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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:18 pm 

Joined: Sep 22, 2013
Posts: 889
All Aboard!
by razorborne
Status: Private :bmelee:
Word Count: 1295

Narrin dangled his webbed feet over the rail and stared out across the great blue expanse. He yearned to be back out there, far across the Infinite Sea, but of course Kiir was right. He was needed here. He inspired them, it seemed. Something about serving with Narrin Swiftpad brought out the best in his people, and he owed that to them, but the life of a figurehead was becoming more than he could bear.

“Get back from there!”

Narrin rolled his eyes and flopped back onto the deck behind him. “I wasn’t gonna fall, Kiir.” He said as the Oneblade stormed into sight.

“I can’t take that risk. You’re no use to anyone dead.”

“It seems like I’m no use alive either. Let me help. I’m an accomplished sailor, you know. Perhaps you’ve heard a tale or two about me?”

“This isn’t one of your rowboats, Narrin. This is a galleon, the finest in the fleet, manned by its finest crew. You’d get in the way.”

“It’d be good for morale!” Narrin moaned. “Let ‘em see that even the great Narrin Swiftpad can hoist a sail in times of need.”

“But we don’t need you, Narrin. Not for that. Now, I’ve got work to do, but you stay back from the ledge.”

“Fine,” Narrin sighed, and slouched back against a nearby mast. It had been like this since he returned. The greatest explorer Dragonroost had ever seen, treated like a helpless child by someone who was supposed to be his friend. It hadn’t been like that before. Kiir was fun, once. It was the stupid war. Everyone always had to be fighting someone, it seemed, but he couldn’t lift a finger to help or he’d be scolded. It wasn’t fair!

He settled down on a pile of rope and stared back out again, his mind wandering back to his adventures, and, as it always did, back to the Edge. He wasn’t sure he’d really seen it: It was so difficult nowadays to keep the truth separate from his… Well, he liked to call them embellishments, but an individual less accustomed to the lizards’ ways might use the term “bald-faced lies”. Still, he could see it in his mind, all the water in the world tumbling over into an infinite abyss. He could hear the ungodly roar, smell the foam, feel the salt work its way beneath his scales. It was a beautiful memory, even if it had no right to be a memory at all.

As he continued to watch the waves, he slowly became aware of something. He couldn’t place his finger on it, but there was definitely something wrong. Something he should probably tell someone about…

“Centaurs off the starboard bow!”

Ah. That was it. There were centaurs off the starboard bow. Well, at least they already seemed to know. he settled back down into his pile of rope as the archers gathered along the side, preparing for the coming conflict, when a hand grabbed him from behind and dragged him roughly to the nearest cabin.

“Stay out of the way!” Kiir yelled, slamming the door shut and turning back to her troops. Already arrows were starting to fly toward them. She knew they couldn’t match the centaurs’ range, had to maneuver closer in order to stand a chance. She began barking orders, cutting sails, turning to charge the assailants. She saw other ships in the distance, theirs and hers. She’d have to finish this one off quickly, to bring the full weight of the Fangbow to her people’s aid.

They were closing the distance fast now, as arrows thudded into the deck and into her crew. The Fangbow returned fire, and she smiled as she saw holes tearing in the centaur ship’s sails, but it wasn’t enough. They needed to get closer, needed to board. If she could get her people onto their ship she knew she’d have the day, but getting that close to a centaur ship was no easy task.

A fire erupted behind her. Bloody hell, she thought. They’ve got flaming arrows now? She swore under her breath as a few crew members quickly stomped it out, then swung up to the helm, grabbing the wheel from the waiting helmsman. This would need a careful touch…

An arrow hit the deck next to her. Kiir didn’t even look at it. She watched the seas, watched the helm, watched the centaur ship grow closer and finally, after what seemed like an eternity played out in a few instants, watched their deck pull level with her own. Before she could blink, her crew was throwing tethers across and clearing the rails, ready to take on the centaur crew.

Kiir bounded down behind them, drawing her curved dagger and driving it through the first centaur to cross her path, in a single fluid motion. She leaped sideways as an arrow zipped past her, then swung her blade up to catch an incoming sword. She had them now: No crew in Kemil’s fleet could take the Fangbow’s in hand to hand combat. It was just a matter of cleaning up the mess.

The deck of the centaur ship was chaos now, with lizards bouncing, dancing, and rolling around their bewildered opponents, striking at openings as they were presented and never being quite where their foes’ weapons were aimed. Watching the scene unfold brought a smile to Kiir’s face, one only strengthened by the soft grunt of a centaur who’d made the fatal mistake of leaving their left flank open to her.

Kiir’s ears bristled at a faint sound behind her, and she dove to the side just as a heavy blade split the air where her head had been. She ducked, turned, rose to face the centaur barreling down at her… And froze. Her eyes were surely playing tricks on her, but for all the world she could swear that, across the deck, dancing around an angry centaur with a pair of blades he must have picked up from a fallen comrade, was Narrin Swiftpad. As she watched, he caught her gaze, winked, and rolled under his adversary, slashing at their legs as he went. The centaur collapsed, and he was off, gone somewhere in the fray.

She felt warm blood wash over her hand, and looked down to see her dagger hilt-deep in the chest of the centaur who’d attacked her. She shook her head in astonishment. She couldn’t even remember killing them, but there they were, bleeding out on the deck. Instincts, she supposed. She looked around. The fight was almost done. A few of the centaurs still stood, but they were vastly outnumbered already, and it was only a matter of time. Drawing her blade back and wiping it off on the fallen centaur’s coat, she set off in search of Narrin.

He wasn’t hard to find. There were many sounds Kiir was accustomed to hearing in the heat of battle, but she was pretty sure giggling was a new one.

“I told you to stay put,” She said, sitting down next to him to watch the last bits of fighting run their course.

“And I told you I could help.”

Kiir shrugged. It was hard to argue that point. “We had it under control. You don’t understand what you mean to your people, Narrin.”

He shook his head, turned to her with a look of uncharacteristic seriousness. “No, Kiir, I think I know exactly what I mean to them. Listen.”

As the crew gathered to return to the Fangbow, Kiir could indeed hear them talking, bragging about the day they fought beside the great Narrin Swiftpad. The turquoise lizard smiled, patting his old friend on the back.

“Every legend starts somewhere, Kiir. Let’s see where this one goes.”

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:49 pm 
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small editorial request: could you replace "She leaped sideways as an arrow zipped past her, then swung her blade up to catch an incoming sword." with "She leaped sideways as an arrow zipped past her, then swung her blade up to catch an incoming hatchet." and "Kiir’s ears bristled at a faint sound behind her, and she dove to the side just as a heavy blade split the air where her head had been." with "Kiir’s ears bristled at a faint sound behind her, and she dove to the side just as a wickedly sharp axe split the air where her head had been." please?

I'd always envisioned the centaurs using hand-axes as their primary melee weapons, but for some reason when writing this story I defaulted to swords. CKY pointed it out a while back and I never got around to doing anything about it, but it'd better reflect my vision of the world if those references were replaced. thanks!


I tend to agree with Razor.

The BLOCK I'm currently pretending I'll finish: Fleets Of Ossia (complete!) | Wavebreak (complete!) | The Second Flood (in progress!)
Razorborne and friends teach music theory to chumps like you: 12tone

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