After some further gathering of forces, it was decided for the combined Shackles Fleet (Unofficial) to assemble near Hell Harbor. The numerous spellcasters distributed through the pirate fleet exercised their scrying magic, and the great invasion fleet of Cheliax did not disappoint.
“Shoot them harder than they shoot us!” Chopper crowed, waving vigorously at his crew. There were over forty enemy ships, including the easily-recognizable Dominator. “Oh, hey, those guys!” Chopper continued in undiminished good spirits.
“Don’t get hurt,” Feruzi told Pegsworthy severely as he prepared to disembark for his own vessel. “Well, unless it’s absolutely necessary. But even then, go for more of a flesh wound.”
“Of course, dear. Even those devil worshippers don’t deserve YOUR vengeance.”
“That’s right. Best to be merciful.”
“Looks like we have plenty of targets, at least,” Ezikial grunted. “Captain, may I sink them?”
“Well, I suppose,” Chopper said. “Just don’t expect a birthday present.”
“We should at least give them a chance to surrender,” Feruzi said. “Since our forces are so clearly superior.”
“It’s all about quality, not quantity. Still, I would not suggest holding your breath,” Reiko told her.
As the Crisis grew closer to the Chelish fleet, a squadron of flying devils suddenly appeared in the air. Reiko pulled out her new bow and began shooting. The arrows seemed to connect, but Reiko shook her head. “These are not real,” she announced.
“Good,” Chopper said, drawing his axes and scanning the sky. Five more devils appeared as they launched their attack. The apparent leader of the devils tossed a feather token to the deck, causing the Crisis to shudder and slow violently as the magical anchor weighed her down. “Fucking WITCHCRAFT!” Chopper complained violently. The four remaining devils charged Reiko and Ezikial, vomiting noxious clouds while swinging their polearms.
“Forget to use your mouthwash this morning?” Reiko asked. A positive hail of bullets, arrows, axe and katana blows followed until the Crisis officers were bleeding freely and the devils were all reduced to something akin to paste. With the assault temporarily in abeyance Sandara dispelled the anchor token and distributed some healing.
“As if devils weren’t bad enough, we get stinky devils,” Feruzi grumped, collecting her spent arrows.
“Are we taking on the Dominator, Captain?” Ezikial asked.
“Well, it’d be rude not to, don’tcha think? Personal service and all that.”
“I am in agreement,” Ezikial replied with an evil grin. “Make sure we’re all loaded, Rosie!” They began making way again, but in the scrum it looked as though the Bonaventure would close with the Dominator long before the Crisis was in any position to be of assistance. Chopper shook his fist in that direction.
“Save some for us!”
“Looks like their flagship over here,” Ezikial said. “Abrogail’s Fury.”
“Fine, fine, we’ll do that one.”
“Bring me to within 600 feet of their wheel and I’ll take it from them,” Ezikial said.
“That, I can do,” Reiko told him, resuming her place as pilot.
The Bonaventure abruptly changed course, forcing the Dominator into a slow turn that brought her weapons out of line, leaving the Chelish dreadnought vulnerable to a devastating volley from one of Endymion’s warships. Ezikial shrieked in glee as the Dominator was holed at the waterline and began sinking with impressive speed. The Crisis gained on Abrogail’s Fury, seeking an advantageous angle for attack. Four more devils appeared on the Crisis, serpentine fiends with frail-looking wings and muscular arms that terminated in masses of tentacles.
These devils moaned and an expanding coldness filled the air with a murky heaviness like drowning. The crew coughed and choked as Ezikial and Feruzi fired, killing one of the devils and wounding a second. Chopper and Reiko struggled against the magical fugue while the fiends attempted to summon reinforcements, but they were interrupted by yet more persistent axes, bullets, katanas, etc. and shortly the deck was devil-free once more, leaving them free to continue closing with the sleek, black-hulled man’o’war that was leading the Chelish fleet. Her sails were crimson and black and the flag of House Thrune flew from the masthead above a banner emblazoned with an argent dagger.
“So Admiral Thrune herself has come to take the Shackles. How nice of her,” Reiko said.
“An’ how’s that workin’ out fer ’er?” Rosie aske.
“I’ll let you know shortly,” Reiko told her.