There’s been grumbling around Vesper that the waters of the Chesapeake have seen more ‘sea monsters’ than they usually do. Boats, despite their construction and, in some cases, weapons have been reporting significant damage and lowered hauls. They need someone to help – someone who knows the waters and a certain Dolphin Shifter was approached.
Malie Lehua is still recovering from her latest encounter, the gashes on her arms now just faint scars … but still, she knows why they want her. Apart from that, she wants a better look at the area, because she’s sure there’s been a Leyline Storm and … new caverns have been opened.
The dusky skinned woman is standing on the deck of a fishing vessel some miles out into sea, the wind whipping her hair. So far it’s been quiet and for that she’s thankful, but still – she’s asked a couple of friends along.
For all that he’s only been away from his sea studies for a few weeks, Yaren nevertheless returns to it with the same guileless wonder as he’d first done. The seas hold a plethora of lifeforms, all so different even amongst those of similar shapes. Perhaps he’s been called out here for serious business, but he still can’t help but enjoy the trip out so far, more so pleased to be alongside friends.
“…what is it we seek?” he asks, surfacing from his drifting thoughts at the reminder of the two he’s accompanied out here upon the waters.
Auren is also standing on the deck of the fishing vessel. Which is to say he is occupying most of the available space on the deck of the fishing vessel. This is a smaller ship and the sea is a bit choppy after the storms. He doesn’t like it. That’s why he’s in his four legged form. His two legged form just felt too… unsteady.
So he’s got all fours sort of spread out in a wary crouch. “This is a terrible day.” He observes to no one in particular.
“You could have flown …” Malie slants a look in Auren’s direction, smirking as the sailors skirt around him. It’s a mix of awe and annoyance because he sure is pretty the way the sun glints of his crystalline scales. “… you’re not feeling seasick, I hope…” She really enjoys teasing the Hatchling.
“Sea Monsters, Yaren.” The Dolphin Shifter answers “.. and Auren and I want to look at the new caverns I saw, don’t we Auren?” She’d enticed the Hatchling out with the promise of Treasure – although he’s not as … fixated on his Hoard as another Hatchling she knows. “There was a Ley Storm recently and certain creatures like to ride them. They’re stuck here now, with no way to get home and that’s why the ships are having so much trouble.” she explains. Yaren might not know what a Ley Line is and therefore a Ley Storm and that might need a bit more explaining, perhaps. “But the last creature I saw, was acting rather strangely, like that Dolphin we saw a few months back.”
As the ship cuts through the water, Auren can see that one of the towers they’d investigated some time ago, has tilted a bit. They’re skirting the coast line up towards what is now Dogwood and it looks like just beyond that tower, part of the cliff has … disappeared.
In front of the boat, something rises from the water. Something with multiple fins on it’s back and obsidian black scales. It’s mouth is just one open maw with rows and rows teeth lining it. It’s … the size of a medium sized shark. “Heave too…” shouts the Captain, not wanting to hit “… that thing will tear our hull open without even thinking …” The sailors move trying to rapidly change the direction of the boat. But ‘fish’ follows … seemingly tracking it’s movement with ease.
“Huh…” Malie mutters and pads to the front of the boat, her skin starting to mottle to that of the Dolphin “… that’s unusual. Shall I go in, Captain?”
Seasickness is not a thing that Yaren’s even aware of, but then unlike the others aboard this ship, he lacks a stomach and all the other complicated bits that stack up against one who isn’t used to an unsteady floor beneath their feet.
“What is so terrible about it?” he asks, hat tilting as he peers in Auren’s direction. “…is he unwell?” he then asks Malie at her suggestion of seasickness. When she speaks of sea monsters, Yaren’s reaction is the opposite of what people might usually have in response to such things. Violet eyes widen, all too eager at the prospect. He’s seen great creatures below the waters near Saren’s Rest, but he’s heard that far greater exist, and the oceans are far and wide, capable of keeping anything.
“…I’m not sure that I understand it… what is the difference between a ley storm and a normal one?” His use of personal pronouns has changed since last they’d spoken to him, and although he’s had moments where he’s lapsed into such practice, referring to himself as ‘I’ has seemed to stick recently.
At the sighting of the creature in the waters, Yaren leans forward on the railing a bit, his eyes clearly expressing awe. But then those glowing eyes narrow sharply, sensing something all too familiar and still fairly fresh in his memories.
“…it does not act on its own,” he murmurs. “I suggest caution if you go, Malie. …and if I can accompany you.”
Auren does like treasure, so here he is. He also likes Malie enough to come with her. But the way the ship pitches is making him sick.
“No. Not seasick.” Sure he’s not.
When they start being followed he turns to look at… a perfectly ordinary and not even particularly large shark. It could, yeah, be a threat to the ship but… so could the rocks.
“Well… do we need to chase that off?”
A shark with skin of obsidian and teeth that look similar, lots of them. And one that follows the twists and the turns of the boat as the sailors maneuver it. On their port side, the towers of the sunken city rise up, growing closer and closer – if they can’t get past this thing, then they’re going to have some trouble.
“Yes, Malie …” the Captain grunts and the woman moves to the gunwhale ready to leap. Yaren’s voice causes her to pause and she nods “If you like you can, and yes Auren, we do. But beware, these things normally work in packs.” Which means, it might not be the only out there. With that, the woman leaps and transforms into a Dolphin mid air, that hits the water with a splash. The sleek grey body can be seen darting away under the water, rounding behind the shark that is herding the ship.
As she does, another one surfaces to Auren’s left. And one to the ships starboard. As she suspected, they aren’t alone … but it’s only the one that Yaren can sense.
Yaren nods at Malie, stepping back from the railing so his clothing and Iinya don’t run the risk of getting knocked into the water. From hat to boots his form sinks into a pile, the violet wisp that matches the eyes so commonly seen of him seeping out like a mist, gathering, and then floating out past the ship to plunge down into the waters. It’s anticlimactic for the lack of any hint of entry. For Yaren, it’s merely passing a divider of air and water.
He can see where Malie has gone off to and immediately starts after her and the sharklike creature she intends to head off.
Auren takes off with the beat of wings, happy to be off the ship for now. He’s not an undersea creature. He can swim and even fight underwater if he has to but he prefers not to. Which is why he’s circling above the ship. The sharks have to come to the surface if the want to cause trouble or at least close to it and then he can swoop down like an enormous crystaline bird of prey.
Also he can see them better up here. The one he’s most focused on is the one on the other side from where Malie went off. A blast of fire causes steam to gout up from the ocean. Maybe pushing the shark thing further down a little.
Malie’s rounds behind the shark-things, not doing anything just yet. Keeping an eye on the wisp that is Yaren. As she does, the shark-thing on her side, turns towards and starts to rush at her, the Dolphin does but not before her body glows and the water ahead of her swirls, knocking the shark back a little but only that. She’s going to draw this one away before doing anything. Divide and conquer.
For Yaren, he can feel the ‘attention’ of the shark-thing or the entity riding it, focus on him. But the shark it riding surges forward, trying to herd the ship some more. With the Dolphin in the water though, the shark itself would turn on her but it’s being driven to keep at the ship.
Auren’s gout of fire causes the surface of the water to hiss and steam and the shark-thing turns in his direction as well, not focusing on Malie as the other had done. Instead, the fins on its back tilt in the Crystal Dragons direction and he’s soon targeted by sharpened obsidian spears.
“Yaaah!” It’s weird when a dragon yells in surprise because it sounds kind of like a roar and kind of like something a twenty something says when they open a shed to find a juvenile fury beetle has gnawed in from the outside. It is, In Auren’s opinion absolutely unfair that his opponent can shoot at him and he can’t shoot back. These are, alas, the problems of being a fire breathing lizard when there is a non-trival water barrier between you and your target.
The crystal dragon dips and barely avoids a barrage of obsidian spikes. Then his wings tucks in and he drops like a very pretty rock. Time to make like a kingfisher.
Maybe he can distract it. He can certainly feel the attention shifted towards him. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop the shark from moving towards the ship. Need to get closer, he thinks.
While Yaren’s loath to make use of another creature as a tool for confrontation, he reaches out for one of the smaller fish, remora-like creatures that latch onto the bigger ones, seeking opportunity to get closer. The minds of sea creatures, or a least most fish, are easier to get into than many land creatures he’s come across. His remora is easy to coax after the shark being controlled, and with Auren’s attack keeping it in one place for a moment, all the more opportunity to catch up.
Auren’s aerial acrobatics narrowly miss the obsidian shards. What might happen if he’d been hit by one? They’re sharp and they’re strong, after all and he is … made of some crystalline structure. The shark doesn’t dive too deep, though, it’s fin still protrudes out of the water, it rounds again – the fin laying flat and then splaying again, another barrage of spikes are about to be launched in his direction.
The kingfisher act works moderately as he hits the water, the shark-thing is right there and he connects with it. It’s hard of course, obsidian is, and the shark twists and turns with more strength than one might think. What’s the juvenile dragon going to do? Can a fish be taught to fly?
Yaren’s remora catches the shark easily and attaches itself. The shark moving sinuously to turn the ship again. The kayrah controlling the beast reaches out though and a blast of mental energy in sent in Yaren’s direction, the shark … slows in it’s movements … trying to turn and chase like the others.
“Gotcha. Stop squirming!” Auren growls as he tries to keep a grip on the fish with all four limbs. It’s not easy. It’s big and strong and slick and pointy in places. But he tries to lift it out of the water all the same. Those spires the ship is trying to avoid? Those look like the perfect thing to do a bit of imitating the quaint seabird tradition of preparing food by dropping it from a great height.
Good thing that Yaren’s not attached to this one. Auren would feel bad if he ‘killed’ the little guy. He wonders how Malie is doing…
The offensive catches Yaren off guard, jarring his light hold upon the remora, and he retracts from the fish like a snail pulling into its own shell.
His violet wisp slips away from the remora, floating freely there in the waters as the shark slips back into its own mindset. Just before Auren makes a proper grab for it.
The spires of the sunken certainly look good for putting an end to this nuisance for Auren. But he has to get it there first. And the shark, despite being out of water or perhaps because of it, twists and turns and Auren can feel the obsidian spikes jab at him. Now that they’re not projectile, they aren’t quite as dangerous.
The spire looms near … all he has to do … is spear it.
As Yaren’s wisp floats free, the kayrah looses control of the shark as it asserts it’s will. A purple wisp, floats free of the creature and Yaren might feel the … malice it feels to him. It hangs there for a moment – ‘glaring’.
The shark, now free of the control, turns and starts in the direction the Dolphin went. There’s a flash of blue light and Malie-Dolphin appears out of it, the water forming little daggers that swirl and cut at the thing that rushes for her. Seems she’s lost the first one.
Auren pulls up and ‘throws’ the shark at the spire, letting gravity do part of the work. It might not be the most perfect shot but it should hit the building. Hitting it at such an angle as to spear it, that’s another question entirely. The tops of these buildings weren’t made to be spears and Auren may not be the best aim with a squirming fish in his grasp.
He turns sharply hoping to avoid any last volley of spears and head back toward Malie. He can’t see anything to blast at and he’s lost all sense of where Yaren is. But they’re one, maybe two down. Hopefully.
How many of you have come here? Yaren questions the other, the kayrah, directly. Is it you, making use of these creatures? I cannot leave you to do so…
He moves then, his own wisp, the only real form he has. They did not have instructions on how to deal with the fallen of their kind. Dealing one-on-one with such isn’t something Yaren’s accustomed to. The one who had claimed the title of Rat King had been one mind but had spread it among many. This… Well, apart from a host, it might be close.
They are glorious, these creatures. So powerful and strong. And it is glorious using them … Comes the response to Yaren and the other wisp just hovers there. But Yaren moves, it dives away into the depths. It isn’t going to stay and fight and allow Yaren to do … what he must.
Malie is engaged with the shark by the time Auren gets there, its many toothed maw having closed over her side. The blood in the water just sends it into a frenzy and the Dolphin is twisting and turning, trying to keep away from it. The glint of light as the sun hits Auren is all she needs though. Her body pulses blue again and the water beneath the shark forms a platform that raises it high out of the water – right in Auren’s path … an offering. An offering that needs cooking.
Auren’s jaws open and he snatches the shark by the tail… and drops ten feet in an instant. The added weight, the added vectors, mess with flight in a way they never mess with moving about in the water. The dragon strains and finally whips his neck to the side and throws the big fish at the buildings. At a window. That won’t kill it. But it’s also not going to do anything more unless it can flop back out and into the water. Or… you know, walk. Or something.
One might mistake his roar for one of triumph or fury. Really it’s because that really hurt his neck.
Yaren shudders at the kayrah‘s words, and he’s half tempted to continue pursuit. He should go after it, but his friends still fight the creatures that had been led to attack by the fallen one. His hesitation costs him as he loses sight of the kayrah, but as he sees the sharks cleared above him, he begins to rise towards the surface.
The blood that floats in the waters hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Yaren lingers to make sure that nothing else will come before Malie is back upon the ship.
The kayrah slips away – that’s for Yaren to worry about later, clearly. Aurens’ shark learns fly even as Auren has trouble maintaining his.
The window breaks and the shark ends up with it’s tail stuck in the air, flopping helplessly in the wind. It’s not going anywhere. The sailors in the boat, peer up at the dragon as he roars, some cowering as they do. They’ve chosen fury, not pain.
Malie circles slowly, as the column of water flops back into sea, making sure it’s clear before taking a painful leap into the air and transforming one more into a woman with a metallic sheen to her skin … and this time with a bite on her sides. “Yaren…” she looks around and then looks at the crystal dragon “…Auren, you’re scaring the sailors… are … you alright?”
The boat turns once everyone is accounted for and heads on its way.
It’s very sluggishly that the violet wisp moves as it slips back up from the waters and over the ship’s rail. In his pile of clothing, Iinya has stirred, chiming concernedly as Yaren seeps back into his clothing to fill out a more humanoid form. There he crouches, spindly fingers of his gloved hand gently stroking the silvery serpent as he slowly rises to his feet.
“…I am sorry. I lost it,” he apologizes with head bowed towards Malie and Auren. And they have been injured, which makes him just as upset.
Auren flys back a bit stiffly to land on the back of the boat and once again land. “I’m fine. You’re hurt.” He says, twisting his neck to try and make it hurt less. He’s back to sort of awkwardly splaying over the deck.
“Where’s Ya- oh there he is. You lost what?” In the excitement of the fighting he’d not noticed what Yaren was dealing with.
Malie’s eyes narrow as Auren comes back. “Tis but a flesh wound…” she murmurs, holding herself gingerly. “… Those teeth are sharp. I’ll heal though but I’ll need to tend it when get back to town. You’re hurt too, I can tell.” He might be bullied into being looked after later.
“Yaren … lost…?” Malie doesn’t remember the entity that controlled the Dolphin. Well she might, but it’s vague. “You stopped the shark, that’s a good thing. But I feel like we’ve missed part of the story …”
Yaren eases back towards the railing, violet gaze peering out as though seeking some sign of it. “That which controlled the creature, driving it to attack.” He’d related the story once, but he’s forgotten. His head turns to glance towards the two as he continues solemnly.
“The kayrah,” he says, bowing his head again. “The same as me.”
Malie, Auren and Yaren head out to sea to find out what's stirring up its greater creatures to assault boats of late.
March 14, 2411