Omaj's face paled as he ran across the slick decks of his ship, looking over the bow. Another two of the distinctive goblin ships appeared in their way, attempting to pinch them between the two fleets.
The sharp bows and twin patchwork sails hanging over the fat and low wooden hulls charged towards the Wave Dancer, like some kind of fat shark, the oars flashing in the late afternoon sun. Goblin drums could be heard over the crash of the waves.
"Where did they come from?" Omaj yelled angrily at the lookout in the crow's nest. "Where have your eyes gone to!"
"They just appeared out of nowhere! I swear!" The frightened lookout yelled back down. "They won't there at the beginning!"
Omaj cursed the gods for his luck. He was about to give new commands when a massive splash of water erupted from the port side of Wave Dancer, he leans over the side and saw a couple of drowning goblins. "They are in range?" He ran back to the poop deck and shoved the bolt thrower leader away from the boy.
Bending over the boy, he peers into the far-seeing spell. He sees the flat low decks of the goblin's ships stood a crude looking catapult, a couple of the goblins climbing into the basket armed to the teeth.
"Make ready! Prepare for boarders!" Omaj yelled to his crew, who started to open the weapons locker to grab cutlasses and shields. "Bowmen! Once in range fired as they bear!"
The waves are starting to subside as they reached the middle of the channel, allowing his bolt throwers to be more accurate but it is also the same for the goblins.
An ear-splitting screech sounded from overhead made everyone looked up, seeing a green blur smashing itself against the solid mast, leaving a smear of yellowish blood against the wall before what remains of the creature slid down onto the deck.
And another screech, followed by more. The lucky ones hit the sails and dropped relatively safely onto the decks, only to skewered by the crew of the Wave Dancer. "Furl the sails!" Omaj knew that they couldn't outrun the ambush, and the only way is to fight.
The other two goblin ships that appeared in their front with the wind towards their sails soon arrived within range as the Wave Dancer was getting tangled with the other pirate ships.
They turned and presented their broadsides, firing more of the goblin catapults, sending more green living missiles towards the Wave Dancer.
Dozens of goblins crashed in glee onto the Wave Dancer, their eyes wide in ecstasy and bloodlust as they doped up on some kind of magical drug, screamed in joy as they allow themselves to be flung over the water and onto the enemy ship.
"Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" A goblin crackled wildly in glee as it landed right on top of an elf crewman, his body cushioning its drop. The goblin sunk its teeth onto the neck of the dazed elf and rammed the bone shiv in its hand into the side of the unfortunate elf. "Wakakakakakakaka!"
Omaj expertly looped the head off the crazed goblin riding his crew member, but it was too late, the dying seaman flopped onto the slick decks covered in his own blood. "Protect the bowmen and the bolt throwers!" He yelled to his crew.
His crew quickly formed in a shield line, around the archers and the bolt throwers, as goblins rained down among them. The Wave Dancer which is built similarly to an old Terran brigantine mounts four bolt throwers on each broadside and two more each at the fore and aft of the ship, enabling the ship to fire at least six bolts per broadside.
As the goblin ships attempted to close in, the Wave Dancer fired off a broadside of six bolts right into one of the goblins' galley, shattering the twin masts, turning the decks yellow with goblin blood and dismounting two of the six catapults mounted on the decks of the galley.
"Drop the sails! Bring us about!" Omaj roared to his crew. His men quickly release the cables to allow the sails to unfurl, while the helmsman spun the wheel, bringing the ship into the wind,
The agile elf brigantine maneuvered smoothly out of the way of a goblin galley that sneaked up from the aft of the Wave Dancer and attempted to ram them from behind. The ramming attack failed and instead, the goblin rowers who kept their oars out desperately rowing to increase their ramming speed, had the oars smashed to bits as the galley's starboard hull scrapped against the aft hull of the Wave Dancer.
The oars splintered by the force of the collision broke ribs and sent arm length splinters flying all over the row decks, slicing flesh like paper, drenching the decks with goblin blood. Howls of pain and suffering drifted over from the goblin's galley.
"Burn them!" Omaj yelled over the din of clashing swords and waves. The archers placed a clay tube, filled with a flammable liquid onto their arrows and fired at the stricken galley at their rear. The clay tubes exploded upon impact against the wooden hole and a thick foul smelling sticky tar oozed out.
"Boy! Burn them!" Omaj shoved the boy towards the railing. "Quick!"
The frightened boy raised his trembling hands and started chanting in a small voice, forming a tiny red magic circle, which ignited a tiny spark, landing on the galley.
Omaj cursed, watching the poor performance of the mage slave he purchased from the Empire since the start of this journey. He spent over 60 gold royals on the boy and felt cheated by the slave merchant who sold him. "What can you do right?" Omaj kicked the boy, sending him groaning in pain. "Again! Or I throw you instead, over to the goblins!"
The boy got up shakily onto his feet and leans against the railings for support, raising his hands, he focused his magic again, and a red magical circle appeared as he chanted. This time, a shower of sparks flared out over the widening expanse of the two ships, some of them landing on the galley and which a sudden whoosh, the galley decks coated with the black sticky tar burst into flames.
The goblins screamed in fear and tried to beat the flames out, using seawater, but the flames were too hot and spread too much. The thick clouds of black smoke choked the goblins who attempted to put the fire out and soon the whole vessel slowly burnt down to the waterline.
"Now, that is the way!" Omaj voiced his approval to the boy. "Do well and be treated well. Fail me and suffer the consequences!"
With the rear three galleys disabled or destroyed, Omaj focused his ship weapons to the forward incoming two galleys. "They must have some kind of shaman on board if they can avoid detection for so long!"
The snap of the bolt throwers rang constantly as Omaj ordered his ship to present their broadside to the approaching goblins. His archers shooting down any suicidal flying goblins that tried to land on his ship while the rest of his crew stood ready to cut down any goblins that landed or manned the bolt throwers.
The sky slowly turned purplish and red as the sun slowly sets across the horizon, and the sea around the Wave Dancer floated bodies and broken wooden parts. Predators from the ocean circled as they feast their bellies full on the aftermath of the battle.
Another galley burnt in the distance, spewing thick black smoke and the rearmost goblin pirate had retreated, leaving the battle with a loss of four galleys.
"Captain," A serving boy hands a ladle with fresh water to Omaj, who gratefully accepted it and drown its contents in a gulp. He scooped another serving and splashed the water over his head, cooling himself and wiped the sweat and the soot off his face.
Omaj looked at the slowly drifting and burning hulks of the goblin ships and frowned. They managed to fight off and destroy the creatures but in the process of doing so, had damaged the repaired mast, meaning they have to make landfall again to cut a new mast.
This journey is making him lose more money than it is worth! And with winter coming, the trade winds will change, making the journey even longer. He thought of all the bolts of silk, grains in wax sealed clay jars and ingots of copper and iron stored in the hold.
"Captain, we have 15 dead, and 24 wounded." The first mate reported a bald elf with an old scar across his face. "Could have been worse, if the boy's magic hasn't saved us at the last moment."
The shaman on the goblin side fired a flaming spell, which burnt their sails and mast down. The boy managed to cast a wind spell that extinguished the fire before it spread, but it had taken all his energy and he has collapsed afterward.
The shaman was later killed by archers who saw what the boy did and even if he was a slave, the boy is still part of the Wave Dancer's crew and he had saved the ship.
"Well, his magic is still so weak, he has to improve his power if he wants to become a freeman and have a place in this crew!" Omaj turned to look at the concussed boy laying on the deck.
"XO! We are getting reports of smoke along the sea on the Southside!"