From the corner of her eye, Danae sees a flash of radiant light touch down on the deck of the ship. Turning towards it, she braces herself for a new enemy's onslaught only to find Kaldred laying on the deck looking half drowned. She rushes to his side and bends down next to him, placing her fingers on his neck to find a thready pulse.
"Captain!! Kaldred is here and he's alive! Let's GO!!!"
At least, I hope it's you, and not someone pretending to be you.... she thinks as she presses down on his chest to get him to spit up any water that might be clogging his lungs.
Half conscious, Kaldred's hand grips the mithril rod so tight his knuckles turn nearly white. As the world slowly comes back into focus, the tiefling rolls to his side and coughs seawater up onto the deck. He groans softly. "Where...am I? C-Cap'n? Danae?"
"Don't worry. You're here with us now. The captain is trying to get us away from the rest of the sea creatures that were attacking the docks." Danae smooths Kaldred's dark wet hair out of his face, noticing absently that he's missing his hat. She is curious about the object he is clutching tightly to his chest, but she doesn't remark on it.
"Can you sit up?" She helps him into a sitting position, then kneels next to him on the deck. "What happened to you? We thought you were lost."
The captain fought on and on, staining his coat with the blood and grisly fluids from the decaying, barnacle-speckled risen pirates. His rational mind lost in the heat of battle, he battles on through his new allies begging for their departure from the doomed docks, hoping for a slight chance to get his friend back, blaming the sea-creatures for everything that has gone wrong.
His mind barely catching a grip of what Danae said, the captain stops for one second, drawing back a bit to be out of danger from the hoard of risen dead atop his deck. Spotting the tiefling, he gasps in fear and confusion at his prone frame. Heaving the sword he had picked up at a sea-man who had been creeping toward Adrik, who was heroicly fighting off three at once, the captain sprints over to his fallen companion. "Hold that line, men! Adrik! Kane! We'll be out of here soon enough, me mates!" Shoving his way past Mariz, the traitor, the Captain breaks into a dead sprint.
"Kaldred! Kaldred!" he shouts, charging over to his friend, in disbelief that after such a risky choice on both of their parts, the captain would find him lying on his own deck, safe from danger. He reaches him and falls to his knees beside him and Danae. Exchanging a thankful glance with her, the Captain turns to the tiefling.
"My foolish friend..." The captain looks as if he's about to cry for a moment, in shock of the events transpiring. Then, a wave of confidence sweeps over him and he smiles a big, goofy grin, the same one as when he'd met the tiefling in the bar the night previous. "You thought we'd leave without ye? I might be crazy but no kraken's teeth'll be round any of me friends so long as I can help it."
Faust turns to his first mate, who is firing a top-deck cannon at the ripping sea, where the retreating sea-monsters were sinking. "Drop the assault! We've had our precious cargo back an' 'ere's no need fer any more of a risk! Karth! Take her wheel and fly us out of 'is hellhole!"
The Captain grabs Kaldred's shoulder, happy his new friend came out alive, relatively unharmed, even. He notices the rod that the tiefling seems to be clutching with a fierce grip and looks to his face. Fear in the Captain's dark eyes, he gravely speaks. "Kaldred... What have you done?"
Kaldred broke into a weak smile when he saw Faust. He wanted to answer the man's question, but his mind was racing. How could he describe what had happened? It had all happened so quickly. And most of it would likely make him sound crazy. Bewildered and still coughing up seatwater, he said, "This rod...seven parts...to control the golem. Have to...assemble it...for the gods. Swore I would. Pact with...the angel..."
Danae's eyes widen in surprise. "How is that possible? I mean, I'm not trying to be rude or disrespectful, but..." She puts her index fingers up to her forehead and waggles them around, symbolizing horns. "I also thought that the golem was beyond repair, even though there have always been knights and priests who swore that it would come to life again in the hour of greatest need."
She looks back to Mithril, fading in the distance, smoke billowing from the great fires in the city. It didn't move to help them this time, she thinks, as the sorrow squeezes her heart yet again at all the innocents that were being harmed and killed at this very instant.
Faust stops his friend. "Save your breath. We can discuss this later, me friend. Vaklun! Srakis! Get this man to the bunks down-deck. He needs his rest, if'n we're to figure out what happened to him."
The two men move to help Faust pick up the tiefling, with intent to bring him to a place where he can rest, free of the bloodshed among the top-deck. After they get him into their arms, Faust lets go of friend.
"Listen. Get some rest and we'll take care of 'is mess. 'S good to have ye back, Kaldred."
Faust nods to his first-mate, Karth, at the wheel of the Quina Vjeta. The man steers her away from floating debris and bodies as the ship makes its way away from the docks, determined to rid its occupants sight of the terrible scene.
Danae watches as the men take Kaldred below-decks before walking over towards where Kane is tossing another dispatched corpse over the railing. When he's done, she moves in close and wraps her arms around his waist, leaning her head on his shoulder. She doesn't say anything; it is enough that they are alive and together. Kane is her anchor when the world is turning upside down, and it had been doing that a lot recently. She closes her eyes for a moment, just now realizing how very tired she is -- tired of running, tired of fighting, tired of doing anything other than settling down with her husband and living a quiet life together. She knows that will be long in coming, however, if it ever comes to pass at all. With all the enemies after them -- known and unknown -- there is no chance to let down her guard and really rest.
Danae holds Kane tighter, hoping against hope that they are safe for at least the time being.
"Karishin." The name is a whisper on the strong winds that flay the Quina Vjeta, lost out over the blood red waters the moment it leaves Mariz' lips.
The Ledean graduate once again found himself in grave danger. Those he called friends had opposed the guards of Mithril for reasons unknown to him, and fate had brought him onto the decks of a self-proclaimed pirate, seemingly in league with a horned Titanspawn and those he had once trusted with his life. They had reacted almost violently to the man he had called a friend for many years, and seemed distrustful at the least of his allies at the Guild of the Shadow. They had saved his life, and he had fought with them against assassins and the mystery that had sent them, but their recent actions still need explaining. An explanation he did not think he would ever get.
He had helped clean the last of the bodies off the deck as they sailed away from the inferno, but now the decks were empty, the sailors hard at work steering the ship, Mariz found himself alone near the stern of the vessel. The horned titanspawn had been brought belowdecks after strangely appearing aboard the ship. Mariz had seen the man dive into the bloodred waters, and with the multitude of enemies emerging from the depths, he had known the man to be dead. And yet he still breathed, safe and sound.
His sorrowfull gaze lingered on the dark plume of smoke. At times it almost seemed as if faces appeared in the billowing black mass, crying out for the dead at its feet. "Karishin, be safe, my friend, for the world is filled with hate and treachery." The words again were blown away, fleeing from the still figure of the Stoneman, leaving him alone in his pain and regret. He knew that Karishin was a powerful mage, but the Blood Sea spawn had been relentless. Mariz had been almost helpless against them, so he could only hope the city could muster a defense to douse the flames and throw back the vicious assault. He could only hope that Karishin would live.
He closed his eyes, letting the wind buffet his figure, pushing and pulling from moment to moment, letting his body sway with the motion of the ship, the deck tilting with every wave it struck, and slowly he let his mind stray deep into the waters. Mother Denev was weak here, so far removed from the steady shore, so Mariz was fortunate he had learned to communicate with Water. His stony skin turned to thick mud as water forced its way out from deep within his body, creating cracks and small bursts of liquid, and then the mud sank into his soul, leaving his skin a pale blue.
A brief moment he reached out to the Winds, but they shook and shuddered, whispering in his ear that he was not ready yet. "Let the wind ripple your lips into a smile, release your cares and let them flow deep into the earth. Dismiss the fires of anger in your heart. Let the waters of your soul take you where they may, and then, Lord of Denev, you may be free as the wind."
As Danae is glancing around to see who of their companions are left, she is relieved to find that they've all made it. She notes that Mariz has changed to his blue skinned form, and that he is keeping himself separate from everyone else.
Pulling back from Kane, she tells him, "I'm going to do a little damage control and see what's up." She kisses him and then walks over to Mariz.
Leaning against the rail, more to show Mariz that she trusts he won't heave her overboard than anything else, she says quietly, "You and I need to talk. I don't know why you did what you did back in Mithril. I thought that you trusted me and knew that I would never do anything to harm an innocent. If what they said about the priest is bothering you, I swear to you on the holy names of Corean, Tanil and Madriel that neither Kane nor I harmed him. I will even swear by the goddess you hold sacred that I would defend as well. I went to the temple to talk to the priest, because I needed to ask him about an item that I needed. Two necromancers resurrected the dead while we were there -- within the sacred walls of the temple!" Anger and an undertone of sadness creep into her voice for just a moment, and then she resumes. "We defended ourselves as best we could, and I tried to help the priest but it was too late. If you doubt me, we can return to Mullis Town and you can question the new priestess yourself. She was there and saw everything. The only fault that might lie at my door is being there in the first place and drawing someone's attention to me -- someone who wishes me dead for reasons unknown to me. After we were attacked at your friend's house, I found out who it was, but I still don't know why he is after me."
She pauses for a moment, collecting her thoughts. "I am sorry about your friend Mariz. I am sorry as well for my behavior in his house. You must understand that I am having trouble trusting anyone lately. I honestly don't know why I didn't question the Captain or the tiefling; perhaps it's because I knew they were our only way outalive."
The paladin stands up from leaning against the rail and takes one of Mariz's big blue hands in both of hers. She looks him straight in the eyes unflinching. "I do know this, however. I know that you are trustworthy and true. I have to believe that. You have been with us since the fatling, and you gave your life as I did to stop him. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes. I call you friend, Mariz. Do you still call me the same?"