The Wormwood Mutiny

KF: Aboard The Coral Raider: Part 1

Keane awoke in a gently-rocking room, dimly lit by the sun, making its way in through the window. The smell of salty air and the sound of creaking wood only confirmed he was still at sea. Suddenly, he felt pain. His legs ached as his arms and chest stung, and his hands and face burned. He rested his eyes down to his body to see red-stained bandages. That’s when he remembered. This was not the ship he boarded at port. He had a feeling he knew where he was. What he wasn’t sure about was why he was still alive.

The last thing he was able to recall could have been days ago. There’s no way to tell. He was standing in smoke on the deck of a merchant ship, his old captain dead on the ground, maybe ten feet from him. Other crew lied scattered around him, dead. The smell of black power and blood almost masked the salty air of the ocean.

The ship was only just attacked, but it all happened in mere minutes. The eleven-year-old sailor had been below deck, repairing regular damage, when he heard the first cannon fire. At that point, he dashed to the closest window, seeing the pirate vessel closing in. Almost immediately, the invading crew had come aboard, swords drawn. These were veteran raiders. Keane grabbed his hammer and ran to the deck. With his hammer, young Keane bashed in the skull of the first man he saw and grabbed his sword. This is where he was noticed.

Keane withdrew up the stairs and up to the helm, being perused by another pirate. This one engaged Keane, cutting at his left arm, and then his left left. He was toying with the kid, but he was reckless. He underestimated the child, and soon Keane’s blade went through his right arm, and the man immediately dropped his weapon. Even with his injury, the man was able to fight off Keane a little, mostly using his size to his advantage. Finally, the lad was able to maneuver his blade around and into the man’s neck. Blood sprayed and Keane held his stance, not even blinking, his hands on the sword and the sword in the flesh. He felt a rush of power, and his eyes widened.

In the corner of his eye, he could see another man aiming his pistol through the smoke. Keane let go of the weapon, and threw himself behind the wheel. The impact of the missile was evident and splintering wood flew in many directions. On his belly, he crawled to the bow of the ship, looking for something to defend himself with. Another gunshot hit even closer than the last. A sudden stinging strike came from his side. He realized that a portion of wooden shrapnel had hit him. He made it to the What he found was a boarding axe.

He made his way to his feet, and two more goons were coming at him. He ran, away from the helm, down the stairs, and back on the man deck, the two men following him all of the way. He turned and threw the boarding axe at one of his pursuers, but the man avoiding the weapon with ease. He ran until he saw his captain, dead on the deck. He grabbed a splintered board from off the ground and prepared to embrace the pirates. The first one hit him with a club, knocking him to the ground. He felt an incredible pain in his chest, but he did not let go of his weapon. He could see the men standing over him. With his right hand, he drove the board into of the pirates’ chest, blood raining on his weakened body. First it went red, then black.

That is the last thing he was able to remember. Now, he is bandaged, lying in a crude cot, still the most comfortable bed he’s had in months, and some how, not dead. Probably. This is where he heard footsteps, loud ones, from someone who must walk with power. They were getting closer, coming from behind that door, the only exit to this room. Keane tried to jump up and prepare to defend himself, but he was too sore. He was unable to move more than a few inches. In his struggling, he managed to tear open at least one of his wounds. He cried in pain, though he tried as hard as he could to muffle to sound. The feet were just outside the door, and the door hinged open, a large man behind it.

He was at least six feet in height. He had tan skin, scarred and marked with ink. His face was formed from detailed lines and prominent bones, almost like a range of mountains and valleys. His eyes were dark and still. He wore his hair up in some kind of careful knot behind his head. He wore simple clothing, all under his long coat and bared three swords at his waist, each of a different size.

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