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09/27/2005 11:31 PM

A heavy fog drifted over the sea. It had swirled around the galley for the better part of the night. Whether the sun had crested the horizon or not was uncertain, as this damnable fog would barely let the light through anyway. And that smell. The putrid scent of excriment, death and illness filled the nostrils of everyone on board, slave and slaver alike. Half-dead slaves worked oars like zombies, eyes glazed-over and starving bellies rumbling protest. A whip cracked somewhere on board. A slave howled in pain, and the slow drum-beat persisted to guide the rowers.

The ship itself was large; a huge slave-galley with enough room for 20 rowers at each side, and enough cargo area for at least 100 more below. Of course, half of the slaves would be dying of disease before the trip was over. The deck was stained, probably with a mixture of blood, vomit, and human excriment. A body was unceremoniously nailed to the mast. Hofar. He had demanded more water on behalf of all the rowers.

[i]We're close to land[/i], Arminas thought as he heard the too-distant call of gulls. He had been with the ship for probably a month, but it becomes hard to keep track when the days blend together into a crisp misery. Luckily he hadn't suffered the slaver's whips nearly as often as many others, keeping a mind to just row and do as he was told. Some other prisoners were fairing well-enough also, some even having enough sailing experience to convince the slavers to allow them to help with tasks less excrutiating than rowing. Some of the women were selling their charms rather than be forced to work.

A second drum-beat could be heard not far away. Surely this was another, smaller galley. It was quite the business these pirates kept. Every few days a ship would anchor alongside this one and deposit new 'recruits' into the holds below. Some would replace rowers that had died or gone mad. If Arminas could hear the drums then it would only be an hour, perhaps two, before the newest unfortunates were loaded on board.

Arminas was seated beside what appeared to be a Bossonian (lonewolfe). He was one of the new ones - not yet a week on board. They were chained together, as all the pairs of rowers were, at the wrists. Some, who were not used for anything but rowing, were also chained at the ankles. Luckily, or perhaps not, Arminas and the Bossonian were also forced hands, helping to dispose of bodies and any other tasks the pirates had no interest in bothering themselves with, so their legs were left free.

The guards looked tired, Arminas noted. It had stormed the day before and so many of those now guarding the slaves had gotten little or no sleep. And there were more than a few strong backs and wide arms among the rowers. Arminas even thought he spotted one of the massive Northmen on board -- hands big enough to crush a man's skull. He looked around the ship, the tired guards, the aching and fiercely hateful slave-rowers. Today would be a good day to die.

[Edited by Dark_Elf_Damien on Sunday, October 16, 2005 10:12 AM]

10/16/2005 1:53 PM

Temudjin, chained to the oars of the galley, couldn't help but think that this fog wasn't that bad after all. At least it cooled them down a little and made the stench aboard the ship a little more bearable then it had been under the warm sun. He looked at his side, to the person he had been shackled onto, who seemed to be Argossean (Flan?) and wore a few large scars. Apparantly the man had been on a boat for quite a good part of his life, as he looked to be well at ease on this one. Partially, this was a stroke of luck to him. Since the man was obviously capable of doing tasks on the ship, neither the Argossean nor his own feet were shackled. He grinned briefly at the man, then continued to row and not a single bit too early, as the guard lashed out with his whip on the back of another that sat before us. The man screamed in agony which could probably be heard across the entire deck.

Occasionally, we'd be taken off the oars and brought elsewhere on the ship, to do chores that the pirates deemed themselves to be too good for. Silently Temudjin pulled on the oars and briefly prayed to Tarim, so that this fog would thicken. With the fog thick enough, he might get a chance to wring that bastard of a guard's neck, without getting killed in the process. More fitting would be to choke him to death with that damned whip of his, of which he had 'the pleasure' of feeling it rip into his skin in his first couple of days on the ship. Apparantly, the man had never heard of telling somene what to do, instead he would beat his victim until he got what he wanted.

A second beat of drums came to his ears, indicating that the smaller craft they had seen on a few occasions was approaching. With this fog, it could take approximately two hours before it would deliver another load of prisoners. These would swiftly learn not to talk and keep rowing, or meet the leather lash as well.

He realised that this was not the best of times to think of strangling the guard, but nontheless he hoped the fog would thicken. It would take a while to become an almost impenetrable haze, giving enough time to have the second launch drop their load and set course for their new target. He glanced around to see if anyone was watching and turned his head at the Argossean again, nodding first towards the fog, then at the guard and stroke his hand across his neck. Hopefully he got the meaning of the signals.

10/16/2005 8:31 PM

As the fog swept over the ship Diomedes licked his lips and felt the moisture of the air on his tongue. The fog was sure to make rowing easier as the hot sun was not casting it's spears of light upon the scarred backs of the rowers. True enough, Diomedes was extremely proficient on a ship and had thus been given other tasks in addition to mindlessly rowing. He was glad the slavers made use of his skills so he could stretch his legs and gain a small amount of rest before forced back to the oars once again.

His partner, a Turanian male, was of the same height and although of slightly lesser build Diomedes could tell he knew how to handle himself in a fight. With the lashing of the man in front of them Diomedes moved his eyes to as far right as they would go, knowing if he were to turn his head he would be whipped as well. Diomedes watched as the guard sneered, his left eye squinting some. He would be killed if Diomedes had the chance.

Diomedes' head perked up when he first heard the drums. More slaves would be arriving but in this fog it would be hard to locate the other ship, especially if it were to thicken. Perhaps then would be the proper time to strike out at the guards.

He turned to his partner who he found to already be looking at him. The dark haired Turnian made a few silent motions to which Diomedes replied with a nod of his head. If the weather was on their side perhaps today would be the day Diomedes would get off this damned ship he had spent the past month aboard.

10/17/2005 1:07 AM

Cold, wet, hungry, and fatigue. Traveling with his former master was one thing, plenty of rest and food, but this trek with his recent captures has been quite tiring. At least now he had a chance to sit, even though it was in the thick mists of the cold early morning.

Mandingo sat where he had been chained and rowed the small craft steadily forward into the haze. There where about ten of them chained and starved from the point of capture. Several had died or rather killed once showing symptoms of sickness. Those that remained now powered the little boat on to their next prison.

Drums sounded back and forth as if calling out oneanother. Each sending and recieve the coordinates of the other.

Mandingo sat there and rowed. The slave traders had beat him with whips and flogging sticks soon after they took him. Though in seeing how he took the blows and barely winced at the pain his holders kept a weary eye on him. Now they do not even bother threatening him, for they have found that Mandingo does what he is instructed without incident. That and they would not care to ruin such a prize sale just because of cosmetic damage.

So here he rows, patiently awaiting what may be instore for him ahead. Hopfully a full belly and a nice bed, but he knows thats not going to happen. Perhaps a good fight...

10/17/2005 9:26 AM

The rowing made Khorstal wish that he had kept himself a little better conditioned. Going from running a ship to rowing one was not easy transition. Unless the [i]Hylayas[/i] had been stuck without wind for too long, he would rarley be on the oars anymore. These past five days had been grueling. His back burned from the few cuts of the whip he had recieved since being on board. The salt from his sweat and the sea stung near constintly, almost enough to numb the pain. Almost. It had nearly been a relief when it came time to do other grunt work that the slavers saw fit for him and his [i]companion[/i].

Khorstal couldn't figure out much about the man he was chained to. He was a little more haggard then some of the others around them, but his eyes blazed with defiance. He knew how to follow orders, though, and had less marks on his back than even Khorstal did.

The previous nights storm had, along with the fog, seemed to put something in the air. Their captors looked tired and worn out, the rowers seemed unsettled. Khorstal wondered if someone was going to be foolish enough to try something. At the very least it could give them a small break. If enough joined, perhaps he and his pairing could slip away. Their unchained legs could carry them faster than the rest and the gulls had said that they might be close enough to shore to make an escape. The fog would be more than enough cover. Still, it would be nice to make at least a couple of them pay for this atrocity.

10/18/2005 5:08 AM

Kuvanu felt the fog dampen her skin as it laid down gently resting onto the boat swallowing it in a blanket of mist. She tugged on the ores as the others did slowly tugging the boat long through the never-ending water. She was already tired from rowing for endless hours on end. Her muscles felt weak and stung deep, it reminded her of the lashes from her former masters whip. Cracking in the back of her mind keeping her alive, keeping her moving along with the others. She felt sweaty and sticky like she hadnt bathed in weeks. Her master treated her somewhat well giving her luxuries and food, plenty of rest, but not here.
Her stomach rumbled and the scent of death filled her nose from a small breeze of wind. She choked quietly trying to keep it to herself.

Her vision began to blur and she blacked out falling backwards the chain tugging on her ankles she groaned slightly unable to move her arms and legs were numb sending small spikes of pain through her body, she cried softly to herself hearing the cracking of the whips come closer. She could almost feel the numbing blows of the cold leather slashing up against her back. She began to breathe harder and looked up blankly still crying She hoped this would end soon. She started grinding her teeth getting up and kneeling on one knee. She took hold of her oar and began rowing once again sweat beads floating off her face freely.  I wont go down easily. If they can do it I can& she said very quietly to herself clenching her teeth tightly trying to block some of the pain out. She resumed rowing and kept on. She grinned and bit back against the resuming, Never-ending pain.

[Edited by Sakura_Shadowstealer on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 5:18 AM]

10/18/2005 3:43 PM

Recently chained to a new slave, Mahfouz strained his almost stick-like arms to row the massive galleon. That as yet nameless slave on the rail was unfortunate enough to be chained to the ship by his ankle. With plenty of experience in servitude and labor Mahfouz served the slavers in a multitude of facets. When they needed him elsewhere, they'd unchain him from his partner and escort him where they needed him. With his small frame, they had no fear of resistance.

The drums in the distance made certain he'd be needed shortly. The slavers favored him for helping set up the boarding ramp so the new arrivals could see just what was in store for them. It hadn't gotten to the point that he almost didn't notice the horrified looks he got for his emaciated form.

His shoulders sagged as he saw the Turanian and the Argossian ahead sending each other signals. They were planning something. Somebody aboard this wretched ship was always planning something. Hofar had thought he could change things.

Mahfouz looked up the mast and shook his head. Hofar had been a good man. They'd been partners a while, and in what little time they'd managed to talk, Mahfouz had taken a liking to him. He could have stood with him and made the same demands. Maybe it would have rallied the rest of the slaves then, but he hadn't had the nerve. He'd sat quietly while Hofar made his demands, and turned his gaze when the slavers began jeering at both of them. He hadn't even seen the whip come out, but heard it unfurl and crack on the man he called his friend.

It seemed there was no end to Derketo's taunting. Her death followed wherever he went, and yet still he lived, withered and pallid over the last three months. If the men ahead had any say in the matter, that cruel goddess would have plenty more offerings today, slave and slaver alike.

But Mahfouz already knew he wouldn't be among them. Blood and death would fall and he would bear silent witness.

10/19/2005 7:12 PM

Adalgisa rowed quietly. She hadn't been on this boat long. As far as she could tell, she had actually been the last one captured. She wasn't overly tired yet, either. She looked to her side and saw that she had been chained to another woman. She kept her eyes closed as she was being brought onto the boat, afraid that if she opened them, she might find herself back in her home city. She had been worked rather lightly, too, comparatively speaking. She knew why though. She could tell from the fact that all the men were looking at her in rather disturbing ways. She wasn't being traded to the other men for her manual labor. They all thought she was too weak for that. No, she was being traded for her looks. A pretty slave could fetch a good price these days, and she was, being Brythunian, rather high on the waiting list. She listened to the drums that were sounding through the air. Soon she would be with the captain of the other boat, where her pride and rights would be stripped of her.

Suddenly, she felt a tug on her chains. Some girl next to her had fallen over. Apparantley, she had been here quite a while. Adalgisa felt bad she could not give the girl a reassuring pat on the back, or help her out a little, or else she would be whipped. Instead, she rowed with a little more power to make it easier for the poor soul.

She sniffed the air, getting a strong scent of the sea mixed with blood and other fluids she didn't particularly care to think about. She thought she could hear a ship coming, but she knew it was just her imagination. With all the sounds of men shouting, oars cutting through the water, and the ocean hitting the sides of the vessel, it would be impossible to hear something so silent as an approaching craft. Oddly enough, though, she felt something strange in the air. A feeling of recklessness. It was almost as though the other rowers were communicating with her by thought, telling her something big was about to happen. She sat a little straighter and closed her eyes again, hoping to add a little more perception to her hearing, in case she could pick up someone's whispers. She wanted off this hell hole, one way or another.

[Edited by blue_raven5 on Sunday, October 30, 2005 5:17 PM]

10/31/2005 9:54 PM

Arminas and the poor bastard he was chained to walked up and down the deck bringing a small bucket of dirty water around to the rowers. The ship was lashed to a smaller vessel while new 'recruits' were being loaded on board. The rowers, with nothing else to do, were attempting to relax and regain their strength. The air was still, almost confining.

A loudly spoken threat broke the chill silence and all rowers turned to see the cause. Most probably expected to simply see another slave killed for defiance. Instead, the apparent leader of the slave-ship was arguing over the price of his newest aquisitions. It was unlikely that this would cause any physical conflict... but it did offer a distraction.

Arminas led his fellow captive quietly to the side of one of the ship guards, removing the knife from the man's belt as he hooted and hollared along with his shipmates. The fool never noticed the weapon was missing. Looking around, Arminas tucked the weapon away at his bench, knowing that to strike now would be suicidal.

Hours passed. New slaves were fitted to rowing benches where they were needed and the less physically able were locked below. Night had fallen. Night and a bright moon. Arminas and Khorstal were the last to be seated after having finished other ship repair work. Their legs were to be chained, as was customary for the early part of the night when the least of the guards would be awake and active.

Arminas palmed the knife as he went to sit. He would die before he'd remain any man's slave. But he was a warrior. More than one man would die with him.

The guard started to bend down to casually afix the chain to the men's legs. A sickening [i]shlurk[/i] rang across the deck. Blood ran hot over Arminas's fingers and splattered against his torso and arm. A guard fell dead with a knife jammed upward through his jaw, the glint of steel could be seen inside his partially open mouth.

Then everything went red.

Arminas and Khorstal were chained together. They'd have to act in concert, and for a moment Arminas almost felt regret at bringing the man to almost certain doom without even a warning. But there was no time for pity as the sound came - a guard was yelling. Another was running toward them. This guard was a very large man. At the last moment Arminas shoved Khorstal aside, causing the chain between their arms to come taught. He then pulled Khorstal back, forcing their chain around the guard's throat.

The second guard fell with the sickening crack of a broken neck, and Arminas left the guard's weapon to Khorstal as the next guard came running. But this third guard fell like a sack of stones.. another slave had joined the fight.

This was going to get very, very bloody.

11/01/2005 12:36 AM

Mandingo being brought upon the larger vessel, his new home, felt ill at ease with this entire thing. He knew his stay on this ship was already off to a bad start when his trader started asking for a higher price for Mandingo. Almost not wanting to be sold to such vile creatures, he had to tolerate the extra prodding and display of his body while the traders settled on an agreement.

Later, down shackled with the seasoned rowers and other new recruits Mandingo took in his surroundings. The guards lessened, the slaves were tired from the days work and too tired to care about the work to come later that night. The commotion further back on the alley did not go unnoticied. Almost immediately the sleepy rowers were wide awake with anticipation, excitement and fear. Two guards already dead, a third on its way down.


The bigger they are, the more damage they do when they fall. As that third guard came running by Mandingo set him up for a trip that fell him right on his face. That guard probly would have risen up if not for the nearby rowers who took great pleasure kicking him back down. The guards had been alerted, the slaves were rialed. Those two free back there better get the rest of them out or Mandingo will make damn sure they dont get off the ship alive. For now he just looks back at them awaiting their next action, listening for anymore guards.

11/01/2005 10:39 AM

As expected, Mahfouz had been among the slaves to bring the two ships together and had yet again been forced to endure their stares as they came aboard. When the officers of the vessels began their argument, he found he couldn't stop himself from looking up. The slave in question was a beast of a man.

"Come now. You can spare a little more for a prize like this," the trader jeered. "Look at him. He can do the work of four or five of [I]those[/I]." He wouldn't have to look to know by the contempt laced into the last word that the man was referring to him. When the slaver finally conceded, the transfer went smoothly again, a sad relief for Mahfouz.

Below decks that night, he ate what little of the ordinarily unacceptable excuse for food he could stomach. Normally, he was able to hold just enough to take the gnawing edge off his hunger, but lately it couldn't even accomplish that. If something didn't change soon, he would die here. Starvation, dehydration, and exhaustion had already been having their way with him. One would have to claim him sooner or later. If there was any mercy left for him, anyway.

When the fighting broke out, Mahfouz was sitting awkwardly against the wall, trying for what snatches of sleep he might be afforded. Catching sight of two slaves in the middle of the fray, he had to stifle a groan. More death tonight.

The sound of a man falling hard brought his attention to more immediate matters. A guard lay on his stomach just in front of Mahfouz, the massive new slave standing over him, looking back expectantly. [I]"This is suicide."[/I] he wanted to tell the man, but thought it would fall on deaf ears. When freedom was on the line, men would do anything on this ship.

As another guard crept down from above deck, most of the slaves still trying to grasp what was happening, Mahfouz tried to catch the big man's attention to get him to sit as though nothing had happened. He could think of no way to be discreet about it, though, and soon the guard brandished a cudgel as he approached from behind. Raising it for the attack, he sneered.

Derketo would have another sacrifice, it seemed.

"Behind you!" Mahfouz heard himself call.

11/03/2005 11:45 AM

Khorstal was ready to sit when they were done with the water. He didn't enjoy the rowing, but it was better to be sitting sometimes. As he was getting to his spot on the bench, Khorstal was caught of guard by a quick movement and instantly getting hit in the face with something wet. Before he even realized that it was blood, his chain-mate was pushing him around. He didn't like it, but it worked and a second guard dropped.

As he was rummaging through about the guard, he found the guards dagger. As Khorstal was looking for keys that he couldn't find, there was another crash behind them. He turned and saw two more guards, one of which was already down. He looked to Arminas. They were in it all the way now. If they gave up they were dead anyway. There was nothing to lose.

This time he draged Arminas along. He ignored the downed guard a went straight for the one with the raised club. As the cudgel came down, he pulled the chain accross it's path and jabbed out blindly with the dagger he picked up. The guard slowly went limp, the stab striking home in his chest.

He knew they had to find a key. They would only last so long like this.

[Edited by lonewolfe619 on Thursday, November 3, 2005 2:18 PM]

11/03/2005 11:56 AM

As another guard approached both Temudjin and the Argossean came into motion and blocked his path, the chain used to fill the gap between them, while the guard raised a cudgel. With a smirk, the guard tried to hit Temudjin over the head with it, but the Argossean grabbed his arm before he could bring it down.

Swiftly the cudgel exchanged hands and Temudjin brought it down with force on the guard's head. It gave just about the same sound as smashing in a watermelon. With a grin, he searched the guard's body for keys and cursed lightly as he found none. What he did came across was a dagger and he handed the Argossean the cudgel. "This raises our chances a little as we'll have to work together due to this chain." He gave a nod to his enchained pairling. Fortunately, their legs had not been chained down to the deck, probably because they often had to do work below at night.

Temudjin gave a brief tug on the chain that connected him to the Argossean. "Let's head that way." He stated dryly, pointing to where the fighting had broken out, which also happened to be the way to one of the stairs that led out of the galley.

[Edited by Caelin on Thursday, November 3, 2005 12:03 PM]

11/04/2005 6:34 PM

"This raises our chances a little as we'll have to work together due to this chain." He gave a nod to his enchained pairling. Fortunately, their legs had not been chained down to the deck, probably because they often had to do work below at night.

Temudjin gave a brief tug on the chain that connected him to the Argossean. "Let's head that way." He stated dryly, pointing to where the fighting had broken out, which also happened to be the way to one of the stairs that led out of the galley.

Diomedes took a moment to feel the cudgel in his hands, he then turned to Temudjin, "Good idea," he said following the man to the other two chained men who had started the fighting.

Diomedes and Temudjin moved quickly to Arminas and Khorstal, having no oposition to face until they were about a meter away from the others. A guard came forward Diomedes almost met him with a charge but remembered the chain and gave it a slight tug to alert his partner to the coming enemy. The two moved forward, Diomedes taking the lead. The guard struck out with his short sword which Diomedes met with the cudgel. The sword chipped in to the wood and Diomedes let go of his club and hit the guard in the neck with all the force he could muster.

The guard fell and Diomedes took the short sword and placed his foot over the cudgel and wrenched it free. "There are more coming," Diomedes said motioning towards several guards coming to them.

11/06/2005 3:11 AM

The dark new slave Mandingo looked at the fallen guards around his seating, and at the standing slaves around them. The chains in which he was still bound only gave so much liberty. A set of pearlly white teeth smiled at the others who had saved him from the flanking guard. They settled the score for now but everyone would need to continune watching eachothers backs if they wanted to get out of there alive.

Turning from the aisle, Mandingo focuses upon the chain giving it a good pull. He checks to see exactly where the chain connects to the ship and if it would be possible to break the boards instead of the chain itself. Finding that the chain was anchored to the ships side and than looped through brackets under their seat, it appeared to take great strength to be able to rip it free.

His chain mate seemed fearful of the entire situation, as well as ansy. Mandingos buddy was already attempting in vain effort to pull out the chain. Apparently the fallen guards lacked keys as if they did than those standing would have already released themselves of their shackles.

"TIGER!! TIGER!!" He starts to sound out in a calling chant of his northern tounge. The slaves were stirred, they needed something to overwhelm their fear...and also instill fear into their captors.

11/07/2005 6:39 PM

Adalgisa was, after being inspected and sold, led into the captain's chamber. She was to be his personal servant. She stood in there, waiting for him to enter. After a few minutes, he came in.

"Heh heh, I've had to pay a bit more for you, because of the heritage and all, but I think it was worth it. Dont yo--"

Suddenly, there was a loud ruckus outside. Some heavy fighting had begun suddenly. The captain suddenly forgot about Adalgisa even being in the room, and turned on his heel, flying out of the room, sword drawn. Seeing this as her chance, she grabbed his pillow. If she got out of here, this would be a huge help. If not, maybe they would be angry enough to kill her and end this terrible nightmare. She emptied the pillow out and took the case, and began rummaging around the room.

As soon as she had finished, she hid it in a corner of the room, and grabbed an antique weapon off the wall, and ran out the door. She was going to get out of here, one way or another!

11/08/2005 8:31 AM

Idaeus had been sitting in the ships hold, waiting for whatever was to come next, when all hell seemed to break loose. He listened to what was being said between his captors as people ran about. Apparently a fight had broken out in the galley, between slaves and guards. Idaeus rose from his corner. If there was an uprising, then perhaps he'd have a chance to escape. He just hoped there were enough healthy men on board the ship to overthrow their captors.

A guard caught sight of Idaeus moving around in the hold, and focused his attention on him.

"Hey, you, get back to your corner," the pirate ordered.

"Please, help me," Idaeus pleaded. "There's a dead body down here. I think we need to get it out of here."

"We'll get it later. Now get back!"

By this time several other prisoners in the hold realized that something was wrong. A few believed Idaeus' claim of the dead body. People began shouting, begging the guard to come in and remove the body before they all caught sick and died. The guard sighed, and relented.

Shaking his keys loose, he unlocked the door that seperated the hold from the rest of the ship. Idaeus waited until the man was sufficiently inside the door, and then he pounced. He grabbed the guard, and began to throttle him, but not before the guard called out in surprise.

Idaeus was glad he hadn't been on the ship for very long, and was silently rejoicing as his victim started to fade away. More guards had heard the cry for help, and had come down to try to pull Idaeus off the pirate, but the remaining healthy prisoners fought back.

When Idaeus was sure the pirate was dead, he let go, and the body dropped to the floor. Idaeus grabbed the keys and snuck out of the hold. The guards that had come into help were being beaten to death by the other prisoners. Idaeus had a plan, but he wasn't sure how he was going to carry it out. All he knew was that he needed to get to the galley, and he needed to find where they were holding everyone's personal belongings. But, he couldn't do that until he knew where he was going.

11/08/2005 12:11 PM

Pulling himself to his feet amidst the chaos, Mahfouz wondered at what he should do. To join with the resisters could lead to much death, but staying on the ship, if any slavers were left, would lead to certain death. Then the choice was clear, and freedom was at stake.

Crouching beside the nearest fallen guard, he undid the man's belt, gaining a few curious glances from nearby slaves. Once he pulled it free, though, he wrapped a bit of the end around his fist, and affected a stance as though he would lash someone with it.

As the resisters began to gather, Mahfouz moved among the rest of the slaves, encouraging them to action. "Come, men. Now is the time for freedom. They can hold us down here no longer. Our freedom is ours to fight for."

Unsure exactly how the slaves were reacting, there was certainly more noise, but what that meant he couldn't tell, Mahfouz joined the men gathering with weapons. This was the leadership, and this was where he thought he should be.

"My friends, I believe we should make our way to the deck. If any of our former masters know what's happening down here, they'll go there to send a signal to any nearby craft. We must make sure they cannot."

11/08/2005 2:50 PM

Slamming the door shut behind her, Adalgisa had actually turned a few heads from their fights. As soon as they saw her, however, they disreguarded her as useless and went back to fighting. She ran up behind one guard, and plunged her sword deep into his back. It was met with great resistance, however, as this was no fighting sword; it was meant only for decoration. She pulled it out, slashing it against another mans legs as she did so, and the first kill fell to the ground. She went to fight another, when when she felt something grab her wrist. She flung around to fight, when she realized that it was the captain. He pushed her, hard, into another slave, knocking them both over. Her sword cut her slightly on the side of her chest, and sent searing pain through her body. She looked down and thought it was a fatal wound, at first. She saw the captain fighting someone else, and decided this was a good opportunity. She flung the sword at one guard, and, without even looking to see if it made contact, faked her death. She may be a bit cowardly, but she'd rather live than have honor among some lowly slaves.

11/08/2005 3:14 PM

Amidst the chaos that had broken out on board, Arminas yanked his fellow prisoner along and snatched up a small prybar from near the mast. Jamming the narrow pick-end through a link in the chain he began to twist. Eventually the chain ground up on itself and snapped from the cuff on Khorstal's wrist, leaving Arminas with a length of chain dangling from his arm.

With greater freedom of movement, Arminas let loose his rage. Lashing his chain across a pirate's face he was able to take the man's weapon -- a rather unimpressive cutlass. Each guard that came forth to challenge him received a fierce blow, painting the blade and much of Arminas in blood and gore.

As Arminas hacked through the throat of a pirate he noticed that the few remaining were being swarmed by prisoners, set free by some happy circumstance that Arminas had not seen. Those few guards were being pommelled to death. One rather large Northman seemed to be quite literally crushing the face of guard with his bare fists. Arminas almost felt sorry for the man.

Looking to Khorstal and beyond at other ex-prisoners, Arminas nodded slightly. "Our possessions are no doubt still on board. Come below if you wish to claim what is yours," he said, addressing the entire ship. With that, Arminas moved below, picking his way toward the prow of the ship where the treasure-holds were most likely to be found.

11/12/2005 2:38 PM

From the sounds of it the entire ship was in an uproar. Clanking metal and cries of pain, the battle had moved away from their holding at the oars as the guards of the ship were focused on those running about.

And here Mandingo was still chained in to his seat. Those that had their feet unfettered of course were able to move about and that left all those still in binds to remain to where they were chained. Continueing his cry:

"Tiger!! Tiger!! Tiger!!"

Mandingo rustles his chains adding more noise to the clamour. His partner beside him had begun in the chant as well. They knew that if the others succeded that they would have to make sure they are heard or would be left upon a dead vessel awaiting a slow death of hunger and thirst.

11/13/2005 8:28 AM

Idaeus stopped in his tracks. It seemed as if there were people running everywhere, some of them just as confused as he. He didn't know where to go, or what to do next. As he tried to figure out his next move, another pirate ran by. The pirate saw Idaeus standing with keys in his hand. The pirate and captive made eye contact for a brief second before Idaeus charged at the other man and slammed into the pirate with all his might. Idaeus drove the other man to the ground, and grabbed his captors head in both of his hands, the keys lying next to them on the floor.

Idaeus began to slam the dazed man's head into the ships floor repetedly, and didn't stop until he was splattered with blood, and the body underneath him was still. Idaeus picked up the keys as he rose from floor, and looked around again. It seemed as if no one had taken notice of what had just happened, everyone was trying to save themselves.

"Does anyone know where the galley is?" he called out.

11/13/2005 1:26 PM

Temudjin followed the man that had spoken about their gear into the darkness that was below. Already he had given one good example, which was showing how to break the chain. This was done more easily then the man had gone through, for the Argossean had immediately caught on and helped. The remainder of the chain was on the Argossean's end, which gave him another weapon to use. A thought hit me, as we went down the stairs, which I uttered loudly to the man leading us below deck. "The hold should be in the direction of the stern, on the other end of the corridor that leads to the cargo hold."

It had been the sole place on the ship where they had never been allowed to go, even as they were sent below to do tasks for the pirates. It made sense to him that their equipment would be stored there, along with the other goods that could be sold for a profit.

11/16/2005 6:51 PM

"The hold should be in the direction of the stern, on the other end of the corridor that leads to the cargo hold."

"Good, I will much enjoy having my sword and shield back in my posession," Diomedes said reaching the bottom among the others. After taking a moments glance he nodded, "The man is right, the hold should be this way," Diomedes took the lead followed by the other slaves who were down below.

As he reached a broader room a guard came around from the corner and slashed out with his short sword. Diomedes raised his still chained arm and went back. The chain whipped to the man's face and hit close to the eye. The guard's helm protected him from such an attack but it still caught him off balance giving Diomedes time to shift weight and launch himself forward bringing the man to the ground by the throat. The guard soon fell limp.

11/17/2005 9:30 AM

Khorstal nodded and followed the others that went after his former chain mate. He for one wanted, if nothing else, his bow back. It was his best weapon as well as being the one he was most comfortable with. He didn't expect to meet much more resistance on the ship, but there was no telling where they were or what it was going to take for him to get home.

He was feeling confident about their situation, in spite of where they were. The breakout had made them partners of sorts. He always did well with the buisness partners that he came across, and didn't see how this should be much different. They were all working toward the same goal. Freedom.

He came into the room behind the others and a guard was already down. He had missed who did it. He pressed forward with the rest of them, anxious to get his things. He couldn't help but wonder what they were going to do when it came to leaving the ship. Surely people were going to have different destinations. The thought that there may still be rowing to do gave him a slightly sick feeling in his stomach.

11/17/2005 12:06 PM

Following Diomedes and Khorstal into the hold, Temudjin looked around to check if there was another guard, before he advanced to the small mount of gathered equipment. As he had seen no other guardsman, he gathered his own stuff as quicky as possible and began putting these on his person. Bit by bit, this made him feel more at ease, now being able to fight the remainder of the guards on an equal basis, if needed. Once he had put his equipment in place, he relieved Diomedes, who had been watching over his back, giving the Argossean the time he needed to gather his own stuff.

Even his bow seemed to be unstirred, still within it's wax cover, now resting on his back, beneath the round shield he had slung over it. Within his hands he now held his scimitar and his own dagger in the other. A grin had appeared on his face and a determined look sparkled from within his eyes.

11/21/2005 1:26 PM

Pushed aside by the rush of slaves bent on freedom, Mahfouz caught sight of a few men moving deeper into the ship. Without knowing exactly why he fell in behind them. With all his experience on the ship, he knew their destination and found he desperately wanted to be reunited with his belongings.

Once there, he quietly moved through the room, looking at everything to be found. For a few moments, he thought he wouldn't find his things, thinking maybe they'd been sold already, but then he saw a small mound of white. Struggling to keep his excitement down, he took up his old robe and stifled a cry of joy when he saw his turban underneath. Slipping into the robe, he scooped up the material, deciding this was no place to wrap it.

Finding his bow just to the side, he slung it over his shoulder, the small quiver over the other. Just as he was about to head out of the room, he saw his sandals. With his hands already full, he balanced precariously on one foot to knock them down with the other. Slipping his feet securely in, he started by the other men.

He stopped just as he was about to leave and set his bow and quiver at the door. Turning to the men, not entirely sure if they were after their own prized possessions as he had been, or if they were merely looters, he said, "I am Mahfouz Abdul-Rahim." Extending his hand, he added, "Today, I thank you for my freedom."

11/22/2005 10:58 PM

Arminas had remained fairly silent as the men gathered their belongings and the slaves were, on deck, rejoicing at their newfound freedom. Eagerly Arminas dressed himself, lacing his mail chausses to his underbelt and slipping on boots and other accoutrements of war. His mail hauberk was still on the floor when Arminas took up his keen-edged sword and broke through the crowd, waving Mahfouz away. "Your freedom, and ours, was hard-bought. Treasure it, but offer no thanks to those that fought for themselves and not for you."

Walking through the small crowd, Arminas came to a thick, locked door toward one side of the storeroom. Resting his sword against the wall, Arminas took the casing of the door in both hands, leaned back, and planted his foot into the door as hard as he might. Now he was tired [i]and[/i] his knee hurt. Snatching up his sword Arminas glanced around. "A key?! Who on this damnable ship has a key?!" He wasn't sure -why- he wanted to get into this room.. but he would get in there.

Taking up his hauberk, Arminas slipped it on and finished dressing himself within minutes waiting for someone with a key to show up as the word was passed about that there was yet a part of this ship they'd not infiltrated. Arminas sheathed his sword. "Someone should calm the men. We'll still need to row for at least another hour or two if we want to reach dry land." Arminas was clearly not thrilled with the proposition, but if they didn't row... they'd float around an die of exposure and starvation.

11/23/2005 8:08 PM

"Someone should calm the men. We'll still need to row for at least another hour or two if we want to reach dry land." Arminas was clearly not thrilled with the proposition, but if they didn't row... they'd float around an die of exposure and starvation.

"I will return above, I have experiance aboard ships and with people working without the whip at their backs the rowing will go easier," Diomedes nodded to Arminas and his once chained partner and jogged back to the stairs. He stood among the slaves one were celebrating their new found freedom.

"My fellow free men! Hear me!" Diomedes said in a powerful voice. Those around him ceased to speak and turned to him. He continued walking shouting for the attention of the slaves, "It is true we have our freedom..." this was broken by a shout from the slaves, "We still need to reach land. We must row! If you need rest trade with another group," The slaves were reluctant at first but after several groups sat down and took up their position others followed suit. Diomedes smiled and went to the nearest oar where he joined in the journey towars land.

11/24/2005 12:53 PM

"Your freedom, and ours, was hard-bought. Treasure it, but offer no thanks to those that fought for themselves and not for you."

Nodding to himself, Mahfouz replied. "Of course, you are right. Still, I feel I owe you my allegiance. I could not have done what you did to begin this. For that, I thank you again."

"A key?! Who on this damnable ship has a key?!"

"The captain is the only man I've seen with a key. I've served his meals several times and have seen a ring of keys at his hip. They are many, though. I cannot say which would open this door." Thinking on it a moment, he continued. "He would have been in his cabin when the fighting started. Let us hope he is still on board."

Giving Khorstal a crisp nod, he left in search of the captain's remains, inspecting the bodies he'd rather ignore along the way.

11/26/2005 1:36 AM

Temudjin, more out of habit then otherwise, had followed Diomedes to the deck and headed to the aft of the ship, from where he looked around. At first he did not hear or see anything, but gradually a sound came to his ears. Drums! He turned and shouted in the direction of the Argossean. "Diomedes, drums closing in from the aft!" Swiftly his sword exchanged places with his bow, the latter he stringed with skilled movements, after his blade had disappeared into the sheath. Taking one of his arrows from the quiver, he stood ready to fire upon anything that showed itself at the rear of the ship. I hope the fog does not let up now.

11/26/2005 7:56 AM

Idaeus had been wandering around the ship, not really knowing where he was going. He overheard voices ask about a key. He grinned stupidly as he looked at the key ring in his hand. Whatever key the voices were looking for, he hoped that he had it. He ran to where he heard the voices, ignoring the various pleading that went along with dying as he went. A few prisoners had been severly hurt during the outbreak, and some of the captors were left alive. For what reasons, Idaeus couldn't say.

He passed someone searching dead bodies. He stopped and watched the man for a few moments.

"What are you looking for?" Idaeus asked. Before the man could answer, Idaeus shook his head. He could guess what the man was looking for. He held up the key ring.

"Do you need these?"

11/26/2005 11:10 AM

"Diomedes, drums closing in from the aft!"

Diomedes stood from his oar getting a team of slaves to replace him. He ran towards Temudjin, "It must be the other slaver ship. The fog should provide us some cover," he said looking around, "I will head down bellow and get the others who are not chained to return here should we need them for a fight."

Diomedes quickly ran back to Arminas and the others. "The other slaver ship may have heard the sounds of battle, it is coming at us. We'll need men on deck if they are to board."

11/27/2005 1:20 AM

Still chained to his seat and comrad, Mandingo took note now of those who had moved in to take to the oars. The commotion on the ship did not seem to stop, or even pause momentarily. Those still chained cried out to be freed, some even beating at those who ran about freely, envious of their fellow man.

Mandingo was no exception to this. True he had been enslaved most of his life, it was not until recently that he had been confined by chains. Giving out a grand roar Mandingo gives out a great roar, similar to that of a tiger which he had chanted of earlier. Clutching his chains in eitehr hand, the large man pulls on the bindings. His chain mate, noting that though his partner was strong would not be strong enough. So both now holding to their fetters jolt the chain over and over with an onslaught of tugs. Slowly with their combined strength the wood around the fastening began to warp and splinter, and with several more pulls began to rip out. At that point both men kicked the holding loose. Now stilled chained hand and foot to one another, they are however no longer chained to the ship.

Two moments after they had broke from the hull, Mandingo and his mate pushed their way forth onto the upper deck. Mandingos mate was a smaller man in comparison with lighter skin as well. Coming up the two men slow as they hear the sound of drums, crowing closer, louder in the cold morning air.

11/27/2005 2:33 PM

"Do you need these?"

Mahfouz was startled a moment by the voice. He'd been so engrossed in his search, he hadn't even noticed the man go by. His hand shot back to his bow, gripping it across his back, but stopped short of pulling it free. When he took in the sight of the dangling keys, he smiled.

"This [I]has[/I] been a day of wonders." Nodding up the hallway, he said, "This way, and we will find the answer to your question."

As they started back toward Khorstal, Mahfouz extended his hand. "I am Mahfouz Abdul-Rahim. Today fate has made us comrades. Before that ends, I would know your name."

[Edited by Unbeliever on Sunday, November 27, 2005 2:34 PM]

11/28/2005 8:00 AM

"My name is Idaeus Leandros," Idaeus said, grasping Mahfouz's hand. "And I'm glad to find a comrade on this ship."

Idaeus followed his companion, a stupid grin on his face. He had no idea where they were going, or even if he could truly trust Mahfouz, but that didn't matter at the moment. All that mattered was that Mahfouz had a weapon, and that had to mean that they were going to wherever it was that their personal belongings had been stored.

"Where are we going?" Idaeus asked. Just because he had a feeling he knew where he was being led, didn't mean he didn't want to be absolutely sure.

11/28/2005 8:14 AM

Adalgisa stood up. She looked around the misty deck, to see that the battle had ended. She listened intently to see if it had moved downstairs, but heard nothing. Nothing except for the drums of war that were beating steadily closer. She looked around and saw a group of people with a ring of keys running in one direction, with a look of purpose about their faces. She decided to try and help, so she ran after them, to see where they were going. She walked closely behind them, listening to what they were saying for a few moments before piping up.

"Anything I could do to help? And what are those keys for?"

She hoped that this entire battle hadn't jsut been a reversal of power. She wanted to get off this ship and onto dry land, not enter the slave trade.

11/29/2005 1:33 PM

Suddenly finding the hall more cramped than he'd have liked, Mahfouz answered the two questions in turn. "It is a pleasure, Idaeus, though I wish we'd met under different circumstances. We are going to the cargo hold. Our possessions are there. The keys may open a door some of the men found. Perhaps we will find something that will aid our salvation."

Checking to make sure they were following, Mahfouz took the lead, winding around the bodies of fallen slaves and guards, unsettled by the notion that he considered them little more than obstacles now. "We owe a debt to our fellows who have fallen today.They have given their lives today so that we might taste freedom again." Thinking back to his encounter with the man in the hold, he added, "Though they fought for themselves, we benefit while they face Derketo." His voice trailed off at that.

When they reached the hold, Mahfouz directed Idaeus to the man still waiting by the locked door. "Show him the keys. Despite this days events, my curiousity demands I know what it is that lies behind that door."

Turning to the woman that had come upon them just before, he said, "I did not recieve the pleasure of your name. I am Mahfouz Abdul-Rahim and am eager to know the names of my comrades this day."

11/29/2005 2:17 PM

It didn't take much digging through the storage room for Khorstal to find that which was his. He hadn't been onboard long, so his belongings were still together, as well as being primarily uncovered. His armguard and his sword belt were wrapped in his jerkin. He put them on and slipped the scimitar into it's place. Before shouldering his quiver he scrounged around the immediate area for more arrows, finding only three more. He then grabbed his custom bow, finally feeling complete again. He checked the string, satisfied that it was still in good condition.

A couple of people had left by the time he was ready. All he wanted to do was rest for a bit, but it didn't seem likely. He wasn't interested in the locked door, so Khorstal started to head back toward the oars. Just then, one of the men that had left came running back in, telling of the other ship coming back.

"I'll head up on deck. I may be able to pick some of them off, even in this fog." He didn't wait to see who else would follow. There were more than enough people on board, he would have help.

11/30/2005 4:26 AM

Arminas took the keys from Idaeus with a nod and sifted around for a moment to find the one that appeared to fit this door, knowing well the look of the keys to their shackles he was able to skip those. Just as he found the correct key he heard the news -- the other ship was turning its attention on them.

"Hold!" Arminas shouted, "I have an idea."
Pointing about the room at a the many stacked barrels, Arminas continued, "most of these contain oil for lamps and the like. Get every able-man down here and start bringing these on deck. Crack them open and poor them overboard. Every single one. When it's done put every man that's not dead or dying on an oar and tell them to row as if chased by demons."

Turning the key in the lock as he finished speaking, Arminas pulled open the door and immediately fell a step back, disgusted. A dark-skinned man was inside this room, chained down, bloody, sitting in his own excriment and vomit. There were strange symbols carved around the man into the very wood of the ship and some even painted across his body. He had been cut many times, shallow cuts. But in the most bizarre twist, the room was lined with riches -- gold coins of an unknown make and jewels in colours Arminas had never seen in all his travels.

"Gods. ...Idaeus, if you will, take the keys and free this man, clean him as best you may and give him water until he regains full consciousness. Disturb nothing else here." Arminas turned away in disgust, preparing to exit onto the deck of the ship.

"Vile.." he muttered.

11/30/2005 7:43 AM

Idaeus grabbed the keys from Arminas without a word, and knelt beside the door, unlocking the chains as fast as he could. He pulled the unconscious body out of his confinement, and into the main room. The smell was absolutely horrible. Idaeus used every ounce of will power to keep from vomiting because of the sight and smell.

"Does anyone know where I can get some water and some rags?" he asked quietly.

11/30/2005 12:25 PM

Temudjin turned as Mandingo approached and looked him over, before he sprouted a shallow grin. "I see you finally managed to pry yourself loose from the ship? Now unless you have some place to go urgently, I suggest you return and tell those still tied to their bench to stop shouting, or we'll have the second ship on our necks in no time at all. No doubt the keys will be found soon and the shackles undone, but the first that starts shouting again I will personally shut up permanently." He gave a slight nod towards his sword, which dangled from the belt around his waist and smirked.

"I didn't fight against these guards to find myself shackled again and the first that jeopardises our freedom will be made an example." The look in his eyes seemed cold and there was little doubt that Temudjin would do as he said. "You should be sufficiently large and imposing a figure to shut anyone up, right?" With a small wink he stared at the former prizefighter.

11/30/2005 1:40 PM

Mahfouz, taken aback by what he saw, forgot the woman in the room and knelt beside Idaeus, regarding the chained man with sympathetic revulsion. "There is a cabin for the crew just across the hall. You can use their sheets or clothes. They also have a basin of fresh water replaced twice a day. It should be near the door." Before anyone set off, he muttered, "The cruelty of these men knows no end. What they did to all of us is inexcusable, but whatever has been done here is nothing short of damnation. No punishment can make up for this."

Standing in a rush, eager to be away from this man he couldn't help, his hand unconciously feeling that his bow was securely in place, Mahfouz began checking the barrels in the hold, using a spare dagger to mark those that contained the fuel they would need.

As he worked, he wondered aloud, "Why would they chain him with all of this wealth? Perhaps only to keep the crew from hoarding some for themselves?"

11/30/2005 5:43 PM

"Hold!" Arminas shouted, "I have an idea."
Pointing about the room at a the many stacked barrels, Arminas continued, "most of these contain oil for lamps and the like. Get every able-man down here and start bringing these on deck. Crack them open and poor them overboard. Every single one. When it's done put every man that's not dead or dying on an oar and tell them to row as if chased by demons."

"A bold plan," Diomedes turned to Idaeus who now had the keys, "The keys should be given to another after the man is freed so that the slaves may be free of their chains," Diomedes could not see inside the room but he judged from Arminas' disgust that what the room held was nothing he wished to see.

Diomedes strapped his shield to his back and grabbed the first oil barrel. He stood still for a moment moving it in his hands to gain a comfortable hold then ventured forth to the upper deck. He went to where Temudjin stood and placed the barrel down.

"A plan has been created by one below deck," Diomedes went back down the ship so he could better adress the slaves who were still moving with some chaos.

"Fellow free men!" he shouted, "All those able to walk, go below deck and take a barrel of oil back up here. The other slave ship has heard the sounds of our rebellion and is chasing after us," after the last statement left Diomedes's mouth the slaves who did not have chains on their feet moved swiftly to gather the barrels of oil.

There weren't many men who had free legs, other would need to be free if the plan was to work. Diomedes ran back to the hold to carry up another barrel.

11/30/2005 6:19 PM

Mandingo looked down at the man who approached him. This man obviously was not as big as his mouth for the amount that he talked and boasted. Mandingo did not feel threatened by this fellow but he did seem to find that this fellow was trying to threaten him. Mandingo said nothing, just stared down at the man with a blank expression. The chainmate of though had one of those faces one gets when they get tossed in with a ferocious beast. Evidently Mandingos partner just wanted to get free, but he was chained to the big guy and so just kept his mouth shut.

A moment passed and another man set a barrel of something by them before going back down to where the rowers were. Right after the man passed by, Mandingo cried out a horrendous yell and lifted his arms, moving his hands together mid swing and aimed to strike the man before him with the sword upside his head. Mandingos motions were fast and strong, even catching his chain mate off guard and jolting him forward and off balance with the motion.

The man he was striking at had nerve, but a sheathed weapon does no good in combat.

12/01/2005 12:51 PM

Instead of stepping back, as most would have done in a situation like this, Temudjin reacted as swift as the asp at the moment Mandingo yelled and raised his arms. He crouched and ran straight by the man, underneath his arms that were coming down and drew his sword within the same movement, slamming the heavy handle into his midsection as he passed him by. He turned within the same movement and stopped his blade just before the giant's neck, as the man stooped down due to lack of air. With the sword still held at the back of Mandingo's neck, hovering just an inch above.

Calmly straightening himself out, he shook his head, only to indicate the error the man had made. "Damn you, you fool. If that blasted ship catches up with us, they board this ship and possibly capture everyone aboard. At least those left alive! Think before you react. We all have our freedom to lose as well as our lives, I for one do not aim to lose either of them. How about yourself?" Calmly he stood and watched the chainling as well, making sure that neither of them would catch him off guard, like the jolly giant almost had.

"How about giving me a hand instead, to get more of those barrels up on deck? Maybe later I could give you a few lessons on how to use a blade, instead of attacking someone that has one with your bare hands. It might improve your chance of survival." A cold seriousness burned in the eyes of Temudjin and the grin was gone from his face.

[Edited by Caelin on Thursday, December 1, 2005 12:54 PM]

[Edited by Caelin on Friday, December 2, 2005 3:01 PM]

12/01/2005 1:35 PM

When men began pouring into the hold, taking out the marked barrels, Mahfouz decided to join them. Helping a particularly small but spirited man, the two hefted a barrel and made for the hall. He thought it fortunate that there was no good vantage point to see into the small room from the door to the barrels.

Once on deck, they set the barrel aside with the rest. A moment later, there was more shouting. Climbing on top of a barrel for a better vantage point, Mahfouz saw one of the men holding a sword to the slave the pirates had been so worked up over. As Mahfouz was leaping down from the barrel, it seemed the man was going to lower his sword. Whatever they'd said, he hoped it would diffuse they situation. There were too many slaves still on deck for him to consider going to the them. It would be fruitless.

On his way back down, he had to skirt to the side of the hall every so often, avoiding the oncoming traffic of barrels. Once back in the hold, he strode to the back room, stopping in front of the door, unwilling to get any closer. The man inside sat motionless. He couldn't tell if he still lived, but wouldn't bring himself to investigate.

"Does he still draw breath?" he asked, keeping his voice low so the working slaves wouldn't hear.

12/01/2005 6:55 PM

Adalgisa moved into the room, past Mahfouz. She scuttled quickly up to the man, and put two fingers on his neck, feeling for his pulse. "He's alive...barely. His pulse is slow and weak. He needs medical attention immediately, or it won't be long until he really IS dead." She turned to face him,"Go see if anyone on the ship has any experience in the medical field. I'll stay here and wait for the water and cloths to clean him off with," before Mahfouz ran off, she looked up at his face. "My name is Adalgisa, by the way."

12/03/2005 3:53 PM

"Damn you, you fool. If that blasted ship catches up with us, they board this ship and possibly capture everyone aboard. At least those left alive! Think before you react. We all have our freedom to lose as well as our lives, I for one do not aim to lose either of them. How about yourself?"

~ Who does this fool think he is? Not expecting any form of retaliation for his actions. There is no reason to be friendly with hostiles.~

Mandingo thinks to himself as he barely listens to this barbarian. The blade at is neck is of little concern, it would be quite difficult to sever ones head at such range.

"How about giving me a hand instead, to get more of those barrels up on deck? Maybe later I could give you a few lessons on how to use a blade, instead of attacking someone that has one with your bare hands. It might improve your chance of survival."

~Blades are for those with weak hands.~
He further thinks to himself.

Standing up with out regard for the sword, Mandingo does not even bother to look at the fool who challenges him. Turning he then bends down to pick up the barrel of oil that was set nearby, giving a gesture to his chain mate as he did so.

12/05/2005 11:57 AM

Khorstal understood exactly what Aminas wanted to do. Before grabbing one of the smaller barrels, he first grabbed a thin shirt that was bundled on the floor. He was on the way up to the deck when the door was opened. He hadn't been interested, but the reactions of the others made him turn and look. He almost dropped the barrel at the sight of the man. He turned away before it could make him retch.

When he regained his composure, Khorstal continued up to the deck, where he set down the barrel and removed his bow and quiver from his shoulder near the aft end. He looded around until he found a small wooden bucket, bringing it back to where the rest of his things sat. He opened the top of the barrel and poured some of the contents into the bucket he had found. He desided to wait for others before dumping the rest overboard. Instead, he tore three strips of the shirt he had grabbed and wrapped them around three separate arrows. He set them head down in the bucket to soak.

With them prepared he pulled down the aft lamp. It was still lit, so that was one less thing to worry about.

12/05/2005 12:21 PM

Arminas had aided in bringing the barrels of oil on deck, and had watched as each barrel was quickly cracked open and poured into the sea. The other ship was gaining quickly, there wasn't much time left. Noting Khorstal's reasoning skills, Arminas nodded sharply in appreciation to the man. He supposed all this time chained together had given them some sort of understanding of one another's minds.

The other ship's captain must have noted the strange occurance because he seemed to be attempting to turn his ship on a different course, but it was already too late, the oil had spread, thick and gloomy, across much of the surface of the water.

"Every man with two arms - to an oar! Row! Row!" Arminas shouted in a commanding voice, giving even the most independant-minded no time to question. Within a moment the ship lurched forward as if shoved by the hands of the god of the sea and began to speed away.

The black glaze over the water was now receeding, but still fairly close. The other ship was moving through it, and though his order was obvious, Arminas felt obliged to give it anyway. "Now," he uttered to Khorstal, "now."

12/05/2005 6:01 PM

Diomedes tipped the last barrell over and stepped back watching the end of the plan unfold. Khorstal was at the ready with his flaming arrows and the oil was in place. Tonight, a wave of fire would appear on the sea.

With the command from Arminas, Khorstal let the first of three arrows lose into the water. After a moment the oil burst into flames and the unnatural sight of fire on water flashed into existance. Another lit arrow went out and though the chasing ship tried to change corse the flames of the burning oil reached it's hull, charring the wood.

Diomedes stood for another moment then walked to Arminas, "Good plan, it appears we have only to wait until we reach the shore. I am Diomedes," he said putting out his hand.

12/06/2005 9:01 AM

Without a word, Temudjin had taken the third of the arrows and waited until he saw the other ship. As it rose on the waves, he released his arrow and lodged it in the lower half of the ship, igniting the oil around it as it dropped down from the wave. With a smirk on his face he followed Diomedes, to which he had been chained for a while. As he stood next to both men, he addressed the one indicated by his formed pairling as the founder of this plan.

"Swift thinking and it worked like a charm. You wouldn't happen to be that good on land as well?" He stated with a grin towards Arminas, as he too extended his hand towards him. "I'm Temudjin. What might your name be?"

12/06/2005 1:44 PM

In search of anyone with a medical background, Mahfouz emerged on deck just as the sea breathed fire. The sight initially dropped him to his knees, a gasp escaping from his throat. [I]Vengeance wrought upon me![/I] he feared. He reeled through all his past sins, but one stood out from the rest.

Then the cheers of the rowers penetrated his thoughts and the simple reality came to him. The plan to fend off the other ship had been enacted, and he was just in time for the spectacular visuals. He was glad only that everyone else had been watching the flames and hadn't seen his blind cowardice.

Quick to recompose himself, though still shaken, he walked among the men, repeating, "There is an injured man below. He needs assistance. Can anyone help us?" He thought it best to keep the severity of the situation to himself until someone was found.

12/11/2005 8:32 AM

Idaeus still sat in the cabin, next to the abused man. Some water and rags had been found, and Idaeus was now trying to cleanse the wounds as best as he could. The best he could do was wipe the man down. Without fresh water, and the proper medical herbs, it looked like there wouldn't be much that they could do.

"We need to find someone who can help us," Idaeus muttered. "Some one who knows how to help this man."

Idaeus continued to wipe the unconcious person, and hoped that he would show some other signs of life soon. Hopefully he would wake up, and they could finally come to know who he was, and why he had been locked up with the treasures.

12/11/2005 6:31 PM

"I just sent someone to do that a minute ago, so he should be back in a little while" She grabbed a few rags and wet them, and began to wash him down.

"Am I to assume you know as little of this man as I do, and is it just me, or is it odd that they would let such filth go on in their most valuable of rooms? I'd expect it to be as clean as can be... but maybe that's just my thinking."

12/12/2005 3:30 PM

Flames erupted across the water behind the slave-galley. The pursuing ship crashed headlong into the thick flaming oil and was slowed as all hands attempted to douse the fire. Within moments the ship had stopped completely. At the same time the slave-galley had lurched forward at speed. Within minutes the ship had put untouchable distance between itself and its pursuers. Arminas allowed the rowers to slow, but asked that they not stop for some hours to be sure they were well away from any possible confrontation.

Entering the holds of the ship, which were now already being cleaned and readied for the a journey of a few more days, Arminas decided to look in on the unfortunate dark-skinned man. [i]I'd expect it to be as clean as can be... but maybe that's just my thinking[/i].

"I suspect it is just your thinking," Arminas stated quietly as he came up from behind. "That room was an altar and that wealth was never meant to pass through the hands of Men ever again." He did not elaborate, though he had seen similar grisly altars in his travels. After checking to see that the dark-skinned man was taken care of, Arminas rested.


The ship had been at sea, though within sight of land, for some 3 days since the revolt that had supposedly freed them all of this damnable vessel. The dark-skinned man had come to, but had yet to speak more than 'water' or 'food.' Arminas, having assumed a sort of temporary control over the ship to maintain order, had instructed the ship's hands to make for a small inlet just south of Khem in Stygia. Though he did not wish to make birth in Stygia, he doubted the men would tolerate a course that would return them, another week's journey, north to Zingara and relative safety.

Hours before the ship was to hit ground the dark-skinned Hyrkanian became more lucid and named himself as Khashi, but offered no other words. He did, however, find among the holdings his equipment which included fine clothes, a finer sword, and hauberk of mail. He was clearly not poor or unknown.

The ship was edging closer and closer to land and so Arminas called all on board to gather on the deck and prepare to leave if they would. It seemed at least a few surviving prisoners had decided to keep the ship for themselves and so any not enterprising with them would find that they had little choice but to return to land.

Khashi was last to come on deck. With a strong voice Khashi called the attention of those assembled. "Gracious were those that bathed and fed me to health. Victorious were those that fought and won this fine ship. My deepest thanks I extend to all, and an invitation: I am Khashi, a great prince of Khoraf, and I will reward handsomely any who will accompany me and aid me in returning to my home in Hyrkania. Those who will come... make ready."

With the last, a great heave brought the ship to upon dry land. Those who would stay with the ship retired to begin any necessary repairs. Those that would go about their business did so. And Khashi departed and stood alone atop a low hill of sand, where he awaited any that would accompany him to his homeland.

Arminas dropped from the ship, enjoying the feel of dry land beneath his booted feet. He carried his armour in a sack upon his pack beneath his shield and trudged up the beach. Turning to Khorstal, who was close behind, Arminas extended a hand and clasped Khorstal's forearm. "I will go with that one, oar-brother, and see if he has riches enough to repay the smell of him," Arminas laughed. "Will you come?"

12/12/2005 4:56 PM

Mandingo held no remorse and no caring for those upon the burning ship, or for those on his own ship for that matter.

Upon hearing the wealthy mans words the large man was ill pressed to choose either way. He could care less for any fortune, having already served one wealthy man he was not ready to join another. Than on the other side, Mandingo had little knowledge of the land he was in and had nothing to use for survival that would get him any were but by chance enslaved again.

His chain mate faired no better than he did. And the key that was passed amongst the other slave to let them free failed to make its way to this pair. The other did not seem to mind this so much, being that his partner was so large.

Lingering about, Mandingo and his buddy meander their way around waiting to see where this group of adventurers were to gather and thus stands about their midsts. Perhaps this quest will provide them with a means to break off their shakles.

[Edited by Aaron on Friday, December 16, 2005 7:18 PM]

12/13/2005 11:51 PM

There wasn't much time to watch the flames. Khorstal gathered his things and headed below, back to the oars that were their only chance of getting to land. [i]At least it won't be as bad as before[/i], he had thought to himself. It had turned out to be true, most of them working in shifts that allowed more than enough rest. That was all three days past.

Now thay had worked there way to land. It turned out that the dark man who had been locked away alone was a prince no less. It was no wonder to Khorstal that he had not heard of the man. The closest he had come to Khoraf was Ophir and western parts of Koth.

Khorstal had listened to Khashi's offer with reletive interest. No matter what, he was going ashore, but getting started again was going to be difficult. He had lost more than just a ship when he had been captured. Not one face among the captives had been from his crew, many of which he had known for years.

He headed off the ship right behind Arminas, carrying everything that was his as well as a few traveling supplies he had managed to find, and followed when he headed away from the water toward Khashi. He returned Arminas's grip after the man had turned to him. "His word is good enough for me if it is good enough for you, my new friend," he smiled back. "If his pockets are deep, it could be well worth the effort."

12/14/2005 12:54 PM

Temudjin merely grinned as Prince Khashi had introduced himself and nodded quietly. Of course he knew who the man was, after all he came from the same lands as he did.

As they disembarked, he moved closer to Arminas and Khorstal, then spoke in a calm tone in his response to the words by the latter. "Prince Khashi's pockets are deep enough. My hometown of Shahpur is situated within the same country and the man is well-known by name. One thing that will be useful, is that I intended to be going that way already, so I don't even have to make a detour."

His head turned towards Khashi and he spoke with some respect. "If you do not mind, you'll have my sword at your service on our way back home, kinsman."

12/16/2005 12:45 PM

Mahfouz listened to Khashi's words as he helped the others prepare the ship for its next departure. His first reaction to the prince's desire for aid was a scoff. Since the fighting onboard had ended, he'd had a fair amount of time to reconsider things. As it turned out, he felt no brotherly connection to these men. He knew nothing about them. Who was to say the prince wouldn't be murdered in his sleep and robbed?

He lifted another plank and set it in place on the rail while another man hammered it home. The battle had taken its toll on the vessel.

For that matter, how could he be sure the other slaves were men to be trusted. He wished only to return to his homeland. What made him think these other men that so outnumbered him, would ever get him there? There was no guarantee, of course.

He thought again, as he sometimes did in vexing times, of Khaj. He had trusted Khaj to teach him a great many things, but the old sorceror had used him for his own gain. Whatever that had turned out to be, Mahfouz didn't care to know. He only wished the desire to find out wasn't so strong.

Letting go of the plank, Mahfouz turned to the men gathering on the hill to the protest of his partner.

[i]There are things I do not know,[/i] he told himself. [i]If ever I am to find my solace, I must do something.[/i] Another moment passed, and still he stood on deck. [i]But, why this?[/i] he wondered.

Still without an answer, he found himself standing ashore, the ship looming over him. With the aid of a bit more will, he finished the distance between himself and Khashi's new entourage.

Nodding to each of the men in turn, his gaze fell upon the prince. "I do not know my path. My heart cries out for home, but I do not know what would become of me there. If you will have me, I will come."

12/18/2005 12:56 PM

Diomedes worked his way on the oars until the group reached the shore. He had no desire to stay on the ship, being that he had no clue whether he could trust the men on board. When he heard the Prince ask for protection he knew where his path would go.

Being extremely rich was not of interest to Diomedes but if he could get enough to purchase his own ship and hire a crew then he would be pleased with his life. He bid farewell to the few he knew that had chosen to stay aboard and went to the hill where Prince Khashi awaited.

He looked around and noticed that the men coming were among those who had taken charge in the revolt, "I am glad to be in the comapny of those that have proven themselves, this will indeed be a great journey," he turned to Khashi, "I, Diomedes am at your service."

12/20/2005 10:00 PM

Khashi, glad for the company and protection yet too proud to truly acknowledge that fact, nodded to each of the men that confronted him in turn. Not many men had joined him, which was unfortunate considering the lands that would have to be crossed with relatively little wealth or influence. Most of the men, it seemed, had decided to remain on board and use the vessel to make their coin as sailors, perhaps. Khashi turned without speaking to the men that had accepted his offer and began trudging away east deeper into Stygia.

The group, man by man, began to move. The last were a few souls who had come off the boat after the others and had to double their walking pace to catch up with the small group. Two of these men were large, burly Northerners - Hyperborean or Nordheimer. The third was Idaeus, looking small, even considering his size, next to the large men as they tried to catch up.

Arminas shook his head as he counted silently. [i]So few[/i], he thought. [i]We had better keep to ourselves in a land as shadowed as this[/i].

The pace of the group was brisk and tiring. It was Stygia, and it was mid-summer. The heat during the day was excrutiating, and the heat at night was barely a respite from the day. One man, the one who appeared to be Hyperborean, died of heat exhaustion on the third day of travel. None of the others knew his name, or much cared over his pain. He was stripped of his accoutrements that might be useful and left where he fell. Not much sense in tiring the group out just to bury a man no one knew, after all.

On the sixth day the group crested a rise and looked down below to see a large house crowned by an impressive banner and flanked on either side by small huts, wells, and the light agricultural fields the land was capable of maintaining. Making sure to stay low so as not to be noticed, Arminas moved a few hundred yards to the south and directed the attention of the others to a scene below.

Two horses were struggling against dark-skinned men who were chastizing the beasts with light whips. Other horses, all small but excellent desert breeds, were tied or fenced. There were some 14 horses in all, perhaps more inside the large stable itself. Most of the horses were saddled and decorated finely, indicating that these horses probably belonged to an important dignitary or politician who had either just arrived, or was shortly to leave.

Turning to the others, Arminas squinted his eyes a bit with some hint of mischief. "If we can capture some horses the way through Stygia to eastern Shem will no doubt be much quicker. There seem to be no guards beyond the two or three we can see. If we take them unaware we can be gone before anyone notices horses are missing and men are dead. I have no regret of it. Stygians," Arminas spat the final word as if it tasted foul in his mouth.

He had no trust for Stygians. Demon-worshippers, full of foul and evil magic were the Stygians and no man with a wit of sense about him would let his heart go out to a dead Stygian. At least, Arminas felt thusly.

"But we must go now," Arminas concluded, as much a question as a statement.

12/28/2005 2:29 PM

Mandingo and his mate had one fun time making the trek this far, remaining bound together. The chain link had actually gotten them to hold pace, moving at Mandingos greater stride.

Coming upon the crest with view of the majestic house Mandingo takes in the view as well as watchful of the one who went off for a better look. After a few moments Mandingo nudges to his partner and together quickly make their way down to the sneaking man (Arminas). From this closer perch the horses looked beautiful, and the house bigger than it did upon the higher hill.

Mandingo says nothing, but his partner speaks up.

"What are we doing here?" And noting the look in Arminas' eyes he adds, " What are you planning?"

Mandingo just looks steadily on at a horse, brown in color with white markings. A little bulkier than the rest it was laiden down with bags, perhaps supplies. Still it had fine trimmings, standing there waiting not minding its burden.

12/28/2005 8:38 PM

"If we can capture some horses the way through Stygia to eastern Shem will no doubt be much quicker. There seem to be no guards beyond the two or three we can see. If we take them unaware we can be gone before anyone notices horses are missing and men are dead. I have no regret of it. Stygians," Arminas spat the final word as if it tasted foul in his mouth.

"If those with bows could hit the guards from here, we may be able to move in with some stealth to avoid gaining the attention of other guards. Those of us lacking range can move down now and run out after the arrows have been fired," Diomedes would be glad to rest his feet. He had spent many hot days on a boat but the sea air and shade from the vessel usually protected the sailors from taking any harm.

01/02/2006 6:34 PM

Khorstal had thought the work on the ship had been hot, but it had been nothing in comparison to the trek so far. Between the heat and the exertion conversation had been minimalized. Most of what he had taken part of was with Amrinas. He liked the man, and he was turning out to be a valuable ally and friend. He had also started to come around to some of the others as well, though not really learning much than names. Diomedes was one such man. Khorstal turned from watching the horses and thier guards to face him now.

"I like the thought. I know I could hit one easily within about fifty yards. We just need to make sure that others are in position to move quickly to take care of anyone we can't see." To everyone else he offered a suggestion. "Try to have a horse picked out. We will need to move quickly one this starts."

He gave it a little more thought before adding something else. "We need a place to gather afterwords. We won't be able to afford time to wait when there is a possibility that one of us may not make it, so be quick about getting there."

With that said, Khorstal went about stringing his bow and getting ready for the assult. He wasn't sure if that was what they would do, but it didn't hurt to be prepared.

01/03/2006 3:33 PM

Some men preferred the sea, but Mahfouz was glad to be on land again. Even moreso to see a land that reminded him of home, though for Stygia he had no great love. He'd had an easier time with the travels to this point, used to the heat, and much better dressed for it. He'd managed a brief word for the man that had fallen to the heat, another soul claimed by Derketo. He bristled to think that her touch followed him.

The idea that they would be travelling through Shem had seemed so much more appealling when it had come up than it did now. From the beginning he'd planned on stopping there, returning home and being done with this travelling business. Something told him now that that wouldn't happen. He felt no great bond toward these men. Some of them he was sure he'd never waste his time with even the barest of social graces elsewhere. That said, there was something here that had taken hold of him. Perhaps there was more to them, he thought.

When they stopped outside the city, he marvelled at the horses. They were fine creatures, indeed. On one occasion, he'd met a man from the north who'd had a horse on its last legs from the heat. It had been a beast compared to the horses Mahfouz knew. The man had gone on and on about what a wonderful animal it was, or had been, but here it had been a greater burden than anything.

Unslinging his bow, Mahfouz tested the string. "I am confident I can hit them from a safe distance. I may need to be a bit closer, but I can manage." He left out that he'd never actually shot an arrow at a man before. That seemed insignificant to the moment at hand. He would have to do it.

Noting Khorstal's distress at the heat, he offered to the rest of the group, "There is more wisdom in my garb in a place like this. Perhaps we should locate more light material. A desert such as this is no place to be traipsing around in heavy cloth and armor."

[Edited by Unbeliever on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 3:32 PM]

01/15/2006 12:38 AM

Arminas remained quiet through the exchanges, but scoffed at Mahfouz's suggestion. "I'll trapse around in my armour until it is torn from my lifeless body," he retorted. "Stygia may be hot, but I'd rather be armoured if I have to travel among these slaves-of-snakes."

With a light sigh, Arminas nodded and gestured to an incline at his left. "Mahfouz and Khorstal will fire. If you miss there will be no time for a second try - draw arms and join us. Those of us without skill in bow or javelin will rush from the bottom of the incline once the arrows are in the air. When horsed, ride directly east of here. Anyone who doesn't appear by nightfall will be presumed dead." His instructions complete, Arminas made his way to the bottom of the incline, which ended in the shadow of the rise. He moved with caution, deciding it best not to kick up clouds of dust and sand. It was bad enough that he was getting sand into his armour, he didn't want to breathe in the stuff as well.

There as no time to to ready his shield, and in this situation it would surely prove a hinderance more than a help; they all had to be ready to mount and flee at speed. Arminas crouched low and prepared himself. His hauberk and helm were on, but his chausses were still packed away, tied to his back beneath his shield. His muscles twitched as he waited with drawn sword.

And then there were two arrows in flight. Arminas did not wait to see if they would catch their marks. Rushing out, Arminas moved like lightning and stopped in his tracks not 20 feet from where he started. . .

Some 15 or 20 men were staring incredulously back at him from the side of a small grooming area obscured from view from the rise by the presence of the stable. They were arrayed in red-and-gold silken garments which flowed in the warm desert breeze. Their hair was cropped short about the ears and their skin was dark. By their opulent dress it could be surmised that they were dignitaries of Stygia. By their matching corselets of bronze scales and lames it was obvious that they were, in fact, some type of honour guard. [i]Must be [b]their[/b] horses[/i], Arminas thought.

Once the Stygian honour-guard had recovered from their surprise, they fell upon Arminas and his compatriots with axes and maces of iron and bronze. Many of them had shields. Arminas silently cursed his own shield which was uselessly hanging on his back. With a thunder of sandaled feet and a mighty dust cloud following in their wake. . . the fierce-eyed Stygians were upon them.

[Edited by Dark_Elf_Damien on Sunday, January 15, 2006 12:52 AM]

01/15/2006 2:35 PM

Both eyes on his target, still reminding himself to breathe, Mahfouz nodded his readiness to Khorstal. When he nodded back, Mahfouz let fly. He followed the flight of the arrow as he got to his feet, reaching around for another arrow as he charged down the hill. Coming to a stop part of the way down, he went to a knee and found another target. In the heat of the conflict, he didn't have the time to leisurely pick his target and center his aim. The arrow flew wide.

Cursing himself, he put the bow over his shoulder, pulling his dagger free only once it was secure. Though he didn't spare a glance to his comrades, he heard the clash of steel that could only mean the battle had begun.

One of the Stygians came upon him. He swung his heavy mace in a sidearm stroke, plainly meant to brain his foe. With no shortage of luck, Mahfouz was able to duck beneath it. Without giving it a thought, he planted his dagger under the man's shoulder and twisted. He fell away coughing blood into the sand.

At the sight of the blood brought about by his hand, Mahfouz froze. He'd never killed a man before this day. He'd only rarely even been in a fight. Though this man plainly wasn't dead, his blood was spilled and he suffered at Mahfouz's hand.

Walking solemnly to the Stygian, he pulled his head up by the back of his hair and slit his throat. [i]Better a quick death than to linger[/i].

Before he could bring himself upright again, he was tackled from behind. One of the guards had foregone his weapon and simply threw his weight into Mahfouz, leading with a shield.

He felt a sharp pain in his hip as he went down and rolled across the blazing sand. As he tried to get to his feet, it felt like a knife jabbed into him. Before he could test it further, the Stygian kicked him hard in the ribs. Gasping for breath Mahfouz rolled onto his back in time to see the larger man unhook his mace from his belt.

With the guard's boot planted squarely in his chest, Mahfouz couldn't evade the attack. He did, though, still have his dagger in hand, and took advantage by slicing through his opponent's worn leather boots, severing his achilles tendon.

Now unable to apply pressure to his right foot, the guard tried to deal his killing blow. Mahfouz rolled aside and came to his feet, wincing at the pain in his hip. Turning his back on the man, he tried to run for the horses. Instead, he found himself hobbling. The guard behind was in no condition to give chase, and fell to his back, clutching at his ankle.

The guards still ahead were already embroiled in the fighting with his comrades. Skirting around the fighting, thinking he was now following the coward's path, Mahfouz found his way to the horses and pulled himself into the saddle. Bent low over the beast's neck, he laid heels to its sides, sending it off at a full sprint.

[i]East, opposite the setting sun.[/i]

01/16/2006 12:12 PM

Walking not overly far behind Arminas, Temudjin took the time to let the shield slide from his back, while drawing his scimitar right afterwards, then charging in towards where he had seen him last. In the heat of the fight was where he thrived and before long he had caught up with the swordman. He grinned widely as he spoke to him. "Some archers would be nice right now and apparantly you might want to take a few seconds to take that shield off your back, I'll guard that for the time being."

A mace came his way, which he carefully let bounce off his shield, while cutting underneath the swing with his scimitar, sending his opponent to the ground. "I think the aim to keep their horses, don't you?" A stygian that came in too close on his left got hit in the chest with Temudjin's shield, who swiftly turned it back before him and not a moment too soon. The next instant he had to use it to fend off a menacing looking axe. Still, Arminas' back was still covered, just as he promised he would. He just hoped it had given him the time he needed to get that shield off his back.

01/16/2006 2:44 PM

Shortly behind Arminas, Mandingo and his partner sprinted three legged like into the fray. Not stopping when they notice the decorated soldiers, the two chained men moved as fast as they could in the sand.

Barrelling into men as they came to put an end to the raid, the force of momentum Mandingo and his mate carried threw two soldiers off balance and to the ground. In the process Mandingos partner took a piercing blow to his mid section. It had apparently punctured his lung as he began coffing up blood and choking further with each subsequent breath.

Picking up his dying partner, Mandingo uses his injured body as a weapon, blugeonding the armed horsemen. One finally gets through, rushing him from behind, shanking Mandingo in the lower back. That man took Mandingos large right hand to the side of his helmeted head, still being knocked down by it. In this fashion Mandingo kept fighting as three soldiers continued picking at him. With a great swing of the body of his comrad Mandingo knocks two of the three out cold. The third, however, taking this chance of opurtunity rushes the large man and impales him once more in the small of his back.

Dropping his friend and falling to the ground, Mandingo cries out in pain. In a last burst of strength the powerful dark warrior finds his way back to his feet to catch the soldier that believed him finally fell. Grasping the soldiers neck with his heads, Mandingo locks on a death grip suffocating the soldier as the soldier drew out a dagger from his side and stuck it continuously into Mandingos side. They died together.

01/16/2006 10:03 PM

Khorstal pulled two arrows out, sticking one into the ground and notching one on his bowstring. When he and Mahfouz were both ready, they let fly. Khorstal immediatly grabbed the other arrow while getting up and notched it before taking off for the horses. He saw his fellows suddenly change direction as he was watching the two targets, both of which fell to the fired arrows.

He heard the battle before he could see the enemy. When they appeared to him, it was already looking ugly. He paused as the chained pair both fell, dead or dying, and fired his ready arrow at one of the men responsible. At such a close range he easily hit his mark, the arrow piercing the man through his left eye. The Stygians were clearly not ready for such an attack, as there were several down already, more than they had taken down.

He saw that by this time, Mahfouz had decided it was time to go, leaving most of the remaining Stygians to the Arminas and Temudjin. Being behind them, he didn't have many clear shots. He still managed to hit one in the leg as well as getting another in the back that was trying to circle around the pair, leaving both of them to finishing blows.

In desperation, as well as for running low on arrows, Khorstal shouldered his bow and ran to the horses, mounting a tall chestnut stallion with a white chest. He drew his scimitar and charged the group, hoping to allow the others to get away. He made one pass the whole way through the group, trying to land blows where he could, as well as taking one on his left thigh. He turned the horse to face them again.

01/19/2006 3:16 AM

Arminas nodded as Temudjin protected his flank. Gripping his sword in both hands he brought his blade down in a crimson arc, splitting the face of an attacker. The next moment he was pulling his shoulder strap to drop his shield, slipping his arm through the leather straps.

Laughing, Arminas responded to Temudjin with a light heart, despite the circumstances, "well they [i]are[/i] nice horses."

Bracing his shoulder, Arminas was prepared not a moment too soon as Temudjin blocked a lethal axe-swing. With practiced precision Arminas thrust his sword between Temudjin's body and shield, catching the assailant completely off-guard. The tip of the blade sank into the warrior's thigh. The next moment Arminas was moving. His sinews ached with battle-fury as a wide swing cut the throat of one attacker and the mighty swing of his shield knocked another to his back. Khorstal's well-timed charge finished the man as he was attempting to stand.

Snatching up the reins of the closest steed, Arminas did not see the swordsman behind him, though he felt the cold steel upon his back. The fairly light blade clanged against Arminas's hauberk, bruising but not inflicting any serious wound. Arminas spun as he was thrown against the horse from the impact, his blade dragging a thin crimson line across the attacker's unprotected thigh.

Facing each other down, the attacking swordsman thrust and dodged with the careful expertise of a career soldier. But the swordsman was still fairly young for a professional fighting man, without the vast experience of Arminas. With a thrust towards the face, Arminas forced the swordsman to duck - a fatal mistake. Lashing out his knee, Arminas caught the warrior in the face, knocking him to his back and ramming his sword through the man's throat before he realized he had struck the ground.

With a smooth movement Arminas was in the saddle and had grabbed the reins of another horse. He raced forward to Temudjin and swung his sword at the mace-wielder engaging him. The bronze helmet of the soldier split with the impact and the soldier fell heavily to the ground. Tossing the reins of his extra horse to Temudjin, Arminas nodded and attempted to rally those still fighting by swinging his sword above his head and bellowing.


Khashi had remained mostly out of the fighting. His sword was not yet wet with blood and it seemed as though the fighting was less intense now than it had been. He was no coward, but he also was not suicidal. Why fight if others will do it for you. Khashi had crept to a horse's side and mounted up unnoticed. Suddenly Khashi reeled in pain. A soldier had caught him with a weak axe-blow across the ankle. The wound was painful, but not life- or limb-threatening. With a howl of both pain and protest Khashi swung his sword down, catching the soldier along the temple, splitting the flesh apart with a mighty flow of blood and the sickening scrape of metal on bone.

Looking about, Khashi saw Arminas attempting to rally the rest to get free. For a moment he was even tempted to help, but Khashi was first and foremost a prince and would not risk his life needlessly for people he wasn't convinced that he really needed. Instead, he kicked his heels into his horse's flanks and rode away as instructed before the engagement, to meet with whomever managed to survive this encounter, and to wrap his bloody ankle before it became infected.

01/19/2006 7:38 AM

Ideaus was in the heat of battle with a man who looked like he had barely reached the flush of puberty. The youth, while not seemingly battle experienced, still seemed to have an inner strength that very few men have, and was giving Ideaus a bit of an exercise. As Ideaus fought, he heard Arminas bellow, and foolishly looked up for a split second. The man he had been fighting took that moment to take a swing at him. Ideaus looked back and tried to block the swing, but only succeeded in receiving a nasty gash across his arm.

Ideaus roared in pain, and without thinking about what he was doing, he dropped to his knee, and in one swift motion, drew the dagger from his boot, and buried it in his opponents gut. The other man dropped his sword in surprise, and looked at Ideaus in shock as the dagger was drawn from his gut. Ideaus hurriedly cleaned the dagger off on his own boot, resheathed it and the sword, and scrambled ontop of the horse that he had been fighting for. As he was swinging himself up into the saddle, he noticed Khashi already riding away to the meeting point. His arm hurting, and the fight looking as if it would end momentarily, Ideaus decided to follow Khashi's example, and rode off after the prince.

01/19/2006 10:30 AM

Temudjin grinned as Arminas rode in and smiled as the reins were handed to him. Without losing any time, he mounted the horse and once atop the animal he rode away for a good number of yards. Here he stopped and returned the shield to its position on his back, then slid the sscimitar into its sheath. With a smirk he got his bow from his back and hung the wax cover from the knob on the saddle, then took out the Hyrkanian bow, placed an arrow upon the string and drew it back.

He aimed calmly and released the arrow, sending one of the guards to the ground, with the arrow lodged into his neck, less then an inch above the rim of his bronze breastplate and just below his helmet. Nodding with a faint grin, he reached for the second arrow and repeated the process. One guard ran towards Arminas, but ended on his face before reaching the man, his thigh pierced with the second arrow. Temudjin let out a short and sharp whistle, then lodged another arow onto the string, steering the horse with his legs only.

01/20/2006 11:35 PM

Khorstal turned to see Arminas gathering two more horses. Settled that everything should be alright, he slashed at one more Stygian, cutting his neck just below his helmet, before charging again. This time he didn't stop. He headed as close to dead east as he could manage.

The ride was rough and something he wasn't used to. He had never spent much time on a horse, though he knew enough to keep his seat and some control. He could see a dust cloud ahead of him, so he tried to push the horse a little harder to try and catch up. He could also see what could have been the makings of an oasis beyond the other rider. He decided that that would probably make for the best place to wait. If nothing else, it should give him a couple of things he'd need.

His leg was hurting and he needed to take care of it. He was hoping that it wouldn't prove to be anything too serious. The dust cloud cleared in front of the oasis ahead, meaning that he wasn't alone in his thoughts. As he neared he could see that there were a couple of people already waiting.

01/21/2006 9:47 PM

Mahfouz fell to the soft grass with a loud exhalation. Sweat made the bottom of his turban stick to his forehead. He rolled to his left side, taking pressure away from his right hip, now protesting mightily. Taking sharp breaths through gritted teeth, he felt at it. It bulged abnormally.

He thought it likely that his leg had come out of its socket in his fall. That wouldn't do.

Pulling himself to the pond just yards away, his horse already dipping its snout there, not concerned with his guidance, he checked his quiver. Only nine arrows left. He should have made an attempt to regain the arrow that struck its mark.

When another horse made its presence known, Mahfouz rolled to his back, still a few feet from the water. He was only halfway concerned that the rider might be an enemy.

Before identifying the rider, he said, "I may be in need of assistance."

01/23/2006 11:45 AM

Temudjin, who had ridden onwards after he had made sure that they all had gotten away safely by firing at the guards, came up on the oasis and aimed his bow once more. The arrow he released struck into the ground, just an inch away from Mahfouz face. Calmly he got off his horse and walked up to the man in question, speaking in a monotone voice as he approached. "Next time, Mahfouz, you better check who approaches, instead of taking your chances at it. If I had been one of those guards, you'd be nothing but a memory right now and the others would have gotten no prior warning, thus ripe for the picking."

Once he was close enough, he retrieved the arrow and placed it back into his quiver, then looked down. "You look rather pale, did the horse throw you?"

01/23/2006 2:30 PM

Mahfouz's gaze was fixed on Temudjin's bow, his eyes wide. "I see your point. I... I'm just not used to this sort of thing."

Now able to look Temudjin in the face, he shook his head, looking back at the horse with a bit of admiration. "No. The horse is quite fine." His hip flared, bringing his attention back to the issue at hand. "It was during the battle. I was taken from behind and fell awkwardly."

Unhooking his dagger from his belt, he tossed it aside. "If you would help me to the nearest tree, I can hold myself in place. Then..." Taking a steadying breath, he finished, "Then you can pull my leg back into place."

01/24/2006 2:46 PM

Temudjin nodded briefly, then reached the man his hand to help him up. Once on his feet, he supported the man by pulling his arm across his shoulder, to keep him from standing on the injured leg. Slowly he moved to the nearest tree with him and set him down. "You are of course aware that this is going to hurt, don't you? Best brace firmly and clench the hilt of your dagger between your teeth. This will prevent you from biting your tongue in pain."

Calmly the warrior waited until Mahfouz had prepared himself, ready to give his leg a swift pull, in order to lodge it back into place.

01/27/2006 5:28 AM

Signalling for those who remained to ride to the meeting point, Arminas cut down the last remaining guard with a slash across the throat. Three others had disappeared, no doubt to report the happenings. Kicking at his horse's flanks, Arminas rode to the meeting point as well, not far behind the others.

Upon arriving, Arminas quickly dismounted. Drinking some water from a small canteen at his waist, he looked upon the group with a nod. "At least we have horses now," he stated with dry humour.

Khashi had remained silent and was doubled over in the sand, as if in prayer after the Eastern style. After a few moments he rose, looking drawn and weary. "We must continue on," he complained with a strange tone. "I must reach Hyrkania as soon as possible."

Arminas looked to the others before nodding his assent. "We'll rest for a few moments before continuing on. I'd rather travel through the night and early morning anyway, and it will be dark soon. Tend wounds and prepare. Those with the talent should keep an eye out for travel-tracks. . . or caravans. We'll need more supplies for this trip than we carried with us from the sea."

Giving a concerned, distrustful look to Khashi, who simply maintained his mask of pomp, Arminas strode past and took the time to clean up his armour and set it all to rights.

01/27/2006 2:59 PM

Mahfouz watched the others arrive as he pulled himself to the tree he'd indicated after retrieving his dagger. He kept an ear to Arminas while making final preparations with Temudjin.

Tend wounds and prepare.

Nodding to Temudjin, Mahfouz said, "I believe that's as good a mark as any." He slipped the dagger between his teeth, making sure the cutting edge was facing out, and laced his fingers behind the thin tree.

"Whenever you are ready, my friend." He clenched his teeth on the blade in preparation.

01/28/2006 4:04 AM

Temudjin crouched next to Mahfouz, checking in which direction the leg had dislocated, before he nodded and rose to his feet. He took hold of the man's leg around the ankle, then twisted and pulled abrubtly, paired with an almost sickening sound, to lodge the leg back in place. As he slowly let go of the leg, he rummaged around in the pouches on his belt and came up with the remains of an odd looking herb, known in his land to reduce the pain.

Calm as ever, he crouched next to Mahfouz once more and handed him the remains of the plant. "Chew on this, it tastes a bit bitter, but will lessen the pain. The rest is up to your body to heal, yet will stay sore for several days. Rest that leg whenever you get the chance, although in our position that may be difficult."

He patted Mahfouz on his shoulder and grinned. "Sorry for the twist, but it allowed the leg to slide into place more easily. I did not tell you ahead of time because it would have made it more difficult. Unwillingly you would have tried to counter the movement, risking the fact that I'd have to do it again to properly slide it in place."

01/29/2006 4:19 PM

Chewing lightly at the herb Temudjin offered, Mahfouz pulled himself to a sitting position against the tree. His dagger now lay at his side. He was partly surprised there were no tooth marks in the blade.

"I thank you for your aid." With a wry chuckle, he added, "And I suppose I should also thank you for not warning me about the twist. I imagine I would have made things much more difficult."

Leaning back against the tree, he closed his eyes. The sun still beat down its relentless heat. A splash, whether it was someone in the water or something thrown he didn't know, reminded him of the pond. The thought of drinking deeply of it, and filling the patchwork waterskin he'd taken from one of his former captors, was delightful. As of now, though, he was content to stay where he was, the promise of satisfaction waiting for him.

01/29/2006 10:29 PM

Despite the pain Khorstal had as her wrapped the slice in his leg, he nearly laughed out loud when Temudjin shot at Mahfouz. He had to make strips from the lower part of his pant legs to cover the wound, but it seemed to be working well enough. He tied the make-shift bandages tight and got a drink of cool water.

Khorstal was only a little disappointed that they would not be staying longer. As much as he would have enjoyed the rest, it was not worth the risk of any remaining Stygians following them here. They had suffered loses and injuries with the last skirmish and that was with an element of surprise. He wasn't certain that they would survive a retaliation.

He faced the remaining four men. "Who's taking the lead from here? "

01/30/2006 10:25 AM

Temudjin smirked at Khorstal's question and pointed towards Arminas. "I assume he will, provided he doesn't run into another unexpected group of Stygians. Next time he may not be so lucky, nor we for that matter. Once we get closer to Hyrkania I know my way. I have been leading caravans through the surrounding lands, so there I may pitch in a little more. By the looks of the sky, I think we head North by Northwest from here, right Arminas?"

The former mercenary nodded at the latter, when he uttered the words. He crouched on the edge of the pond and filled his waterskin, which he hung on his back, placed exactly under the shield. "Best make sure all your waterskins are filled to the rim, this isn't quite a friendly territory and who knows when we'll get another chance to. Clean your weapons, or they will start developing rust and make repairs to your gear if you can."

He walked closer to Arminas and shook his head. "Have you seen any traces of animals? I think we'll have to hunt some to keep our strengths up, for what we took off the barge isn't going to last long. Certainly not long enough for the remainder of the voyage ahead." His tone had been friendly, yet carried an undertone of someone that thought ahead.

02/03/2006 4:16 AM

Arminas paid little heed to the question of leadership. He would do as he has always done and those that would follow - would. Besides, in truth Khashi was their employer and would usurp control anyway if he thought it would benefit him. Looking up at Temudjin's question, Arminas shook his head, his hair dancing like the mane of a great cat. "North and East, I'd say, into Shem. I would not stay in Stygia longer than need were there 50 virgins set out at the other end in wait for me. . . We can move from Shem into lower Hyrkania."

Taking to adjusting his horse's tack and other mundane tasks, Arminas was only peripherally aware of the others. There was a certain peace in simple matters like cleaning a sword or securing a saddlebag. Turning as Temudjin approached, Arminas never thought to answer. Just as Temudjin finished speaking a terrible light broke the sky, followed by a darkness more than just night - a cosmic darkness that enveloped the world and disappeared again in a short space.

Arminas felt revulsion welling in his stomach at that sight, though he would have been hard-pressed to say why. Something about that darkness felt evil and unnatural to him. At least one of the warriors nearby that had survived to travel with the group was wretching.

Khashi had remained mostly silent in the saddle of his horse as the others prepared themselves. He was Hyrkanian, born to the saddle, so he felt no discomfort at this. The question of leadership had come up, and he would allow it to be decided among the dogs themselves. Little matters as that were hardly a concern - so long as this group got Khashi to where he needed to go.

Unexpectedly, Khashi nearly fell from his saddle at the explosion of unnatural light and dark. But unlike the others, who seemed revolted and disturbed, Khashi had the appearance of one intrigued. His eyes flashed and his dark features twisted in a mix of curiosity and something resembling pain. "Come," he shouted, kicking his horse's flanks and riding off in the direction the strange light seemed to have sprang from.

Arminas hated witchery. By the same token, if they all arrived in Hyrkania with a dead prince they would get nothing. It wasn't much of a decision. Mounting his horse Arminas rushed after Khashi's quickly retreating form, waving his arm about in the air and shouting for his companions to hurry behind.

[Edited by Dark_Elf_Damien on Sunday, February 5, 2006 1:21 PM]

02/07/2006 11:07 AM

Idaeus had quickly cleaned his wound, and bandaged it the best he could. He felt lucky that hadn't received any serious injury. He was letting his horse get a drink when the strange explosion occured. Idaeus suddenly sick, and just a little bit afraid. Something about what had just happened didn't seem right.

He looked around at his companions, most of whom seemed to be having the same reaction as he. He looked at Khashi, and noticed the looke on the prince's face as he shouted for the rest of the group to follow him. He swung up into his saddle, glancing quickly at Arminas. Arminas was already on his horse, chasing after the prince, yelling for everyone to follow him.

"I'm starting to think we should have stayed on that ship," Idaeus said loudly to his companions as he rode off after Arminas and Khashi.

02/07/2006 12:58 PM

At the explosion, Temudjin felt his stomach twist into a knot and instinctively crouched, his hand moving towards his blade in the same movement. What am I doing? There's nothing in sight beside that display of hideous magic and that is a long way from here. He looked around as he rose again, only to see the prince ride towards it, then Armis and Ideaus each going after the former. He shook his head and bellowed. "Mount up everyone, we have to keep up with the rest."

At these words he swung himself into the the saddle and rode after the ones that had already a head start on him. During the ride he thought of something, which made him shake his head again. I don't get it, everyone knows that things like these you should normally stay away from, but that Khashi is riding straight for it. Didn't he learn anything aboard the ship?

02/07/2006 2:56 PM

Mahfouz nearly dropped his newly-filled waterskin at the sight of the sorcery before him. Now might have been an opportune moment for foul remembrances, but he pushed them aside as he saw Arminas chasing after Khashi. At Temudjin's call, he scrambled to his feet, his hip still protesting, checking to make sure his dagger was tucked into his belt.

Favoring his right leg, he hurried to his horse and pulled himself into the saddle from the left side. Putting heels to its sides, he was off, after the others, only now feeling for his bow secured to the side of the saddle. It was there. Were it not, he thought he might not have spared the time to go back.

His horse coming astride Temudjin's, still several lengths behind Arminas, Mahfouz shouted, "Foul deeds await us there!"

02/19/2006 12:23 PM

Temudjin grinned at Mahfouz, then nodded with a broad smile. "That is likely the case when magic is involved, but the question is whether we are prepared for it. Even the mightiest of wizards can be killed, if he does not expect what is coming. Don't worry too much, there's still a few tricks that can keep us alive." With that said, he sped up his horse.

02/20/2006 6:41 AM

Idaeus overheard Temudjin, but just barely. He glanced over at the other warrior. Unlike Temudjin, Idaeus wasn't looking forward to this encounter. He had a feeling that he would hate all wizards, based on what he heard about them in the past.

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