The Turning Tide
It was several days after we had passed the coast when the weather turned. The clear skies and calm waters of the Southern Sea were long behind us. The Eastern Sea was known for its storms of warm rain and high waves. It was not my favorite way to travel. The constant rising and falling of the Kraken’s Beak caused my stomach to toss and turn. The pirates all would laugh at me for how often I was swabbing the deck after clearing the contents of my stomach that were what was left of my last meal. Balefore suggested that I could stay below deck and that might help. He seemed to be at home in the waves. It was as if he was the closest to what he used to be before he died.
When the storm broke some odd days later we were entering the dark and cold waters of the north. While most of Sovereign’s seas were warm tropical waters, the current in the north often pulled large icebergs down from the Maelstrom. The size of one of them could turn the massive Galleon that was the Kraken’s Beak into a pile of floating kindling. If they made it through a never-ending storm at that size I couldn’t begin to fathom the size they were before they were taken through the wall of waves.
“We’re getting close” Cursed Morgan under his breath. “William always did like the north” the coastline in the north was a massive white cliff. Sovereign was an impressive continent. You never realize how big a country is until you spend the better half of a month traveling around its borders. This was the closest we had ever been to the Capital. I could feel it calling to me. I was needed there.
“Once Jorgund is back we should head to the Capital. It’s right here! This is the closest we have ever been! We don’t even have to go through the garrison!” I yelled.
“We all know we can’t yet. We need more than a shipful of pirates if we are to take the Capital! Do you even know the size of its army? How strong the fortifications are? Cinredi you don’t even have the slightest idea of what we need to do. My people have been suffering for years under Akor’s rule. If we can save my people we will have a real chance of taking on the Queen and her forces.” Tahn scornfully replied. “I know you need to find out about your past, but the fate of my people is more important than the never-ending questions of a child!”
He was right. I sulked quietly at the front of the ship for a while after that. It seemed as if everyone was avoiding me after my outburst and Tahn’s reprisal. I had been so focused on my own needs I forgot an entire species of beings that were suffering. How could I call myself a Paladin of Uther? Had I been so blind that I couldn’t see that I’ve been putting my needs as an individual over the needs of the people of Sovereign? Uther had brought me back twice and I have always felt that my answers were the answers that were needed to save us. I needed to look past that. Everyone else had received some form of information on who they were. That information was being withheld as a test of my faith. I needed to take penance in this. I sat down and crossed my legs and I began to meditate.
I had been so selfish with my thoughts and actions since that day in the forest when Drometorn told me that I needed to go to the capital. I knew that now. Tahn was right and I will need to confess this to him. But for now I must center myself. I need to realign my head and heart. I needed to confess my transgression of pride. Uther may have brought me back a second time, to be the torch that shines his light on the people of Sovereign, but I was trying to use that light to unveil the mysteries of my past. I was guilty of gross misuse of his power.
The smell of the salty mist that was ever present kissed my face as we crashed through the waves. Then I felt it. Though the storm had broke days ago the clouds continued to block out the light. As I meditated I could feel the warm glow pull through the dark billowing clouds. I opened my eyes to see a brilliant column of light breaking through the cover of the unending clouds. Was this light forgiveness? Was it just acknowledgment of my thoughts? The light grew until the entire ship was sparkling with the light reflected off of the water droplets that covered it. The light poured over the Sea around us and as it did the waves calmed. The light spreads out unto the sea until it came to a large bubble of water that was rising above the now waveless sea. The light shown down as a message, but not one for me. It was a warning for the crew of the Kraken’s Beak.
A gust of wind hit the sails coming from in front of us where this growing threat was. The gust blew outward from the half-sphere that was materializing in front of us. Ripples in the water pulsing out from the center and buffeting the ship with each passing second. The deck bell rang loudly as Morgan’s first mate struck it repeatedly with a hammer.
“Battle stations! All hands on deck! Roll out the long guns and prepare to fire!” He screamed.
“Fire the forward cannons!” Morgan commanded. Looks like we have ourselves a water elemental and a large one at that!” There was little time to react as various members of the crew changed the way the sails were facing to prevent us from being turned around by the creature. There was a series of loud explosions as the eight forward cannons fired the first volley of cannonballs. The splashed into the creature in its center mass. The splashes from the impacts acted strangely and instead of the water dropping into the sea, they had shifted into tentacles of water that charged for the Kraken’s Beak and quickly wrapped around the large metal figurehead in front of me. It had a solid grip on us. “Fire at will! Let this beast know not to trifle with a Uestler on a mission!” Morgan commanded once more.
I ran to the stairs to the crew quarters. Spending the last few weeks without my armor or equipment on made the ship work easier, but not having it when it was needed was very inconvenient. I grabbed my sword from below deck and charged back upstairs. The water elemental kept growing in size. The half-sphere had been broken by the repeated cannon fire. It was now a mass of flowing tentacles with a glowing set of eyes in its center.
Tahn was up in the crow’s nest with Pestilence’s bow I saw him loose an arrow, a green fiery tail followed the arrow into one of the elementals larger tentacles. The green flame exploded into a spray of acid which made the creature recoil the squirming limb. The eyes shifted towards the crow’s nest and four of its other arms reached for the mainmast. It was my turn to show Tahn that I had his back. He helped me see my shortcomings. I would keep him safe.
I held my sword to the sky as I charged. I focused my divine energy into the metal and it sparked to life. As I ran there was another volley of cannon fire and do to the way the wind had caught our sails the creature was facing a full barrage from the thirty-two side cannons that covered the side of the vessel. Another arrow flew from Tahn in the crow’s nest and I could hear that Balefore was commanding the men below deck. The tune of Alessisa’s song gave us the inspiration and rythm that we needed to unite against our foe. When the odds looked against us we always would pull through. I knew that it was Uther that was guiding our attacks and we could never fail as long as he watched over us. The tentacles were fully enveloping the mast when I got there.
“Uther guide my blade!” I yelled as swung my blade downward ward. The electricity arcing around the blade and as I struck through to the wood the water fell and splashed on to the deck. I had missed, but it seems that the cannons were more than the elemental could handle.