Post by En1gma on May 1, 2014 21:09:00 GMT -5
This is my first installment of many, I hope you enjoy!!!
In Defense of Ruesland
Captain Roderick stepped through the towering doors of the palace of Dunbeath and into the chill February wind. He smoothed the crisp fabric of his new uniform as he walked slowly past the guards lining the platform. As he passed them on his way to the staircase, they saluted him smartly. Reaching the end of the landing he paused, and gazed out at the city sprawling before him. He breathed deeply, savoring the smell of the marketplace, the brine of the ocean, listening to the gulls crying out against the wind. As he stood there, he closed his eyes to better reflect upon the moment- one of the proudest of his lifetime. After over a decade of a dedicated knight of Ruesland he had finally earned his admiralty.
Whatever pride he was feeling was also tempered by a deep anxiety, however, as his country had appointed him with a most dangerous mission. One which would decide the very fate of the country he had sworn to defend with his life.
Before he left on his previously sworn commission, he had a ship designed and constructed for him. A ship whose masts now towered over the docks abutting the ocean. He was scheduled to meet with the harbor master after he received his commendations, so he set out, descending the staircase at an unhurried pace. Inwardly his mind raced, contemplating his next moves, considering those of his enemies. First things first, he told himself. As he entered the marketplace he was reminded why he loved this city so much and he reveled in the sounds around him. Vendors selling all manner of goods lined the roads, some shouting over the din of the crowd attempting to ply the silvers of those who passed them, others quietly worked their carts while tending to those browsing their wares. A smile cracked his worn face as this was such a welcome repast from the toils of the sea.
He weaved his way through the throng of merchants and their intended customers. Here, a spice vendor had a wide and fragrant variety, laid out in fine burlap sacks arranged in rows upon her cart. There, a purveyor of silks and finer fabrics, swathes of the finest cloths swaying in the breeze as the man proudly announced his newest shipment from Barmouth, holding a bolt out for anyone to feel. The heady smell of roasting meats wafted past him, enticing him to the point of salivation so he stopped and grabbed a kebob of venison and onion, carefully avoiding staining his new uniform with the juices from the meats. As he finished eating, he made his way towards the docks, as he had tarried long enough and he had people waiting for his arrival. He came to the market building closest to the docks and entered, closing the door behind him.
The chandler looked up from his ledger, then closed it and removed his glasses.
“Captain- excuse me, Admiral Roderick, is it now? Always a pleasure, and I believe congratulations are in order! To what do I owe this pleasure, mi’lord?”
“Old friend, I have come to ensure that everything I ordered is either in, or on its way to my new ship.” As he spoke, he removed his cap, placing it on the counter.
“Of course, mi’lord, I have nearly every hand available loading her, as we speak” he said, opening his ledger and scanning it briefly, “everything is certain to be aboard by this evening” his voice quieted and he leaned closer “are the rumors true, Roderick? Are those foul Kaihmer truly on the war wind to Stenraer?” Roderick cast his eyes about, making sure none were around to overhear them.
“Suffice it to say that there is a reason for the extra shot I ordered, friend.” With that, he returned his cap to his head and made for the door. “Again I thank you, I trust my first officer has handled the payment already?” the chandler nodded, with a familiar smile.
“Aye, he did, plus extra at that. Travel safely, lord, and may the winds blow fierce at your back, and your enemies fear your sails on the horizon.”
“Farewell, my friend.” he spoke as he exited, turning now to the docks.
Post by En1gma on May 10, 2014 22:33:43 GMT -5
It was a brief walk to the docks and he wasted no time in getting there. As he approached, he could see the harbormaster and his first officer speaking to one another, yet neither failed to notice his approach. As he approached the gates and the tower overlooking the surrounding area, he was met by the harbormaster Aaron Marston, who greeted him with arms outstretched, “Admiral Roderick, it is excellent to see you! I hope your new ship is how you envisioned it all these long months at sea?”
“Sir Marston, it is everything I wanted and more! I can see extra filigree from here- I hope you were able to remain within budget?” the harbormaster nodded, smiling.
“Aye, mi’lord, your budget was used exactly as planned, however the extra trappings you can see happen to be a gift.”
“A gift?” he wondered, “from whom, may I ask?”
“When the good Lady Blodwyn heard of your heroics in the Starfall Sea, she saw fit to… refine a few things, if you would." he said with a glint in his eyes. "Admiral, the entire region is in debt to you for defending our supply lines. Without your bravery, men and women would be starving in the streets.” He mentioned to the ship eagerly, clearly wanting to show off his work. “Enough of this, lord, I’m sure you want to meet her.” Roderick smiled and followed him.
“Aaron, I couldn’t be more excited to see her. Of the ships you have made for me in all these years together, this is clearly the finest yet.” His first officer, Brock Haley followed behind them quietly, not having much to do with the design of the ship, he was content to observe silently, taking in the entire ship and making mental notes. In all these long seasons with Captain Roderick, the two had developed such a rapport that they seldom needed to speak, yet were always on the same page.
As they approached the ship, Aaron barked a quick order to the men working to take a break. He wanted the captain to view the ship without the bustle of the finishing crew to distract him. Before they had arrived, carpenters were going about their checklists, removing tools and rough materials from the ship, oiling the woodwork, making sure everything was to the harbormaster’s specifications. The chandler’s men had been loading the ship with the rations, shot, and other materials needed for the trip south, they now stopped their work, set their crates down and sat upon them, welcoming the repast. The captain followed Aaron up the ramp and onto the deck. They made for the captain’s quarters, the harbormaster running his hand along the rail as he spoke. “Undoubtedly my finest yet, captain, a Cutter Class. Unusual for a man of your title, typically a Galleon is ordered when one reaches your rank, but personally these are my favorite. Twice the speed of the larger ships, much better against the wind and incredibly maneuverable.” he boasted.
“A fitting vessel for what she will be used for, as I much prefer the clash of steel for the crash of the cannons. However I need cannonry more than ever, hence why I have made such unusual requests concerning the placement of the carronades.” Aaron turned and led them to the bow, where six solid brass cannons of a much larger caliber sat secured by thick chains and even thicker shoring behind them.
“There are three more directly underneath them, six in total on each side, admiral, each ready to unleash hell on whatever is unfortunate enough to come across your broadside. These are so powerful and so oddly placed that the entire ship had to be designed from the front to back, as firing all six at one time would eventually cause structural damage on any other ship. Standard cannons have been placed along each side, and half a dozen long guns have been placed upon the bridge.”
“Excellent work as always,” Roderick admired. “And the crew quarters have been converted, I assume?”
“As requested, lord. She will hold over sixty crew, plus the dozen soldiers the Lady Blodwyn has appointed to your command.” Roderick turned his head, “sensing the gravity of your mission, the Lady sought out the finest she had at her disposal, marksmen and swordsmen each.” As he talked, he had led them back towards the bridge and stopped short of entering the Captain’s Quarters underneath. Next to the doors on either side were six cabinets, one of which Aaron opened. Inside were a dozen polished muskets. “Another gift from the Lady Blodwyn.” Roderick smiled and removed one from its strappings to inspect it. They were of the finest workmanship, each polished to a mirror shine, Roderick whistled softly and returned it to its place above the large crate of shot and gunpowder that accompanied them. “Each from the royal armory, lord. Come- a captain is nothing without a bridge to stand upon!” Leading to the bridge was a staircase on either side, and they ascended, the harbormaster motioning excitedly. “The last gift of the Lady Blodwyn- a wheel fit for an admiral. Made of the finest Icewood the shipwrights could purchase, edged with ivory and silver. My own design, one I’ve been working on for quite some time now.”
“I don’t oft use this word, Aaron, but this is simply beautiful.” It was easily the finest wheel he had ever handled, and this one sent a chill of anticipation through him. He looked out the ship before him, and for now, he was happy. Aaron Marstrom was going on about the plans for the sails that he designed to best use a new and most durable material, and of the keel of the ship being reinforced with costly ironwood, but Rearick was only half listening. Again he found himself lost in thought, admiring the design of everything around him. He envisioned the crew firing the cannons, the sound of the sails billowing in the wind, of the sea shanties to be sung and barbecues to be enjoyed.
“Sir?” Roderick started, blinking for a moment, “my apologies, lord, I only meant to-“he was cut off.
“No, Aaron, I apologize- it has been quite the day and this vessel is not the only thing on my mind, sadly. We must be going, there are plans to be made and they must be done in confidence. I’m sure I can trust the remainder of the work will be done by the morning." The harbormaster nodded, "She is truly a magnificent ship and she will be well used, I can promise you.” He motioned to Brock, his first officer, who was inspecting the long guns affixed to the rails, and they made for the ramp after heartily shaking the hand of the master craftsman who had forged their new home. Aaron bellowed to the men below, ending their repast. She was indeed a solid vessel, and she would have to be, where Admiral Roderick was taking her. The area had come back to life, it seemed, as the bustle of work resumed anew. Men picked up their crates and tools and made their way back onto the ship to resume their appointed tasks. As he looked at the side of the vessel as he passed below, he could see in brass the name he had chosen for it: The Vengeful Hammer. He and Brock walked through the gates and headed to the tavern where his other officers were waiting. They had seen the ship, but there was still more to be done.
Post by En1gma on Jun 5, 2014 22:26:04 GMT -5
Admiral Roderick had spent more time aboard The Vengeful Hammer than he had intended, and now the sun was beginning to set. He could tell by the red dusk that was settling across the horizon that fortune had decided to smile upon him once again. In his entire career at sea, he had come to learn that these ruddy evenings almost always preceded a beautiful, clear, and windy morning. Tomorrow would be a perfect day to set sail. The winds of the day had begun to fetter out and the temperature was beginning to plummet. The sounds of the marketplace began to subside as the vendors were packing up their carts, and those who were perusing their wares set off for the warmth of their hearths. Roderick and Brock wrapped their cloaks tighter around themselves, yet their hands never strayed far from the hilts of their rapiers. They rounded a corner near the tavern where they were to meet with the other officers when they were nearly bowled over by a group of young men who had apparently just left the establishment to which Roderick was headed. Brock didn’t bother changing his course and in doing so stepped upon the cloak of the man in the rear of the group. The man shouted out drunkenly, alerting his companions, who turned to assess the situation. One man stepped forward and eyed Roderick’s attire, he then elbowed the one next to him. The men began to fan out around them, swearing under their breaths for the interruption.
“Gentlemen, forgive my companion,” spoke Roderick, backing towards Brock “if you don’t mind, we’ll be on our way.” The man who stepped forward grinned and shook his head.
“I don’t think so, there aren’t many of you, and there are six of us, and I rather like your cloak. Seeing as you ruined his” he jerked his thumb at the man Brock had stepped into, “I guess we’ll be taking yours as payment” Roderick tightened his grip upon the rapier still concealed within his own cloak and prepared to fight. He wasn’t about to be killed over Brocks mistake, nor was he willing to be any later for his meeting.
“Gentlemen, I have important business to attend to and I will not be tolerating any sort of violence tonight.” At this he drew his sword, and Brock drew his then stepped alongside Roderick. “Now make way for an Admiral of the royal navy of Ruesland, and loyal knight of this Nation.” The men looked at one another, then to their leader.
“Well than that changes things a bit, does it not?” the man moved closer. “I’m sure killing an admiral of Ruesland would earn me much reputation, once I make it back to Federation waters. I’m afraid your business will have to be cancelled, won’t it, Admiral? Gut him, boys, and make it quick, the guards will surely be on their rounds soon!”
“Bad decision.” Spoke Roderick and Brock together. As one they sprang into action, blades arcing forth, almost in unison they each felled a man, Roderick with a lightning quick thrust to the man’s throat, Brock by quick stabs into the man’s chest, right above the heart. They crumpled, gurgling their last breath out on the cobblestones. Taken aback, the others quickly drew their swords- something they should have done to begin with, then advanced, sword tips forward, cursing loudly at the swift murder of their friends.
This was almost too easy for Roderick, these men had little offensive tactics, while he and Brock had fought shoulder to shoulder for years. They settled comfortably into defensive postures, allowing the ruffians to initiate the combat from here on out. “Walk away if you value your lives, this is your final warning.”
“Fat chance at that, I’ll strangle you with your bastard friend’s intestines- en garde” spoke the man who had just consigned them all to their deaths. At once the remaining four advanced, two attacking Roderick, the others focusing their aggression on Brock. At this, Brock stepped away from Roderick to allow them both more room for the exchanging of blows. Now the men found some semblance of tactic, and launched coordinating attacks, one swinging low and the other for his face. Brock ducked under the blade for his head, at the same time riposting the blow aimed for his knees. He came out of his crouch, using his rapier to shove the offending blade away from himself, then turned and parried the return swipe from the man who missed him. Seeing that it was another rapier, he just closed the distance with the man and proceeded to crush the man’s nose with the hilt of his sword. He fell back with a yelp of pain, blood spurting from between his fingers.
Roderick had both the leader and the man whose cloak was tread upon to deal with. He watched Brock out of the corner of his eye as he was engaging his own foes. He was accustomed to combat at sea, dealing with the yaw and sway of a ship below him, and it was a welcome change to have both feet planted firmly. His footwork was measured and deliberate, controlling the fight easily and without worry. The drunken man with the torn cloak was flailing about dangerously, strong with drink and the goading of the ringleader fighting next to him. The other man was an interesting foe who knew enough about swordplay to be of some competition to Roderick, yet he had a dangerous glint in his eyes born of his envisioned glory. He heard Brocks man cry out as his face was smashed and took the opportunity granted by the distraction to slash the drunken man deeply on his sword arm just above the elbow. This had the intended effect, as the man dropped his sword, bellowing in pain, forgetting the fight as he tried to stem the bleeding. Over the din of the battle, Roderick could hear the shouting of distant guards mustering at the cries of those injured. The remaining men regrouped and advanced together as Brock returned to Roderick’s side. Spurned anew by the impending reinforcements, the attackers flashed their blades forth in quick succession, easily countered by Brock and Roderick’s experienced technique.
“Brock, let’s end this, leave the loud mouthed one alive, I want the guards to speak with him before his execution.” Brock pressed his advantage against the other man, his large stature coming into play as he began smashing into the ruffian’s defense with such fervor that he knocked the man to his knees. His rapier found itself buried into the man’s chest before he could regain his balance, and his heart ceased to beat instantly. Roderick began his own advance, berating the man with his blade, knocking aside every attempt at a counterstrike viciously. The man began to buckle under the ferocity of the assault set forth by the Admiral and his newfound zeal was supplanted by a mortal fear. A single wavering in his defense provided Roderick with an open knee. Roderick dropped stance, then ran his blade precisely through the tendon just below the man’s kneecap, severing it cleanly. The man dropped his weapon and began screaming for mercy, then for vengeance, clutching at his leg piteously.
“I’ll kill you, you Rueslander scum, mark my words, I’ll goddamn kill you, get over here!” Roderick and Brock wiped their blades clean and replaced them in their scabbards as a dozen guards rounded the corner, brandishing muskets and swords drawn.
“Who goes there, speak quickly!” spoke the commander of the guard as he surveyed the carnage.
“Admiral Roderick and his first officer Brock Haley of Ruesland’s Royal Navy under the direct authority of the Lady Blodwyn.” Roderick returned, “These men attacked us and we have reason to believe this man here is a spy of the Federation, arrest these men immediately!”
“Very well, Admiral,” the commander ordered his men to take the survivors away, then started to question Roderick, but was cut short.
“Unfortunately I have little time for this, I have much planning to do before I set sail tomorrow on commission from the Lady Blodwyn herself” at this they walked away, leaving the fallen behind them as they at last made it to the tavern.
They opened the door to the inn and those closest to the door looked up from their mugs as the chill night air entered with them. Roderick removed his cloak and hat and stepped towards the door at the back of the room. “Brock- bring ale and rum, I think we deserve it after that!” Brock nodded and stepped to the bar as Roderick entered the quiet back room. Inside the room were two men, one his own officer, the other he assumed was the head of the soldiers stationed to his vessel. The man introduced himself as Geoffrey Conner, second in command of the royal guard.
“Roderick, what in the hell happened to you?” spoke Devin Edsel, second officer under Roderick’s command. He walked brusquely over and relieved Roderick of his hat and cloak, setting them on a table by the wall. Roderick sat in the chair at the middle of the table and pulled out a large satchel that he had left there upon his arrival. As he began removing the items within, he curtly explained what had happened and by the time he had finished, Brock was just coming in with the drinks and a large basin of water in which to rinse their hands and faces. They washed up quickly, then raised a glass to the glory of Ruesland. They drank deeply, then turned to the map that was being unfurled. The commission papers were passed around between the officers. Roderick began a long process of placing several small ship figurines upon the map, corresponding with the details outlined in the commission. When all was said and done, and everything was in place, Roderick began to speak.
“Gentlemen, Ruesland is going to war. Technically speaking, we are already late. The Federation of Kaihmer is on the war-wind to Stranraer. If our spies are correct, they are only three weeks sail from the capitol of our great nation.” His officers looked at each other.
“And not a word from the Cadari? What madness has befallen them that they would turn their backs on us?” inquired Geoffrey, clearly taken aback by the news.
“From what we know from our spies, they were offered the entire city of Durunka, an agricultural district with enough land to feed their entire region, as well as an exorbitant amount of money offered by the League of Hansa to send no word.” As he said this, Devin sat back in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair, and shook his head. Brock sat there stonily, staring at the closest Cadari port to them, a naval fort by the name of Tregaron.
“We have our true allies to thank for what warning we did have- the East Acadian Trading Company, they have sent word to our cities and towns in the Starfall Sea, and they will be sailing south from Fort Montpellier to pass by Snowdonia as a show of force. They will be heading southward in order to assault Sten Nevis.” He moved the figurines accordingly on the map to demonstrate the movements of their allies. “As this was a very sudden attack, we can only assume that the fort has fallen- if they find allies there, or else retake the fort, it will become a staging area for the assault on the southern blockade- here” he pointed to an imposing formation south of Stranraer, between the island of Sten Nevis and the mainland.
“Our main assault force will be a combined effort including our most decorated admirals and vice admirals. The Admiral of the Fleet is to be meeting us along the way, he is setting sail from Ruesgard in five days time and will be joining us on the journey to Fort Goldhaven. When we get there, we will be preparing for war, gentlemen, and will set sail the next morning in full force.” Geoffrey spoke up
“I’m assuming the trip there will be spent in training the men, then. I was made aware of the musketry appointed to this ship and I’m sure my men and I can be of service in this regard” Roderick nodded
“Indeed you will be. Any man not manning a cannon or a long gun is fully expected to pull their weight in the fight. We have been given standing orders to board no ship until we fight our way to the Federation’s flagship. Yes, gentlemen, we have been tasked with the execution of their Admiral of the Fleet.” Brock looked up from the map.
“Then let’s kill the bastard.” The men nodded in agreement, then continued their discussion until they could no longer remain awake and coherent. They went to their rooms in the inn and slept soundly. Tomorrow they would begin the most important mission they had ever undertaken, and each of them knew it could be their last.
Post by En1gma on Aug 31, 2014 21:15:37 GMT -5
When the sun rose in the morning, the light shone into Roderick’s room, and in the smoky haze from the night’s fire, the sun cast a fan of rays that were broken by the slats of the shutters. A short time passed and the rays slowly made their way onto the admiral’s face, rousing him. Roderick stood and stretched, cursing the sun quietly. All these years as a captain and he still despised the mornings. He tossed another few pieces of firewood onto the embers, then walked to the window and flung the shutters open. Fresh air rolled into the room, stirring both the haze and his mind. The well-seasoned firewood crackled with the new air, and then caught fire, warming the small room. He stepped to the dry sink, filled the basin with clean water from the pitcher then washed himself quickly and without ceremony. He dressed himself in his admiralty, making sure he looked right in the mirror. As he was packing his maps and journals, there was a knock at the door.
“Enter.” Spoke Roderick, turning to see Geoffrey open the door, two mugs in one hand and a loaf of bread under his arm.
“Good morning, admiral, I took the liberty of bringing you something to drink and thought you and I could break bread.” Roderick pulled the chairs away from the table, motioning for Geoffrey to sit as he gently corrected him.
“My newfound friend, call me ‘Admiral’ in front of the men- in private the formalities feel strange.” Geoffrey set the mugs down and they sat,
“Your other officers have already made for the docks to begin preparations, Brock wanted me to let you know.” Spoke the sergeant, sliding one of the mugs across the table. Roderick nodded, smiling because he had already assumed that Brock had done so. Geoffrey tore a chunk of bread from the loaf, then handed the remainder to Roderick, who did the same. They both ate, drinking deeply of their ales.
“A welcome breakfast, Geoffrey, this is certainly a favorable way to begin the day.” Said the admiral, savoring his drink.
“It’s nothing, friend, merely a chance to speak freely before we return to the tedium of command.” Said Geoffrey, sitting back in his chair comfortably.
“Command. For some reason, I have never considered it a chore, nor tedious in any of its forms. My men are a good bunch- loyal to Ruesland, and even more loyal to me, it would seem.” Geoffrey Connor was silent, listening intently. “These men have followed me into hell, and it is because of them that I sit here with you today. I owe them more than just my life- I owe them everything. Because of the loyalty the men give me, I am spurned to constantly better myself as a captain. Any spare moment I have whether at port or on the sea is spent reading of the great captains, of their finest moments in battle, and of their mannerisms when dealing with their crews, whether it be their highest praises or of their dealing with discontent. All this I do, so that my men think highly of me, knowing that I constantly to do everything in my power to bring them back to port alive.” He paused, and sipped his ale, giving Geoffrey a moment to speak.
“I am honored to have the privilege to serve aboard your ship, Admiral. My men and I are fully at your command, come whatever may.” He said, silently glad of his appointment to The Hammer and not to one of the other ships setting sail that day.
“You have my thanks, Mister Connor, and you have my word that I shall do everything in my power to bring you and your twelve back home safely,” spoke Roderick solemnly, “you will find that my officers and I run a very tight ship. Most of the men under my command have been with me for many years, and subsequently have learned to follow my orders without question or hesitation.” Geoffrey smiled at this.
“As it should be! What good is a crew if they aren’t obedient?” Roderick laughed, and as he raised his glass he said
“They are of no use to me, and they often find themselves thrown overboard, assuming we’re within sight of port when they become impudent!” Geoffrey laughed as well, and they smiled around their mugs as they finished their drinks. “Come, Mister Connor! I have a ship to sail, and you have your men to greet. I’m due to meet the harbormaster, and then dear friend, we hunt some Kaihmer!” The two gathered their belongings and walked down through the bar area, out the door, and into the day.
Post by En1gma on Sept 1, 2014 22:16:47 GMT -5
Chapter three, continued:
The two made good time to the docks, considering the gathering crowds headed about their business in the market. As they approached, they could see Geoffrey’s twelve standing roughly in formation, conversing, but also looking about for signs of their sergeant. Upon seeing Geoffrey and Roderick coming down the street, they stood at attention immediately. They closed distance with the twelve and returned the salute. “At ease, men. Admiral,” said Geoffrey to Roderick, “is there anything you would like to say?” Roderick stepped forward.
“Men, it is an honor to have such fine soldiers under my command. While on my ship, you will continue to follow the commands of your lieutenant, who will be receiving orders directly from me.” The men nodded, still staring straight ahead. “Geoffrey will give your standing orders once we are underway, until then however, you will assist my crew with whatever is asked of you. Learn the ship- it will be your home until we return.” He stood directly in front of them and looked each of them in turn, locking eyes with them as he spoke. “You will not underestimate the gravity of your presence aboard my ship. The men have never worked alongside uniformed soldiers, therefore your demeanor must be unwaveringly measured. Our orders are from the Lady Blodwyn herself, and the fate of our nation hangs in the balance.” Finished, he nodded to Geoffrey, who dismissed his men with orders to assist the crews aboard the ship.
“I’ll board the Hammer as well, Admiral, and assist Brock with his remaining duties.”
“Dismissed, sergeant, I’ll be there shortly, I have some business to attend to.” Geoffrey saluted, then the two entered the docks, Geoffrey took the steps down to the ships, Roderick to the Harbormaster’s building.
Opening the doors, there wasn’t anybody inside minding the counter, but voices could be heard nearby, so he walked through the room and out onto the balcony that overlooked the docks below. He could see the harbormaster Aaron Marston, standing with several others, including the Lady Blodwyn herself. All the men but Aaron wore very similar uniforms to his own. He approached them and they turned to greet him. Among them he recognized Cy Kirchner, the Protectorate Admiral of Dunbeath. He also saw the legendary knight Darnell Olofsson, Vice Admiral and third in command of the entire Royal Navy of Ruesland. The third he did not instantly recognize, but the other admiral soon introduced himself.
“Eduard Sloan,” he said to Roderick, “we did not meet, but I was the anvil upon which you broke the Kaihmer during your Starfall campaign. It is an honor to meet the captain who sank nearly a dozen ships in two day’s combat!” Roderick beamed at this, and earnestly replied
“Excellent! I was wondering why the dogs wouldn’t sail to the east, I now realize that it was because of you! The honor is all mine, Admiral Eduard, you have my thanks.” Roderick shook the hands of the remaining admirals quickly, knowing time was short. He then turned to Lady Blodwyn, who was looking at him intently. “Mi’lady,” he said as he bowed deeply before her, “my ship looks far better than it should for war, but I am in your debt, for now I have a thing of beauty upon which to look as I wreak havoc for Ruesland.” She smiled at him, moving a lock of hair behind her ear as she spoke softly to him.
“It was the least Ruesland could provide to the captain who saved most of the Starfall Sea from the Kaihmer raiders.” The other officers nodded solemnly, Roderick’s deeds had reverberated throughout the nation, and few were unaffected by his heroics. Many lives had been lost, but many more had been saved. “Today the finest captains in the entire northern armada will set sail, this time more than just a few towns and ports are at stake.” Lady Blodwyn looked at the admirals around her. “Gentlemen, I wish we had more time to discuss these matters, but you must all leave, and with haste.” Aaron Marston spoke up then, looking exhausted.
“My men and I worked through the night to ready each of your vessels for the coming journey southward to Goldhaven.” He motioned out to the ships in the harbor. Below them men could be seen milling about on the ship decks, tightening ropes, checking cannons. Several men could be seen on the beams holding the heavy sails, checking the riggings and checking everything they could in order to ensure the ships be sea worthy. Roderick could see Brock standing next to Geoffrey, the latter quietly observing the first officer directing the crew.
“Captains,” spoke Lady Blodwyn, “It is time for you to set sail. And I don’t think I need to remind you how important each of you will be in this, our greatest effort as a nation. Now sail forth, and bring glory to Ruesland!” they all nodded. “Return to me when you can,” at this she looked furtively at Roderick, lowering her eyes as he met her gaze. “Farewell captains.” The men all bowed politely to her, then she turned and went back inside to leave the docks. The men looked at one another, then filed out of the Harbormaster’s building silently.
Roderick and the other admiralty made their way to their ships. There would be time for further discussion once they reached Goldhaven so they wasted no time on pleasantries as they made their decent into the harbor. As soon as they were seen by their officers on board, the crews were assembled on deck. Since The Vengeful Hammer had just been built, it was closest to the stairway. Roderick saluted the Vice Admiral Darnell, then walked up the gangway to his new ship.
“Admiral on deck!” shouted Brock Halsey, and at once nearly a hundred men, including Geoffrey and his twelve, snapped to attention. Roderick took his time as he made his way to the bridge, inspecting the men as he went. This was merely a formality, as Brock would have done this in anticipation of his arrival. Satisfied with his men, he walked up the steps to the bridge and stood looking out over the deck. He paused a moment as he viewed the attentive faces below him and considered his words.
Post by En1gma on Nov 6, 2014 21:58:23 GMT -5
The crew was completely silent, as they waited for Roderick to speak.
“At ease. Welcome to our new home, men. Look around you, every inch of this ship was built for a singular purpose. This purpose is full blown war. As many of you have heard, the Federation of Kaihmer is sailing on Stenraer, our nation’s capital. Our spies have reported on the size of their flotilla, and it is formidable. I’m sure you have all met Lieutenant Geoffrey Connor and his twelve riflemen. The Vengeful Hammeris their home as well, and where we all shall wreak havoc on these vile Kaihmer, and their war host.” Some of the men nodded, looking around at their comrades, “Many of you have followed me to the ends of the earth, and I ask you to do so again. Not for me, but for Ruesland itself. You all know that I’m not one for long, flowery speeches, so I’ll make this brief. We all have fought the Federation, some have seen more than others, but we all understand our duties, and must stand firm in the face of this menace. We sail to save our very existence, for the lives of our families and friends, and for glory. We will see battle, we will look death in the eye, and we will laugh in its face! We are chosen to spearhead this counter assault, and we will break the spirit of our enemies. They will come to fear the crash of our carronades, the crack of our rifles, and the flash of our steel as it ends their pathetic lives.”
The men began to pump their fists into the air, some cheering, others just smiling at the thought of facing their sworn enemies in such a battle. “Now men, we sail forth, we sail alongside the mightiest commanders in the north seas, and we sail for Ruesland! We will not fail, we will not falter, and we will show no mercy. We shall strike hard, and we will not cease our onslaught until every last god-damned ship daring to fly the flag of Kaihmer is sent to the Kraken below. We are The Vengeful Hammer, and we will break them!” Now every man on deck was shouting, raising their fists and swords to the air, “Now men, to war!” Roderick turned to his officers, who were standing to his side, awaiting his orders. “Geoffrey, assemble your men on deck, now they must learn the rudimentary details of sailing this vessel. Brock, be ready to set sail as soon as Vice Admiral Olofsson lets loose his topsail. We sail once he leaves the docks. Devin, make sure the cannons are ready at a moment’s notice, and that everything is lashed in place. The Hammer is a fast vessel and the wind will be blowing strong at our back, we must make sure that we do not leave ourselves exposed as we sail. We will be leading the flotilla, scouting from the front as we go. That is all, men, we will meet again once we are underway.” He gave a curt salute that was earnestly returned. The men left the bridge and made the final preparations to depart.
Brock Halsey went along the starboard side up to the bow, and giving the order to loose the ship from its mooring. One by one the sturdy ropes were cast off the ship, the men on the dock coiling them up for the next ships they would house. The last rope was thrown to the men below and the ship floated gently away from the pier, not moving forward.
A cheer arose from the next ship over and all hands on deck turned to see the Vice Admiral’s topsails unfurling. The strong southern wind snapped them taut, and the giant War Galleon smoothly pulled out of the harbor. Once Roderick saw this, he hollered to the men on deck, “Loose the topsail, men, take us out of harbor!” A roar of affirmation arose from the ranks, and the ropes were loosened, the new sails perfect white in contrast with the pale blue skies. Slowly at first they moved forward, then a strong gust of wind pushed the topsail fully open, and the Vengeful Hammer lurched forward almost eagerly. Roderick grinned to himself as he watched his ship move out of the harbor.
Once they were pulling away, Roderick turned to see the other ships doing the same, their white sails billowing briskly in the wind. His heart leapt in his chest at the sight. All around him, the finest warships in the northern seas were set upon a single task, and he knew in his heart that nothing would stop them, not today, not tomorrow, and not on the day of Stenraer’s reckoning. The gates of hell themselves couldn’t wrest them from the course they had set that day. Once they were a measure away from the docks, and no other ships were around the flotilla, Roderick called out to the men to let loose the mainsail. It was their responsibility to lead the fleet, and to scout ahead, so Roderick felt it was time to assume his position in the fleet.It was an impressive sight, when the sails were lowered. There was a perfect wind at their back, so when the sails were fully opened, the Hammer sped ahead at a near breakneck pace. Roderick reveled at the responsiveness of the wheel, and the pure, unadulterated speed that the Hammer granted him. It wasn’t long before the remainder of the fleet was left behind. The other ships simply couldn’t compete with his speed. He was finally underway, and for the moment, couldn’t be happier. He had the might of Ruesland at his back, and a good ship under his feet. Let the Kaihmer try and turn him from his task.