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Series One: Nations of Men

Krey, Part One

Cormier paced steadily across the quarterdeck of the Iron Ghost.  He stopped and looked up at the mainsail hanging lifeless from its yard, before raising his spyglass toward the object of his pursuit.  The Tuannan merchantman, Silver Scale, was escaping.  Although well within range of the Iron Ghost’s ballista, Cormier dared not fire onto her for fear of destroying her precious cargo.  Cargo the Kreyn Admiralty had ordered him to capture.
Captain Cyr Cormier was a Sea Hawk of The Crescent Isles.  A privateer, if you will, commissioned by the high king of Krey to capture or destroy any sailing vessel that was an enemy of the crown.  His orders were simple; capture the Silver Scale and destroy her crew.  He collapsed the spyglass and turned to his first mate.
“Mr. Caber!” he bellowed.
“Yes sir!” Caber snapped back.
“Summon her, Mr. Caber.”
Caber’s jaw slackened and his face went pale.  Cormier’s eyes narrowed and he felt his temper rising.
“Are you deaf, mister?”
“No… no, sir!” Caber stammered.  Cormier took a deep breath and regained his composure.
“Summon her, Mr. Caber.  Summon the matant, if you please.”
“Aye aye, sir!” Caber tipped his hat and hurried below as Cormier walked calmly toward the railing of the quarterdeck.  He looked down to the main deck for the master-at-arms.
“Mr. Rach!” he shouted.
“Sir!” the master hailed back.
“Prepare to board!”
Rach hesitated as he looked at the still sails and then to the distance between the Iron Ghost and the Silver Scale.  He looked back at his captain, who remained steadfast.
“Aye aye, sir!” and the master-at-arms brought life back to the ship as he roared out his orders to the crew.
First mate Caber returned to the quarterdeck with a look of horror on his face.  Moments later a slight figure dressed in grey robes appeared on the main deck clutching a simple wooden staff.  The black locks of hair which spilled out of the hood covering her face seemed to billow in a wind which presently did not exist… at least not here.  Slowly she climbed the stair to the quarterdeck and stopped in front of Cormier, raising her head so that he could look into her black, soulless eyes.
“Captain,” it was more of a whisper on the wind than a voice.
“Matant Serefine, the crown requires your services,” Cormier replied evenly.
“Requires captain?” the matant hissed. “The last time the crown required my services I had to sleep for a fortnight in recovery.”
“You will do your duty, matant.  Just like everyone else aboard this ship,” Cormier held her gaze.  He was captain, and would not be disobeyed.
“Aye, captain.  I shall do my duty,” Serefine replied coolly, knowing full well that within an instant she could seduce him with her charms and overtake his ship.  The blood and power that coursed through her veins was over a millennium old, and the contract which granted it was still binding.
The matant glided to the center of the quarterdeck, raised her staff skyward, and began muttering an incoherent chant which increased in volume and cadence.  She threw her head back and the chant evolved into a rhythmic song that her body seemed to match in a sudden and violent spasm of dance.  Her robes now appeared to be gusting as her song reached a shrilling climax that no sailor aboard could withstand.
“Look!”cried one of the hands, as he pointed to the mainsail.  All of the sails aboard the Iron Ghost were filling with air as the ship lurched forward.
“Brace yerselves, ye bloody dogs!” screamed the master-at-arms.  The masts and yards groaned in protest at the summoned tempest, and Cormier feared he would split a sail.  In no time the Iron Ghost was closing in on her prey.
The crew was armed and readying grapples for boarding as they came alongside the Silver Scale.  Cormier drew his cutlass and looked back at Serefine, who was collapsed against the helm.  Part of him hoped she was dead, but part of him knew he would need her again.  He raced to his men and raised his sword.
“Take no prisoners!” he shouted hysterically, and his crew responded with a savage roar.

They were Krey, and this was their way.

Be sure to check back November 1st for Series One: Nations of Men – Krey, Part Two

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