“Sir, the men are tracking a large group of ocean and sky creatures that we’ve come to share this bit of the ocean with. Knowing the whereabouts of the Ocean’s wildlife is the only way we’ll make it to the island in one piece” the captain responded with all the warmth of a day-old cup of tea.
“I was led to believe I’d be making the journey across the Emerasian in the fastest ship, and with the most capable crew, of Her Majesty’s entire navy. Are you telling me that the Admirals best charge can’t get us safely to the Island of Lauii without spending half the night bellowing at the sea?”
The difficulty, Dariyus Overbejn reflected, of dealing with the Order and other politicians of the mainland was that they were very good at not being argued with, and of making your point in such a way that you had to agree while both feeling and looking the fool for doing so.
A private shouted aft: “Captain, I think the drifter is about to dive sir!”. The observator crossed his arms and glared at the Captain Overbejn, an overpowering smugness creeping across his pale face as though the young deckhand had just proven his point.
“They’re not shouting to the Ocean, Observator, they’re trying to keep—”
“Captain Overbejn, if I’m to stop an island war eight generations in the making next week, I’m certain to need both rest and quiet. Now, unless you can suggest somewhere more accomodating, I’ll ask you to put a muzzle on your crew”, the Observator stated with a finality that permits no rebuttal. He turned briskly and walked back to his cabin
“There’s a bloody peaceful spot about 10 bloody feet below the keel of my ship. I’m sure the ‘kano’s gullet would give you lots of time to rest, you miserable…” the captain grumbled to himself and the Ocean as the Observator sauntered victoriously to the cabin at the stern of the ship.
The silver pattern on his sleeves reflected the bone-white pallor of the moon as Observator Beta reached for the door. Pleased at having made his point so effortlessly, he would have hardly noticed the moon-rimmed outline of a black drifter plummeting towards him if the Ocean fowl hadn’t been so precisely on target. A massive beak closed round his torso expelling all of the air from his lungs and preventing any sort of cry from sounding from his mouth. To the stunned crew, the Observator appeared for a split second to be no more than a floating head against the night sky, the black quality of his velvet gown a near-perfect match to the wings of the creature that now held him aloft in the sky.
The ship’s captain hadn’t seen it descend from the clouds, it’s wingspan was so vast and devoid of colour as to blend seamlessly into the night sky. It was not until the drifter was within striking distance of its prey that its black eyes rolled over white, betraying the creatures stealth in the moonlight and alerting the ships crew to its presence now that it was too late.
Almost without conscious thought, steel bolt left the captain’s hand and arced over the length the ship at a pace lethal to even a medium sized hornbreaker but flew wide of its ascending target. Similar lengths of steel and iron traced across the night sky from the crew towards the drifter that had abducted their only cargo.
One bolt found purchase in the drifter’s torso, causing a screech of pain that knocked several deckhands to their knees. It hovered in the air for a moment stunned, and confused by the unexpected wound as Captain Overbejn’s second rod struck the now-stationary creature in what would most easily be described as its throat. The head of the drifter snapped back and then forward from the force of the blow, held now in place only by the skin of the creature but no longer attached in any meaningful way. The Observator was flailing his arms in a sort of unconscious, primal despair as he and the drifter plunged into the cold churn of the black of the Ocean Emerase.
Dariyus Overbejn sprinted to the stern of the ship and peered out over the side, praying to Angorodon that Observator Beta might still be alive.