The Whale King
The Whale King
A Pirate Carrack
The flagship of The Dread Pirate Blackwing is a huge and hoary vessel. Captured from its former cruel master by the rival pirates Blackwing and Risque, the old battlewagon sports patched damage from years of seaborne warfare as well as the mundane dangers of the main; storms, sea monsters, angry gods, and the like. The ship is a huge four-masted carrack and towers over smaller vessels. It displaces nearly four hundred tons and is usually crewed by a compliment of at least fifty sea rogues.
The ship's company fluctuates with the fortunes of her master, and she is typically short-handed. Blackwing has a loyal corps of pirates, ex-slaves, and mercenaries that can sail the ship as a skeleton crew, but she often lacks the extra hands necessary to keep The Whale King a true fighting ship.
The Whale King sports an area of the deck clear of ropes and rigging for the Aeros Pirate's takeoffs and landings.
Her colors are a red flag with a prominent black-winged skull, though they are usually only flown when she is in pursuit of a victim.
The Crew of the Whale King
As the longboat approached her mother shop, the Third Mate shouted a hail. "Ahoy! Rig the block! We've water, grog, an supplies ta bring aboard!" The sailors skillfully rowed the small boat next to the larger ship and kept her there until ropes were thrown down.
From where he sat, still crouched behind the robust, yet salt rusted shield, Pioloss gazed in wonder up at the ship in front of them.
Being a life long "lubber" of land the only ships he had ever seen before had been the small fishing vessels bobbing along with the tide where they sat at various docks. But the monster before him now could have swallowed any one of those ships whole and still had room to spare!
As a heavy rope came close to knocking him out cold where it swung too close to his head, Pioloss wondered if he had made the right choice in coming here. But strangely enough rather than any sort of trepidation he felt only excitement as he waited his turn to pull himself up towards the unknown.
Crew of The Whale King
It was busy, often chaotic work getting a rig the size of the Whale King underway, and this time was not different. While the Mayor and the archers on the beach were truly no threat, their presence still served to put a little extra pep in the steps of the Whale King's crew. As Pioloss was pulled up onto the deck, an older pirate with an eye patch and who otherwise had very obviously poor eyesight, peered into his face. The shadows which fell across the Dhampir's pale face served to cloak him in anonymity more than any glamour or disguises might have. The old salt squinted, his mouth screwing up into an expression of distaste.
"Oi, is that yew, No Knees?" He poked Pioloss in the chest. "Eh, Lynley, I be talkin' to you!" The old pirate, one Dexter "Bird Eye" Godwin, raised his voice a bit, before another pirate, this one a burly sea dog, slapped him on the back.
"Eh, leave th'new lubber alone, Bird Eye, an' put 'im to work, instead." He gave no more than a passing glance to Pioloss before shoving a length of rope at him. "Ere, go an' help the other lads w'the riggin' of the jib sheets." He gestured vaguely towards the bow of the ship.
TOM-CAT: A Stab in the Dark - Pounce!(1/2) - Teleskela - ☆Kiana Beach Battle(1/2/3) - My Prey - Botched Massacre(1/2) - ☆Try Again - ★Powder Keg - ★Soft,soft - ★Stupid Little Tom-Cat - ★Miiya & Cat-Tom - Sparring(1/2) - ★Kidney Punch - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - ☆Stolen Kiss - ☆Overwhelmed by Intimacy - Returning to Her - ★Bath Time Bonding - ☆Wings, Tails, & Love - ☆Cave Storms - Climbing the Walls - ★1st Kiss - ★Makeouts & Memories - ★Laughter & Kisses - Eros & Hormones - ★Cat-Tom: Rescue Kitty! - Cat-Tom vs. Skaven - ☆(Forced) Shift Back - 9-1 Lives - ★A Beast in the Darkness - ☆Bored Nihilism - Cat vs. Dragon - ★Emotionally Exhausted Bath - ☆Catboy, Interrupted - All For Her - ☆Bellissimo Gato
DAETH: ☆Breaking Callon - ☆Pleasure w/Pain - ★Sensing Death - ★Kissing Fate(1/2) - Precariously Balanced Nature - ★At Long Last, Eddellyn - Soul Searching - ☆Into the Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - ★Heart of the Maze - Before the Storm - ★Thunder & Honey - ★Ripped Gowns - ★Sensual Poetry - Warding Sigils - ★Hedonistic Filth & House-Sized Party Crasher - Confronting Maarazaar(1/2/3) - ★Ash Bunny Irihi
RISQUÉ: ★Fun with Fisticuffs!
[Chatte] ★Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor - ★Proposing the Race
[ ☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]
A rather diminutive Aeros woman stalked over to the rail of The Whale King. She was the same as who had been in the tavern on the previous night, though she might be difficult to recognize by her much flashier garb. She sported a red jacket with brass buttons and gold piping, volmuous breeches gathered into heeled knee-high boots, and a broad-brimmed tricorn hat with three huge black feathers stuck in the cap band. A ivory-handled rapier hung at her side. "Welcome back, Mister Bigelow. How duz this fine morn' find ye?"
The crew of the privateer rolled rope webbing over the side to allow the men in the longboat to climb aboard.
While Blackwing received Bigelow's report, she espeyed two newcomers swarming aboard.
"Hold!" Captain Blackwing called to the sailors helping secure the longboat and her crew. "Yew I knows!" She pointed to Rigel and waved him aside. "But who be this lubber?" She drew her rapier and pointed to Pioloss. "Speak! Which one o' ye vouchsafe fer him?"
The crew had standing orders to recruit more to their number, and a healthy bonus was paid to any who brought more able hands aboard. At the same time, they were on the hook with the captain for the behavior of their recruit. Of course, every one of the shore team had assumed the others had brought Pioloss along. As such, no one dared claim an unknown like him, reward or no.
"None o' ye?!" Blackwing put a hand to her forehead. "Ye had a stowaway on a ten soul duffy, an ye dint know et?!" She screeched at her third mate, who looked exceeding uncomfortable and tried muttering some excuse about shoving off under fire.
Blackwing shed her coat exposing sixteen feet of her namesake sable feathered wings, each capped by another four of gnomish clockworks that clicked and whirred menacingly. The feathers of the clockwork replacements looked sharp as razors, and flexed with every movement of the pirate captain.
Click. Click. Click.
The piratess stalked past the Third mate, her gears and knives flexing close to his face.
Bigelow gulped as she passed. He had seen this before, one pivot and those razored tips would see his head separated from his shoulders faster than he could blink.
The piratess continued on past Old Godwin. When she turned her head suddenly toward them, Birdeye and Fairweather Pete, the one who'd pressed the rope into Pioloss's hands, flinched in fear, and not of the rapier she still held loosely in one hand.
The captain stopped before the newcomer, her head twitching in a manner reminiscent of an owl as she peered under Pioloss's cowl, first with one eye, and then the other. Her twitchy movements and pinpoint-pupiled gaze would be extremely disconcerting to most, for she seemed to be staring at something within, or perhaps behind, the hooded man, as if she were reading a bit of ghostly script floating about him that only she could see. "Why seeks ye the Privateer Blackwing? Be ye lukin ta join me crew?"
As it turned out, a preternaturally enhanced sense of smell was not always a good thing. At least in so far as Pioloss’s admittedly limited experience had led him to believe anyway. And as several grizzled looking pirates poked at him before one shoved a length of thick rope unceremoniously into his hands, he marvelled that though they were surrounded by water, not a one of them had ever seemed to managed to bathe!
Glancing down at the rope, he had just enough time to wonder what in the seven hells he was supposed to do with the thing, before the mysterious woman from the Inn- the Captain of the ship as it turned out! - yelled "Hold!"
All eyes turned to Pioloss as the now furious Aeros demanded to know both who he was and how he had gotten aboard. He gulped but otherwise stood firm as she shed her coat to reveal the deadly looking contraption of blades and whirring cogs that was mounted to her wings.
"Why seeks ye the privateer Blackwing?" She growled, glaring at him with her disturbingly bird like eyes.
Her glare felt like it was somehow travelling through him to peer deep into his very soul. -And deep within him, something glared back!
DO IT! A clotted, glutinous voice hissed, as Pioloss felt his gaze drawn irresistibly down to the pulsing vein in her thin neck. He felt the tips of his fingers lengthen into deadly claws. It would be so easy just to reach out and-
"Urgfm…" Pioloss grunted in pain as he acted on a sudden impulse to clench his fist closed as tightly as he could. His razor sharp claws sank deep into the soft flesh of his palm, and the sudden pain served to jolt him blessedly back to his senses.
"I… Do not seek yew, Privateer." Pioloss panted as he continued to clench his fists in order to fight back the blood lust. "But I heard you tell at the Inn that you had honest work aplenty. Seeing as I find myself standing at something of a crossroads at the moment, I thought to apply." He glanced around briefly at the worried faces of the men who had been aboard the landing vessel before adding on, "And don't be too hard on yer crew for not noticing me. After all, when arrows are flying at yer backside, most men don't tend to pay much mind to just who is holding the shield!"
Rigel watched quietly still bothered by what had happened. He felt almost as if he had been tricked into joining this merry band of ne'er-do-wells.
Rigel stepped between the Pirate and the new stranger. The stranger was tall, even standing next to Rigel but his gangly appearance somehow suggested a lack of physical prowess. Rigel hoped the crew fell into this suggestion. But he had watched the way he moved and was sure he was far more agile than one might otherwise believe.
He has proven his willingness to stand with and protect your crew. He is one who stands when times require, and sieze's opportunity when presented. I shall vouch for him. His errors be mine. He turned to the rest of the crew standing around and/or watching. Any care to contest my testament?
He stood for a moment looking over the crowd then studied the stranger briefly before turning back to the Privateer and giving a slight bow. By your leave of course.
"No!" Pioloss exclaimed with a look of horror at the Man Mountain. "I came aboard this vessel by no one's leave bar my own, therefore I alone will bear the responsibility for my actions! Let me vouch for myself!"
It wasn't that Pioloss wasn't grateful to the man for what he was trying to do. But the well meaning strangerdidn't - couldn't, know how close he had just come to turning this ship into a bloodbath! And that in the first few moments of being aboard!
"Uh… By your leave of course." He added on quickly to the
Blackwing jerked back from Pioloss like a hound from some unpleasant scent. The A series of expressions cycled across the madcap piratess's face and demeanour, the wheel of the stowaway's fortune depending on where she landed.
It was delight. Blackwing grinned at Rigel even as Pioloss protested against the evangelist's endorsement. "Gud enuff fer me!" She chirped in the voice of a vulture imitating a sparrow. "Step outta line, an I'll keelhaul ye both!" That was not just colorful speech. Drowning them while flaying the backs of those who crossed her (be their transgressions real or imagined) upon the razored barnacles of the Whale King's keel was one of Blackwing's favorite pasttimes, and possibly a reason the compliment of the pirate vessel was chronically short-handed.
"SAIL HO!" A call from the crow's nest truncated any further exchange.
Aeros were known to have a set of pipes on them, and after countless years shouting orders above the sounds of the sea and her rabble of crew, Blackwing was no exception. "WHEREAWAY?!" Her shout would have made the most stolid deaf man jump. More quietly, she said. "'old me hat, swabbie!" Tossing her tricorn to Pioloss. That was more of an endorsement as Blackwing ever gave most newcomers.
"EIGHTEEN POINTS, CAP'N!" Came the reply as Blackwing crouched and sprang into the rigging with a wingbeat-assisted leap. She swarmed up past the crow's nest to a crosstree perch at the tip of the mainmast in a flash.
"Weigh anchor an' hoist tha mizzen!" The order came down much quieter for the distance now between the captain and her crew. "Mister Gunter! Bring 'er about ta windward!" She called down to the First Mate. "Full sail!" Blackwing demanded of the other sailors up in the rigging.
The crew exploded into action. "Yew, big fella!" One pirate spoke to Rigel. "'Elp us push tha capstan round!" He said, trotting past the large warrior and heading to the large vertical winch where two other sailors were struggling to pull up the drag anchor.
"What be she, cap'n?" The sailor in the crow's nest called up to Blackwing as he squinted through his spyglass at the distant sail. If it was a warship out of Daelows or a coastal patrol boat returning to Seven Oaks, the Whale King would have to run from her. On the other hand, if she were a Cog or Brigantine tradeship, he knew that Blackwing would try to run them down before they made the safety of Seven Oaks harbor.
With no need for a spyglass nor megaphone, lound enough for all the crew to hear, and with a wide predatory grin on her face, Blackwing crowed: "SHE BE TRIBUTE!"
Rigel moved as directed to the Capstan and took up a position, Inhaling deeply once he leaned into it pushed hard. The large wheel resisted efforts to move "PUSH" came a cry from the sailor behind him. Rigel set his feet and pushed mightily. Soon the wheel seemed to move a bit faster and with greater ease. Rigel found himself wondering what would be next and how he had managed to get himself into this situation.
For now he needed to be within this moment and he began instinctively assessing the situation. For now the best he could do was to assist where he could and prepare to fight if that truly came to be necessary.
Glancing about he saw a myriad of swords, daggers and knives carried by crewmen, a cargo net, block and tackle, secured barrels and several other objects that could be pressed into service should the need arise.
Then Rigel felt it...a feeling he had not had in many years...his heart pumping faster, his veins charging and heating, his breathing deepening, muscles tensing. As he body prepared him for what was to come, his mind preternaturally calming and time seemed to slow....
DEXTER "BIRD EYE" GODWIN
"Well come on and hop to then, Lynley me lad!" The Old Pirate croaked around a gap toothed grin as he likewise gestured towards the Capstan. "No sense standing idle when there's work to do, them's tributes isn't goan tae collect theyselves now is they!"
Dexter "Bird Eye" Godwin looked on with an approving nod as the young man leant into the winch and began pushing. Though tall and skinny, the young 'un had more strength in 'im than most who were twice his size. Always had.
Which was probably why Ol' Bird Eye had taken the boy under his wing in the first place, back when he had first joined the crew. In those days the boy had been nuthin more'n knobbly bones and pale skin. As wet behind the ears and green as they came he'd been! But Ol' Bird Eye had seen something in him past all that - Oh yes he had! And he had been right! For there wasn't much that a bit of hard work and the salty fresh air of the open sea's couldn't put to rights, and under his expert tutelage the lad had since proven his worth a dozen times over!
Ah! But but it still seemed like only yesterday…
Bird Eye had used to joke that he must have been the son of a whippet, and another, skinnier whippet. But beneath all of the bluster the boy - no! Man now, he s'posed! Had quickly become like the son that he had never had! Certainly Lynley had never stooped to mocking him as he had begun to grow older, and the years began to take their cruel toll. Unlike most of the rest of the crew Bird Eye knew that he could always count on Lynley…
Scurvy, pox ridden dogs the lot of 'em! Most of 'em saw Bird Eye as little more than a salty old sea dog. Thought he was just biding his time until the day finally came when he was wrapped up in a dirty sheet and tossed overboard to feed the fish one last time.
But not Lynley...
The ship gave a sudden lurch, but despite his gimpy leg, and the pains in his back Bird Eye stood firm. For he might be old, and possibly (probably) even senile, but you could be sure that he had still had some fight in him yet! And whilst he might not care how those festering bilge rats treated him, he'd knock seven shades out of anyone should they even think about doing the same to his Lynley, who was the only one left that Bird Eye could truly count on these days...
Glad to be out from under the scrutiny of Captain Blackwing, Pioloss did as he was bade and moved towards the winch where several burly men were already struggling. He looked about for somewhere safe to place the Captains hat, which was still in his hands, apparently having been forgotten with the sighting of "Tribute". Whatever that was… But when nowhere presented itself he settled for simply slipping it on underneath his own voluminous hood before adding his own weight to the Capstan.
The Man from the Inn was already there, seeming to be doing the work of at least two of the other men, but as Pioloss joined, the winch immediately began to move even easier, a fact which brought Pioloss some small degree of pleasure. Maybe being a Dhampir wasn't entirely bad! The extra strength at least was proving useful enough!
But as he worked he couldn't stop glancing back towards the grizzled old pirate, and wondered why he was staring at him with such an odd expression plastered on his face?
"Turn, yew scurvy bilge rats, show us yer cowardly backsides!" The piratess growled as she hung from the crosstree while sails unfurled and caught the wind. The Whale King lurched forward and then heeled hard over as the helmsman brought her about across the wind.
The other ship was a two masted Caravel, significantly smaller than the Whale King. Blackwing had marked it as a coastal trader and an easy mark--on the open ocean. This close to Seven Oaks, if the trader made for port, they'd have to break off pursuit. The ships compliment was too small to Shanghai a trader and fight off the local patrol boats at the same time. If her captain turned and fled, however, the Whale king could run her down and plunder her with ease.
"Run up the Jolly Roger, lads!" Blackwing landed on deck with a thump. "Now, where's me hat?"
DEXTER "BIRD EYE" GODWIN
"Eh? Hat?" Bird Eye repeated as Blackwings bellowing snapped him out from his reminiscing.
He shook his head and looked about the deck. How long was I just standin there like a fool for? He wondered, glancing back towards Lynley accusingly as if it were somehow the lads fault and not his own. And why had he started wearing those ridiculous robes anyway? Wasn't like 'im at all! Why, anyone would think that the boy had suddenly started being afraid of the sun or summin!
These lapses in concentration however, seemed to be happening more and more frequently to him of late, and Bird Eye was finding that he couldn't quite… keep up with things the way he had used to. Maybe the crew were right to -
"Protesios' salt soaked beard!!" He cried suddenly, darting forwards as he noticed the distinctive tricorn shape beneath Lynley's cowl. "What's wrong wi' ye Lad? You 'n I both know that the Cap'ns killed folk fer less!" He hissed as he snatched the hat from Lynley's head before Blackwing could see.
As the hat came off, so too did the heavy cowl, momentarily exposing the face underneath before it was brought smoothly back up barely more than a second later.
"Eh?" Bird Eye grunted.
For just a moment there, he could have sworn that that hadn't been Lynley at all, but some pale, gangly stranger with demons lurking just behind 'is eyes! But no…
That was crazy! ...Wasn't it? Just his mind playing tricks on 'im. Mad 'old Bird Eye finally losing his marbles...
"Here yer go Cap'n" He said, offering up the hat distractedly as he continued to stare at Lynley. Only now it was with a much different expression, and a rare focus had entered into his one remaining eye.
Rigel half heartedly listened to the exchange between the captain and the old man they called "bird eye" and the young man he seemed to have taken under his wing. nothing seemed out of the ordinary until the old man took the hat from the younger mans head. Rigel did not see what the old man saw, but it apparently had a profound effect on the man. For now Rigel would focus on the capstan and getting the anchor secured so he could focus on what would likely be more important matters.