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Page 2.  To continue........

 


 

Suzail was an altogether much bigger city than Arabel and with it's large impressive Royal Palace and cosmopolitan Promenade looked a very interesting place.  One of the wagon drivers told me it was the capital city of Cormyr and it certainly looked the part.  We made our way through the city to the harbour area.  The docks were all hustle and bustle with merchants and travelers and sailors and goods and animals going in all directions at once.  It was all very interesting and I was itching to explore but our employer was eager to get going as soon as possible.  Having found our ship it took a while to load all our caravan's merchandise onboard and stow it in the hold.  I'd never even heard of ships before never mind been on one so while the loading was going on I had a good nose around.  It looked sturdy enough so I couldn't understand why it was gently moving up and down and side to side, it seemed rather odd.  It didn't take me long to notice that the sailors were looking at me in a rather unfriendly way and I decided it was probably best to keep my distance.  They seemed very keen on Tanith though and particularly Cordelia who greeted them and exchanged bawdy banter like a pro.

Once we 'set sail' and headed out to sea I was disturbed to find that the peculiar up and down swaying motion got worse.  There was also a lot of creaking noises that didn't seem to come from anywhere in particular.  I have to admit that it made my stomach feel a bit queer and I didn't much like it.  It felt a bit like the time I accidentally 'visited' a weird dimension where everything was back to front and inside out and upside down from what is generally considered 'normal' - I didn't much like it there either and got out as soon as I could.  Thrin and Cordyr also obviously didn't like it as they spent a lot of time with their heads over the side making unpleasant noises.  It was going to be a very long 5 days for us.  Of all the party Cordelia seemed the most happy at being onboard and looked very much at home.  When she wasn't gambling or sparing with the sailors with whom she got on very well, she spent quite a while just leaning on the rail looking out to sea with the breeze in her hair and a wistful look on her face.

As the ship sailed on the party members passed the time in their own ways.  Tanith spent a fair amount of time in her cabin and was very insistent that she wasn't disturbed.  During my explorations I discovered a little peep hole into her cabin and saw why she didn't want any visitors.  She was regenerating in her natural form which, although not unpleasant, would certainly have made the blood drain from the face of anyone seeing her.  I had seen her in various forms many times back where we came from and so it didn't bother me at all - I let her alone to get on with it and spent some time knocking around with Theo.  He was a jolly little fellow with a great sense of humour and a spare pipe of finest Halfling shag.  Maybe due to our heights and naturally curious natures we felt a sort of kinship and struck up an easy friendship.

Cordelia had said her room was off limits and seemed to mean it but that is like a red rag to a bull to an inquisitive Fremlin so of course I just had to check it out!  Adventurers don't tend to carry much stuff with them but none the less I was interested to see what she had.  After a brief tour of her cabin didn't turn up anything particularly interesting I discovered one of the drawers contained a selection of rather racy undergarments.  Most were small and flimsy and very soft.  The movement of the ship was making me feel a bit ill so I fancied a lie down and what better place for it than Cordelia's soft, silky & fragrant underwear drawer.  Before long I was snuggly nestled in amongst her smalls, fast asleep.  Night had obviously settled in while I was sleeping as I was suddenly aware of it being dark - and cold - and wet!  I must have been having a nightmare as I was in the dark water, gulping and gasping and something was holding me and stopping me from getting free.  It was horrible - I was going to drown!  As I fought to wake up realisation hit me like a wet kipper round the face, I WAS awake and I was in the oggin, tied in a cloth sack, being towed along behind the ship!!!  As I struggled desperately to get free I felt myself being tugged along and then hauled up out of the water.  The sack was slit open with a dagger and I was rudely pulled out by my ears.  As I spluttered, choked, shivered  and dangled, Cordelia's face appeared right in front of mine with a very scary expression on it.  She hissed at me, and I quote "If I ever find you in my things again I will slit your miserable little throat.  Do I make myself clear?"  She certainly did and I nodded as best I could considering I was dangling by my ears and whimpering.  She pulled me through the open window and dropping me roughly on the floor of her cabin she told me to get out.  That was a warning even I couldn't mis-interpret, so I slunk out feeling scared, hurt and miserable.  I gave both Cordelia and her cabin a wide berth after that - she was not to be messed with.

Tanith finally emerged from her cabin after her 'rest' looking for some fun and slinked around the ship with a very sultry look on her face, looking for prey.  It didn't take much to catch the eye of the First Mate who eagerly accompanied her inside to the winks and nudges of his fellow shipmates.  When he re-appeared some time later he didn't just look exhausted, he looked physically drained.  Tanith emerged positively glowing with vitality like she had taken an elixir.  The First Mate, pale faced and weak, staggered away to his quarters.  The crew muttered things under their breath and gave her wary looks.  She had obviously done something to the poor fellow and it made us all feel a bit uncomfortable.  The following day the First Mate, mostly recovered after a very long lie in was going about his duties when Tanith approached him again with that look in her eye.  Instead of politely making his excuses or telling her to get lost, he instead took her outstretched hand and followed her to her cabin as if in a trance.  More dark mutterings from the crew, the rest of us could only look on.  Early evening as the light was failing the Mate emerged looking like death only slightly warmed up and could barely stand, he had to be almost carried to his cabin.  The crew were openly talking of witches and devils when Tanith breezed on deck looking like a million gold pieces.  One crew member, egged on by others, shouted "Witch," and threw a belaying pin at her with some force.  Tanith just looked at it and it disintegrated in midair.  Then she turned her supremely confident ice cold smile on him.  He looked defiant, right up until he dropped down stone dead.  The rest of crew backed up looking scared and very angry.  Just as it looked like there was going to be trouble a shout went up from the lookout in the crows nest.  We looked in the direction he was pointing and saw 3 dark winged shapes hurtling towards the ship.  In an instant the lookout was gone, swept off the mast by one of the creatures and crashed to the deck below.  We had trouble alright.

All thoughts of Tanith were gone as everyone scrambled to meet the new threat.  The beasts attacked with murderous swoops, attempting to bite or to batter people into the deck or over the side with their thick tails.  This was way too much excitement for me.  These things were big and looked really scary and were obviously pretty nasty so I decided to take cover and let the big folk handle it, there were plenty of them after all!  Crew and party joined forces to fight off the black, legless, horse headed monsters.  From my hiding place I saw several crew hammered over the side and one unfortunate carried far aloft and then dropped.  He screamed all the way back down.  In the melee Thrin was taken over the side by one creature and disappeared underwater.  Later he told us how the creature dragged him under as if trying to drown him but luckily he managed to get his sword into it good and it let him go.  He only just managed to make the surface before his lungs burst.  Badly injured the creature made off but it's friends weren't so lucky.  Skill, bravery and teamwork finally led to the death of the other two creatures but unfortunately they had killed several crew.  Apart from a few cuts and bruises the party were OK.  Watches were doubled after that and we spent an uncomfortable night.  The fact that neither I nor Tanith had played any part in the fight seemed to convince the crew that we had something to do with it and they called us "The Witch and her pet Demon."  I was most put out - the insult!  However they seemed very upset and I felt it best to stay out of their way.  Tanith just laughed at them.  When I wasn't with her I found myself a nice little hidey hole in a quiet area below deck and kept my head down.  

The 4th day was pretty quiet.  Oh, apart that is from when I had to fly for my life after being discovered in my little den!  I managed to get away by the skin of my wings but it was close.  Those sailors REALLY didn't like me and I'm sure they would have skinned me alive if they'd caught me.  I stuck to Tanith like glue for the rest of the trip as the sailors wouldn't go anywhere near her.  She seemed to be rather amused by it all.  Late that night when all was quiet, shouts and sounds of fighting erupted on deck - we were under attack again!  Tanith went topside and I followed.  The ship was being overrun by strange looking creatures that were hauling themselves out of the water and over the railings.  As more crew and the rest of the party made it up on deck the scene became a battlefield.  I watched from a safe distance as more and more vaguely man shaped creatures joined the fray.  There was hand to hand fighting everywhere as sailors, Thrin, Cordelia and the others fought back to back against the tide of invaders.  Tanith cast off some wicked spells and sent many of the creatures either up in flames or hurtling into the night.  The fighting was fierce and fraught for quite a while but eventually the defenders gained the upper hand and forced the remaining creatures back over the railings where they disappeared under the waves.  Bodies were strewn about the deck, many had died on both sides and most of the crew and some of the party were injured.  The dead creatures, which appeared to have rough, rocky looking knobbly skin, were thrown over the sides and the injured crew and party members were tended to.  I offered a healing potion to one of the crew and he took it with grudging thanks.  Tanith's magic had certainly helped turn the tide and one or two of the crew actually acknowledged it.  The party members had fought well and were well appreciated, Cordelia especially was much admired for her prowess with a cutlass.

I went back to Tanith's cabin and slept late into the next day.  By the time I surfaced the ship was approaching land.  One of the more talkative sailors told me it was the Dragon Coast and the ship was heading for the small port of Ilipur.  He said that along with Pros it served as 'the eyes and ears' of Eversult, the independent merchant city further south that was our destination.  By late afternoon the ship docked and we all made our way off.  Ilipur was a tiny place compared with Suzail and didn't have much of a docks to speak of.  It was good to get back on dry land again and the obvious looks of relief on Thrin and Cordyr's faces were a real picture.  Once all the cargo was unloaded the merchant caravan reformed and started off for Eversult without delay.  I looked back at the ship as we wound our way through the village.  Due to recent vacancies arising, Cordelia had been offered a job onboard and she decided she was going to stay with the crew.  I can't say I was sorry to see the back of any of them and I'm pretty sure the feeling was mutual.       

 

 

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