Part 78: Pirates

7 to Wakening Sun, Inalis, 42 days remaining

The sun was starting to set, a little too fast for our preferences. We wanted that fallen star, and it was a race to get there. Torag and Actaeon were already getting ready to dive when we heard a shout from the crow’s nest. There were three other ships, much smaller than ours, heading towards where it had fallen down. I briefly wondered if we could barter for it. Like, “Hey, we need this to fulfill our destiny, can we give you some money in exchange for letting us recover the star?”

Shadow quickly shut down that idea, though. He recognized the sails. These were Indigo Island barbarians and sailors. Their culture is apparently more tribal than the civilization in Ellandyr and Altea, and if we had any notion of peace between us and them, it would quickly be quelled. They were pirates, and in addition to taking the fallen star, they’d be apt to take our ship and our lives as well. And as if on cue to confirm Shadow’s words, a bolt from one of their ballistas came and struck our hull. We’re in for a fight, no matter what.

Malkarion and I flew up high onto the mast of our ship to get a better view. The three pirate ships were closing fast on us, and we suggested a full speed to try to run them off. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work and they kept their heading straight at us, firing more bolts with each passing moment. Shadow took up his bow and fired a streaking shot of lightning at the center pirate ship, searing their sails. I followed up with a fireball of my own, then cast another one at it’s oars. I thought to slow it down, but it just kept coming.

You know what’s funny, Heath? When I was sailing over here on that poor ship, I was sorely afraid of pirates. What would happen to us if we got attacked on the open sea? I thought to keep my mother safe below deck and throw fire at anything that came her way. In reality, I don’t know if I would have had the constitution to stand up to pirates. I was still recovering from my injuries and I hadn’t been practicing with my innate magic in months. Right now, with pirates bearing down on us, I’m as calm as the breeze tonight. I’m not afraid. I still would like to find a way to make peace with these pirates, if possible.

At least, I wanted to! Hahaha, it certainly didn’t end up that way.

Oh no, don’t misunderstand the laughter there. I don’t take lightly the thought of ending another’s life. I shan’t ever get used to something like that. Rather, I laugh at the way my friends tend to solve problems. Especially this time.

It started with Clio saying something none expected. “Who wants to do something stupid?”, followed up by Actaeon animatedly saying “Me me me me me me me”. Clio teleported herself and Actaeon to one of the pirate ships, the one to the east. A flash and a bang later, she and he were there. In the dimming light, I couldn’t make out very well what happened over there, but Actaeon was kind enough to fill me in on the gory details. As it was, they were on the pirate ship. The captain there thought to shove them off the ship with some magic, but Clio and Actaeon stood their ground easily enough. Actaeon used a mix of axes and spears and kicks to get most of the pirates out of his way, and shoved the now-bloody captain into the water where he met with a terrible fate – a terrible fate in the shape of a large and hungry shark! Clio blasted the rest of the pirates away, and they took control of the little ship, sailing it to the Gjallarhorn.

Torag, seeing this action, must have gotten jealous or something. He started spouting some nonsense about dashing across the water and taking down another ship all on his own. Like, what?! Yeah, right Torag, you can’t run on water!

Or so I thought!

Briar cast a spell to make Torag bigger. So now he’s something like, what, fifteen feet tall? Geez, he’s huge! He picked up Shadow and the two of them literally ran across the water until they got to the ship to the west. For us, it was quite the sight! Imagine Torag running on water like… well… I don’t know. It must have been terrifying for the pirates. Shadow and Gigantorag took that ship apart without much trouble at all.

The center ship, the one that Shadow and I had busted up a little bit already, must have figured that it was a mistake to fight us. It turned around and started running, but Torag and Shadow stopped that as well. Torag ran over to that other ship and told them, “Surrender now or meet your doom!”, but the pirates didn’t surrender, so Torag said, “Alright, it’s doom time!” He got surrounded, but Torag didn’t really care. He was tossing them off himself easily enough. But anyway, Shadow from the other ship called out, “Hey Torag, do you need some help?”

There’s the whole “I’m the alpha” rivalry going on between Torag and Father. It’s been going on for a little while now, and it usually ends with some hilarity. They compete in so many things now. Torag yelled back, “You get one arrow! That’s it!” And Shadow killed the captain. And the argument started up again! They’re competing in fights, so one-upping the other is happening a lot.

The sun is almost fully down now, and we have some housekeeping to do with the new ships. Torag wants to keep them. I’ll write more in the morning after I’ve gotten to rest.

5 to Wakening Sun, Inalis, 40 days remaining

Oof, I’m up early! I couldn’t sleep last night. All the excitement with the pirates bed has made me antsy. I kept wondering if more pirates were out there and were going to sneak aboard the Gjallarhorn. I slept sitting up with a bunch of bandages wrapped around the door. What if someone came in while I was sleeping! My makeshift alarm would drap them and I’d blast them with fire!

No, that’s a silly idea, Flee. Don’t do that!

I’m going to go upstairs and do some prayers instead. The sun will be rising soon, I think.

Oh! Here’s something else that happened the other night. We couldn’t keep the pirate ships. Gjallarhorn is protected from Amalj’aa, but these little ships aren’t. So at Dia’s behest, we asked for a blessing of protection from Kiora to watch over two of the ships. They’re going to be captained by our mental health counselor, Jerry, and they will take him, some crew members, and Bront over to the Mithral Forge. Bront will be able to reunite with his son Steros. That will be nice! We bade Jerry a safe journey and saw him off.

Today’s going to be a good day, I think. We should be landing at Scorpion Island this evening. I think-

Okay, so, a thing happened. We all heard a very, very loud boom! It got us all out of bed pretty fast, to arms I might add. I thought my worst fear had come to pass: more pirates wanting revenge for the deaths of their friends!

Fortunately, what happened was much happier. Father’s egg hatched! Oh, I’m so excited for him! Ysgramor is a beautiful silver-scaled dragon, too, with sharp golden eyes. He’s quite funny, too. I wanted to call him Yzzy because Ysgramor is a little hard for me to pronounce, but he wouldn’t have it. I even tried to put on a Shadow mask and get him to allow it, but he saw through that.

We have a lot of preparations to make before we get to Scorpion Island. I don’t think I’ll finish my essence today. I need to conserve my magic power in case we get hit by pirates. Or scorpions. It’s called Scorpion Island for a reason, and I don’t think it’s because Pholon thinks scorpion tribe sounds cool. So I spent some time with Father and Ysgramor in the training room. If I’m going to maybe get a dragon someday, I want to look cool. I want to be muscular and stuff. Well, I can already shapeshift myself into looking muscular or taller or whatever, but I want to be honest about it. But I guess I am well defined now. Look at me, Heath! I can see my abs, I have defined muscles, and everything! I’m hot! I just want to look more athletic. I want to look more like a hero from those stories, even if I like a feminine look and am naturally short.

I just had a thought. What if we really do become heroes?! Like, real heroes. We defeat the titans and save Ellandyr and the Emerald Isles. Will they make statues of us? Oh, I hope not. Statues of the rest of them are fine, but a statue of me? Oooo, I can only imagine how awkward that would feel. What if a bird poops on my statue? Is it self-serving to want to clean it up? What if someone is all like “Meet me by the Leef statue” to do a drug deal or some shady transaction. They’ll announce it in the news the next day, “Local thief apprehended by Leef’s statue.” So awkward. Oh, and what if it doesn’t even look like me? What if the statue-maker doesn’t like me, so he gives me like a huge nose or something. Do I have to always have a big nose from then on? Otherwise how will people recognize me?

Being a hero is too hard.

I also spent some time in Briar’s old room with Torag and his egg. We got his egg into the incubator now and I cast an acid spell on it to get it going. Torag’s trying to keep a cool, monastic and stoic look on his face, but I can tell he’s very excited to meet his dragon. Half the time we were talking, I think he was actually talking to the egg and not me. Clio came in too and she and I started pondering what it would be like if we had dragon eggs. Would we do strange things?

Think about it, Heath. Everyone who got a dragon egg did something strange. Briar jumped into a pit of fire and lava. Torag started a conspiracy theory that all of us were thieves. Shadow tried to hide his from us. Actaeon started showing off his weapons to his dragon.

Actually, now that I think about it, that’s not that weird. Actaeon is always showing off his arsenal. Malkarion is just very interested. He’s a good boy.

Would Clio and I do something strange when we got our eggs? Haha, she says she’d be totally normal, but I’d certainly do something weird. What strange thing would I do if I got an egg? I’m perfectly normal! We giggled about it for a bit. I wonder if we’ll get eggs, too? Vanadon said there were more eggs out there. Are they for us? And what about Rendu? Hmmm… Lots to think about.

We summoned Azorius’s Keledone today. He came by and took a few orders from us for items, and was gone in a flash. Once that was done, it wasn’t long until we saw Scorpion Island finally come into view. Pholon agreed to join us on the excursion, though he mostly doesn’t know much about the land. We asked him what was beyond a line of trees and he said hills. No, darling, we meant where is your civilization? Where is the tribe? He said, “Over there” and pointed in a seemingly random direction. Pholon’s cute. There’s not much happening up in his head, though.

Our party gathered on rowboats and we began to row to shore. Pholon came with us as he could be a guide on the island. We also brought Loreus with us this time. Loreus’s infatuation with Briar did not change when she became a tiefling, and he seemed keen on making sure she would be alright. We have to meet with the Lotus Witch to find out about Briar’s curse, and Briar has been a nervous wreck all day because of it. Loreus sensed her anxiety and offered to come with us.

Rowing to shore, we saw what looked like people fighting off giant scorpions. We barely arrived and we’re already seeing the beasts that the centaurs turn into! They were attacking some monks, Novarran soldiers from the look of it. We joined their fight, much to their joy, and defeated the monsters. As we did, some centaurs came into view. Nessa, their leader introduced herself to us, invited us to join them in their camp. So we’ll be heading there to rest for a bit.

It’s so strange! These centaurs came out here to hunt the scorpions, their kin who couldn’t make pacts with anyone. The centaurs here are so young! None of them are adults. It’s so weird here. Oh, and none of them are impressed with Pholon. They just kinda said “ugh…” when they saw him. It seems wrong to write this, but I wonder how many of the little ones here are his children? Babies having babies. We need to break some curses.