They made good time for the first few days, the ship’s mage conjuring a strong wind behind them as they headed north-northwest.
But good weather rarely lasts.
One evening, as the sun was getting low, Zakhin’Dakh flew back to the ship in haste. Almonihah! He shrieked as he got close. Bad clouds! Fast!
“Bad clouds?” Almonihah repeated, in Common. “You mean a storm?” Storm, he repeated in Great Eagle, to teach his friend the word.
Yeah! Come fast! Strong wind!
“What’s that about a storm?” the ship’s captain asked, walking across the deck towards Almonihah.
“Zakhin’Dakh says there’s one coming,” the half-dragon said. “Strong winds, heading this way fast.”
The captain looked concerned, and went over to speak with the ship’s mage. As he did, Zakhin’Dakh came in for a careful landing, making sure not to tear up the deck with his talons.
Look strange, the big griffon said to his best friend. Clouds not move right.
What do you mean? Almonihah asked, frowning.
Clouds not move right! Not move cloud like!
The clouds aren’t moving like clouds should, Almonihah absently corrected, then turned and walked over to the captain.
“He says it’s worse. Clouds aren’t moving right.” Almonihah paused a moment. “How close ‘re we t’ the Madlands?”
“As far as we can sail and not be in sight of the Pirate Isle,” the captain replied, seemingly a bit affronted. “Never had trouble before with anything unnatural.” He seemed to look suspiciously at the half-bronze dragon as he said this.
Garkhen had, by now, noticed that something was going on. He walked over, concern plain on his face.
“Storm’s coming. Unnatural one,” Almonihah explained, before his fellow half-dragon could ask.
Garkhen’s eyes widened just a bit, and he nodded slightly. “I see.”
Just then, the ship’s lookout shouted out, “Cap’n! Dark clouds on the horizon! Storm’s coming!”
The captain looked up and gave the lookout a short nod, then started shouting out orders to his crew.
The ship slowly turned about as the wind picked up, filling the sails without magical assistance.
Almonihah, Garkhen, Tirel, and Zakhin’Dakh simply tried to stay out of the way. After a few minutes, the ship’s mage came over.
“Garkhen, you are a Priest of Bahamut, correct?”
“I am a Warder of Bahamut, yes,” Garkhen affirmed.
The mage nodded slightly. “Then perhaps you might aid in reinforcing the ship with your wards? The masts and hull both may well need aid to weather this storm.”
Already thick, dark clouds were visible even from the deck, moving closer… and as Zakhin’Dakh had said, something seemed wrong about the way they moved. It was almost… like they were alive, somehow, oozing their way forwards across the sky like some filthy slime.
Garkhen nodded, and followed the mage to set up wards. Almonihah, meanwhile, walked over to the aft, figuring he’d be both out of the way and in position to look at the coming storm. But soon something else caught his eye. A dark shadow on the water…
No. Not on the water. Under the water. And it was approaching even faster than the storm.
“Look out!” He shouted, getting his bow out. “Something’s coming from the water!
Yep, trouble. Always trouble. Things can never go right for long, right?