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Feb 27, 2024

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Sneaking Through Meson

Summary:

Having escaped Noria, Raziel, Joseph, and Aeon travel through the occupied town of Meson to spread word of the invasion. But, as always, nothing is ever simple…

Setting:

Meson

Participants:

Aeon? (Male Red-eared Slider Turtle)
Joseph? (Male Mouse)
Raziel (Male Tiger)


The closed gates of Noria are an odd sight. The city is mostly quiet, screaming happening on occasion, but it’s not on fire, and guns aren’t firing. The city was overtaken with only the fanfare you gave it in escaping. A couple of zeppelins are over the city. The path toward Meson and the mountains seem mostly unobstructed, but the boats for the advocates must have come from upstream, making Meson suspect.

Aeon rubbed his shell as the trio had stopped to look at the closed off town. He needed the rest since his escape method. His body had taken a good impact, though most of it had been mitigated by his shell. The turtle was lucky like that, but it still meant he was going to need to take it easy for a bit… which was quickly proved that it wasn’t going to be that simple. Eventually the turtle pulls his gaze away and looks at the Mouse and Tiger. “What do we do now?”

Raziel takes a deep breath as he glances back. “We keep walking. That’s all we can do. I suppose if they took Meson, well…we’re in for a challenge. But if we go up the mountain, to Cetayanti, and around that way, we’ll never be able to tell anyone what happened.” The tiger has his leg bandaged now, from where the boiler burned it, but he’s holding up well, otherwise.

Joseph looks to Raziel, “Well, if they’ve taken Meson, they already know what’s happened. I don’t really see much option other than heading up to Cetayanti, and that’s a long journey.” He rubs his muzzle, “Unless you’re suggesting sneaking through Meson. That’s a very risky proposition.”

Aeon nods a bit as he stood up straight and walked over a bit slowly to Raziel. “Quite a few points on each end of the argument, true we cant find anyone who could do something about it at Cetayanti, but we might be able to find someone trained well enough in air magic to fly to another town quicker than we can walk. On the other hand Meson is a bit quicker for us to get to someone to tell, but unless you want to, or can, swim with me past it, we’d have to be very careful.”

Raziel rubs the back of his neck. “We could always go to Simurgh Castle, too, and try to warn the flying pasu there, if we had to…but that’s on the other side of the river.” He flits his ear nervously. “My point simply was that if we go up and around Cetayanti, it’ll take time - more time than it’ll probably take for the Advocates to spread elsewhere. If we still had the powered bicycle, it wouldn’t be a problem, but…” The feline shakes his head. “Can’t we make it around Meson, somehow? It’s swampy, and secluded, towards the edges…”

Joseph chews his lip, “I don’t know. I’ve heard the swamp has alligators. They’re these big lizard monster things. I don’t know if that’s true or not.” He scratches his head, “But maybe someone might have a boat there? I mean, if we can talk some local merchant into ferrying us around… But I wonder if they’ve set up a blockade…”

Aeon looks at Raziel, thinking as he moves a hand under his chin. “Dead set on getting past Meson, huh? Well if you think its the best option.” He looked at Joseph “Your concerns are certainly valid Mr…uh… whatever your name is. Alligators are least of our concern. I’m more worried about being spotted. I could probably fog the place up, but it wouldn’t keep us from being spotted, would only stop us from being identified.”

Raziel shrugs. “To be frank, no, I’d rather not walk into what is probably a hornet’s nest, but I also think that the Advocates could be in Helio by the time we make it all the way up to Quark. We’d have to travel on foot - any nearby horseless carriages are probably sealed up in Noria.” He considers the alligators briefly, but if they could find someone out in the sticks with a boat… “There’s a chance we could slip through. It’s risky, yes, but it may be worth it. I won’t ask either of you to go if you don’t want to, though.”

Joseph looks to Raziel, “I don’t really have much else to do, and if the Advocates manage to take over Loka, I don’t know what home will be like, you know?” He shrugs, “But! If we do manage to get past Meson, what then? From there, there’s open sea and Esquemelin. Maybe we should try cutting through the forest— I don’t suppose either of you guys know how to survive in the woods?”

Aeon looks over at Raziel for a moment, before looking back at Joseph “Both of us have a little experience in the woods. We survived an airship crash out there. Had to make do with what we could scavenge for a shelter.”

Raziel nods slowly. “Aeon is…correct. And this time, I’ll have my rifle, so hunting should be easier. But we’ll have to be some distance away from the city before it would be safe to do that.” The cat takes a few steps along the road, towards Meson. “That still sounds like our best bet.”

Joseph walks along with Raziel, following, “What will we do when we get there, though? And how do we get past Meson toward Gilead?”

Aeon slowly takes out his bracelet and necklace and puts them back on before he starts to follow Raziel. He rubs his fingers over both piece of jewelry. “Don’t worry Chester, I’m fine.” The turtle then looked over at Joseph “Once we are past Meson, we can make a break for what should be a much safer town.”

Raziel sighs, “Well, assuming Gilead is safer, and doesn’t already know, we spread the news there. As for getting there…” He groans. “We have either the option of finding a boat, and getting through what is undoubtedly Advocate territory, or we travel around the lake until we reach Gilead. Either way, should be a bit faster than the alternative.”

Joseph nods a little, “Should we go around Meson, then? Well, maybe we should make that determination as we get closer.” He chews his lip, “I mean, maybe we’ll need the supplies then, and maybe we won’t. Guess it depends on you guys’ skills. I’ve not really had to do too much forest work.”

Aeon nods to the mouse as they walk. “We weren’t exactly prepared for anything last time we were in the forest, which was during that crash. this time we are a bit more prepared, I actually have some of my tinkering tools and a couple of my chomper ball inventions.” He smiled, “and of course I have my magic.”

Raziel pats his backpack. “Well, worst comes to worst, I have /some/ rations packed away, for when I travel, but those won’t support three people long. Once we’re far enough to hunt, though, we should be good until we hit Gilead. Shelter, we should be able to throw together. And fire…?” The tiger chuckles. “We have a turtle torch right here.”

Joseph looks between the two of them, “I take it you two know each other, what with the stories of a crashing airship and whatnot.” He chuckles, “My name is Joseph. What’s are you twos’?”

Aeon chuckles as he looks at the tiger. “Oh we’ve been through quite a few messes together. The crashing Airship was just one of those stories. Isn’t that right Raziel?”

Raziel attempts to shake the mouse’s hand, despite the size difference and the fact that they’re walking. “Yes, we’ve been through a few… ‘adventures’ together. As Aeon already mentioned, my name is Raziel. Pleased to meet you, Joseph.”

Joseph nods a little, shaking the tiger’s paw, “I don’t know how to take this. Either the two of you are extremely lucky, or extremely unlucky, considering you’ve had these sorts of adventures. Please grant me the assurance that you weren’t the only survivors in all of your journeys.” He blinks at the size difference in the paws.

Aeon chuckles “Oh some of the adventures were voluntary. And we weren’t the only survivors.” He gently puts his goggles on and adjusts the magnifiers occasionally to look around, keeping tabs on the area. The turtle didn’t want them to be walking into an ambush.

Raziel nods once more, smiling slightly - though also with a hint of sadness. “Aeon is right - thus far, our adventures have had a relatively high survival rate. And don’t worry, we won’t leave you high and dry. I could have left you behind in the city, but that wouldn’t have been a fitting end to an inventor would it?” He asks with a laugh.

Joseph looks over his shoulder, frowning a little, “I suppose it wouldn’t be. But I’m going to have a hell of a time replacing that bike. I always figured I’d be able to salvage some of the pieces well enough to patch it back together. Now I’m going to have to try to remember everything I did for the configuration. Might as well start over at this point.” he sighs, “I suppose it’s not a huge deal. But man, I hate walking.”

Aeon looks over to the mouse before he speeds up to get near him and carefully pats him on the back “Hey, look at it this way. You learn much from just fixing something, but you learn even more from making something entirely new.”

Raziel’s shoulders sag. “Yes, Aeon, but sometimes it’s hard to recapture what made it all work the first time. If I ever lost my rifle, I’m not sure I could rebuild it the same way. Sometimes, that’s just how inventing goes.” He shakes his head, realizing he’s doing nothing to help the mood. “But not always. I’ve seen people start from scratch, and make something better than the original. And maybe once all this is over, we can come back to Noria and find your bike, eh?”

Joseph tries to smile a little, “Yeah. I guess so.” If it weren’t being picked apart and examined by the advocates right now. But the mouse doesn’t know that. “Sooner we get through this, the sooner we can get my bike back.” He starts to pick up the pace, ambling faster.

Aeon nods and smiles, then he picks up his own pace. “I’m sure theres plenty we can do to help as soon as we can get this mess sorted with.” He then looks over to Raziel “So… any idea who we will be telling first?”

Raziel blinks at Aeon. “Gilead, I presumed. They’re the only ones left that would have any kind of authority on the water, and I know they have a standing guard. As for who specifically…?” The cat shrugs. “I don’t actually know who takes care of those kinds of matters.”

Joseph nods a little, “I fear the Advocates might get there before we do, but I hope not. Gilead’s a well defended city. Lots of soldiers, as there are in Helio. But even with all of that, what we saw in Noria was unprecedented. I’ve never heard of the Advocates expanding their territory beyond Esquemelin. There’s no telling what they’ll do.”

Aeon looks over at Raziel and nods a bit “Well… apart from the king, which we are too far from to do, I can think of only one other option that might present itself, but your not going to like it.” He takes a deep breath, knowing this is not going to be easy to say as much as it wasnt going to be easy to hear. “I was thinking we should try and track down the White Circle and see if we can convince them to help. That lizard has connections to them after all, if he didn’t get out, they may want to help him.”

Raziel frowns. “There’s only one White Circle member I’m concerned with finding - beyond that, they can dance with Leviathan himself, for all I care.” The tiger continues to take long strides forward, though his tail twitches impatiently. “Besides, what makes you think we /can/ find them? Or that they’d help? They have no love for the kingdom.” He keeps his eyes on the road ahead. “We inform the guard, and they’ll send word to Helio. And soon enough, all of Loka will know.”

Joseph raises an eyebrow, “I’d not care for their help either. They blew up a perfectly good train or three, and I’m not much keen to see them do more damage by trusting them with anything.” The mouse folds his arms as he keeps marching forward.

Time passes. Meson can be seen in the distance. It is getting dark.

Aeon looks up at the sky as they get closer, trying to judge how late in the evening it must be getting. “We could wait for dark if you think it’ll help Raziel. Mind you I’m not sure how many ship owners would like to go out during the dark if they know a band of pirates is down at Noria.”

Raziel can’t see any fires…that’s a good sign. Then again, there weren’t any when Noria was invaded, either. “/If/ there are still any boat owners outside the city who can ferry us, we’ll just have to convince them. If there aren’t…” He pauses, considering the implications, “Then we’ll just have to walk around the lake. Either way, if the Advocates are here, the darkness will help.”

Joseph nods a little. As the group approaches, it starts to get much darker. The lights now are primarily those of the lanterns here and there, and the occasional Illuminator. However, there are plenty of shadows to hide in.

Aeon began to slow his pace down once they would get close, and he starts to stick to the shadows as he moves towards the docks. Occasionally the turtle leans a bit to try and catch sight of if there are in fact pirates about. He doesn’t know much about the Advocates himself, being this was his first encounter, but he knows well enough that pirates are tricky sorts.

Raziel can’t help but think of Sovereign - he hopes the little salamander is alright. However, they have larger concerns at the moment; and despite owning a dock house, he knows the lizard never had a boat. But someone around here might. The tiger tries to stay entirely out of the city proper, indicating the swampier areas around the edges. It’ll be slower going, but offer far more concealment.

A couple of armed pirates are walking down one of the docks and patrolling here. There aren’t many normal citizens out on the streets. They likely fear for their lives, and are holed up in their shanties. Meson isn’t the most glorious or well armed of towns, but it is known for its ingenuity, and these pirates aren’t interested in taking chances.

Aeon grunts and slips back into the shadows, muttering “They’re here alright…” He looks over, and nods to Raziel to take the lead, his build was less likely to draw attention if pirates looked over.

Less likely? LESS LIKELY?! Raziel is a 6′8″ /white/ tiger in a town full of mostly amphibians. It would be hard for him to stick out more! It would be nearly impossible for him to get past with them looking, even /if/ he stuck to the shadows. And it’s not likely that they could climb on top of the shanties and avoid notice that way. But perhaps… Perhaps they could go under? The pirates wouldn’t check in the water, under the boards beneath their feet…would they? The tiger slowly starts lowering himself into the water, to avoid splashing. Not the most dignified of plans, but it’ll do…

Joseph blinks, and scoots over toward the tiger, looking over the edge, “Wait,” he whispers, “What about the alligators?” The mouse looks at the stripeycat with wide eyes, scanning the waters for terrible giant lagarto.

Aeon looks own and notices what Raziel is doing. He looks around the water himself to make sure its not full of anything dangerous before he began to dip his feet in the water himself. The turtle is a bit more graceful, water was one thing his kind were comfortable in. He carefully maneuvers himself in, and then floats softly towards Joseph, providing a spot for the mouse to cling to if he wanted.

Joseph decides to take Aeon up on this, climbing onto his shell, and getting into the water. The mouse looks around, keeping an eye out for alligators. The pirate guards start to approach, walking down the pier nearby. They don’t appear particularly alarmed, so it’s doubtful they see you.

Raziel looks up at the mouse, and whispers, “Joseph, alligators don’t have guns. Well…unless they’re pasu. Nevermind - point being; they might not even be around, this close to the city, and in this case, I think they’re the lesser of two evils.” He looks around nervously. “Now, would you like to keep tempting fate, get in, or suggest another way?”

Aeon looks up at the pirates. The problem with the fact that they can be seen means that they could see them if they shine a light in the right place. Doubtful any of them have a lantern, but this also meant that they could ‘hear’ as well. Aeon slowly swims to the tiger and shushes him.

Joseph goes very quiet, holding onto the turtle’s back and staying still. The pirates are letting the light of a few nearby Illuminators guide them. But you can see a few in the distance who /are/ using lanterns.

Raziel stays close to the walkways, seeing if he can hide in the shadows they cast - or even better, hide /under/ them. He makes no sudden movements, though he does pull the soggy black hood of his coat up, trying to hide more of his conspicuous fur.

Aeon floats softly underneath the path of the pirates, hoping that they don’t notice them. He keeps his attention on the moving lights. He tries to make sure the mouse has places to grip, not sure if Joseph can swim very well on his own, and certainly NOT wanting to find out at a time like this.

Hiding under them seems to work, the wooden boards creaking above you as they walk over. The mouse breathes as still as he can, and the pirates pass over you without incident.

Raziel’s thudding heart slows a little as they pass, and he nods to the turtle and mouse, before /slowly/ swimming forward, not lifting his arms above water or making any obvious splashes. He keeps an eye out for boats - ironically, they shouldn’t be very hard to find this way, either.

Aeon smiles as he swims quietly behind Raziel. The turtle seems to slide calmly through the water, despite his clothes. Occasionally a bit of water passes over his shell, but that just allows the turtle to move through without making loud splashes. Aeon quietly watches for signs of a boat that might not be affiliated with the pirates himself.

As the three of them swim around, it becomes increasingly more difficult to see. And, after a moment, Raziel finds himself bumping against something--- a body of some sort. It yelps! …And pirates are starting to walk in this direction now, though they’re a ways off.

Raziel is as startled as everyone else! Though he has /noooo/ idea what he just bumped into. His natural impulse is - of course - to spaz out and run, but that’s not likely in water…besides, they might still be able to slip away. He looks at whatever, or rather whoever, he hit, first, even as he starts paddling another way…

Aeon hears the yelp and swims over, softly whispering “shh, we’re not going to hurt you.” before holding still and trying to gauge how far the pirates are.

The person appears to be some coyote fellow who is just as freaked out as the two of you are and splashes back a little, taking a moment before he hears Aeon’s word. They sink in after a moment and he gasps not /too/ loudly, “They’re coming. Follow me!” The yote starts to swim outward, further into the dark, but it’s easy enough to hear him from here. Hopefully it’s too far for the pirates to hear.

Raziel groans, but with all the attention the coyote seems intent on drawing, it would be hard to argue. Besides, getting out of here as fast as possible was already part of the cat’s plan. After casting a nervous glance back to the pirates, the tiger throws caution to the wind, and follows the canid.

Aeon looks at Raziel, and then at Joseph, before he nods and swims after the Coyote. He was sure that they had been heard, but just what trouble they were going to get into if they stay here… the turtle didnt want to find out.

The coyote leads the others toward… somewhere. It’s increasingly difficult to tell where they are. Thankfully, their pursuers seem just as, if not more so, confused, and are difficult to see in the distance now. The coyote stops and whispers, “You guys trying to get out of here, too?”

Raziel furrows his brow at the coyote, but he can’t fathom that he’s lying. If they just happened to bump into someone ‘escaping’ up on the docks, the tiger might be a little suspicious - as it is, it seems /highly/ unlikely that the pirates would plant someone as bait under the docks. In the middle of the night. And who seems genuinely terrified. “Yes, we are. We were looking for a boat.”

Aeon nods slowly before he checks around. “We’re trying to get to Gilead to try and warn them of whats happened. A boat would be much better than us having to swim all the way there. And I cant exactly move the tiger as much as the mouse here.”

The coyote nods his head quickly, “Oh, I have a boat. Or I had a boat.” He tugs on his own ears and whiiiines, “They pirated it. It’s on the other side of the dock. That’s where I was going, but then I ran into you guys. Will you help me get it back? We’ll tool around on the wind of the sea and get drunk and forget out troubles and… Wait, warn Gilead? Oh, I guess we could do that, too…”

Raziel frowns. Pirates pirating an actual boat. How ironically unexpected. Nonetheless, the tiger nods. “If it’s the fastest way out of here, then yes. But we’ll have to do it quick, and quiet, or we’ll have every Advocate in the city on our tails.” He flits his ears around, listening. About how many do you think are on the boat?

The yote hmms, “Oh, I dunno…” He starts counting on his fingers, “I’d say…. three?” He squints at his fingers, and recounts them, “Three! Yes.”

Aeon blinks and looked at the Coyote. “Uh… just how big of a boat do you have?” He quietly thinks, if its just three, then either its a very small boat, or the coyote doesn’t have the best of time with counting.

Raziel slowly starts making his way towards where (he thinks) the boat is. “We don’t need a large boat, Aeon. Three pirates seems like plenty when we have to ‘remove’ them without the others noticing.” Raziel truly hopes the coyote is better at sailing than counting…

The yote takes the lead, working his way toward the docks now that the pirates have left the area where you were before to keep up searching. “It’s big enough to hold you lot, yeah.” He looks over his shoulder, “I mean, there’s only four of us, and your friend there’s only like, half a person.” The mouse glares at the coyote, but bites his tongue. Now is not the time to be making enemies.

Aeon grunts and shakes his head as he follows the coyote, hes not going to cause an argument, but he does comment “Its not the size, but the power within.”

Raziel flits his ears around, and shushes the others - he thinks they’re getting close. At least, someone is singing drunkenly. Perhaps the pirates got into the coyote’s booze stash - or it may be coming from another dwelling.

Indeed! There seems to be a drunk rat on the bow, wobbling back and forth with his grog. He’s got drink in one paw, sword in the other, which is just a terrible idea. The other pirates aren’t directly visible from here.

Aeon watches the rat a moment. That rat seemed to be teetering around from the booze, probably not holding it well. He slightly wished one of them was a musical type, a lullaby would probably put that poor sod right to sleep. Still, they had options. The turtle himself was not capable of very stealthy actions, so he’d have to wait till hes needed in a plan.

Raziel raises an eyebrow at the scene. Maybe this can be used to their advantage. With the rat’s horrible crooning going on, the others might not hear them coming - provided he can find them. Raziel swims a little closer to the side of the ship, and carefully begins climbing the side.

Aeon silently swims over to the side of the ship and let Joseph climb. He himself holds onto the side to keep him from drifting off. He does look around a bit to see if there was perhaps a porthole he could peek in.

There are two other pirates, a fox and a rabbit, playing cards. The rabbit looks strangely jacked, and the fox like a slinky fellow. The bulky rabbit lays down a card, and the fox raises a paw, explaining to him why he can’t play that card. The bunny looks dejected.

Joseph climbs up quietly, trying to rock the boat as little as possible. But with all of them getting in at once, it’s shaking a bit. The fox barks out, “James, ya stupid drunk, so stompin’ around so much, yer making the cards fall of the crate!”

Raziel didn’t expect everyone to climb up so soon - or on the same side. Well, as long as they suspect the drunk, all is well. In fact, given how intoxicated the rat /is/, if they were to top the boat enough, he might fall off… That would distract the pair from their game of cards, send them rushing to the bow, and leave them open for attack. Hopefully. The tiger looks down at the others, and pantomimes giving the side of the boat a tug, before holding out three fingers. Then two. Then one…

Aeon quickly tugs on the side of the boat himself, trying to rock it enough to cause the drunk rat to fall into the water.

The coyote gets the idea and also yanks a little, and Joseph throws what he can into it.

The lot of you manage to rock the boat enough for the rat to fall off and into the water with a splash! The other two stand up, looking confused, and ambling over toward the rat. The fox goes toward the side where Joseph and Aeon are, and the bunny where Raz and the yote are. They are, in fact, surprised to see you.

Raziel had hoped that would go better. Ah, well. Time to improvise! The tiger has no real plans at the moment, and he can’t very well shoot anyone at the moment, but if he’s learned anything, it’s that pasu don’t generally expect you to grab them by the shirt and pull them over the edge of a vessel. So that’s exactly what he tries to do to the rabbit.

The tiger’s momentum is so solid, the rabbit is flung over the edge of the boat and cracks his head on a dock post, sinking into the water. Raziel killed a guy!

Aeon waves to the Fox with a hand before he focuses his magic and tries to cause some water to rush up and envelop the pirate, before freezing it around him, and slipping him off the deck.

The fox loops up in a panic, flailing his arms as he slides off the boat to sleep with the alligators.

Raziel keeps killing people without even meaning to! No wonder tigers get such a bad rap. Though, honestly…he really doesn’t feel bad, this time. The Advocates are jerks. Raz pulls himself the rest of the way onto the ship, and helps the others up. “Come on. Time to go!” he stage whispers.

The coyote bolts into the cabin of the boat, and rolls around all over the floor, cackling in delight, “Oooh! She’s mine~”

Aeon grunts as he gets out of the water, and moves to a dry spot, carefully waving his hand slowly in front of him and conjuring up a small amount of flame to dry himself off, even drying his belongings.

Raziel glares at the coyote. “Have you forgotten what we’re doing? Get up and get us out of here, before we’re caught!” The tiger doesn’t have the patience for this, not immediately after risking his life.

The coyote stands up, and then blinks, “Oh. I don’t know how. You know how to sail a ship, right?”

Joseph looks exasperated, “I thought you said this was your ship!”

“It is! Thanks to you guys. Those pirates swiped it before I could.” He hugs the tiger, “But you guys are the best!”

Aeon looks at the coyote, clenching his hands a moment. “Well, looks like the job isn’t done Raziel.” He looked around at the ship, taking it all in before moving to find the ship’s wheel, rubbing his hand along it. “I think…I think we can figure it out.” He moves, looking for an anchor line that would be dropped.

Raziel briefly considers breaking the coyote’s neck when he grabs him. But that would be mean, to say nothing of illegal, and really, really dark. So, he settles for simply /threatening/ to. “If you do not get your act together, and start finding us a way out of port within the next /thirty seconds/, I am going to break your neck.”

The coyote cries, clearly afraid of the big scary tiger who JUST MURDERED A GUY RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, and sobbing, running over to the ship’s wheel and starting to turn it back and forth like maybe it’ll do something. It does, of course, moving the rudder around. While the ship stays in place. The sails are furled, so there’s no ‘oomf’ to push the boat.

Joseph decides to climb the mast and see if he can uncurl the sail or whatever, and he yanks on something, acking, and rolling down the sail, tumbling onto the deck, “For &^&%s sake…”

The anchor is indeed there! And the turtle would find the crank for it.

Aeon looks about, before he quickly begins to turn the crank, raising the anchor up. He watches the water, a small idea forming in the back of his mind, but it cant be done without the anchor being fully up.

The anchor comes up without too much fus— oh, wait. The dead bunny got stuck on it on the way up. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Raziel rubs the bridge of his muzzle. “Nothing is ever simple.” The tiger helps Joseph up to his paws, shakes the chain of the anchor in an attempt to dislodge the rabbit, and heads to the helm. He’s not going to die today!

The bunny slumps off the anchor with a splash. But all this ruckus is drawing attention, and pirates are HEADING YOUR WAY. The anchor is up, the sails are unfurled, and the ship is starting to move!

Aeon moves to a higher point on the ship and he starts to wave his hands, trying to magically manipulate the water just a bit to help push the ship away from the docks faster.

Shit, son, you got some get-up-and-go on that there ship. It’s movin’ now, and getting out into the water. It’s still really dark, and you can’t see jack, though.

Raziel forgot that could happen! Maybe they won’t die after all. However, the tiger has never been at the helm of a ship before, and he’s certainly not going to let the panicked coyote run them into the shore. Raziel takes the wheel…

The coyote falls over and rolls into a corner in the fetal position, not wanting to get in the big scary tiger’s way.

Joseph pads on up to Raziel, looking out the porthole, and then back at the tiger, “Dozakh’s balls, man, are you alright?”

Aeon asks, “Joseph, can you see if the fore of the boat has a spot for a directional lantern?”

Raziel shakes his head. “No, not exceptionally alright. Just…give me a moment.” The cat is obviously frazzled, in more ways than one, his white hackles up and his eyes dilated. The cat gets really nervous in life or death situations - but he does have a way of getting things done.

Joseph nods a little, and ambles over to the fore, looking for a lantern spot, “Yeah, I think this is it right here…” He finds this big hook thing. “Is there a lantern in the cabin?” There is.

Aeon continues to help the ship move, but he yells out to the coyote. “We aren’t going to get ANYWHERE if we cant see. Get that lantern to the mouse.”

The coyote whimpers and lights the lantern, ambling over with it and handing it to Joseph, who hooks it up there. The mouse rolls his eyes, and pats the yote on the head, sympathizing with the obviously mental ill critter who has no idea what he’s doing. The yote gives a little murr and then the mouse just kinda nods, and heads back into the cabin. “How’s the view?” You can now see some water in front of you! There’s lots of the stuff.

Raziel looks over at the coyote, and folds his ears back. He was probably a little harsh on the crazy coyote. But, you know…things were kind of hectic back there. Besides, he seems fine, now…

Aeon nods to the coyote, and then sighs as they seem to be far enough, he then moves over and looks to see if the sail is completely unfurled.

It seems to be. But the light isn’t helping you much, and you can see pirates getting onto their boats.

Aeon watches the other ships. “Raziel, we’re about to have company.”

Raziel is starting to get nervous again. This is what he was hoping to avoid. “Aeon…can you keep us moving? You know, before they find and or destroy us?” He can only do so much by steering the thing.

Aeon says, “depends, I could go on the offensive, big fireballs are usually good ship deterrents.”

Joseph walks over to the bow, “Maybe we should just snuff out the lantern. We only really need the stars to navigate, right? Do any of you know how to navigate with stars?”

Raziel shakes his head. “We can’t take them all on. It would be better to lose them in open water. Yes, douse the lights, douse everything! Some fog, if you can manage it.” He looks up at the stars, trying to think. He mutters, “We’ll be fine, as long as we miss Esquemelin…”

Aeon nods as he looks over to Joseph “put it out then.” He then looks around and quietly started on cloaking the boat in fog. It was going to be a big venture, but if he can disperse the fog and mists around Noria, he can certainly conceal a small boat!

Joseph walks over to the lantern, and blows it out. It’s pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Aeon listens quietly. He looked around, it wasn’t good that they were being chased by pirates. In fact, the turtle quietly slipped into the captain’s quarters and tried to find a place he could remain hidden in.

Raziel stays at the wheel, though he’ll readily admit he has no idea what he’s doing, sailing in the middle of the night, surrounded by fog and darkness, piloting a boat for the first time in his life. He finds it helpful not to think about these things…

Joseph walks back into the cabin after a while, slumping back against a wall. “I hear it doesn’t take all that long to get somewhere on the sea. If we just weighed anchor and waited ‘til morning, we’d be able to guess how to get where we need to go. I know how to tell what direction we’re going in by the sun, but not the stars.”

Aeon says, “We need to be prepared, If they manage to catch up, one of us will need to stay hidden to avoid capture. And as the Coyote is the one who wanted the boat enough to lie to us, I’d be more inclined to make it look like he was one of the three instead of me.”

Raziel replies fiercely, “No! No capture. We’re making it through this. But we can’t stop for the night, or they’ll surely catch up with us.” He looks up at the stars - but he can’t make heads or tails of them either. What a fine mess this is. “All we can do is keep going, and we have to do that faster than they do.”

Joseph nods, “Yes, I suppose so.” He looks out the porthole at the ships sailing around. They seem just as lost as we are, not getting anywhere near us. The mouse is dead tired, and slumps back against the wall once more. “A few hours ago, my biggest problem was how to fight off all the chicks that were swooning at the cool guy with the bike.”

Aeon shakes his head slowly “Then we need a way to keep going without crashing.” He rubs his chin, then starts to search the cabin, maybe theres a compass here that they could use.

Hard to see without any light.

Raziel…has an idea. “Joseph…how is your hearing? I know it’s a bit of a stereotype what with the ears and all, but can you…?” The tiger stammers a bit, looking for the right words. “Do you think you could sit at the front of the boat, and listen? I may not know much of sailing, but I know that the sound waves make on a shore is very different from open water. Could you /hear/ land, before we see it?”

Joseph blinks a few times, standing up, “I don’t know… maybe.” The mouse walks back out to the deck, and takes hold of some rigging and just listening out there. He closes his eyes— there’s little to see now anyway, and lets his ears take in sound as the wind chills through his fur.

Aeon cant see anything at this point, so he tries to find a railing to lean on.

Raziel remains absolutely silent, listening as well - though he’s sure he’s not going to pick up as much as Joseph. He works with guns and explosives, after all.

Joseph’s eyes shoot open, “LEFT!”

Raziel isn’t sure how to interpret the vague instructions! The noise is to the left, or /go/ left?! Eventually, the tiger puts his faith in the latter, and swings the wheel counter-clockwise.

The right of the boat just scrapes against a bit of land, showing just how narrowly the group avoided collision as the continue to sail on.

Aeon grunts as he hangs on to the railing. He was on the right side and he gasps a bit, but he inhales calmly and tries to relax. “Close one.”

Raziel holds the wheel tightly, his claws sinking into the wood. “Yes. Close. But…it worked,” he chuckles nervously. “I, take it, that was Esquemelin?” Maybe. Hopefully.

Joseph says, “Hell if I know!” He starts to listen again, trying to hone in on the sounds, occasionally barking out an instruction as they amble out on the sea. Just as the mouse is about to collapse, there are a flurry of lights on the horizon— the lanterns lining up Ocean way on Gilead.

Aeon asks, “Gilead…thank goodness. Does everything seem normal?”

Joseph nods a little, “It… seems normal. I don’t see any fires. Gilead wouldn’t go down without a hell of a fight, but I don’t see all that many patrol boats, either. They must have no clue what’s happened.”

Raziel almost laughs in excitement. “We made it! And we’re not dead!” The feline grins from ear to ear. “Who says two engineers and a mage can’t out-sail the Advocates in the middle of the night? Anyone in their right minds, I’d wager! But we did it!” He is abruptly struck with an unwelcome thought… “How do you park a boat?’”

Aeon looks over and nods “Actually that part I think I can handle. we just need to get it to the dock and then throw a line to the people there to slowly pull us in and tie us in place.”

Joseph laughs a little in delirium. They made it! He’s not sure how this was even possible, but somehow, they did! The mouse listens, guiding Raziel toward the dock, and helping him avoid hitting where he shouldn’t, though he probably still manages to scrape things up on the way— neither the mouse nor the tiger are experienced, after all.

There’s also the small problem that none of them know how to draw the sails, so they hit come in a /liiiitle/ faster than intended. But, it’s survivable. Raziel is astounded that they made it this far - and he has to gently pry his hands free of the wheel as they move into port.

Joseph stumbles onto the dock, hugging it and kissing it. “Oooohhhh…” He stands back up and dances a little, “I’m &*^$ing tired!”

Aeon asks the dock workers to help furl the sails, telling them quickly however “Get word to patrol ships, pirates were not far behind.”

Raziel is happy to be on dry land as well, though he contains his enthusiasm a little more than Joseph. “I doubt they’d be stupid enough to follow us this far. There may have been enough to stop us, but it’s no invasion force…” Of course, they still have to spread word of that, yet…


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Next - Trouble in Gilead

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