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Seas Of Erin > Isle of Refuge > And the walls came tumblin' down
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 02:10 AM
There was a crash as cannonfire toppled a nearby wall, sending a knot of men screaming as one caught fire and was pinned under a pile of rubble.
The dark-haired, dark-skinned man with the long, greasy jet hair, reached for the arm of the person next to him, who...happened to be much, much taller, and female.
"We're too close to the fire!" he informed her. "We've got to fall back."
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 02:16 AM
"To where?" the woman snapped back, drawing her arm away to wave it over her head. "Pull in!" she shouted over the roar. "This is what they want, we've got to wait until they come ashore." The woman's dark face, now grey with ash, drew into itself at the though. "Soak down some more blankets, we must keep this fire from spreading, go!"
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 02:19 AM
The dark-haired man rubbed his hands down his trousers, leaving two long, black streaks. "You heard the woman!" he called back at the others, before giving her a sharp look "What if they don't come ashore?"
Posted by: Fortuna May 24 2008, 02:22 AM
The lumbering ship had seemed intent on laying waste to what little protection that Refuge could muster, shot after shot raining down at the beleaguered defenders. After each shot, a faint cheer... or perhaps a howl rose from the ship. Though the cannonade had slowed to erratic by now, it had been replaced by the far more fearsome sight of dozens of men clambering over the sides into the dinghies.
And more followed where they came from.
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 02:26 AM
She shook her head. "They must want something," she said, both fearful and impatient. She drew back her shoulders when the first dinghies lowered to the water. "There. There is it."
Sheys had to clear her throat of smoke. "Guard, form a line! You men with arms, second rank!" She threw a look over her shoulder, back toward the occupied side of the camp, then faced her attentions forward.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 02:31 AM
And the man beside her held up both empty hands. "What about those of us without arms?" he asked. "Shall we fight them back with pieces of rubble?"
Posted by: Fortuna May 24 2008, 02:35 AM
The boats scraped against the bottom, the men therein leaping ashore, water splashing. If indeed men they were.
Their skin was rubbed black with soot, patterns in white and red making their faces not unlike demons. The hair was shaved in tufts, or spiked with fat and soot until it looked like snakes, or horns or the spines of animals that shouldn't walk this earth. And the stench...
Even through the smoke and the fear, it was impossible to miss. They stank like offal.
Like the dead.
But the howl they released as they clashed against the first line of defense was very much of the living.
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 02:44 AM
"Yes," Sheys hissed back at the man, "yes, that's exactly what you do. Fight or fall back. Take up a pole from one of the tents. Something." She herself drew forth one of the stone picks they had used--was it only this morning?--to cut a channel from the water into the women's camp.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 02:47 AM
"What sort of men attack a camp full of unarmed prisoners?" the dark-haired man asked, and he oberdiently followed her instructions. "Are they planning to get medals pinned on their chests for killing all these criminals?"
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 02:53 AM
"Last time anything like this happened it was because war broke out on Avalon," Sheys said tightly. "It doesn't matter." The tall woman closed her eyes briefly, murmuring under her breath. Then stepped forward, the pick lashing out.
Posted by: Fortuna May 24 2008, 02:53 AM
One of the first attackers took a spear in the stomach, stumbling back with a gurgling howl. He was ignored by the rest, who quickly surged over his body.
Before long, the first line was in danger of degenerating into a series of single combats, the ferocity of the strangers overpowering even the fear of death. They were as well armed as they were poorly dressed, a gunshot sending one of the defenders stumbling backwards, bloody spouting from the neck. Incredulously enough, one of the attachers actually stopped to drench both hands on the blood, drawing deep crimson streaks over his face.
He did not catch sight of Shey's pick soon enough, and it hit the man straight in the chest, sending him to the ground.
And in the meantime, the battle raged on.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 02:58 AM
"A war broke out where?" the man asked, but he didn't have time to wait for an answer.
"THEY HAVE GUNS!" he shouted to the others, as he reached for the discarded weapon of the fallen man, rifling through his thins until he found his case of shot. He loaded, then fired back into the onslaught.
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 03:04 AM
Sheys drew nearly shock-still at the gunshot, eyes growing round as she suddenly realised how badly this could end, all around. She dropped down as another round went off, looked back at her own men, and scanned out the first armed attack nearest to her. And rushed him.
Posted by: Fortuna May 24 2008, 03:18 AM
Jack's shot hit one of the raiders in the leg, sending the man screaming to the sand. The man was luckily not armed with a gun, but his eyes widened when he saw the man that had shot him. He screamed something harsh and guttural, waving the toothed cutlass in his direction.
It seemed that revenge was in order. Except that the gun that had been aimed at him from another quarter shifted to the side, blowing away one of the guards instead.
Shey's rush hit one of the raiders in the side, and the man threw himself out of the way in the nick of time. He scrambled back, cursing loudly in garbled Aquitinian.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 03:25 AM
The dark-haired man shifted, turning in the direction of the gunfire as he reloaded his castoff pistol, and aimed a shot at the second gunner, his eyes going wide as he watched Sheys. "You idiot, woman! What do you think you're doing?!"
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 03:26 AM
"Qa'ad!" The cry rose from the bloodied sands, where a woman had strode ashore, four swords brandished in four wiry arms.
The face was a mask of black and red, the hair a tristed tangle of snakes past her back. In the midst of the battle, she seemed to have singled Shey's out as the hub of the defence.
"Bring down Qa'ad, win place on my crew and choice of loot! Bring head of other guard, win place on my crew! Resist and and we will eat your bones and leave nothing for crows!" The cry was shrill and terribly loud.
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 03:37 AM
Sheys fell back only a step at the proclaimation. She did not reliquish her grip on the pick. "Whatever may happen, keep these people out of the camp!" she called back to the remainder of the guard. "Woman! Fall back! There is nothing here for you!"
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 03:42 AM
Jack took one look at the woman, and dropped his pistol on the rocks, so it misfired another shot that went ricocheting around the ruined walls.
He raised both hands, waving. "Oy! Kullie, luv! Tell yer men to stop shooting at me or they're liable to actually succeed at it eventually!"
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 03:48 AM
"OH, there is something for me here." The woman snarled at Sheys, then lept to a ruined wall, perching on it like a voracious, winged buzzard. "Flesh. Men. Old friends." She pointed towards Jack, screeching a few commands to her men to leave him alone. Then she adressed the battle, arms outstretched.
"Listen! Prisoners! Your choice. Resist! Die! Free yourself! Live!"
Posted by: Fortuna May 24 2008, 03:50 AM
One of the prisoners that had been trusted with an improvised weapon hesitated, then jumped one of the guards, stabbing her repeatedly in the back with the sharpened pole. "I don't wanna die!"
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 03:57 AM
"You--" Sheys shook her head wildly at Jack, then pointed toward Kullie. "Go to her! Go! If you know her, go!" She wrapped both hands around her weapon, sizing up the nearest competition, then gestured to the guard. "There are people on this island who will not join you! There are people here who will wish to remain! Any man who wishes to depart with you, he is free to go. No one is to hold him back. The rest . . . " She was breathing hard, raggedly. "Leave them be. Lay down your arms."
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 04:03 AM
Meanwhile, the dark-haired man had pulled up a piece of a tent post, and scrambled up the rublle to where Sheys was standing. "Kullie! These folks're me friends; ye can do what ye like with 'em, but I'm warnin' ye, if--"
And he aimed the top of his tent post at the back of Sheys' head, giving it a neat thwap.
"Can I get that reward, luv?"
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 04:08 AM
Sheys dropped to her knees in the sand, groping for the blood she could feel running through her hair and down the back of her neck. She gritted her teeth and made a snatch to disarm Jack--and she had very, very long arms.
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 04:16 AM
"Ayiee!" The woman crossed two arms over her chest, the other two still brandishing her swords. "No talk Qa'ad. No parley. I said my piece. Anyone that sails with me bring me one of my enemies! Otherwise run little sheep, run! Because we are hungry!"
She did not make a move to help bring the large Qa'ad down, instead she laughed at Jack, smile sharp as a sharks. "Prove yourself! You were captured. Take her alive! I like the look of her." She motioned to her men to step back.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 04:20 AM
Jack tried to toss his pole into his free hand, but missed...and the thing went skidding as the woman caught his arm.
"Now, Sheys, I didn't know ye felt that way about me," he said nicely, then hissed through his teeth. "They're cannibals. I'll get ye out of this alive."
He grinned up at Kullie. "Aye, Kullie, but ye're not eatin' this 'un; I still got me some business to finish up with her, savvy?"
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 04:29 AM
Sheys rolled over and tried to get her knees under her. "You do not," she hissed back at him. "Just go! No one cares about you! Leave the rest!"
Posted by: Fortuna May 24 2008, 04:36 AM
In the distance, some guards were hesitating whether to pull an orderly retreat, or try to rush to their superior's rescue.
Unfortunately by now they were vastly outnumbered, people were fleeing left and right.
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 04:37 AM
"Aieya, have her then. But if she bring you down, I will leave you here! Naked and tied with survivors! I'll even give them knives!" The woman laughed, then reached into her belt, pulling out a short, heavy baton. It was leather, tightly stacked with sand, heavy and brutal.
"Pray to your gods of luck." She tossed the baton to Jack, gesturing to her men to start to round up survivors and prospective recruits.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 04:41 AM
Jack caught the baton, with a bit of stumbling at the weight, and then held his other hand out to the big woman. "I don't think ye've got much of a choice," he apologized. "From now on, ye've got business with me. Get up and get going, I'll explain later."
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 04:45 AM
Sheys reached for his hand--then swung up her free hand to lock high up on his offered arm as if to throw him.
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 04:53 AM
"Aiea man, bring the woman down." She gestured impatiently at Jack, ignoring the horrible cry in the background as some of her men was pulling some of the wounded back towards the boats.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 05:00 AM
Jack would have done just that-- if Sheys hadn't managed to flip him over onto his back.
"Ah...ow...er...good, good...er...make it-- eee...look like ye're fightin' back?"
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 05:06 AM
Sheys was back on her feet, but barely; she swayed a bit, and blood had soaked through the pale cloth that covered her hair. "I am not coming with you--either of you! You are lucky I don't break your neck and spare us all one more traitor swine on this island." Then, quite suddenly she sat down in the sand, wincing in pain.
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 05:12 AM
"Ayie Jonesie, knock her out. Qa'ad trouble. Knock out, tie up." She raised her voice, screaming to the surroundings "See this? She is down! Are you mightier?" She raised her fists towards the heavens.
She knew quite well the battle was won by now.
Now the only question was how many recruits they would get... and how many prospective slaves.
There already were enough dead and abdly injured for food.
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 05:21 AM
"Idjit," the man chided, and he obediently swept to one knee, tying the woman's wrists. "Easy goes it, ye're losin' blood," he warned her. "I'll get ye patched up when we're out of this place, just don't...do anything else stupid."
He offered her an arm again. "Now, come on."
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 05:28 AM
"I'm stupid?" Sheys struggled to her feet, unable to catch herself with her hands. "What have you done? What is this thing?" She managed to raise her eyes to Kuleliti, before counting the number of wounded in dumbstruck horror.
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 05:32 AM
"This thing is Kuleliti of the four arms. Of the waves. Of the fangs and the red, red moon." The woman stalked across the bloodstained sand, all wiry muscles. There was an odd feel to her movement, sharp, skittish, almost insect-like as if she moved slightly too fast for comfort.
As if she could not stand completely still.
"You brought me a present Jonesie... such a pretty lethal one." She stepped up close, one toothed edge of her sword gracing Shay's throat. "Aiyee Qa'ad, the redcoats, the white devils tore your people too. Join me in my hunt?"
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 05:41 AM
"Ah...watch it, Kullie, luv," replied the man, as he put a hand to Kuleliti's blade and very gently pushing it back. "I need this one alive, eh?"
He looked back at Sheys, shaking his head. "Look, mate, if I'd'a known she was comin', I woulda baked a cake and told the lot of ye to be expectin' her," he explained. "At the moment, I'm about as in the dark as ye. This one's not joinin' yer hunt," he said to Kuleliti. "She'll be comin' with me, just as soon as ye get us off this rock, and we need to take 'er to your doctor."
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 05:49 AM
Sheys stared Kullie down, shuddered, then looked back at Jack, as much as she could. Her head felt full of rocks. "What will you do with the others?"
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 05:54 AM
"I has what I came for, Qa'ad." The woman allowed her blade to be pushed back, only to point it at Jack for the briefest of moment. "I has some recruits. I has fresh meat. Tuatha make bad slaves. The runners can run. Cowards."
Already the raiders were pulling back towards the boats, having taken what useful thing they could find ashore.
They were obviously quite used to this.
"Our le docteur is skilled." She remarked that to Jack. "She will be mended. Your debt can be collected, no?"
Posted by: Jack Hart May 24 2008, 06:00 AM
"Oh, aye, me debt? It can," he assured the four-armed woman. "But we need to get her patched up first, and then me'n'her'll go on our way and get me debt settled, right, Sheysie?" he asked the much-taller woman, patting her arm almost affectionately.
Posted by: Sheys aSheydl May 24 2008, 06:10 AM
"Keep your stinking hands off me." She aimed a hard jab at his face with her elbow, but it threw her too badly off balance and she nearly fell. Instead she kept her eyes firmly fixed on Kuleliti, although the woman herself was so bizarre that it did not make focusing so much easier then when her eyes were cast downward. "I'll go. You leave the others, the ones who won't come willingly. We can afford to lose the rest. I daresay you'll regret them soon enough."
Posted by: Kuleliti May 24 2008, 06:15 AM
"You do not give orders here." She gestured, and a few raiders came up to help escort the woman to the boats. She barked a few sharp orders to her crew, and they quickly fell in line to tidy things up.
There would be enough time later. Once they were at sea.
Kulelity was the last one to leave the shore, any screaming a shrill challenge to any survivos that had escaped. Let them remember and fear her.
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