Dashed upon the Rocks
The captain began, “Skara,” and nodded his head towards the woman next to him, “was the first to spot anything wrong. She saw a light purple haze on the horizon. You should’a seen it! All these streaks: purple, violet, mauve, hell some colors that I don’t even think have names just filled up the sky. We’d been out sailing some attempted piracy by the Uisce-damned Black Sails. Turns out behind all that purple haze was the bank of a storm front wide as the horizon. Seeing it was just ourselves this journey and no extra protection ships, we decided we’d rather brave the storm than let some damned pirates board us. I’d still wager now it was the better option, seeing as I’m alive telling you this tale.” He stopped for a moment for a quick thought.
“We didn’t have any protection ships ‘cause it was just a few days' journey between Kisaevin and Obrexia.” Upon mention of those realms Katerina raised an eyebrow and two of the councilmembers, the young man with a bracelet and the older women with the ring, began whispering to one another.
“We thought we could just go straight through with little worry. And yet, we stumbled from one disaster to the next! Thankfully most of us survived the worst of it, but the storm battered us to and fro, throwing at least three of my men overboard, never to be seen again.” Azark’s jovial expression left his face. It was replaced by one of worry, angst, and sadness. Small droplets of tears crawled from his eyes and over his cheekbones. The captain spoke once more, “I make all my crew the same promise when they sign with me: if the worst were to befall them, I will stop at nothing to make it right to their family.” He breathed in a heavy breath, and the little drops fell onto the straw mats on the floor. “Unfortunately, I will be having to help more than a few families upon my return.” Azark continued, before quieting for a moment to collect himself.
The room was quiet. The crew looked somberly to the ground, thinking back to the crewmates, the friends, that they had lost. The dwarf was particularly downtrodden. Sea water was not the only source of dried salt on his beard. The two councilmembers, sensing the intensity of the moment, stopped their whispering. Despite the show of emotion from the captain, Katerina continued her polite stare. If she was moved, she didn’t show it outwardly.
Azark regained his composure and began speaking again. “After the rocking came the crashing. We were dashed upon more than a dozen rocks, but She held. The Deliverance was a fine vessel, and one that’d served me and my crew for many years. She’d always make sure you got where you were going as safe as can be. It seems that all those years of luck finally ran out. She did however manage to hold on long enough to get us past the main rocks. Thank Uisce, or we’d be baking on the stones, or fish feed. With a final heave, she splintered on the largest damn rock in the harbor - debris and cargo went flying. I am sure we lost a man or two in the crash unless they managed to wash ashore elsewhere.” After steeling his voice, once more, he continued.
“By then, we’d managed to all grab hold of some piece that floats, and we,” he indicated the crew members sitting around him, “were all lucky enough to land relatively close together. The storm had stopped its rage, but the sky and everything else about this land retained a similar purple haze to it. I don’t know if that is just the way that this place is, or something else. One of your kin seems to have found us on the beaches, but I’m unsure of this part of the tale. My head landed on a rock and I honestly don’t remember what happened after that. Jeirna managed to retain himself though.”
Captain Azark then motioned towards the dwarf, then resumed with a question. “Councilmember Katerina, would you mind if I let my first mate continue from here? He’d be able to explain things better from here.”
Katerina nodded in approval and said, “This is no issue. He may speak.” Then she turned her gaze to the dwarf sitting next to the captain.