Crossing The Rubeh Con Part Quatre

The sun is about to dipped where the horizon has become a purple-red wedge of light. The ship coasts upon the current, but action beneath the water is cavitating. The groaning sound from deep inside the island has signalled more shinanigans. The submerged jungle shivers and waves about in head-banging unison. To make matters worse, those on shore have acquired short bows of a composite design and begin to sight upon the vessel. A series of missiles with flaming heads are sent to gauge the distance to their target.
Pete and Rickerson, relieved that they've got all accounted for, rush off towards the wheel to help goose the rudder to assist in drifting towards a beneficial current. The sails flap, trying to catch a wind that is stubborn in playing along. The crew of six has actually become a lucky seven. Not far from where people spread pools of sea water from their bodies, a malnourished stranger, pale and in the remnants of nautical garments, is busy trying to find cover from the 'thwunks' and 'thwacks' that impact the side of the ship.

Gaval lays on his stomach near and behind the main mast. He lays in a pool of sea water dyed pink and red from the diagonal gash across his back, starting at his left shoulder and carved nearly to his waist. The rumbling have woken him from his stupor and he draws his arms underneath himself to try to get up off the deck and back into the fight. "Must get away. The island is a trap. Sinks and lowers to catch ships. They hunt men.. for sport and marriage." His voice is weak but he puts force behind the words to carry across the deck.

Rolling on to her stomach now that she has caught her breath. "Damn, that would explain a number of things, good luck at them getting to that book." Autumn gets to her knees and then her feet. She swaying as this is more exercise that she is used to. She raises her hands up, and whispers to the wind calling it to her. Her voice caries a thunderous tone to it as she calls to it, the magic her is wild and desperate to be touch and loved. The magic wells up inside of her and the air around her shimmers. Her eyes are glow like distant stars. The air shimmers around her as she continues to speak the ancient tongue. The wind comes in a large gust from south but it is moving in a northerly direction. The slack sails snap and billow. The ship bucks forward. She becomes lost in the magic, as the wind and water move through her and she lovingly weaves her spells.

Cristof clambers over the rail in time to see Gaval struggling to his feet amid the pool of liquid that bears soft pink hints of blood. He instinctively drops his hand to his left hip, and glances downward at the place where his hand lands. The large leather satchel is gone. He looks around him. Then he starts toward the mast. "Easy, Gaval!" he calls. "Don't rush or the blood will flow too quickly. I should have a look at you first." He looks to Ruby. "Life to the runners, or the swimmers in this case. Homeward we go!" he calls to her. Then he inclines his head to Autumn. He smiles but says nothing, knowing that she needs to concentrate on the magic that she is weaving.

Ruby nearly trips up the two deck hands when she pauses in her attempts to catch her bearings, staring at the +1 that someone has allowed onto the vessel. In stranger-danger mode, she eyes his attempts to get someplace safe as sensible but very suspicious. "Who tha bloody 'ell!" A flaming arrow zips past her head to vault over both rails and be extinguished into the water. She bobs her frame, suddenly disadvantaged to the tall profile she presents. Gaval's warning has her gawping and Cristof's /speaking to the choir/ has her joining the footrace to the wheel. "Aye, loife fer us!" she grins manically and shoulders pete out of the way. "Tha sails! We gotta keep tha sorcelled wind!"

A few of the more zealous women on the edge of the rumbling landmass try their best to toss grapples. They comes pretty close with some olympian-worthy attempts. The true threat comes from the second volley of amazons with their severely-bent bows. The tips of their arrows are wickedly barbed and have fine lines attached. The sudden speedier lurch of the ship has them pausing to recalculate their aims. Shouts of promises of who gets 'who' when all are captured is lustily bartered. Those arrows are sent and a fair number thunk into the stern with meaty impacts. There's a cheer from the shore.

The wind is Autumn's the water whispers in delight that she will play with it next. The air around her shimmers. And her clothing is tugged by the wind. She is lost and weaving spells and not being the battle mage at the moment, she does not notice anything but the magic. The sails and mast groan as the strong winds push the ship away from the island. She begins to pull the water in the direction of the wind creating a strong current. As she does this words and the temp to her command change her skin tingles with power. The water seeks the fire out to snuff it out as the wood in hall begins to black from the heat of the flames. As it laps against the hull of the ship to like a faithful old dog.

Gaval stands slowly, his face a mask of pain and anger as the voices carry from the shore. His legs work well enough after his short rest but he walks so as not to jostle his back any more then is needed. "I've had about enough of those women!" A sutterstep as the wind graps the sails and he's to the back of aft end looking at the shor and the arrows with lines.
The sun is almost set adn the shadows are long and dark. He shuts his eyes and reachs deep for his power, picturing his desire and whispering softly. The shadow of the ship buckles and then moves, streching towards the shore like some titanic beast lurking under the water. A sound accompanies the shadow as a bass rumbleing roar errupts from the darkness slipping over the waves. Gaval's voice joins in, letting loose his anger and letting the shadow distort it. "I COME FOR YOU! YOU WILL ALL DIE BITCHES OF THE COG!" His knees buckle and slides down to them on the deck.

Gaval's slump is fortuitous. Now Cristof will not need to ask the man to hold still. Stooping so that the earns will not have another target, he scurries across the deck to examine the soldier's wounds. "I lost my pack, but I have healing salve below decks. I'll fetch it. Stay calm and—" He glances aside when Ruby challenges their uninvited guest. "Wait here," he concludes, and leaves Gaval.

Cautously, Cristof approaches the emaciated and bedraggled man. Raising his hands, with palms facing toward the wretch, Cristof assures, "You're safe aboard this ship but come with me. You'll be safer below decks." He offers a hand to the gaunt stranger.

The salty and soggy sailor cringes, a little, but seeing another guy is really, really good. There's a fair growth upon his face, welts upon his skin. What normally would have been considered a pretty good tan from being exposed to the elements has been leeched from him, becoming a more pale complexion. It makes his nautical-flavoured tattoos stand out more. His teeth chatter and he seems to have caught a bit of Ruby-itus…Fearful of both Autumn's command of magic (oh god a woman!) and the forces that Gaval unleashed upon the shore. He swallows, adam's apple bobbing frantically and reaches forward to clasp Cristof with a skeletal hand.

The shadow magic and the water magic entwine for but a moment. A wave moves from the ship and towards the island. At first it is but a roll or ripple in the water and once it is away from the ship it begins to grow in strength it moves with the shadow ship and it seeks the fire and the arrows. As the prow of the shadow ship bears down upon the woman and Gavals voice rings out the wave crest glints red in the setting sun. The wave pounds against the shore and the earth rumbles and the sea groans. It is followed by another and it is seeking the woman of Cog.

On the boat the air is sweet and scoured of all pollutants. The wind continues to push the boat forward. Autumn continues to weave her spell. Currents of magic move and bend at her will. The sails crack and snap the mast creaks and the boat continues to push forward gaining speed from the wind and the currents. Autumn's lips move now quietly as she continues to say the words.

Gaval nods tiredly to the good doctor, "No moving.. I'll stay here." He blinsk at the ripple and then smiles as the wave appeares, glancing over to Atumn with a weak grin. His eyes move back to the wave and he echos his laughter through the watery shadow as it crashes on the shore. And then the mamoth shadow bursts into a thousand smaller shadows shapped like crawling things of the land and they skitter towards any women left standing or into the treeline, each muttering and wishering 'Die.. kill.. slay.. die..'
Gaval laughs until he's wincing and then he drops the magic and slowly lays out on the deck face down, still chuckling.

Behind the ship, the lines grow taut and there follows a series of bellyflops into the water. The women drawing a frothy wake of jade water as they're dragged after the rather speedy ship. But not for long. There is a cry from the mob and half their number cringe back from the inky abomination. The double-whammy tsunami of physical and psychological threats smashes those assembled. Even if they had ski`s, the women being yanked along would not have been able to hang on. Though one rather well-endowed women of their number hangs on to the very last before she`s deluged and swept off the dangling lines. Back on shore, some of the femmes actually relocate in the most expedient fashion, undertaking a tactical retreat. Their religious zeal meeting something so gratuitously fantastic that it puts the fear of Zhog into them. Those with a better survival instinct flee and those that do not get absolutely drenched while the ground beneath them trembles in great displeasure. The group will and mob rule splinters in a relfection of Gaval`s shadow.
The island starts to raise and the tops of trees, like kelp-covered tombstones rise from their temporary grave. It`ll be a close one.

"You'll be well enough soon, lad," Cristof encourages once the sailor complies. He glances toward Gaval first, to see that the man hans't collapsed. Then he begins to guide the wheezing, malnourished man toward the open hatch that leads to the hold below. "I'll sling a hammock for you, and you can rest while we put as much distance as we can between this old boat and that island," he explains. "We're returning to a civilized place where you'll be able to recover." Within a few minutes, doctor and patient disappear into the dark hold.

Ruby swears she can feel the caress of the jungle trying to rake along the bottom of the keel. Her imagination playing tricks almost on par with Autumn and Cristof`s efforts. With gritted teeth she maintains her position while Pete and Rickerson monkey their way up the rigging to make sure everything is secure and they do not waste the fortune, manufactured or not.

The drenched jungle is heavily laden with the retreating seawater, needing time to slough off all that moisture before it can become an impenetrable wreath once more. Thus, here and there one can see a number of shipwrecks, horribly mangled and impaled. Proud pennants and canvas ripped to shreds by elements and tangled into the vegetation.

"The pattern needs to shift!" Autumn calls out suddenly as the island begins to move. She stretches magic across the water and continues to push the currents in their favor. The ships rocks and bonces as the water grows choppy from the wind. Autumn pulls the water to the ship as it grows and changes. Her lips continues to mouth the words on to the wind. Pushing and bending moving and shifting, giving them hope.

Gaval stares aft from his spot laying on the deck. Perhaps one of the stranger views ans the ship moves forward and hte island starts to rise. For a moment it's as if the ship is going nowhere despite it's shuddering and shifting. His heartbeat starts to climb as more and more trees poke from the water. She sucks in a breath and yells. "Take us home, Ruby! This isn't a good place to be anymore!" Understatement of the day perhaps.

No pressure. Ruby fights against her nature and eyes the horizon and how the sea and the sky have become a much harder line to define. All the distractions and excitement tug at her senses as she tries to push them to more prominent concerns. She squinches up her eyes and turns the wheel and rudder in slight adjustments and tries to get a feel for the image to superimpose upon this one. She can't help picturing arrows and demons and a vengeful sorceress. This works for and against the voyage. While Ruby mills imaginary flour between her teeth, the scenery suffers a stutter of reality and the boat surges faster upon an uneven carpet of sea. The islands becomes a twisted nest of fanged snakes that try and mate with serpentine shadows, the hill and its strange contents a bleached collection of what could be hip-bones. It doesn't make for a gentle trip around the coast. The sky fills with constellations that bear allegiance to no know charts.

The thudding of Cristof's feet add to the cacophony around them. He hurries to climb the steep stairs that are almost like a ladder leading from the bowels of the ship. From his shoulder dangles another leather satchel, laden with all manner of medical supplies. He pauses for a moment to watch the rising island and then to study Autumn who is still oblivious to everything except the magic that she is weaving like a master at her loom. From her, he turns his eyes to Ruby and explains. "He's a sailor from a ship that he calls the Triton's Tines,'" Cristof calls to her. "He's ill, but he'll live. He's in a hammock in the forward hold, with a skin of water and a blanket. I'll check on him later, after I tend to Gaval." He nods and heads for the wounded soldier. "Lie still," Cristof urges Gaval. "I'll have you bandaged well enough in just a moment." With that, the doctor starts to clean and treat the gash that runs the length of the man's back.

"Focus Ruby on Amber! See Amber in your mind's eye." The Witch shouts as she tries to pull herself just a little away from her spell. She is has to go deeper into the magic as the island seem to reach for them and then when world around them turns hellish she keep the wind in their sail and the currents in their favor. Sweat is beading down her forehead and mixing with her water logged clothing. She growing tired and her face is pale but she continues to weave and bend the magic.

Gaval's eyes widen as the world bends into hell. "Oh gods above, protect your children. Bless and guide your foolish children and grant them a light home in this dark path."
not one for prayers the words still trip from his tounge easily enough as the he focuses in on one ilse in particular, shivering at something he sees there. And then the doctor is there, calm and focused. He sucks in a breath as the treatment starts.

The tumbled tangle of snakes and serpents give way to a reversal…and the island shifts right /back/ to where they had just departed. Ruby concentrates again, bearing down on her imagination and the pattern powers that are so tenuous to grasp. Autumn's words of encouragement help and chastise her into a better focus. The images changes and suddenly there are the cries of gulls above a sea of ink. The island is there, but what jungles it may have had, are now withered and corrupt. Cratered and having been made swiss cheese by something calamatous. The birds glow with their own inner light. Hazy around the edges of their wings as they dip curiously towards the surface of the water and the living souls upon the Dipsy Daisy. One swoops down and collects one of the dangling threads that still trails from an imbedded arrow in the stern. It coasts along like a kite, the shape of its wings an 'M', a caricature of a child's efforts to draw a bird.
A swipe of colour floods from the setting sun, wiping out everything except the sea and sky, and the bird that stubbornly joins the group via a thin tether of reality. It's quick, but the sun either fast-forwards or reverses its course and climbs out of the water to bring daylight onto a much more familiar looking environment. The island is simply not there anymore.
The scent of salt on the air is better. The colours of the world are better. The way the ship carves through the ocean is better. Ruby opens her eyes and peeks with one eye upon the edge of Minosian territory, almost an ocean away from where they transited in the first place, now within sight of the Island of Saman, rather than Hacha.

LIke Autumn, who is lost to her magic, Cristof is lost in his focus on his task. He carefully paints every inch the wound with a salve that simultaneously soothes pain, cools, and delivers healing. Then he unpacks a strip of gauzy bandage with adhesive on one side, and presses it into place over the wound. "You will have quite a tale to tell, and a good scar to prove it," he comments. "You should be able to stand, but be careful about flexing your back for a while." He packs his medical supplies into his kit and stands slowly. Now he looks around the scene and sighs. "We've made some progress," he concludes. Then eh strides toward Autumn. "Rest if you can," he murmurs to her.

The magic has changed she feels it, it knows her and she knows it. With this final change she releases the magic from her hold. Her shoulders slump and she closes her eyes. "Oh I will rest, I have not wielded that much magic in a long time. Are you doing okay Doctor?" Her eyelids twitch and spasm. Next she addresses Poor Ruby, "Thank you my Ruby my friend, you have brought us safe, are you doing okay?" She says and her tone is gracious. She then plops hard down on the deck and lets out a sigh. "We need food and we need rest, will they let us in or should we high tail it back to Amber? I am going to teach you some focusing exercises, they teach Battle Mages." She does not open her eyes but she calls out to Gaval. "Are you doing well? What happen to your back?" Next she addresses the crew. "I hope to sail with you all again, I have never been with a finer crew and I hope you will allow me the honor of sailing with you again. Are you all okay?" Her shoulders are slumped still.

Something teases her senses and she turns her head in Gaval's direction and opens her eyes. She does not say anything but she studies him for a moment before closing them again.

Pete and Rickerson had clung on for dear life during the transit. Thankfully it was relatively brief, if violent in the way it wrenched between shadows. Pete decides on sticking put up on the main mast, the furthest place from starfish. However, his fellow sailor is all for having decking beneath his feet and Rickerson is making a superstitious gesture and inhaling the sea air.

Gaval nods slowly to the doctors words, wondering as the pain recedes quickly. He cautiously gets up from the deck, gingerly moving around andwincing from time to time. In a slow movement he pulls the wet and cut shirt from his body to reveal a swoardsman's arms and chest. That meaning his toned form covered in dark tanned skin more then sprinkled in small scars, mostly on his forearms but other palces as well incluting his chest. Few are on his back but the'll now have a long massive one to join the others. "Thank you Cristof. And yes, lady Autumn.. I am well enough now thanks to the doctor. Will be in time. Just.. tired." He turns towards Ruby and tries to offer her a bow but comes up wincing.. "Good piloting, captian. My thanks for our safe trip home and to the crew as well."

Ruby relaxes her shoulders a bit more and takes one hand from the wheel so she can rake her scalp with it. She tries to guess at where they're at and has to admit that it'll take more than a breeze and a landmass to pinpoint. She grimaces in Autumn's direction and wordlessly nods. Gaval gets a lingering eye. A wary eye as if she expects the shadow he casts to sweep forward and swallow her into inky black quicksand. "Weren't nuthin…Do't all tha toime, Truth." she lies. "Bettah if we sail back tah Ambah…" She reaches forward to the wheel housing and tugs some badly used charts out to start estimating their position. "I'd take oos tah Port 'o Saman…but, Minoos ain't friendlah with those from Pathi. Bad 'istory. Low profile or just avoid…" The map crinkles as she leans forward to unroll it against the wheel.
The Gull kiting behind the ship lets out a 'sqwaaaa' and gently releases the thin wire and lets the air currents soar where they're willing to bear it.

"Rest and food for all if that's possible," Cristof recommends. "We also have a passenger who might do better to stay in Minos if he wishes." When Ruby mentions the bad blood between Minos and Pathi, he turns his attention briefly to Autumn and wonders, "Can we land if Autumn stays below? The ship needs repairs. That might be our best bet."

"I can blend in, cover my head and make them think I am one of them." Autumn says gently. "Do what you need to do Ruby for the ship and the crew. I can also stay below deck." She offers. With her gloved hands she rubs the back of her neck with one hand and rubs at her arms and side with her other. She sighs calls upon magic to pull the salt water from her leather and wool clothing. "Gaval, we should talk later and bring what has that particular scent with you." She opens her eyes and looks to Cristof. "I really do not mind staying blow decks for a bit, or I can walk to Remba." She offers.

Gaval listens to the pans for rest and repair and looks pensive for a moment but nods. Autumn's talk of scents has him confused for a time but eventually he nods to this as well. "Alright.. consider it done." He moves over to a crate and jingerly sits atop it, trying to rest the muscles in his back while checking over his damaged shirt.

Ruby chews at her lip and considers while she finger-walks calloused fingers against the curling map. "Aye…there be bad stories aboot Pathians. Age just made'm biggah an baddah. We just gotta be careful, roight? Don't want ya tah run oop on some mob. 'Ad me fill latelah. Aye…Aye, I think we sail tah Camerooon, then return tha Dipsy tah Ambah docks. We oofload tha bloody skeleton. Check tha 'ull for arrows'n beasts."

"What they do not realize is that half the time it is a people posing as us, folks are gullible. I have dealt with more issues from the bloody Alhambran slave traders." Her cheeks are flushed but there is no heat in her words. She shakes her head and goes back to rubbing the back of neck. Her eyes remain closed. "I will cover my head and make sure they think I am part of this crew and or a trader. They will never know the difference. I highly doubt they would know me on sight, I am forgettable." She offers. "That is if I get off the ship."

Cristof nods when Ruby suggests a plan. "In truth, it's your mission and your command, Ruby. You know best what the ship needs. I'm glad to defer to you as long as it keeps us safe." He looks around the group. "I think that all of us have had our fill of mobs and strange beasts for a while." Then he shakes his head at Autumn's offer to walk to Rebma. "We should stay together, and you might want to keep your eyes cast downward. I've only seen eyes like yours twice, and one of those was the woman who spoke to us briefly at the embassy."

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