skiff.
“Take the other Hrothgar girl next,” she said, helping him back onto the ship. “And then the Sargavan kid with the bird.”
Alton nodded and together they began to load the unconscious passengers.
“Did you find the captain? Or my Fa?”
He shook his head, focused on the task at hand.
“Safe trip,” she whispered as the dingy was lowered once more. “Don’t die over there and leave me here.”
“Promise,” Alton said. Mironae had to admire his grit as he winced but worked past the pain and began to row toward shore once more.
By the time he returned again, the distant horizon was beginning to just hint at dawn. Alton was pale and his hands clammy, but he soldiered on heroically. They loaded the haughty elven woman, Aerys Mavato, the gnome, and the redheaded girl for the next trip. Mironae paced the entire time Alton was gone, sweating profusely even in the wee hours of the night. By all the Gods, I pray we are not stuck here long. I shall melt in this heat. And fa will hate it too. We’ll board the first ship headed North and maybe go as far North as Varisia, again. Maybe, rather than look for work on the sea, we’ll do some riverwork. I bet he’d love to see the Riverlands, and we heard about that new country in the east what seems to be creating a stir. What was it called? Phoenixa, I think. I bet we’d do great there, trawling up and down the rivers over there. Cold winters, but lots of water and lots of coin to be made. A river and a lake is a far cry from the open sea, but she’s be a traitorous bitch these past few years and maybe a break from her embrace is warranted…
“Nae?” Came the disembodied voice once more. Crank to raise, load, crank to lower, wait. Repeat. It took two more trips to finish transporting the Tian fellow, the prisoner, and the supplies she had scavenged to shore. By the time Alton returned for the final time, he could barely stand.
Mironae climbed into the skiff and held her hand out to him. “Come on, Devers, I’ll row. Let’s go.”
The first mate frowned, glancing over his shoulder. “Did you hear that?”
“No,” she lied, thrusting her hand out again. “Take my hand, Alton. We gotta get out of here before the ship collapses or something. You need healing, too. I bet the prisoner’ll help, if we can wake him up. Just- just, let’s go. Okay? Don’t go downstairs.”
She had been hearing scrabbling for at least an hour, but it had not seemed prudent to let him know. The possibilities were endless – and almost uniformly horrible. Was it the crazed captain and his evil bitch lover? Was it some sea creature risen from the depths to eat them alive? Was it stealthy pirates or cannibals who had snuck on-board through the cracked hull and were seeking any living victims for rapine or murder?
“I better check it out, Nae. What if it is Karren or Vic? Or your father? Wouldn’t you want someone to check if it were you down there? Woken up, sick, and half-drowned? I’ll be back in five minutes. Just wait here.”
A piece by Sharandula really inspired Mironae and I included it with my story to my players. This image is reproduced without permission, but without any claim toward ownership and with all credit forwarded directly to the artist – whose art is AMAZEBALLS. Seriously, check her out!
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Note: Images are “Nessie” by (dsidwell), Ruins at Chicen Itza by (BenEarwicker), and Goat Skull by (humusak2) from SXC.hu; edited by me