Titanfall With Hardship to Landfall

For threads related to the Titanfall event of 2021
Landfall

Ermengarde

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Welcome on board the Southern Star. One of the many ships on route to the hidden continent in the far south-east of Arethil.
Adventure, fortune, discovery, whatever the reason may be, it mattered not under the banner of the Monterossan expeditioner Ermengarde.

Once more to sail across the sea and chart out the land was the goal. Yet once the fleet reached the heart of the Asherah sea, an everlasting storm that persisted for an eternity led them far off course.
What stars were seen in any clearing in the sky soon changed from the known constellations of the hounds and the little bird of the north to stars uncharted and unknown.


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The trip was difficult.

It was now midnight on board of the Southern Star.

Southern Star in the Asherah Sea, 25th of seagrass.

The sky has not cleared since entering the heart of the Asherah Sea.
I, like many others, presume that it may of be magical nature. Why else would the winds be so desperate to separate my fleet and keep it so?
Is Arethil in unrest? This storm has been going on for three good weeks.
We have yet to breakthrough, but I fear we may not find the others as we are still sailing in unkռ_ᔕnW\__ .. .

A violent tremor shook the Southern Star from bow to stern. Ripping and lurching sounds of wood resonated like a deep bass through the bodies of any living person or beast on board.
Clutter flew across the sky and passengers got thrown out of the comfort of their warm resting spots.
The ship seemed to have stranded on a reef and almost jumped a beat to a full stop.
Flooding was imminent in the lowest decks.

Ermengarde removed herself from beneath the table after the violent throw across the room. It was no time to idly assess the situation. What's a few bumps, bruises and ink stains here and there? Any man with a sane mind would know the danger at hand and get on deck without hesitation.
She took her logbook and stormed out of her cabin where the wind and rain persisted. Though the storm was much weaker than in the morning.
With the ship firmly lodged in the reef, it only rocked when a high wave crashed against its side, dousing all on board in cold and slippery seawater.

»MAN OVERBOARD, « shouted a sailor from amid the loud cacophony of chaos.
While it was dangerous here, it certainly beat a wet grave below deck.
Preparations to rouse every man on this doomed vessel have already begun.

Wet from the violent sea, Ermengarde couldn't even notice that the rain had stopped and the sky began to clear to display the twinkling stars in the distance...
Or were those lights?
A settlement?
Was that land?
It was land.
 

Belrune Brighthand

The Small Scholar
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While she was well adjusted to keeping track of the passage of time in the absence of the sun, Belrune was far less at home on the sea than underground. It was always moving -- swaying and rocking and chanting. It was damp and noisy. The sky flashed with lightning and the ship trembled from both thunder and wave. Everything about it was wrong, backwards from her dwarven upbringing.

She loved it. Setting out on this expedition to a new world had naturally spoken to her. It had felt right, necessary. Even in the depths of a storm spanning weeks she didn't regret this journey. Neither the fathomless depths churning beneath them nor the raging tempest could dull her excitement. Rune had spent years wandering the continents, chasing her opportunity to leave her mark in history, and this expedition was that chance. Nothing was going to ruin it for her.

So she thought.

The hour was late, well beyond her punctual bedtime. She had been below deck, curled up in her bunk to sleep. A three-week-long storm wasn't going to keep the young dwarf from her evening's rest, and she had learned to enjoy the rocking comfort of her hammock. The sudden lurch of the ship as it hit the reef yanked her from her deep slumber rather effectively, however.

Her hammock swung sharply and she was awakened to the feeling of falling. With a shriek she went tumbling across the cabin floor along with most of her things. Quills, sticks of graphite, paper, wax bars, bottles of ink -- they all rolled with her under the other hammock to the wall where they collected in a heap. Rune righted herself and looked around the cabin for her roommate, still blinking away the sleep.

The door had been knocked open and she began to hear shouting. Water ran across the floor in thick currents. Not good! Not good at all! She didn't need sailing experience to know that this was very bad.

Gathering her things and shoving them haphazardly into her satchel once more, Rune staggered to her bunk and pulled on a coat. Through the open door she heard the calls for everyone to move up to the deck. Before she could ask what was happening, the ship pitched again, struck by a wave, and she was thrown across the room once more.

At least her boots were there with her on the floor. She pulled them on, looped the satchel strap across her body, and stumbled to the door.

It was chaos. The crew was yelling about water in the lower decks while people were being pulled from their rooms and ushered upward. Water was running down the hall and the stairs leading up were a veritable waterfall. Chunks of wood and debris knocked against Rune's boots as she looked back at her things one last time. She had to leave it; what was in her satchel would have to be enough. Rune turned into the hall and began the trudge against seawater upwards into the night.
 

Nezu

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Nezu had been praying. Not that he had been up to much else over the past three weeks. Over and over, in the ancient words of the ancestors as well as in his own, he asked for an interpretation of the storm. And in return the familiar voices, only quiet. As though veiled. As though distant.

And now a crash. Toppling from his seat in the hold, where the thick patter of the rain had been muted enough to be soothing, Nezu leapt to his feet. Too still. The ship was no longer swaying. As the rest of the crew darted about around him, he reached out a pale hand and pressed it to the wood. He closed his eyes, feeling the motion of the vessel.

They were aground. Moreover, something had pierced part of the forward hull. Something sharp, but not stone...?

This was all too much. He found himself breathing shallowly, as one drowning. The Gods were quiet and the ship was amidst a fearsome, unending storm. Again he saw the flashes of lightning of the chaotic night now long past which had taken a precious life from him. And now aground, out in the middle of the unknown, he could see neither his own self nor the path ahead of him. He tensed his toes against the wooden floor and balled his hands into fists as his chest began to hurt under the strain of his emotion.

Mother Astra, guide me... his mind intoned; Father Aionus, protect me...

Father Tychan, make me calm. Father Nykios, make me brave.


In time, he was calm. He was brave. And, most importantly, he was needed. He would not be here otherwise.

Nezu joined a small mob of sailors rushing to the forward hold, grabbing a bucket in hand as he passed it, and set himself to task.
 

Abrielle Huxley

Lance of the Steel Legion
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Abrielle lay in her bunk, quietly reading a book, trying with all her might not to vomit. "Can't get any worse than this damn storm right?" she mused to herself.

CRUNCH!! The ship shuddered violently as it ground to a near stop. Abrielle flailed wildly as she was thrown out of her bunk, landing face first in the pool of water that was forming. "Just f&@%ing great... OF COURSE it could get worse!" she grumbled as she shakily stood up.

"Mel? Melani?" Abrielle called as she slung the strap of her short spear over her shoulder. Knowing Melani, she was probably already up top trying to heal every tiny scratch and bruise the others might have gotten. Abrielle rushed upwards through the decks. As she neared the main deck, she slipped and lost her balance on the wet stairs. Her outer coat caught on a broken piece of wood with a loud rip as she fell forward onto the deck. Clambering to her feet, she ripped it the rest of the way off revealing her mail hauberk.

Abrielle surveyed the situation. It was utter chaos. People with buckets ran up and down the stairs as the other passengers were ushered out of the lower decks. She quickly joined the group of sailors nearby guiding the other passengers to safety. Where the hell was Melani?

Melaniphi Syllis
 

Vulpesen

Ain't Dead Yet
Fae Courts
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"Damn this typhoon!" Vulpesen shouted to the wind as he gripped his rope, swinging around the mast and towards the sail. The warlock, while an experienced sailor, was being run ragged. An experienced rigger, he was one of the few of his trade still brave enough to take to the ropes above the deck. Now hellbent on keeping the main sail in once piece, he carried a sewing kit with him, deftly keeping the lines untangled from his transporation as he went from tear to tear.

He was soaked, tired, cold, and miserable. Already, he had shuffled some of his pain, whether it be bruised limbs or cramped fingers into his lord, Varos. The fox might not have been happy with his servant's seemingly flippant use of the bond, but all it took was a slight reminder that Vulpesen's body was not capable of safely falling fifty feet to the deck or the sea to get the fey to acquiesce.

A sudden crash on a reef sent the ship reeling and Vulpesen was yanked by the momentum, shouting in protest as he turned to hit the mast with his back. Thankfully, he had made the foresight to collect his things and keep them on his person when the storm got too bad. If he had to leave, he'd rather not go far for his more important effects. Unfortunately, that meant that his saving grace came at the price of a crunch in his bag. 'I really hope that was a quill.'

Extricating himself from the wood, Vulpesen searched the horizon for hope. As long of a shot as it was, he found it in a spattering of light in the distance as they storm finally started to break. "Finally... LAND HO! STRAIGHT AHEAD!"
 

Kthell

m̨̡͜e̢͘ò̵̴͢ẁ̢͟͜͡
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Stealing aboard a ship and keeping hidden was easy enough for a mouser, regardless of how many checks the sailors made prior to departure.

Though she had no need of their meat, the vermin below deck were an excellent treat. Mice, rats.. even roaches at times if they were especially plump. Fleas? Not an issue – they’d hop on and see no true flesh to bite. Noise? The thrumming of the water kept most annoyances from reaching her and the darkness and damp air was.. refreshing. And at night.. at night when most everyone was sleeping, save for a small number of sailors, she crept towards the top deck to gaze up at the stars. On some still nights, it could even look like the moon and stars were reflected on the waves.

This was a getaway. A vacation. She should’ve thought to slip away on a ship sooner.

That was her thought, at least, until they were run aground on a bed of reef. Luckily, she had been awake when the ship caught still, though she had been thrown from the stack of crates she had claimed as her resting spot. Yowling, she was flown into a sudden gush of rising water that left her sputtering and soaked through. Unpleasant.

Kthell bounded towards the stairs that led up from the hold and zoomed past scattering sailors and passengers. One, a burly sailor, attempted to scruff her. Perhaps he was trying to save her by tucking her into his shirt. Who knows, really.

“No,” she said flatly as she rocketed by. He stood there for a moment, confused, before thinking himself mad and continuing the evacuation.
 

Nico Valerus

The Lovable Rogue
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Suffice it to say, Nico was quite peeved with the sudden turn of events.

Mere moments ago, he was blissfully drifting off to sleep curled up within his bunk. The churning waves and cracking thunder of the storm they had been bravely sailing into for weeks now had hardly disturbed him, merely providing the calming soundtrack to which he slept.

With all the ferocity of a predator lunging after its prey, the ship suddenly lurched forth with a sickening crunch of snapping wood. Nico was tossed from his bunk, a sudden yelp quickly accompanying the sound of his body tumbling across the floor into a pile of nearby crates. A bottle from the night before landing on his head with a resounding thud, eliciting a disgruntled groan from the sailor. "Who the hell's steering this thing?"

Pulling himself up, Nico stumbled out of his room and immersed himself in the chaos that was the lower deck. People called out flooding below and urged others to bring themselves to the deck, awaking the heaviest of sleepers from their slumber.

He hastily put on his coat and followed directions, casting a vaguely confused glance at the cat that rushed between his feet before dismissing it as a stowaway.

As the elf penetrated the deck and stepped out into the stormy air, he saw the source of their troubles: the ship had crashed into a reef in the middle of the night.

As a particularly strong wave coated the top of the deck in saltwater, he was able to surmise that they probably wouldn't be doing much sailing anytime soon. Luckily, judging from the words of one of the riggers—What was his name again? Vulpie? Vulp? He supposed he'd learn it eventually.—there was land dead ahead.

Peering closer at the supposed land, he noticed lights among it. "Looks like civilization, too! Well, aren't we lucky?" He remarked, pushing past the crowd so he could see better.
 
Straline First Meeting

Nyaro

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The storm had passed through the night, the soft lights of Petakauata shining in the distance as the simple twine lanterns gave a sign of safety to those in need. Anchors were slowly pulled from the depths as the fishing vessels eased into the bay before a strange sight on the horizon was seen by numerous eyes. Chatter was abound as to what it could possibly be.

More strangers? They had only witnessed them once before from afar. Had seen their strange tools and clothing at distance. Their bare skin had been spoken of, with little fur about their beings to cover and protect them. They had come in search of something.

What they had sought was unknown to them, but there had been bounty on such strange ships before.

Filled with strange tools and something much stronger than bone. Ships had been built from old shells of the washed up things, the wood much sturdier and longer lasting than the simple ones they had built to sustain themselves.

And yet again the sea provided them with bounty as Nyaro held a paw up to his eyes to observe the scene. A soft rumble had the other Straline’s moving about. Their short bodies allowed them speed as some scampered to the end of the buoys to catch a better glimpse while others grumbled about approaching the reef out that way.

Nyaro silenced the grumbles with a scathing hiss, growling his order before crossing his paws and watching in silence as they approached with caution.

Several simple Straline fishing vessels, terribly small compared to what those strangers were likely used to if the shells were anything to tell by, approached the ship. Chirps and happy rumbles abound as those willing prepared themselves to go aboard in search of tools and oddities.

But sound and movement halted their steps, the sails snapping shut in an attempt to stop moving towards the vessels. The tall fur-less ones were there in their strange garments. A loud call came from Nyaro to the reef lodged ship, remembering they had a strange language that they spoke in.

Something he had studied under the long whisker of his flotilla, while the others had shown little interest in the outsiders, or their funny mouth noises. They had guessed mouths anyway. It seemed to be where the food went in.

The crew and everyone aboard could see what seemed like fishing vessels approaching, but having drawn near, they looked almost half the usual size, and manned by meter tall beings with short fur of many colors. All wide eyed and staring at the spectacle before them. The lot chirped and chattered as the one wearing a colorful cloth covering attempted to speak.

"Hoo-manes, stook-myaw?" Nyaro spoke as loud as he could, the whole gathering of Stralines watching intensely as their fishing leader spoke this strange dialect.
 

Ermengarde

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Was everyone on deck? What chaos, indeed, it was hard to discern if anyone had gone missing or not. Were the lowest compartments evacuated? One of the adventures accounted for three goats that came with the trip as safe and sound, if not slightly wet.
Another person was being dragged out of the ocean, no later another was swept into the sea and rescue had to resume.

Ermengarde turned to Vulpesen as he fell into the mast. Was he okay? Back on feet like it was nothing.
God knows what injuries lay undercover beneath one's skin, the initial crash might have dented in a rib or two for Ermegarde. Likely pain masked by the surge of adrenaline keeping everyone at action!
Offering word to both him and Nico Valerus , she shouted through the carfuffle: »Gods, beware of the shale and the reef. The waves would plaster the rocks red with us if anyone dared to enter! «
They'd need to man the row-boats, but ah, what was there? Folk in boats nearing the wreckage, but not one, many! Were they potentially saved?
An individual hollering out to them in a familiar tongue said enough to prove some form of benevolence, right?
»We are stuck! We need help! « She spoke slowly but loudly.


Bellow the decks as buckets were haphazardly passed between the state of full of water and full of air, some sailor shouted in a cry »This is futile, it's flooding to fast! We need to leave before we get stuck down here! «
And indeed it was so. Some further inspection, if anyone had the time to, proved just as much. A deep gash alongside the ship's hull seeped in water as quickly as a waterfall, but no effort was ever vain, even such when delaying crisis offered valuable seconds if not minutes to help people evacuate to safety.
Another sailer then confirmed, patting Nezu by the shoulder halfway on turning and retreating upstairs to the deck. »We've done all we could! «
 
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Nezu

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Nezu's grip tightened on the wooden bucket one last time, before casting it aside into the knee-deep water with a splash. Perhaps he had been hoping that the Gods would intervene at the last moment. But no; it appeared that their intention had indeed been to impale them on this coral reef after all.

Scowling, Nezu let his initiative take over. There was no doubt other work that would need him above deck. He was no passenger, a word his mind tinged with venom. He could not, would not rest yet.

His damp feet slapped against the steps as he ascended to the main deck, and immediately he took notice of the Captain. She would no doubt be at the centre of the most vital work, and that was where he as a member of the crew needed to be. Indeed, the forecastle mast appeared to have swung free of its bindings nearby and was tangled in its own rigging, pulling the ship's nasty angle further towards capsizing with its weight. Already a small group of sailors was assessing the damage, and Nezu hurried to join them. He wrapped a length of rope around his forearm and pulled it steady as larger crewmates wordlessly set about lifting the offending mast.

In the intervening moments while the task was set up, Nezu took a glance across the deck. Vulp and Nico he recognised immediately as two of the Star's more flamboyant hands, but he really hadn't spent much time familiarising himself with the others. He had spoken up when spoken to, of course, but at the end of the day being useful was much better than being sociable. He had even stopped trying to ingratiate himself further with the Captain, an important person to befriend on these extended voyages, after repeatedly being unable to capture the stowaway feline that had been prowling the lower decks like it owned the place earned him a degree of mockery.

He was brought forth from navel gazing by a shout from the site of the fallen mast, and with the timberous sound of crumbling wood the hefty pole was lifted free of the carnage of the upper deck by three sailors with arms like barrels. Nezu felt the rope around his own arm grow tight as he pulled to steady the lift of the mast, but a crunch above him told him that his weight was insufficient. The mast was swinging the wrong way as it pulled itself above the heads of the sailors, and in a moment his arm would likely be pulled free and taken with it. He gritted his teeth.
 

Melaniphi Syllis

Shield of The Steel Legion.
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“No no no!” Melaniphi cursed as her spell spluttered into nothing once again. The man clutching his leg. It had been crushed by barrels. It clicked back together slowly and painfully before failing all together leaving him with a fractured leg rather than a broken one but nothing more.

Her magic had been struggling to preform for a few days. The voice at the portal stone had told her why. The capstone had been broken. That was all she had needed to hear. Melaniphi had spent years knee deep in text. Older than her ancestors by centuries. There hadn’t been much.

She knew what was happening.

As much as an ant in a field knew what was happening when farmer tilled up their home. She knew not why, how, who, or when. But she knew that her home and her magic was in grave peril. Where was Abrielle? She kept looking. Only the injured had been with her when the first massive crash happened. She’d been thrown awake by the force sliding her from her desk in the infirmary. The captain had reached out to Maxine for aid and she had sent her two best.

At the time it had seemed like a simple expedition. The elf was practically bouncing to get there. Now that seemed like a big mistake. The infirmary was well below deck by the cargo hold as many of the injuries were sustained moving and loading it. She had thrown open the door to be greeted by a rush of water. There had only been two with her. With her magic failing she had needed to resort to other measures like splints and potions, poultices, and bandages. She had pulled one up before the water was at her waist. The other with the water to her neck. They couldn’t swim and she couldn’t carry them. She screamed for help but everyone had already left for the above decks. “I’m so..so sorry!” Was all she could yell to the men struggling to press their faces to the ceiling as she dove under and swam out of the room. Her lungs were burning for air as she broke the surface on one of the staircases leading below decks.

Gasping as one of the people at the end of the bucket lines pulled her out further. “Come now love. Ain’t no reason to drown just yet.” Melani nodded with a raspy cough before moving further up the stairs to above deck. “Sister!” She cried out glancing about for her.

Abrielle Huxley
 

Zara

Abtati nomad, rogue, & mystic
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As the ship rolled about the fringes of the storm, Zara clung to the railing of the sailing vessel. In the dimness of the storm, the Abtati was almost as green as the jade tattoos that coated her visible skin. It was plentiful too. The girl’s heavy desert robes had been soaked by the initial surge of the storm and the young elf had taken to wearing a baggy shirt commandeered from a cache of supply as well as some leather breeches. Everything else had been stowed below save for one of her curved daggers. Zara had taken to hanging it at her waist in an effort to appear more like the other seafarers.

In truth, she had no idea what she was doing. The endless rolling of the ship had her regretting her decision to sail for adventure beyond the sands of her home. This was at the forefront of her mind as the Abtati wretched over the side yet again. This time it was in conjunction with a jarring shudder that shook the ship.

Zara clung at the wet railing as she lurched forward with the crash. It was in vain. She tumbled head first over the side into the crashing waves below, drawn back into the swell of the sea.

Zara’s chest was filled with saltwater as she inhaled deeply once her stomach’s projections had ceased. The supple elf clawed at the water frantically trying to reach the surface. Her lungs felt like they were on fire. After what felt like forever, but had only been mere moments, the girl’s head burst through into the air. She gasped deeply before being plunged beneath again by another wave.

Again and again, the cycle repeated itself with the young sand elf only able to gulp down enough air to fight for her next breath. Ample amounts of seawater was also consumed. This continued until, by fate, luck, or some miraculous doing, members of the crew were able to snag her with a cast line and drag her aboard.

Falling to the deck, Zara’s arms shook as she coughed and hacked. Her thick black hair hung in strands shrouding her face as she wretched seawater and bile onto the already sea-soaked deck. Her arms shook beneath her before she fell to the deck exhausted. At least they were not tossing back and forth anymore.
 

Abrielle Huxley

Lance of the Steel Legion
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"Sister!" The sound of a familiar voice nearby caused Abrielle to abruptly turn around. She looked around the deck frantically trying to pinpoint the location of the voice. There she was!

"Mel!" Abrielle shouted as she ran towards the kneeling figure. She kneeled down in front of Melani, and gently took hold of her face looking her over. "Are you alright sister?" Abrielle asked anxiously. "What happened? I was really starting to worry when you hadn't returned from the infirmary. Then we crashed and I didn't know where you were and I was so scared. And-" Tears rolled down her face from a mixture of fear, relief, and worry. Though she would never openly admit to crying, there was nothing she could do to stop the tears.

Abrielle hugged Melani tightly as the tears subsided. "S-Sorry sister." she said wiping her eyes. "I'm so glad you're safe!" She gently hoisted Melani to her feet.

"What are you looking at?!" she snapped at a deckhand who was staring at them. He quickly scuttled off. Great... Now people were going to think that she was a crybaby.
 
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Vulpesen

Ain't Dead Yet
Fae Courts
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Panting with exertion, Vulpesen blinked past the rain that had colected on his brow, looking down at the fluffy aid that came to them from the shore. 'Finally a break. Maybe we won't die here after all.' It was then that he heard the creak, a low shuddering sound that sent chills through his bones. "Riggers off the mainmast!" Leaping from the spar as it started to fall, Vulpesen snagged a rope from the mizzenmast near the rear of the ship, quickly leaving his dangerous perch with whatever other riggers were quick on their feet.

As he glided through the air, Vulpesen looked down back at the crew. There were a few who had taken some damage from the sail, but for the most part, most seemed just fine. However, upon further inspection, there was something that seemed off to him. "They're all hale and hearty.. yet... THE INFIRMIRY!" An eye to the hatch and he spotted two girls, one of which had just risen from it, a bit haggard though otherwise safe. He'd seen her before, doing her best to heal the scrapes, bumps and bruises caused by the sea with the use of magic. Unfortunately, he was also fairly certain that she wasn't able to pull anyone out in such adverse condition.

"You there! Take these below! Get a bowline around them if you can. If you can't have, them hold on tight!" As he shouted, Vulpesen grabbed several coils of ropes and hurled them through the air. Each line unfurled in flight before landing with a whap before the lasses. "Riggers I need five men to me!" Even as he spoke, the elf jumped to the mast and started to climb up. Those with a keen eye would notice that he never quite found a purchase on the beam. He simply seemed to stick to the mast as he climbed up, looking like a dark clad gecko while he rose.

Abrielle Huxley Melaniphi Syllis
 

Kthell

m̨̡͜e̢͘ò̵̴͢ẁ̢͟͜͡
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Kthell continued to dive through scrambling legs and frantic sailors and passengers as she made her way to the top deck. And then she arrived, soaked through with enough salt water to where her whiskers drooped. Awful. Never again. All those thoughts about a vacation? No.

Her ears perked as someone, a woman with mousy hair, called off-ship to someone or something that was approaching their doomed vessel. The cat began to climb the nearest perch – a set of stairs – to nab a look at their potential rescuers before her head swiveled at the sound of cracking wood. Her gaze settled on Nezu and his unfortunate position. The rope around his arm, the pain on the face.

Oh, that face. He’d thought to capture her throughout the voyage on multiple occasions and she’d always melted into the shadows before he arrived to a trap she’d tripped intentionally. He’d given up at some point and left her be. Honestly, she had enjoyed the game they had played.

At the sight of his discomfort, Kthell vaulted from her short roost and speed towards him. There was a pulse of magic as she approached and sprung into the air, runes flashing along her body as they fought to keep her contained. Only a small bit was needed – this was not a show of strength.

Her jaws grew unnervingly large for just a moment as she reached the taut line beyond his hand. A few inches from his fingers – cruelly close – Kthell snapped through the rope and continued her momentum forward, freeing Nezu and falling gracefully. Once she hit the water covered ground... she kept going, yowling as she slid into coiled rope and debris.
 

Belrune Brighthand

The Small Scholar
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If it had been chaos below, Rune didn't quite have a word for what was unfolding on deck. She had read books extensively to prepare for this momentous journey across the sea. As she reached for something steady to anchor her against another crashing wave, she realized just how far in over her head she was. She wasn't a sailor! She was a linguist -- a scholar! She couldn't help the people in the water or those trapped below deck! She barely even knew how to swim! Her brother was going to kill her if the sea didn't.

A distant cry stuck out against the others. Rune looked around for its owner. There had been little else to do on their journey but to memorize every face and name. Rune had eagerly introduced herself to anyone who would give her the time of day.

Yet it had been none of them. The captain answered and, in spite of every instinct telling her not to, the halfling-sized dwarf hustled over to the railing to follow the line of her sight. Accustomed to the darkness, her eyes saw clearly through the night at the approaching vessel.

A vessel! Rune gasped and raised her hand to wave and call out to the strange newcomers. Cat-like people. How strange! They were coming to help! And was that a village beyond them?

If she had been paying better attention, Rune would have seen the wave coming. As it were, it slung over the deck and pulled at her legs. Her foot lost traction and she slid against the railing with a high pitched squeal of fear. Over she went, right into the sea between the ship and the smaller flotilla approaching. She returned to the surface doggy paddling and gasping for air.

"H-help!" she called into the dark night.
 

Nyaro

Gobnyan
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Nyaro listened intently, the energy of their words concerning as the being motioned to those gathered around them. Waves rocked the small fishing craft, seemingly unhindered by the presence of these crashing waves as the stralines wiggled and rode the waves around them.

No sound was made, at least audible to a typical human, over the sounds happening on and around the ship as furry bodies moved with alacrity about the small fishing vessels. A handful of vessels gathered near to the reef stuck behemoth, easily gliding over the surface of the water in their pontoon style vessels.

At the rear of the group, the rumbles of their speech were clear as day to the other Straline, their tasks set about with ease having dealt with a number of fishing accidents and spending far too long on the sea to not have a system in place. A torch, paired with a shiny pair of large shells, was produced and aimed towards the shore as a set of signals were made.

Stralines gathered their lashed harpoon gear, woven rope plopped aside their single masts as they aimed and let loose with alarming accuracy into the side of the vessel near the railing. The solid thunk of salvaged whaling spears finding purchase in the hull of the hoo-manes large canoe.

Nyaro was watching this unfold, directing the rescue as he saw a small head peer over the railing. Not an uncommon sight aboard the straline ships to see a kit aboard a ship to learn the ways of sailing. The oil covered hairs across his body stood on end he watched the kit slip and fall overboard.

A loud agitated cackling sound was made by Nyaro, a rope quickly produced and tied around him as he watched with intent where the kit had fallen. Two large Straline stood on either side as they grabbed him in unison, before lifting him over their heads and launching him like a large fur covered harpoon in the direction of the kit(Belrune Brighthand).

Ears turned back and chin tucked, Nyaro barely made a splash or sound as he dipped into the water. The webbing between his fingers and toes aiding him as his momentum faltered against the current below. He paddled hard, the rope behind him slipping into the water with speed as he closed the distance between himself and the kit.

The Stralines aboard the boats pulled taught the rope lines attached to the hoo-manes canoe, all the while a series of ropes appearing with speed between the gathered fishing vessels and acting as a mooring while offering a walkway to those able. The Stralines flitted back and forth with ease across the mooring lines, moving their gear to the tail vessel to make room for the hoo-manes.

Nyaro finally made the trip to the kit, not taking the details of their features in at the moment as he bobbed to the surface and wrapped himself around them. Claws sank into wool and linen, ignoring the sounds of distress as instinct kicked in.

A method of training their own kits had come about from similar incidents, and the lesson was practiced until the Straline passed on to the ancestors in peaceful slumber.

He did not scold her, nor did he release her as he took a deep breath and rolled them both until he was underwater and she on her back. A rumble passed through the water, the pair of Straline that had thrown him feeling the signal more than hearing it as they pulled woven rope paw over paw between them.

Nyaro kept her face up, claws extending into her clothes further as clear signs of wrong doing she struggled for a moment. The fear of the sea was healthy in this one, but fear and respect were two different things, and respecting it allowed one to survive it. The lesson was short lived as the pair brought Nyaro and the kit to the outrigger, pulling the kit up with a surprised tilt of the head before pulling Nyaro out of the water.

The others had done their job, a strong pair of lines between their small vessel and the hoo-mane canoe. Not bothering to shake, Nyaro moved to the line and called for them.

"HOO-MANES! PAH OVA PAH! CLIMB! WE HOLP!" Nyaro tried to remember the basics of the strange language the hoo-manes spoke. Even the Long Whisker had been perplexed by their speech, taking many chances from the past visitors and cast aways to learn of it as best able.

Ermengarde Nezu Melaniphi Syllis Zara Abrielle Huxley Vulpesen Kthell Nico Valerus
 

Nezu

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Nezu slipped backwards on the deck and crashed to the floor as the rope was cut at his fingertips. A moment later, the foremast slammed into the side of the vessel and slipped with a crash into the water, rocking the ship with a lurch. There was a splash and a yell as someone fell over the side. He turned to see who it was, but they had already disappeared from sight.

His arm ached, red lines cutting snake-like across his pale skin. But he was intact. He looked over at the midnight-black feline that had saved his hide, almost eye-level here on the deck. He recognised Kthell immediately. Despite their desperate situation, he couldn't help but smirk. To think, had he succeeded in capturing the creature earlier in their journey he likely would have lost an arm just now. The Gods at work, no doubt. He couldn't help but be gladdened by the irony of it, by the continued presence of the mysterious when his Gods felt so far away.

"Thanks," he said, slightly breathless. "I owe you one."

It felt right to express gratitude, even to an animal. The way she was watching him, eyes keen like an oiled blade, gave her an eerie sense of awareness and intelligence. Almost as if she understood the weight of what she had done, and would respond to him.

But that wouldn't happen, of course. Cats could not talk.

Someone was calling out from the side of the ship, and the rhythmic thud of hooks cutting into the hull of the Southern Star told him that their rescuers were coming aboard. He looked over his shoulder to take in their salvation, and brushed wet hair from his face to better see the foreign seafarers.
 

Melaniphi Syllis

Shield of The Steel Legion.
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“Enough of that now sister.” Melaniphi said. Enjoying her face in her hands but now was not the time for mush. Now was a time of action.

“I can tell you what happened when we are not in deathly peril.” She said standing and glancing about as it seemed some were in the process of leaving and others were beginning to help these new rescuers that seemed to be here to offer help and rescue. It was then her keen eyes saw someone struggling on the deck.

Vomiting bile and seawater to the deck before collapsing. Clearly not moving. Melani was not leaving anyone more than she had to. Her guilty mind going to those sailors in the infirmary.

No one else.

No one else.

She kept repeating in her mind as she ran to the fallen person. “Come on get up now. We’re leaving it looks like..” Melani said grabbing the person and pulling them up from the ground. Throwing their arm over her shoulder and placing her own on hers allowing them to lean on her if needed.

“Abrielle! Help me with her please!” Melani called out as the sound of hooks thudding into wood treated her ears. It seemed it was time to meet their rescuers.

The excitement she would be feeling was muted by the danger of the moment but she still felt a slight pull in her gut at the idea of how they might speak or what they might look like.

Abrielle Huxley, Zara
 
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Evacuation begins

Ermengarde

Duellist
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These sees were uncharted and unknown. While the Southern Star was built to perfection, it was no match for shallow reefs of which no map could warn them of.
Yet the Starline ships, not big, deep or grand, were gently flowing above any source of such danger.
Every environment had its perfect vessel indeed.

Yet all she could think of was gratitude towards them as harpoons embedded themselves at the side of the vessel.
Such an opportunity must not be missed! Any harpoon embedded not deeply enough, she went to secure so no accident would occur. »YOU HEARD HIM, GET DOWN AND OFF THE SHIP, « she shouted at all on board, hopefully, her voice rang from the top of the rigging to the deck.

»Another man overboard, « a sailor hollered as she hurried for some rope as Belrune plummeted into the dark sea. Any minute more spent on this doomed vessel, with the foremast downed and tipping the vessel further aside, was likely to cause more harm and human loss.
Everyone had to evacuate now.
 

Zara

Abtati nomad, rogue, & mystic
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She did not know how long she had laid there. Truth be told, Zara did not care. Her mind was blank as she lay on the deck, her chest heaving. She heard the hustle and bustle about her without it registering. She felt the tramp of boots across the deck as crewmen and passengers scurried about. It did not matter. She was out of the sea. Even if she was not on dry land, the ship was better than the raging maw of the endless waters that surged and sought to swallow her.

Quite suddenly, Zara felt herself being gently hefted upwards. She dod not resist. Normally she would have. Such an action was unbecoming someone of her status. She did not care. The sand elf did not have the strength. Staring through half-lidded eyes at the elf who was supporting her weight, Zara tried to offer a half-smile as the woman commented something about needing to leave.

Some sort of elf to be sure.

Zara wondered who these strangers were. She vaguely recognized them as fellow sojourners on this journey; but she had been too excited at the prospect of sailing away from shore and then too sick to have gotten to know them very well.

“Thank you,” she whispered as she gritted her teeth and took several steps, leaning heavily on her newfound companion as they made their way to the rail of the listing vessel. What she saw, gave the young Abtati pause; a small flotilla of vessels and more importantly, “LAND!” she gasped excitedly, her arm wrapped about Melaniphi clenching in a hug of excitement. Maybe the worst was about to be behind them. Anything had to be better than this cursed boat. The jade-colored runic tattoos across her bronzed skin glowed faintly with the surge of her excitement. Using her free hand, Zara pushed her sopping hair out of her face and leaned against the railing, her eyes now wide as she took in the scene before her.

The elf’s knees shook beneath her as she clung to Melaniphi. The urge to help was strong, but Zara’s body weak. The few times she had tried to utilize the cantrip magics she was familiar with, they had been less than stellar. She had attributed it to the cool sea air, but wondered if it had been something else entirely. Back home, Zara would have had no issue springing almost weightlessly from such a height down to the nearing vessels. Now, in her current state, she did not dare try. She really did not want to go back into the water.

As the craft neared, Zara tentatively let go of her savior’s neck, leaning against the rail gingerly. “You are a lifesaver. Lets make sure we all get out of here in one piece. No more swimming.” Grabbing ahold of a dangling line out over the water that clung to something above, she smiled weakly but warmly and offered it to Abrielle and Melaniphi so they could swing out and down to the nearest craft. “I’ll follow you down.” she added, fully intent on scrambling down as soon as she could.

Abrielle Huxley
Melaniphi Syllis
 

Kthell

m̨̡͜e̢͘ò̵̴͢ẁ̢͟͜͡
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Kthell recovered from her less than elegant slide into the debris and ropes quickly enough. She shook her head, ears flapping and sending out sea water, before turning to gauge the man.. boy? Young man. His condition, whatever he was. She had heard the thunderous crack as the foremast had fell off to the side of the ship, but her gaze had been inches deep in a bundle of ropes.

Nezu seemed well as he smirked at her, offered his thanks, and looked away. “You do indeed, child,” the cat chimed. Her lips pulled back into a fanged, almost wolfish grin as her tail whipped behind her. A lingering piece of rope fell from its tip. “Now - it sounds like our rescuers are ready from that shouting. Be helpful and carry me.”

With that, she slinked towards him and weaved between his ankles invitingly. “I’m a fan of riding around shoulders, though I’ll cope with anything above the water.”
 
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Belrune Brighthand

The Small Scholar
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She felt the cold bite of the sea, harsh and unforgiving as she struggled to paddle to the surface. It burned her eyes. Her wool and linen clothes weighed her down and her little limbs were unfamiliar with the motions. For once, she wasn’t thinking of her brother’s scolding voice -- of their father’s reprimand for her misbehavior. For the first time in all of her adventures, she was truly afraid.

To make matters worse, something in the water grabbed her. Her mouth filled up with salt water as she tried to squeal as two arms wrapped around her. Instead of being drug under, however, she felt herself flipped onto her back, her face breaching so she could gasp for air. Hacking up seawater, her panicked hands patted her chest and felt… paws?

Rune couldn’t see who was holding her as they were pulled through the water, but as she calmed down she thought she knew. She got a close look at their rescuers firsthand as they hoisted her and her savior onto the boat.

Cat folk. Not much bigger than herself! Dripping like… well, like a wet cat, Rune lingered a moment on her hands and knees to get her bearings before making to shakily stand.

“Th-thank you,” she said quietly. Her eyes scanned the group, who were all making ready around the ropes of another small boat. Their vessels bobbed and rocked more than the big ship’s slow rhythm. Rune staggered a little trying to keep her footing as it rode atop the wave. Looking back at the ship, she saw the long, thick lines now mooring the vessels together, the people on both ends making ready for their passengers and crew to come over.

She had a hundred questions. None of them she asked now. Rune nearly stumbled again and smartly decided to sit down, well out of the way but now hyper aware of how close she was to the edge. The dwarf planted herself rather firmly to tremble and hold the strap of her bag.
 

Nezu

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He looked back at the feminine voice, peering around. All he saw was the feline, slinking around the deck and eyeing him with its bright eyes.

"Did you hear...?" he began, but then shook his head. If he was hearing voices it was one thing, but to speak to a cat as though it would help him understand anything at all was to confirm his madness.

"Nevermind," he added to the cat before he could catch himself.

Still, the voice had made a good point. It was time to leave the Southern Star, his home for many months, which now rocked unsteadily on its rocky grave as the water rose from within it. The deck was sodden through and Kthell was making her displeasure at the rising damp known with her expression. He would need to make his escape now, and to leave the poor creature to drown was not something he would allow himself to fathom.

"Come on, then," he said. "Up we go."

Nezu had never picked up a cat before, but it looked easy enough. This time, at least, she was not giving him a runaround. He scooped one hand under her belly and another round to her side, letting her legs dangle as he lifted her from the deck. She quickly corrected his technique by tugging out of his grip and onto his shoulders, which felt ungainly until he realised that she was more than capable of correcting her own balance.

"Suit yourself," he said.

The crew around him made their way swiftly to the lines leading down to smaller boats in the waves around the Star. As Nezu approached, he saw each one hop the wall to the rope, then pause, staring down at their rescuers with wide eyes. Whoever they were, they drew bemused and wondrous expressions from the crew of the ship, who slowly made their way down to rescue.

Nezu was next, and with Kthell about his shoulders he took his time slinking down the rope to one of the little vessels. He couldn't turn around, the angle of his head locked in place unless he wanted a face full of fur, so the first time he saw the newcomers for who they were was when he had placed his soft soles into the little boat and turned around to face them. He then had to look down.

"Oh," he said as he slowly took a seat in the boat beside a bedraggled dwarf. He was quiet for a long moment, watching the cat-people as they deftly made to depart. They had known there would be things alien and unknowable on the new land, but this...

He smirked, eyeing Kthell on his shoulders. "Friends of yours?"
 

Nyaro

Gobnyan
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The Straline's worked with energy, all active and moving as they prepared the ropes between the ships with lattice style rope work. A pair of straline's running the length of rope with alarming ease mooring the ships together. The kit had hair on their face, but spoke with a soft voice.

Something that Nyaro would have to speak on later. Especially the way the kit had tried to drown itself. He spared the thought, his short fur glistening as water ran off and onto the deck. A deep rumble could be felt in the wood beneath the visitors feet as the seeming leader of the pack spoke without opening their mouth.

The hoo-manes were shuttled across the makeshift rope bridges, a Straline guiding some while others managed on their own. On the horizon, dots began to form before becoming more defined as oars rose in the air before striking the water with a fevered pace from larger ships than what was saving them made for their direction.

"HOO-MANES! NYE-OW! PAH OVA PAH! NO DROP!" Nyaro continued to encourage the strangers, Straline's scrambling with fresh, albeit tiny blankets to attempt to cover their guests. They were awestruck, eyes wide and pupils obscenely large. They did not shy away from the hoo-manes, even touching their clothing and faces if permitted.