The clay bowl felt warm upon Fiona’s palms as the cool ocean breeze whipped against the fire. The stew was delicious; it tasted like being enveloped in warm cloth on soft bed during a relentless thunderstorm. Fiona took another sip, tilted her head back, basking in the taste and her own poetic prowess. Karok took a large munch of his self caught fish which was slightly overcooked and re-living the pride of the catch with each bite, which in fact wasn’t of very many.
“Here Karok, I know the seas weren’t kind to you today, but you should have a bowl or you’ll starve on the way to Hoarfrost.” Evie gave an encouraging smile, another bowl in her outstretched hand clear of the fire. “It will make you feel better.” Karok eyed the bowl. It did indeed smell delicious and he knew he it would be a long boat ride, but his manly pride told him to enjoy the fish he had caught with his own two hands. He looked off to the side, taking another small bite in order to make it appear more filling that it actually was.
“I’m fine with just this.” He said, trying to sound as cool as possible, but wasn’t convincing anybody. A flash of anger appeared across Evie’s face so quickly that Karok doubted ever seeing it. Perhaps it was the shadows casted from the fire. For a short while, the only sound that followed was the crackle of the firewood, and the tiny bites of Karok’s crunchy trout.
In the next moment Evie had simply vanished out of thin air, and the bowl she held remained suspended above the ground and held by strange wisps of energy. The campfire lashed wickedly at the force of the dissipation. Karok only had time blink before she was upon him. She used her own body to pin him down in his seat. One hand in a vice grip on Karok’s cheeks, the other delicately motioning the bowl over.
“It’s for your own good…Say ‘ahh’, please.” Karok reluctantly opened his mouth and promised himself he wouldn’t enjoy it too much. He had to keep a free hand on the bowl to keep it from spilling over as Evie practically poured the stew down his throat. Fortunately, it was cool enough for Karok to do so without burning his insides and he finished it all quickly. To hell with pride, this stew was too damn good. Karok took moment to catch his breath before asking for another.
Lann arrived shortly after, panting from his haste and stopping before now the vacant camp. Regretful that he hadn’t made it in time for something to eat; he set off toward the pier. Evie and Karok were busy loading supplies and crates onto the main deck; Fiona was held up on the quarter deck and beckoned Lann aboard the ship. Once he was on, he made his way to the quarter deck.
“Took you long enough, may I see it?” She asked, almost skeptically, holding out a hand. Lann reached in his pack, whipped out the map and shoved it in her palm.
“Here you go, good as new. No even better, take a look.” Fiona hummed questionably, and made her way inside the captain’s cabin, unrolling the map. Lann followed. Once they were inside, she flattened the map on the observation desk and noticed the extra marks and notes scribbled 4-5 miles to the south-east of the known Hoarfrost entrance. They begin to discuss the team’s plan of action, which in most cases erupted into argument and outright dueling. Eventually they would come to a healthy, unanimous decision…most of the time.
“So you looked up and there is was? It didn’t bother attacking?” asked Evie, perched nimbly on the ship’s bowsprit, deeply interested the story. Karok had a foot planted firmly on the side of the prow, effortlessly pulling up the lashed anchor.
“That’s right, even the kobolds that had come to face me had dropped their weapons and turned tail. The beast roared so loudly that entire cave shook.” With a loud splash, the submerged anchor finally broke the surface of the water. Evie gave a delighted smile at the thought of such a fearsome beast existing in Hoarfrost. “There was an opening at the top of the cavern in which sunlight came in, which was quickly blocked by out by the arrival of the monster. As to why it didn’t attack, was because it couldn’t. Fortunately, the opening wasn’t large enough for it to fall through.” Karok hoisted the heavy metal from over the boat-side and Evie helped clear room for him to set it down, letting out a sigh from the exertion. Evie began rewinding the large pulley that the rope was attached to. “That was when I first joined the Crimson Mercenaries, about 3 months ago. If that creature had committed and situations were slightly different, I wouldn’t be here talking to you now.” Karok propped himself against the mast, recalling the incident and the look in the savage creature’s eye when it bellowed at him. Evie stared in wonder and excitement at the thought of Karok brushing so closely with certain doom. She was about to ask another question when the door to the captains deck swung open and a proud looking Fiona marched onto the center of the deck with an exhausting looking Lann following behind.
“Ok crew, we are going to make a small detour off course for the sake of Brynn’s research. Afterwards we will continue along with our primary objective of investigation the anomaly known as “The White Tyrant”. Are we all in agreement?” She asked facing each of the team with a beaming smile and spirits as high as the tide. The pulley Evie had been turning clicked to a stop.
“…You two came to a mutual agreement on this?” she asked skeptically.
“Yes, it was Lann’s idea after all.” Fiona responded. Karok and Evie exchanged confused glances.
“And no one was punched?” asked Karok. “Stomped? Thrown overboard, or-”
“Not this time!” Lann said laughing loudly. Karok turned back to face Evie, and quietly joked that this rare event undoubtedly is a bad omen. Evie nodded and laughed the laugh he liked to hear.
Fiona turned to leave but stopped short of the troubled look on Lann’s face. She asked him what was wrong.
“Hungry. Did you save me any?” he asked hopefully. Fiona laughed heartily and told him that she did not. She searched to the left and to the right of the deck and found what she was looking for.
“There, that should fix your appetite until we return”, she said with a warm smile, patting him on the back she walked past. Lann bore a dull expression at what she directed him too. Off to the side near some crates and barrels were several random vegetables scattered about, particularly squash and pumpkins. Lann walked drudgingly toward it. Better than nothing, he thought to himself.Fiona made her way back to the quarterdeck where she felt most comfortable and gave the okay to set off. The rest of the crew readied the main sail and topsail and thanks to the favorable winds, the ship had set sail in no time.