A long time Christmas favorite. It’s such a beautiful piece of music. A mix of Classical music and Rock.
For years shunned by society
Outcasts, condemned for our beliefs
Our legions grew in secrecy
And now, the time is here
I see the Templars everywhere
The Freedom Call is drawing near
lyrics from Hearts on Fire as performed by Hammerfall
The presence of tall green scaled creature on the ship had brought the chase to a screeching halt. Two huge black eyes stared them down, a vicious smile came to his lips revealing a mouth full of sharp jagged teeth. His scales were a deep ocean green, banded with darker scales up and down his arms and legs. A large tail snapped behind him with a whip-like crack. In his webbed hands he held a large trident.
“Eiras Saes!” The fishman screamed. A bolt of lightning illuminated the sky, the rumble of thunder shook the sea as the ship came to life with Sahuagin. Some were armed with crossbows, other with tridents, each and everyone looking venomous.
The noise outside the cabin combined with the rocking of the boat as the waves increased startled Lyssa from her sleep. Curious as to what was going on, she quickly pulled her boots on grabbed her rapier and moved out the door. The sounds of metal against metal reached her ears and she moved quicker. As she opened the door to the deck a battle lay before her. The ship was alive with fighting. Sailors struggling with Sahuagin trying to get them off the ship. Umbatu was swamped with several fishmen who were trying to pull him down and subdue him. Lyssa didn’t think, she only moved, fluid motions slashing at the Sahuagins until she was able to meet up with Shani in the middle of the ship’s deck.
“Can’t a woman sleep without her friends getting into trouble?” Lyssa said as she plunged her rapier into the stomach of a fishman. A squelching noise was made as she pulled it out.
“Hell no! This here’s jist when the fun starts, darlin’,” Shani called out as she did a kick sweep, knocking three attackers to the ground, while skewering another with her rapier. Lyssa laughed as she dodged another attacker, she kicked him knees in forcing it to the deck. Swiftly she kicked the fishman in his face, his eyes rolling back into his head.
The silver wyrmling leapt out of the Crow’s Nest, performing a nosedive down toward the two women. The fishmen were crowding around them, forcing the two to fight back to back. As he dropped low enough, there was an obnoxious rush of air as Ari swiftly changed into his elven self. In that second, Ari managed to impale one of the fishmen with his spear, another missing its head from the cut of his longsword.
“Am I late?” he muttered as he reached back and slung the spear over his back, cutting at the creatures defensively with his blade. With his tail to the group, he viciously cut away at the attackers.
“Jist in time, Ari,” Shani called out as she twirled her rapier, forcing one of the fishmen to back up quickly as she thrust forward. “Games jist startin’. I guess I shoulda warned ya, The Rose gits attacked from time ta time. Ain’t lost a fight, mind ya.”
“… By fish?” he responded, almost jokingly. It was clear he wasn’t used to attacks from sea, especially by the Sahuagins.
“Hell, this jist mean we gonna have us a fish fry,” Shani shouted as she took out two more with a graceful round house kick. The Sahuagin started to close in on the group, and Shani had the tool to use for such an occasion. It was a device which was incredibly rare, and often only used by men such as these sailors. And Shani had one. A single shot pistol. Not enough damage to kill, but enough to scare the living daylights out of the incoming fishmen. “Gittin’ a might close, ya dirty Sardines!” she said as she squeezed the trigger. The bullet landed perfectly in the forehead of one of the Sahuagin, and it reeled back in pain. The others stared in confusion, giving the small group, and the rest of the crew, some much needed time.
“I hate fish.” Lyssa said disdainfully. She had an extreme dislike for seafood since Ura had made her try calamari at the Prancing Badger. She shuddered a bit, remembering the slimy feel as it went down. Using this memory, she hacked her way into another fishman. His insides soon became outsides.
“Don’t worry, darlin’,” Shani shouted as she tossed the pistol to the side while running one of the fishmen through with her rapier. “Jist fryin’ fish is all.” As she parried attacks from the Sahuagin, her free hand took out a small flask. Immediately, the scent of lamp oil filled the air, and Shani took a gulp of the liquid as she continued to parry the incoming attacks. She used a somantic cantrip spell, one that came easy to her, and then she added fuel to the fire. As the spell was created, she spewed the lamp oil forth from her mouth, increasing the intensity of the spell, and it’s deadliness. One of the fishmen staggered back as it’s scales began to burn. And again, the remaining Sahuagin began to shrink back. It was becoming apparent to some that this battle was a lost cause even before it began.
Ari dodged the fire just as it came from Shani’s mouth, tackling a fishman that had gotten in the way of his jump. Ari quickly swipe the blade into the creature, although he didn’t anticipate the rocking deck of the boat to stop his swing as it stuck to the mast. Leaving the blade half buried in the creature and the mast, he rolled onto his feet. His spear dropped into one hand as he spun about, eying the next offender. He spun his spear, cutting away another Sahuagin that attempted a backstab maneuver, then charged the next creature. The monster could not defend itself as the elf suddenly jabbed the blunt end of the spear into the deck, leaping feet first into the back of the creature. As Ari thrusted the spear through the fishman’s body, another quickly tackled the elf.
The fishman was about to stick the elf with a bloodied dagger, but it didn’t realize the elf still had another weapon. He quickly swiped hand over the creature’s face, scratching it and leaving four grotesque marks over it’s face and eye. While the creature was too busy reeling from the pain, Ari quickly kicked the creature back and over the ship wall, into the sea.
Lyssa looked around the ship while Shani was spewing fire at the Sahuagins, the deck was covered in blood, humanoid and fish alike. Sailors were throwing bodies of the dead fishmen over board, while fending off some of the still living ones. The smell of burning fish was enough to turn Lyssa’s stomach again. She ducked quickly as a trident pierced the mast in front of her, the Sahuagin closed in on her. With grace and skill of an acrobat, she somersaulted backwards across the ship, blade still in hand. Once she stood again she assessed the scene. Umbatu was now fighting the leader of the Sahuagin, other sailors were struggling with fishmen as well. The scene moved before her slowly, bodies littered the deck.
From the back of the ship a large roar could be heard as Falcon came from his private quarters His movements like water, five then six fishmen fell to their deaths as Falcon’s cutlass severed head from shoulders.
“Get ye bloody arses off me ship, ye sea bearin’ scallywags!” he yelled as another group of fishmen closed in on him. Lyssa grinned and decided now was the perfect time to make nice with Falcon. She judged her position to his and eyed the mass amount of ropes, her grin going wider. Perfect. Lyssa grabbed ahold of one of the ropes and loosed it with her blade. The rope snapped loudly, sending the hin flying to the other end of the ship. Landing short of the actual fight, Lyssa smirked darkly and removed her boot dagger. A sahuagin went sailing over her head, crashing into the ship’s wall. Lyssa tumbled forward into the middle of Falcons battle.
“‘lo there Cap’n” Lyssa said in an accent she usually fought to keep hidden. “I’m ‘ere to offa some help in gettin’ the fishfreaks offa ya ship.” She dodged as she spoke and then impulsively skewered one fishman in the stomach, her rapier exiting out of it’s back. Her dagger slit open the gut of another. spilling it’s innards over Lyssa’s boots.
“It’s ev’ryone fightin’ this one, lass,” Falcon shouted out as he parried an incoming blow with his cutlass, slashing back just as fast. “If ye good with a blade, then get ta work. No cowerin’ fer anyone.” He thrust forward, his strong arm holding the blade tightly as it cut effortlessly through the torso of an advancing Sahuagin. The creatures guts splattered onto the deck, spilling blood and bile everywhere.
“Sonova…” She screeched. “These ‘re my new boots ya feckin’ shite fer brains!” There was a rage that overtook her. Her blade flicked with an amazing amount of speed, she stabbed and slashed one after another around her and the Captain until they all were felled. Her eyes fell on the Leader and Umbatu.
“Shani! Ari! Help Umbatu!” Her voice held that commanding tone to it. “Cap’n if’n we ‘r ta save the ship, we’re gonna need to take the leader out,” She used her blade to point the Sahuagin leader out.”We kin discuss price later. Just business ‘course” She shouted back to Falcon as she sprinted off towards the largest of the fishmen.
Shani saw the small plight that the large, black man was in. Small, because she figured he could easily smash their heads like walnuts, even if there was nine of the slimy creatures that surrounded him. But she also knew that one of them could get in a lucky stab, and quite possibly fell the gentle giant. She dodged and weaved, cutting down fishmen as she went, her lithe body vaulting the stairs to meet up with Umbatu. Like a dancer, she whirled and twirled, catching the fishmen off guard, cutting into a pair of them. As she danced, this gave Umbatu renewed purpose
“O shor pai caesi!” The leader screamed as the trio began to advance him. Quickly he pulled his trident apart, revealing a narrow blade that was a lumious green. He held the ominous blade in one hand, while the trident became a deadly backup weapon in his off hand. He snarled as he stepped forward, his webbed feet heavy as they pounded on the deck of the ship. Those sailors that still stood either continued their battles with the lessened numbers of the fishmen, or went about ensuring their crewmates that had been felled were taken care of, leaving only Shani, Lyssa and Ari to fend against the creature. Umbatu was tending to the captain, and rose to approach, but a glint in Shani’s eye and her anxious grin told him right away, this huge fishman was soon to be done for.
“Ya know mate, I dun like bein’ threatened in a langage I cannau undastand mmkay?” Lyssa shouted over the distance. “Shani, I’m thinkin’ I dun like him, perhaps we do this quick aye?”
Shani grinned and let out a loud laugh as she gripped her blades. She seemed to paw the ground with her feet, like a raging bull as it studied a toreador. “Hell, scaly, slimey, smelly. Dang, he’s all but got most ev’r'thin’ ‘gainst ‘im.” Her smile nearly turned to a sneer as she spoke. “This’ll be fun!”
“Dun ferget he also attacked wit’ ‘is cronies. Tha’s a strike as well.” Lyssa smirked.
“True ‘nough,” the lithe elf replied. “But think o’ it thisaway. This here’s the prize.” She stared down the Sahaugin leader and shouted loudly, attempting to draw his attention. “C’mon, ya poor excuse fer fish sticks! Bring it!”
Sheathing her blade, Lyssa then pulled her bow off her back. With an almost maniacal grin she nocked an arrow, pulling the bowstring back. She arced the bow high, trusting her aim to be true she let loose the arrow. The first arrow missed by mere inches, piercing the deck instead of the leader.
Ari charged through the mess of battles, tumbling around hostile fishmen and other sailors as they jabbed. As he made his way to the big bad fish(You call it whatever), his general size began to shrink. His skin was soon replaced with a scaly hide, and the spear became a small blade, longer than a dagger. He let out a sharp hiss, quickly disappearing into the mess of the battles.
With a burst of speed, the pale elf raced toward the creature, slashing and hacking as she moved, both rapier and dagger cutting through the air, showing no fear as she stepped forward. Shani didn’t care about her own safety, as she used herself as a shield for anyone else advancing. Her movements were not used to injure, but distract, force the giant Sahaugin to face her and focus completely on her.
The girl’s taunting had worked, the Sahuagin leader’s attention was focused on Shani.
“Come girl. You think you big, you come fight Strossul now! I show you how to die.” He croaked out.
And he did, slashing back with the murky, green blade. She dodged and maneuvered around, easily avoiding his blows, only to jab, like a bee, stinging him with a rapier or dagger thrust. His movements were wide and clumsy making it easy for Shani to move around him.
Suddenly, a scaled creature appeared on the back of the great beast. The little kobold hissed as he gripped the creature’s shoulder, sliding out his blade. In one swift motion, the blade was buried into the creature’s back, at the base of the neck.
As the giant creature roared, Shani’s rapier went straight up, thrust with more power than the lithe elf had ever before shown. It quite literally, was like a fish on a hook, as the rapier’s sharp point stabbed through the base of the creature’s jaw, and carried on through, poking out of the top of it’s head.
Lyssa adjusted her position one last time as she nocked another arrow. Sent it straight up she knew this time it would strike Strossul. It looked as though Ari, Shani and Lyssa had moved at exactly the right moments. Ari’s blade through Strossul’s neck, Shani’s through his jaw, and Lyssa’s arrow whistling through the air to pierce the leader right between his two fish eyes. The beast flailed wildly as his demise grew near, it was only a moment later that his body went rigid and ceased movement.
Lyssa lowered her bow and watched the scene. She had never seen or been in a battle quite like this one, all she could think to do as the sky opened up with a downpour was run to the side of the ship and vomit once more.
As the death knell of Strossul sounded, the remaining Sahaugin leapt over the side of the boat, fleeing as fast as they could. Some sailors fired crossbows and pistols at the fishmen as they dove for the depths. Falcon, on the other hand, looked to the three sudden lifesavers. He’d seen Shani fight before. But with the other two, it was like watching a ballet. Umbatu helped his captain to his feet, and Falcon only gave the tall, black man a knowing nod. Silently, he walked off to his cabin, ready to tend to whatever wounds he had. The earlier chase, all but forgotten.
Umbatu reached into a belt pouch and took out a small coin purse, tossing it to Ari. “You keep it. You help defend ship. That make you like crew.” The most words that Shani had ever heard come out of the giant man’s mouth stunned her into speechlessness. She could only watch as he returned to a gentle and somber mood as he walked past.
“Did I mention I hate sailing as much as I hate horses?” Lyssa groaned from the side of the ship she was hanging over.