Chapter 18 - It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's...Miles and Miles of Seaweed???

Note: The Role of Dungeon Master will now be played by Troy.

After days of uneventful travel, the only real danger perceived by the crew and passengers of the Sea Wyvern was the threat of boredom. However, as Captain Amella pointed out, “Any uneventful voyage is a successful voyage,” and none could argue.

However, their good fortune was not to last.

Saris awoke at exactly the same time as Amella. He had gained more skill as a sailor on this voyage than he had in all his time working with his father’s fleet (Not that he ever paid much attention to the family business). So when Amella rolled out of bed and reached around for her cloths, Saris was pulling on his boots, “Yeah, I felt it too. We’re heading into some weather, aren’t we?”

“Almost certainly,” she replied, buttoning her blouse. “Why don’t you go below and inform the passengers? Tell them to stay in their cabins and to be prepared for a bumpy ride.”

“Aye, aye, Captain,” he grinned as he buckled his belt. “Then I’ll see you on deck.”

She was tying her hair back, so she didn’t immediately make eye contact with him, “There’s no need. I’ll have all hands on deck and…” then she caught the look in his eye, that seemed to say, ‘I’m concerned about you.’ “…and I could use every able-bodied sailor on deck. Okay.”

“And I am very able bodied,” he growled salaciously, moving towards her.

She let him kiss her, briefly, then pushed away, “Then get a move on it, sailor!”

He snapped to attention and saluted, “Yes, ma’am!” and dashed out of the cabin.

The storm seemed to come from nowhere, which was not uncommon on the open seas. The waves were cresting so high so quickly, that Amella never got the opportunity to give the ‘All Hands’ command – everyone just knew.

Saris took position at the stern riggings. He wanted to keep an eye on the captain, to be sure, but he also wanted to watch out for the Fire Troll. Though he knew he didn’t have any cause for concern regarding Amella, he could not help himself. He was, quite literally, embarking on new waters with her, and it confused him. Maybe it was the danger they had shared, or perhaps it was because she was the only bit of skirt available to him on this ship, but he had spent more time with her than any other woman. He had not yet grown tired of her and, in fact, found he enjoyed her company more than just in the carnal sense. They had a great deal in common; they liked many of the same things (namely, himself), and both had the sea as their primary livelihood. Anyway, he fully expected to add The Sea Wyvern to his father’s fleet when this adventure was over, and he couldn’t think of a better captain for it.

As the storm began to break up, shortly before dawn, Saris realized that something felt wrong. Amella was good, but nobody could steady a ship as much as it was with the winds as high as they still were. Soon, as suddenly as the storm had started, the winds died away and the rain stopped. As the sun rose over the horizon, however, it was anything but clear; a thick fog hung all around them and there was no wind to break it up.

No wind, and no waves. Even in the calmest of waters there was the gentle slapping of waves against the hull. Now there was none. Not a sound.

Saris looked over the side, “Amella, take a look at this.” All around the hull was a think mat of seaweed as far as could be seen in the fog. As he looked back at the Fire Troll he saw that it, too, was mired in the muck. Both ships were as still as corpses, and the silence was like a grave.

“A Sargasso,” the captain confirmed. A "graveyard of ships.”

Saris looked back at her, “Um, you know, I’m not sure I like the sound of that.”

She cocked her head, “It’s sort of a ‘sea within a sea’ bordered by the trade winds…like an oceanic dead zone.”

“See, that’s not any better,” Saris said, closing the distance between them.

She continued as if she hadn’t heard him, “So, you don’t get any winds or currents in this area of the ocean. Seaweed accumulates like an island ensnaring ships; ships that, with no wind, can’t break free.”

“There’s got to be a way,” Saris argued.

“Well, in a few hours, this fog should burn off enough to see what we’re dealing with. In the mean time, why don’t you go get your friends and we can start considering our options?”

The fog was beginning to thin as the party collected on deck. Still, the seaweed stretched to the extent of their vision, making it seem as though it went on forever. As the fog lifted, it became clear that this mass was formidable. Clearly they were at the edge of it, as the Wyvern and Fire Troll were within several hundred feet of open water. But in the other direction, the sickly green vegetations stretched to the horizon.

“A mile of sargasso would be unusual, but I’ve only ever heard of something like this in stories. If those stories are to be believed, then this would be Journey’s End. Supposedly it is an entity that can crush a ship and it’s ‘children’ rise up at night to carry away the living.” The captain remained very matter of fact, giving no indication whether she believed the stories.

“Such things are possible,” Ornrik pointed out, “Consider the things we’ve seen thus far.”

Adameus pointed off to starboard, “Look, there’s another ship. Maybe there are survivors. And, if not, maybe their cargo is intact.”

“We need to figure out how to get moving again,” Viselys argued.

“Well, if there are survivors over there, maybe they have come up with something. Maybe working together we can come up with something,” Adameus responded.

“I agree,” Ornrik replied. “If this is a natural phenomenon, leave it to the sailors. But if it’s supernatural, then our answer lies out there,” he pointed sweeping the horizon.

“That sounds reasonable,” Saris added. “I’m in.”

“Fine,” Viselys consented.

The mass of vegetation was so dense, that even the heaviest of them was able to stand on it, though walking was slow going, like walking in a bog. As they approached the other ship, a small schooner about the size of the Fire Troll, it quickly became evident that this ship had been there for some time. The hull was breached in several places and, if it hadn’t been for the support of the Sargasso, it undoubtedly would sink in minutes. Vines grew in and out of cracks in the wood.

Adameus went first, climbing up to the deck. He saw that it was clear and motioned everyone else up. Taking a step away from the edge, his boot broke through the rotted wood and he almost fell through. Only fast reflexes prevented that. “Okay, everyone. Watch your step,” he warned.

He and Viselys went down the stairs to the lower deck and the others decided to stay topside unless needed. The cargo was rotted and there was nothing of any interest in the hold. To the stern was a cabin, but a large hole blocked easy entrance. On the other side of the hole was a desk and a book teetered precariously over the opening in the floor. “I think I can leap it,” Adameus offered. He set himself up, ran and dove, preparing to tumble on the other side and grab the book before it fell. Everything was going smoothly, and he even had the book in his hand, but he never got to complete the tumble, as a vine caught him by the foot and hauled him up, wrapping around his body, pressing his arms tightly to his side. Fortunately, this made holding onto the book easy.

“Okay, yeah, I think I could use a little help here!” he shouted to be heard by those who remained on deck.

As it turned out, it was three plant creatures and what they lacked in speed they made up for in strength. Adameus thought he would be crushed. Luckily, with the help of his Vest of Escape, he was able to wriggle free. He hit the deck rolling and made for the door.

Meanwhile, Diamondback arrived and lobbed a vial of flaming oil at the creatures, striking one and causing splash damage to the others. Luckily everyone kept their distance because they had a long reach with their vines.

“Um, do we really need to stay here and fight these things?” Saris asked. “I mean, I love a good rough-and-tumble as much as the next guy, but they’re plants. They aren’t guarding anything we want and they aren’t between us and the door.”

“I hate to say it, but the man makes sense,” Adameus added.

So Viselys gave the order to retreat. Ornrik was the last one up the stairs, “They’re coming!” he exclaimed.

The others stopped and looked back at him, “Really?” Saris asked.

In a more calm tone, and in no real hurry up the stairs, Ornrik replied, “Yeah, it should take them about twenty minutes to get up the stairs.”

Everyone rolled their eyes and they returned to the Wyvern. Once they got there, Adameus produced the book he had rescued. It was the ship’s log. Apparently, the ship had been called The Rage. It was no surprise that the last entries were the most relevant:


“Yep, that sounds pretty supernatural to me,” Saris responded.

Continue to Chapter 19...

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