Alexios was not often found on a ship but he was a man of the Archipelago and he would be damned if it could be said that he didn't have some marine to match his soldier in his blood. Stood on the deck of a strong carrack, Alexios moved to the bow of the ship as it bullied it's way through the waves of the Southern Archipelago islands. Waters here could be choppy but the captain was a solid, dependable, hand and they had a good wind.
It whipped around him in such a way as to almost feel hungry to him and he could share it's hunger.
Stood as he was at the forward-most part of the ship he could see the ship they were chasing as they gained on it. A carrack just the same as the ship he was currently on, the enemy had ragged sails to match their profession's aesthetic. They were pirates and they had been terrorizing the waters and trade lanes around Pryor for months. Several smaller merchants had come together to pay for his services and those of the sailors and his limited number of marines.
Honestly it stank something fierce that a small coalition of merchants had had to pay for pirate-catching out of their own pocket when the protection of the sea trade for the island was the direct responsibility of the Councillor who had been elected to govern the island and represent it on the Council. This was a failing no matter how it was looked at and part of Alex found it to be offensive.
A Councillor of the Archipelago letting piracy go unpunished was something so disgustingly low that it should not be tolerated.
"Brace for arrows!" he bellowed loudly and clearly, "We approach their port quarter! To arms men!"
This is the first time he has ever been on a ship. Ever. Being from a landlocked province deprived him of the experience of being on a ship. And now he is starting to wonder why he took up the job. Luckily so far Aengus has not fallen victim to the dreaded sea sickness or he will be in a world of trouble. It would have been no good to take on the job and then have to take himself out over getting sick. He had taken on the job because he wants to help where the regions own government has failed to do so.
It is disgusting to think that the region's government had no interest in protecting their trade routes or civilians who traveled the route. So when Aengus heard about the job he took it right then and there with no second thoughts.
Moving over to the port the man got a first look at their target as he held into the railing and a nearby rope to keep himself from falling off the ship. With them gaining on the ship they are pursuing it is a no brainer that any minute now they will be in one hell of a fight. Armed with his own bow he will be able to at least try to take out the pirates own bowman once they are in range. Glancing down he tested the string of his bow just to make sure it is in working order. Which as his test proved it is still in good working order.
Then there came the shout from Alexios of arrows. Arming his own bow Aengus pulled back on the string as he aimed for one of the sailors in the other ship, one of the ones standing at the wheel. With the wind it is no guarantee he will hit them but it is worth a shot at least.
Blix tightened down the forestay, looking up its length towards the crow’s nest atop the mast of the ship. The wind whipped across the deck, bringing stinging spray into his face. He reached up and wiped the salty sea water from his features and tried to catch sight of their quarry in the waves ahead of them. The chase would be over soon and then the battle would no longer be one of speed but one of martial prowess. It was not a prospect that Blix was not ready for, one does not sign on to a vessel with the mission of eradicating pirates without a knowledge that there will be conflict.
When Blix had heard of the ship and its mission, he had rushed to hire on. It would be quite an experience and he had only been on a ship a handful of times. He knew if he were to expand the horizons of his parent’s memories that this ship would fit the bill nicely for a time. He signed on as a ships mate second class, basically a deck hand. The pay was not a fortune, but the food was hot and generally plentiful which suited Blix just fine. He was here for the action and the experience more than the money and comfort.
Blix knew very little about ships, ropes or even sailing but a quick mental foray into the mists had introduced him to the spirit of a human sailor named Frair who had been more than happy to enlighten the Myst born on the finer points. A quick deal was struck and for a twenty-minute run around in Blix’s body of a less than reputable portion of a port town, Frair’s spirit had provided Blix with the knowledge he sought. This knowledge had gained Blix a berth on the ship and a much-needed small source of income from the voyage. He hoped that any recovered wealth from the pirates might have a reward to share among the crew to supplement that gain.
Turning from the bow of the ship, he moved towards the stern and the deck above the captain’s cabin. Its elevation would help Blix see the ship as they came along side. For just a moment, Blix’s eyes went milky white and he saw another version of the pirate ship. This version was filled with holes and had multiple spirits on its decks. He could see them milling about on the main deck of the pirate ship. Many of them appeared to have been victims of the ship and its crew but a few stood out as possible boarders who had died in battle or even former members of the crew that had ended up on the wrong side of a dispute. He smiled a smile that had no mirth, they would do nicely for his needs.
Blix’s eyes returned to normal and he steadied himself on the rear deck just as the call of arrows came from the front of the ship. They were approaching on the port side of their quarry, so Blix ducked down behind the lip of the starboard edge. He looked up to see where the arrows would land, hoping none were flaming, flames and ships tended to not mix too well. He watched as the ships drew closer together, seeing the pirates on the other ship for the first time and starting to draw in his will.
Kiran was sat on a crate, taking what little time he could to rest before the action while the youngsters scrabbled about the deck readying their weapons or whatever it was they needed to calm their own nerves. He'd done all he could to help the ship's quartermaster move patching supplies to sections likely to need them and now the majority of his work was done until either they began boarding or until their ship took enough damage that he'd need to help with patching the hull. By no stretch was he a fighter, he could swing a sword the same as anyone else but he'd never taken the time to get any formal training, better off leaving it to those younger and with more energy to burn.
As it was he wondered why he was here, cursing the governor under his breath with words that would make a hardened sailor blush, if the bloody politician would patrol the waters probably his fellow tradesmen wouldn't have had to cobble the coin together to their own expense to hunt down these pirates. One shipment had already gone missing recently from Cathwa, whether it was these pirates or not they were a scourge that needed to be removed for fear of them intercepting any of his future imports. Of course somehow he'd been the only one of them to not only put their money into the pot but also jump in themselves, but then he was the only one with a decent set of protective gear and the sense to use it, idiots all of them.
Hefting his tempered wooden shield from the deck next to him Kiran stood, stretching out the kinks in his spine and neck before slowly working his way up to the deck to where an archer stood, the wind began to make it's presence known now he was out of shelter but registered as little more than a cool breeze as he peered across the water at their target. They were still a fair distance out from the pirates, far enough that eventhough he was no expert he was fairly sure hitting anything accurately would be incredibly difficult. Still, when the boy missed and the pirates fired back he'd be here at least with his shield to make sure that even if their archers were more accurate they wouldn't take their toll, already he was slowly flowing Myst through his veins, it's low thrumming oddly comforting.
"Hope you're a good shot with that bow, quite the distance between us and them, unless of course you aren't intending to fire, in which case i'd wonder why you've drawn the string back, your arm will get tired you know?" Kiran said this all with a completely straight face, couldn't resist messing around a little at the expense of the kid in a bit of harmless fun to pass the time until he had something to do.
They were approaching them now and the sea spray was enough to keep him smiling despite the current tenseness that spread out across all the sailing men. There was no doubt that men tensed before combat; unless combat had become so routine to them as to be devoid of tension. Alexios was one such man and he grinned as they approached, the starboard side of their ship coming along against the port side of the enemy from behind.
He grinned as a wordless shout from the pirate ship heralded them loosing a salvo of arrows. Alexios waved at some of the men.
"They'll fall short."
Indeed, the first salvo fell short barring a couple of arrows that struck the wooden railing at the edge of the ship itself. Drawing his longsword in his right hand, Alexios began to focus on his left hand, which he had left free. He heard the wordless shout again from the other ship.
"Return fire only once you see their arrows!" he instructed, shouting at full volume to be heard, "Let's send them down into the drink!"
Another salvo of arrows rose up from the pirate ship and they were looking far more likely to hit; if it weren't for Alexios. Flinging his left hand forward with a roar, he conjured a wall of fire to surge into the air to meet the arrows. The magic itself was weak on the fire but strong on the force behind it so when the fire met the arrows it robbed them of their momentum, causing them to fall into the water between ships.
"LOOSE ARROWS!" he commanded before grabbing up a grappling hook, "Prepare to board! Hooks, ready!"
Maybe he'd missed his calling about being a marine eh?
Blix watched as the distance between the two boats evaporated before his very eyes. The pirates appeared to be slowing down or they were just going a lot faster than the other ship. He looked up to the sails and wondered if they were using the same wind the pirates were using. It appeared that for whatever reason they were catching up rather easily.
Easy made Blix nervous.
The arrows thudded into the exterior of the front of the boat, making Blix wince with each impact. Mercifully, none of the arrows were flaming, yet. Blix could not make out any fire braziers on the deck but that did not mean they couldn’t just fire the arrows prior to shooting. Rising a little, Blix chanced a peek at the other ship and again didn’t see any flames. It would amuse him later that he was afraid of fire in the middle of the sea.
Getting the range to the other boat as they closed, he heard the order to make ready to board. He had an action station for that and moved down to pick up a large board. He turned the board so that it could easily be slid between the two ships once they were in range. He also picked up a mallet and two long iron spikes from a pile near the port side of the ship. After pushing the board across he would nail down this side of the board, securing it for the boarders to rush across to the other ship.
It wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but it was his and he would do it as best he could. He settled in beside the rail, one hand on the board and his tools at his feet. Another hand ran by and dropped a grappling hook and about 50 feet of rope at his feet. He nodded to the man and hefted the hook, judging the weight and his ability to toss the hook across the distance. The hook and ropes would be used once the boarding party was across to pull the ships together. Blix shouted “AYE” when the first mate called for the ready from the crew.
Aengus looked back to see who was talking to him. It was some old bloke who had the nerve to.. what ever. He will find out soon enough how good of a shot Aengus is. The young man will tell him as much with a quick, "You clearly haven't been to Kriege, sir. I have been taught how to use a bow since I was a small boy." He will say before looking back to the other ship. Hoping that the older man will just leave him be to do what he had signed up for. If the man wanted to have a go at him for it they can settle it later.
He did notice, though weak, a wall of fire block the oncoming volley of arrows. Well some may have got through but they were of no threat unless someone decided to try catching one of the arrows. Who would be stupid enough to try that anyways.
He let loose his arrow, nailing the man he had been targeting right in the neck. That should clear up one spot for a grappling hook. Setting another arrow Aengus let this one loose on an archer aboard the other ship. While this shot didn't kill the man it will make him useless as an archer or defender of the enemy ship since the arrow pierced the pirate's left shoulder.
Kiran watched the fireworks thrown by the seemingly somewhat deranged man at their lead, arrows burnt up and turned aside by the force and flames that would have otherwise found their rest in the hull of their ship and the bodies of those upon it. This one seemed to have something of an idea of what to do, calling out orders that weren't completely stupid and being able to accurately gauge the larger picture around them unlike most of his age could. If he had some skill with that sword he'd pulled that he could match with those flames then maybe their work would be done easily, he could only hope the youngster wouldn't get overexcited and set them all ablaze though, they were on water after all.
When the archer next to him took his shot the old crafter watched it's arc, seeing it pierce the air and embed itself into one of the pirates, maybe he had some talent with the bow then beyond what he seemed. His second shot hit the target, not quite as well as the first but that could be forgiven considering now the pirates knew they were in shooting range and were clambering about the decks themselves. "Can't say i've had the pleasure," Kiran chuckled heartily, eyes still fixed on the pirated vessel, seemingly judging the distance as he reached for the sturdy rope and grapple fixed to his belt. "Since you were a small boy? You still are lad, but i'll grudge you have some skill with that bow, although i'd give as much credit to the bowyer that made it. Simple design but solid and unlikely to warp anytime soon."
Even as he spoke Kiran was checking the integrity of his grapple and tightening the knots on it, placing his wooden shield temporarily on the ground next to him and taking a step away from the archer before spinning the grapple in a lazy circle. Just as he finished speaking to the boy he took a great breath, inhaling not just air but Myst and willing it into his limbs, feeling the gentle thrum rise in bass until it resonated through his arms as he spun the grapple at increasing speeds. As soon as he felt it build to a point he released the iron head, sending it soaring on an arc at their prey, faster and at more of a distance than others would have thought possible with his Myst imbued strength where it clattered across the pirate vessel's deck, drawing back until it snagged as firmly as he could manage. It was a quick matter then for him to tie it off to his own ship, still holding the rope to provide it with some extra weight, the initial tether had been flung now they just needed others to sink some more in and they could pull the pirates to them. "One grapple tied off, let's get this done." He bellowed out, hoping others would follow as they got closer.
The time for blade and fire and death was here and Alexios was glad of it. Not so much because he had been looking forward to the fighting and the killing itself so much as finally getting to what this whole expedition had been about. Sure they hadn't been at sea very long, all things considered, but it was enough for someone like himself who was most often on land.
He began to swing the grappling hook before they actually came into range to get the speed up. As soon as he was able to throw it accurately he did so, latching his grappling hook to one of the many, many, ropes for rigging.
"Death to pirates!"
Pretty bland as far as war chants went but it got the point across.
Throwing himself off of the ship with the rope in hand, he half-swung and half-climbed onto the deck of the enemy ship and then there was suddenly no time to be giving out war chants and the like. He thrust his sword forwards before twisting it to his left, the blade stabbed into a stomach before tearing that same stomach open to block the swing of a cutlass from one of the pirates.
Stepping forwards, he kicked the unarmoured pirate in the balls. When the man flinched and fell forwards, Alexios brought his blade up, almost casually cutting the man's throat as he fell.
Blix raised to his feet, as the ships closed to within boarding distance, he swung his grappling hook in a slow arc around his head and then flung it with all his strength. It landed on the other ship and he felt it bite home in the wood of the rail. He dropped to his rear behind his own rails as arrow fire targeted him. Two arrows struck the rail above his head and one slammed into the wood of the hull with such force that it pierced the wood and the point appeared just above his left ear, pricking the flesh and starting it bleeding.
Blix reached up and touched the stinging cut, cursing like the sailor he had become. He slid on his rear a feet scoots to his right, away from the arrow. Hauling hard on the rope, he and the others attempted to pull the two ships closer together to allow the boarders to make their attempts to get to the other ship. Scrambling back to his feet, he crouched and pulled with all his might, trying to get the distance to close as quickly as possible.
Suddenly a sound reached his ears that was not welcome in the least. The sucking of air out of the atmosphere that usually accompanied an elemental caster of some type. He chanced a look over his shoulder to their quarry and saw a well-dressed woman on the rear of the vessel with her hands raised as if calling on some higher power, flame was starting to appear between her outstretched arms. Blix’s eyes went wide, and he shouted, “WARE MAGICS! MAGE ON THE STERN”
Focusing on a group of sailors on the enemy ship that were gathering. Aengus's goal was to take them out one at a time to prevent them from disconnecting the grappling hooks or harming anyone attempting to board the ship. Firing an arrow tye projectile missed as the sailor he was aiming for slipped and fell to the deck. An incredible amount of luck was on the man's side for the arrow to miss. Well at least for now luck is on his side. He will eventually be taken out either by Aengus or someone else.
Upon hearing Blix yell out a warning about a magi on the other ship Aengus felt his blood run cold as he spotted the finely dressed woman with flames leaping from her arms. She is a powerful magi he can tell from what he is seeing so far. Firing an arrow Aengus then learned that the woman's flames are going to be a formidable defense as well as an offense weapon. His arrows will be completely useless against that woman.
He can try to prevent the woman from catching their ship on fire with her magic. But with him only knowing a few basic ones he isn't sure how long he can keep up. He is not an expert with magic. Proven as he barely put up a weak watery defense as the magi on the enemy ship sent a small ball of fire towards the ship.
Aengus dropped his bow, "I can try to keep her from catching the ship on fire. But someone needs to quickly take that damn woman out."
Dancing amongst the unarmoured pirates, Alexios' armoured form might as well have been carved from stone for all the good their attacks were doing. They were used to fighting other pirates and sailors, men and women who dressed in the lightest clothes they could because of the chances of drowning if they weren't careful.
Which meant that when they attacked they attacked with the methods that would work against people such as them; slashing attacks. Which were, Alexios was happy to remind them, exactly what his armour was designed to defend against. Stopping a cleaver with his armoured forearm, he slammed his dagger into the man's throat before tearing it out and swinging his sword.
Two pirates managed to jump out of the way of the blade but a third was just too slow and the tip of Alexios' sword carved neatly through his stomach, causing his bowels to almost pour out of his body to land on the deck.
At the shout, Alexios disengaged from the conflict he had been winning to focus on the magic user instead. Grinning to himself, he threw his dagger at the magic user, catching her attention and causing her to jump to one side to avoid it, ruining her attack on the ship in the process. His left hand igniting with flames of his own, Alexios charged down the deck of the ship at her.
"Mage is mine!"
"Another damn flame thrower, did no one tell them fire isn't helpful if your ships made of wood, one careless mistake and you go up as well." Even as he grumbled Kiran began tugging on his own rope, allowing the others the time to make their throws before he began to assist in reeling them in, he may be strong but there was no way he would be able to reel in the pirate boat by himself even on his best day.
Oh and look, the archer was a mage as well, whether an amateur or badly taught he couldn't tell but the watery defense that was beginning to form with their ship didn't look sturdy enough by half to block the roiling ball of flame that was aiming at them. Knowing his shield would do no good here Kiran just continued pulling, assisting in drawing them closer to the enemy ship and knowing that if the ball of fire hit he'd have to be quick to assist in dowsing the flames and patching the hull, glancing back quickly he could see his patching supplies had only been slightly shaken around by their movements and were still easily reachable for when they were needed.
Their own flame thrower seemed to have parked himself on the pirate ship, the follies of youth carrying him over before any other had thought to reinforce him. Others would follow he was sure but for now the boy was by himself on a pirate boat, although they were rapidly nearing the point where they could begin to board themselves in a more forceful fashion. So far so good, but you never counted your chickens before they hatched, and there was plenty that could happen with mages on each side and an unknown number of pirates.
Why was he here, he should have left this to the young, the ones still enamoured with fighting and glory, like the other merchants had. But no, it wasn't in his nature to let others do the hard work, and these kids needed someone to look after them so here he was, as per usual in the thick of it.
Aengus saw no need for his archery skills anymore. The ships are so close together that the magi, if there are anymore, on the other ship are a far bigger threat than their archers. So the prince discarded his bow and quiver by dropping them to the ship deck. His magic is too weak to defend against any of the magi on the pirate ship. So there is only one solution left and that is to get on the pirate ship and join in on the fighting taking place.
He was not about to let Alexios have all the fun either.
The ships were close enough that only a good jump and swing of a rope was needed to get from one ship to the other. A jump Aengus will make as he jumped over to the pirate ship. Once he landed his feet on the other ship three pirates will head his way. This is going to be fun. He gripped his sword tightly as he got into a small duel with a pirate that came charging at him. It wasn't that hard of a duel as after a couple of swings Aengus slashed his blade through the pirates right shoulder down to his chest.
He is within hearing range of Alexios so if he needed help taking down the Magi all he will have to do is yell. But for now Aengus is busy preventing other pirates from going to the aid of the Magi as he began dueling two of the pirates at the same time. One foolishly tripped on a bundle of rope and fell into the narrow band of water between the two ships. Because of that pirate failing to watch his footing it left only one to contend with until other pirates decided to join in.
Shrouding his left hand in flames, he caught the fireball she launched at him before deflecting it upwards into the sky to explode harmlessly in the air. Fire mages fighting was often a case of who's concentration failed first. And Alexios wasn't the best mage... but he was hella distracting as anyone who knew him could attest.
"Oi, come here you no-tit, talentless goat fucker!" He pointed to her, "You salty fuckbucket whore, I've got some long hard inches for you!"
He waved his sword around in the air as the witch stared it him, wide eyed for a moment as her spell fell apart due to her distraction. Alexios dashed forwards, eating up the distance between her even as she hurried to concentrate on another spell.
"Don't turn away now honeybunch, don't you know it's rude to leave a John jonesing for relief?! Don't worry darling, when I'm through with you, I'll have carved up your insides so I'm your last man!" he cackled, "Ain't no one else going to fit in the groove I dig into you!"