From across the sea...

Date: 11/04/2013 at 17:03
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: From across the sea...

Far west of mainland Sapience lies the ancient city state of Azatlan, on the great continent of Therophage. A peninsula on the continent, Azatlan is bordered by the Sefyric Ocean to the north and the Valassan Sea - almost completely surrounded by Therophage - to the south. It was on this distant land that the first atavians from the Diaspora took root, having been urged to spread their influence across the world by the grace of the Skylord Himself. For over a thousand years, Azatlan grew and prospered, unseen by adventurers of Sapience. It transformed from a simple encampment into a rich, thriving civilisation. Their dogma, however, remained the same: a fervent devotion to the Skylord, their creator and Lord.

It was this unwavering faith that forced the veiled continent into light.

- - - - - -

The last of the crates had been loaded onto the trade ship, and secured in the hold. Coaxach observed from the upper deck, his eyes fixed on the horizon. It had been two weeks since the Nahuaotli had sent for him, and the time had moved far too quickly.

"It's all secure, sir."

Coaxach paused, and turned to the young deckhand before him.

"Good. Loosen the sails, and ready the oars. We leave at dusk."

Coaxach rubbed at his eyes, fatigue plaguing his body. For the thousand-and-sixth time, he played out the routine in his head.

"Cast off from the harbour. Row due northeast. Raise the known flag of the merchant ships, and immediately open the sails. Full sails, due north-northeast. Break for the mouth, and turn due north. Sharp turn to the northwest, full sails toward the western shore of the Grey Isles."

It was a simple route, but a dangerous one. To access the Grey Isles, a ship had to pass the land of the Not-People. Still, he was under the orders of the Nahuoatli. His oath, and his faith, compelled him. Coaxach sighed.

"The Nahuaotli wouldn't have called for you were you not ready, Coaxach."

Coaxach turned toward the source of the voice, and came face to face with a young woman: the daughter of the Tlaotl, the chief of his people.

"I should have expected your presence," Coaxach chuckled. "After all, we wouldn't want to be too inconspicuous, would we?"

The woman laughed. "Just have a little faith. I'll be below deck, should you need me."

Coaxach watched as she descended into the bowels of the ship, and let out a small sigh of relief. The Tlaotl's daughter, though but one person, calmed his nerves. With her nearby the cargo would truly be safe.

- - - - - -

"Full sails, and bring her about. North! North!" Coaxach yelled, his voice hoarse. At his command, the ship altered course, leaning heavily in the water.

From the crow's nest a voice hollered, "Captain! They're getting closer!"

Coaxach turned on his heel, staring behind him in frozen horror. Dark war ships, the known vessels of the Kashar, edged toward his position.

A harsh crack broke through the air.

"Duck! Duck! " A nearby deckhand screamed, "... I said bloody duck!"

Coaxach threw himself onto the deck and, in an instant, a dozen darts shot through the air and tore through the sails. The ship faltered, slowing instantly, and Coaxach quickly got to his feet. He staggered across the splintered deck toward the onager, and loaded a flare.

"Someone! Help! Please!" He shouted, before firing the bright red flare high into the air. Instantly, it exploded in a blaze of light.

- - - - - -

From the deck of the TLS Defiance, Kresslack De'Verres watched as a dark, foreboding crimson bled across the sky. He smirked, glancing at the flanking ships and gave a single, satisfied nod. At once, the sails of the nearby vessels flew open, billowing in the wind. The Gypsy Wind, captained by Lianca and Taraus Brav'ios, edged forward in the water, followed quickly by the TLS Inexorable, captained by Ruth Yuridja-Keyte. Far in the distance the Blade of Entropy, captained by Kinilan Demaxx, cut through the open water, leading the fleet toward the source of the flare.

- - - - - -

The final Kashari war ship sank beneath the surface of the Sea of Terror, and the Pirates of Meropis watched silently as the splintered remains of the Azatlan trade ship broke across the western shore of Sapience. Regardless of the outcome, the fleet had brought an end to the Kashari's chase, sinking the war ships at ease. As they quietly observed the carnage before them, the distant ships of the Order of the Sea turned, sailing toward the nearby harbour of the river Muurn.

Unnoticed, the splintered remains of broken crates and barrels began to rise from the watery depths, bobbing on the choppy surface.

- - - - - -

Coaxach dragged himself from the icy water and onto the shore, heaving himself into a seated position. Panting, he slowly examined his wounds. His wings were sodden, and his body battered: with every breath, his lungs heaved and quaked.

"You alright there, chap?"

Coaxach slowly raised his head, and hazily stared into the eyes of Penwize Baker. Slowly, he shook his head, and allowed his eyes to close.

"Is he dead?" Asked a feminine voice.

"Looks alright to me." Claimed another.

"Hush, hush. Let him talk..."

Carefully, Caoxach propped himself up, and began to ask about his precious cargo.

"I have to find it..." He croaked.

"That's not important right now," intoned a masculine voice. "We need to get you some help."

"Very... Important..." Coaxach whispered.

Slowly, he recounted the tale of his journey, pausing on occasion to gather his thoughts. As he spoke, his mind continued to linger on the ship's cargo. The treasures of his people, entrusted to him, were now scattered across the ocean. Lost, and free to any who could find them. He sighed, and stared longingly toward the horizon.

"Is he...?"

Coaxach's eyes fluttered closed, his body finally still.