Fate - First Reply Why Is The Rum Always Gone?

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Izzetta Rex

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The Syzygy, Day 2
Akiva Sea

The night was dark and the spirits darker, but Izzetta was buoyant. One would have thought the upheaval of the seas and magic would have sobered her, but Izzy was rarely sober.

She sat on a barrel, braiding a rope, a foggy green glass bottle by her foot. She hummed an off-tune shanty quietly to herself, but the rest of the night was quiet. The rest of the crew was below decks. The faint outline of Soren could be seen in the crow's nest high up. The water was not as rough as it could be, but it wasn't gentle either. The sound of water against the hull was constant, the wind a reminder that peace was not an option. A particularly large wave rocked the ship and the bottle rolled away from her down to the bow, and she grumbled as she got to her feet and went after it. She snatched it up and held it upside down. Unfortunately, it was empty. She grumbled some more and tossed the bottle overboard. Had she really drunk it all already?

She was just about to return to her barrel when there was a flash of something silver among the dark waves. Izzy came to the edge of the deck and leaned over the railing, searching the waves below. She saw it again, but it was hard to tell if it was a fish or some bigger creature. Whatever it was, it was moving at a pretty good clip; staying even with the ship.

There was a strange noise and Izzy found herself leaning even further over the railing. When she saw a humanoid face she reeled back, the sound and its source becoming clear.

"Kivren! Pod of Kivren've surrounded the ship! Plug yer ears!" She shouted, running back across the deck and descending below. She repeated her alarm one more time as she ran through the rest of the crew's sleeping quarters. Her voice was soon swallowed up by the bell, rung by Soren.
 
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How in all hell he had found himself here of all places was an absolute mystery. Where he even was, was in fact also a mystery. He had very little recollection of boarding this ship but he did remember being offered a drink, and he also had even less recollection about how he'd arrived at the port. He didn't remember any drinks at that point. The last things he remembered with any kind of clarity was the journey home from the Ngoma ya Mvua, and he remembered fondly his journey across the sea to Annuakat. It was the travel across the sands that had sunken into him, and in the midst of such mundane familiarity after a time of such exuberance, he found himself without... something.

And so he went from the great imperial palace he called home, and simply got on his horse and... left.

One town, one tavern, one bottle, they all led to the next. And so, it would seem, they led him here, huddled under the stairs leading up to the poop-deck, bottle in hand, hood overhead. And that... was all months ago now.

The rocking of the ship didn't bother him much, and after many weeks of practice nor did the overconsumption of drink. He was relatively lost to his own half-sober thoughts until he heard a thud against the deck, and a rolling. Instinctively he looked, subconsciously bemoaning the loss of drink on these waters. And there he saw Izzy, who he didn't even know by name, take after the now empty bottle to no avail. Gone. Hopefully she'd at least drank most of it.

His attention was turning away until her hesitation caught his eye. Were he a little more sober maybe he'd have heard whatever she had, but he had not, so he watched her curiously until she reeled back, shouting about Kivren.

"Kivren," he echoed quietly, and then "Kivren," he said again, louder, and began to stand. As he rose to his feet he leaned forward to avoid the staircase he'd been sitting under, only he leaned forward a little too much, and for one step too many. He threw himself into a heap on the deck, dropping his own bottle which went sailing out of reach, all as the bell began to ring.


 
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Once the bells rang out, Izzetta shut her trap. The crew was effectively roused, muttering and shouting at each other, still half asleep. She stormed back up to the main deck and up to the quarter deck. As she banged on the captain's door she mused on what it would be like if she was captain instead.

Their captain, a tall muscled man with a thick, matted beard swung open his door, glaring down at Izzy. "There's Kivren," she said sweetly, stating what was by now obvious.

Suddenly a silence fell over the ship and it took Izzy a moment to realize Soren had stopped ringing the bell. "Do I have to do everything around here?" she muttered as she turned around, vaulting over the railing to the main deck below. When she straightened, she could see the watchman climbing down from his perch, and stumbling along the deck. A song echoed in the air around them, promising smooth seas and a peaceful warmth.

Izzy cursed colorfully and took a step toward Soren but in a matter of seconds he had thrown himself off the ship. The rest of the crew was coming up behind her, some with cloth stuffed in their ears or hands over them. "Uh... man overboard?" she remarked, glancing up at the captain, who was still on the quartermast. The rest of the crew stood around like fools until the captain bellowed at them to move their asses and then they did.

Izzy gathered the rope she had been braiding and knotted separate lengths of it to several spears, making harpoons. She tossed some of them to her crewmates. Just as a precaution, she pulled her bandanna over her ears to reduce her own temptation to jump overboard and finally meet a Kivren.

Ashuanar
 
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Were he not guarded by the spirit of the golden armband he wore, were their essences so entwined, then he too may have been seduced by the sweet song that fell upon his ear. And even still, he had to admit as he pulled himself together and rose to his feet, that it was an awfully alluring sound. But it was hardly so sweet as to drive him from the safety of this ship. He was spared of such mind tricks, it seemed.

He shook his head and then looked as Soren, another who Ashuanar did not know by name yet, threw himself overboard.

But, where Ashuanar was at first inclined to try and render aid to the man who had so woefully been lured away, there were no others who moved to do the same. Not even a hint of an attempt, and so he was reminded of the heartless wisdom the sea offered. There was more to it than these people simply not caring - they simply knew better.

That man was gone.

Finally the captain gave the word, and all hands sprung into action - some a little more keenly than others. Ashuanar, for his part, was hardly a seafarer, but he'd spent enough time on imperial ships to have grown a decent pair of sea legs. But while most on this ship were here for their ability to sail, his passage had come through his other uses, such as being quite experienced with spears. Paired with his affinity for the sea as of late, this made him useful for just such an occasion as this.

He made himself available to grab one of the harpoons Izzy tossed, and he twisted it to ready in his hand once he had it.

"How many did you see," he asked of Izzy, coming a bit closer to her and toward the edge of the ship.


 
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Izzetta tossed a harpoon to a man and instead of ignoring her and throwing it into the water like the others he spoke to her. She picked up two of her own harpoons, leaned over the deck, and threw them, one after another, both with surprising accuracy as the water darkened with Kivren blood.

"I only saw one but i've never known a Kivren to travel alone," she replied. She looked forward just in time to see something headed for her head and duck. A harpoon flew over her head and she reached up and caught it by the rope, ignoring the rope burn it cut across her palm. She looked over the railing to see the head of a woman bobbing in the waves, a gash cut across her collar. Siren and pirate met each other's eyes.

"Thanks for giving me back my harpoon, it was very thoughtful of you," Izzy said conversationally. The mermaid blanked and suddenly found the harpoon she had thrown back at Izzy embedded in her chest. A shriek that sounded more animal than woman bounced over the water as the siren thrashed.

Izzy ignored it and turned back to the man who had spoke to her. "Well don't just stand there,"

Ashuanar
 
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Well now, he thought, caught in a half-sober stare as he watched Izzy interact with their foe so casually.

He wasn't so sure of the Kivren. He knew what they were, had heard plenty about them, but he'd never encountered them himself. Luckily Izzy seemed to know a thing or two, so when she did away with at least a couple of them, he did not foolishly assume themselves to now be safe. And yet, still, he remained in place with his harpoon in hand.

"Well don't just stand there."
Oh. Yeah.

Some grand general he was. Were it not for sheer luck, he should by rights have been struck down by now for standing idly in one place for so long. He either didn't realize under the dimming of the drink, or he didn't care enough to remain so alert. Well, at least at first. Prompted, he took action, hurling his harpoon over the edge. At first it seemed he'd thrown it aimlessly into open waters, but his battle prowess showed itself then. From the water one of their foes did come forth with intent to do harm, only to be struck by the spear he'd thrown. It was an almost clairvoyant display, but it was only anticipatory. He was a warrior after all, and the battle readiness of his subconscious was far from undone by his mental state.

"Hah," he hollered, clearly pleased with himself.

And then the ship rocked terribly, as though struck by some great object. But out here in the waters, they were far from any land or obstructions. There came a sound behind him, and he whirled around to see the clawed limbs of one of their assailants reaching up over the railing on the other side of the ship.


 
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Izzetta reeled in a few of the harpoons that made their mark, hauling the thrashing, bleeding bodies of the injured Kivren on board. The other sailors did the same, and soon there were four kivren on board, their blood staining the wooden boards on the deck.

Suddenly the ship rocked, throwing some sailors down and sending Izzy stumbling. Were the Kivren now trying to flip the boat, force all the men overboard? Just as she had that thought, she saw a pale arm reaching up over the railing, claws on the ends of long fingers digging into the wood. The Kivren pulled herself over the railing of the ship, her long black hair dripping. She opened her mouth and a beautiful sound came out of it, and when Izzy managed to regain enough of her senses (quicker than the other men aboard) she noticed the Kivren now had a pair of legs.

She cursed colorfully and loudly, suddenly recalling that unpleasant ability they had. Having spent most of her life on the sea, she knew a good bit about them, and knew that this one was different- she didn't look as pained by the transformation, and a silvery blue dress floated about her pale figure as she moved towards the sailors on feet that she should have been unsteady on.

She had to have been their leader- or at least what the kivren called "blessed by kiva", their goddess. Or perhaps even the Kivren's magic was thrown off kilter during these three dark days, and instead of being weaker, they were made stronger.

Ashuanar
 
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Ashuanar's eyes became as slits as he watched the Kivren wrestle its way onboard. Its song gave him pause, but as before, it failed to truly inundate his senses. It kept him still for only a moment until he, after giving his head a quick shake, jumped back into the fray. He approached the Kiva, drawing the sword that hung from his hip, moving quickly to intercept it. It was just coming upon some of the other sailors, who were cautiously backing away, waiting for an opportunity to strike all while trying to maintain their composure.

Ashuanar came near, and he grabbed the Kivren by the arm to swing it around and face him. He meant to plunge his sword deep into its chest, but it whirled around toward him in a flurry, striking his arm and point his sword away. Then, it drew deathly close, grabbing him by the cuff and screaming in his face much like a banshee would. It lifted him from his feet with some unseen force paired with its grasp, and then flung him away as easily as one would a doll. He slammed into a few nearby barrels, knocking several over. His sword went skittering across the deck.

As he struggled back up to his feet, he looked to see the Kivren encroaching on him now.

At least he'd diverted its attention, only now as he found his footing and readied himself, he realized he was without any weapon to fight it, save for a dagger secured tightly to his thigh. He did not reach for it, not yet, waiting until his foe drew closer so that he might surprise it.

"Uh... a little help here!"


 
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Izzy was planning on keeping her distance from the Kivren with legs for as long as possible, but it seemed her time had come. Grumbling about how useless men were, she made her way up into the rigging, gaining some confused looks from those who didn't know her that well.

Humming the song the Kivren had been singing (she thought she had recognized it), she pulled out of one of her serrated knives and got to work on a tangle of loose ropes. She straddled a wooden beam, keeping an eye on the poor men below. Some were focused on killing the kivren they had pulled aboard, a few more were killing more in the water, and the one with legs was cornering the drunk fool from earlier. She wondered vaguely if he drank much.

She waited until the opportune moment- the kivren had just wrapped a clawed hand around the man's throat. Izzy put her fingers in her mouth and whistled loud enough to get everyone's attention, including the Kivren's. Her lips pulled back over her teeth and she let go of the man, her attention now on Izzy, who waved before releasing the ropes.

The tangle and pile of ropes and nets fell on top of the Kivren and Izzy swung back down to the deck on another rope. She gathered the edges of the ropes, the kivren inside kicking, clawing, and gnashing her teeth. Izzy tied it up with a room, creating a makeshift net that the savage fish woman threatened to cut her way out of. So Izzy took it upon herself to stomp forward and plunge her cutlass through her gut. She wrenched it out and turned to look at the rest of the crew who were watching her with varying degrees of shock and awe.

Ashuanar
 
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Among those left rather speechless was Ashuanar. Partially from the inhuman grip that had just been around his throat, and partially from the rather skillful maneuver this woman had just carried out.

"Thanks," he said, throwing up his hand with an elated wave.

He stumbled a bit with the rocking of the ship before he found his footing and collected his sword. Taking it in hand, he rushed back over near to Izzy. A quick glance around and he could see that the crew was dealing with the Kivren incursion quite handily. He cast a look down to the writhing Kivren on deck, who were little more than their catch of the day now, bleeding out and dying there in a heap.

A look back to the legged one, and then a look to Izzy, "are they always so bold," he asked, "and what use are these dead now?"


 
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Izzy looked to the Ashuanar. He was still reeling, but the action wasn't over yet. "Don't thank me just yet," she replied as the ship rocked again. Despite having drunk a whole bottle of rum she was surprisingly steady on her feet.

"They do tend to be bold, but the syzygy could also be affecting them. As for the dead kivren, we'll throw 'em back over board so their friends can find their bodies. Pleasant little surprise," she said, sheathing her blade and picking up a harpoon from the deck.

The ship rocked again and the singing picked up in volume and power. Izzy sang louder, adjusting her bandanna over her ears, but some were not as lucky. A couple men dove overboard, but no one made to go after them. It would be foolish and result in only more loss of life. "I wonder how many are in a pod," Izzy said to herself as she nailed a Kivren with her harpoon, turning her song to a shriek of pain. They had already killed four. At least it seemed they had gotten their leader, so it would be downhill from here. Or so it would seem.

Izzy was not stupid enough to believe the rest of this night would be easy.

Ashuanar
 
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So much for liking the sea. As well as he managed himself against these foes, he was not without lament against them. Ashuanar found himself thinking he'd be much better off dealing with the beasts of the desert than these water bound creatures. He couldn't see these ones for the darkened water, or feel these ones underfoot as the ground gently quaked while they made their move to attack. He could not anticipate them as well as he could amid the dunes. The drink didn't help, but that was - at this point - a small factor. He'd sobered up quite a bit in the last few moments.

"I wouldn't have a clue," he replied, sheathing his sword and grabbing up another harpoon.

As for this syzygy, he hadn't the slightest clue what she was talking about. Sure, he had noticed it, but what was the significance of it to the likes of the Kivren, or anyone else for that matter? Its not like there was something threatening life as they knew it or anything.

"Whatever's got them all riled up, I say we get the hell out of here before any more show up. Surely this ship can go a little faster!"

He hurled his harpoon at another Kivren, managing to force it back underwater but not quite able to pierce it. He grabbed its rope and hoisted it back in.


 
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Izzy thought his idea of going faster was a good one, despite how much fun she was having killing Kivren. It was beginning to become rather annoying; all she wanted was a warm bath and another bottle of rum. She growled to herself as she thought of the scarcity of rum on this ship.

It seemed the captain had finally gotten it into his head that speed would solve their problem and many on board stumbled as sails were released, catching the wind that had so helpfully picked up speed. The sheep did indeed pick up it pace, which helped a bit, but it turns out the Kivren were annoyingly stubborn. The crew continued to throw harpoons as the distance between the nasty sirens and the pirates increased.

Finally, the songs of the Kivren faded back into the sounds of the sea. The pirates turned to look round, seeing who was left in their number. Many wore dazed expressions; Izzy wore one of dazed annoyance. The captain called out orders to get the ship back an order, and bodies of the dead kivren were thrown overboard. They kept full speed, none of them wanting to take any chances.

"Gods, I need a drink," Izzy mumbled.

Ashuanar