"Ahoy! I see something ahead!" The boy yelled down from the crow's nest, his hands forming a rectangular shape with his fingers as the air around was magically enhanced, giving the boy a blurry but zoomed in view of the coast.
A tall whitish stone structure loomed up from a long stretch of what appeared to be a pier or harbor of sorts. Waves crashed against the stone surface and figures could be seen moving around. Fleet Master Dijon frowned as he noted the length of the stone pier like a bridge into the sea with a round tower that he wondered if it works in the same function as their firelight towers back at the Isles.
"Sound the horns and raise the flags," Dijon ordered to his first mate, "Tell the rest of the ships to form up in a tight formation." He did not expect the rebels to have such awe looking structure and it would be more impressive as they neared.
His suspicions were true when his fleet came within eye distance, and he gauged the pier to be at least 10 times the length of his ship from land to the sea, while the width of the stone bridge to be at least as long as his ship from the beam to the aft. Such an impressive engineering feat, they must have a very powerful spellcaster or geomancer to mold and rise stones to make something like this!
He also knew that the last time, any Isles ships that passed by this area did not report any signs of construction, and it was just before the winter season. So that meant that the rebels had magically raised this in with two seasons? How much did they sacrifice to make something like this? Or were the rumors true that they sold their souls to the demons for power?
"Signal the rest of the ships," Dijon narrowed his eyes in thought. "with the red and yellow flag."
The boy in charge of raising signal flags and blowing the horns looked startled at the order and hesitated, but with a glare from Dijon, he quickly scrambled off to the main mast and started pulling colored flags out from the locker and attaching it to the signal lines and hoisting it up for the rest of the fleet to see.
The other ships' Captains seeing the colored flags frowned and their expressions turned serious. "Order the crew to make ready for combat, stay on the highest alert and be ready for an attack!"
The red flag meant "Make ready for possible battle" while the yellow flag meant "stay alert for an attack." The ship crews unlocked the weapon lockets, removed barrels of cutlasses soaked in oil of the fruit of cococane, and crossbows while gunners ready the ballistas and catapults.
The ships closed their formation, expertly forming up into two rows as they sailed towards the stone pier while making ready for battle.
Goblin Coast, Far Harbor, Pier One
Princess Sherene was dressed in a simple cream colored short sleeved long dress that reached till her ankles, tied with a golden ribbon around her slim waist, which she found that she appeared to be have gained weight making her slightly depressed as she thought of all the tasty food she had over the month. She wore a simple woven straw hat, that provided some shade from the summer sun, and had a pair of shades given to her by Blake and also a cream that Dr. Sharon insisted her to apply on her skin, saying if she does not want to look like a cooked spider ant, she better apply it.
The white washed concrete pier rosed up several meters higher than the ocean waves, barely sending any sea spray onto the broad expanse of the pier. She noted it could easily park over a dozen of the Jeeps without any issues, while still leaving space for people to walk. The sides of the pier waist height pillars spaced out evenly along the edge, where a simple rope was tied to rings embedded into the pillars, creating a fence like effect, most likely were to prevent people from walking over the edge and into the sea, Sherene thought to herself.
She held on to her fluttering dress tightly, as the sea breeze blew strongly and glanced out towards the clear sea, where she saw two lines of sailing ships with their white sails coming towards the pier. She glanced around, making sure everything was in order, the welcoming band, something she picked up from the hoomans, to the colorful banners and flags tied to the small pillars, making the whole area look festive.
Dozens of police, security and even a platoon of Marines stood at their posts while guests invited over by the City Hall and selected workers from the harbor construction and harbor staff crowded behind the guards as they chattered in the sun and sea breeze waiting for the ships to arrive in excitement.
Further down, behind a roped off area, were the freed slaves they escorted through the Uncharted Forest. All of them were invited to come to watch the ships arrive, and informed that they can have the choice of staying behind here and earning their citizenship or leaving with the strangers to the Isles.
Lt Joseph removed his beret and rubbed the sweat off his regulation cropped hair. He replaced his beret and carefully pressed it down to the desired shape and turned to watch the coming ships. 2nd Battalion, Eagle Company, Platoon One were given this duty as a simple job for them, as most of the men that survived were still recuperating and HQ thought it will be good for them to have some sun, not to mention they were with the slaves for a better part of their journey, and it was better to have familiar faces than strangers posted to watch them.
Dressed in a starched dark grey uniform coat, with a polished leather belt and holster, gold buttons and a pair of marking trousers with red strips along the seams. He walked towards the Princess who was holding on to both her dress and a wide brimmed straw hat.
"Princess!" Joseph grinned, as she turned around in surprised and broke into a smile at the sight of him.
"Lord Joseph!" Sherene cried out in pleasant surprise. She last saw him was after the time he returned from the forest, covered in injuries. "Have you recovered? Shouldn't you be resting somewhere?"
"Hahaha," Joseph laughed warmly, "I'm all fine, Doc gave me a perfect bill of health just the day before."
"Are you sure?" Sherene looked at him worriedly, she treated him like family as he and Magister Thorn were the only people left in her life that she knew since young.
"Of course, of course!" Joseph waved her concerns away. "I'm here to help keep an eye on order, but it shouldn't be too hard, so it will be a relaxing job."
Sherene nodded, "If you are not well, remember don't push yourself ok?" she reminded him again.
"Relax, Princess!" Joseph grinned, "Look! The Isles ships are almost upon us! What we are missing is that old bugger, Thorn and it will be just like old days!"
Sherene laughed, "Well, I heard he is pretty busy at the new school of his, working on some project or teaching students. I did invite him along, but he said something about his old bones unable to ride in the Jeep for long hours." It was roughly a 3 hour drive from the City to Far Harbor.
"Heh, knowing him, he must be engrossed over the artifact we found from the Hero to be bothered with all this ceremony," Joseph gestured around them.
"Hehe," Sherene covered her mouth and giggled, "I guess you are right, he must be deep in his study trying to dig all the secrets he could out of that thing!"
"Look, here they are!" Joseph felt warm hearing the Princess's laughter and watched the large and imposing sight of a sailing ship slowly make it way to the pier.
"Master Dijon!" The first mate yelled, "We are nearing the pier, depth at roughly a quarter less five and holding!" He stood over the anchor chains holding a weighted stone and line, measuring the depth of the ocean floor as they approached the bridge.
Dijon watched the figures at the pier suspiciously and looked behind his ship, where other Captains had formed up in a line. On the stone pier, a figure, most like the port master was blowing a shrill whistle, all the while waving a yellow colored flag.
"What is that man doing?" He asked curiously, wondering why is he waving a flag. "Is it some kind of warning or signal?"
"Master Dijon," His navigator holding on to the steering wheel spoke up, "I think he might be telling us to follow him to where to tie the ship up!"
"Really?" Dijon raised his eyebrows, as in the Isles, a boat will lead the ships to the docks to be tied up. "Well follow him and be on the alert for any signs of trickery!"
The massive two decker ship creaked as it rocked it way slowly, the navigator carefully steering the ship beside the stone pier, listening to the first mate calling out the depth and the crew threw ropes over to the men who gestured for the ropes on the pier as the port master blew his whistle and waved his flag madly at the ship, signaling them to hold. The port workers quickly secured the ship's ropes to the concrete pillar lining the edging of the dock and they removed the rope barriers to allow the ship to drop their gangplanks over to the pier.
Half of Dijon's fleet followed him in, the other fleet dropped anchor and held their position in a line, their catapults, and ballistas aimed towards land and the pier. The ships following Dijon's flagship were also directed to dock on both sides of the stone pier and soon the pier became crowded with ships for the first time.
Dijon gave a sight a relief when noted the friendly smiles and waves the dock workers gave the crew, but that did not ease the sense of unease in his heart. He glanced towards the land, seeing several large walled buildings and what appeared large blocks of stone of some kind laid neatly on the ground.
"Secure the lines!" Dijon bellowed at his excited crew, "The first watch with me, the rest be on alert!"
His crew from the first watch, gathered up at the gangplank, dressed in their best day dress, mostly a mix of color faded blouses, threadbare coats, and patched trousers. All were armed with a variety of weapons, from cutlasses to hooks, to cudgels and even knuckle knives, hidden daggers, and hand crossbows.
A small party of neatly and smartly dressed elves stood ramrod in a perfect row of two lines. They held what appeared to be a long metal rod with wood finishings, that looked like a mix of a spear with the lower body of a crossbow. A very pretty lass in long fluttering dress and holding a straw hat in one hand smiled at the front of the group together with a severe-looking male, in a weird flat hat on his head and also similarly dress like the two rows of elves.
"I am Fleet Master Dijon," He declared as he stepped down the gangplank, in his white and gold clustered coat, a flamboyant wide brimmed hat with a large golden tail feature of a griffin. Gold chains hung from his thick muscular neck while his fingers were adorned with more gold and precious stones. Yet all that wealth, he carried a simple and worn cutlass scabbard hooked on his rich leather belt.
"Humble greetings! Fleet Master Dijon," Sherene gave her best court curtsy and gave her best smile, dazing the crew. "I am Princess Sherene, previously of the Kingdom of Goldrose, now Assistant Governor to the Colony of Mankind."
"Welcome to Far Harbor, friends from afar!"