The End Zone, UNS Slayer
The hull of the Goblin class corvette moaned painfully as it rode the massive wave that rose taller than its superstructure. The ship's red painted bottom was briefly exposed as it crested the top of the wave before crashing down in a spray of white water.
Its twin smoke stacks spewed out thick grey smoke that was blown away by the strong winds as the engine boilers worked frantically to powered its twin propeller screws. The ship rolled and yawed violently as it hit another towering wave.
Inside the bridge of the UNS Slayer, the bridge crew were tense as they gripped tightly to their chairs and stations as the ship rosed up like a roller coaster ride before dropping down. Sprays of sea water hammered against the armoured windows, distorting the view of the crew.
"Captain!" The helmsman called out nervously. "The sea is getting rougher! This ship... we might not make it any deeper!"
"Keep on course!" The Captain called out as he held on to the sides of the map table for support. "We barely made twenty kilometres into the End Zone!"
"Captain!" A cry came from one of the watchers. "Starboard side! L- Looks like... some monster!"
The Captain made his way as fast as he could on the rolling decks to the starboard side and lifted his pair of binoculars hung around his neck. "Six points of starboard!"
He followed the directions given by the spotter and under the light of the lightning that flashed against the dark gloomy skies and briefly saw a mountainous shape with waving tentacles illuminated by lightning.
"My Gods!" He blinked and rubbed his eyes as he scanned the horizon again. "What in the heavens is that creature?"
Lightning flashed again, and the distant silhouette of the monster was illuminated up again. The ship hit another wave and the view of the monster disappeared under a spray of seawater. The bridge crew watched their Captain as he stood there in silence, wondering what his next command will be, "Captain?"
"Anything on the surface radar?" The Captain asked as he made his way back to his chair. "Is that... monster showing on the screen?"
"The weather is making hell with the radar!" The sensor tech responded nervously. "Something is interfering with it!"
The Captain returned his glance to the outside of the ship where the skies were covered in dark grey clouds. He checked the time, and it was just midday but inside the End Zone, it was like night time.
"Captain!" The sensor tech called out in panic. "Th- There's something massive on the sonar!"
"What is it?" The Captain asked as he shuffled his way to the sensor station.
The sensor tech's face was pale as he gestured to the green lit screen, which was showing a circular object that was five times the size of the Slayer. "I... I don't know!"
The Captain frowned and he made his way to the front of the bridge and scanned the horizon with his binos. The ship climbed up another massive wave and the Captain froze as he caught sight of what was before them. He spun around and yelled in an urgent voice. "ALL ENGINES FULL BACK!"
"Adjust course, bearing 310!" The Captain ordered as he stared in horror at the sudden appearance of a gigantic whirlpool. "Shit! We will not make it!"
The ship groaned as it tried to back away from the whirlpool in their path, but the massive waves continued to push it towards the whirling waters. The currents of the whirlpool caught the struggling ship and started pulling the ship towards its embrace.
"Give me flank speed!" The Captain changed his order. "We try to ride it out by using the currents to fling us out of its area of effect!"
"XO!" The Captain turned his second in command. "Tell the crew to brace for impact!"
"Aye, aye, Sir!" The XO's expression was pale and his voice shook slightly as he made an all ship announcement through the PA system. "A- All Hands! B- Brace for impact! I repeat again! Brace for im- impact!"
The twin smokestacks spewed out black smoke as its boilers when into overdrive. The once reversing propeller screws slowly came to a pause and spun in the opposite direction, spinning faster and faster as the engines were pushed to the max.
Instantly, the Slayer seemed to leap forward in the water, as it rode the currents and the force of the waves. The ship slanted to its port side as it entered into the whirlpool. The waters currents were very strong and the ship caught in the current was already making a loop around the whirlpool.
"Helmsman keep the ship as close to the edge of the whirlpool!" The Captain ordered as held onto the railings and watched the water being sucked into a pitch black hole in the centre of the whirlpool. "Prepare to hard rubber to the starboard! Wait for my command!"
The bridge crew were very tense as they held on tightly to their stations, some praying to their Gods for salvation. The ship had tilted to almost 15 degrees and the only thing that kept it from flipping over was the Slayer's speed had reached almost twice its top speed by the pull of the whirlpool's current.
The helmsman strained hard against the wheel as he tried to angle the ship towards the edge of the whirlpool. The Captain yelled. "Helmsman! Keep her steady!"
"NOW! HARD RUDDER TO THE STARBOARD!"
The helmsman immediately spun the wheel, forcing the ship towards the starboard side. The rudder forced the ship to slant towards the right and suddenly, there was a feeling of lightness as the UNS Slayer was flung out of the water.
Some of the bridge crew screamed in fright and the ship was airborne for a brief couple of seconds before it slammed down back into the rough sea. Instantly, klaxon blared as pipes and other less durable equipment broke onboard on the ship from the force of the landing.
The crew who not strapped down was slammed off their feet, hitting the overhead of the decks and loose items scattered everywhere from the impact. The ship groaned even louder and rolled left and right before it levelled out and continued its way forward.
"Dam- Damage report!" The Captain pulled himself up from where he had fallen. He saw some of his crew laying on puddles of blood and he reached for the intercom. "I need medics on the bridge now!"
Most of the screens on the bridge were down, and even the armoured windows had spider web cracks. A smell of burnt metal was thick in the air and the Captain made his way towards the pilot wheel where the helmsman was laying in a broken heap.
He spun the wheel around, watching the instruments which luckily were not damaged as he plotted a course back out of the End Zone.
Skies over the Old World, Edge of the Sea of Clouds, Border of the Iron Kingdoms
A long billowing net was been stretched out from between two longish airships. Their propellers spun rapidly as the crew on the two airships coordinate with each other and a ground team with a mix of light and flag signals.
The half dozen children and adults on the ground had spread out in a long line as they approached a large patch of blue moss. A flash of a mirror from the airships and the children suddenly burst out in a run, yelling and waving their arms as they rushed towards the blue moss patch.
Startled, the sky fish which feed on the blue moss, took flight into the skies in panic. Silvery scales glittered in the sun as the sky fishes spread their silvery wings and shot into the skies for shelter. Their long fish like slender bodies easily pierce through the air currents and they rose rapidly into the skies while the children panted and yelled beneath them.
Instantly the two airships rapidly swooped into the school of sky fish which was trying to escape the disturbance. The sky fish tried to escape the sudden appearance of the two airships but many were trapped inside the deploy net as they swam through the air in panic.
The children and adults on the ground cheered and waved to the airships as they could see there was a good haul today. Sky fish were known for their delicious fatty meat and sometimes they even have an aetherium crystal inside their bodies!
As the fishermen and their families were pulling in the catch, the sun was blocked out, casting a deep shadow over the two ships now docked side by side. The fishermen looked up and paled in fear as they recognized the bloodred hull of the Protectorate ships.
Dozens of steam harpoons were suddenly fired from the Protectorate ship, those harpoons that hit the sky fisherships, their barbs dug into to wooden hull and dragged the helpless ships over. The frightened fishermen grabbed axes and knives and started to hack and saw at the ropes holding the harpoons, hoping to free themselves.
But it futile as the distance closed, many more harpoons, more accurate than the previous volley slammed into the hulls of the ships. Some even penetrated through bodies, turning the decks slick with blood and gore.
The side hull of the Protectorate ship swung open slowly, large enough to accommodate both the fisherships, dragged both helpless ships and crew into its maw before the hull closed with a clang.
The Innocence, Bridge
"Lord Captain!" A bridge crew stood at attention next to the Innocence's Captain. "We have captured the lawless ships!"
"Judgement be with them!" The Innocence's Captain nodded. "Take everything of use! And... dispose of the... lawless!"
"Judgement be with them!" The crewman saluted and left to carry his orders.
"Lord Inquisitor," The Captain turned to the masked man next to him and spoke in a respectful tone. "Once we resupplied, we can be on our way back to the Capital!"
"Good!" Inquisitor Mathias replied. "We have been away from the Capital for quite some time... I am sure... many are... dying for our return!"
"But..." The Captain had an unhappy expression on his face. "The Sinner has not appeared..."
"We wasted enough time!" Inquisitor Mathias turned to face the Captain. His featureless mask was cold and impassionate. "If they made it through the Sea of Clouds, they would have already rendezvous with us already."
"We can't spend much time here..." Inquisitor Mathias gestured to the land spread out before them. "The Iron Kingdom will send their forces here, once word of our presence here is known."
"I- I understand, my Lord!" The Captain sighed. Already two of his ships had fallen and not to the lawless but to the Sea of Cloud. "May the Judgement find their souls worthy!"
"The Judgement will always be fair!"
The Innocence, Boarding Deck
Paladin Rico broke his steam lance in half as he reloaded. He watched till his steam lance had built up enough steam before he aimed and fired at the helpless fishermen trying to use what scant cover they had on their fishership.
He grimaced as it felt like a massacre, a slaughter, rather than an honourable straight up fight. He felt almost sorry for the poor lawless bastards.
"Paladins!" The Chief suddenly yelled and raised a fist up. "Advance!"
Paladin Rico joined the rest as the half circle of Paladins marched forward. The two fisherships had been grappled and pulled into the Boarding Deck where they both half hung by harpoons ropes.
"Make it fast!" The Chief yelled again. "If you want to have more time with that demi girl!"
The Paladins gave a war cry and they charged, wanting to hurry up and finish this bloody business quickly before rushing to queue up to have some fun with the demi being prisoner they caught.
"Kill the damn lawless!"