World of Magi > Fremde in der Dunkelheit > 2. In Plain Sight

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2. In Plain Sight

By Mr. Tex

 "What do we have?" Dalmen Ferino asked as he strode up to the captain of his ship. He was not looking at the grizzled old man and was instead looking out at the sea. He could see the problem. There were twelve ships moving towards them over the open sea, cutting through the waves with an eerie speed. They were smaller than all of the boats of the Federation, Dal realized, but they were fast, driven by good sails and oars.

"Never seen the likes of those," the captain grunted. "What do you think they mean?"

He heard General Larken and Commander Lensfellow approach from behind. He recognized their footsteps; he looked over his shoulder and nodded to the both of them. The older soldier spoke. "I've had my men prepare and send messages to the other ships, in case they attempt to board."

Dal nodded. He looked at the longboat and narrowed his eyes, using his magic to look at the ship. His eyes grew wide as he saw men in leathers and furs pulling back arrows into their longbows, and then his vision returned to normal human sight. He looked at Larken and the captain. "Arrows! They're preparing to fire arrows!"

The captain wasted no time. "Ready for arrows!"

The crew began scattering. He saw Larken and Lensfellow duck down by the section of hull that rose past the deck. Other men scrambled to get low, and some were desperately hurrying down rigging. Dal focused for a moment, and disappeared from sight, moving forward quickly before an archer could loose on where he had been. The sky grew black a moment later as a volley of arrows came raining down. They slammed into the hull, sticking out of it. Others found their marks. One went through a sailor's shoulder, sending him to the floor, while another cut into a sailor's leg on the rigging. He fell down, twisting upside down in the rigging.

Dal looked at the ship and held a hand out. He focused for a moment, and a bolt of lightning crackled down from the skies and struck the offending ship. He heard a distant scream. He could see that Larken and Selia had risen and were doing much the same. Flame erupted on Larken's mental command - a blast of the stuff rising from the water, causing steam and foam to spray outward, and engulfed a man on the prow. Another group of men were sent fleeing as a chunk of ice formed in the air, making mist appear.

The chunk of ice shattered through the longboat's deck, causing a part of the deck to sink inward and splinter around the feet of the men. Screams could be heard from the ship.

"Bring us around, boys! We have three ships coming for us and cannons to deliver to them!" the captain yelled. The ship began turning with a speed that surprised Dal. He moved to the side and saw it was true. The longboats were splitting into groups of three, hunting down their caravan's ships. He saw that two ships were moving quickly; one had a blackened prow and a chunk of melting ice sticking out of it. It lagged behind.

He could remove it from the equation. He stepped up next to Lensfellow, even as she prepared to cast another spell. He spoke without reappearing. "Focus your efforts on the two quick ones," he said. "I have the slow one."

She looked in his direction, surprised. "Ferino?"

"No time," he grunted. He jumped then - and went far through the air, twisting as he crossed hundreds of feet of ocean in a single bound to land on the blackened ramprow of the ship. He found himself looking right at the man on the prow of the ship. That man looked through him at the battle beyond, having not even heard Ferino's light-as-feathers landing. Dal smiled and moved a hand down to his side, pulled out his long knife, and slashed it out.

The man suddenly fell over, his throat slashed out, and splashed down into the water.

The others looked up, muttering in their barbarian tongue in confusion. Dal calmly strode among them; he stabbed his knife hard into the side of one of the men. He collapsed over with a scream. Other men began backing away, but by then, it was too late. He pulled a knife out with a free hand and threw it. The blade reappeared into sight, but not in time for the man's target to escape. The knife took him in the chest and sent him stumbling into the mast.

Dal then swung his hand out for the mast and focused for a moment. He heard shouts of surprise as the men of the ship saw mist began to form in the air and an icicle crystallize into existence. Then, the shard of ice hurled forward, and slammed hard into the mast of the ship. The wood cracked and splintered apart, and the mast came hurtling downward. The ship's deck shattered apart underneath the mast and the sea began to rush inward. The barbarians screamed, rushing away from the water flooding up from the middle of the ship and leaping into the sea, as Dal leaped into the air again.

He heard the sound of cannons firing and smiled as he rose up over the beams of flame fired from them.

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