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Author Topic: [Sep 2016] - Pirates! - Submission Thread  (Read 10270 times)

Offline Anonymous

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Re: [Sep 2016] - Pirates! - Submission Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2016, 01:57:35 PM »
A Seasick Sword
Word count: 1465.

Spoiler for Hiden:

A Seasick Sword

"Do you even know how to sail?"

Icewind stared straight ahead, hand on the tiller, eyes locked on the horizon. The temptation to conjure a wind was almost overpowering. Six months of magic-abstinence, and the build-up was really starting to make him twitchy.

"I don't think we should go this way."

The wizard rolled his eyes. "We don't have a choice."

"We could go back?"

"I thought you were 'seasick'."

"To talk, not fight."

"You don't just talk to pirates."

"You didn't try."

"I'm not suicidal."

"You're sailing a dinghy into the open ocean."

He gritted his teeth. "I'm not confronting a shipful of pirates with a sword which refuses to come out of its scabbard."

"You wouldn't want to swing around when you're feeling sick."

"You don't have a stomach."

Brightedge seemed to consider that for a moment. "I don't see your point."

"Without a stomach, you can't get sick."

The sword sighed theatrically. "Again with the prejudice."

"It's called logic."

"It's called a fallacy."

The wizard's grip tightened on the tiller. "Enlighten me."

"It's the 'swords aren't human therefore they're lumps of inanimate metal' fallacy. It's pretty common. Surprised you haven't heard of it."

Icewind shot a venomous look at his sword, then looked back at the scene they had left in their wake.

Smoke meandered in the azure sky, the only blemish on the fathomless sky. Two ships floated side-by-side, twin spectres shrouded by the haze, shrinking slowly as the minutes drifted by. The pirates had chased them for days, with the relentless confidence of a merciless predator. That confidence had been well placed.

The merchantman's crew were honour bound to fight to the last. Icewind could have helped. He would have. He might even have made a difference. But he couldn't risk using magic, and his sword had serious issues.

He sighed and turned away.

Brightedge seemed to sense his mood. "I did nothing wrong."

"You didn't do anything at all."

"I was seasick!"

"There's always an excuse."

"It's not my fault!"

"It sure as hell isn't anyone else's!"

The sword sighed.

"This is the fourth time, too."

"It is not. I've never been to sea before."

"You know what I'm talking about."

"Never met pirates either."

Icewind slammed his fist on the rail. "But we've been in fights before. Or, rather, I've been in fights. You've been as unhelpful as you could possibly be."

"You don't think I'm menacing enough?"

"You're supposed to do more than look menacing."

"But I was seasick!"

"And when we were jumped at the port? And you wouldn't let go of that barrel?"

"You swung me too hard. I got stuck."

"And the bandits in the mountains, when you wouldn't come out of your damn scabbard?"

Brightedge sniffed. "I told you. I had a cold."

"And those raiders by the desert?"

"I was brand new. It was dusty. You can't expect me to just risk losing my lustre like that."

The wizard shook his head in disgust and turned his attention back to his task. With the heat of the sun and the cool of the breeze, sailing would have been quite pleasant without a cutthroat crew of corsairs to worry about.

"Are those sails getting bigger?"

Icewind looked back, and a chill ran down his spine. One ship had left the other behind. It was definitely getting bigger. "Looks like we won't be alone for long."

"They're not going to catch up, surely?" An edge of panic sharpened the sword's voice.

"They have bigger sails."

"We have to do something!"

"We have to fight."

"I'm seasick!"

"Tough. It's about time you proved just how magical a sword you really are."

The wizard adjusted the sails, trying to capture more of the wind, but it was hopeless. He barely knew port from starboard; the pirates would doubtless be a little less incompetent. His swordplay was merely adequate too—hence the need for a magical sword.

Of course, he could solve their problem in a heartbeat with magic. Was it worth the risk, or was that just his need for release talking?

If Brightedge would just let him use its power, magic wouldn't be necessary.

"If you stick in your scabbard again I'll throw you overboard."

"That's not fair! I hate water."

"Maybe you could complain them to death."

"I could try?" The sword sounded hopeful.

Icewind chuckled despite himself.

"By the way, I have a question."

"Is this really the time?"

"What kind of a name is 'Icewind'?"

The wizard frowned at his sword. "What?"

"I mean, none of the other people we've met have names like that. They're all called 'John' or 'James'."

"I thought you didn't want to be fish food."

"I've been thinking about it lately."

"You can't be senile. I had you forged six months ago."

"You've never told anyone but me your real name."

"And you were like this from the start."

"Who would have a name like yours—and hide it?"

"You haven't left my side since then."

"Even kings use normal names."

Icewind clenched his fist. "Maybe that's it."

"I've heard of people more pretentious than kings."

"She must have realised I planned to leave."

"But I've never seen you do it."

"She bribed that bastard to make me a faulty sword."

Brightedge's voice sharpened. "I'm not faulty. You are!"

"A sword that won't fight is pointless."

"As is a mage who won't use magic."

The wizard's tone softened. "I never hid what I am from you."

"You never told me either."

"I'm trying to escape from all that."

"And you always tell me off for not fighting."

"You're a sword! You're supposed to fight!"

"There's more than one way to cut a cake."

Icewind sighed. "It's not the same."

"You have your reasons. I have mine."

"What reason could you possibly have?"

"You'll laugh at me."

"Maybe you shouldn't be so bloody ridiculous."

"It's not ridiculous to hate hurting people."

"That's your problem?"

"Valuing life is not a 'problem'."

"It is if you're a sword."

Brightedge laughed. "So says the mage who doesn't do magic."

"I have a valid reason."

"You're not the only person in the world."

"Fine. What would it take to get you to work with me on this?"

"Two things. First: I don't want to kill anyone unless it's really unavoidable."

Icewind nodded. "That I can agree to."

"Second: I want to try cooking."

"I don't..."

"I've always dreamed of being cutlery."

"But you're a sword."

"Are people always happy with their life?"

"That's beside the—"

"Actually, I have a third condition."

The wizard rolled his eyes. "You want to be a princess too?"

"You have to pull your weight as well."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Use magic. If I have to do something distasteful, you should too."

"It's not distasteful, it's—"

"It doesn't matter that you're running from someone."

"But if I use magic she'll—"

"You're asking me to risk taking lives."

"You can't just—"

"Besides, there are things I can't do."

Icewind gritted his teeth. "You're a magic sword. You can—"

"One of those is kill an entire crew of pirates."

"What's that got—"

"Like the one behind us."

The wizard paused.

"They'll catch up eventually."

"I know that. But you can't—"

"You agreed not to take life unless it's unavoidable."

"Yes, but—"

"I won't kill a whole crew."

"If we kill the captain and disarm a few—"

"If you want my help, you have to do this."

"But she'll find me."

"If she does, I'll help."

Icewind took a deep breath, and looked out over the rolling waves. With an enchanted sword he could defeat her. Especially if she knew nothing of it. But could he really kill her? She was evil incarnate, of course, but the girl she used to be was still somewhere inside... Far better to disappear, and never have to face her.

But what good was disappearing if it meant he always had to hide who he was?

It had been mere months, and he was already longing for the touch of magic. Could he really hold back for centuries more? Would a sharp, quick end be better?

Brightedge interrupted his thoughts. "We've been travelling for six months, half of that by ship. Could we be far enough away by now?"

The wizard shrugged. "There's no way to know."

"I can think of a way."

"I might not be able to do it."

"So don't turn back. Live your life as yourself, and hope she lets go too."

"And if she doesn't?"

"Then we'll deal with it."

Icewind nodded. It wasn't perfect, but it was better to live in hope. He turned towards the dinghy's stern, set the raging fire of magic flowing through his heart, and prepared to show those pirates just who they were hunting.
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Offline Osahon

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Re: [Sep 2016] - Pirates! - Submission Thread
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2016, 04:26:41 PM »
832 words
Friendly fire

Spoiler for Hiden:
You look old and tired now. You see your reflection in the mirror and your face is riddled with scars, each one telling a story. You brush your hand over the scar that cuts across your left eye and you never forget the horrors of that day.

But it’s over now; your story is done. You are sad, but excited to settle down with your share of the bounty that your crew has helped collect over the years. You are scared to leave the ship and not feel your baby’s rocking rhythm as it sails across the waves. You have never stayed more than a week or two on land, but to rest and die there seems strangely fitting.

You know the ship like the back of your hand and each route of the ocean courses through your veins; the waves have always been your mistress, but you have not yet danced with the dunes. You are not sure if she will accept you.

You wonder why you doubt yourself now, when you were so sure weeks ago. You know the crew can take care of themselves and you know Jonah will make an excellent captain. Jonah, your son on the sea—your real son a failure and a disgrace; you dare not speak his name.

The crew will raid more ships when you leave. You have become weak and old, your bones too brittle for the waters. You sigh and walk out of your chambers to face your crew.

They all stare at you, watching you with every step you take, your wooden legs creaking on the floorboards. They all take a sip of their ale and watch you walk towards Jonah, who still looks at you in legendary awe. They murmur, probably wondering why you made Jonah captain.

You know Jonah is nervous and you can see your son shaking in his boots as he stares at the ocean. You pat him on the back and smile at him and he smiles back. You worry if he may be too weak.

You wonder if some members of the crew still don’t understand why you are leaving all you have ever known and you wonder what they think about you. How many curses have they laid upon your head? You see Viros staring at you out of the corners of her eyes, and you wonder if she prayed that the waters would rise against you and swallow you up.

You can’t see your actions as traitorous, but the crew looks at you like you’re pox infested. You holler at them to piss off and face their work.
You frown deeply when you see Jonah running over like a lapdog towards Viros to fill her cup of ale and the girl smirks at you as she sips from her cup. You still believe Jonah will rise up and take up and take control. You have to.

You notice some new lads on the ship: survivors of the last ship they raided. You nod at them as they scrub the floor till it shines brighter than the sun for a few scraps. One looks up at you and you slam their heads on the plank of the floorboards. The lad dare not look the face of  his sea father until his first raid.

You demand for everyone’s attention and they all stare at you immediately. It feels good to know your bones are not that brittle yet. You make Jonah stand by your side so he can look at things from the captain’s view and the boy still looks scared. The crew mates chug down the rest of their ale and you begin the first process of handing down the trinkets from your raids to Jonah. You give him the ivory crown you slit throats for on a royal ship; you give him the golden skull you stole from a merchant ship. You give Jonah everything before you remove the captain’s hat from your head: the hat that you sleep with, that never leaves your head. It is his now. He is captain now.

You see everyone’s eyes widen and you wonder if they are jealous, but that’s not the case. They fall to the floor and scream as their intestines boil and bubble like a fresh stew, their bodies contorting as blood pours out from their eyes and ears. You hear every piercing note and disturbing cries until the voices melt away. You look at the cups of ale lying on the floor, then you slowly turn and look at Jonah, who is no longer the scared little boy you thought you knew.

He is smiling, holding up the bottle of poison in one hand and a blade in the other. You can’t believe it. In the distance, you see a fleet of ships coming closer and closer; the ships Jonah was waiting for.

You look at you son and slowly nod. Out of fear or respect, you cannot tell.
He has risen up.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: [Sep 2016] - Pirates! - Submission Thread
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 08:05:21 AM »

The Red Chicken

Spoiler for Hiden:
Miles underwater, the strength of the waves, the sound of the crumbling coliseum and screams of panic amplified threefold inside the force bubble. Nothing upset Lannaria.
   Joshua? Joshua?
   No answer. No reaction from her ring either.
   They reached the surface minutes later and were rescued by a ship. The wizard who brought them back collapsed. She was very lucky to be near him when the barrier spells failed and the windowed walls shattered under the pressure of the sea.   
   The next day the king executed the architect. Not for the tragedy, but because the Underwater Coliseum was supposed to be the crowning jewel of the nation. Instead, it made him a laughing stock among other rulers and this was unforgivable.
   Her ring finger throbbed.
   Lanny? You there?
   Joshua! You are alive!

   She rushed to the castle, as did many others. There were survivors still in the coliseum, those married communicating with their partner.
   But there would be no rescue attempt. The coliseum sunk deeply. It was just too dangerous and expensive. The barriers still working could fail at any moment or the survivors starve to death.
   Lanny didn’t give up. She went to the chief-wizard.
   “A force tunnel in the sea?”
   “That’s ten million marks, Lady Lannaria. But after the coliseum fiasco we need to review our spells and rituals.”
   Lanny returned home outraged. Specially when she heard the king just spent millions on imported beverages. And the people trapped in his vanity project? That money could be used to—
   She had an idea. She painted her fencing mask, grabbed her equipment and rushed to the docks.
   “Take me to your captain,” she said to the most suspect man around.
   A masked woman with a rapier in plain day could make her point. Luckily, this man was indeed part of a true pirate crew disguised as merchants.
   “Who is this chick?” asked the captain.
   “Your new captain.”
   Laughter boomed all around. It stopped when Lanny threw an egg on the captain’s face.
   He attacked. Lanny parried and worked her footwork on constant advances and retreats, confusing him.
   She saw an opening and lunged, wounding him in the shoulder and another slash sent his sword flying on the water.
   “Glory and fame awaits us!” she said.
   Everyone unsheathed their swords. Against her.
   “I… I need intelligent and strong manly men like you!”
   Everyone had death on their faces.
   “It… it involves millions of marks!”
   Everyone relaxed and smiled.


   The pirates accepted Lanny’s plan, but mocked her as captain. She knew nothing about the sea. They brought a chicken on board and put a mask on it. Soon enough they were calling her Red Chicken, because of her hair.
   She took the joke with grace instead of anger, gaining some sympathy. At the moment of the attack, she ordered the former captain to initiate it by throwing an egg on the enemy ship.       
   The king’s selection of drinks amassed a fortune on the black market. After her crew’s share - more generous than the former captain’s - she made one million marks for herself.
   Using her privileged position, she discovered many ships with cargo that interested the king (but not the kingdom) and focused them.   
   Clack! Clack!
   What was that, Joshua?
   Found a crab and named him Clark. Only company in here. Also, I started writing a book to distract myself. Squid ink is surprisingly good.

   Joshua made a plan to last for three years. 
   But in two years, Lanny “only” made five million marks. The Red Chicken was no longer a mockery, her name feared throughout the coast. But her objective was still very far.
   She decided to speed the rescue process and sailed to assault a massive cargo of gold that was surprisingly unprotected.
   Only when arrows landed on the deck and both ships collided she realized the trap. It was no gold cargo. It was the Navy. And Lanny was confronted by the general himself.
   Her own father. 
   Oh no no no.
   “I knew you wouldn’t resist this bait… Red Chicken.” He spat at her feet. “It’s time to die now, bitch.”
   Lanny barely parried. She wouldn’t attack even if she could win.
   She failed to sidestep an attack that opened a deep cut in her left arm, cried in pain and was kicked in the leg and in the stomach, losing her breath.
   “I think I will make this very slow and painful. Retribution for the kingdom,” said her father.
   Lanny crawled inside a cabin. Her father charged. She removed her mask and he froze, staring at her.
   “Lanny?” Her father dropped his sword. “Lanny?”
   She put her mask again, just in time as her pirates came to help. Her father ran and she saw her other ship coming for the rescue and the Navy called a retreat.
   Hours later she returned home, barely standing. Her cut was painfully cleaned and stitched by a doctor. She had purple bruises on her stomach and leg. Slept for three whole days. Only then she explained everything to her father.
   “The king I serve is destroying the country, I’m ordered back from the war, leaving behind men I served with for years. All to fight a pirate that turns out to be my daughter. She have been stealing and killing behind my back.” he said looking through the window. “What would your mother think if she was still alive, Lannaria?”
   “I’ve never killed…”
   “Here, your inheritance. Five million. Now you have your ten, right?”
   Lanny opened her mouth.
   “Now get out.”
   “You are no longer my daughter, girl. Go, and never appear in front of me again.”
   Outside, shaking and holding back tears, she called Joshua.
   Lanny? I’m calling for days. The ring was crazy, like you were dying or something.
   I was… sick. And I have good news. Rescue is on the way.
   Really? That’s… great. Great. And I’ve just finished the book too.

   She limped her way to the castle, painfully breathing as well. But her leg, arm and torso, all would heal. Father would forgive her. Joshua would return. Three years ravaging the seas would pay out. Everything would be fine.
   “Lady Lannaria, welcome back.”
   “I have ten millions, chief-wizard. I need a force tunnel to the coliseum right away.”
   “You heard me.”
   “Lady Lannaria, that’s the price for tunnels for close-to-surface level. The coliseum had such a tunnel. But it sunk too deep now. The deeper we go, the higher the pressure of the sea, more resources and wizards needed. The sea is royal property, you would also have to pay for permissions.”
   “And… how much would all that cost?”
   “At least a hundred million.”
   Lanny limped numbly through the streets, all hope lost.
   But if one loses focus on their darkest moments they might also miss the light that will guide them out of the abyss.
   She sit and thought, realizing the problem was the king. He didn’t save his own people and wouldn’t permit anyone to do it and make him look like a fool. Even if she had a hundred million marks. So she reunited her crew, divided it to three ships and told the plan: eize the throne.
   Two ships distracted her father’s fleet and the other went directly for the royal docks. Fewer in numbers and taken by surprise, the castle fell. The king was drunk and sleeping.
   The only one who could do anything about it was her father. Would he kill her for honor to a drunk king? As she expected, he didn’t, and joined the coup.
   She bribed the chief-wizard and work on the force tunnel started. And it “only” cost forty million without the king’s permission.           
   To the public, she revealed the whole story. It was surprisingly good to not hold all that to herself. Lowering taxes and price on food and rent also helped.
   Joshua was saved, but needed weeks to recover. Meanwhile, his squid-inked manuscript “Underwater” became a book, shocked the world and sold millions.
   And her father forgave her.
   “I’m sorry for before.” He hugged her. “I’m very proud of you. I’m ashamed I didn’t realize I’d have done the same if it was you.”
   Relief washed over Lanny. The last problem solved.
   She bought a ship to make up with lost time with Joshua. They baptized it The Red Crab.
   “Pirate, revolutionary and queen. Did I miss anything?,” asked Joshua.
   “Master fencer,” she replied slashing the air. She healed, just like she knew she would. “One match?” 
   “No way, it’s obvious who is gonna win,” he said. Lanny grinned. “The pen is way mightier than the sword. It wouldn’t be fair at all.”
   Lanny slapped his shoulder.
   “I will tell you everything as we sail.” She laughed. “I want a book of my story too. You better get it right!” She kissed him softly. “So, to where? Renice? How about Zaribbe?”
   He smiled and kissed her back.
   “How about the entire world?”
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