by Max Barry

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Region: Skyreach

Attack of The Phantom

The waters of the sea, alongside the fog, were cut as a combination of steam-driven and metal ships plowed through the thick soup. The ships flew the flag of the well-known Grey Empire, which had previously ruled over much of Skyreach. On the bridge of the lead vessel, a stoic man dressed in the common robes of a Grey Empire captain stood, gleaming into the fog with a suspicious look. His thoughts were interrupted as the firstmate stepped into the bridge.

"Sire, the crow's nest can't see anything. Our spyglasses see only more fog, and or cartographer can't pinpoint our exact location, though we presume we've somehow ended up in or near the eastern corner of Skyreach."

The captain nodded grimly as he turned his attention back to the grey mist that consumed the enviroment. The firstmate spoke again.

"Most of the crew, meaning i as well, suggest we be wary. With us floating around in this fog, the convoy'd be an all too easy target for pirates."

The captain glanced over at the firstmate with a disregarding look. "Pirates, is that so? Have no fear, mister Gunn, the convoy's sailors may be afraid, but we have been tasked with protecting them, and we are heavily armed. I severly doubt that there would be any pirates stupid enough to attempt to sieze us. Nonetheless, the only pirate haven that we could possibly near would be the rats and villans of the Broken Coast. Damned may they forever be."

As the captain finished, he and the firstmate moved onto the deck of the ship, feeling the spray of seawater and wind in their faces. "That may be true sir, but it's a sign of bad luck, sitting in this fog."

Just as the captain was about to retort, a distant boom could be heard. "Huh, what's that sound?"

As if on que, a huge splash of water came from the bow of the ship, covering both the firstmate and the captain in the salty water. The captain now realized what danger they were in and began shouting while running back to the bridge. "Cannon fire! Return fire!"

Several other booms occured, this time much louder. The crew of the guarding warship roused themselves as several shells flew right over them. Alarm bells were rang as the entire convoy seemed to spring to life. Shouting could be heard as the merchant warship returned fire in the general direction of the shells. BOOM. Another shell came flying towards the warship, and the captain grabbed hold of the wheel. "BRACE!"

Seconds later, the shell impacted the bow of the ship, causing a tremendous explosion that rocked the ship heavily. Grunting, the captain looked to the starboard side of the ship, and saw his entire life flash infront of him. Moments later, the bridge blew up as the warship started sinking, forcing the convoy to split in all directions.


"COME ON, YOU AFTSAILED MONKEYS! SEND 'EM TO THE DEPTHS!" Cheers echoed from the pirate crew as Pirate Lord Hilther Barbarossa barked orders at them.

BOOM. The bow cannon of the Broken Coast ship fired again, hitting a merchant steam-vessel and causing it to explode. The ship turned to starboard, letting their side run alongside the convoy that now desperatly tried to turn tail and flee. Barbarossa roared again. "Target the water-line! Incapacitate and board, we only need one today, lads. Fire!"

As the words left his lips, the turrets of the battleship unleashed a deadly broadside, impacting many of the Grey Empire ships and causing a chain reaction of explosions due to the boats being too close to eachother. Smoke rose up into the skies as fires erupted, sailors abandoned their posts and lept into the freezing waters. Taking out his spyglass, Barbarossa used it to examine the sinking ships, and saw one straggler, dipping dangerously low in the water, attempting to pull out.

"There's a survivor there, you blidgerats. Pull alongside and prepare to board!" His orders were met with a row of "aye aye". As the ships were board-to-board, Barbarossa stepped out of the bridge and walked down onto the deck alongside the boarding crew.

"Khoeler and Twig, to the cargo-hold and their armory. The rest of you despicable mongrels, kill 'em all!"

As orders were given, hooks were thrown to the other ships, attaching themselves to railings and other object capable of supporting them. Roars and taunts were shouted by the buccaneer crew, while the merchants came onto their deck with spears and guns, attempting to put up a brave face. The signature bonk metal hitting eachother sounded, and the pirates lept upon the merchant deck. Clings of swords hitting eachother filled the air as shouts and screams echoed into the vast ocean.

The Pirate Lord watched with satisfaction as the merchant were slowly cut down and as his crew spread everywhere on the ship. Once the last defender had fallen or surrendered, Barbarossa stepped aboard, walking ontop of the dead bodies and showing no respect. He eventually came upon the cargo-hold. Inside stood crates, barrels and chests. The crewmate Twig had already opened up a few barrels, revealing exotic goods such as sugar, spice and other items. Though the thing that seemed to interest Barbarossa most was a stone chest, tied down with chains. Infront of it lay the captain of the merchant vessel, he seemingly died attempting to protect the chest. Stepping over the body, the Pirate Lord undid the chains as more of his crewmembers arrived in the hold and began moving the cargo over to their ships.

At last, the last chain went undid itself, and Barabarossa shoved the stone lid off. Inside the chest was hundreds of what looked like gold medallions stacked up to the top. The Pirate Lord took up one and examined it. In the middle, a skull was engraved, while the surroundings were inscripted with tiny letters that the buccaneer couldn't quite read. Clutching it in his hand, he pushed the lid back on and motioned for some crew.

"Take this chest to me quarters. I wish to inspect them more thorougly." His request was met with nods as the crew carried out the heavy stone chest and the rest of the cargo. Once the rest of the crew had returned to their own ship, Barbarossa took forth his pistol and layed his pistol's ignition hammer next to a trail of gunpowder and pulled the trigger, causing the powder to ignite and burn the trail.

The pirates quickly pulled away, and as they disappeared back into the fog of whence the came, the merchant vessel blew up, sending a giant plume of smoke into the air as the wreck started sinking amongst the rest of the convoy.