Monday, 21 July 2014

The Quest for Verdisc (part 6)

"First jobs first, me hearties!" Cried Davelron, tightening his jackets. "We rake the guns in."
"Yes, Sir." The two children chirped.
Davleron eyed them, angrily. "No. You say 'Aye, Aye Captain.' Understand?"
"Aye, Aye Captain!" Marcus and Emilia grinned. They raced off the raised deck, around the shed like shack to the front of the vessel. There were wheels with handles protruding from them beneath each cannon, which when turned caused the cannons to shrink down into the sides of the boat. They draped some cloths over them and then raced back to Davelron who was wrestling with the large ship wheel. "Right then, Marcus, raise the swings."
"Aye, Aye Captain!"
"And Emilia, grab a bundle from the cart and toss it in the burner."
Before Emilia could even question what any of that meant, a gigantic explosion tore through the air. Large balls of fire blasted into the sea, and smoke began to cloud the growing moon. The Castle of Vincent was a burning wreck of flames, but nobody had told the Spectres.
"Uncle Thaddeus!!!" Emilia screamed.
"Calm yourself child." Davelron said. "Get below deck now."
Marcus, who was taking it surprisingly well seeing he was the weaker of the two children, grabbed his sister and dragged her towards the door and down the steps to the hull. Davelron followed them, pulled the tarpaulin over the shed and then ducked down into the 'Gallery.' "Marcus, your sister is obviously useless at this moment, so batton down the hatches."
"The lever in the corner, lad!" Davelron roared, ripping his coat from his shoulders and throwing it onto the rack. Then he took his Trident and hung it on the wall, making his way towards the chair opposite where Emilia was sat. "Look at me, girl. Your uncle is an extremely clever man. And when I say extremely clever, I mean the cleverest man you'll ever have the good fortune to stumble across. And you know why I'm telling you that? Because it means he escaped. Blazing hell torrent! It was probably him that blew the place up. And that means he isn't dead! Do you understand that, Emilia?"
She nodded, not too convincingly.
"Good. Now I'll tell you what you need. Some lovely grub. Aye. You'll love some grub, so you will."
He raced to the cooking unit, grabbing a scrubbed pan and placing it under the tap. He spun a tap wheel which caused a test-tube to fill with water from the sea outside. Then he turned that tab back and turned another with let the water out into the brass pan. He slumped the pan onto one of two hobs and flicked on the gas smashing a flint down on another, which caused the gas to ignite. The water began to bubble slightly. Davelron rooted through the shelves and pulled a cloth bag out. He opened it and poured pasta into the boiling water, leaving it to boil whilst he went to another cupboard and took another bag and a vial of spices. He pulled the bag open and took the seaweed from it, dropping it into the pans along with the pasta. It began to simmer. Davelron took three non matching plates from beneath the worktop and threw them onto it, dishing up the pasta and seaweed unevenly. He took the vial of spice and shook it onto the plates, then throwing two of the three plates onto the round table. "Marcus, take a pew. Everyone dig in." Davelron took the third plate and jumped onto the sofa, using a pen knife to eat the crudely made dish.
"Excuse me, First Mate Davelron." Emilia asked.
"Aye? And call me Davelron. We're off duty."
"What are we meant to eat it with?"
"Oh!" Davelron exclaimed. "I forgot about that. Me and the crew always used to eat with our pen knives, rather than cutlery."
"Then what do you suggest?"
"You'll have to use your fingers. We'll get you some cutlery at the next port we stop at." He laughed a second then threw his empty plate, wolfed down in a couple of bites, and walked over to them. "If you don't mind, I'd like to take this opportunity to go through a crew meeting. It's what my old Captain would have done."
"Excuse me, Davelron." Marcus said. "But where have your old Captain and crew gone?"
"I wish I knew."  Davelron replied.
There was tickering of letters against paper and then a ding and everyone jumped in fright, having forgotten that the Mechanical Wizard had come down before them. Emilia went to the corner and took the sheet of paper, reading from it. "It says, 'I have slight psychic powers. Would you like me to find out?'"
"Yes." Davelron demanded, immediately.
Emilia nodded and flicked the Yes switch. There was a humming and then a portal of light appeared above the table. The light showed an image. The deck above, with four men on it. There was a collection of men, four in total. One was behind the wheel, barking orders. He was tall, valiant, with a coat similar to Davelron's, but his was decorated with medals. He held a trident, and looked out across the seas like he was the master of them. To his left was a man, crouched over a table, studying charts and maps, crying out 'correct the course!' or other genetical terms. In front of the shed were two more men, manning the guns and washing the decks. One, the one to the left fiddling with ropes, was small, with strong arms, laughing at something the other man had said. The other man was taller, and the spitting image of Davelron.
"Gaius!" Octavius Davelron cried. "He's my brother." It showed the four crew members again and Davelron identified them all. "My brother, Gunner Gaius Davelron." He said the other man at the front was, "Boatswain Zachary Forsooth." The man with the charts was, "Master George Izalathio."
And the man behind the wheel, "Captain Gregory Defaut. The Crew of the Black Addison." Davelron looked at Emilia and Marcus, adding, "The old crew of the Black Addison. Dogs the lot of them. But friends nonetheless."
The portal continued it's message when suddenly Master Izalathio pointed out something in the far distance. Marcus gasped. It was the first of the Fleet of Spectre Warships. They could see Defaut barking orders and the Black Addison began to make it's way towards the warships at full pace. Gunner Davleron was instructing Forsooth how to use the front spinning cannon, when suddenly something the portal didn't show caused the boat to violently rock to one side. Defaut spun the wheel, pulling the boat back under control, and Gunner Davelron began firing harder. A Spectre must have noticed them, however, as a smaller ship was making it's way. The cannons fired hard, but it was having no effect, the hooded theatrical mask wearing spectres kept charging towards them, and soon were onboard. Defaut whipped out his trident and began fighting but it had no effect. They had lost the battle. The spectres took the crew and jumped back into their small boat.
As the spectre ship disappeared towards Vincent, the Black Addison floated away, yet another, if not large, piece of sea debris. Until a hook grabbed the mast head and dragged it into port. And then Marcus and Emilia appeared, looking for escape.
The Mechanical Wizard took this moment to get rid of the portal. Davelron slumped back against the sofa. "My crew." He whispered. "My crew."
There were a few moments of silence, and then Davelron stood up, stamping his foot. "Mechanical Wizard, set course for the Permaline Recesses. We're going to need Demetrius Mist if we're going to slay the spectres and rescue Gaius."
Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Ding! "'Aye Aye Captain'" Emilia read.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Quest for Verdisc (part 5)

"It's a gigantic snake thing!" Cried Marcus.
A small clap was made several times and then there was a loud ding. A piece of paper fell from the slot in the Mechanical Wizards chest, and quickly became damp and mushy, the fresh ink running. Had anybody got there in time, they would have noticed it read, "That is a bad description, Master Marcus. I would suggest that you choose another adjective, and improve the term 'snake thing'."
Davelron was a Master of the Seas, he knew what he was doing. His legs stretched, and his mind on the task, he leapt onto the raised platform, rushing behind the wheel, and threw several lumps of coal into the fire. He grabbed the rip cord and ripped it forwards. The fans spun faster, the turbines increased, and the twin exhausts spouted flames, which flared in the falling rain. "On three!" He cried in English, before following it with, "Nye! Mbini! Ntathu!" He cried in Xhosa, the adopted language of the Nautia's. It was a strange language to hear, with a mixture of clicks and different sounds, and if it hadn't been for the fact that he'd then shouted, "Battlestations!" the two children wouldn't have known when three was called.
They spun handles on side of the cannons, that spun the barrels, and that fired the lead balls at the serpent. It was like a Pin Backed Toad being let loose in a Breath Sack shop. Pop pop pop pop pop.
Great splatters of green reptile blood splashed them, but it didn't stop the gigantic snake thing. It surged forwards, but Davelron anticipated this, and pulled the boat back. He pressed down on the pedal before the wheel and then spun the wheel, the new tracks clicking into place and the sails beneath the boat twisting. The boat spun with a rotation of the wheel and the two children no longer were facing the serpent, but instead the open sea. That didn't stop them from spinning around and running towards Davleron, who cried, "Brace yourselves!"
He pulled the rip cord and the boat raced forwards, leaving a froth in it's wake. He released his pedal and tugged the wheel, the boat bracing itself for an oncoming wave. He braced the engine again, and increased the speed, racing the vessel faster. It surged across the ocean, and Davelron screamed, "To the side cannons!" In Xhosa.
Marcus and Emilia stared at him, bemused.
"The side cannons!" He demanded.
They raced to the cannons, loading larger lead balls and then aiming it. Emilia took a flaming baton from the side of the shed like entrance to the lower decks and lit the fuse protruding from the cannon. The fuse began to raced down, and Emilia braced herself. The cannonball exploded out, just as the Serpent blasted out of the water, smashing it in the middle of it's chest. The Serpent howled, and another ball hit the chest from Marcus' cannon. "Mechanical Wizard! With me now! You two, to the wheel."
Marcus and Emilia began to run towards the raised platform, whilst Davelron turned to the Serpent, which was retreating. "I am First Mate Octavius Davelron!" He cried, in English, "You are a gigantic snake thing!" He grabbed the end of his Trident, still in the wheel, then cried something terrible in Xhosa, followed by, "I am a Trident Holder! Avast!!!!" He leapt over the fans, followed by the Mechanical Wizard, with his Trident outstretched. The Serpent, as Davelron suspected, wasn't retreating. It was taking a run up.
It surged towards the ship, all 20 foot of it, with it's body outstretched. Davelron landed on it's back, rolling to a halt about halfway down.  The Mechanical Wizard followed his lead. Waves hit them, but the upturned collars of Davelron's coat protected him. Davelron raced forward, across the scaly back, not slimy, merely wet. He slammed his trident down, and three large holes appeared in the Serpents back, blood oozing out. The Mechanical Wizard followed him, firing blasts of bottled magic into the wounds. They raced forwards across the 20 foot of Serpent, until they got to the head.
The Serpent ignored their pattering feet, or Davelron's feet and the MW's walking utensils, spending all it's intention on the boat ahead. Either Marcus or Emilia had found the the rip cord, because flames exploded out of the exhaust and the boat accelerated. "Spin her around!" Davelron cried.
Someone must have heard, because the familiar click of the sail track clicking into place sounded, and the boat soon spun around. Davelron grinned, then shouted, "Pull the lever at the front!"
Emilia raced around the shed and towards the front of the boat, grabbing a lever and yanking it. Behind her, the sound of the fans reversing could be heard. The lever caused a plank to extend over the masthead, and a roll of carpet extended over the edge. Davelron raced forwards and stabbed the three points of the Trident into the head of the Serpent, leaping forwards onto the extended plank, rolling onto the deck. The Mechanical Wizard followed, jumping and spinning in midair, extending it's operating utensils and blasting energy into the dying head of the Serpent. As the Mechanical Wizard bounced onto the deck and the gigantic snake thing slumped beneath the waves, Davelron led Emilia to join her brother. "Who are you?"
"I'm Marcus, and this is my sister Emilia." Marcus explained. "We're currently under the care of Thaddeus Mist."
"Thaddeus Mist!" Davelron exclaimed. "Whyever didn't you say?"
"You didn't really give us a chance."
"Good point. I've got to say, Thaddeus has always been a great man. He helped to design this boat."
"That'd explain why he sent us here."
"Yes it would. But why are you coming here at all?"
They explained to him how they'd been sent to convey a message to their Uncle Demetrius, after the spectres invaded Vincent. Octavius Davelron listened to the store and smiled. "Thaddeus Mist is a great man. I would be honoured to assist you in anyway I can." He offered his hands to both. "Welcome to the crew of the Black Addison."

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Quest for Verdisc (part 4)

Davelron tugged them through the doors of the shed like entrance to the lower deck and pushed them to the hull, dragging them back up again once he'd followed them. "Mechanical Wizard, we need your help!" Emilia screamed, but the Mechanical Wizard had to accept the Trident Holder as a higher authority, and so didn't do anything.
Davelron pushed them into a back room and locked their ankles with chains. Then he stared at them, his eyebrows raised, and said, "I'll go and undo whatever terror you've caused to my ship, and then I'm going to deal with you. You better have an excuse planned for me." He stormed out, smashing the door into the frame, which made the entire ship quiver.
In the darkness, only illuminated by a seeping of light beneath the door, Emilia said, "And I thought it was going swimmingly."
"We need to escape." Marcus said, to the darkness.
"Yeah, I don't like the idea of him dealing with us."
"No!" Marcus exclaimed. "We need to escape so we can take this letter to Uncle Demetrius."
Emilia nodded in the darkness, a completely unnecessary gesture, and began thinking. "Have you still got those pips from earlier?"
Earlier that day, they'd found some strange peaches- or apples or something- with the largest, and hardest, pips Marcus had ever seen in them. They'd hastily eaten them and kept the pips, in the hope of finding a market where they could buy some more. "Yeah. They're in my bag."
"Get them out." Emilia said.
"Ok." Marcus replied, routing through the satchel and pulling out a handful of pips.
"That door was wooden, and those pips are really hard. No doubt that a couple of them will break down the door."
"No." Marcus said. "We wouldn't be able to get out of these chains, and it would cause to much noise. I've got a better idea." Without further ado, he took the pip and stuffed it onto the lock of the chain. With his other foot, he stamped down on it twice, smashing the lock with the hard pip. The chain broke away and Marcus got up, giving another pip to Emilia so she could do the same. A couple of seconds passed and then she broke away form the lock, using only one stamp. She went to join Marcus, who was attempting to open the door. "It locked shut!"
"We could just barge through it." Emilia replied, preparing to do so.
"It'd make too much noise." Marcus replied. "We'd be giving ourselves away!"
Emilia thought. "If we both leant on the door when we got the next wave, it may collapse."
"But you saw the seas today. It could be hours till the next wave."
"Ok, ok." Emilia said. She quickly went back to the source of her chain and, with a kick, broke it from the wall. It was rusty from years of damp wooden, and came off surprisingly well. She took it and threaded it through the broken chain on the other. Then she pulled the extended chain over to the cell door and tightened the lock around the door handle. "Now we can kick it down, and it won't make to much noise."
"Good thinking." Marcus replied.
She smiled, another pointless gesture, and kicked the door down. It hung backwards on the chain and Marcus pulled the door back slowly, lying it down. Then, without having made hardly any noise, they walked into the main hull. The stairs they'd just come down were waiting wearily on the other side of the central hull. There was an abandoned doorway, inside which were four bunk beds, with a fifth hammock hanging in the centre. Five beds for the five crew members. But besides Davelron there was no-one aboard. Where had the others gone?
The room between the cell and the bedroom housed a small library, a drink stained table, some kitchen furniture, a sofa and a gramophone. There was another door to the side of the cell door, which Marcus, tentatively, crept to investigate. It led into an armoury, stacked with harpoons, tridents, nets, swords and spears. Anybody would expected it to have been the armoury of a colosseum.
"Emilia." Marcus whispered. "Come have a look at this!"

"Blazing Hell Torrent!" First Mate Octavius Davelron exclaimed, pulling on a long blue jacket. He picked up his trident and pushed it into the centre of the large wheel, crying, "Mechanical Wizard, all hands at deck."
There was a ticketing of paper and a ding, but Davelron didn't read the paper, which actually read, "I don't have 'hands'. In the original blue prints, these are labelled as operating utensils."
Davelron twisted the trident, which now acted as part of the wheel and spun the ship around. Then he pressed down on the pedal, pulled back a large lever and then pulled the lock down on the wheel. He grabbed a large sack from the floor and then pulled a couple of lumps of coal from it, throwing it into the stove connected to the large fans. Davelron leapt from the raised deck, the vessel thundering towards slightly east of where it'd been docked, and headed behind the shed, stopping at the collection of cannons. He loaded three balls into the strongest, three barrelled cannon, and aimed it, taking a match to light the fuse. In a repetitive firing, three cannon balls exploded through the air towards the burning ruins of Port Vincent.

Emilia, now wearing a harness with the spears and sword strapped to it, rushed towards the doorway with a sword in hand. Marcus followed her, but noticed a porthole. He ran over to it and stared through at the sea outside. It was beginning to turn violent, with lapping waves and bouncing rain drops. Something slithered past the window, angry and fast. Marcus recoiled in horror, just as the boat shook with the explosion of cannons above. "Marcus, are you alright?" Emilia asked, running over.
"There's something out there in the sea." Marcus replied, his spear outstretched.
"Probably our possessions. I imagine he threw them overboard soon after he caught us."
"No, like a creature. Like a gigantic snake thing."
"I thought you were meant to be good at describing things."
"Emilia, there is a gigantic monster out there."
"Maybe a different adjective may be a good idea."
"Emilia!" Marcus screamed.
"Keep it down." She replied. "You'll alert Davelron. Now come on, we need to get aboard and escape, on a life boat or something."
"What about the snake thing?"
"Back to your old habits."
"Emilia! What do we do about the snake thing?"
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Now come on!" She cried. They raced up the steps, their weapons at arms length, and rushed onto the deck. Davelron was firing cannon balls at Port Vincent, which was an explosion of flames, despite the pouring rain. "Stop firing at our home!" They cried.
Davelron spun around. "I'm not firing at your home! I'm firing at the Spectre warships. What are you doing out of your cell?"
"We're here to warn you about the gigantic snake thing circling the ship!" Marcus cried.
"That is an awful description." Davelron replied. But his words were drowned away by the roaring of a gigantic serpent, as it rose from the depths of the ocean and howled over the ship.