Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Rot and Dawn - 7th Sea Fanfic

Kirsten looked back towards the ship and saw the sailors hauling the limp form of the captain out of the wreck of the ship.  She tapped Seona on the shoulder and pointed to the sight. The older woman nodded and hurried down the beach as they were bringing the insensate figure to a place far from both the wreck and the piles of still twitching body parts.

"I was wondering where he was," Seona muttered. As she leaned down she sniffed and then shook her head. "Well, looks like someone can't handle their liquor."

The First Mate nodded. "Captain likes to have bit of mead when he's not on duty, but doesn't usually overindulge."


"It's more than that, Marion." One of the sailors held out his hand into the light of another's lantern to show a the stain of blood.

"Carefully, keep the head still." Seona looked over the injury and nodded seriously. "It could be serious, I'll have to have a closer look."

"Not here." Kirsten insisted carefully. "There're Horrors and bits of Horrors all over the beach and we saw signs of them above. You do not want any injury to become infected in the mess."

"Aye, she's right.  Keep carrying him and we'll stop when we find a more secure place. Everyone else, get what supplies you can carry. Ma'am you keep to the captain and you miss, be good to have another pair of hands to carry a few more supplies."

She nodded and looked about. "First, I'll do what I can to keep these things down. Can I have the use of any spirits on the vessel. The more flammable the better."

"In this storm?" The mate scoffed. "Be quick about it, we don't want to stay here for long."

The bits of corpses caught fire readily, as if eager for the flames, and the small group left backlit by the growing flames out of which rose a dark smoke that spread a stench far on the winds. The crackling of flames carried further than they should have and it seemed to contain fragments of wordless cries. The cliffs continued onward along their left as the forest spread along their right. The clouds above shutting out the approaching dawn.

Eyes kept looking out towards the woods, hoping to see some sign of a road marker, but all that came to mind was the tall, dark trees of the Liebliche Wald.

"It could be worse." Seona said.

"How could it be worse?"

"We could be dead. This isn't the worst forest to be trapped beside in Eisen. Past the mountains is the Walder. The tales I've found of that place are daunting." 

Kirsten's voice was low as she scanned the darkened landscape. Her eyes fixed on a structure extending out from the cliffside. At first she took it for a simple outcropping, but as they came closer it was clearly a work of artifice. She hefted the bag of supplies she was carrying gestured in its direction. 

"There's some shelter."

"Good, we can look to the captain and account for supplies and position. Make for the tower!"

As they approached more details began to tell. There were bricks missing, open sores in the face of the structure along side several slits meant to protect archers and gunners. The doorway was open with the rusted remains of iron hinges and reinforcements that had once bound a wooden door that long ago had rotted away. The grounds around the tower was full of broken stone and gravel with the remains of a defensive wall.

"Stay here." Kirsten noted, setting down her bag and drawing her rapier with her left hand as she quietly approached the structure.

She looked at the threshold and saw where the brick had been discolored by some substance that had left a permanent stain. Stepping into the building she felt the sounds outside grow suddenly muted and scanned to the slumped over form of a long dead man sitting at a desk. His skin had rotted away into a dry covering over a skeleton. Beside him was a leather bound journal which the man appeared to have died at.

Kirsten carefully crossed over to read the journal.

"My Hexe keeps the Horrors at bay, but I feel it is for nought. Everyone is dead. My wound is infected, a natural infection, but fatal none-the-less. I would need a surgeon to remove the leg to have any chance of living, but even then, I fear it is too late. I see the rot has already worked its way up. The pain is intense, I need to rest."

Kirsten stood straight and scanned the room once more before turning to the stairs, carefully climbing up them. The stone stairs had resisted the touch of time for the most part and the rest of the tower held simply more dust and decayed furniture. Skeletons far older than the dead hexe below. It continued up to a roof protected by battlements which carried a wide view of the land around that was growing more clear as the storm faded away. Kirsten looked down below.

"A dead hexe and some ancient skeletons but no Horrors. This is as safe as anything we'll find."

Below her, the sailors turned toward each other and started whispering furiously. Cursing under her breath, she turned back to the stairs, sheathing her sword. The muffled sounds of argument came to her as she approached the door. Then all the volume of the argument filled out as she passed through the door.

"This is Eisen, blood, mud, and death. This isn't some tale out of the books she's read."

"Books written by the most successful monster hunters and scholars on the subject in Theah!" Seona stopped short of shouting, eyeing the dark wood.

Kirsten stepped forward into the midst of the argument. "We need a safe place to rest and account. The hexe died of gangrene after warding the building against Horrors. There's some trace of whatever he did left so this is the safest place we'll find for leagues."

Marius grimaced and considered the matter and nodded reluctantly. "We go inside."

"But, Marius!..."

The First Mate grabbed the collar of the sailor and pulled him close. "You heard her, the dead hexe inside warded the place."

Kirsten watched as a sparkle of understanding passed from the mate to the sailor and frowned as she realized the plan that was forming there. Likely they had considered the value of selling the pieces of a hexe as reagents to other hexen. It might even be enough to recoup the loss of the ship if they found the right buyer.

She started to speak when Seona caught her eyes and shook her head. Closing her mouth tightly, she collected the bag she had set down and started to help the task of making camp.

Daughter of Eisen - Table of Contents 
The Land of her Blood - Second Entry
Whispered Words - Fourth Entry

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