The Warriors, the Pirates, and the Empath
(Aesry Surlaenis’a, Qi’Reshalia: 143 Shorka 362)
Delgareth ambled good-naturedly into the tavern, smiling gratefully at Baresh as the tavernkeeper placed a pint of ale on the bar.
"Heyo, Baresh! And one for yourself and a round for the house, on me, if you please," announced Delgareth with a smile. A ragged cheer arose from the more sober of the other customers. "I’ve a rather funny story to tell."
As the tavernkeeper distributed drinks, the ranger gulped down a good measure of his ale, wiped his lips appreciatively, and cleared his throat.
"I was on my way to Aesry aboard the good ship ‘Lybadel’; the ranger Folcwyn and I had dispatched a lone pirate who had been skulking about aboard her when she docked in Riverhaven. As we left port and headed down the Faldesu River, we went about, checking the mangonels aboard, repairing and loading those that needed it, and otherwise preparing for the voyage.
"On the main deck, we encountered two moon mages, Wulfcat and Landin by name, and they had a daring plan: to board and take a pirate schooner. They believed they could send the pirates to sleep, making them easy marks for our blades. Although I had misgivings, I swallowed hard, loosened my blade in my sheath, and readied myself for combat.
"The trip downriver and into the delta was uneventful, of course; but it was not long after we passed into the open sea that we spotted a red-sailed schooner bearing down on us rapidly. Captain Halasael sent his crew to battle stations, and we prepared for our own endeavor. We were shortly joined by Owlsong the Taleweaver and a warrior mage by the name of Wysterien. Also aboard was a very young empath named Seakeiki, who, all agreed, should best take refuge on the poop deck with the captain."
Delgareth paused and quaffed the rest of his ale. Baresh set another before the ranger without comment.
"Closer and closer came the pirate schooner, and the tension level aboard the good ship ‘Lybadel’ rose as well. And then, suddenly, we saw a projectile hurtle through the air, evidently fired from our aft catapult, striking the schooner fair amidships. Now, we’d agreed previously not to fire on the schooner, lest we board and try to capture a sinking ship. It rapidly became apparent that it was none other than the young Empath who had loosed the missile from her position aft.
"Now that our boarding plans had been foiled, I rapidly aimed and fired the maindeck mangonel, but missed the schooner in my haste. We braced ourselves for the melee which would most surely shortly follow.
After another swing of his ale, Delgareth cracked a grin. "And then, by Everild, that schooner turned turtle and sank to the bottom of the sea! That single shot by the young empath had holed her, sending her to the depths even before she could come to grapple with us!
"Our reactions varied. Wulfcat agonized over the loss of the chance to capture the schooner; Folcwyn wondered, ‘Saved from a boatful of Pirates by a trigger-happy empath!’ and Owlsong immediately declared that she’d write a song about the exploit. Between relief of the tension and amazement at the course of events, I could do little but simply laugh delightedly.
"We climbed to the poop deck and found the intrepid Seakeiki, somewhat abashed at what she had done. She had decided to try out the mangonel, expecting to miss; certainly never dreaming of the actual result. I announced, ‘If you’re keeping score, you’ve just sunk yer first ship,’ and Folcwyn observed, ‘Should you ever decide to become an archer, Seakeiki, I think you’d do well.’ ‘So, I suppose you have good ranged healing?’ Wulfcat joked.
"We sighted the lovely island of Aesry soon after and came into port." Delgareth drank his ale and declared, "Perhaps we’d not had the adventure for which we’d planned, but it was certainly a memorable expericence… and a grand tale to tell at the old Wren’s Nest!"