We all came to be here for various reasons. (Me? Well I got drafted in the first round with the 24th overall pick.)
So our new unit found itself awaiting orders within the barracks, lo and behold it wasn’t long before Captain McCarthy came down to issue those. While the first marching orders of getting to the ship weren’t exactly earth shattering the sudden inclusion of taking care of a fire beetle that supposedly just wandered in the back door of the barracks wasn’t anticipated by anyone. Some of us still suspect this was a hazing ritual from the veterans in the platoon. (I know Sergeant Favre has the balls to pull such a stunt but he would have needed one of the fire mages in his unit to execute such a plan… perhaps Lieutenant Longwell?)
The results of this seemingly mundane take down were anything but. Private Matthews misjudged his opening barbarous charge and ended up flying heel over head above the beetles carapace and right thru the door behind it collapsing it and ending up on his back trying to catch the wind that was likely knocked out of him. Not to say it was all on us for difficulty, the little bastard had a lot more wallop than I think anyone anticipated. (Thus furthering the idea it was summoned rather than a wild one stumbling in…) Seeing as i’ve dealt with plenty of fire beetles before, hell anyone who lives on this island has, they’re a damned nuisance! But never before had one managed to burn me with such force that I felt as if half my life force and been stricken away.
Setbacks aside we manged to take care of the bugger (I took note that Private Clay Matthews collected the eyeballs from the beetle, perhaps his more tribal beliefs have led to a greater knowledge of the local fauana) and made haste to the assembly, our late arrival only noticed by Captain McCarthy. After the speech given by one of the pious upper sect of our military which explained that a alliance was being formed with one of the mianland countries that shared our distaste for the monarchies lopsided rule. We were ordered to gather our belongings from the barracks and head for the port immediately to be shipped out. While the others in our group milled about near the ships I talked to Cpt. McCarthy about requisitioning a climbers kit knowing our new orders sent us to the mainland which is scarred and mountainous. Unfortunately our drunkard of a monk had been in charge of packing supplies and I only managed to locate a grappling hook and rope in the unloaded crates. As we boarded a rather squirrely character had joined our ranks, but with no true insight into the matter and noticing that Cpt. McCarthy paid him no heed but was fully aware of his presence I let it be on the assumption our superiors would never absently let some malefactor aboard one of our ships.
Setting off it did not take long for our group to become restless, luckily Private ‘Tekkie’ suggested we play the traditional bar dice game. Unfortunately for him after many round he himself came out behind whereas Pvt. Matthews and I managed to stay just a bit above. From our distraction a heavy price was paid however, as we finished our game a loud crack and splash was heard. I ran to the bridge to investigate to see the helmsman floating behind the boat with a knife in his back. a quick look around turned up a jarred open hatch from below. I ordered Matthews to investigate from the opposite stairs as I slid down the adjoining ladder from the hatch. Landing in a dark hold I came to hear sounds of struggle from beyond the door of my current location, joined quickly by Tekkie he advanced to the door before me throwing it open to find Matthews once again down with the shifty looking bastard from before behind him having just struck him down from behind a box as he must’ve been going to investigate the feet we would come to find belonging to Cpt. McCarthy.
In the ensuing battle (which oddly enough we handled with far better panache than the earlier one with the fire beetle) a bomb was discovered as I moved to flank, luckily Clay managed to dispatch his would be attacker after our timely distraction and thus gain some dignity back. Granted while I extinguished the bombs fuse the ruffian attempted to throw another at Clay Matthews, and thats when his luck finally turned. The hand held bombs fuse was apparently ill conceived as it exploded before even leaving his grasp, this gave Pvt. Matthews a chance to bring down a headsmans style chop and end the asshole.
Taking only a moments respite to catch our breaths and find the Captain before all was lost I managed to rouse him but he was far too hurt to be of assistance. That is about when the shit truly hit the fan.
Resounding boom after boom rattled our hull sending shock waves thru the ocean itself, and impaling upon us the realization that this was not an isolated incident. Running above deck we watched in horror as red and orange blooms sprung from the darkness of the storm that had been advancing on us during the night. In itself that would have been navigable just less so for our not-so-seaworthy teammates. Now this fresh new hell dawned on us, when suddenly it hit me (and by that I mean the jarring rocks of the shallow reef we were running aground of). Springing to action I ran to the helm only in time to see one of our number who had been feebly attempting to reign in the yoke be flung bodily thru the break in the railing from earlier. Removing my grappling hook and rope from my bag I looked below to try and spot them to no avail, with that in hand tho I attached myself crudely to some planks hoping that at least there fate would help me escape the same. The wheel fought me like a stubborn child, bucking and swaying at all the wrong moments as the storm and rocks tirelessly thwarted my attempts to bring control back into this chaos. Calling out to my allies I managed to get a keen eyed man to the crows nest and the strong backed Matthews made his way to the deck. With there help we finally got the damned thing to regain its heading.
Assessing the aftermath we lost more than half of our fleet and far too great a number of our own crew aboard the ship. After sending out our rowboats to rescue men lost to sea a opportunity arose, one of the saboteurs survived! We tied him up and I proceeded to get information from him with various wiles, at one point even bluffing him with threat of letting the barbaric Matthews remove an eye. Much to our chagrin tho all we seemed to garner from him was that some splinter group had nearly brainwashed people into fanaticism against us. With this information weighing upon us the last leg of the voyage was completed unceremoniously while we nursed Captain McCarthy back to health before reaching port.