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08/07/2001 11:21 AM

The clouds were getting darker as Selena came up on deck. "Storm'll be here soon" shouted the captain to her over his shoulder. "I think we can ride it out, though. No worries m'lady. The hands on this ship have all been through their share of storms." Selena nodded politely, even though his back was turned to her. He seemed to be talking more to himself than to her, anyway, she thought. She stepped over to the rail and breathed in the fresh air. She had just finished unpacking her things down below. The ship had started off about 3 hours ago from Flotsam. It would take a long while for the ship to reach Kalaman, where she would then walk to the fabled city of Palanthas. She could hardly wait. Especially since the boat seemed to flip her stomach every time it rocked and swayed. "Storm's coming from the West; we'll stay to the East" said the captain. "You should get a pretty good look at the Blood Sea of Istar." Selena's thoughts were broken at that statement. "You mean the sea that swallowed up the city of Istar during the Cataclysm?" she asked anxiously. The captain grunted and nodded, then smiled at her wide-eyed expression. "Never fails to impress 'em" he said just loud enough for her to hear.
Selena tried to focus her thoughts on the horizon instead of on the rocking and swaying of the ship. She thought she saw a white cloud coming from the east. But as she kept focusing on it, she realized that the cloud seemed to be moving, swaying just like the ship. "What's that?" she asked. The captain squinted in the dimming light toward the eastern horizon. "Why, it's a ship." The captain yanked a spy-glass from his belt. "Minitour" he said grimly. "I hope their not pirates." Selena started to laugh at this, thinking that he was teasing her, but she saw no trace of humour in the captain's countanance. She waited for his response.
"Well, we can't very well head into the storm. That would tear the ship from stern to mast. But if they show signs of hostility, we may have no choice." The storm clouds tumbled overhead. There was a sudden flash of lighting and an explosive thunder crash. The wind picked up, pushing the boat east. "Stay here" said the captain as he started shouting orders to the deck hands. Selena stood, not knowing what to do, as the rain started down and soaked her hair and clothes. The minitour boat was getting closer and she could hear shouting from it. Selena had heard that they came from lands far to the east. She wondered why they would deliberately head directly into a storm. Not likely for plundering, she supposed. The wind was now nearly enough to knock Selena down. She held onto the railing and tried to focus on something else. She had heard tales of sea elves living far below the Blood Sea of Istar. As waves started landing on the deck of the ship, she wondered if they could see this ship from below; if they would do anything to help if it sank, or just let them all drown. An enormous wave engulfed the ship. Everything went black.
I will bring justice to those who dare to oppress the kender race, for I am the kenderdefender, and with Fizban's divine help I will... Fizban? Fizban, what are you doing?! What do you mean you can't find your hat? It's right on your... {Blushes} Hold that thought...

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