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|The Whitespore turns his attention from the battle to the rear deck of the Maros.||
Aboard the Maros
Simon awoke with a start. What was that noise!? Somewhat befuddled he looked to his apprentice. She had her hands clapped over her ears and there were tears rolling down her cheeks. Her face was contorted in pain. The primal scream ripped the very air around them. It was coming from the forward deck. Simon launched himself across the Crows Nest and put his eye against the knot hole. Down below he could see Jonas Whitespore and he had turned towards the rear deck. The sound that erupted from his throat would cause fear in the most resolved of warriors. For those trained in the Arts, however...
Simon wove a small counterspell around the Crows Nest. The sound could still be heard but it had been stripped of its venom. Simon gently drew his young apprentice towards him and removed one hand from her eye. She winced involuntarily and then relaxed as the fear ebbed from her body.
"Who are you child?", he asked as she rested her head against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her protectively.
"I have been named Rhiannon, Master." she whispered back.
"Hmmm, but who are you?", Simon repeated. "There is more to you than a name -- far more. You are no mundane child, born from dirt, raised in dirt, and destined to return to the dirt in time. You have the potential to wield magic child -- a rare trait. Very rare indeed. A trait that is always passed from father to son or from mother to daughter. So the question then is who is, or was, your mother?
"We'll discuss this further later. For now we must prevent the minions of the Whitespore from slaying all who stand upon the rear deck. And that, Rhiannon, is going to take a display of power that will be seen from here to heaven itself."
Petrel watched horrified as his Guardsmen retreated from the stairs. The sound, that sound, turned the bowels to water. A glance towards Jacquemets saw that his group faired no better. Suddenly Breila screamed, "Fight you maggots or we'll all breathe our last this day!" Several of the men returned to the fray while others continued to whimper and cower on the deck. Petrel continued to fight the enemy as they sought to push their way past the stairs and onto the rear deck.
Their resolve was simply not enough. As another of his Guardsmen took a severe blow to the groin a giant of the Numenoreans in full articulated plate leapt atop the stairs and onto the deck. With his massive shield he brushed aside one Guardsmen while with his greatsword he swept an arc in front. Petrel evaded but in so doing the Numenorean was able to press forward, creating space behind -- space which was soon filled by more of the enemy soldiers. The end had arrived.
"To me! To me Guardsmen!", Petrel cried out as he sought to rally his men and alert the others to his plight. Petrel leapt forward and delivered a mighty overhand blow towards the Captain of the Numenoreans. Time slowed as Petrel watched his blade slip inside his opponent's hastily raised blade and continue on towards his neck. Petrel thought to himself that he might not have the strength to kill his opponent but it may slow him down enough for Breila to intercept him before he got to Rana. At long last Petrel's blade reached his opponent's neck and impacted that finely engineered articulated armour.
As it did so fire erupted around them. His opponent took the brunt of the conflagration and flew through the air, knocking Petrel to the ground. The edge of the deck was a sheet of flame that burned without consuming the wooden deck -- yet anything thrust through it was incinerated, man or weapon. The Guardsmen dispatched those enemy soldiers that had made it on to the rear deck behind their Captain. "Form up! Form up! This flame will soon disappear." yelled Petrel. The disabled Guardsmen were dragged closer to Rana and the number of fighting wounded and able bodied were equally divided.
Then the sound stopped. It was deadly quiet aboard the Maros. The sound of the battle at the palace could be heard. Breila and Kane could be heard bolting the doors of the stairs. They dragged heavy chests across the doors as well. "What is happening?", asked Kane.
"Look!", shouted Breila as she pointed towards the middle mast's Crows Nest. The Crows Nest was surrounded by a green translucent sphere that barely impinged upon the eye. Across its surface orange lightning arced and crackled. As they watched a black writhing mass of smoke arced up from the front deck and lobbed towards the sphere. The orange lightning arced from the sphere towards the black ball and it burst asunder, only to reform as it continued in its lazy arc towards the Crows Nest. The orange lightning redoubled its effort to destroy the black oily missile, to no avail. When the black ball impacted the green Circle it seemed to coat it, covering it, suffocating it. With a shriek that wasn't quite audible the Circle collapsed. As they watched on, horrified, the blackness collapsed onto the Crows Nest -- and the Crows Nest began to dissolve. When the inky blackness was finally spent it had eaten its way down the middle mast perhaps thirty feet.
Behind them a familiar voice said, "Now that would have been a truly disturbing way to exit this world. I'm glad I was here to see it."
As Breila whirled around Simon slapped a hand on her shoulder. "Having survived that fate Breila show me how we're going to survive the rest of the day..."
Note: For explanations regarding the world in which this story is set, it's peoples and language please take a look at The Encyclopaedia of Everything located in my library.
|Chapter 19: Whitespore Uncovered||Chapter 36: Celedur has Fallen|
|Chapter 20: Simon Revealed||Chapter 7: The Rat Leaves An Impression|
|Chapter 11: The Loneliness of Command||Chapter 32: Angels Sing for their Paladin|