The mystical airship Dragonsparrow ventured defiantly into the cold starry night. The enchanted sails flailed from wind shear off the mountains. A clockwork engine and propellers kept her from slamming into the snow capped crags. Frost had gathered on the direhawk figurehead adorned on the prow. She was a sliver of light slicing across the shadows of The Dragonspire Mountains.
Captain Jagrath Rowan eyed the horizon for any movement for these mountains had not been named on a whim. Ferocious and intelligent creatures shared the skies with airships. Dragons were one of the largest and most dangerous predators in all of Aerwyn. Many Airships have been grounded permanently by them. All hands lost due to impact if they were lucky. The unlucky survivors were met with cold’s embrace, a dire teeth’s fangs , or worse;Trolls. Jag grunted in defiance as his keen eyes peered across into the darkness. Not this ship.
He adjusted the strap of his scabbard holding his Cutlass over his gun belt.It always felt heavy with a full charge.
“Winters breath won’t touch your spirits after we deliver the cargo! Fire-walker Rum on me tonight!”
A rousing “har” and “aye” responds from the crew.
The Cargo itself was a relic of an ancient age. A First Order Mechaneer and Wizard chartered them out of Port Havenlock. Damn thing looked like a coffin.It made Jags skin crawl being near it. strange markings and cryptic writings were inscribed along its sides.
Old Dagurr, a gnarly one eyed goblin, leaned against Dragonsparrows rails peering out into the stars. The chill wind of the spires reached up to nip his long nose. He then proceeded to hock the nastiest spit he could and fired it down into the wind. The wind itself responded in kind by blowing it back into his face.
” kachshiit” he cursed in lewed goblin.
Several of the goblin near him chuckled but quickly went back to work when he cast his one good eye at them.
Captain Rowan caught the scene and almost barked at the lot but he chuckled to himself. Goblins may not have all the brains in the world bit loyalty and respect for the elder kin they did have.
Old Daggur had lived longer than most goblins ever would see.Goblins tended to be cruel opportunists that lived short lives by backstabbing,conniving,and killing one another. Goblins gave Old Dag a long berth because an elderly goblin must be the meanest, cruelest, and most cunning creature to walk the planet. Old Daggur tended to defy typical Goblin stereotypes with an honorable character.
Old Dag gave Jag a quick wink before barking at the goblins. ” back to work boys and quit messing around. Dragon could torch your face off if your not payn tention.”
No sooner had Old Dag said something the entire shipped lurched after something hit the underside. Quinlan gave Daggur the most incredulous look he could muster.
“ twasn’t me Cap’n I swear”
“ Hold tight! we are tilting starboard to get a look, And get to those arc cannons charged” Quinlan roared!
His fingers grasped the wheel of the ship and executed the maneuver perfectly. “What do we got Lyrana?!”
Lyrana floated down on azure & scarlet feathered wings. Her tanned elven skin was marked with beautiful multi colored patterns that she referred to as The Life-song Opus of her clan. Even for the chill in the air the Song elf despised clothes. She at least put on some soft furs that gave hers some cover. She was naturally unashamed of her beauty but no one aboard dared test her gaze. Song Elves were rare in the world of Aerwyn and rarely left the treetop wonders of The Merrywild. Typically those whose Life-song lead them on a Song Quest left at younger ages after they managed to circumvent the forest and find there is more to Aerwyn beyond the Merrywild. The lifespan of a Song Elf is rare compared to most of their kin. Song Elves die very young in the eyes of most elves. She had barely come into her wings but her Life-song drew her to her Song Quest early. She joined the Spellhawks for their reputation among the Song Elves. She knew at least two Life-songs involving them in some daring swashbuckling escapade.
“Captain! I did a sweep around up under the ship. There is a hole in the aft section of the ship. I fear as something must be attempting to access the cargo hold!” Lyrana voice was musical notes that that quickly rallied those around her.
“ All hands this is the Captain we have been boarded!! I need a team to guard the Cargo hold while we pursue this interloper!” Jag roared in the metal sound funnel.several crewman stepped forward with a resounding ” AYYEE!!”
Jag took one step of the rail and leaped into the air. Lyrana swooped above and carried him under his arms. They had done this several times in practice. Although she was young she was strong and quick for an elf. The ship swooped by and the breach was bigger than he had thought.
“ Oh someone is gonna pay for that! I hope this damn relic is worth it!”
The Captain tucked into a dive as Lyrana released him into the hold. Claw marks and scratches down a side corridor. Whatever creature it was had been strong enough to punch through an Ozmechian Ironwood hull.
Jag started to hear screams coming near the cargo hold. A few of the regular crew had firearms like himself. Lyrana had not followed him. She knew her duty was to keep scouting and report any other activity to the replacement pilot who should be making every effort to land. Which in the Dragonspires was not that many places. Whoever this was knew exactly when to hit them.
Firarms sounds and a deep unrecognizable roar could be heard followed by screams. Jag sprinted now. He hated losing crewman. Good ones were hard to find. Not many people were able to be acclimated to airships. The turbulence and heights could make the bravest man cringe. For others the solitude of the open sky was a deafening loneliness that had claimed the lives of many airmen.
Captain Rowan loved the open sky. He loved the isolation away from the hustle and bustle of everyone and everything. Well everything that couldn’t fly. It seemed his visitor had at least some means of flight. He recognized that whoever was after the cargo had the cunning and forethought to learn his route and figure out what he was carrying.
“Well I hope this relic is worth it because the price just doubled for expenses and losses” He thought to himself as he made his way through the darkened corridor.
Old Daggur was the first Goblin to reach the cargo hold and quickly told the others the best places to plot an ambush. He loaded his flintlock pistol and made sure his daggers were ready. You don’t live this long without being prepared.
“ Gnasher. Go ahead and check the side entrance. You too make sure the engine room is guarded. “ The two humans had learned early not too mess with Old Dag. Gnasher was one of the more ruthless goblins he sometimes had to keep in line. Although he was a cheater for sure at cards.
Gnasher took an Everlight lantern shone it down the hall. He noticed a trembling noise coming from the lantern and realized he was shaking. Nothing was in the hall as far as the light could reach. He looked back towards the cargo hold for a brief second. Then he noticed the ticking sound that sounded above his head. Something dripped on his shoulder. He screamed just in time to see the Jaws descend over his eyes and the sickening crunch was his head being removed before all went dark.
Old Daggur heard the scream a second before he saw Gnashes head removed by something insectal and large. Its wasp like wings fluttered to life with illuminating energy. He fired instinctively but managed only to ricochet of the creatures thick carapace. It roared a deafening cry at Old Daggur. A challenge.
“Damn Bug! Killed Gnasher!” The old Goblin took out it’s two curved daggers. “All right you bastard. Come have a go at Old Dag if you think your nasty enough!”
The insect creature rushed him in with blinding speed. It’s wings shimmered and the multi-faceted eyes held a dark malice matched only by the fury in Old Daggur’s one good eye. He could tell this creature was smart with the way it had stalked Gnasher. He was going anywhere near those viscous mandibles. He rolled left as it came in with it’s arm that had a stinger the size of his blade protruding from it. It was fast. Real fast.
In Old Daggurs prime he would dodge and parry an enemy until they tired themselves from swinging. He outlasted many young usurpers who wanted to lay claim to Old Daggurs title. War-blade. A War-blade in goblin society was the most cunning of killers who could also lead others. Humans called them Sergeants or something similar.
Dag was cornered and he knew it. The creature was larger than a human, faster than an elf, and and armored in a carapace like armor protecting it. He was fairly certain it had more than two arms or at least some razor sharp for-arm appendages giving it extra reach. Old Dag bit his lip and growled even more. His blade had slipped in a few times only to turn aside at the armor.
A scythe like claw ripped into Old Daggur shoulder and nearly tore it from the socket. With a furious growl and a last act of fury Dag leaped into the creature and buried his blades into the side of its neck plates. Green blood spurted and the creature roared in fury! Old Dag spit in to the creatures mandibles maw and laughed.
Jag Rounded the corner seeing Gnashers’ decapitated corpse oozing blood onto the planks. The size of the creature was about the size of an orc but armored with wasp like wings and multiple arms and scythe like for-arms. Old Daggur just spit at the creature when the mandible sliced like scissors across the bottom midsection of Daggur ripping his stomach open. A fatal wound for anyone to be sure. Old Daggur ,War-Blade of Jukara Clan and Spellhawks Corsair, held tight to his daggers and twisted with one last grimace. Over the creatures shoulder he noticed the Captain gasping in shock and horror. Green blood splurted from the creatures neck armor as Old Dag went limp still holding his daggers.
The insect creature was not dead. It ripped Old Daggurs bleeding body off itself. The daggers firmly imbedded in Its’ chitinous exoskeletal armor. Bright green blood oozed from the daggers wounds. It began to move towards the Cargo hold when Captain Rowan jumped onto it’s backside.
“ Come on to my ship! Kill my crew!” An unbridled rage had burned hot into the pit of Jag’s stomach. The creature thrashed and bucked wanting to dislodge the Captain.
With a deft move he reached across underneath the creatures throat and pulled on either side of Old Dags’ Daggers. A roar was stifled by a choking gurgling as two other crewman skewered it with spears from the front. It gurgled in blood and reached towards the Cargo hold door before it died.
Lyrana flew into the site of the gruesome battle and looked at the Captain covered in the creatures blood. A soft note of healing hummed as she knelt before him
“ Captain! The relic is secure, but we have come into Rembryl’ airway sir. They are being attacked by these creatures. Hundreds of them. We must do something”
“ Oh we will. We have to get to Stormkindler Tower so that wizard Teslan can use the relic. He’s one of the most powerful wizards in all of Aerwyn and I am sure he could use some help getting rid of his pest problem.”
“ Hey!! Can someone staple these guts back in me stomach so I can kill some more of these things!” Old Dag hollered.
Jag and Lyrana quickly whirled around and shocked to see there companion and shipmate still alive.
Lyrna placed a hand over his wound and started humming a soft tune. Her hands glowed with the essence of magic and Old Dags wound had begun to mend.
“ Now that’s the sweetest song this old goblins ever heard” He said in a have dazed state.
Captain Jagrath Rowan grinned at his friend and barked at two other crewman “ Patch the hull and prepare for war. It’s going to me a long night.”