This One Realm: Chapter 2 "So What Now?"

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"Aha!" declared Kargon as he pinned Zagara to the wall. "There be no escape from..."

Lyseth broke a chair on his back.

"Ow!" He fell over and Zagara tried to crawl away. But Kargon grabbed him by the ankle, pulled him back and picked him up again. "Aha!" He pinned Zagara to the wall a second time.

"There be no escape from..."

A man jumped on his back and started hitting him.

"Ow!" He staggered back and forth, trying to get hold of the possessed drunkard. Finally he grabbed one of the man's arms and threw him over his shoulder, making him collide with Zagara before could escape.

"Aha!" He pinned Zagara to the wall a third time. "There be no escape from..."

Oralia ran past him, being chased by Prestadeth through the tavern door.


He put Zagara in an armlock and threw him through the tavern door after the girls, causing a giant collision that sent all three of them tumbling down the steps into the street. "Aha!" Kargon strode out after them. "There be no escape from..."

Lyseth followed him out and cast a layer of ice over the steps.

Kargon slipped over and fell on top of Zagara, Prestadeth and Oralia. "Ow!"

He grabbed Zagara by the ankle. Prestadeth punched him in the stomach.


He grabbed Prestadeth's arm. Zagara kicked him in the face.


He grabbed Zagara's cloak. Oralia slapped him.


He grabbed Oralia's hair. Lyseth kicked him in the ribs.


He grabbed Lyseth's leg and pulled her on top of the others.

"THERE BE NO ESCAPE FROM THE TOURNIQUET!" roared Kargon as he rolled on top of the pile and started punching any of the four opponents he could.

[bg=#000000]The bar stool that comes hurtling past my nose tells me the atmosphere in the tavern has changed.

And not for the better.

I hear footsteps directly behind me, and instinctively duck out of the way of the bottle swung at the place my head had just a few seconds previously. Curisng, I drive my elbow backwards into what I'm almost certain is my would-be attacker's nether-regions, and then jump up onto the counter to steer clear of the brawl.
"Get the fuck down fe' thar, ya wee shite!" I hear the bar-tender roar at me, more irritated by someone stepping on his bar than the full-scale melee that's just erupted in his tavern.
"Apologies, friend!" I call back at him, tossing him a coin as I leap off the bar and over several brawling patrons, "But I feel the need for some fresh air and it's a tad difficult to get out the door by conventional means!"

Landing, I duck and weave through the crowd, dodging fists, bar stools and occasionally bottles, delivering a few sharp kicks and punches to places no honest fighter would when I have to. Having seen my fair share of bar-room brawls, I have no interest in sticking around.

What I am interested in, however, is that ship that just arrived, The Tourniquet. I hear they're in need of a Navigator.

And I'm in need of a ship. Seems like we might be able to come to an arrangement.

If memory serves me well, I remember the barman talking to one of the men from the ship, a big, brutish fella I think I know by reputation. Kargon the Drowned Man, they call him. Never asked why, as it's usually best not to know these things, I've found. Unless, of course, you're planning on ripping them off at some stage.

...maybe I should figure out why they call him that, then.

But not right now.

Dodging another fist and ducking under someone, I finally spot the man, having just hurled another through the doors. He strides after him, only to be tripped up by what could only be magic.

Shit. This just got interesting.

Leaping out through the door and into a roll to avoid being tripped up by the ice as well, I move after Kargon as he battles against several men and women. One of whom could well be an elf, the other quite probably a mage.

Ah well, time to make a good impression.

Grabbing the largest nearby piece of wood, a broken piece of a bar stool by the looks of it, I dart forwards and launch myself at the man attacking Kargon, swinging it at his head. Coming skidding to a halt next to the huge pirate, I flash a grin at him before turning to face his attackers.

This is really fucking stupid. This is really fucking stupid.

But hey, sometimes you gotta do stupid shit to get in with the right people.

"Needing a hand, friend?" I ask the pirate as I begin laying into the others as best I can.

Ando escapes from the tavern as it degenerates into madness and violence, searching for a crewmember of the Tourniquet as he's heard they're hiring. He comes across Kargon in the middle of his fight with the other four, and moves to his aid, attacking Zagara with a broken piece of a bar stool.
A growling sound rumbled in Prestadeth's throat as she was splayed beneath Kargon's sweaty girth. Prestadeth muttered a quick curse as she maneuvered herself through the tangle of bodies.



". . .Mmf."

Kargon's eyes went wide as saucers when he felt a thin, feminine fingers gingerly wrap themselves around his bollocks, almost playfully. Suddenly, the grip tightened and wrenched. There was a pained roar from the pirate, as he quickly rolled away from the group.

Prestadeth was on her feet, dagger drawn, her face an impassive mask.

From the corner of her eye, she saw a strange woman lying next to Zagara, the mage himself was being beaten with a chair leg by a very small man, and Oralia. . .

Had scuttled to her feet and was now beating a hasty retreat.

Prestadeth's eyes narrowed, before her form blurred.

"Needing a hand, friend?"

Ando was unable to say anymore, other than yelp when something yanked him up by his ankles. The world was suspended upside down for a moment, before he felt the wind rush past him and a wall collide with his back.

Prestadeth hurled the smaller man straight into the chest of Kargon, sending them both stumbling back.

"Zagara! The girl! Get her!" She knew even if Zagara was averse to harming others, he wouldn't let the girl go off in such a dangerous place on her own. Turning her attenion back to the rapidly growing circle of pirates around her, Prestadeth took a deep breath.

And smiled.

Oralia ran! Without even looking over her shoulders to see if anyone was following, Oralia took off down the street like a devil was on her heels. A few days ago she never would have thought she would be rolled in the middle of a fist-swinging pirate tavern fight. And though no one had taken a swing at her personally, crashing out in to the street, having her hair pulled and getting thwacked by flailing limbs was still going to leave bruises in places she didn't want to think about. The alcohol had given everything a hazy and dizzying sort of feeling. What should have been a average looking street looked far more creepy than it should have.

Skidding around a corner, Oralia darting through a cramped alley between businesses. She took a moment to catch her breath and lean against the side of the wall. Safe! ...Maybe? There weren't footsteps following her yet, but she had heard the elf shout for someone to go after her. Oralia didn't linger for long. Climbing over a few crates in the back, she hopped over a fence to drop on the other side of the street. The dress she was wearing made things really awkward to do and she was wishing she had some sort of weapon so she could shorten her skirts like Prestadeth had done to her own.

Glancing back and forth at this new alley, Oralia moved in hasty silence. The farther she got away from those pirates, the better!

Prestadeth's smile dropped as a bottle came flying towards her. She ducked to the left...

...and was hit by the flying form of Ando Reyer.

Kargon had thrown both projectiles, the bottle first, then the halfling. It was almost as if he knew where Prestadeth was going to dodge to...

The Elf reeled backwards and fell over the crawling form of Lyseth, landing with Ando on top of her. And as they thrashed about in the puddles, Kargon got to his feet triumphantly, keeping one hand on his sore crotch.


Lyseth made the puddle jump up and splash him in the face.

"Aaagh!" the pirate reeled back and Zagara took the chance to set off in pursuit of Oralia.

"A pox on all ye limpwrist mages!" Kargon yelled. Wiping his eyes, he reached beneath his cloak, fumbling for a few moments before getting hold of something. And then a crisp sound of metal on metal cut the air as the pirate unveiled his prized weapon...


The Raquian Tooth, feared symbol of the Tourniquet's First Mate. It was almost as long as its wielder, serated with barnacles and blood-crusted shark's teeth. As Kargon drew it he rested the tip on the floor, eyes gleaming with a murderous haze. He hadn't even noticed that Oralia and Zagara were gone.


Lyseth growled and clawed and bit at Kargon every chance she took! But as soon as she got the opportunity, she scrambled for freedom, dignity and pride at having to crawl away, be damned. She got the wind knocked out of her when Ando and Presadeth fell but the elf was off in a mere second and Lyseth pushed Ando off and kicked him away. "Son of a thrice damned cow!" she hissed. Had she the time, she would have gutted him or something much worst. The words "blood puppet" came to mind. She got to her feet and made it to the door before she heard the pirate draw his sword.

She turned. If he wanted landwhores, she would give them to him! She drew her arms out and crisscrossed them in front of her, several of the men closest to her suddenly pulled away from what they were doing, as if puppets drawn along by invisible string. Even the most powerful hydro-mages of the Order had difficulty doing this to a single person. Lyseth had been practicing. She needed to buy time. She had them line up in front of the door and they found themselves stuck there as she dashed out into the street and after Zagara.
Lorza's half hewn insult barely scratched Steve's surface "Better to fan the flames of chaos then to suck at the pond scum of tranquility" Steve replied venomously to Lorza, and smiled as the hydromancer writhed looking for a comeback. Master Bjork had asked him to step outside and he did, seeing no further need to ruin his day further by being in the presence of his Hydromancer nemesis. He stood outside leaned against one of the many great stone pillars in the courtyard and lit a hand rolled cigarette with a flame from his thumb. "I'm not drunk enough to deal with that fucker," he said to himself as he pulled a flask of whiskey from a pouch at his hip and drank deeply. "Jared's Wrath, gods above know I need to vent mine today," He said to himself again before replacing the blue labeled flask in the pouch at his belt.

Cursing at the midget that had broken a stool over his shoulder, Zagara turned tale, and took off after Oralia as Prestadeth yelled to him. The Princess had gotten a good bit of distance from them, and Zagara paused as he skidded to a stop, and looked around. "Oh hell..." He said as he looked at the multiple directions that Oralia could have gone. He then grinned to himself, and snapped his fingers as an idea came to his head, and cracked his knuckles. Placing two fingers to his head, Zagara concentrated on what Oralia looked like, and mumbled a few words, then swung his left hand out before him. A small trail of glittering white powder filled the air, and fell to the ground.

As it hit the stone ground, foot prints began to form, and then left a trail as it moved outwards from him. "Gotcha!" Zagara said triumphantly, and took off at a run following the forming footsteps. The patch behind him, was quickly washed away like a patch of dust succumbing to a tornado. He reached a fence, and hopped along the crates, then over the fence, and landed on the ground with his boot's echoing through the alley.

Focusing intently on the shadows, Zaraga moved quickly, and hugged the walls of the alleyway. "Girl, where are you going? It's dangerous to be out alone!" He called out. Having never attempted to harm the girl, Zagara only hoped that fear wasn't clouding her mind. "Stop running, I won't hurt you!"


"Water takes the shape of any, and everything... not simply the Fool, young fire caster. Begone from us." Lorza commanded Steve as the Pyromancer left. He then turned to Bjork, and eyed him suspiciously.

"Anyway, our scouts reported where the princess is, and we could very well put rumours into life that she turned on her father. That this was all planned by her and some secret pirate-lover of her. We need to identify someone as her lover. The average citizen doesn't know what Oralia is really like, with enough power and will put into this, it could actually work...and it would be so much fun! Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds, let me worry about that. One way to make this wild accusation more trustworthy to the citizens of Fomura, even among the elite, would be by working with pirates... You are the first I've shared this with, give me your thoughts on it."

Running his fingers along his clean shaven, smooth chin, Lorza reflected on the idea, and it's sound possibilities... and also the failures that could incur with such a plan. "My, my, Bjork... what a clever, and positively underhanded tactician you are for such a adorable furry thing... Though just who do you have in mind?" Lorza responded as he walked a few steps across the room, while still caressing his chin with his hand. "I don't want the common Cut Throat to be tasked with this... you will require professionals..."



"This talk of Pirates isn't my line of thinking, boys... If you ain't man enough to put a task on your shoulders, and blood on your hand, then you're not much of a man in this life. I expected better from my fellow Masters." A gruff voice rang out from the shadows of the room. A spark of fire appeared, fell to the ground, and then exploded upwards revealing a man clad in red robes, with a grey cloak hung across his right side. Dark brown eyes focused intently on the two, and a small piece of white wood hung loosely from the man's lips.

Varkas' trademark, Shanbo wood... He had an addiction to the sweet sap that the wood housed, and was never seen without a piece hanging from his mouth. "Bjork, you stink, and I find it disgusting. Go take a bath, or I'll wash you like I do my dogs, and Lorza you will do well to remember to respect the students of another master. It's shown from the other four. If you do this again, I will call a council on you, and will demand that a portion of your school's funds be distributed to the rest of the Order."

Varkas was a matter of fact individual, and his words were met with no words from the Hydromancer but returned with a sight, and a tossing of his hair. The Pryromancer, and the Hydromancer had their share of scuffles, and Varkas had won each and everytime... but that had been because Varkas always used the situation to his advantage... for the Master of Fire... Varkas was surprisingly calm, and collected the majority of the time... however his fits of rage were legenadary throughout the order... even the other Masters tended to steer clear of him when he was in a mood.

Drunk-Ole-Jim brought his tankard across Ku-Jon’s jaw with a sickening crack. Ku-Jon answered with a solid blow to the rummy’s temple. Jeanette Morning brought her hand across the face of a bearded man from Grime row and he responded with a fist to her lacey stomach. Ku-Jon ducked a soaring tankard and bull rushed a particularly large (Half giant? Ogre?) into the bar itself and drove the oaf over it. Tavern brawls were always a study in the simplicity inherent in all living beings. You see a face, you punch it…unless you recognize the face, in which case you pause a second and hope the bloke has the sense to duck. Each fight held its own rhythm, but the barter market of fists, legs, and furniture was always a different flavor than the last.

The captain reeled when Obadon Ramsheddle, the lazy eyes apothecary, brought a chair down over his back, but the satisfying thump of boot against bone was enough to inform Ku-Jon he’d sent the bastard sprawling. Too chaotic to see, he’d have to improvise. Nodding an apology to the grim faced bartender, Ku-Jon hefted a stool from beside him and turned sharply. Wood snapped against skin and bone as a thin fellow with dark eyes dropped his dagger and sagged to the grog stained wood.

“Look lively men!” The captain called out across the struggling mass, “Ten pieces o gleam to the man who brings me the elf!”

Most needed no further prompting then a single gold piece. For silver they’d sell out a comrade and for gold some would sell out themselves. The tone of the brawl did not so much change as it redirected. Taking the moment for a breath and to wipe excess alcohol from his face, Ku-Jon reached down to tear the sparse purse off his last attacker. Waste not…after all.

Prestadeth held out her exposed weapon, an excited smile growing across her impish features. Kargon sneered across from her, his shark tooth blade twitching in red hued hands. A number of the Tourniquet’s old and recently hired crew shifted tables and chairs for a better striking position at the elf. The woman against the wall took the opportunity to slip behind the bar and out of sight, her own role in the brawl already completed.

Rodney Nobbers was the first to attack. A boy dressed in the clothes of a man, Rodney had come to the Tourniquet in a barrel of potatoes. Kargon had appreciated the ingenuity the escaped slave had used, and the good sense not to use a water barrel like his unfortunate accomplice. Ku-Jon had scarcely known the whelp for a day or so, but had accepted his presence as part of The Tourniquet and part of the crew. So when Rodney brought up his dagger and charged in at the elf, Ku-Jon immediately regretted the words too late to be unspoken. Prestadeth wasted no time in her counter, spinning along his arm and grabbing it at the base. Sending the boy off balance, Prestadeth swiftly buried her weapon in his back and sent the body barreling into his compatriots. Using the opening, her body became a river of movement. Three steps had her between two dull eyed men and a fourth had her past them, body contorting through the spaces their bodies left between each other. Kargon roared, hurling Bill off his feet as he pushed through the mob. Ku-Jon might have let his first mate have her, but an alarming discovery became apparent as the crowd moved to accommodate Kargon’s warpath.

Oralia was gone.

Possibilities only briefly lit his mind and anger rose in a bubbling tide. Without the princess, the Tourniquet would suffer and his crew would remain a hunted dog for as long as she flew. It was a future grim and wholly unacceptable, and seemed to be conveniently focused around the one creature in this room Ku-Jon most despised.

Perfect motivation.

Tearing shirt and coat from his heaving chest, Ku-Jon let the rage inside him bubble over the barriers and pour into his body. Fur swept up his arms and face like wind blowing through a field and muscles bulged with metamorphic energy. At once the room became more detailed, smells hitting him in surges and sounds almost unbearably loud. But beneath it all was the gratifying feeling of release, of freedom, of rush, and power.

It took scarcely a few seconds.

Prestadeth made easy progress toward the door. Her lithe form and training had adapted her to movement on a hazardous battlefield and with such lumbering opponents, she had no need to fear their blades. Unfortunately she hadn’t planned for an opponent like Ku-Jon. Her warning was the snapping of wood and the clattering of metal, enough to merit her evasive roll sideways as a white…something, fractured the ground where she’d stood before. Giving no room for breathing, the monster twisted bright green eyes onto her and pounced with narrow claws outstretched. Prestadeth countered with her blade, narrowly dodging and burying it in the outstretched arm. The beast roared pain and frustration, pausing only to hurl the blade from its arm before leaping again. She was surrounded by white fur and dark skin, caught in a vice of supernatural strength as the monster slammed her against the tavern wall. She bit and struggled as though for her life…a wise assumption…but made no progress against the furry grip. Most of the brawlers had fallen back from the display, scurrying like mice discovered by a bright light. Kargon nodded at the familiar figure but did not interrupt it.

“Where is she?” Ku-Jon snarled, saliva dripping from his gruffer words, What have you done with my QUARRY!” Prestadeth blinked, disbelief scrawled across her face as she came to the realization of who it was that held her.

“You’re…a shifter?” She asked incredulously, “But…how?” All she’d been taught on the rare condition was utterly contrary to the situation. The spirits of life blessed certain beings with the power to transform, but never to be perverted so abstractly. A pirate, surrounded by death and decay in the Lower Realms, and filled with rage. What twisted abomination had the spirits mistakenly given this power to…and why?

She didn’t get a chance to ask.

“Saw her with the mage I did,” Kargon growled at his captain, “Tried to catch em but I only got two arms and a handful o elf.” Ando Reyer rubbed pain from his body as he stood from the wreckage of a chair, but said nothing…eyes on the white monster before him.

“Watch her,” Ku-Jon ordered, letting the gasping elf hit the ground, “Be ready to depart on my return…take any other volunteers there are.”

“Aye,” Kargon answered with a smug smile at the elf, “Knew women were bad luck.”

Pivoting on a paw the lycanthrope bounded from the inn and into the street. Oralia’s perfume all too easy to track. He found them in an alley, shadows caressing the walls where the recovered mage searched. Lyseth was approaching quickly and Ku-Jon hadn’t time to waste. He fell from the roof with a thump, leaving little time for reaction. Zagara moved first, his hands pushing outwards as arcane words scrambled from his lips. A pulse of telekinetic energy rammed into Ku-Jon’s ribs and for a moment…the constriction around his heart and labored breathing slowed…as though something was momentarily disrupted. Coughing from the release of magic before being fully recovered, Zagara was hard pressed to avoid the massive hand close around his torso. Oralia, to her credit, managed to scream before Ku-Jon had her in his grasp. Lyseth rounded the corner in time to see the hulking creature leap over the roof and back towards the bar with Zagara and Oralia clutched in two of its four hands. Sighing exasperatedly, Lyseth spun and started back towards the Rusty Bucket. Just like Zagara to get himself mixed up in something like this…just like him.

Ku-Jon deposited the two back in the bar, next to Prestadeth. Zagara gasped and Oralia trembled, evidently unused to being carried by some primeval horror. Sighing, Ku-Jon let the anger ebb from his body and slipped away from his ‘true’ form. It was alarmingly quick, a condensing of body and limbs till only the man stood in tattered leggings and a frown.

“Let me make something abundantly clear to you three which I hadn’t the time to communicate before.” Pulling up a chair he sat and placed his chin in an open palm. “Good men have died, a good ship has been wrecked, and a…bar has been destroyed…mostly because of your chaotic combination.” He let the words sink in, drawing the black dagger he’d made in Nocta Syr and placing it in his other hand. “By all rights I should kill you, hang your bodies from my rails and let the crows and sky crabs make a meal of your corpses…not a man here would call me unjust to do so.”

Zagara glared, preparing his tired body to fight if necessary. He might have been exhausted, but he had more than enough raw energy to incinerate a few low lives. Prestadeth looked back at Ku-Jon almost apathetically, challenging his threats with brazen disinterest. Oralia shivered, her head down and shoulders heaving. She might have been sobbing, or perhaps she was cold.

“But…” Ku-Jon added, holding out a hand to Kargon
"I have decided on an alternate punishment I'm sure you might find more preferrable. Kargon, the crew list." Kargon blinked at the captain in astonishment, slowly reaching into his breeches to retrieve the crumpled parchment.

“Cap’n,” He murmured, eyes on Prestadeth, “I don’t think…”

“Thank you Kargon, now will someone lend me a means to write?”

There was a moment of silence before Cassandra slipped around the debris and bodies, quill and ink in hand. “Here…Cap’n.”

Ku-Jon almost laughed, but decided against it. The girl had stopped a dagger from a fleshy home in his back and that was proof enough she could hold her salt. Taking the three items, Ku-Jon laid them by the three just as Lyseth burst through the front door.

“I’m low on crew and you three will do nicely to replace the void you left with your trouble.” Outnumbered, Lyseth did not initially attack…deciding instead to press into the crowd and toward Zagara who was looking at the list with an unreadable expression. Ando was still reeling from the aftermath of his missile status, but pushed through the crowd toward the center…where he knew the list would be.

“Death or life,” Ku-Jon offered quietly, his eyes glittering “Carrion or service…make your decisions quickly. We have a schedule to keep.”

Summary: ((Apologies for moving everyone, I just wanted to get the plot on a jump and admittedly it slacked due to my absence. If anyone has a problem with how I portrayed their character, please contact me and I will change it...again I am sorry and will try not to let this happen again.)) Ku-Jon goes lycan form and captures Presta, Oralia, and zagara...he gives them a chance to join the crew rather then be is all your chances to get in on some pirate action.))
Prestadeth's glare was of pure, blazing hate and it seemed she had enough to spare for each and every man and woman in the tavern.

But she had most of it directed to the captain.

She'd rather be strung up or flung into the void than work under this abomination, but for one thing. . .

Presta's gaze shifted quickly to Zagara and Oralia.

There was unfinished business with those two. She needed to know why Zagara had summoned the shade of her father, and Oralia was the key to her people's freedom. Her pride would have to wait, for now.

A low growl came from Prestadeth, then her eyes locked with Ku-Jon's for one hateful moment. When her eyes shifted down for the briefest of moments, the captain knew that he had her in his service.

She could always try to kill him again, later.

When the setting was better.

Looking to Ku-Jon then to Kargon, and to Oralian, and Prestadeth, Zagara clenched his teeth as he felt a spell come to mind. "You have no right to cast judgment on us, filthy pirate." Zagara spat out the words "If any is to be tried it would be you for kidnapping, but when blades outnumber someone, their logic is viewed as forfeit isn't it?" The young Apostate answered in mature calmness.

"I accept... though if you harm either of these women, I will burn every aspect of your being from this world, and the next... Do not doubt me... Captain." Though the Apostate was indeed skilled in his craft or appeared to be, it was obvious that should the two fight, Ku-Jon would have the better odds granted, Zagara did not have the time to work his magic... Oddly enough though, Zagara's words held an undeniable oath... one that would allow the Captain to determine that Zagara's words were a bond.



Words hung in the air between the pirate and the mage like spinning daggers. Neither broke the tense gaze. Ku-Jon smiled, kicking the crew list toward Zagara. Ando started for the list first, his small hands scribbling a somewhat legible scrawl across the water stained page. Letting the paper fall toward Prestadeth and Zagara, Ando edged away to flank Kargon...eying the elf with disdain.

"Big words boy," Ku-Jon said at last with a nod, "But don't get too high on your horse just yet...take your women into consideration." Prestadeth snorted, venomously holding back her urge to send his head toppling to the floor. Oralia shivered, her eyes never leaving Ku-Jon. She knew his true form and a part of her feared that if she turned, that beast would snatch her up and gobble her all the bad little maidens in her storybooks. Dusty things now, but the memory stayed with her. "Your twig boned friend-" he spat the word, "has it out for me and I'm no fool to bow and scrape apologies if she's a sword to my neck."

"I'd expect you to blubber." the elf retorted, angry eyes points of glitter in the bar-light.

"My word is my bond," Zagara affirmed without looking to Prestadeth, "If you harm them I will obliterate even your memory from this world."

Kargon shifted uncomfortably, no doubt remembering the fireball the mage had unleashed before. On an airship it would the entirety of the craft and send them all to a plummeting demise.

"Aint right ta take a mage sore for yer hide,"
he growled, shifting the huge blade toward the mage and elf, "And that elf's the one wot got us fightin ta begin with."

"Stay your weapon Kargon," Ku-Jon commanded, his eyes never leaving Zagara's. "Very well boy, make your oath and kill me if you can. But I don't tolerate mutiny and the first to knife one of my own, myself included, goes over the edge to feed the Rift."

Oralia tremored and Prestadeth grinned with such vicious force she almost cracked her teeth. Zagara nodded mutely, recognizing he was in no place to make a bargain. Pushing through the gathered crew, Lyseth lowered the cowl of her cloak and retrieved the paper. Zagara had signed it hesitantly, as had Oralia. Prestadeth had spit on it and Ku-Jon had accepted it as her seal.

"Another mage can't hurt," she offered, signing her name with a flourish "Zagara's magic is too harmful for a ship anyways."

"But..." Kargon tried to interrupt

"Of course," Ku-Jon mused with a nod, "You'll be welcome to sail so long as you work."

"I will," Lyseth confirmed, staring directly at Zagara, "There's no other place I'd rather be."


"Captain?" The voice was small, almost lost amid the belches and creaking muscles of the crew. Pushing herself through the crowd, Cassandra presented herself before Ku-Jon and offered a quick bow. "If it pleases you, I would like to join your crew as well." The words came out in a jumbled mess, all speed and mutters.

Ku-Jon broke his gaze from Zagara to look at her, nodding his recognition. "You're the girl who saved me a knife in the back...have you any skills?"

"Helmsman sir," She said with a deep breath, "I can steer the ship through any weather."

Ku-Jon nodded, indicating the list and Cassandra quickly complied. Beneath Lyseth's florid signature, hers was small but neat.


"Then we are are all in accord,"
Ku-Jon finished, snatching up the list from Cassandra's hands and storing it in his coat, "Welcome to The Tourniquet."


"This is first mate Kargon," Ku-Jon introduced, standing and sliding the chair adjacent to an overturned table, "If I suffer some terrible misfortune or am not to be found, his word is my word."

The first mate stared, a calloused finger sliding between Prestadeth, Oralia, Lyseth, and Cassandra with growing velocity.

"Yes Kargon?"

"Cap'n," Kargon started, left eye twitching, "Tis bad luck wot got ya captured and now ya bring four womenfolk aboard?"

"We make our own luck," Ku-Jon answered with a shrug, "And you miscounted...three woman and an animal."

Prestadeth frowned, choosing to remain silent. Casting a gaze to her, Ku-Jon almost waited for a retort. When none came he spun on his heel and started for the door.

"We have our crew, now let's be off."

Holding the new recruits in a suspicious glare, Kargon turned as well and followed the captain. Bill Garunn and Ando were the next to step into pace.

Zagara, Prestadeth, Oralia, and Lyseth tagged behind...conferring among themselves.

Upon reaching the Tourniquet, a different sight awaited them. The splintered mast and shredded decks were neatly varnished and repaired. In the space of time it had taken to fight and rustle up a crew, the Tourniquet had been re-outfitted and transformed into a merchant class vessel. Ku-Jon appraised it with a critical eye for a moment, but laughed at last and clasped his first mate's shoulder.

"Always a pleasure dealing with your friends, well worked indeed."

Kargon nodded back, forcing a smile on an otherwise mirthless face. Both he and the captain climbed aboard and turning to the new recruits, he reached into his coat and pulled out three sacks. Tossing them to the floor he chuckled as Cassandra and Ando grimaced.

"I can see some of you know what these are," the captain laughed, leaning over the rail, "We're lovelocked and this powder will stimulate the bonds to release us." Taking a sack in his hands, Ando grimaced as the pungeant smell reached his nostrils. "Lather it where you see red and we'll be in the air soon enough." Turning from the deck he started for his cabin...laughing.

"Let us know when you've completed your task!"

It was Cassandra who finally made the call to stop, sweat pouring from her brow as she slid down the side of the hull. The bags lay empty on the ground and each new recruit smelled of rotting meat and vinegar.

Ah the love smell of barnacles.

"Cap!" Ando called up to the deck, "Permission to come aboard?"

At first only the blotched face of Bill Garunn peered over at them, a leer stretching across scarred cheeks.

"Wot's the password?"

Ando only blinked, unsure of whether the mangy man was joking or not. He might have answered if not for a large hand firmly grasping Bill's shoulder and yanking him out of sight.

Kargon's scowl berated them all while his eyes swam over the hull. The ruddy color of barnacles had faded from the wood and with derisive snort, he gave a nod and vanished over the rail.

As the last crew member, Zagara, threw his leg over the side of the ship, The Tourniquet lurched and began to rise. Cursing, the mage fell flat on his face. Lyseth quickly broke from the rest and helped him to his feet. Zagara coughed and sighed, taking her assistance to stand and look over the railing as they rose into the sky.

"Apostate to assassin, to pirate," the mage muttered darkly with a shake of his head "What law won't I break before the journey is through?"

Lyseth suggested with a shrug, gazing out over the shrinking shanty town with disinterest, "At least we get a chance to catch up."

Zagara said nothing, his weary eyes searching out Oralia and Prestadeth. Both the women were close. Oralia was despondant in a hapless dismay while Prestadeth almost bubbled with indignation. Both were as he'd come to expect them. Ku-Jon was nowhere to be seen but Kargon stomped among them like some sentinel beast of old, eyes to their hands and faces.

As the tavern of their misadventure faded behind them, the new crew of the Tourniquet could not help but shiver at the cool wind of the Upper Low realms and close inward at the first drops of rain.

A bad omen for a journey.

Summary: Documents are signed, Ship is set to go, we're all off on adventure now.

Tense silence between the masters was interrupted quite suddenly by the howling of wind. Bjork snapped his furry head toward the noise immediately, his nose twitching beneath curious eyes as wind blasted through the chamber. The worst of it buffeted Lorza, his carefully combed locks ripped back and round his head like heavy seaweed. Varkas eyed the origin without expression, shifting the stick in his mouth to the other side of a faint smile. Bjork quelled the wind with a wave of his staff, settling onto the floor soundlessly.

Lorza asked, fixing the furry creature with an arching eyebrow, "Is this your doing?"

The creature snorted, sticking out a flat tongue to caress his upper lip absently, "Travel magic," he answered without turning to the mage, "Odd time for a visitor...and not one of my own."

Varkas had not turned his eyes from the entrance to the hall either. His posture was relaxed, but flames licked just behind his steady eyes. Spitting the Shanbo wood sideways he held up his right hand and clenched a fist. The temperature of the room began rising, the faint sound of flames filling the chamber.

"Come out little rat,"
Varkas commanded, "Or I'll burn you out."

Lorza took a step toward Varkas, prepared to defend himself if the fire master did indeed make good on his threat and immolate the place. Bjork made no motion, his eyes wide and sparkling with overflowing curiosity.

"Dear me, Dear me...what ire swells in Varkas! I shant be one to test a spoken threat so honestly" Stepping from around a pillar, a blond haired man stepped into view. Both hands were raised in the air but one held a black leash to something still behind the pillar. Perhaps more distracting was the garb swaddled over the young mage. Various metal cymbals, cylinders, and other bright objects were sown into the cloak he wore in some sort of patchwork tableau. With each step or shift, they crashed and chimed discordantly. Bjork made a face, a feat on its own with his appearance as ridiculous as it was and Lorza frowned suspiciously. Varkas lowered his fist but did not release the spell, a silent threat to the stranger.

"I dismay to witness such static,"
the man offered with a sniff, "Still dogs to bite and bark at allys' guarded skin, can not you sheathe your fangs for common threats?" A small rod smashed into a wider hunk of metal and screeched painfully, though the fellow didn't seem to mind. "Freed from captivation I soared in haste on wings of wind to catch you straightaway," Almost sneering, he continued, "But that I find still children squabbling I grieve to think my need so dire in this questing for reunion."

Lorza blinked, bemusement touching his fair features as Bjork shifted his staff from hand to hand. The face was alien, but the words and speech were so uniquely spoken it struck a chord in both. They knew this man from somewhere...but no name sprang to mind.

Varkas chuckled, releasing the spell as the temperature sunk back toward its comfort of before. He'd switched bodies again since last they met, but there could be no denying his outlandish taste and speech.

Varkas identified the man, "Who let you out?"

Summary: Cling Clang Man enters the Masters seems Varkos knows him
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