[ - Author's Note - ]
Well, here we are. This chapter will push the story over half a million words. Wow, huh? In addition we're closing in on three hundred thousand views... And shout out to the user aRandomGuyInTheInternet for the six hundredth and sixty sixth review... For better or for worse.
So we're off to see some pirates and... Another faction mentioned before now.
[ - Act II – Chapter XIII: Two Black Flags - ]
While Ironside is closer to the sea then Cauldona is it is the latter that is, arguably, more important in placement in regards to naval defense. In addition to being beside the Great Atlas River it's near the entrance of the Long Drip River which passes along the borders of Eostia and Camafran. In addition to the capital of Port Whitedawn Cauldona has two other major naval ports; Port Brass Guard at the mouth of the Long Drip River and Port Brass Spear within the Long Drip.
Under the watch of House Abhainn they have arguably the best military navy in Eostia with it's flagship baring the name of the House's founder, the ETS-CD Galen Abhainn being one of the few, powerful War Galleons the nation currently has with impressive enchantments to bolster it's speeds to catch up with almost any ship in the region. In addition it boasts a very well equipped military and a very well equipped militia; in fact at times the militia was larger then the Cauldona regular army. Additionally like other naval territories there's a semi-loophole allowing for a larger military; the Aegis Accords restricts the size of a state's army but not the size of their navy and naval personal. This has led to 'naval campaigns' at the Eostian/Garanian border without any ships from all of the riverside and lakeside states. As this, on average, adds up to ten thousand more soldiers very few members of the Council of Lords has complained beyond token objections.
Additionally it's a favorite haven for some privateers who wish to strike at Dominious with some sailing off to the northern continent to attack ships along there. It's said, in fact, that Galen Abhainn himself was once a pirate before founding his house and converting to running a mercantile empire. Finally, in 1356 AF Patrica Abhainn took over the Barony after House Whitewave was with no direct heirs.
As one of the richest Baronies of Eostia there is no doubt that Cauldona is a fine example of what makes Eostia a wonderful kingdom.
~Dominic James Pencraft, The Eostia Historia
The road from Ironside to Cauldona was a bit odd. A thick forest was situated on the most direct route and prevented good roads from being laid; the area boasted an unusual amount of earth based mana. That was unusual as most places boasted mana of all natures with none having a greater level then others or at least only a slight advantage to one over the other. The amount of imbalance to earth here was unusual although not unheard of. Rare as they were they happened; Eostia had two of these spots even. Inside of Ken was a place slight lean towards holy. The reasons for this depends on who you ask, but the generally accepted reason is that Larentia split her form into three in that spot. It was a holy spot and the Lux Clama, one of the three Great Larentian Cathedrals was built upon that ground and people near it are said to have a little more energy and vigor.
The Forever Green Forest, as it was known, was the other. The earth based mana made the grounds highly fertile and it grew anything very well there. Overly so, I'd say; any roads carved into it would be overrun by trees and roots within a week. It was a popular spot for those hunting herbs, fruits, roots and more and on it's edges many farms were placed. Additionally there were dozens of lumber camps set out along the edges of the forest and near the river. Forever Green Wood was the most common wood used in ships made in both Ironside and Cauldona, as well as ships made down the Long Drip River which connected to the Great Atlas as far as Bemul in Ur.
Sadly that meant we had to take a longer route, one that moved directly south as opposed to southwest and then ride southwest to move around the various, rolling hills of the region. Despite how close Ironside was to Cauldona politically and economically their land route kinda sucked; the roads to Ironheat from Cauldona were straighter. On the other hand I imagined most Ironside/Cauldona trade and politics were handled by going through the river then overland.
The extra time wasn't being wasted, mind you. I sparred with Agni mostly with bits of challenging Alicia. In the end another twenty five thousand XP boosted to three thousand (I gave a good showing, but lost to them both in every match, sadly) which knocked me up to level nineteen. I dumped the thirteen Sexual Stat Points I had into Rapid. Thanks to The Speed of Sex Trait that translated into an additional two Dexterity as well. I decided to hold onto my Regular Stat Points for now; I only had four and I might find another trait that has a stat boost another stat that could be used. We'll see.
Because of the forests and hills redirecting us we would turn up to the position of Port Whitedawn and ride north-northeast with the last leg of it turning to parallel the Great Atlas River. The weather was good and inside we were chatting or reading. Well, I was the one reading; my new book was full of detail and information that was quite useful to me. In addition to this spell codes for Enchantments there was lists of ideas on things Wicker wanted to make but didn't do to a lack of resources, time or limitations of his own abilities and understanding.
I heard what sounded like distant thunder as I read. At first it didn't draw my attention, but after a couple of minutes I couldn't help but hear it as I lifted my head. Miria and Ur'Akara were sharing a different carriage this time with Alicia and Agni leaving me with Riri, Makoto and Aeris. "Anyone hear that?" I asked.
"I've been hearing it for a while." Aeris quipped; Elven ears weren't a match for Catalan ears but they had the edge on human ones. "I can't place it..." She said as I opened the window at the door to look outside of the vehicle to look around... And finally I see it...
"There's ships out there firing on one another in the river!" I let off as the other girls crowded about the window to see.
I could see two ships sailing the river; one with a duo of masts and a larger one with a trio. I couldn't tell the ship classes right away beyond 'bigger and smaller' but the smaller one was weaving and bobbing ahead as it fired a cannon in the rear of the ship at the larger one that was, maybe, seven or eight ship lengths apart from it. The larger one had three cannons on it's bow and fired back, one cannon smashing into the rear of the ship it was chasing, blowing a hole through an upper part of it. Yikes!
I used Telescopic Vision and looked at the flags. The smaller ship boasted a black flag. Pirates then... Or at least Privateer if you wanted to get into semantics... On said black flag was a red bandanna at the top with a white skull over two, crossed blades with the handles under it set to it's center. At the bottom was two crossed, curved sabers. And in the center was a set of ruby red lips that were bleeding; a simple but striking flag that I didn't know of off hand.
Then I looked to the other flag... And hissed softly. "What is it?" Riri asked as she looked to me.
The flag on the larger ship has a large circle a third from the left of it's edge with an edge of gray and golden inside. Links of gray chain extended vertically and horizontally into the gray outline of the flag with gold inside each open chain link facing the viewer. The upper left and lower right sections as separated by the chains were dark red, the other two sections colored black. Lastly, filling the circle was a red, gauntleted fist outlined in black. It bore gold rivets around the wrist and spikes at the end of each knuckle.
"Dominious." Was my one word answer.
"Shit." Aeris let off. That was accurate. Obviously we were at a loss as to what was going on. Obviously Dominious had no love for pirates (Let's be fair, most people had no love pirates that aren't on the big screen) but we were pretty close to Port Whitedawn and in addition Port Brass Guard wasn't that far away either. A Dominious ship on this side of the river was cause for alarm, doubly so this close to Cauldona's capital. Normally they'd break their chase by now lest they risk Eostian ships poking their nose into the situation. That they haven't means there's a major issue here.
Soon the carriages adjusted course, moving towards the ships; I could see Alicia's head sticking out the window of hers and I imagined she barked out an order. My attention moved back to the ships as the smaller lead ship turned hard towards the shore. It dawned on me that in order to escape they were willing to beach their ship and make a go for it over land. Seeing the battle damage the ship took, dents, cracks and a few holes, I had a feeling the Dominians weren't trying to sink the ship meaning this was a bigger deal then I expected.
Sure enough, soon before we arrived the first ship slammed into the sand and pebbles of the river's shore and shuddered to a halt before ropes were thrown over the sides of the front bow and the crew of the ship (All female by the looks, because of course it was) started to jump over the side, slide down to the shallow water and wade or run to shore, trying to get away from the ship. One exception was a woman with wooden left limbs who held the ropes in said wooden hand and held a child in her right arm; a lad some eight to ten years old by the looks of it.
The other ship turned to match and it's sails would flatten to the mast; wind magic I had to guess. The ship slowed more gracefully before parking next to the first with ropes coming off as other men swarmed off the ship. However not all of the men did, some threw nets or fired arrows from the sides of the ship at the women with more then one landing on target; three woman would be caught in one net and I could see two more taking arrows to the legs or shoulder. They weren't shooting to kill, I think. Hard to tell.
Soon we came to a halt as Alicia leapt from her vehicle as she half jogged, half stomped forwards. I disembarked and quickly moved to join her; mostly because I was worried she'd do something stupid. There was maybe three to four dozen pirate women... And maybe two hundred Dominious sailors!
Yeah, this could get ugly...
"ENOUGH!" Alicia barked out, raising her right hand up, the left hand holding her blade's sheathe as she looked at them all. "I am Princess Alicia Arcturus of Feoh! All of you will halt by the order of the Crown and submit to Eostian Law, now!"
"Alicia, this might not be the best way to go about this..." I hissed... Observe told me that the collection of pirates and sailors were... not to be trifled with. At the low end you had some at level twelve, a few with levels in the teens but most had levels in the low twenties. And there was a lot of them. Even if the pirate women decided to fight the Dominious Sailors alongside us we'd be outnumbered three to one at least. Most of the people gathered did stop to look at her; the pirates doing their best to regroup close to our position and to the side as the Dominious sailors started to collect before us, assembling in a battle line.
"I think not!" A man bellowed back. He wore pure, black leather gambeson (Most sailors used gambeson of one type or another; hard to swim when coated in metal and no risk of rust. That said some of the Dominious sailors did wear heavier, steel armor even if only breastplates and helms) with a cutlass at his side and the Dominian fist set over the left side of his chest. He was maybe six foot even and with a well groomed black beard and matching his combed and coiffed hair. Blue eyes looked over at us on a handsome face, maybe late twenties, early thirties. "These heirs empressed our Pirate's reclaim and we will kidnap him!" There was a long, long moment of silence as everyone (My group, the pirates and his men) paused to look at him in confusion. He looked about as if wondering what we were all confused by... Then groaned and realized what he just said made no sense before speaking once more, slower and more deliberate. "These pirates kidnapped our Empress' heir and we will reclaim him..."
"He is my brother and we rescued him!" The woman with the fake limbs (And eye-patch, now that I had another glance at her) barked back as the Dominious man sighed.
"My point stands. As do my orders to retake him."
Name: Dax Chernyy Parus
Title: Captain of the Zelda III
Status: Healthy, Cocky, Proud
[Sea Legs] You fight as well, if not better, on a ship then on land. +2% to Dex and Agi when on a ship.
[Sword Master] You are a master of any sword set to your hand. +2 Damage to all one handed swords in your use, +4 Damage to all two handed swords in your use.
Captain of the DIS Zelda III he is loyal to Salara Von Harmon and is one of her best naval officers, doubly so after they lost Port Dirge early in the Dominious Civil War. He has skirmished time and again with pirates, Eostian ships and Camafran vessels and has won more times then not; no ship under his command has been sunk. With one of the most impressive ships in the Dominious Navy that's under Salara's command he's proven to be a force to be reckoned with.
Dax Parus; I've heard of this guy. He supposedly fought two Camafran ships off and sank one, and held off three Eostian ships from Ironside. He does match the description.
Side Note: DIS meant 'Dominious Imperial Ship'.
"You are on Eostian soil and, as such, subject to her law." Alicia let off as Agni and Albert moved to flank us, as did the rest of the knights. They looked nervous and I couldn't blame them. This could go badly, but at the same time they were honor bound to intervene. "As such we will take custody of the boy and we'll proceed to Port Whitedawn and hear the case properly."
Dax looked at her with a dumb, blank expression... Before laughing loudly at her and slapping his knee. "Oh, come on Princess..." He chuckled out, smirking at her. "You and what army!?"
Alicia snarled and glared at him as I did my best to come up with an idea before inspiration struck. And not a moment to soon as Alicia reached for her blade. Before she could pull it I reached out and firmly grabbed her wrist. "Alicia." I said calmly as she turned her head to glare at me now as I smiled. "Let me handle this. Wait here."
"W-wait... What are you doing?" She said as I calmly walked closer to Dax, stepping around an injured pirate woman with an arrow in her thigh. Much as I wanted to heal her there was a more pressing issue here. Dax gave me a bemused smirk as I finally stopped some twelve feet away. A quick glance showed my that, yes, Alicia hung back, worried as she looked before I focused fully on the man before me.
"Dax Parus, I presume? Captain of the Zelda The Third?" I asked as he smiled and gave a deep, mocking bow.
"I would be he. I see my reputation precedes me." He let off with a small smirk. "And to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?"
"James Noxdecus, of the Barony of Mungale." I said, mimicking his earlier bow.
"Ah, yes. I've heard of your father." He said as I rose back up. "Baron Merlin is a tricky bastard, they say. I would be wary of crossing him. But you are not he."
"No, I am not." I said, calmly reaching into my pouch. Dax's men reacted, starting to point their weapons to me only for him to hold up his hand to halt them as I pulled my Voxlux out, pointing to him with it. "But I can say this. You are going to come with us to Port Whitedawn and that boy will be in our custody in the meantime until this issue is settled fairly. And I assure you, you will agree to it." Dax chuckled at me and made a show of it; leaning back sightly before looking back to me with a small smirk and firm glare.
"Again; you and what army?"
"...Excuse me?" He let off confused as I smiled back.
"The Ironside and Cauldona ones, which can be called to intercept you." He gave me a confused look as I started to use my voxlux.
"Oh, please, you think you can just call them here at wi... whhhhhy is that thing pinging?" He asked, looking to my voxlux as I held it up... As Celestine's face was projected over it. "The hells!?"
"James, what an unexpected pleasure." The High Queen of Eostia let off as she adressed me over the voxlux. "What can I do for you?"
"Alicia and I have a mild problem of a Dominious Naval Captain setting foot on our soil and being unwilling to submit to our laws." I said as I turned to the voxlux to the man who was gawking at the device so Celestine could see him. "We were planning to go to Port Whitedawn to settle the issue that brought him here, but he's not being very cooperative. A bit aggressive, even."
"Captain still, Dax? Did you not brag you'd be an Admiral by this time?" Celestine said from my device.
"This... This is no illusion!" Dax let off, gawking. "A... A communications device!?"
"Indeed." Celestine let off. The projection quality was imperfect as the range of the currently installed boosters didn't quite reach her in Ken, but both of us had quality spell stones in our voxluxs so it was still quite clear. "You weren't planning of harming a Princess of Eostia were you, Captain?" She said with a firmer tone then one might think she was capable of.
"O-Of course not, your highness..." He said, chuckling in nervousness now. After all if he could murder us all and sail off with the kid in tow that was one thing... If it had the chance for Eostia to get involved, even if only Ironside and Cauldona's navies, well, that would be a complication to say the least if he was intercepted... Or had his port of call bombarded in retaliation. He had to weigh the cost of killing us and taking the kid and risk every ship Eostia had on the Great Atlas River dog-piling him or following what we said and not cause an incident that could blow himself out of the water. He looked to the device and Celestine then me. "N-no need to worry... We'll co-operate." Likely he must have guessed that Ironside and Cauldona had their own voxluxs and could be called in at a moment's notice... Which, to be frank is a bluff...
Cauldona didn't have theirs yet, obviously, and while we supplied Baron Von Flotte with some most of his ships were still at sea or somewhere downriver and wouldn't be able to be contacted... However Dax here did not know that.
"Good. I'll be calling my people in fifteen minutes." She said sternly. "I expect you'll behave while visiting our realm. Farewell." The projection ended as I set the device away as he hissed and glared at me.
"Men! ... Back to the ship! We're sailing to Port Whitedawn!" He growled out before closing towards me until he was a mere foot away. "Don't feel too smug about this Noxdecus! You've avoided my wrath for now but you be assured of one thing; I'll pay for this!" I managed to not snicker as he pointed a finger right at my face but still gave a goofy smirk as I nodded to him. A few odd giggles came from the pirate girls as his men groaned... Then what he just said finally clicked in his mind before pointing to me again. "You'll pay for this!" He let off, turning on his heel as he stomped off.
"See you in Port Whitedawn Adm-I mean, Captain!" I said, smiling and waving to him as he grumbled and kept walking before I turned and started to walk back to Alicia. Some of the pirate girls were cheering, others helping their wounded or tangled sisters as the knights relaxed, most dismounting and moving to help with the wounded.
"Ugh, that was crazy! What if he hurt you!?" The princess let off as I sighed.
"Well, if it came to a fight I don't think we'd do so well, outnumbered as we were." I said as she pouted but nodded. "Relax Alicia. Let's get things sorted out here." I looked behind us to make sure that, yes, Captain Parus was going back onto his ship with his men, climbing up the ropes to board his vessel.
"Thank you there, land lubber." I turned to see one of the women walk over to me as I noticed Agni move to start healing those who had taken wounds. This woman was about five foot eight or so with small C-Cup breasts. Greenish-blue eyes looked over to he as she gave a small smile. She bore a worn jacket that was open in the chest to show the tops of her breasts and bottom to show case her legs that was a charcoal color with white trim that fell to the knees. It was tattered and with a few holes at the bottom showing it's age and use. Her pants were black with a pair of belts over the left leg, tucked into knee high, brown boots that had the tops folded down matching her brown gloves.
Poofy, white sleeves suck out from under the jacket and fell to about mid-forearm. A belt was over her chest going from the right shoulder to left hip, with white fur over said shoulder. On her head was a black hat of some description; it was like those classic pirate hats with a point to one side and slight opening on the other with white feathers sticking over the top. A series of gold necklaces rested on her chest, one with a blue spell stone hanging off it's center and a thin, black collar. A double belt was about her waist over the jacket with a flintlock tucked over the left hip and a saber at her right hip, suggesting she was left handed. "I am Captain Brava Kincaid. Brava the Blade, they call me. You saved my crew and I owe their lives and mine."
Name: Brava Kincaid
Title: Captain of the Fighting Wench
Status: Healthy, Relieved, Thankful
Romance Rating: 99
Corruption Rating: 21
[Gunslinger] You have the ability to use pistols as a Secondary Weapon.
[Full Speed Ahead] You have a natural feel for ships and how to steer them. All ships you're steering turns faster and take less damage when impacting something.
Former navigator of a merchant vessel she was captured and drafted into the Dominious Navy as a 'pleasure girl', and not a willing one. She took advantage of a mutiny to free other girls on the ship and managed to poison the ale while the fighting was ongoing. Once order was restored the victors drank themselves to death. Claiming the ship as her own she became a privateer to fight against the Empire.
"And I'm Airlie of the Planks... Formerly Airlie Von Harmon. And this is my brother... Brend Von Harmon." The next woman said; the one with wooden limbs... And little clothing... Her hair was down to the waist in wild, untamed waves with nothing but a wide brimmed, black hat with green trim and blue feathers sticking out from the right side. One eye was blue and the left eye was covered in a black patch. Her massive breasts (G-Cup, I think) which had a few wraps of white cloth holding them together and covering the nipples (Barely!), a green vest with yellow trim, green short shorts with the straps of a black thong under it. A black tattoo of a skull with a pirate hat and long knife in it's teeth directly under and between her breasts.
A green cuff with a yellow strip over the right wrist and her right leg bore a green boot with a folded top and yellow trim over a black stocking. A green jacket was hanging off her shoulders; a large, green great coat with yellow trim. A cutlass sat in a sheathe at her right hip along with another for a flintlock (Another lefty, it seems) and a wide, brown, leather belt holding it all up. The most stand out thing about her, as mentioned, was her left limbs. Just above the elbow and knee of both left limbs were missing, replaced with wooded ones. The were rather well made, at a glance, with each finger and joint fitted well. Belts around each limb connected to straps on the remaining parts of the original limbs, with the one at her leg having an additional garter like strap going under the shorts... However the name she dropped was more important.
"Harmon... You're serious?" I let off looking to the child in her wooden arm. He was well dressed for a tyke; some four foot five maybe, once she set him on his feet. He was a black haired child with blue eyes wearing well fitted black pants, a black jacket over a white shirt and small, black shoes over white socks. His hair was short and slicked back, making him look rather adorable, maybe ten to twelve years old now that I had a better look at him. I used Observe on both of them.
Name: Airlie Von Harmon
Title: First Mate of the Planks
Status: Healthy, Calming, Relived
Romance Rating: 101
Corruption Rating: 32
[Gunslinger] You have the ability to use pistols as a Secondary Weapon.
[Silent But Violent] If attacking from stealth double your crit chance
Daughter of Virgil and Hilda Von Harmon the Second, at the age of fifteen she found herself in the middle of a power struggle to unseat her grandmother, Hilda the First, from her throne. She was kidnapped but her 'rescuer' was a mage who let loose a spell that missed it's target and destroyed her left limbs. Left for dead she was found by a small, growing group of pirates and over the course of three years became the ship's first officer.
Name: Brend Von Harmon
Title: Young Royal of Dominious
Status: Healthy, Nervous, Shy
[Quiet Child] You are a quiet one by nature. +2 to Stealth. +2 More to Stealth when all adults around you are distracted.
Youngest child of Virgil and Hilda Von Harmon the Second, he was declared Hilda the First's 'spare' to her own grandson's Larion's heir. Early when the Dominious Civil War rose up he was kidnapped by Salara Von Harmon and held under her 'care'. Thanks to a combination of a disloyal servant, old but able spy and the crew of The Fighting Wench he was removed from the situation by his elder sister, Airlie.
Holy crap, she's telling the truth! She reached behind her and pulled something out with her real hand. "Show them, Brend." She pulled out a small, golden amulet. The Dominious fist in a chained circle with her name on it. Brend did the same, reaching under his shirt and nervously showing off a matching one.
"Yikes... This is a big deal..." I said as I looked to Alicia.
"Agreed... I didn't think we'd stumbled over something this... Sensitive." She said, biting her lip. We both knew 'sensitive' wasn't Alicia's forte. Makoto walked closer and I knew the question on her lips before she spoke it.
"I do not understand; what is so import about these two?" She asked as I turned to look at her.
"The Harmons are the ruling family of the Empire of Dominious." I began as her eyebrows rose in understanding. "And before Empress Hilda the First passed she declared her son, Prince Larion, as her heir and Brend Von Harmon as her spare. This child is then the current heir apparent of Dominious."
"But... Is not the Empire in civil war over who is to lead?" She asked, however this time it was Albert who answered as he came closer on his horse.
"Indeed, but the winner may not have the support of all of her people and nobility." The knight began, looking to the child. "However the pretense of naming Brend a charge, or marrying him to a daughter would give someone like Salara a means to solidify their Right to Rule with the people."
"And it gave his mother, Hilda the Second, a means to support her own claim to the throne when she jumped into the civil war." I added with a sigh. "This kid hasn't hit puberty yet and he's already the ball in a game of politics."
"That's the size of it." Brava said as another one of the women moved to join us. "We were contacted by someone who gave a damn about the lad and had a plan to smuggle him out. Not sure how they caught our scent, but they were on us before we got that far." She added with a sigh. "If it wasn't for the fact that we got out of Salara's territory quickly we might have been boarded or worse sooner. The Dominious Navy has been mostly providing transport and not engaged in active fighting against each other; they're mostly staying out of the war."
"Mostly because no one wants to replace the navy once the war's settled." The new woman said as she joined us. "They've done plenty of damage to the cities and towns as it stands; but the navy is one of the few things keeping other nations from joining in on the havoc." She said as she smiled to me. "Zita the Zeal, ship's navigator, at your service."
She was about five foot six with chestnut hair in a tight braid that fell to her hips and a shorter one hanging over her left shoulder and hanging over the top of her breast. Light blue eyes looked over he as her head was topped by another of those black pirate hats with white feathers, gold colored trim and an eagle emblem on the front. Each hand was covered in near elbow length, black gloves with gold ends and a brass cuff around her left bicep. Her torso was covered by some black, gold trimmed corset over the top of what was a white, halter like top; although with a brass ring connecting the cloth together over the right side of the chest rather then behind her neck.
Her bottoms were tight fitting, black bloomers that showed a hint of camel-toe and thigh high, black boots with brown belts at the tops of them. A dark brown belt was around her waist holding a curved cutlass at her left hip with a flintlock at her right. Finally a silver, heart shaped pendant hung from her neck and a watch or compass in a brass casing hung off her left hip on a chain.
Name: Zita the Zeal
Title: Navigator of the Fighting Wench
Status: Healthy, Calm, Relieved
Romance Rating: 88
Corruption Rating: 11
[Gunslinger] You have the ability to use pistols as a Secondary Weapon.
[Unlimited(-ish) Blade Works] You can use all one handed swords as Primary Weapons.
[Sharp Eyes] You have better night vision and can see though fog easier. +4 to Acc.
An orphan turned ship hand she spent her teenage years learning to navigate the waters and steer ships. However when the ship's captain sold his vessel the crew was out of work. Needing a job she found herself working for an unexpected, new captain; Brava Kincaid on the Fighting Wench. Since then she's proven herself as a navigator and when needed combatant.
I heard a soft groan of wood and rope and looked back. Sure enough the magic set into the mast of the Zelda III pulled it's sails back and, in turn, the ship, reversing it before turning. It wasn't long before wind hit the sail from the back and they started on their way. By contrast the pirate women waited until they were on their way before re-boarding their own ship.
"Indeed." Brava said, nodding to us. "But again, thank you for helping us."
"Don't thank us too hard." I said with a sigh as she looked confused for a moment as Alicia spoke up.
"With all due respects, I wasn't joking; you are on Eostian soil and subject to her laws." The princess began. "In addition we gave our word we'd settle this issue properly in Whitedawn. I apologize but we do have to take custody of the boy and bring him there and we must insist you set sail there."
I could see Brend cling to his sister who started to position herself ahead of him, as well as the pirates started to get aggravated by the words she spoke. Worrying Alicia might say something else too blunt I injected. "We did give the man our word and if we settle things now it'll mean you don't have to assert things later. Also, I doubt there's any issue in one of you providing escort for the boy. I know you guys might not like this, but we do need to be fair to all parties involved; Brend first and foremost." I said as Brava hummed before looking to Airlie who looked back and nodded.
"Agreed. But I would ask that one of you travel with us as well." Brava told us as I nodded, extending my hand.
"Agreed." I said as she took my hand, shaking it. "I can guess who you'll have on escort; we'll take a moment to sort out which of us-"
"You." I blinked, looking at Zita. "I vote you."
"Seconded." Brava added right after. I blinked and started to speak up.
"I'm sure we were the one meant to-"
I felt my eye twitched as the pirates all voted for me as I looked over to Alicia with a twitching eyebrow as Makoto shrugged to me. It was Makoto who spoke up. "I'll come along as well; I am your bodyguard after all."
"Fine." I said with a sigh, looking to Riri. "I want you riding with Brend; you look close to his age so I think he''ll be more at ease with you." I said to the halfling maid who nodded.
"Got it, Master." She replied with a smile and a nod.
Once all the healing was done and the captain had a moment to check on her people they moved to board the Fighting Wench and myself and Makoto joined them, with myself using Levitate to carry her up onto the deck bridal style... To the giggles of the pirates and Makoto's soft blush. I ignored it and set her down before I moved to look about. I never had been on a ship like this before. Soon everything was sorted, everyone was boarded and the ship's sail pushed back as the stones in the mast manipulated the wind. It took sometime for it to fully pull back, the ship sort of rammed ashore after all, but soon she pulled herself out and we were on our way.
I found myself standing near the wheel as Brava herself steered in with Makoto at my side, watching her as I watched the women go about their duties. There seemed to be a few with nothing to do with one getting a mop and bucket; more for something to do then anything else, I think. "Having natural wind is better, but the spell stones makes sure even on a day without a breeze we'll make time." Brava said as I nodded. I relaxed mostly... Until I felt someone press up to my back, hands to my hips sliding down to my ass and gripping it. A perverted feminine giggle sounded as my eye twitched before I decided on my response.
Namely turning and rapping my knuckles on the skull of my groper, firmly. "Owww!"
"Ugh, Pippa, what did I say about groping men?" Brava let back, glancing to my groper who was rubbing where I struck her.
"Umm, don't?" She said as I looked at her.
"Good. Then don't."
"But we're pirates, we go for the booty!" 'Pippa' let off. The woman was five foot ten or so and boasted short, brown hair with a red headband tied around her forehead. A cocky smiled reached green eyes as she looked up at me as she openly looked me over. She wore a white shirt that showed a heavy amount of cleavage for what was at least Double D breasts with long, wide sleeves under a black vest, both leaving her abs bare. Tight, white pants were on her legs with a faint, charcoal images of wings on the front; one wing to each thigh. Black boots with folded down tops ended the general look, save a cutlass hanging off her left hip. "And besides, he's a damn cute lad, don't you wanna see how much treasure his trunk is packing?"
"Shut up, Pippa!"
Name: Pippa Gell
Title: Dirty Daring Darling
Status: Healthy, Horny, Relaxed
Romance Rating: 108
Corruption Rating: 33
[Eye For Men] You can tell what a man is packing, as long as you have a good enough glance at his groin.
[Perfect Balance] You can walk with perfect balance; no matter the terrain, no matter the shoes worn. +5 to Dex & Agi
Daughter of a brothel owner and a prostitute she was expected to take over her father's job someday until an upset wife of a regular customer burned it down with her father in it. After taking revenge she found herself jobless but with good combat training to help ward off unruly customers. She became an adventurer for a time before chancing to meet Brava Kincaid and joining her crew as it's best fighter.
I sighed, shaking my head for a moment as I saw Makoto glaring at Pippa. "If she tires it again don't main her. Just smack her a bit."
"As you wish."
"Hey!" Pippa let off after Makoto gave a curt reply as I looked back at Brava. She was at one of those classic, wooden ship wheels with several handles, eight in this case. What was different from a normal ship was that an extension was next to it with two handles; both with a hand trigger likely so they didn't move unless pulled. As she pulled on one I felt the ship pick up in speed lightly as I looked up; it was clear the handles (Or at least that one) controlled the spell stones in the mast that manipulated the wind hitting the sails.
"If I can ask, Captain, what was your plan if you got away, even if only to a port?" I asked Brava as she chuckled.
"Truth be told, we didn't have a full plan." She admitted as she looked to me for a moment. "We had to make a snap decision to go and get the lad and didn't have a lot of time to plan. What we did have was to get him into Eostia and start finding a way to keep him safe there. Exactly where he'd go, who would watch him or how we'd keep him safe none of us knew; we'd figure that out once the chance came... Or, so we thought." She said with a sigh as I chuckled and moved closer, setting a hand on her shoulder.
"For what it's worth I think you did a better job then most." I said as we relaxed and sailed the river to the east. Port Whitedawn was, thankfully, not that far off.
On Board the DIS Zelda III
"Bloody hells... This is insufferable!" Dax Parus let off as he huffed. He paced the room in frustration. Under his feet was a thick, red, shag carpet. The room boasted a large, king sized bed with lush, red sheets. A dining table was set up made of rich mahogany with the chairs around it given red, plush, overstuffed cushions. A desk was set to one side of the wall with the seat facing outwards with book shelves behind it and on the other side of the wall with raised lips to ensure no book fell out in heavy weather.
A well stocked bar with a magical ice box was kept in one corner of the room and a large wardrobe in the other. Small spell orbs lined the edges of the roof and wall of the room making it well lit until he needed the lights out for the night. On the walls were a series of well made, expensive art; some from well known artists through Dominious' history. The windows were protected with quality spell stones with a reinforcement spell and could be tinted to prevent others from looking in.
Some people could call it a bachelor's pad inside of a warship.
"Capt'n, what are we going to do?" His first mate, Timothy Shields, was a young man; barley twenty years old but capable and smart. He was a short, blonde haired and strapping lad with a freckled faced wearing the usual, black leather gambeson that most of the sailors wore. A lot of good officers ended up moving to other ships as captains, pressed into combat in the army or just deserting when the civil war began and while the ship to ship combat hadn't been common (It was rare, to be frank) there was a lot of nervousness and worry. Across the fleet there was a gentleman's agreement in place; the navy wouldn't engage in combat with other Imperial forces and wouldn't sink one another and they would protect the Empire as best able from outside threats. Timothy while promising wasn't there because of his potential; he was just the best Dax could get currently.
"That's the trick, isn't it?" Dax said, finally moving to the desk and sitting down. From a lower drawer he'd pulled out a shallow, wooden box, opening it and pulling out a half sheet of paper. He sighed deeply as he looked at what he had; a sheet of mana soaked spell paper. It was one of the most expensive sheets of paper in the world; the pulp for the paper was made from special, bred trees from a small grove that was watered with concentrated liquid mana. When the paper was formed into sheets it was washed in highly concentrated liquid mana combined with powdered spell stone. Across it was a coating of ink made from concentrated liquid mana. The end result was a white sheet of paper that would shimmer with a light blue color when in the right light.
All of this was to set on each, individual sheet a spell that would allow the paper to travel towards a destination with a combination of wind magics and other, strange arcane magics on it that he didn't know of. The one, half sheet of paper cost ten platinum by itself. It was not to be used lightly. Worse the small grove of trees used to produce the pulp was destroyed not long into the civil war making the sheets rarer and more expensive then before. Even as one of the highest ranking captains he was issued a mere seven sheets of the paper. They were only to be used in dire emergencies, to call for immediate support to a battle that would see you sunk or if the ship was about to sink. After all the cost was going to vanish anyway if the ship was lost.
That Eostia had a better and faster (Possibly even far cheaper) communications system was worth reporting on alone. That Brend Von Harmon was currently out of his grasp was another. "First I send her highness a report on the situation and our current attempts to retrieve him." Dax said as he huffed, pulling a pen out of a well on the desk and started to write.
"And how do we get him back?" Timothy asked, shuffling on the spot.
"I'm not sure..." Dax admitted huffing. "But Eostia, from what I know, is going to stubbornly stick to their laws and be fair. Biased but fair. As such we have a heroes to get the opening back and Salara back to Empire as boy of the sail!" He said with a chuckle... before noticing that Timothy was giving him a confused look before sighed and speaking once more. "As such we have an opening to get the boy back and sail back to Salara as heroes of the Empire!"
"Aren't they gonna lock the ship down good and tight once we're in their port?" Dax chuckled to Timothy's question.
"Of course, but I have an idea on that..." After a few minutes he was done writing. The penmanship was as fine as he could make it to describe the situation he was in, the new Eostaian communications device and what his current chances of escaping with the prince were. Once the ink had a moment to dry he began to fold it into what he and others called a 'paper bird'. Those from another world would call it a paper airplane. He walked to the window and opened it looking to the paper in his hand once more. "Dragana Palaca, Security Office." He said before throwing the paper out the window. It took two seconds but soon the spells woven into the paper kicked in; the sheet's magic soon set wind under the paper wings and lifted it high into the air, a soft light coming from it as it flew off to the last location the paper heard from the one who held it. Shutting the window he huffed and moved to his desk and sat down.
It took a few hours but we would arrive at our destination, although we ended up watching the rear end of the Zelda III for most of the way to Port Whitedawn. Celestine had indeed called us; starting with Alicia then myself. That led to a conversation of the voxlux and the booster installation. Brava was laughing once she caught on that Cauldona and Ironside ships weren't equipped with them (Yet) and that I bluffed Dax. The Zelda III went into dock under flag of parley and once I had arrived I was tasked with explaining the situation. Alicia and our overland contingent arrived some hours later and we were all off to Castle Cauldona with Brava, Airlie, Zita, Pippa, Dax and three Dominious naval officers with us.
Port Whitedawn, like Port Blackstone, had the horseshoe shaped 'A' to the city walls, although the outer ends extended out a hundred or so feet into the water and curved in slightly. In term of buildings and structures it was a mish-mash, not unlike Blackstone with the only real difference being a more notable Greco-Roman infulence. And like Castle Ironside next door Castle Cauldona boasted two walls of it's own, inside the city walls near the wall by the harbor. The main differences was that all of Whitedawn's city and castle walls were white washed, the inner keep was square and boasted two smaller keeps right next to it connected with short walls and the tops of all three had a wooden roof to them, high enough to use siege weapons with ease but still guard anyone there from the elements. As usual for these things the banner for the local ruling house, House Abhainn in this case, was over the keep's door.
The shield banner reminded me, in shape at least, of a police badge; two dips on the top of the shield with a slightly lowered center point compared to the outer points, the upper corners going down to the sides at a forty-five degree angle before curving in as it went down, curving back out a bit further as it kept going down before curving back in and curving out to the bottom point. The outline was a thick, gold color with a dark blue background and at the bottom was a yellow wreath around a large, gold ring. Inside the ring was a light blue bottom to look like water with a splash in the middle with the rest of the section being white. Finally at the top of the shield, over the ring and wreath was a pair of sailing ship silhouettes, both in white.
The presence of pirates and Dominious officers raised more then a few eyebrows and made the guards at the keep both confused and worried. I talked with Alicia and we agreed the best thing to do was for myself to go inside ahead of everyone else, explain the situation and ensure everything went as smoothly as possible while she Riri kept watch on Brend, mostly Riri as looking as childlish as she did I imagined it would put him more at ease. This led me to meeting the former (And currently Acting) Baroness, Maya Abhainn. She was a very lovely lady standing some five foot four with black hair down past her shoulder blades and kindly brown eyes and a single mole under the left eye, under the far side. Maybe F-Cup Breasts in a dark blue dress that was tight around the breasts and loose under it... For good reason. Legs were in white stockings with her feet in black shoes and white, bridal style gloves up to the biceps.
The notable thing however was she was quite pregnant. I didn't know how far along from sight; six to seven months maybe. I wasn't sure. She nodded along as I explain things. "I see, I see." She let off, sighing. "What a time to be holding down the fort..." The reason an older, pregnant woman was leading the Barony at the moment was, simply put, all of her of age children were off doing something; one was a naval captain, one was in the Eostian Royal Guard and stationed elsewhere, one on a honeymoon and the Baron himself was in Camafran talking about trade, mutual defense and other politics. The general thought, apparently, was Maya wouldn't have to do more then act as a figurehead, sign the odd paper, maybe make a speech at most and delegate all tasks to someone who wasn't carrying a child in their stomach. I honestly felt kinda bad for dropping this on her...
Name: Maya Abhainn
Title: Mother of Cauldona
Status: Healthy: Pregnant, Calm, Surprised
Romance Rating: 99
Corruption Rating: 7
[High Fertility] You get pregnant easier then normal and giving birth is less painful. +1 to all Stats of all children you give birth to
[Aura of the Mother] You have a motherly aura and your scolds and praise have more of an effect on people.
Former Baroness of Cauldona and mother of (Soon to be fourteen) despite not being married, she is of the belief that a woman's ability to nurture and give life should be praised and she wishes to bear and raise as many children as she can. Rather then marry she offers favored men the right to impregnate her when she's ready to have another child. She has since passed the Barony onto her eldest son, Allen, but still assists as an advisor and, if needed, Acting Baroness.
Thirteen children? Seriously!? The term 'Baby Factory' applies here... Still I did my best to ignore that aspect. "I apologize for dumping this at your feet, M'Lady." I began to speak. "But given the situation and the politics about it I think we need a fair judge and a hearing. Someone as impartial as we can get, given the... People involved."
"Yes, a Dominious Captain on one side and a group of pirates on the other." She said with a sigh, rubbing her baby bump. "Neither are the most popular of groups, really." She added as she looked up, tapping a foot to the floor. "I think I know the man for the job. He has a reputation for impartiality and fairness, even when it goes against his own values or believes. He's also quite the stud. Ahhh, it's too bad he's married now..." She sighed wistfully, her smile going a bit goofy as she looked upwards with a bit of a far off look to her eye.
"Oh, sorry... Where was I?" She let off as she snapped out of her thoughts, shaking her head for a moment. "Ah, yes. I'll arrange for the hearing to start in the morning. Guard! Bring everyone in, will you?" She called out to the guards inside the door, one saluting and moving outside to speak with everyone waiting. Soon everyone started to come in, the Fighting Wench crew first, the Alicia and my party with Riri escorting Brend and finally the Dominious contingent. Maya curtsied as best as she was able to, given the situation. Really, my uncle always used to say 'nothing uglier then a fat woman, nothing lovelier then a pregnant one'. It was hard to argue with him. "Welcome to Castle Cauldona. My son is away on business so I, Acting Baroness Maya Abhainn, will be arranging the hearing to decide what is to be done with young Brend Von Har-oooooooooh, he looks like a sweet little lad!"
I gave her a look as she looked at him, hands clasped together with an overly large smile. Alicia gave her a loo-okay I'll save time, we all gave her a look. "M'Lady..." I let off as she blinked and coughed into her hand, smiling and blushing softly.
"Forgive me... I adore children. Ahem." She said composing herself. "The hearing will be arranged to decide what is done with young Brend with as much fairness and impartiality as possible. As such I shall appoint Judge Alexander Iustitia to oversee the trial. He is well regarded and impartial. In addition both sides are advised to find legal advisors to help navigate Eostian laws in this regard." She then turned to Captain Parus to speak directly to him. "In your case I would advise you seek a legal advisor in the northern, business district. While most lawyers will be... reluctant to deal with you and yours there are Zenith lawyers who operate in Whitedawn to help settle disputes between foreign and local business and traders. Most will have a Zenith flag hung outside of their establishment, so they won't be too hard to find."
"Thank you, M'Lady, for the suggestion." Dax replied with smoothly. "In spite of this... difficulty I am helpful to see such a lovely history take such things into peoples and be so woman despite the unfortunate glad of our consideration." Once more looks were given, this time to Dax as, as one, we all said the same thing.
He seemed to realize that he utterly misspoke (Again) and sighed. "I meant to say that I am glad to see such a lovely woman take such things into consideration and be so helpful despite the unfortunate history of our peoples."
"We endeavor to be fair. That being said..." Maya turned to look at Brava as she sighed. "You may have a... Harder time, finding a lawyer given the... nature of your profession." Brava sighed as she moved her hand to her hips.
"We've a Letter of Marque and-"
"I am sure you do." Maya said, lifting a hand for a moment as she cut her off. "And I'm sure some Eostian noble or representative signed it. However Letter or no you are a pirate or at least will be seen as such. As such seeking council may prove difficult and you may need to rely on other routes for legal advise; someone who is educated in the laws of the land, even of they do not practice law themselves."
"That would mean the higher educated sort." I said, crossing my arms over my chest as I thought. "So a noble, some knights, upper class merchants and maybe someone in the clergy."
"I see..." Brava said as she looked to Airlie then to Zita and finally Pippa with each of them nodding as they were looked at before Brava looked at me. "Right, you're hired."
I nodded for a moment... Then the words hit me. "I beg your pardon?" I let off as I blinked and looked at her.
"Like she said, snooty type lawyers will turn us away before we step foot into their places." Brava said with a shrug. "Meanwhile you've been pretty good to us, seem sharp enough and you're a noble so you know the law, right?"
"Right, but that doesn't make me a-"
"James would do pretty well I think..." Miria let off as she thought, arms crossed. "He's always been the smart one."
"I don't think-"
"I know I'm of more use in a fight then a debate..." Alicia said as she cupped her chin. "James is better then using his head then I am, I have to say."
"Even if that's the case, I-"
"He's been good at outsmarting people now and then." Riri added with a proud nod. "Like with Mandeville."
"Well with that I could-"
"Shut up and accept the job James." Aeris said with a sigh and roll of her eyes. "I doubt you'll talk your way out of it."
I groaned for a long, long moment... Why me?
"Very well then!" Dax let off with a haughty grin, smirking to me. "I'll see you all in court!" He let off as he turned about and stomped out of the keep's door, his men flanking him as I sighed and looked to Brava.
"I guess I better brush up on the laws then and-"
"Ah, excuse me..." I turned my head to see... Dax poking his head back into the keep's door, waving from behind the door. "Apologies but... Can we borrow a horse and carriage for a spell?"
Northern District of Port Whitedawn
Offices of Cerda & Jabali
"I see your conundrum here..." The person across the desk from Dax said. The office was cozy and furnished with rich, dark stained furniture and many, many bookshelves. One of the few things of note was the Zenith flag hanging over the top of the window behind the speaker; the flag's edge was a gold line inside of a black line inside of another gold line followed by a dark blue background. Each side of the flag was dominated by a white, feather quill in the upper section but it was the center that drew the attention; three men colored black and outlined in gold holding up a wire frame globe, with the 'wires' being gold with a black center with the globe itself being yellow.
Sitting behind the desk was a pig man in a white suit with a black shirt under it. Despite his girth he seemed rather fit and wore a monocle over his left eye. "This is not the type of case I usually take on, but seeing as Dominious and Zenith has had good trade relations for sometime I am willing to apply myself if you wish."
"Thank you, Mister Cerda." Dax said as the pig man smiled, his white tusks shining softly.
"Please, call me Lodo in private, Captain Parus. Now, onto the matter at hand." Lodo Cerda said as he reached under his desk int a drawer and pulled out a sheet. "Before we do business we need to talk about payment; I'm not running a charity here and while I don't question your integrity, well, I've learned to either get paid up front or collect collateral before doing work with sailors is all I'll say." Dax blinked ad him before Lodo shrugged. "Too many sailed off without paying."
"Ahh... Fine. I sort of expected something up front." Dax said, waving to one of his men. He nodded and brought over a large, leather pouch. It was set on the table, opened and slid out a box with gold and silver coins."
"Good, good." The pig man said, nodding as he took twenty of the gold coins and set them into his desk then ten more, holding them up. "This is the collateral. You get it back if you lose and if you come back thirty days after the trial, I keep it if I win." He said before setting the coins away. The box was slid back into the pouch and taken away. "Now; let's discuss the case at hand. First thing you need to remember; don't bring politics into the court."
"But this is a political matter." Dax said in protest as Lodo waved his hand.
"In Dominious it is a political matter." The lawyer said sternly. "Here it is a case to be reviewed, looked over and debated. The judge will be concerned about one thing over all else; what's best for the child." He said, leaning in over the desk. "To win that's what we focus on. Not the political, not the relations between nations but what's best for the child. Our argument needs to focus on the idea that sailing off in your custody is what's best for him, so let's start with life at Dominious for a royal..."
Once things were hashed out with Brava and her crew I went off and installed the booster before returning to the castle to first show the local commanders how to use the voxlux and giving them thirty of them. Normally I'd give out ten but given the proximity to Dominious and the ships they'd need to outfit with them I gave both Cauldona and Ironside triple the amount. Maya was quite thankful of it all... And paid for twenty more for 'personal use'.
Speaking of, custody of Brend was relegated to House Abhainn. Maya was more then interested in looking out for him, but since she had a child in her own belly she had two maids joining in (Both combat trained, as Observe told me) and I had Riri helping out as well. Unexpectedly Maya opened her home to the Fighting Wench crew, or at least the four on hand. Of them three stayed; Zita was sent back to the ship to both retell what was going on and to assume command of the crew until further notice. Airlie, of course, stayed and did what she could to hang out with her brother.
Meanwhile I was hitting the books. Well, that wasn't unusual for me, but it was not a book on enchanting this time but law. I ignored the parts that didn't matter (I didn't need to know the details about how to argue a murder case, of course) and focused on laws focused on custody, laws involving children and so on. In addition Aeris was in the room as well going through a book of precedents on custody cases. That was most of the time spent before and after dinner before calling it quits as the evening came. I was in my quarters, relaxing a bit with tea and my flute until a knock came to the door. I set my flute down and looked to the door. "Enter." I called out as it opened, Airlie stepping in, turning her back to me as she shut the door. She was without her jacket at the moment as she looked back to me and walked over. "Can I help you?" I asked as she chuckled.
"Ah, you've done a lot of that recently, eh?" She let off, smiling to me for a moment. "I just wanted to thank you. You stuck your neck out for us, and while I'd rather take my brother off somewhere I do understand why you're all doing it this way." She said as something rattled softly. I nodded and smiled back.
"Well, I try to do the right thing... For better or worse and... Is your hand shaking?" I said as the rattle became to much to ignore as I looked to her left, fake hand. It was shaking like that one section was suffering it's own little earthquake.
"Ugh, it always does that..." She said, grabbing her fake hand with her remaining real one. "It acts up now and then. It's annoying, but I don't let it bother me much." I hummed and took the wooden forearm in hand as I looked over it, moving my other hand along the wood a couple inches away as I used my magic to scan it. I found the spell stone controlling it near the connection of the stump of her arm and the start of the prosthetic. "Couldn't get a real enchanter to help; just some student willing to take coin under the table."
"Yeah, this is... Lack luster." I moved my hand down to her wooden thigh, humming a bit. "I mean for a student it's better then it has any right to be, but it's not good. Hang on." I said as she blinked at me, watching as I moved to where I had my things. I pulled out one of my enchanting books, some small tools and the bag of spell stones. "Give me your arm, I'll see what I can do." I said as I sat down, pulling out a few stones. I moved them about on the desk as she gawked at me.
"Are you... Are you serious?" I nodded as I focused on the stones. Finally I found two that would do, pulling them aside and putting the rest of the stones back into the bag. Once she realized that, yes I was serious she sat down and reached up with her hand as I opened my book to the right section. Quickly refreshing what I needed to know I nodded as I started to enchant the stone. I focused solely on the stone for a long, long moment. It glowed softly as I worked on the crafting the right spell and inserting it to the stone. I didn't know how long it was, five to ten minutes maybe. Once done I smiled and looked back at her. Her wooden arm was off and I gently took it, looking into the top of the arm to the cavity her stump fitted into. I saw the stone in question and with some pliers I pulled the fitting out that held the stone in place. I replaced it with my stone, pushed the fitting back into place and made sure it was secured before helping her strap it back on. "Well?" I asked as I saw her arm flex and move as she gasped.
"Ah, gods. This is... Ohh, wow..." She said, smiling. "This is... This is much better... It almost feels natural." She said as she smiled. When I asked for her leg she didn't hesitate; she pulled it off as I worked on my next stone. I replaced the old stone with the new one, made sure the fitting was secure and helping her put it back on. She would stand up and hop on her fake leg and smiled warmer. "Bloody hell lad... This is amazing!" She said before hugging me hard, arms around my next and her heavy breasts squashing to my chest as I held her hips for a moment. She trembled a bit as she sniffed.
"I'd offer help with the eye as well, but I don't have a large enough spell stone to act as a replacement." I said, patting her hip softly. As she pulled back I chuckled. "If you do find one large enough, come find me. For now I think we'll need to hit the pillows soon." I said my smile fading a bit. "That will be the real challenge. Until then, mind if I ask you a few things? And do you get to see your brother in the morning?"
Maya managed to arrange the hearing in record time for us (I imagined from various people to run messages, given her condition) and both sides filtered into the court. Lines of benches were on two sides of the room with a raised podium for the judge to sit at the front. Two guards stood on either side on the desk as light came in from the window. In front of the lines of benches were two, long tables with seating. I ended up on the left hand side at the desk at the front with Brava and Airlie by my left side. Behind us was nearly the entire crew of the Fighting Wench, seated and chatting quietly as we waited for things to start. Yeah. Apparently only four of the Wenches were at the ship to guard it, but otherwise it was the full crew. Additionally Alicia, Miria and my party sat behind me.
In the benches on the other side was a bit of a mish-mash; a half dozen Dominious sailors were present (Given the state of Dominian/Eostian relations that was all that was even allowed off the Zelda III) plus Dax at the desk ahead of them. A handful of Cauldona citizens and military (Army and Navy) sat there as well, but the bulk of it seemed to be the upper crust; minor lords, merchants and bureaucrats. My guess was that a showdown featuring Dominious facing off against Pirates was too good a show to miss, even if it was by watching Law and Order: Eostian Division.
The opposing council was a pig man in a rather nice looking suit; from Zenith by what I knew.
Name: Lodo Cerda
Title: Lawyer From Zenith
Status: Healthy, Collected, Confidant
[Objection!] You are very vocal when you need to make an objection. +2 to volume in court when objecting
Born to two Zenith merchants, Lodo had no real sense for trade and deal making but had a mind for law and rules. Becoming a lawyer he plied his trade and eventually moved to Eostia to help represent the interest of his homeland's trader's and patrons in the foreign land.
Finally the judge entered the room from the front of the room from a door in the side; likely an office or the like. He stood about six four and was broad shouldered but seemed to have a slight limp to him. Sharp, blue eyes looked over at us and deep green hair was tied back into a tight, shoulder length ponytail. He wore a black, knee length great coat that was closed and buttoned with four, large brass buttons on the right side of the chest. Over the left side of the chest was a badge symbolizing an Eostian Judge; a thin white ring and a second ring just a bit larger of the same thickness. Inside of it was a set of white, weighing scales with a sword on one scale symbolizing justice and punishment and a stylized flower on the other symbolizing mercy and understanding.
One of the guards tapped the butt of his spear to the floor, a rounded, wooden block there specifically to be knocked onto and echo into the room. "All rise!" The guard bellowed as everyone stood up. "The case of Dominious Captian Dax Chernyy Parus v Crew of the Fighting Wench shall now be heard; Judge Alexander Iustitia presiding!"
Name: Alexander Iustitia
Title: Judge of Eostia
Status: Healthy, Calm, Collected
[Fair and Honest] You give your judgments as fair and as honestly as you can based on what you know.
[Firm Mercy] You prefer to give mercy when possible but you will always punish the unjust.
Son of a knight his fairness and impartiality was noted as he rose in the ranks of the Order of the First Light. It was suggested, after taking a major leg injury, to become a judge in the courts as he had studied law in his younger years. Since then he became a well know and well trusted Judge of Eostia.
Judge Alexander sat down and the guard tapped the butt of his spear to the block once more. "Be seated!" He called out as Alexander shuffled some papers about.
"Alright then..." Alexander said, picking up a set of round rimmed glasses and set them on his nose. Unlike my old world (Based on what I remembered) there was no opening statements given. Instead he looked at us for a moment. "The conflict stands as such. The Crew of the Fighting Wench claims to be rescuing Dominious Prince Brend Von Harmon from his great aunt Salara who is fighting to be named Empress in the ongoing Civil War. Claiming custody over the boy is Airlie Von Harmon, his sister and the Fighting Wench's first mate. On the opposing side is Captian Dax Chernyy Parus of the Dominious Navy, claiming the boy was kidnapped by the Fighting Wench's crew and that Salara Von Harmon, the aforementioned great aunt, is the rightful guardian. Is this an accurate description of both side's main arguments?"
"Yes, Your Honor."
"Yes, Your Honor."
Lodo and myself let off as he nodded. He looked to us before speaking. "Given the situation I will be saying this. Each side will be allowed to call upon two witnesses to testify. Given the nature of the situation there is little evidence to consider so we will accept what can be verified but only accept it if it has a direct impact on the testimony of the witnesses. Additionally if Brend Von Harmon is to be called to the stand I or another of my choosing will ask the questions, although both sides may give me questions to ask the lad via letter. Finally this case will be settled tomorrow, one way or the other. Now, Lodo Cerda. You may call upon your first witness."
"Thank you, Your Honor." My legal opponent said as he stood up. This is a much different way of doing things then my old word (From what I knew of; I didn't practice law beyond watching TV shows like CSI and Law and Order) and I'm sure most lawyers, prosecutors, judges and more would have a headache at it but this wasn't my old world, this was Eostia. "For starters I shall call upon my client, Captian Dax Chernyy Parus, to the stand." Dax stood up and adjusted his gambeson before walking to the stand with a slight bit of swagger before sitting down; said stand being next to judge on his left. Lodo stood up as I watched the pair. I had an idea of what I wanted to focus on but I needed to see what they had up their sleeve to see what the best approach was. Once Dax was on the stand Lodo nodded and started to pace before the stand slowly. "Let us begin simply; introduce yourself briefly so His Honor and the court knows who they are dealing with." Dax nodded himself and started to speak.
"Very well. As stated, I am Captian Dax Chernyy Parus." Dax said smoothly, smiling as he leaned onto the front of the stand. "I am sure I would have made Admiral but you know... Civil Wars have a tendency to disrupt things like that." If I had to guess it's because the navy had mixed loyalties and the admiralty were likewise mixed. Chances are they'd defend the whole of the Empire while letting things play out and pledge loyalty to the winner. "I have served on a merchant ship from ages fourteen to sixteen before signing up for the Dominious Navy. I was offered officer's training as I turned eighteen, Marine training when I was twenty and was promoted to Lieutenant when I turned twenty-one. I reached the rank of Captain when I hit twenty-seven. Since taking command I have defeated seventeen opposing ships and have sunk six of them." I wasn't a navy guy so if that was a good kill list or an okay one, I couldn't tell.
He would give a few other details; most of it humble-bragging a bit. A lot of it was irrelevant but did the job of establish his career in brief. It didn't take Lodo to get into the real questions. "Can you tell the court, to the best of your knowledge, how a group of, well, pirates got a hold of someone as close to the top of the line of imperial succession as Brend Von Harmon?"
"Well, to be honest I only have so much information but we were betrayed by someone, a yet to identified servant, who took him and passed him to a traitorous spy who carried him to the port of Zeldagrad." Dax began as he sighed. "I don't know who arranged this whole affair, if it was the pirates or someone else, but he was abducted from his great aunt and carried off all the way over here."
"What standard of life did he have before he was stolen away?"
"The best." Dax answered Lodo before rocking his head side to side for a moment, as if thinking. "Well, the best under the current circumstances; there is a civil war disrupting everything at the moment, but even then it a comfortable life befitting a royal. Proper food, education, servants, bathing and entertainment. I have heard he is quite the piano player." Dax said, as if boasting about the boy's accomplishments as if he was his own son; I wasn't sure if it was in a bit of patriotism or as a means to get sympathy for his position.
"And where he was living, was it near the front lines or was the fighting away from the front?"
"Away, Castle Stal'naya Tsep to be specific." Dax said, looking up. "It's in the south west of the Empire and a fair distance from the fighting; Salara's capital is Kinzhalgrad, at the opposite end of the territory she controls. Even if the Castle was set to siege I doubt any side would put him to the sword."
There was a bit more of this back and forth. Mostly on the boy's health, assurances he'd be safe, that Salara was a loving woman and so on and so on.
As I recalled Prince Larion, the rightful ruler as named by the previous Empress and his grandmother Hilda Von Harmon the First, was a decent enough guy. Maybe not the ruler his people needed but still a vast improvement for them. His Uncle Peter was a more complicated case; much more firm and traditional and mostly joined into the war after it started as an excuse to enforce his idea of Dominious on the people. As I've heard he wasn't going to be a vast improvement over his mother but not a backslide either.
In that regard his sister, Hilda the Second (Brend's mother) was another 'not good but not bad' choice as a ruler based, again, on what I knew. That said she's supposedly thrown the rules of war out the window in the civil war so I could be quite wrong; wouldn't be the first time. The again 'Rules of War' and 'Dominious' are not known to go hand in hand. Salara, by contrast, was known to be the worst of the lot. Supposedly she liked to engage in 'interrogations' (Read: torture) herself as often as possible and directed various parts of her armies to rape her foe's women to make a point.
Then again, if the rumors were true, Hilda had done much the same complete with two or three mercenary orders under her command being ordered to have as much 'fun' as they wanted. Peter (Once more, based on what I knew) didn't tell his forces to engage in such, but didn't stop them either. Larion might have been the most controlled; he ordered no Dominious citizen to be raped by his men. Although that would mean any non-citizen was fair game...
War sucks. Doubly so in an Empire that treats the rules of war as a suggestion.
Eventually Lodo was done and I stood up, walking towards Dax who gave me a bit of a grin. I kept as calm a look as I could as I nodded to him slightly. "Hello once more Captain. I trust you've been treated fairly since your arrival?" I asked in a cordial fashion.
"Yes, yes, quite." He said smiling in a slightly smug fashion.
"So, would you care to speak of the little prince's kidnapping?" I began as he gave me a confused look.
"I just did."
"No, not that one. The one before it." I said, people in the stands whispering softly as I spoke. "After all while Salara is his great aunt is it not Hilda the Second who is his mother?" I said stressing as his grin faltered a bit. "Where was he before the civil war began?" His look shifted giving me a glare before I spoke up once more. "And do remember, of the list of people I can call upon to testify includes the local Spymaster and I can call upon his reports as evidence; I'm sure you have a fair bit of knowledge from yours on Eostian nobility and their doings." I added the last bit in as a means of intimidation to get him to speak the truth. I had taken the time to get a hold of said Spymaster and enough of the relevant reports to show to the court, if needed. He sighed as his grin faded.
"He was in the Imperial Boarding School outside of the capital... Gold Point Academy, we call it." Dax admitted.
"And as a Dominian Royal he would have had a bodyguard detail; at least two to four men depending on the situation, correct?" I asked as he nodded and replied in the affirmative. "Tell me then; how was it that Brend Von Harmon was not immediately returned to his mother straight away by his bodyguard as the Civil War began?"
"I'm not privy to the details, but if I had to guess they were redirected." Dax said shrugging. "All I know is he ended up in Salara's care."
"Was Salara Von Harmon the first one to attack Crown Prince Larion Von Harmon, thus sparking this war?" I asked him as I moved to my desk, opening a folder I laid on it and withdrew a few sheets.
"Yes, to the best of my knowledge." Dax answered as I held up a sheet.
"I spoke with the Spymaster this morning and asked him for his reports on Gold Point Academy in general and Brend Von Harmon in particular, what few reports were there on him anyway." I said, turning to look to Lodo. "May I say to my opposing council that I would not wish to endure this job as long as he had." A soft chuckle filled the room as I looked back to Dax. "Based on the report this is what we know..."
After listing the date of the events I began in earnest. "Assassins, hired by Salara Von Harmon attempted to kill Prince Larion. Larion managed to hold off the four men until bodyguards and palace guards could respond. Salara, an hour later, launched a siege of the capital. Possibly a case of bad timing that there was an hour's time differences in this. There was much fighting in the capital and an attempt to take the Imperial Fortress."
"Objection!" Lodo let off, surprisingly loudly (Even knowing of his trait) making me flinch as he stood up. "There is no reason to reiterate the start of the Civil War in a case based on custody of Brend Von Harmon!"
"If I may counter-" I began, looking to the judge. "The events of the Dominious Civil War directly influences the current case and circumstances. It would be like speaking of the Dominious Conflict of Nine-Ninety-Eight and ignoring the Red Pox that came before it." Knowing the judge was both educated and a former knight I had to guess he knew that event in history.
"Hmm... Indeed, context to events is important. Objection overruled." The judge let off, nodding to me. "Continue."
"Thank you, Your Honor." I said as Lodo sighed and sat down. "As I was saying, they attempted to take the Imperial Fortress. However while Salara's generals and commanders maintained the siege she herself retreated to the city of Kinzhalgrad... With Brend Von Harmon in her possession already." A bit of mumbling came about as I spoke it up. "In fact, the Spymaster's reports suggested that half of Brend's bodyguard betrayed the other two and smuggled him off to Salara Von Harmon." I said moving to pass the sheets to the judge who took them from me. He began to read them as I looked back to Dax as I stood before him. "Tell me this, Captain Dax; based on your illustrious and quickly rising career what reasons do you know of that would have Salara kidnap the lad and not allow him to return to his mother?"
He squirmed bit at my question. I had him on a spot because the answer was obvious... and damning. "Well she is still his great aunt, surely looking out for family is enough of a reason."
"I see... And for the record Brend Von Harmon is, pre-Civil War, next in line for the throne of Dominious, correct?" I asked him as he replied in the affirmative with a nod. And then I dropped the real question. "In the Imperial Line of Succession what is Salara's placement?"
There was silence. Lodo didn't pull a Phoenix Wright on me this time; he knew he'd be overruled right after he brought it up. "Errr, well I'm not sure I can say exactly..."
"The Illustrious Captian Dax Chernyy Parus, nearly Admiral Dax Chernyy Parus isn't aware of the Line of Succession to at least the first five?" I let off, pretending to sound amazed.
"Oh, like you know the first five heirs for Celestine!" Dax barked back at me with a huff.
"First Prince Gerald Roisage, Grand Duke Samuel Fiorire, Alexis Roisage, Kindroth Silverglade and Paeris Silverglade." I listed off after only a brief moment of thought. Dax looked at me shocked before gritting his teeth. "In addition, according to our reports the list of Dominious Succession is as follows..." I said, giving a brief pause to let Dax squirm as I tried not to smirk at him. "After the death of Hilda the First it went to Prince Larion, then Brend with Hilda the Second as regent until her son was ready to rule. Following him would be his mother proper, then Larion's Uncle Peter Von Harmon. After him came Verrion Von Harmon, Dominique Von Harmon, Kul Hammerhands, Welsh Axecraft, Vladus Nablyudatel, Richard Van Vussel, Kincaid Van Vussel and Dmitri Van Vussel. That is the top twelve members of the line of succession for Dominious with almost every member of the Harmon family a part of it... except one and her children and grandchildren." I said firmly as the mutterings started in the stands for a moment. "Now, I repeat the question; where in the Imperial Line of Succession is Salara's placement? Because I do know and I can tell everyone for you."
That brought the room to silence for a long, long moment as Dax squirmed. Salara was the one he was loyal to so admitting this would hurt. "...Salara Von Harmon due to... regrettable circumstances was... Well... removed from the line of succession." There was no gasps. No sounds made. Silent shock as the stands stared at him.
"And the chances of the people of Dominious accepting her a Empress is going to be rather low, even if she has a sizable part of the military loyal to her, correct?" I pressed on as he squirmed... But nodded to my point. "As such to ensure she's in control of the throne she'd be better off presenting herself as a Regent, correct? And what plan did she have for him beyond that or do I have to tell the court that as well?" He was really squirming now and a glance back to Lodo showed him frowning with his arms crossed giving his client a look. "Well?"
In truth I didn't know exactly what Salara's full plans for Brend was but I had some guesses. Salara had two daughters who were older then Brend (I wasn't sure of their exact ages beyond one was in her early twenties and the other in the late teens) and two granddaughters given to her by her eldest son (Again, not sure on the exact ages... But I knew both were young enough to still be in diapers) and she could marry Brend to any of them. All of whom were not in the line of succession like Salara herself.
After a long moment Dax finally spoke up. "She planned to have him... Married to... ... Ugh... Natasha Von Harmon..." He said as I sucked in a breath.
"And how old is Salara's daughter? Brend's cousin, correct?" Dax nodded and groaned in annoyance.
"...Twenty-four..." He said after a moment.
"So it would be fair to say, then, Brend's use to Salara is as a political tool?"
"Objection!" Lodo let off as he stood up as I smiled to Dax.
"I don't need an answer, Your Honor. No more questions." I said as I walked back to the desk as I heard Lodo groan. It was the groan of someone who knew he was in an uphill struggle; let's be fair it's not that he's an idiot, he just has the odds stacked against him because of the situation.
I just wish I had a mic to drop.
When I was asked to call for a witness my choice was Brava Kincaid. It was a calculated move; as while Brend's sister story and position as family would be great at winning sympathy from the Judge for our position there were downsides that I had to consider (Aside from being a pirate); there was a risk of Airlie loosing her temper, missing two limbs could have given her a bad perception (Regardless of the reasons that they are missing) and Lodo could spin giving up her life of luxury for a life of piracy as a means of proving her unfit to look after Brend (Something that was our biggest weakness). Brava, by contrast, was calm and relaxed and much more professional looking (Well, for a pirate anyway) and knew all I needed told anyway.
As I questioned her on the stand I got her to introduce herself, including her time as a sex slave (They were called 'Pleasure Girls', but it amounted to the same thing) and how she ended up like that, how she got her ship and how she focused on targeting Dominious shipping and smuggling weapons, goods and literature to rebellious elements in Dominious. Then I had her explain how she found a crippled and de-limbed Airlie and nursed her back to health, why the Harmon woman stayed with them and how she worked herself up to First Mate.
Questions then moved to discussing the events of how they came into rescuing Brend. They were contacted by someone who name dropped Brend. They assume they knew who Airlie was guessed she was more then willing to bring Brend out of Dominious and someplace safe. I took a moment to ask the Judge that the people involved in bringing Brend to the Fighting Wench not be named and despite an objection the Judge agreed. This wasn't after all, a chance for Dax to get information on who betrayed his liege. Their orders were simple; get Brend to Eostia and out of Dominious where he would be used as a political tool or bargaining chip if he remained. I also asked if hurting Dominious was part of the reason she and her crew pulled did the mission and she said Brend came first but hurting Dominious was a good side benefit. I asked this question because I guessed Lodo would press Brava on it and while this would undermine my point a bit but it prevent Lodo from using it as a crack to jam a figurative crowbar in to pry something apart.
Sure enough when it came time to cross-examine Brava my opponent's questions on using the job to go after Dominious weren't part of it. He still tried to trip her up during the questioning, implying she might have been paid when she was held as a 'Pleasure Girl', implying she raided villages and towns as well as fishing boats, that she smuggled in drugs and like. Brava, to her credit, kept calm and made sure what she said was clear and concise. Lodo pressed on but I never had to shout an objection as Brava held her own.
I kinda wanted to shout Objection... With the finger pointing pose too...
For his second witness Lodo called upon Valter Shepot, a Dominious ambassador in Eostia, to the stand next. The focus for Lodo was life of the nobility and royalty in Dominious, their quality of life, education, training and so on. When he gave me a look I knew he was worried; again Lodo isn't an idiot and he's not bad at his job... But he had an uphill struggle. It was like pitting an expert, seasoned knight with the finest lance and armor... And pitting him against an average hunter with an AK-47, grenades, a flame thrower, an LMG and enough ammo to satisfy a Texas Wedding Celebration.
I then promptly proved Lodo right by asking the Ambassador about the life of the average citizen of the empire, about the last major rebellion (That took place four years ago, although it was put down quickly... And nearly got Prince Larion killed) and moved to talk about the political backstabbing in the Imperial Court (Because when you get enough nobility and royalty together there is going to be political backstabbing; Eostia had it as well just... Not as bad) and I pressed him about a nearly forgotten scandal. Thanks to Observe I knew this scandal is why he wanted a post outside of the Empire... And chanced on the right button and got him ranting for a few minutes, at least until he got a bit too off topic and prompted Lodo to object as he gave me a bewildered look, as if question how could have prepared well enough for this witness to know what buttons to push.
I knew Valter coming to the stand was possible but my ability to prepare for him was limited; if it wasn't for Observe it wouldn't have gone as well as it did.
Then it was my time to call the final witness. I pulled out a folded letter from my folder and tapped it twice to the table as I stood. Lodo groaned as he looked to me. My guess was he knew which witness I wanted and prepared for the possibility. And if he was good at his job he knew what I could ask and did his best to prepare a counter... But I think he was caught off guard by how well I was doing in court.
Having a mother who loved her Law and Order in a previous life was proving it's worth, I guess. "I would like to call Brend Von Harmon to the stand." I said calmly. The judge nodded and turned to one of the guards with a gesture. The man saluted and walked off out of the court through the door at the back. Lodo opened his letter and spoke in whispers with Dax; likely quickly going over any last minute additions or ideas to add in. Lodo and Dax looked to me as I looked calm and collected, not unfolding my letter at all. Lodo stayed calm as well but Dax started to sweat and hiss something to Lodo who gave him a firm look and hissed something back. I had Dax off balance, at least. Soon the doors opened with the guard walking back to his post. Following him in were six soldiers; one walking in the front, one the rear and two to each side. In the middle of them was a maid from Castle Cauldona leading Brend in by the hand.
"As a reminder there will be no questions asked of this witness by anyone but myself." Judge Alexander said firmly. "There will be no objections. I will not ask off topic questions. Now, would the Councils of both sides submit their letters; assuming both are ready." I moved right away to the Judge, setting my letter on his desk before returning to where I came. Lodo and Dax spoke in hushed tones for a moment more but soon the letter was refolded and brought to the judge.
Brend was soon seated on the stand and looked about. He tensed up a bit at seeing Captain Dax but relaxed a bit more as the six guards moved to stand before the stand (Three to either side of him) and the maid patted his shoulder softly. As it turned out Airlie was able to speak with him in the morning and I had asked him (Through his sister) if he would be willing to take the stand and if he could be brave as he spoke. Both answers I got back were yes; hence why I was willing to place him there.
"Good day to you, young Brend." Judge Alexander said softly yet with a hint of firmness; a fatherly voice I'd call it. "Are you willing to answer the questions asked of you by this court today, truthfully and to the best of your ability?"
"Ahh, y-yes sir." The young lad said with a nod. The Judge nodded in turn and unfolded both letters and took a moment to read them. After a moment he asked the first question.
"Tell us of your daily life back in the Castle, before you were taken to the ship?" The Judge asked calmly.
"W-well..." Brend began, gulping softly. "U-usually the maids would wake me up early, get me washed and to breakfast... The the tutors would come in and teach for a f-few hours... They're stern, I guess..." He said shivering. "Except Mister Veldale. He, um, would always smack the b-back of my hands with a ruler if he felt I wasn't acting 'proper'." A bit of muttering came from the stands but a wave of the judge had them calming down quickly.
"How often do you see your great aunt, or any other family members?" Alexander asked him next.
"Uhhh, not often. Just... Natasha, really. Salara is often away trying to work but Natasha keeps trying to..." Anything else he had to say was lost in a storm of soft muttering as I looked to him worried.
"I'm sorry, child, I didn't hear you."
"...She touched me in... Weird places." A lot of gasps and hisses of surprised came from people in the courtroom. A glance over to my opponents even showed me Dax squirming and I don't think he knew about it from his reaction, let alone how bad this made his side look. "She kept saying I'd need to g-get used to it for the... w-wedding."
"Hmmm..." Judge Alexander said before looking to Captain Dax. "Captain Parus, what is the age of consent in Dominious?"
"Err, well your Honor..." The man said standing up and giving a brief wave, clearly uncomfortable. "There really... isn't one." You could hear everyone in the court shift to look right at him in shock. "Err.. To be blunt the only requirement is marriage and there is no age restrictions. I couldn't assume why this is but what I have heard suggested is that people would be smart enough to... Figure it out on their own... More or less..."
That Dax was this uncomfortable with the subject suggested that there was more to it then he was letting on but I don't think even he full knew the story behind it.
I'm not sure I want to know.
(I would eventually look it up, weeks down the line. As it turns out various Emperors and Empresses in the Empire's history did in fact add an age of consent into the law. Then someone following them would lower or remove that age of consent because of 'cultural reasons', pestering from nobility and/or 'religious reasons'. Eventually it was decreed By Hector Von Harmon there would be no age of consent however in replacement both sides must have been at least past puberty; citing that both cultural and religious needs were met by it. Some nobility still complained. Then they stopped. Turns out it's hard to complain without a head.)
A few other details were given, but what he just said was what filled the thoughts of the room. "What do you remember of your sister, Airlie, before you were separated?" The Judge asked next.
"We played a lot." Brend let off, a hint of cheer to his voice as he looked to the judge. "She looked out for me and told off the tutors if she felt they were overworking me. I... Thought she died years ago and I had a hard time remembering her face at the time, but once I saw her again I knew it was her." He took a moment to think. "I really missed her."
I could almost hear Dax's teeth grind as more questions were asked to Brend gently and prodded him for answers slowly. It was for the most part an inquiry about his life in Dominious, the various Harmons around him and how he was treated. There was some trying to prod him into talking well of Dominious but the boy just told the truth as he saw it to be. If anything the questions were backfiring on the opposition. Again I could see Lodo hold back a groan; things were not going well for him.
Dax had a more interesting reaction; he looked thoughtful. Odd speech quirk and cockiness aside he wasn't an idiot; I had to assume he walked in here expecting to not win in court. Which begged the question...
What was his next move going to be?
Once the testimony was done Brend was escorted away by the maid and the guards. The Judge dismissed us and told us when we would return to Court to receive the judgment.
On Board the DIS Zelda III
Dax hissed as he stormed into his quarters, Timothy on his heels as the man grit his teeth. Once the door was shut he finally spoke. "God damnit! Why did brat disgusting have to worse it so daughter on make!? This is have! That she thorn let her hell defend him like that is what, even I can't molest it! Horrible I don't better damn in the landed we could would done side! Accursed that cuntry our! He's been a Noxdecus in our know since we Empress in this us hard!" Dax let off as his first mate blinked at him.
"Errr, sir... I didn't get any of that." Dax took a moment and groaned once he realized his odd verbal quirk had popped up once more.
"I said: Why did our Empress have to make it so hard on us!? This is horrible! That she would let her daughter molest him like that is disgusting, even I can't defend it! Worse I don't know what in the hell we could have done better! Damn that Noxdecus brat! He's been a thorn in our side since we landed in this accursed cuntry!"
"Well what do we do sir?" Timothy asked as Dax huffed... As he heard his window open likely triggered by an approaching message. He turned to look at it...
And had paper bird fly directly into his left eye. "Ahhh, Gods damnit!" He let off, covering his eye and rubbing his palm over it as the bird hit the floor. Sighing he bent over and picked it up, moving to the desk. Once the pain in his eye faded he unfolded the sheet to read it.
To Captain Parus - From Imperial Salara Command via Empress Salara & General Vadar
Report understood. Rumors of new com device has reached us. Yet to retrieve one but matter
of time. Unaware how far it has spread. Adapt as able. Advisory; Boy's location known to other
ships. Zelda III may be intercepted or boarded by other forces in war. Hilda ordered all ships to
blockade. Advise to find other ship to transport. Spy in castle. Will use signals to contact you at
dusk. Will inform of best time to be ready to sail. If spy does not show with boy assume failure.
Get Boy if able. If unable remove boy. Value too high to end up in other hands. Moving Victory
and Horned Toad to support. Additional: Kill Noxdecus heir if practical. Possible future threat.
Best removed now if able; Boy more important. Pirates unimportant; remove if they block.
Avoid Eostian Navy if possible. Return as quick as able. Mission must be completed despite
odds. Failure cannot happen.
End of Message
"Figures..." Dax let off, sighing as he set the letter down on his desk, huffing. He leaned back in his seat, rubbing his chin with a thumb. Timothy moved to read the letter as Dax took a moment to think. Even if he wanted to escape via his own ship that would be difficult; the Cauldona Harbormaster demanded thick, heavy chains to be used to moor the ship to the dock which couldn't be cut easily or quickly. Additionally he knew at least one (Likely more) of the guard towers were keeping watch on the ship for anything suspicious. Making matters more annoying the end of the dock had a gate making it almost impossible to get to another ship, let alone fight his way there. That wasn't to say he didn't have options, however. "Timothy; tell the Marines to get combat ready. Under the decks, of course." Standing up he moved to the windows of his quarter's in the ship's aft, looking out to another slip of the dock to another ship. "I may have an idea..." He let off with a grin.
Port Whitedawn Docks
Slip Housing the Fighting Wench
As stated at dusk the message came. The message originated from the tallest tower at the end of the wall extending into the river that doubled as a lighthouse. Not from the top of the tower but from a window in the middle. Morse code spelling out a time and asking if he understood via a dull, green light from the palm of the sender. Tapping his boot to the deck Dax replied his intention of what he planned to do. That led him to this moment.
The Imperial Marine Corp had been a part of the Dominious Navy for over eleven hundred years. Originally they were little more then light infantry stationed on ships for the purpose of ensuring discipline, putting down mutinies, fighting boarders or boarding themselves and even fighting on land. Like many things, however, over time the Corp evolved, changed and assumed new roles. And early in his career he had the opportunity to train with them, learn their techniques and condition himself alongside them. And much of that conditioning had been on what he was doing now; swimming.
Six hundred years ago a batch of Marines took over a ship in Camafran by boarding it from the river, using stealth, unconventional tools and means. Chokers with spell stones offering a spell to let them breathe water. Boots with dual, curved spikes in each toe and grips with curved spikes designed to bite into wood. Dark blue gambeson that made it hard to see them in the water at night with spells woven in to ensure warmth for the wearer. As he reached the pirate ship he'd chased down the river two days prior he planted his spiked tools to it, climbing up slowly. Besides him fifteen Marines did the same as he did, climbing up the side of the ship. Their sheathes were lined with rubber to dampen any sounds of rattling metal making their ascension nearly silent. Dominious ships often had a hidden hatch near the water level making it easy to get into the water with minimal noise. Once high enough he peeked onto the deck of the ship and looked over it.
Taking a long moment to be sure that no one was going to walk in he climbed over the railing, onto the deck, moving low as he looked about. His Marines followed him in a likewise manner as he moved to the gangplank. There; four pirates were at the bottom acting as sentries. Lax training or discipline prevented them from having two at the top of it as well. Or maybe they just felt they could get away with it being in a 'safe' port. He lifted a hand and made a gesture. Eight marines moved to position, each pulling out a blowgun and loading a dart to each and took aim. Two men each took aim on one women each and as one fired.
Almost all the darts hit their target and the women spent a moment confused before one by one collapsing without a sound. Dax smiled and moved to nod to the ship doors, moving with his men down blow decks. Timothy was ordered, if possible, to get the Zelda III to sea once they were away but he wouldn't be surprised if they were unable. Sadly the ship was an acceptable loss. He just hoped that his crew, his sons, wasn't lost with it. A sweep of the ship was quick but concise. No one was on the ship; the women who made up the crew was likely in some bar somewhere.
"Alright. Get the ship ready to sail. Leave two ropes to the dock but fray them enough to make them easy to cut." He let off smiling and giving a grin. "We'll set sail as soon as the boy is here. Fredrick, prepare the back up plan. Everyone else, you know what to do!" The Marines gave a salute and moved off to do their work. Sixteen men was a small crew for a Brig like this but it was doable. Getting it back to Salara's territory in west Dominious was another problem however...
That would be a welcome challenge, however.
He imagined that the spy would travel with them; after all it would be hard to hide involvement of this level. He moved to the deck, moving low once more as he moved to the wheel, kneeling behind it to avoid being spotted. Given how dark it was it was unlikely they'd be noticed; that there was only a half moon out limited the moonlight. Still, no sense to take chances. Soon he saw him.
A figure in a black cloak carrying a bag sling over his back; if one looked closely the bag was squirming softly. Dax grinned but felt it falter slightly. On the one hand his mission was closer to becoming finished. On the other hand he did not envy what the child would go through once back in Dominious. The man stepped over the bodies of the unconscious pirates and moved to board the ship moving right to the wheel and opened the back.
The scared face of Brend Von Harmon starred back at him, a gag in his mouth.
He looked to his men and he gave a motion to point at each with two fingers on one hand. The mooring lines were cut as he took the controls and pulled the lever to fill the ship's sails with wind from the stones in the mast. He turned the wheel, fully intent to get the ship away from Port Whitedawn as quickly as possible. He turned the ship, starting to move it past the lighthouse as he tried to press the brig to it's limits. "We're away! I think we've done it!" Dax let off as his men gave a brief, but modest cheer.
It was too early to really celebrate, after all.
Brend was pulled from the bag, still bound and gagged but stood up by the spy; a middle aged man who was a bit portly but clearly able. Dax always loved the feel of a ship's wheel in his hand and had sailed at night often enough to handle it. He smiled wider. "Off and away we-"
And then a ball of frozen mana struck two of his men at the front of the ship, causing them to cry out as one's left side was frozen and one's body from the neck down was iced over, both falling over. Before he could react a burst of wind blew another man off the ship and over board. He turned the ship towards the tower to hug along it as he looked about to find the source of the unseen attack. "Hell did in that where the from come!?"
"I think you mean 'Where in the Hell did that come from'." He heard... just before several figures landed on the deck at the bow of the ship from the air, having flown from above the ship. Landing on the deck was some teal haired woman with a toned body, a blonde elf in green standing on a floating staff, a blue haired Catalan who pulled out dual hand axes, the pirate women with the wooden limbs and two people he could recognize off hand.
Alicia Arcturus and James Noxdecus.
"Impossible!" Dax shouted out, gritting his teeth as he moved around the wheel and down from the bridge to the deck, glaring at them as the spy pulled the young Harmon's back close to him, the remaining Marines moving to flank their captain. "You couldn't have known we'd do this!"
"As a matter of fact, I had a feeling you'd pull something." The heir of Mungale replied simply as he drew his rapier.
Quarters of James Noxdecus
"Kidnap!?" Brava let off as she sat on my bed. I had asked her, Pippa, Airlie, Zita, Alicia and my party to my room to talk; only Albert wasn't here off dealing with his own thing. "How?"
"I don't know myself, to be sure." I told them as I leaned into the window frame. "But I expect Dax to try and pull that. There are ways for him to contact Salara; none as quick and reliable as the voxlux but I imagine he's been able to send and receive at least one message. Given how abducting Brend was one of the first things Salara did when the Civil War started up I expect Dax to pull a stunt to grab him under her orders; even if I don't know what exactly. Brend is too valuable a political tool for her to not do it."
"...I'm forced to agree." Alicia said biting her lip as she tapped her chin, sitting on the chair at the desk. "And while I don't think Dax is in a position to abduct Brend himself that isn't to say Dominious doesn't have a spy loyal to Salara in Cauldona who is." She said as I looked to her and nodded... Even if I was surprised that she was one who brought it up. Then again she was on hand when Halbert decided to go turncoat. I didn't know her as well as I knew Prim but I got the idea she didn't take betrayal well.
"Okay, let's assume that Dax or someone allied to him is in a position to kidnap him." Miria said as she crossed her arms, leaning into the wall besides me. "What do we do about it? I mean, you have a plan, right?"
"Well, not a full plan." I admitted with a shrug as I looked to Riri who was seated on the desk near Alicia. "But I do have a couple of ideas to counter such a plan; if we can get Maya on board with helping us." I said holding up a hand. "If I'm right we can nip this issue in the bud. If not then we worry for nothing and laugh about it tomorrow."
Airlie lifted her false hand up, flexing it, open and closing it before moment frowning for a long moment as she looked at it. "Okay." She said before looking to me. "What do we do?" She asked me.
I smiled and nodded, lifting a hand up with one extended finger as I started to lay things out.
I gave Dax a small smirk as I pointed my rapier at him. "I kinda hoped we'd just spend the night chilling out and that I was just being paranoid, but guess I was right in the end. I set a small tracking spell in place and once I felt it approach the docks I knew what you were up to. You've failed, Dax."
"Have I now?" Dax said, huffing and looked down his nose at me. He reached up with a hand and snapped his fingers. "Spy. Blade to the boy's neck." He said as the man was pulled a dagger out and set it to the neck of 'Brend'. "My orders are to see the boy home to Salara... Or kill him if it's impossible. I'd rather take him alive but I have my orders... So if you would politely surrender..." Dax was caught off guard as I chuckled lightly at him. "What's so funny?"
"You think I'd expect your little move and then just let you bring the boy onto the ship?" I let off... Just before the spy cried out, finding a long knife jammed into his wrist before a second slammed into the underside of his skull by 'Brend', Dax turning to look at him in shock as the spy hit the deck, dead. Then a small ring was pulled off a finger of the boy as the figure shimmered revealing that it wasn't Brend who was brought aboard but Riri under an illusion. "Brend is still in the castle... Asleep and unaware of what's going on out here." Two of his men turned to face Riri as Dax sighed, shaking his head and looking back to me.
"Touche. I hate to say it, but touche." He said as he drew his cutlass, pointing it to me. My vision shifted closer to his face as he sneered in my direction, the usual boss music starting to pick up. "Men! I'm about to have a duel with this brat! Keep the rest off me, would you!" He said before my view panned back to show him off in full with his weapon still aimed at me.
_Captain of the Zelda III_
Dax Chernyy Parus
My vision returned to normal as I smiled back and used mana I have been quietly drawing into my off hand and threw a Hammer of Smite right at his head; a spell he would cleave in two with a vertical strike of his blade before charging at me Aeris took to the air, Alicia moving to one side to attack the opposing foes, Ur'Akara assisting her as Airlie and Agni moved down the other side. Riri was pressed to fight the two soldiers but wouldn't be alone for long with Aeris soaring over to assist her.
At least one of the men charging Riri was a magic user, seeing as lightning coated his saber, but I was forced to focus on Dax as I called the shield spell on my glove's stone out, blocking his first strike as I used Focus Punch to try and deck him with the D-Guard of my rapier. I was caught off guard as his off hand grabbed a dagger at his hip in a reverse grip and blocked the punch with the flat of his blade but I transitioned into a downwards slash before sliding back. He followed with a quick, light swing and followed with a stab as I used my weapon to deflect his to the side before jabbing at his chest myself. He deflected the attack in turn and moved to lock blades. I allowed it as he lifted his off hand to stab but leapt back as he saw my open palm pointed to his chest. He was clipped when I used the Gale Burst spell to blast at him with a wide shot of air but stayed on his feet, spun with the impact and swung hard at me as I slid back... And yelped, leaning my head to the side as I felt his dagger graze my temple was it was thrown.
Although bleeding lightly I was unhindered as I sidestepped his next attack as he drew something else into his off hand; it was small enough to hide in his fist, whatever it was. I blocked his next swing with my blade, deflected a stab, parried another swing and waited for the right moment... Which he gave me as he thrust his weapon once more. This time I slid in, leaning over to let his blade slide in the space between my torso and left arm before clamping down hard with said arm once his wrist was between the two and used Focus Punch one more; slamming the D-Guard between his eyes this time and rocking him. I punched him a second time, nearly making him fall with my grip on his trapped arm being one of the things keeping him up. I let go of his arm with the third punch as he fell back and hit the deck on his back, groaning as he shook his head out. I stepped on his right forearm as I set my rapier to his throat as he regained his senses. His eyes widened as he glared at me but I could see some respect in his glare. "Surrender." I said simply and calm as he looked about.
Alicia and Ur'Akara had killed three men with three men leaning on the railings for support. Agni and Arilie had three corpses and one still living man backed up to the railing. Riri and Aeris had dispatched and killed two men and moving to reinforce the others. Dax looked up at me with a chuckle. "He he he... No." He said showing me what was in his off hand; now pinched between his thumb and forefinger; it was an object the size of a marble and could best be called two halves of a glass cube with a small, glass pillar holding the two together and slightly apart. It was further set into a small, glass cube with a single open side with one of the halves stick out of open side. It looked like a small button or switch...
Or rather a trigger! A trigger made from spell orb glass! He squeezed the trigger between thumb and finger; the pillar broke as the two halves squashed together...
And the back of the Fighting Wench exploded in a massive fireball, making it rock in the river as I nearly fell off my feet, staggering back. Rather then attack, Dax moved to his feet and dashed to the starboard side of the ship, leaving his weapon behind as he leapt off and into the water. The four survivors likewise jumped off the ship and into the water as the ship started to list hard to one side with the bow slowly lifting up. "Bastard! He must have planted a bomb on the powder kegs!" Airlie let off loudly. "We... We have to get off the ship!"
"Let's go!" I called out, as everyone gathered together. Riri jumped on my back as I grabbed Alicia and Agni by the hips as they held onto me as I used Levitate to lift us up; much like how I carried them (Sans Riri) to the ship. Ur'Akara jumped onto Aeris' staff behind the elf, arms around her hips as she lifted up, Airlie grabbing the staff with her hands as she lifted up as he moved back to Port Whitedawn and up to the lighthouse...
Meanwhile, behind us, the Fighting Wench sank into the river of the Great Atlas with the carved, bloody and smiling wooden woman at the ship's nose still grinning as it sank under the water...
10 Dominious Combat Marines x 140XP=1400XP
4 Dominious Scout Marines x 140XP=560XP
Dominious Magical Marine=160XP
Dax Chernyy Parus=1250XP
+20% Dark Horse of Eostia Bonus
Gain 4044XP Total
Achievement Unlocked: Dominious Defeated
Won your first encounter with Dominious Forces
Achievement Unlocked: You Are A Pirate!
Worked alongside pirates!
Achievement Unlocked: Sea-Man
You fought and won a battle at sea
Despite little time to rest we were back in court the next morning. Reports on what happened reached the Judge, Acting Baroness Maya and the pirates. For the first two it was a case of frustration and annoyance. For the last it was a source of sorrow; they just lost their ship. Supposedly divers with Aqua Breath enchantments were going to help recover some of their belongs but it didn't change that the Fighting Wench was at the bottom of the river now.
Lodo had Timothy Shields, the Zelda III's first mate, beside him who looked rather nervous. He had a lot of reasons to be. The Zelda III tried to cut the chains binding it to the dock to escape but failed and because Cauldona guards were watching it, well, the soldiers in town swarmed to the docks in short order. They realized how bad the situation was and surrendered without a fight. Their fate was yet to be decided.
"Alright, we all know what happened last night." Judge Alexander Iustitia let off as he looked over us. "And while I won't take it into consideration for the judgment I think we can say that it doesn't do the Dominian case any favors." He said before looking before to Lodo. "Would you care to present a final argument?"
"Ahem." Lodo said standing up and moving to stand before the judge, bowing slightly. "While my client has... caused issues to say the least, I will remain professional until the end and represent his position. In that regard I need to remind you that Brend Von Harmon is a Dominian Royal, a member of House Harmon. As such his destiny is tied to that nation. Perhaps that destiny is not with Salara herself but it is with Dominious. The boy must go back; perhaps to his great aunt Salara, perhaps to his mother Hilda, to his great uncle Peter or his uncle Prince Larion."
He paced slightly as he spoke, hands moving behind his back. "These pirates may have his interests in heart but not in deed. He must go back to his people, learn to lead and rule them and take his place among them. After all, it's not like we can trust his upbringing to... Pirates... That is not my choice, his choice or even this court's choice; it's what must be. Thank you."
He moved back to his seat as the judge called on me to speak as I stood and moved up to speak now. I looked back at Arilie for a moment and shrugging. "I will admit, my opponent isn't fully wrong." There was a few whispers in the court as I started to pace myself. "Brend Von Harmon is a Dominian Royal. That attachment cannot be cut by anything. The truth is blood ties are blood ties. However..." I let that hang in the air as I smiled softly.
"However that's the start of the story. Not the entirety of it." I said as I kept pacing. "There is more to a person then where they are born or whom they are born to. My sister was born to Catalan tribe. Her blood came from the southern plains... But her home is in Mungale... With House Noxdecus. Not because she is family by blood, but family by love and binds of loyalty. Brend Von Harmon's blood hails from Dominious. But it doesn't need to be his home; doubly so as the Empire is in turmoil, locked into a deadly Civil War... And as second in line for it's throne and as a young boy he will be made into a political chip. To be bargained, used and played in games of power and blood. To be married off, abducted, held hostage, bred, used and chained by duty and crown. I do not think this is in his best interests. And while I admit his sister will be unable to raise him fully when out of port-"
And now it's time to end my final argument. "-that isn't to say we cannot find someone to act as his guardian, to raise him to adult age here and raise him well. To give a good education and upbringing. To give him martial training to defend himself and become more independent. To have visitations by his sister to ensure he will not lack for love. And when he comes of age he can decide where his place is on his own terms. To return to Dominious and take his place among their people... Or... He can find a new family; not of blood alone but of love and loyalty. He can find a new place in Eostia and it's people or other lands, if he so chooses. I believe it's best that he be allowed to choose his path and not have it chosen for him. Thank you." I said as I moved back to my seat. Lodo sighed and shook his head with a shrug.
"Well then, there is but one choice for me. I had an idea of my judgment but not what to do with the lad." Alexander said with a sigh. "This is the Court's judgment in regards to Brend Von Harmon." He said as he looked over the room for a long moment. There was silence for a moment as everyone waited for the words to come. "He will not be returned to Dominious." The pirate crew sighed deeply with small cheers and cries of joy as one of the guards tapped the butt of his spear to the block. It took a moment but soon everyone calmed down. "Brend Von Harmon will be given to former Baroness Maya Abhainn until either he turns eighteen years of age or a better guardian can be found until that age. Furthermore no visitation by Dominious royalty or nobility shall be permitted until such a time as the Dominious Civil War is brought to a conclusion. Dominious Ambassador Valter Shepot may have one supervised visitation a month to assure the Imperials that he is being well cared for." That was a surprising addition, but I agreed with it; no need to risk manipulation.
However the Judge wasn't done yet. "However we must now deal with the actions of Captain Dax Chernyy Parus." Timothy gulped loudly in the otherwise silent room. "In attempting to kidnap Brend Von Harmon from custody he broke the laws of Eostia as well as showed an excessive level of Contempt of Court. While Captain Parus is either dead or alive and out of our reach we shall need to punish him in another manner. The Crew of the DIS Zelda the Third shall be sailed to a Dominious port safely and without delay to territory held by Salara Von Harmon. As for the DIS Zelda the Third it's command and operations will be transferred to the former crew of the Fighting Wench; Captain Parus' actions cost them a ship therefore he should provide them with a ship in replacement." He picked up a gavel and slammed it to a block on his podium. "Court dismissed!"
"What a ship!" Brava let off as she opened the doors to the Captain's Quarters of the Zelda III. She squeed and turned about as I looked around. Along with us was Arilie, Zita and Pippa as we looked over... Ummm...
A floating bachelor's pad, by the looks of it. "Nice place, but might want to redecorate..." I mused looking down. "Shag carpet, really?"
"Heh, it's a weird charm but could use a sprucing up." Zita said, hands on her hips. I opted to go with them to the ship after the Dominious sailors were forced off and the pirates took stock of the ship. The others were off doing other things; shopping, training or the like. I reached into a pouch and pulled out two voxluxs.
"Arilie." I called out, the woman turning and seeing me with a soft gasp as she saw the items. I moved closer and passed them to her. "Here. Give one to your brother. The range isn't unlimited, but from Zenith to down along the Long Drip you should be able to talk to him clearly. I'll teach you how it-ooof!"
I found myself hugged hard, her heavy breasts pressed to my chest as I hugged her about the hips. "Thank you... Thank you so much!" Before I could say anything else she pulled my lips down and kissed me, deep and firm as she pushed her tongue into my lips. She groaned into my mouth as I let her enjoy herself (I was enjoying it as well, to be honest) but I had to break the kiss eventually if only to get a good breath of fresh air. I only got a moment to catch my breath before my head was softly taken by Brava and turned to face and finding that she was now topless with pink nipples on display, although inverted ones; both nipples looking like they'd been pushed down into themselves and stuck there with the tips poking out; it was a new sight for me but before I could think about it for long I was kissed firmly by the redhead for a long, long moment, gasping as that kiss broke.
"Ah, ladies..." I let off before a fully nude Pippa pounced on my, kissing me deeply as I saw Arilie stripping herself off as Brava took her pants off from the corner of my eye.
"The Fighting Wench might be under the river..." A nude Zita said with a chuckle as Pippa broke her kiss, the navigator pulling me to her with a chuckle. "But her crew pays it's debts. One way... Or another..." She said as I was pulled into the forth kiss in a row. As Zita deepened it I could feel Arilie press herself to my back, Brava to my left and Pippa to my right.
"Alright ladies... Time to pay a debt here..." Brava let off as four sets of hands moved to pull off my clothing. I wasn't going to resist; honestly all four were lookers and I wasn't going to complain. Once nude I was gently led over to the bed and we half crawled/half fell onto it as I was pulled into another kiss with Pippa as I ended up moving over top of her. Someone (I couldn't tell, but I think Zita) was reaching behind me and stroking my cock in a downwards manner, like milking a cow's teat (That's an odd image to have in my head now) for a bit. I could feel another arm down there and given Pippa's moaning someone was toying with her sex as well. It wasn't long until I was hard enough and my cock guided down to Pippa's waiting sex. She was wet as I sank into her, the both of us groaning out as I started to rock into her.
Zita moved to lay next to her as my kiss broke and a new one between Pippa and Zita began, the pair sucking on each other firmly as they started to make out. Zita cupped her breasts as I started to rock down deeper into her. I groaned as she moaned under me, her wet walls squeezed down on me as I glanced to the side, seeing Brava and Arilie making out with Arilie on her back, and each one grabbing the other's breasts. Zita would kiss Pippa's cheek and roll off the bed, moving to her own clothing, pulling something from it. I didn't pay that much attention; I was a bit occupied.
I moved my hands under Pippa's legs and re-positioned her into a mating press, slamming myself down into her and groaning over her, shuddering deeply as she moaned louder into the room. I started to pick up speed and force, ramming deep into her core, groaning deeper and louder over her as Pippa panted and mewled under me from the efforts, gripping my biceps tightly as she rocked her hips up into me as best as she could in her current position. I adjusted my legs mid-thrust as I rammed harder and harder into her as I got closer and closer to my peak. She was the first to cum and hard on my cock, myself following right after as she cried out and I groaned deeply as I pushed ejaculate up into her. I pulled out as Pippa laid of her back, panting softly. Zita moved back to my side and held up a small, corked vial of cyan liquid; it was as thick as a light syrup.
"He, he, he... As part of a thank you we made sure to get a little stamina potion." The Navigator said smiling to me. "Just in case." I of course used both Observe and Detect Toxin on it, just in case. It was as advertised and I shrugged, undoing the cork and swallowing the liquid. It wasn't much, really barely one mouthful so it wasn't a big deal. Zita moved herself before me, positioning herself on all fours, presenting herself to me. Not passing up the chance and my erection still stiff and hard as I moved behind her as I pressed into her waiting sex. "Yeaaah, there we go, that's what a girl needs!" She let off, rocking herself back into me as I held her hips firmly as I rammed into her. I moved a hand to give her a crisp spank as I groaned over her, getting a moan in return. "Ooooh, yeah... So deep..." She let off as I started to pick up my pace. She wasn't joking about that potion; I felt like I could go all night if need be.
I reached over her and grabbed her braid near the base, slowly and firmly pulling it back as she hissed then moaned out as I picked up my speed, groaning over her as I panted and watched her ass ripple as my pelvis slapped into it. She didn't seem to mind the rough treatment so I picked up my speed, groaning out louder over her as she mewled before me. I did my best to ram myself fully into her each and every stroke into her sex with my cock. My grip on her hair and hip was tight, pulling herself onto me as I let ourselves enjoy the mutual pleasures of sex.
It wouldn't be too long until Zita came as well, moaning out as I came for my second time as I pulled her into me hard, the potion helping me produce the sperm to fire up into her womb. As I finally let her go and withdrew from her sex Pippa pulled her on top of herself and kissed her deeply. I decided to strike while the iron was hot (And my cock still hard), moving to Brava and Arilie; Brava was straddled over the other woman's hips, her nipples being suckled upon and pulled fully erect and out of their inverted position. I pushed Arilie's legs opened and pressed myself to her sex as she gave a surprised squeak as I pushed into her. I pushed her legs open, holding them with my hands; thankfully her false, wooden leg was smooth and wouldn't deliver splinters to my hand.
The first mate moaned but into another woman's breast as I rocked into her, pulling her legs together slightly as I slapped my pelvis to her own. Once I had my range of motion established I rocked into her hard and fast, groaning as she gasped into her captain's nipple as Brava pulled her lips to her, looking back at me with a smile, shaking her hips at me for a moment. I have Brava a brief smack on the ass which made her yelp for a moment then giggle and smile as I rutted her first officer.
Despite being girl number three and orgasm number three I was still going strong, unlike back with the bathhouse girls. Then again my sexual stats were higher now and I had the potion helping as well. I felt like I could do them all thrice over and picked up speed on Arilie, groaning as I thrust in and out of her wait, tight sex. Finally I buried myself into her as we came at the same time, shuddering over her for a long moment. I cast Minor Heal on myself as I re-positioned to Brava's sex now; I could take a break once this was done after all. So I press into her hard grabbed her hips and pulled her onto my cock. She gave a pleased yelp followed by a long moan as I thrust into her hard and fast, giving the captain what I gave her senior crew just before her.
I sucked in a breath as I worked her sex over and over, groaning as I shivered harder over her, panting deeply as she panted in turn. Brava rocked back into me in turn before pushing up, pressing her back to my chest. I grabbed her breasts softly, pinching her stiff, hard nipples as she reached behind my head with one arm, rocking back into me as pulled free and joined Zita and Pippa in their little bit of fun. I wondered why they weren't piling on me a second time but just assumed they were giving Brava her moment to enjoy herself.
Our hips moved in sync, pulling away and pushing to each other in time as she turned her head, kissing my lips firmly as we moaned into the other's lips. My thumb and finger plucked her nipples for a long, long moment as we worked to pleasure each other with our genitalia and doing a damn good job of it. Soon I was groaning into her lips as I came and came hard as she squeezed on my mewling into my lips as we rode a mutual climax; my cock pumping another load up into another pussy. We stopped moving as I held her on my cock as I took the moment afforded to me to catch my breath and relax between bouts of sex.
Or so I thought.
"He is rather hung, huh?"
"Is it my turn?"
"I wonder if I'll get pregnant?"
I stiffened and turned my head as Brava giggled; at some point the door to the quarters had been opened and a series of half dressed, slightly dressed and undressed pirate women were inside the entrance watching us with various body types, hair and eye colors and more as I looked at them. "Uhhhh..."
"Let's hope that the potion works as advertised..." Brava quipped as she kissed my cheek. "Because everyone wants to thank you here."
I was afforded none.
Brava Kincaid=100xp x 5 First Time Bonus=500xp
Airlie Von Harmon=100xp x 5 First Time Bonus=500xp
Zita the Zeal=100xp x 5 First Time Bonus=500xp
Pippa Gell=100xp x 5 First Time Bonus=500xp
Albertina 'Dazzling' Derrington=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Rubie 'Silver Teeth' Bryce=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Lee 'Cranky' Seth=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Hildur 'Shadow' Stanton=100xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Abbie 'Treasure' Labyrinth=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Ora Sykes=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Madge 'Blunderbuss' Wheatley=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Alva 'Shark-Eye' Rumlar=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Kattie 'Harpy' Seth=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Missy Nunnally=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Madaline Zelroth=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Georgianna Grendel=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Bertrade The Joker=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Ulrika The Subtle Slice=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Crescent 'Swashbuckler' Hitch=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Lavina 'The Marked' Dutch=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Julie 'Lady' Noire=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Birtie 'The Banished' Smithies=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Nelle 'Bashed' Gotham=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Angela 'Rigger' Whiteley=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Margie 'Grommet' Ridley=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Margarita 'Cranky' Shell=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Marjory 'Two-Dagger' Edge=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Lessie 'Scales' Rudge=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Lala 'Golden-Eye' Petrik=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Jennie 'Tidds' Chester=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Eldora 'Beastly' Yulis=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Thea 'Hex' Nebula=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Wilhelmine 'Cranky' Dawson=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Juana Coxswain=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Janette 'Rambling' Royal=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Donie 'Grin' Huckabee=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Darlene 'Hard Brass' Vance=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Zelda Jinx=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Meta Crash=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Myrtle Crain=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Gracie Zell=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xp
Elta 'Seawolf' Shelby=75xp x 5 First Time Bonus=375xps
Multi Girl Bonus=10 x 42 Girls=420xp
+20% Dark Horse of Eostia Bonus
+1 to Dex, Acc, Mnc, Agi & Mag!
+1 to End!
+1 to Rap!
+2 RSP & SSP!
Achievement Unlocked: Hercules Would Be Proud
Have sex with thirty or more women in under two hours
Achievement Unlocked: Hercules Gives Two Thumbs Up
Have sex with forty or more women in under two hours
Achievement Unlocked: Claim That Booty
Had sex with a Pirate Captain
Achievement Unlocked: That's a Lot of Booty
Have sex with a dozen Pirate women
Achievement Unlocked: Behold, Booty!
Have sex with two dozen Pirate women
Achievement Unlocked: A Galleon's Worth of Booty
Have sex with three dozen or more Pirate women
Shore of the Great Atlas River
"Ugh..." Dax let off as he walked onto shore, sighing. He was once more glad for his Aqua Breath spell on the choker; it made swimming to the other side of the river possible without drowning. Even then there was a risk of being swept out to sea if the tide was going to disagree with them. He only had four of his Marines left and no idea what happened to the rest of his crew as he looked about to get his orientation. "All right men..." He let off, turning to face his last followers. "We're marching to the west! The Eostians may have bested us, but we'll not return! ... I mean we will return!"
[ - Author's Note - ]
Well, from one chapter a little short of average length to a chapter closing on double the average it was a bit of a ride, huh?
I wanted to introduce a small skirmish with Dominious at some point but I didn't want to bring them in as a major foe for the story. Mostly to establish what they are like more directly. I also wanted to touch on Zenith, if briefly. As for Dax, bonus points to anyone who knows what movie his 'verbal quirk' is from. I decided to leave him alive as I thought he was fun to write; although I'm not sure I can reuse him. Still, the option is there if I want it.
Anyway, another chapter done and another foe bested. I wanted a little court room scene, although obviously it's not based on any real world court beyond superficially. I worry Lodo came off weaker then I intended, but if so that's my own damn fault.
As for the him doing all of the crew, I just thought having an overly long fucked list would be chuckle worthy. Let me know if you chuckled or rolled your eyes at it. Both are honest responses really.
Well after Cauldona it's on to Blackwell and then Pulca! After that Sanka will be the last place to visit before we're done with Foeh and onto Geofu! So until then, leave a comment or review of what you liked or think could have been done better!