Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited


About Rhysing

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    The Line Between Madness and Brilliance
  • Interests
    Story writing, art, and cosplay

Recent Profile Visitors

1,110 profile views
  1. Lich bones. The thought bounced its way around Aldren's head in a harsh echo. What could they possibly need with lich bones? Somehow, this had to do with the Vault. The threads were all there, crossing over one another to make a larger web, she just had to find the right one to follow. Stendhal was a powerful necromancer, and liches were born from necromantic magic, so there was that. Silently, Aldren cursed herself for not studying necromancy more in depth. She'd only ever skimmed over the base ideas or the occasional spell book, having been drawn to other areas of magic, and she'd been too busy hauling ass to intercept the ship they'd just taken to pick up a tome on the subject. She ran a thumb passively over one of the rubies in the hilt of her cutlass, never taking her gaze off the expedition leader. There was more he wasn't telling her, and whatever it was he felt it important enough to be a bargaining chip. "Come now," she began, her timbre almost playful, "I know that councilman bastard entrusted you with a bit more than that. He and I have been at each other's throats for years." Blaine Moreton, Coastal Grande's very own Councilor of War. Aldren was sure he more than despised her, with the amount of times she'd endeavored to derail his plans and inconvenience his day. Sometimes it was because they had opposing interests, other times Aldren did it just to fuck with the man. She took great pleasure from it. One time, she posed as a servant just so she could slip a particularly potent draught of distilled narcissus plant into one of his drinks. She knew it wouldn't kill him, but it made him exceptionally sick for a few days, and at the end of it all she left the bottle and a note for him to find. She liked to take credit for her work. Aldren drew her sword in one fluid motion, placing the point beneath the leader's chin as if to emphasize her words. "I'm also aware that you've been informed of the more sensitive details surrounding this excursion." Really, she didn't, but it wasn't a far leap to assume that if her spy had been able to gather some of the trip's particulars that Moreton must have confided in someone. Servants talk, but they also listen. "So let's strike a bargain, shall we? The prize is i'll allow you and your..." Aldren's eyes briefly glanced down the lineup, "remaining, crew to live. In return, you'll tell me what he divulged to you. All of it." She applied pressure to the sword point, and a drop of blood bloomed where it met his skin. Her voice suddenly took a much lower, predatory tone. "Should you lie to me, and I will know if you lie, I'll ship every damn one of you back to Moreton in pieces."
  2. "How many survivors?" Aldren passively surveyed the deck, littered with fresh bodies and gore. One, whom she thought might have been a middle aged man, lay facedown by her feet. She kicked at him with the toe of her boot, as though he might come alive despite the entrails spilling from his side. "Enough," Scylla replied leisurely, scraping the dried blood from beneath her nails with a small knife. She glanced at Aldren from the corner of her eye. "Though it's rude to strike the dead." "Yeah, well they can take it up with me in hell," she flashed a wicked grin, "but its going to be one long fucking wait." Scylla raised an eyebrow, pocketing her knife. "Because you don't plan to die? or because the line for 'undying vengeance on Aldren' is that substantial?" "Both," she conceded, "and it's Captain Aldren." The shorter woman snorted, "I think the dead would be disinclined to agree. They'd rather call you something more colorful and profane. As would I." "Oh?" Aldren crooned, "and what sort of names would you call me, my sweet?" A new voice cut into the conversation, "As much as I hate to break up your little love affair, might I remind the two of you we just slaughtered an entire ship." Casisth had emerged from below decks, having finished taking stock of supplies. "Your face is covered in blood," he deadpanned, "and you're literally standing over a dead body." "You're hardly qualified to play preacher." Aldren's braid had mostly come undone. The tail was a fringed mess, decently matted with crimson, and large strands of it hung loose around her face. She undid what remained, attempting to comb through it with her fingers. She wasn't sure if this made things better or only served to coat her hair further. "What all did you find?" "Lots. Their cargo hold is fully stocked. Looks like they were planning an inland excursion." "Good, then i'm going to assume we have the right ship." "I hope you knew that before we boarded." Aldren shrugged. "I had a hunch. I received information about the trip, its benefactor, and from where it was departing. Unfortunately, the name of the vessel was not included." "You endangered our lives over a hunch?" "It was a very strong hunch." Casisth shook his head. "I think you're overpaying your spy." "Probably. But all the more incentive to keep their mouth shut." She turned her attention back to Scylla, the three of them having formed a small huddle. "How many of ours did we loose?" "Some newcomers. Navas is already tending the rest of the wounded." Sure enough, Navas, their surgeon, was stitching up a few crew members in one corner of the deck. Scylla had recruited him personally about two years ago, as he was an old friend of hers. That was an investment which had payed off particularly well. "Good," Aldren replied, the safety of her own freed from her mind, "Now to get what we came here for." The surviving victims of Aldren's raid had been swiftly disarmed, restrained, and moved to the center of the deck, where they were being closely monitored at sword point. They looked frightened, in her opinion, and frightened people were easily persuaded. She issued a command to one of her Boatswains, "Line em up." With a nod, the Boatswain communicated the order to the others and pretty soon the pirates had hauled their new found prisoners into a row. Breaking the huddle, Aldren closed the distance in a provoking saunter, the kind that dared them to try to fight back. Casisth and Scylla followed closely behind, relaxed, but carefully monitoring the situation all the same. "So," Aldren began after a brief intermission. She commenced strolling down the line, smiling her shark smile, looking over each of them as if determining her next meal. "Which one of you sorry lot is the captain?" Her eyes glanced over the girl from earlier, the one who told such beautiful stories. "Not you," Aldren determined in passing. She drifted by a man whose eyes appeared luminescent. "Nor you." Suddenly, she stopped, turning on her heel as she found what she what she was looking for. She stared wickedly at the man before her. "You."
  3. There were two kinds of people who made up Aldren's crew. The ones she cared for, and the ones who died. She spun to the side, a bullet whizzing past her head. She hardly broke stride as she raced across the deck, cutlass in her right hand, pistol in her left. Sailing with Aldren meant learn fast or die. It meant being light on your feet, learning to control fear and embrace the weighted dice of fate. Anyone could gamble, but only the clever ones knew how to cheat. The clever ones knew how to survive. The deck had erupted into an anarchic maelstrom, and the deafening roar of a chainsaw only made the wildfire in Aldren's eyes dance to a chaotic crescendo. She shot at whoever had sent the bullet her way, it was only polite to return the favor. Crew members came and went over the years, some joining with bravado and visions of grandeur, only to jump ship with hell-hounds on their heels the very next time they saw land; others met a more decisive end. But the rest, the rare ones whom her eyes strayed upon, who took their first steps onto the deck with such untamed audacity, it was as if the gods themselves had created them for the sole purpose of bringing the brew of anarchy to a boil. Those were the ones Aldren knew would make it aboard the Siren's Song. Those were the ones like her. The clever ones. The slightly unhinged ones. In one fluid motion she slid a foot back and pivoted on the other, slashing at the person who had charged her from behind. Her victim stumbled back from the force of her blow, blood droplets spraying like shimmering red stardust against a gruesome backdrop, and fell to their knees. Aldren barely noticed the blood that had splattered across her cheek, her face, didn't particularly care either. Conflict made her ruthless, conflict made her feel alive, electrified. It consumed her, and It's all she felt as she whirled back around to continue on her path of destruction, her opponent left to bleed their life into the boards. Another soul claimed. Those clever ones, who'd proven themselves countlessly, surrounded her now, a tangled uneven net fighting with elation equal to her own. It's how they'd survived in the beginning, and it's how they continued to. They knew to stay near to one another, to her. Unskilled stragglers were easy to overwhelm and pick off, but as long as they kept proximity, bunching together and spreading apart like waves, pulsating like a heart, they could be nigh unstoppable. Nothing works like the buddy-system.
  4. The opposing ship's stern loomed in front of them, and If they hadn't already been spotted, they would be any second. It may have been dark, but a pirate ship couldn't exactly go unnoticed. Aldren crouched on the yard above the mainsail, keeping a firm grip on one of the ropes they had dangled from the pole above. She'd rather not break a leg before she had the opportunity to see some heads roll. Anticipation toiled away in her gut, setting her nerves alight with a deadly spark, a spark that had become more addictive than any drug or drink. But this time felt different, Aldren knew it was different, because this was it. This was her shot at freedom, to sever her bindings and start living for herself again. It was the first hope she'd had in a long time, one of the few theories she hadn't been able to test. She'd be dammed if she let it sail away into the night. Once centered with the other ship, Aldren reached down that invisible magic tether, feeling the sea’s restless energy on the other end. She beckoned to it like an old friend or a lover, listening with amusement to the familiar song that answered. She sensed the subtle change below the ship like an extension of her own body, as the waves became a cradle rather than a riptide, steadying them to a gentle rock. Pushing that thought to the back of her mind, Aldren raised a hand, signaling in a flicking gesture to the remainder of her crew below. She could make out movement on the deck and a moment later grapples had been tossed onto the stern, pulling taught against the back rail. Just in case she lost focus. She stood, moving her braid to hang down her back. Behind her, Scylla was also standing, and with ardent eyes nodded her assurance. Wrapping her hand tight around the rope, Aldren pushed off the yard and swung across, weightless for a moment before dropping near soundlessly onto the other ship’s poop deck. Scylla appeared at her side a moment later, Aldren never having heard her. As far as she could tell, no alarm had been raised, which meant they had to dispose of the pilot on night duty before the rest of her crew boarded. It seemed they still had the element of surprise after all. She kept her steps light, careful to minimize any creaking the boards might make as she moved quickly and quietly down to the quarterdeck, Scylla watching above. Before her was the helm, and at the helm was the unfortunate soul who would become first blood. He was tall, his blonde hair tied back, and totally unaware of Aldren. He leaned against the ship wheel, apparently entranced by the rhythmic feminine voice floating up from the main deck, reciting some kind of story. There was that spark again, rapidly building. Thunder in her bones. Lighting in her blood. Keeping her body low to the deck, Aldren drew her sword and lunged forward. She took him by surprise, one hand clenched over his mouth and her blade at his throat as she dragged him back and out of the sight of the opposing crew. He let out a muffled cry, one she swiftly silenced. He struggled against her firm grip, but went limp within seconds, unconscious and soon to be dead. Taking his weight, she cautiously lowered his body to the floor, keeping herself as free of blood as possible. She signaled to Scylla on the deck above, and the shifter disappeared to the back. Aldren could feel the moment he died. She felt his life flicker out and his soul being pilfered as she cleaned her blade on a dead man's clothes. It was an eerie sensation, a crisp wind across bare skin, icy claws dragging down her spine. She cursed the demon for the ten thousandth time, and she would likely curse it ten thousand more before this was over. But maybe not. Maybe her theory would work. It had to work, otherwise this would all be for nothing. The girl was still telling her story, continuing on despite the death of her crew mate. She had no idea that her words were weaving a cover better than any darkness or shadow. The cover of distraction. The cover of entrancement. Stare at the sun and you'll go blind, after all. She smiled at that, listening while she had the opportunity, albeit brief. In minutes Aldren's crew had swung aboard, Casisth bringing up the rear, leaving only a small portion to stay behind. Now for the fun to begin. She scanned them briefly in the dim lantern light as they gathered around her, ready to change into the fight, before turning on her heel to walk to the quarterdeck railing. She leaned over it, picking out the girl almost immediately, and smirked to herself. The hiding part was over. "That's a lovely story you've been telling," She called, tone somewhere between flirty and mercilessly taunting, "It's a shame it's going to get you all killed."
  5. The Siren's Song cut soundlessly through blackened waters, no more than a wraith in the darkness. Hunting, Hungry, Out for blood. The lamps had been doused and the sails raised, allowing the ship's dark hull to blend into the vast inseparable expanse of sea and sky, nearly invisible. There was no wind, and only the steady slosh of waves and gentle creak of boards dulled the encompassing silence. But despite the night's stillness, the Siren's crew was very much awake, moving across the deck with purpose. They flitted like shadows, dressed in black, seeing by nothing but the waning moonlight and the blades which gleamed beneath it Aldren's magic surged through the water, propelling their vessel toward the distant flickering of lanterns. There was life floating on the seas, less than a league away now, and they had no idea they were being pursued. She twisted one of the silver rings on her fingers, staring out at their conquest. She'd first heard of the totems years ago, though they'd meant nothing to her at the time. But now? Now it meant everything. Aldren turned on her heel, surveying the activity on the deck. Weapons were being handed out, ammunition stored in pouches and pockets, and as was customary, bets made. She overheard Illbryn boasting that he would dismount in a flip from the ropes to Kerthal, who struggled to hold in a laugh in response. Out of the corner of her eye she caught Casisth, her roguish Quartermaster, descending the main mast and making his way toward her. He crossed to her with long easy strides, lips uptitled in a lazy smile and hands tucked in the pockets of his trench coat. "I don't see anything notable about the ship," he reported comfortably, scratching at the scruff on his jaw, "Seems pretty standard, albeit flashy. They likely have defenses on board, possibly some canons, and I can make out a few crew members above decks, the poor bastards who got stuck with night duty. Other than that it's too dark," He paused, allowing her to consider the information, "Should we send Scylla?" She shook her head, "That won't be necessary." Even though the odds were she wouldn't be spotted, Aldren thought a bird perched on one of the yards might seem blatantly odd this far from land. Besides, Casisth's information was helpful enough. "What's not necessary?" Casisth nearly jumped out of his skin at the smooth questioning voice, whirling around to face its source. Scylla was standing with them now, having executed her typical noiseless approach. She was Aldren's First Mate and secret weapon, cat-like in her movements and possessing a subtle predatory nature that could put the crew on edge when awakened. "Sending your feathered ass over to that ship," Aldren teased. Scylla rolled her eyes, but smiled none the less. "The crew's all ready," she announced, tucking a piece of short dark hair behind her ear, "shall we prepare to broadside?" "I don't recommend," Casisth chimed, green eyes thoughtful, "We don't know what weapons they have, and it'd be a shame to sink our ship before the adventure even starts." "Ay," Aldren agreed, "We'll maneuver so our port side faces their stern and swing aboard that way." Scylla raised an eyebrow. "It'll be tricky, we'll have to climb onto the yards to make up the height difference and be sure to keep the ship in place, but it could work. We'll certainly be harder to see, and harder to hit." "I can keep the ship steady," Aldren concluded, a smirk finding its way onto her face, "Tell the crew to get climbing."
  6. If noble house intrigue type of roleplay is of any interest to you let me know. I'm in the midst of setting up a noble house in ursa madeum

    1. Rhysing


      Reading up on it I'm definitely interested, I'd love to get some more info 

    2. supernal


      The short of it is I’m particularly interested in finding players who want to take up one of the listed names / roles, if any intrigue



  7. He could ask Aldren to toss her sword away all he liked, it wouldn't matter. She'd dropped it in the ocean about a dozen times since making the deal in an attempt to rid herself of it, but the damned thing always found its way back to her, appearing at her side. At least it was reliable, always good in a tight situation. She turned, leaning back against her desk and crossing her arms. "You really don't know a damn thing about me, do you?" If he had he wouldn't have knocked out her window, giving her a solid connection to the sea. She could practically feel it at her fingertips, churning beneath the ship, sending a sudden spark through her veins. Magic and swordplay, those had been the prime of what Aldren had spent the last six years studying. She'd sailed the world, searching for ancient scripts, spells long forgotten, even venturing inland a time or two to converse with masters of the art. Magic had called to her long before the sea had, a wild and untamable force. It was the one thing she had excelled at in school, and the foremost of what she excelled at now. In a sense, he had handed her access to her most dangerous weapon. She curled her fingers, meeting with a familiar magical tug, as if the ocean were her marionette and she its puppeteer, though never its master. One can not master the tides or reign over the sea like a tyrant, it was the first lesson Rolfe taught her about his magic. Because the sea is a force of nature, wild and alive, offering freedom and escape for those daring enough to brave its storms and ride its crashing waves, but attempt to rule it, to break and tame it, and you'll find yourself a watery grave. So she took all that he offered her, learned to bargain with and befriend the sea, and in return it became her willing weapon. "And i'm willing to bet my left arm you don't know a bloody thing about seafare either," she moved a hand to her hip, the other placed on the desk, "so let me lay it out for you, asshat. As my ship sails, we're at least a week away from land in any given direction, if not more, so you can forget about rowing to freedom, because if the monstrous sea life doesn't pick you off, then the storms will sink you, and if they don't, then your water will run dry, you'll go mad from heat, and die from dehydration. Any way you look at it, supply laden or not, you will die out there, and your body will become shark bait or a feast for starving seagulls." She conveniently left out the part were as soon as he was far enough, she would crush his boat beneath the sea's grip, grenade or no. "So really, if you're hoping to make it out of this alive, your best, and only, chance is with me," she flashed a cruel smile, "isn't irony a bitch." She didn't want to kill him, yet, but she wasn't about to have him walk away thinking he'd won. It didn't matter if he held the trigger for the hour and a half to two hours it would take the merchant ship to sail his demanded distance, because her ship was simply faster. Most merchant vessels typically sailed at around four knots, with a top speed of eight, but the Siren's Song was no ordinary ship. On its own, it could reach about ten, maybe eleven knots by Aldren's estimations, but she could get that number higher with a bit of magical interference. She could catch up to them in about, oh, three hours? So let him think he'd bested her for now, she'd lure him into a sense of victory before tearing that ship apart before his very eyes. Aldren picked up a large rolled up piece of parchment from her desk and held it out too him. "You're welcome to check the charts if you don't believe me, but regardless, I think i'll keep my weapons, make you think before doing anything else stupid." There was a knock on the door and a moment later Casisth entered, the uproar from above decks filtering in with his arrival. "Ready to cross, Captain." Aldren may have been out of her mind, but she wasn't an idiot. The exchange had to be made carefully, and she wasn't about to give the mercenary any extra breathing room. She drew her cutlass, gesturing to the blond, "Then grab this dickweed and escort him to the quarterdeck," She turned her attention back to him, "And I suggest you be compliant, I've got your Prescott up there with a blade to his jugular and about a dozen guns trained on him. As for the other one, Milton was it? Judging by that ruckus his blood could be soaking into the floorboards as we speak." Casisth's own sword was out as he went to stand behind the mercenary, jabbing him in the back as a warning. And with that, Aldren lead the way, swaggering all the while.
  8. So I was reading one of your posts and saw your signature - more a fan of Shakespeare or of Westworld?!

    1. Rhysing


      Shakespeare! I thoroughly enjoy his works and hope to read them all in time, and though I've never seen Westworld I do plan to watch it one day as well

  9. Aldren studied the elven girl before her with clever eyes, keeping her expression a careful neutral. She was small, much smaller than herself, and had to be at least a couple years younger, but Aldren noted some strength in her physique. This was admittedly a strange encounter, and given how sincere she seemed in her enthusiastic behavior, Aldren could guess that the girl had no idea that the real danger was not the slobbering lizards, but rather the woman beside her. Speaking of lizards, they were making an awful racket, screeching and snapping at Scylla and the other stranger, Lorial, who had joined the skirmish; but that was all the better for Aldren. They couldn't be too far from the shore, and by extension, her crew, who would no doubt hear the ruckus and come to investigate. Casisth would drag their asses if he had too. With just that information tucked away, Aldren felt she had the upper hand, though she would test the waters with caution. While the blonde appeared relatively harmless, this Lorial did not. The girl had claimed she once killed a dragon, though Aldren was willing to call bullshit on that. She'd been to DragonSoul Summit, seen the winged beasts herself, and even she could not imagine bringing down one of the towering creatures alone. Regardless, Aldren could sense the magic within them, feel the strings of it tying them to one another, strong enough to put her on guard and have her own magic at the ready. But for now, she watched as this Lorial tore through the lizards with an animalistic ferocity, right at home with Scylla's current state, her red eyes flashing and.... were those fangs? Not human, not elven, but something other. Perhaps she was like Scylla, or perhaps she was something else entirely. A wild card placed upon the table, face hidden, carrying with it the potential to change the game entirely or to fall back into the deck. Gambles were only whatever one made of them after all. Risk and reward. So how would Aldren play this round?
  10. I enjoy your writing. Keep up the excellent work.

    1. supernal



    2. Rhysing


      Thank you! ?


  11. Aldren should have been angry. She should have been furious. She smiled, a slow, creeping expression. No malice, no hidden agenda. Just a smile. She remained otherwise unruffled, pouring herself another drink. The mercenary was growing on her. He was ballsy, persistent, and perhaps a bit cocky. But so was she. In another life they might have been friends, or maybe they would be at each other's throats in a bar fight, likely both. This was exactly the sort of half-cocked, harebrained, power-move she should have expected. A maneuver to shift the tides in their favor. Admittedly, she would have done something similar if put in their position. Come to think of it, she had done something similar once, only she had thought it through. The mercenary clearly hadn't, but Aldren could work with that. If he detonated the grenade now, it would kill them all and sink Aldren to the sea floor, but it would likely take out part of their own ship as well, dual suicide. The thing was, they didn't have anything to loose. Aldren had threatened them, she had them at her mercy otherwise, so no, she didn't believe he was bluffing. She could cut his hand off. No, that wouldn't work either. The amount of pressure needed to keep them all from being blood splatters and bone shards wouldn't be present once the limb was severed. Not on it's own anyways. She filed it away as a circumstantial answer. Her thoughts zipped by like gunshots in her mind. Racing in rapid succession, analyzing the problem, searching for a solution. The truth was, she was enjoying this exchange. She couldn't remember the last time easy marks had fought back, not like this. It was refreshing, adding fuel to the fire in her eyes, raising the stakes of a once harmless gamble into a risk-it-all affair; Just the way she liked them. But there was the matter of her crew. Scylla would follow whatever Aldren decided, mirror her movements in accordance to what was necessary, but Casisth was a different story. He was a predictable wild card, a contradiction in itself. He was Aldren's echo, performing a distorted dance out of sync with her own. She could envision his steps because she had laid the groundwork, but the acts themselves were his own, and Aldren could not predict those. So if she attempted one of her outrageous coups, endeavored to tip the scale back in her favor, she didn't know how it would play out. But that was precisely what brought her plans together with such terrifying effectiveness. She left each piece to pivot on its own and act according to their own logic while she orchestrated the affair. Aldren created the outline, tailoring it with dependance upon her knowledge of the individuals involved, and let them fill in the rest. It was insane, Rolfe had always told her as much, but it worked astoundingly. The only complication, at least in this moment, was that Aldren couldn't think of an immediate solution for the explosive issue she had been presented with. It looked as if she were in this for the long haul then, which meant taking the boring route to success. Cat and mouse. "Finally!" She exclaimed, "Some balls! And It's about fucking time. Sniveling and begging gets so exasperating." She shook her head. "Truly, you know the way to my heart." It was half a taunt. Acting had always been her saving grace, concealing her plans, tricking the mind, there when she needed an escape. Without it, she would have been dead long ago. "Too bad, this situation that we find ourselves in. I think we're far more alike then you'd care to admit, mercenary." Her smile faded a bit, a diminished sigh escaping her lips, "But unfortunately, you've just cost me one hell of a payday." Aldren's attention did not falter from him, or more precisely, the grenade which he held. "Scylla, Casisth," she ordered her Seconds, "Please escort our guests back to their vessel. It seems they have overstayed their welcome. This one doesn't leave my sight."
  12. If Aldren was being honest, she wasn't here to negotiate. She would take what she wanted, and she didn't mind bleeding for it. But it didn't mean she couldn't put on a good show first. Wordlessly, she poured a second glass and slid it to the mercenary, just to humor him. It didn't match her own, and she remembered fondly how the twin cup had met its end; shattered as she carved out someone's eye with it. That had been a rather long day. She allowed the silence to drag on, taking a lengthy sip from her drink. Silence put people on edge, it made them feel uncomfortable, isolated, and vulnerable. It was as much a weapon to be wielded as her swords or magic, and could be used to gain the upper hand in confrontations such as these. She finished her glass, turning it over in her hand. "Do you know how I got my name, Captain?" The words flowed off her tongue with ease, totally comfortable, completely in her element, "I'm sure you've heard the stories, the tale is never told the same way twice, not that it matters. In the end, they all center around a single thing," She set down the glass, "Blood." Aldren smirked at that, picking up on their fear like a hound on a scent, and placed both hands on the desk, leaning slightly over it. Her eyes were fervent storms, swirling with sadistic delight, alight with vicious pleasure. She would never tire of it, this feeling. It was intoxicating to her, knowing that she held their lives in her hand, hers to take or to spare. She wasn't necessarily proud of it, didn't know where it placed her on the lines of morality, but she'd stopped caring years ago. Perhaps it was a side effect of that infernal creature. Or perhaps it was entirely hers. That didn't bother her like it should have. For now, it was irrelevant, thoughts best saved for nights when she was drunk and alone and wouldn't remember them come morning light. For now, she was here, in this room. A shark in the water. The harbinger of endings. Aldren moved her hair to drape over her shoulder, a casual gesture, but a reminder none the less. "I'm not in the habit of haggling, you see. If I want something, I take it," she continued, shrugging, "If someone gets in my way, I kill them." She straightened her spine, standing at her full height, and her voice suddenly took on a malefic tone. "So not only will I be taking all your cargo, I'll be taking half your crew as well." Serpent, Rolfe had once called her a serpent. Evil, cunning, venomous. Cruel because she could be, cruel because nobody could tell her not to be. "And because I'm a bitch, I'll let you decide who you hand over to me, Captain. You get to decide their fate. Who is worthy enough to live, and who gets to meet death at my blade." Half would be more than enough to pay the demon, keep it quiet and fed for a long while. Blood and souls were a currency now, something Aldren had to pay to keep what Rolfe had suffered to create, what he'd died for and she'd inherited. Like a gruesome taxes, if taxes leeched off her mind every time it got hungry. "But don't worry," She simpered, "Your ship I'll leave intact. Someone has to tell their families how they died." These men had families. Aldren didn't care. The descent to hell was an easy thing for her, because she walked the path for those she loved.
  13. Aldren hadn't run this fast in a long time. She could take on any man without much trouble, but beasts were another story. They didn't think like people, they didn't move like people, and they certainly didn't fight or attack like people, which meant Aldren's swordsmanship was only worth so much in this moment. Fortunately, that's why she had Scylla. Scylla, her tracker, her hunter, her shifter, who knew of beasts across the world, who had pursued them with such success because she herself could become them. But Scylla's shifting abilities were limited, and Aldren was certain she couldn't turn into whatever the thing was that was chasing after them. But she could turn into something equally dangerous. They approached a break in the foliage, and Aldren could already feel the change that had overcome her first mate, a sort of predatory nature that always set her entire crew on edge. Aldren grasped a low hanging tree branch, using momentum and strength to swing herself up and away from immediate danger as Scylla leaped into the small clearing, no longer human. The form she had taken was one of her favorites. Before Aldren's eyes towered one of Morgana's feared sand lions, the city from which Scylla hailed. She was massive, all lean muscle and raw power, lion-like body reaching to Aldren's elbow, and her head taller than that. Her slick fur was sand colored with faint striping, perfect for blending into the dunes. And she was absolutely terrifying. The reptilian creature came to a stop before her, and Scylla stared it down with those glowing amber eyes, growled at it with raised hackles, exposing canines twice the size and length of Aldren's fingers. The creature hissed right back, crouching low before launching at her. Scylla sprung to the side, out of the line of attack, before pivoting and lunging into its side. She tackled it, the force of her weight pinning it to the ground and razor sharp claws tearing through it's scaled hide. The creature writhed beneath her, snapping with teeth and kicking out with its legs until a blow finally connected, sending Scylla tumbling away. She quickly found her feet again, looking to continue the onslaught.
  14. The old man was either very brave, or very stupid. Aldren was inclined to believe it a mixture of the two. She wanted to laugh, had been attempting to hold it in all the while he'd been plowing through his little speech. Attempting, and at last failing. She threw her head back, the mad howling sound bursting forth from her like a dam, her crew (Casisth and Scylla included) joining with roars of their own, as though Aldren had broken the spell the other captain had cast. The merchant crew, however, seemed quite unsettled by the display. This fool had attempted to give her orders, as if she were some common sailor, as if she hadn't slaughtered dozens just like him, as if doing so weren't a death sentence. She had grown up under the thumbs of powerful men, under governments and educators who sought to rid her of her spirited nature, who had tried to force her into a mold of obedience and formality, their perfect docile soldier. The day she took orders from any man would be the day they cast her lifeless body to the sea. She at last recovered her composure, falling back into her natural state of poised self-assurance, the laughter of her crew slowly dying around her. During the captain's speech she had taken the time to observe the scene before her, now her eyes lazily examined the two he had elected to bring with him, roving over them like prey rather than people. The first was clearly a mercenary. It was evident if not by his well kept physique, then by the way he held himself, tall, proud, and arrogant, a smile playing on his lips and danger glinting in those blue eyes. Blue eyes that were practically drooling over her. Oh, Aldren liked him, but she figured she'd like him just the same if he were dead. Perhaps she'd give Scylla the honors, or maybe she'd dump him on an island somewhere when this was all over. The second looked ready to faint. He was Aldren's height, possibly a tad shorter, and had gone pale as a sheet. He was right to be afraid, of course, but that only distinguished him as an easy target. His newly white complexion was stark against the blood smeared across his face. So the fight had been with the mercenary, given the blood on the other's knuckles. Unwise of the captain to pair them together. Aldren's lips twisted into a smirk, dark eyes narrowing in on him, immediately marking him for death. Oh how the demon would love to torment him, hear his screams, feast on every drop of pain and fear before finally devouring his soul. Maybe then Aldren could get some damn sleep. Her eyes at last rested on the captain. He knew very well who she was. He stood there with his arms crossed, chin jutting upward, as if he were trying to look down his nose at her while staring with such defiance. Trying to both intimidate her and hide his own fear. It was a move Aldren was well aquatinted with, but whether her victims started frightened of her or not, they always parted terrified. That is, if they parted alive. She tapped a ringed finger against her sword hilt, noting the other captain wore a similar one. So a married man then. A year ago it wouldn't have bothered her, it wouldn't have mattered at all, they all bled the same anyways. But feeling Scylla's presence at her side, Scylla, living, breathing, having narrowly escaped death's hand, it unsettled her slightly. She knew she hadn't shown it, she never did, but Scylla seemed to sense it anyways. Her hand brushed against Aldren's in a minor comfort as she went to adjust the rifle strap slung over her shoulder. Fine. Fine, she'd grant his request. A kindness, a second consideration before killing him. To his lover, to his kids if he had any. "Welcome aboard the Siren's Song," She flashed a cruel, bloodthirsty smile, "You likely won't be leaving." Turning on her heel, hair whipping in the wind, she didn't wait for them as she lead the way to her quarters, Scylla and Casisth stopping to flank the entrance. They would enter after their guests. It was a spacious room, or at least it had been when it belonged to Rolfe. It seemed smaller since Aldren had filled it with her things, which were scattered messily throughout. Not that she cared, it was mostly treasure anyways. A small fortune, and a fraction compared to what she had amassed, hidden away in troves and trusted to banks across every continent, under various names of course. But what was present was spelled with protections, so if any of the boarding crew attempted to take, or even touch with ill-intent, (namely the mercenary), then they would find themselves a most painful, burning ending. What wasn't piled high with gold or strewn with discarded clothes was rather immaculate. Rich polished wood gave the room a warm feeling, with red curtains pulled back from the towering windows to let in light, casting the space in a golden glow. Aldren took her place behind the large desk, intricately carved with sea creatures of legend and pirate lore. She didn't bother to sit, didn't particularly care to, only poured herself a glass of rum and waited for negotiations to begin.
  15. "They're parlaying," Casisth, her Quartermaster, commented, a telescope held up to one eye. He was tall, nearly six inches taller than Aldren (who was by no means short), with a lithe frame and messy black hair. "It looks like they have mercenaries aboard," he stifled a laugh, "Even the crew is trying to look intimidating." Casisth was like family to Aldren, a soul kin to her own, and though she'd known him longer than Scylla, she had her reasons not to elect him first mate. He may chase after adventure and freedom as Aldren did, but he did not dance with madness, insanity, whatever it was she had come to know, he never taught himself the movements, but Scylla did. Scylla, whom she'd rescued from a slaver's ship three years ago, whom she'd granted freedom, who had chosen to stay. Not because she'd dreamed of the sea, far from it in fact, but because she'd seen what lay in Aldren's eyes. A look of wild abandon, the eyes of an untamable soul, one who would scream with joy into the storm, who would revel in it with delight, if only to feel the crackle of lightning on their skin, the thunder in their bones. Scylla had wanted that, to taste it for herself, or at least that was what she had told Aldren. So while Aldren trusted Casisth with her life, she trusted Scylla with her soul, and with her heart, and with everything that she was. That they were. Together. "A bit of fire in them," Aldren applauded, "all the better to extinguish." She unscrewed the flask she kept, tipping back a portion of its contents to silence the rising headache, the side effects that came with it. Fucking demon. "Ready the crew, prepare to board." Casisth collapsed his telescope, strutting off to do just that. How Aldren would love to tear them apart, if only for the hell of it. Sink their ship to the depths. A song sang in her blood, full of energy and fervor, Ship-Wrecker, it chanted, Ship-Wrecker, her name before the Red. "Do you truly despise me so? I who granted you power?" Purred the voice. It echoed in her mind, heard to no one but herself. Speaking of side effects. "The power I have I took for myself," Aldren hissed. "You have granted me nothing but misery." The ship seemed to shift beneath her. "Misery," it mused, "You know nothing of misery," The shadow from the Mast seemed to stretch across the deck, taking form in sinister claws, reaching to where Scylla stood at the ship's head. "But I can show you~" "Enough." She blinked and it was gone, as though it had never even been there. Because it hadn't. "I've grown hungry, red one, and I do not offer service without cost. Be generous with your blade, or I'll find other ways to feast." Aldren's hand drifted to her sword's hilt. "Touch her, touch any of them, and I will plunge into whatever abyssal pit you slithered out of and rip your fucking throat out you murderous bastard." It only laughed in response, a wicked sound. "Indeed, it is not I who is stained with blood." It went quiet after that. "Captain!" Called Casisth, "The gangplank is ready and we're prepared to board!" They had drawn up beside the merchant ship. Aldren let the previous interaction fall away, relaxing her grip on the hilt and gracing her features with another of her unsettling smirks. There would be other times to deal with that creature. For now she took that anger and shoved it down, tossing it to the roiling sea inside of her, ready to be drawn up and used at a moments notice. She traveled the deck with long proud strides, hips swaying, confidence saturating her every movement, and went to stand before the crossing point, first mate and Quartermaster on either side of her. And as the gangplank was lowered, Aldren the Red stared on like a wildfire, ready to decimate everything in her path.
  • Create New...