[RP Episode] Slavers and Shackles


#1

The wind was blowing steadily from the east, sending wisps of snow across the frozen earth. Waves gently washed up upon the beach, as the tides came and went. A few leaves floated on with the water, falling from the trees that overhung the water’s edge. Chunks of ice also bobbed about, tossed to and fro by the wind and tide.

A quiet splash disturbed the quiet. A sinker now floated on the surface of the water, moving gently with the motion of the fishing rod to which it was attached. Holding the rod, and sitting on a log near the water’s edge, was an elf. He was fishing.

Halatir was a young elf, as they went. His pale face bore no signs of age, and his long white hair hung down behind him, reaching almost to his waist. He wore the ever-present grey cloak about his shoulders, and garments made from the pelts of various animals. A brown belt, the largest of the straps that held his wardrobe together, contained an assortment of fishhooks, a ball of twine, a pouch of bait(worms), and a knife in a brown sheath. Beside him on the sand, were several small species of fish, placed carefully on an old piece of leather to prevent sand from covering them.

He watched the line running from his fishing pole, following it out until it disappeared beneath the surface of the water. Beyond that small distance, his eyes looked out over the sea. Halatir was fond of fishing and the water, and this small inlet was a favorite fishing spot of his, from where he could both watch the sea and fish in peace. He’d been doing so for almost an hour today, and intended to do so for several more if the weather stayed hostpitable. His village was a few miles west of him, further down the coast, and the chieftain had ordered him to keep an eye out for ships while on his fishing expedition, and to warn the clan if anything went amiss. But, nothing had happened for the last few weeks, and Halatir was peaceful, happy, and content. He shifted himself on the log, and continued to fish.

@Aragottix


#2

Across the wide open northern seas, waves crashed against the wooden hulls of three ships, speeding along with the wind in their sails. The ships had no colors adorning their masts nor sails for all to know of their independence and freedom, and more importantly, that they are bound to be trouble. And in this case, that would be the right assumption.

The crews were in a merry mood, armed men, rugged with long hair, were celebrating their recent raid on a merchant ship they encountered a day prior. They were now heading away from so called ‘‘civilized’’ waters, away from any authorities their actions may attract, but they were far from worried. They have procured a great many shiny trinkets, which would fetch them a pretty penny if they sold them, but in the current moment, they were more thrilled about the food and booze they had stolen. Singing with all their voice, and raising their cups to the skies, they roared of past glories, feeling unbeatable, untouchable, since they hadn’t lost a soul in their last fight.

The small fleet was headed by an old captain, a former merchant himself who had grown sick of how poorly these waters were being patroled and kept free of pirates. One time too many did he loose everything, his ship, his goods, even his crew mates. On his last day he considered himself a lawful man, he was being raided by pirates, and failed to escape. Being captured, he was brought to their hidden base, but managed to brake free and flee in the dead of the night. It took him days to get anywhere in the little rowboat he stole and made his escape in, days in which his anger only grew stronger. Using the last of his coin he had back in his home town, he bought a ship, got together a crew of similarly fed up commoners, traders, and even navy defectors to take revenge. Not only on those who wronged him, but on those who failed to prevent it as well. Knowing these seas himself from experience, he decided to turn to piracy and raiding himself, and never looked back. In a sense, he became the very thing that ruined him, but he did not care, for at least once in his life he felt like he was on top of the world. His crew fought and died for him, new blood replacing the old in time, souls with rather similar stories, all of which were loyal to their old veteran, because time and again would he lead them to glory and riches, neither of which they would live to experience otherwise.

The ships continued, and the crew settled down for some rest. Another night passed, and the sun rose high in to the sky to bathe the cold sea with its warmth. They were sailing close parallel to the coast now, half of the crew being up and about, when one of them notices a figure sitting on a log, fishing on the shore. The captain was called, who came out from his cabin to look at the scene, and nodded. Where there is one, there are bound to be more. And where there are people, there is loot.

The ships stirred…


#3

From his position atop the log, Halatir continued to gaze at the end of his fishing line, his eye slightly glazed over. Fishing took a great deal of patience, and as none of them were biting at the moment, the elf had fallen into a reverie. He cracked his neck from one side to the other in an attempt to relieve the stiffness, and yawned. As he did so, his eyes once again drifted out to sea.

Halatir started. He dropped his fishing rod, hurriedly bundled up his fish, and started sprinting down the beach, his hair streaming out behind him as he ran. There were three ships sailing parallel to his fishing hole, all heading towards the direction of his village. He urged himself to ran faster, and moved onto the harder packed earth that enabled him to put on a burst of speed. The ships were closer to land than any seagoing vessel had any right to be, and judging by the amount of movement on board as the sails were adjusted, they intended to follow him. Halatir strained his legs, and kept running.


#4

‘‘There he goes!’’ yells a crewman atop the nest as the crew hurried about, getting weapons, putting on gear, and grabbing hold of the rows they had below deck to give their ships extra speed. The old captain stood next to the railing of his ship, motionless, he played with his fingers as he held his hand in the other behind his back as thought flooded his mind. ‘‘What do we have?’’ yelled the captains first mate, ‘‘A young lad with white hair by the looks of it! He’s moving fast! Must be one of them wildlings!’’ reported the man in the nest. The first mate turned to his captain, who only proceeded to nod slowly for a minute, ‘‘Capt’n?’’ he asked. The captain grinned, ‘‘Willd’lins ya say? This’ll be grand.’’ he said and spat over the side of the ship, then turned to his crew, ‘‘If this ere lad leads us to his village, we are in for a heck of a fight! I’ve heard these people fight like beasts! But they don’t have much when it comes to defenses, palisades mostly, and their armor is more or less furs and hides, so we have an advantage in gear! Still, do not underestimate them…’’ he explained. ‘‘I don’t know, i have a bad feeling about this, is it worth risking our lives this soon? We haven’t even scouted them out yet.’’ worried one of the ship mates. The captain grinned again, ‘‘Oh, it will. Don’t tell me you’re afraid of some savages, there? They might not have much in the ways of treasure, but capturing these here folk to sell in to slavery comes with no consequences, since none of the southern kingdoms will care about who they are or where they came from as long as its not one of theirs. And these here white haired pointy eared barbs cant exactly be mistaken for a Nord’’ he reassured him. But little did he know that there was one nation in the south, the very far south, who would have an interest indeed.


#5

The captain was right. Halatir’s village was small, and with little in the way of defenses. Furthermore, due again to the clan’s small size, there were far crewed warriors than would be expected, and while the larger clans might wear heavy armor, the majority of the soldiers here were protected only by fur, leather, and the occasional piece of steel.

Halatir ran, long steps carrying him swiftly over the ground, which was covered in a thin layer of snow and dead leaves. He rushed home, pushing himself to the limit in an attempt to give his fellow tribesmen some warning.

He burst from the tree line, and dashed to the small wooden palisade, breathing heavily, and gasped out the warning to the sentry on duty. The elf blew blast upon a horn hanging on the wall. Instantly, the normal activities of the village ceased. Children were hurried inside, warriors seized their weapons and rushed to the village square, and Halatir, after regaining his breath, grabbed a bow from one of the racks. He moved back out in the direction that he had come, to try and spot any approaching enemies if the strange ships decided to land an assault party.


#6

The horn blown in the village echoed far and wide. The captain burst in to laughter, ‘‘Hah! Way to betray yer location! But since we are fair sports, lets even the playing field then, shall we?’’ he said as his battle ready warriors giggled and gathered for a landing, ‘‘Give them a reply! Let them know they have guests!’’ he yelled, and in the same moment, warriors across all ships reached for each their horn and sounded their arrival which was about thirty times louder than what they received from the village. The ships came ashore head on, tilting somewhat when hitting the beach, the thick woodwork only adding yet more scars to its underside as the warriors leaped over the sides, descended via webbed ropes, and dropped in to the cold shallow water. Their weapons drawn, swords, spears and axes, some with bows as well, began to jog towards the village in a rather fond anticipation for blood and violence.


#7

Hostile eyes watched them from the tree line, as the marauders made their intention very clear, as they moved towards the village armed for battle. Halatir bent, and strung his bow, nocking an arrow the second the string went taunt. He drew breathed quietly, settling his nerves and attempting to keep the adrenaline coursing through him fro making his hands shake. The elf picked a target, a burly man at the head of the hostile column, aimed, and loosed his shaft. Without waiting to see the effect, he drew and fired a second, aiming at the main mass of men. Then swiftly turning around, while the invaders milled about in a brief moment of confusion, he headed back towards home, linking up with the other Elven warriors who had taken up a position on the inside of the palisade, which was composed of large logs sunk into the earth, with pointed ends reaching toward the sky. Unlike larger clans, Halatir’s people did not build walls upon which a sentry or soldier could stand, but a rough circle of timber with a gate on the north and south sides, held in place by a oaken doorbeam.

The thirty or so odd elves were lined up in neat formation in the center of the village, the chieftain at the head with his stoutest combatants, and the archers in the center. They were not looking forward to this conflict. While the Helcelen as a whole fought unceasingly, smaller clans tried to avoid battles to prevent destruction. And Halatir’s people were heavily outnumbered, almost three to one.


#8

‘‘Blast it! … the fuckers shot me!’’ yelled one of the raiders who just took an arrow to the knee, while another cleared another arrow from his wooden round shield. But the others did not mind his commotion, one of the man’s mates stayed behind to make sure he was alright while the others pushed on, now more wary of arrow fire than before. They ascended upon the slopes, and came in view of the village where the Elven warriors had gathered.


#9

The elves were silent, but began to tap their weapons against their shields rhythmically, creating a loud thumping sound. They advantages toward the section of the palisade which the pirates were approaching, while the archers strung their longbows, took aim, drew back the deadly arrows, and began releasing. A small hail of arrows started racing towards the mass of marauders, long darts with razor sharp tips. Elven bows are massive in size, able to drive a shaft through mail, clothes, and flesh.

Halatir joined the archers, but began moving forward, searching for a spot from which to shoot. He finally picked one of the few towers that lined the palisade, and clambered up it, from where he began loosing arrows at a steady pace.


#10

The raiders held up their shields, and the Elven arrows pierced their shields, only coming to a stop with the head of the arrow clearly on the other side.

‘‘Is this how you greet guests then, wildlings!?!’’ roared the raid leader.
’‘You know you’re not going to win a fight with us! So why not try talking first, eh? You might even live to see another sunrise!’’

He then turned his head backwards and nodded to his men to be ready to charge after they deny or ignore them, some of the raiders began preparing gunpowder grenades to bring down the palisade gate.

‘‘What say you, then?!’’ he roared once more as they began to near the village defenses, at a prime distance to spring in to attack, their shields still up above their heads, with some of their comrades crawling off the field as quickly as possible with arrows either in their leg or through their arm.


#11

The Chieftain held up a fist in response. Instantly the elves ceased their rythmic tapping, coming to a halt. The hail of arrows slowed and then stopped.

”If you are guests, why do you come to barter for our goods armed for war? Begone, or there will be less of you on the return journey south!”

Halatir nocked am arrow, and kept a watchful eye on the pirate captain. If he made so much as an aggressive hand movement, there would shortly be a barbed arrows jutting from his ribs.


#12

‘‘Indeed, less of us on the way back, and scarce any of you to continue drawing breath. Why don’t we avoid this senseless waste of life and settle this personally, in a duel. I am the humble captain of this here sorry lot, and, trust me when i say, i would not harm any of you if i don’t have to. Not un entirely that having to do with putting my own men in harms way too, yeah?’’ he laughed sarcastically at the serious Elf, ‘‘You or your champion fights mine. If you win, i turn back and leave you be. And if i win, you drop your weapons, open the gate, and we are free to take what we want.’’


#13

The elves held their breath, and looked to their chief. He was tall, brawny, and carried a massive sword that he held like a toy. Almost 70 years old, he was in his prime. He wore no armor, but heaps of furs upon his shoulders, all from animals he had slain himself in the hunt.

There was a minute’s pause, while the clanchief considered. Even if he did lose, the tribe would still be intact, and they could rebuild. If he won, then his reputation would soar AND the pirates would then have to attack without their leader. He doubted they would just turn and leave.

“I…accept. Here and now. Draw your men back, and we settle this on neutral ground.” He waved down his archers, including Halatir, who lowered his bow and clambered down, to stand beside the chief, who looked at him. “If I fail, protect our people, my son.” he said. Halatir nodded.

The chieftain strode out from the palisade, while his warriors formed up outside the rampart, to watch the duel. Halatir kept a watchful eye on the pirates. They would attack no matter who won, faithless as their kind went.


#14

The pirate captain advanced towards the chieftain, holding a sword and a large round shield, with a variety of furs, and charged forward, the elf leaped towards him in response.

With a clash of sword of shield, the chieftain slashed his massive weapon in a side-swiping motion, smashing the pirate back and slightly stunning him. But the raider quickly recovered, dodging the next strike and getting in a quick stab that went home, cutting through the chief’s furs. The elf roared, grabbed his enemy by the shield, and hurled him on the ground, cutting down at him with a blow that smashed the pirate’s shield in half. He missed his next attack however, and the pirate jumped to his feet, stepped forward, and rammed his sword into the chieftain’s face. The elf staggered, and crumpled to the ground.

“FATHER!!” Halatir rushed forward, followed half a dozen of his parent’s most loyal retainers. The soldiers instantly moved towards the captain, holding their weapons in battle ready positions. Behind them, the remaining elven warriors swayed with indecision, confused as to what to do. After a moment, many of them slipped away to their homes, bolting the doors behind them and stowing what valuables they had beneath the earth.


#15

The marauders outnumbered them nearly three to one before, now with more than half of their clan fleeing to their homes, the rest were easily overwhelmed by the raiders. The majority of Elves that attacked them were slaughtered on the spot, with a few of them being captured, and another few getting away and running off in to the wilderness. In all the fighting, Halatir was one of the Elves that got himself knocked out with a shield bash to the face, and captured. With the gates to the village wide open, the raiders helped themselves to what they came for. The elves that hid in their homes had no chance, the raiders broke in easily, using the before mentioned explosives to blast through any obstacle they could not tare open by brute force.

The majority of the village was subdued, which was preferable and had more survivors than if they had assaulted them head on. With minimal casualties to their own number, the raiders were satisfied one again, victorious, and crying glory at the top of their voices. Unfortunately for the villagers, the raiders were not here for the goods they so carefully attempted to hide. Some of which they did dig up, some of which they did not find. No, the raiders were here for THEM. They shackled the lot of them in irons, and dragged them back to their ships where they were put in to cages before pushing off shore, and setting sail anew. It was in one such cage that Halatir soon regained his awareness.


#16

”What the f-?”

Halatir tasted salt on his lips. From his tears or from the sea water, he could not tell. He looked around himself groggily, attempting to take in his surroundings, but his vision was blurry and the rocking of the sea was making the ringing in his ears ten times worse. With a groan, he toppled backwards, as the ship lurched, sending him falling into a heap on the bottom of the cave. His stomach heaved, and he threw up, barely managing to get the stuff outside the cage. Then he lost consciousness again.


#17

Halatir was in a large communal cage with multiple of his own people in with him. Some were sat down, some were standing and leaning on the bars, all of them now avoiding Halatir’s puke. The lot of them had their irons locked from one arm to the other through the bars, so they were forced in their one location, and could not move about. It was fairly crammed because there were quite a bit of them, and not a lot of cages.

A crewmen passed the cage to see what all the sudden commotion was about, and began to swear in norse after seeing the puke mess Halatir had made. So he went and fetched a bucket of water. He bumped in to the captain above who he told what happened, and with an interest to talk to the boy, he came down with his crewman.

‘‘Wake him will ya.’’ the captain said blandly, and the crewman just simply splashed his bucket of water over the elf, and his puke, and the rest of the elves in the cage along with him. The other elves helped Halatir upright as best they could while the captain grinned deviously.


#18

Halatir gritted his teeth, and held himself upright. Blood seeped from a wound on his forehead, which was now running with water as well. He looked at the captain with a burning resentment.


#19

‘‘Hey there laddie. Yer’ feelin’ alrite?’’ he asked sarcastically as the elf boy glared at him, ‘‘I’m awful sorry about yer’ pa. See, ya really shouldn’t brake yer word once you give it to a band of armed men that count as many as we do, yeah? I expected better, i really did.’’


#20

Halatir snarled a sentence that made some of the elves in the cage open their eyes a bit wider. He spat. His hands gripped the iron bars so tight his knuckles were white.