"Captain, Wreckage dead ahead Sir!" called the sailor in the crows nest.
The XO glanced at Captain Irontoe, a Dwarf, who nodded approval of action. "Reef in the mainsails, all watches on deck. Keep an eye out for survivors and salvage."
A dozen crew scrambled into the rigging around the ship to keep watch as ordered. As several large floating crates came into view, the various watchers began calling out what they were seeing. The ships purser was recording all the observations for the ships log and manifest should there be anything salvageable.
When the spotted items came within range, the XO ordered the longboat dropped and recovery crews begin bringing the salvage in for inspection. One of the upper lookouts called down, "Body floating to the port quarter, sharks sighted nearby.
"AHOY Longboat, head to port, search for body, sharks in sight!" called the XO through a funnel megaphone.
The officer on the boat waved back with his single flag, message received. The rowers turned the boat and quickly moved there small vessel in the indicated direction. A few minutes of hard rowing and the spotter in the bow reported he could see the body in question. "Floating on its back it is sir, and has barrels tied on."
"Close in fast, may still alive then." The boat arrived to pick up what they hoped was a survivor.
"Sir, it's a woman, Elven from the looks sir."
"Is she living?"
"Can't tell yet sir, need to get to her, and hurry about it, sharks closing in."
"Row harder you lot, harder!" yelled the lieutenant in charge.
He knew this was a race they dare not lose if she was still among living. As the boat pulled beside her, the lookout called back, "She's still alive sir, she saw us before passing out."
"Get her aboard now, hurry." As he said that, one of the rowers smacked a shark with his oar as it closed in to bite. The lookout and a rower grabbed her by the ropes around her chest and quickly pulled her soaked body into the boat. "Back to the Far Journey now boys, we need to find out whom she is. Also what ship that was and why they were out here."
The rowers pulled hard and quickly returned to the Journey. The Captain was glad to have even one survivor from a Skyfall wreck. The ship medic looked her over, "How long was she in the water Sir?"
"It took us a day to reach the wreck site, so at least that long. She shouldn't be in to bad a way from such a short time in the drink."
"Sir she is bruised over her entire body, like she was hammered all at once. I think she was caught by the wave. That she survived the wreck, then that says something about her."
"Yeah, she has to be the luckiest Elven ever to have lived."
The XO, a Kerran (Think a cat in human form. This one a grey tabby in color.) "Sir we will have the floating crates on board shortly."
"Well, that is something."
"Aye sir. Has she come around yet?"
"Not yet, Sawbones thinks she will in the next hour or so. She has been able to take water and keep it down so she should survive." He did notice what a wave the size of the one they had ridden out could do to a body in the water. She was totally bruised and beaten looking.
"I hope she does soon sir. We need to know why a boat like that was out this way, so far from the normal shipping lanes. I understand our reason, going to Brother Island and all, but them?"
Both started as a new voice spoke, "We had to dump a piece a deadly cargo in the deepest known area of the Tears, where am I? Last I recall was the wall of water and jumping overboard."
"Well lass, you're awake, good. Who are you and what was that about dumping cargo?"
Tamalain looked around and saw she was on a smaller vessel and it was crewed by several races, including one she had never seen before, at rat walking upright. She could tell by the rank, the Dwarf was the Captain and the Kerran was the XO. The rest she saw were Human, Halfling and gnomes, and one she had read about, an Ogre. The rat person was a mystery to her. That could wait for later though.
"Captain, I am Captain Tamalain Arrowmark of the City of the Upper Glenns, in North Eastern Butcherblock Mountains. As to the cargo, now that it is safely out of reach, it was a chest encased in twenty five tons of lead. The cargo happened to be a full suit of Drakota Scale Armor, with the spirit intact. It was totally insane and near to indestructible by mortal means.'
"Drakota Scale? That would be a wonderful thing to see, except as you said, insane. That explains why you are out here, the question is now what I am to do with you. I am not headed in the direction of your home, so you are stuck."
"Could you use another deck hand Captain, I did get a fair amount of time learning before we sailed and assisted when needed on the Bottomless."
"Junior seaman rates and general gofer duties," said the XO. "We always need help in those areas."
"Yes sir. That I can do," said Tamalain in reply.
"Sir," said the XO, "Refugee is in this general direction, we could drop her there, and snag a few days to properly fix the damage in the rigging in a safe harbor."
"Now that XO is an excellent idea, two birds with one stone. We are what, about four days out?"
About that sir, shall I have the Helm set course for Refugee sir?"
"Make it so XO Talas."
Talas went to handle that, and Captain Irontoe turned his attention back to Tamalain. "I am sure you are wondering what that was about. There is an island about midway between Qeynos and the Common Lands. It is a dumping ground for folk found at sea, like you. They keep you on until it is determined where you can go from there. Now, your first duty is to take care of some of the rats that came aboard at our last stop. Brother Island is awash with them." He handed her a large club and pointed at one of the small rodents running around the crates.
"What of the one walking around in the vest sir?"
"What, no Rotanga in your lands? He is a crewman, no beating him up, or I will toss you over the side."
Tamalain headed down to the cargo decks and quickly began bashing in the brains of the rats running around the holds. The large sack she had was soon full to bursting, so she went back topside and reported to the XO. "My goodness Elven, are there any left?" after she looked in the sack.
"All too many sir, I just need a new sack, what can I do with these."
"Empty the sack overboard, then get some more water and take a break, you are still looking weak."
"Thanks, I'll do that."
She went to the stern and emptied the sack of dead rats. She saw she had bites on her arms, fleabites from the looks. Quickly she dropped the sack and began casting her healing spell and a simple cure disease. No telling what she might be infected with from the bites. She felt something burning on her arms and saw that the two spells had countered something, so she felt she was safe for the moment.
Tamalain looked out over the rough sea's and saw more bits of what was once the Bottomless. It had completed its mission, but why did the crew have to die, they had done no wrong in this, she was the guilty party in this situation. If she had personally seen to the total destruction of the corpse herself, none of this would have happened. Admittedly, Jordan might still have gone off the deep end, but not in such a grand manner.
Well, there was nothing she could do about any of that now. It was her past, and she could never go back to undue the damage done. She could only go forwards and make her future on the path she had seen in the mirror. That would be her new future. Sitting and sipping a little water, a Halfling sat next to her.
"So miss, where you from," he inquired.
She looked at him for a second, and then she decided the truth would due for now. "I was born and raised in the Upper Pass Village in the Greater Faydark. I was at school when the calamity hit. I don't really have a home anymore."
"You mean the Skyfall?"
"Yes. A large stone crushed my village; I lost everybody I loved that day." She choked and tears came unbidden to her eyes as the pain she had deigned all these years finally came forth.
"I'm sorry miss; I didn't mean no harm in asking."
"It's not your fault, I have ... Oh, gods, why did I lose them all, even my little brother. He had so much potential. He would have been me without the darkness and pain. No, not your fault, I have had a hard life. The fire, the fall, then the madness I suffered. Then the Drakota Lord and all the suffering that brought. The destruction of a great leader, and the insanity of an evil woman stealing the life of the heir to the Fay." Tamalain covered her face and cried. Great wracking sobs that brought sadness to all that heard. "Mistemoore and his plots, the damage he did to me as a child. Then Luclin." She looked at the Halfling, she could see tears in his eyes as well.
"Miss, I know saying I am sorry will be of no help, but you live and you have a future ahead of you. The island of Refuge will help you get back on your feet and to determine where you go, Freeport or Qeynos. As to the rats, leave them for now, the XO lost her cap to the wind, and it landed in the crates, I have to find it."
"Want some help with that?"
"Sure, if you think you are up to climbing around the pile of wood on the deck."
Sniffing back more tears, "Yes, I think I am up to that. Let's find the missing cap."
.... There is more of this story ...