Clansmen of the Shores

The clansmen sat quietly around a fire. A full moon hung high in the night sky slowly being encompassed amongst ever growing clouds. The silhouette of the Maelstrom’s Revenge sat off-shore, bathed in the moon’s silver reflections off Smuggler’s Bay. Her boards creaked and moaned in symphony with the sound of water brushing her hull. The wind wrestled through the palm trees, giving the crew a restless feeling; a storm was certainly brewing.

The Chieftain sat stoically, silently watching the flames sputter and illuminating the battered faces of her crew. “They deserve this rest,” she thought peacefully, “this last run was a long one.”

Feeling the warmth of the fire cast over her, she hunched forward, resting her forearms on her knees. Turning her left hand over she examined her palm and the long deep scar that trailed upward into her shoulder. Clenching her fist she watched as the tendons tightened and her scar contract along with them. A faint blue hue gradually manifested in her palm, illuminating her curled fingers in a chilling light. Small specks of aqua embers weightlessly slipped through her fist as the blue gradient intensified. At last she released her grasp and the magical spectacle shot through her arm curving along the woven scar, lapping up to her shoulder and dissipating into the air like a rogue flame.

A low thunder roared in the distance. “It’s nearly time to go,” said a deep voice from behind. Chieftain Ary turned to see her trusted right-hand man standing beside her, arms crossed, starring out at the horizon, his gaze latched upon the bellowing clouds.

It wasn’t too long ago that the clan had faced a storm as large as this one. An arch of lightning crackled across the sky, further beckoning the Chieftain’s memory back to that harrowing night…

While sailing from their northern homeland in search of new prosperous lands, the clansmen found themselves enveloped in a thick musty fog which soon led them into the grasps of a raging storm. The waves towered as high as mountains and crashed upon the Maelstrom’s Revenge with an unrelenting anger. As the rain pelted the deck in icy sheets, the crew fought tirelessly to keep her together. Lightning struck the mast setting it ablaze momentarily. The seas rose and fell with increasing vengeance, as if to defy the immortality of the Clansmen’s ship. Soon the lighting followed suit, stinging the air around them in a white fury. A resounding crack, shortly accompanied by a curdling scream, grabbed the Chieftain’s attention while she battled the helm. One of her deckhands had been struck and by the looks of it, the storm had plans for more.

The waters began to swirl about the ship causing her to list hard left, dragging the vessel closer and closer to the dark central void forming in the sea. Bolts of lightning rang down onto the Maelstrom’s Revenge, one nearly striking the Chieftain.

She stumbled and grabbed hold of the railing that led from the upper deck.

With the storm continuing to rage, trying to command her crew in this weather would prove to be futile, but one command would always fall on Clansmen ears regardless of the relentless adversity they were facing.

“Shields up!” the Chieftain yelled as she bounded down the stairs. She grabbed hold of her shield that was fastened against the main mast in one hand and held tight to the dense rope circling the wooden pillar with the other. The command was but a whisper in the storm, but it was enough. The men raced to the middle deck and formed a wall around the mast. The Maelstrom’s Revenge lurched closer to the end of the vortex, leaning hard to port, the water spilling over the prow, flooding the deck. This was it she thought, “hold together!” She barked to her crew.

Just as the vessel was to about to be enveloped by the vortex, the clouds above them burst with an electrifying energy, barrelling a bolt straight at the Chieftain, fracturing her shield’s structure. Sparks coursed through the mighty viking, ripping into her arm, and then disappearing into the boards of the deck underfoot.

Immediately, a loud boom resonated from the hull, spreading through the surrounding waters as a newly manifested blue aura. Water slowly engulfed the ship and domed around its hull as it ripped through the blue depths of the sea. Just as quickly as she went under, the Maelstrom’s Revenge rose, triumphantly breaching the surface and was buoyant once again. Water dripped in streams down her hull. The sea was no longer as turbulent as it once was, but instead, pristine blue waves carried the vessel and warm tropical winds filled her sails.

It had been a few months since the night the Chieftain was bestowed her power from the storm and the Clansmen used it to their advantage. Tales of this phenomenon, spread across their newly found home, the Sea of Thieves, and eventually reached the attention of the Cabal.

Honorable, strong, and skilled, the Clansmen made a considerable asset to the Cabal, smuggling goods across the seas by the way of storms, capturing eluded pirates marked for death, and earning a reputation amongst sailors as the grisly brutes of the North who ride the storms and rise from the waves when you least expect them.

“We’re ready for you Chief,” said one of her crew, snapping Chieftain Ary out of her quiet reflections. She rose, taking hold of a cutlass pierced in the sand beside her and sheathing it to her waist.

Upon boarding the Maelstrom’s Revenge, she could see a plethora of crates stacked below decks, perfectly organized and destined to reach their recipient before sunrise. The storm on the horizon was growing nearer by the minute as Chieftain Ary ascended to her spot at the helm. Looking off to the distant cracklings of light, a mischievous grin parted her lips.

As she placed her hand on a spoke of the wheel a glowing blue intensity radiated from her touch.

“Ready men?!” She called out in a playful tone, “if this shipment doesn’t reach Captain Stag in time, he’ll throw a raging fit and we won’t hear the end of it. Let’s not leave the poor man waiting any longer.”

With a quick whipping of the helm to port, a few wispy blue tendrils followed the path of the Chieftain’s hand and the vessel was directed at the storm. “Hold together!” the familiar command rang out. The crew folded the sails into the wind and held tight to the ropes as the Maelstrom’s Revenge plunged once again into a raging tempest.

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