Hellifyno, Midday, Saturday 16th of February - 2013
The waters south east of the northern continent were deceivingly harsh, more turbulent the closer the sleek sloop ship carrying Victor, Jolene and the carefully selected army drew to the string of islands that separated the northern continent from the South and East. The first island the sloop would arrive upon had no true title, the collection of small self sufficient towns, mostly isolated from the rest of the world named only as the state of Banharrow. This was also the name of the only walled city, a great fortress and seat of power held by Lord Aeden of the Spire. It was on this island that Victor hoped to find recruits for the defense of Consequence. The city needed more firepower.
The first port town of theclosestisland was less metropolis and more industrial revolution. Steam powered machinery seemed to be popular. Jolene wasn't too sure how to take it all in. So she didn't. Going with the flow was the best option. Most of the buildings were made of brick or stone and looked like they'd been through Hell. Anything else was wood or rusted metal that had obviously taken a beating from something recently.
On the actual boat, Jo hada hard time keeping her balance. This would be her first time on a boat and it wasn't going well. Sea legs? More like sea weed. She had to keep a tight grip on whatever railing she could find to stand or walk around. But any crew member who laughed or looked at her funny would get a cold glare that promised revenge.
Victor stood at the prow of the ship as it dipped, the sloop tossed through the chopping waves that slapped at its wooden sides. He was used to the cold spray that splashed back at him, soaking his cuirass and cloak. Gripping tightly to the rigging above his head, his boots slid on the slimey boards beneath his feet, but he did not fall. Instead he stretched closer to the edge so he could squint out at the dull clouds before him, the drizzling rain and boring looking industrial portthey were nearing. It had seen better days...
At a closer look, the dirty buildings could be seen with chimneys stacked high and spewing smoke. Added onto that wasthedank feeling in the air around empty lots filled with little rubble. Any residents obviously liked to clean up after whoever made a mess around town, but they couldn't completely hide the signs of damage. Soot stains from flames and possible cannon fire. Rooves patched up with different materials like sloppy quilt work of a blind lady. There was nothing homey or inviting about the small town. It would almost seem abandoned if it weren't for the few haggard looking citizens briskly walking the noticeable streets. Not to mention the other fishing boats, both sailing and docked. Some weren't too pretty. Others looked worse than battered, and not just by the natural wear and tear of the unmerciful sea.
"Bloody islanders..." Muttered the man behind Victor, who looked curiously similar, though there was no blood connection. They could quite possibly pass as brothers, dark and grim with long hair and scruffy beards. Both men looked like they'd been born and raised on battlefields. "If they'd reach out a bit more, everything wouldn't be so damn gloomy."
Yurick wasn't an official or a Disciple like Victor and Jolene. He was a sellsword, a noble one if there was ever such thing. He had answered Victor's call to arms all the way from Sagoria, a world where once upon a time they had fought side by side.
He didn't say anything, Victor just stared out at the lonely port town of Harbor. So solitary and run down. This had once been a thriving port, small but strong. It wasn't getting a better view of this gloomy place that Victor wanted from where he stood... There was something about standing alone at the prow that he loved. With his face caught by the spray and foam, hair whipped into a wet frenzy by the wind. The smell of salt and damp wood.
Jolene, wobbling her way across the deck, made it to Victor and Yurick just as the sellsword fella muttered his words, "Et ain't like we was in much better shape juss recently. Plainview kinda made et difficult for any thang ta not be gloomy."
"And look where that got him..." Yurick muttered. He too clutched the rigging tightly, turning away from the glum town so that hard grey eyes could take Jolene in, size her up. This was the girl Victor had spoken to him about. Well she was hardly a girl, she looked tough and capable, though her accent grated at his nerves some times.
There was an intimidating air to Yurick, a bold presence though he was neither tall nor seemed that particularly bulky. He was lean, body, armor and its capabilities well hidden by a long cloak that fluttered in the sea winds behind him. His eyes, one scarred badly but luckily not blinded appeared as dull steel, steel that flashed and was the true source of his intimidation factor.
An intimidation factor that made it hard for Jo to actually lookYurickin the eyes for very long. Good thing the sea and this new port town gave enough for her to stare at while they slowly sailed up, "More 'n six feet under. Yeah. Victor...we're stoppin' here first? Don't look like much folk be livin' 'round."
Victor said nothing for a while, still staring out before him as the port grew ever closer. He addressed the crew before he answered Jolene, barking over his shoulder. "Pull her to! Drop Anchor!"
Repeated versions of the command rippled along the rocking vessel as it cut the waves, the billowing sails sagging and beginning to lower, the roaring motor at the stern dying, its sound in life drowned by the fierce winds and lapping of sea water against the ship.
"There may not be many people here, but if I was one of them... I'd want away from this place. A chance to join the defense of the planets capital city will do that." Victor finally answered, voice loud against the clap of the waves.
"Aye. That I can agree with!" Yurick chuckled, rather fond of taverns, wine and wenches. It seemed there'd be little of that here.
"Recruitin' in tha ghost town...shore. Great idea, fellers." Jolene wasn't too fond of the place either, but something in her gut was telling her this was a slightly bad idea. Maybe because it seemed like nobody was around. Or perhaps something else...But Yurick's chuckle rubbed her the wrong way and only made her more irritable. Grumbling about men and war and recruiting more idiots, the cowgirl pushed her hat down more tightly and started shuffling along the railing to get a different angle on the view of the town.
As the sloop slowed to an eventual halt in the choppy waters just off from Harbor, the view before them did not change, nor did it on either side. All was still dull, no visible dock, with a handful of boats and ships anchored further out or dragged up onto the stone beach. Surrounded by floating debris and discarded barrels and cargo, some boats moved in the shallows and deeper, sails rippling, though most of the vessels chugged via motor, steam spewing into the sky as they trawled with their nets.
"We'll have to lower a longboat, row out to shore. Yurick see it done, and summon ten of the best." Victor ordered, without having to turn to look at his friend. They were both soldiers, and soldiers knew how to take orders.
As Yurick nodded and slipped away to prepare the longboat, Victor stepped closer to Jolene, following her along the rail. His footing was far more confident than her own, but he'd sailed ships years ago, many a time and for long periods too. A pirate never lost his sea legs. "The walking gets easy soon enough... You are against stopping here?"
"No. Please. I need to get off this thing." Jo didn't look like shewasgoing to be sick,but she'd really rather be on land where she couldrope a bull or ride a horse.
On cue, Yurick shouted from the other side of the sloop. "Longboat's ready!"
"Longboar's ready..." Victor repeated to Jolene, with a rare and slow rising smile. It almost looked teasing, but that was soon masked by the usual face of stone.
But she saw the smilealright. With a gruff snort,Joleneturned and made her way to the other side of the ship where Yurick and the longboat was."Yeah yeah. Whutever happened ta planes an' trains?" She continued to grumble about the ocean and stupid boats as she stepped into the lofted longboat, waiting for anyone else to load up before they would be lowered down. She was so ready to get this over with.
Ten of the most fearsome and hardened soldiers that Yurick had managed to muster checked their weapons as they followed Jolene, climbing in and settling on the benches in the small vessel around her. Yurick dropped in next, while Victor and another sailor began passing down oars to the others. When the oars had been distributed and Victor had clambered into the boat, the companion on the deck above began to lower them, down towards the violent water. It was going to be a hard row to shore.
Jolene decided to let the men row. One: they'd get there faster. Two: she didn't know how.
Rowthe men did, Victor, Yurick and all, with Victor roaring out above the screeching of the wind, "Right, row you curs! Put your backs into it!"