Authors Note- I have replaced my scene borders- the last thing I used wouldn't even show up, so this time I will use 0-0. This should be easy enough to tell. Also, the angular brackets version of ( ) doesn't show up either. Just for warning.
Skies Of Arcadia Legends
Book One- Strange Clothes
Chapter One- Boarding Action
The silver moon hung, giant and beautiful, in the sky. Fina sighed and brushed a lock of gold from her large, gentle eyes. Her home was so close, and yet she knew the distance was actually great.
"Do not trust anyone on this world, Fina. They are all deceitful. The Crystals are your priority."
"Yes, Elder Prime."
"Also… find Ramirez. Learn of his fate for us who can no longer see."
She had pale, nearly sheet-white skin, with large sad green eyes and a white dress and veil adorned with symbols of gold, the marks of her unique culture. As the clouds rushed past, she had no clue that danger was looming behind her graceful Silvite vehicle, in the form of a Valuan Armada Flagship. H.M.S Cygnus.
Alfonso, son of the Empress and admiral in the Armada, stood on the bridge. He had slicked-back platinum blonde hair, and handsome, youthful features that belied the rotten core within. His admiral's uniform and shoulder-tassels had been padded, and along with the shock-white cape that fell from his back, were obviously designed to enhance his slight frame.
"Admiral, we have visual contact on the girl's ship," Vice Captain Rivers announced. The faithful servant of Alfonso for years was his most trusted aide. His face and body were marked with scars, so he usually adorned the regular full-body armor of a regular soldier. The only rank markings he had were twin ribbons from his shoulder-plates, but everyone gave him great respect.
"Excellent. Gunnery Officer, prepare to open fire." Alfonso's voice resembled his appearance; royal, high, and pampered. "Load your guns with concussion shells, and do not hit the ship directly. We need the girl alive so that we may…. question her later."
"By your command, Admiral Alfonso!" The officer saluted, then turned to the crew below him on the deck. "Forward batteries, range, 1.2 kilometers. Six second fuse, concussion shot. Prepare to fire."
The flat-topped turrets of the battleship rotated to face the nose, and the distant ship. Valuan cannons went for mass-effect, not accuracy, so even a near hit would knock out exposed enemy crew.
The shells were loaded via automated ammunition racks; the only human presence were the gunners, manning computerized stations on the bridge that linked directly with their weapons. The autonomous system was a revolutionary military technology, made possible by Valua's electrical supremacy.
The Admiral smiled maliciously. "Fire."
Vyse Dyne was a pirate. Everything said that about him, his blue sailor's tunic with torn upper-arms held in place by scarlet straps, his skyglass that was strapped to his right eye, his twin cutlasses forged from stones of the red moon, the scar over one eye, and the unruly chestnut-brown hair.
Except for his face, which was handsome, and courageous, and kind. The sort of face you could learn to trust.
Onboard the Albatross, he sat on the lookout position, scanning across the skies around him, darkened by night. Because of his glass' zoom function, his father, the captain of the vessel and leader of the Blue Storm Pirate Clan, had assigned him to this job. It was either that or swabbing the deck and shoveling moonstones into the ship's aged engines, so he quickly accepted.
Because of windburn danger he only scanned every few seconds, ducking under a blanket to cover himself. At this velocity he also clung to the rail of the crow's nest, just in case. It was a long drop to Deep Sky, where air pressure would crush you before you hit some kind of ground, miles below, at terminal velocity.
He saw the flash in the distance to the side of the ship. Squinting, he zoomed in that way, and spotted at a distance of three kilometers the outline of black. A ship. Twin flames belched from it, igniting two more stars in front of it. He couldn't spot their target, however.
Taking out a roll of parchment from his pocket, he glanced between the picture-capture he had taken of the silhouette and the list of ship types and nationalities that lookouts found vital. When he positively identified it, his face split into a mischievous grin. "Awesome." He turned to the brass talking-tube that connected down to the bridge of the ship. "Dad!"
A second later, the mature voice of his father bellowed back over the wind, "What is it, Vyse?! Have you spotted something?!"
"Yeah! You're not gonna believe this!"
One minute later, on the bridge of the wooden sailing ship: "You're right, I don't believe it," Captain Dyne frowned. "Even as I look right at it. A Valuan Admiral is stupid, or desperate, enough to go out unescorted to Mid Ocean."
"Which is a hive of scum and villainy like us," Vice Captain Briggs chimed in.
"I resent that," The Navigation Officer said idly, seated at the oak-hewn table with a dozen maps and various cartography and mathematical instruments scattered across it's surface.
"Well, as Blue Rogues, it is our duty to liberate any cargo possible from armed ships of war. And this qualifies twice-over. Adjust course to intercept, and dive 20 degrees. We'll come up directly to their side, so they won't see us."
"What about their radar?" Briggs asked, already at the wheel and making the course adjustments.
"Remember that jamming box we bought on Sailors' Island a few months back? It's time to put that to the test. If it works like it was advertised, it should completely negate their scans. They'll be blind to our approach until we start shooting at them." He turned to his son. "Vyse, I want you to lead the first team of boarders. Take Aika, Rodgers, and Luke."
"Yes, sir," The young pirate agreed, giving his father a thumbs-up before dashing out of the control room and onto the deck.
"Admiral Alfonso, the girl has been knocked unconscious, and marines have taken her aboard. Do you wish to have her ship scuttled?"
"Well, we can't carry it and mooring it to the deck would make it ever so cumbersome. Yes, blow it up."
Three engineers set Pyri bombs, explosives imbued with the power of a basic Red Moon Spell, on the ship's two remaining operational engines, then leapt up and climbed the rope back onto their ship. A mage began to chant, and summoned a runic circle that glowed around his feet. "Moons, Give Me Strength!" He beseeched, and sparked off the bombs. The engines were engulfed in flames immediately with a large roar and sizzling noise.
No sooner had Alfonso watched the crippled ship descend past deep sky on the radar displays, they want blank. He blinked twice. "Rivers, the radar just stopped working."
The Vice Captain was puzzled for a moment, then it hit him. Before he could voice his warning, the first shell slammed into the heavily armored side and exploded. The deck-plating shivered and Alfonso gripped for a railing, failing to steady himself. Rivers caught his arm, helping him up gingerly.
"What in the Moons is going on!?" He demanded, his voice going ever higher with his child-like indignation at the unknown and scary.
"There's a ship off the port side," A deck officer declared, gazing out a window, directly eye-level with the Blue Rogue flag for a moment as the Albatross climbed to their side. Once near it, the twelve black cannons sticking out from the wooden ship's side spat fire, a broadside that rocked and shook the ship and pierced two decks.
"Air Pirates!" Alfonso and Rivers declared at the same time, in shock.
On the deck, five of the Rogues tossed tow-cables across the short distance between the two warships. The metallic hooks caught on the railing, and the secured the other side to wooden wenches, held in place by the very support pillars of the ship's sails.
"Pull us away!" Alfonso demanded, and the helmsmen began to veer left. With a terrible screeching sound and a shiver down the columns of the ship, the Albatross held fast to the Cygnus, keeping relative position. The Admiral realized that this was the worst tactical position to be in. Not only could the Pirates board his ship or simply blast it until it fell from the sky, but his own cannons could not return the fire, as the angle was too severe for their aiming mechanisms.
"All hands, prepare to repel boarders," The Vice Captain declared over the PA System.
Vyse was still in the Crow's Nest, but now his mission was different. Standing up to the railing with cutlasses drawn, he leapt into the sky, feeling the wind hit him full force as gravity seized control of his flight.
Hitting the metal deck on a roll, he uncurled and stood, in fighting stance with one blade in attack position and the other in a good parrying hold. Surrounding him were seven Valuan soldiers, their teal, angular armor plates making them look both comical and deadly.
Lights from the conical control tower threw sudden illumination on them all, revealing him perfectly. "Well," The pirate said confidently. "Hi there."
"You fool!" The sergeant of the squad declared, raising one armored fist. "Can you not tell that we are the Valuan Imperial Armada?!"
"Of course," Answered the youth. "You guys always have the best stuff. I'm Vyse, by the way. And in a few moments I'm gonna be separating you from everything valuable you have."
The soldier debated whether to laugh or roar. He lowered his weapon, breaking out into a barking, unpleasant sort of laugh that only Valuans could manage. "Attacking all of us, all by yourself? You're either brave, or stupid. We'll be tossing you overboard now."
"How are you gonna do that when we cut your arms off?" Luke the Raider was the second pirate down, landing next to Vyse with his single blue-moonstone sword drawn. He was youthful, with hair almost identical to Vyse's, but wore a red sailing tunic instead of blue, and black pants.
"Where's Aika?" Vyse asked.
"She said she had to get something from the hold," Chimed in the third member of the boarding party, Rodgers, as she flipped off the head of one Valuan and landed perfectly shoulder-to-shoulder with Vyse. She was wearing a jet-black coat that reached her ankles, and had twin daggers that were nearly transparent- the rare Silver moonstone, whose domain of magic was life and death. The weapons behaved as such.
"Figures she'd be late," Luke noted dryly. "As usual."
Annoyed that in their last moments of life they chose to mock him and his men with such insolent behavior, the sergeant growled. "Silence, wretches! You're still only three on seven! And we are the best crew in the Armada!"
"Really?" Vyse said, then stuck out his tongue. "If so, I'm not worried at all."
"Kill them!" The non-commissioned officer yelled, charging forward himself.
Luke reached into his pouch for something. A Sacri Crystal, enchanted with the lowest level of healing spell, under the domain of the Green Moon, which was life and organic matter. Handing it to Vyse, he smirked, the turned to face the two Valuans who were going after him.
He crouched, delivering an uppercut. Parrying, the sergeant pushed forward, entangling their weapons as the two men fought to push the swords into their opponent. The other Valuan leapt behind him, ready to run him through from the back while he was occupied.
"Better late than never," Aika and Vyse had told each other every time they were late. Now as it rang out, the soldier looked upwards to find the source of the voice, only to see the descending boot.
She hit him at terminal velocity, in the face. The armor held, but the concussion banged his head against his helmet hard enough to knock him clean out. The enemy fell limply down onto the deck, metal clanking on metal, and also cushioning her fall. She flipped over and landed next to Luke.
Surprised by this, the officer turned to look at Aika, for a split second loosening his grip. Luke pressed the advantage, ramming both swords into the armor, which split. He would have been fatally ran through, but he fell backwards to the deck, blood spilling out over the metallic plating.
"Finally," Vyse said, who was blocking and attacking skillfully against one of the soldiers. Neither combatant found an opening.
"You're worse than I am!" Aika did not look like a pirate. With radiant beauty, delicate features, and a skin-tight yellow dress that showed off her maturing figure, she looked more suited to royalty. Only her weaponry, an incredibly large boomerang of green translucent moonstone material, and the flame-red hair tied into two distinctive braids, gave away her profession. She turned, tossing the weapon into the air.
It arced, spinning and producing an emerald glow in the air around it. When it hit the back of one assailant, he shook as he force threw him off balance. Rodgers took the opportunity and jumped up, drop-kicking the soldier over the railing. He fell, and fell, until he was out of sight.
Finding a single opportunity, Vyse's opponent left him a nasty gash on his hip. The boy cried out, leaping backwards and crouching. "Luke!" His friend turned to keep the enemy busy while the pirate pulled out the stone. Placing it over the wound, be closed his eyes and focused what little magical talent he had learned in the Green School to work.
Lines of green power circled him, and the stone used up half of it's charge, closing the wound and evaporating the blood, leaving only a rip in the side of his pants. Even the pain was gone.
Aika went over to him. "Are you alright?" Vyse nodded, and stood. "Good," She grinned, taking out a small wooden box. "Stand back."
"What's that?" He asked.
"Crystalen Box," She replied, breaking the seal of the magically enchanted container. Crystalen was a medium-power spell of the Purple Moon, that which covered ice and coldness. "Moons! Give Me Strength!"
A spike of ice materialized, running through the two Valuans that Luke had been dueling. They were enveloped in the magical frozen ice, and floated, totally stopped.
"That should keep them busy." Luke helped Rodgers fight off yet another enemy, and together they put a dozen dents in his armor, through which the man's blood began to leak. His back hit the wall, and tried to duck. Aika tossed her boomerang again, hitting inches above his head, and making a glittering dent in the metal.
"I surrender!" He declared, staying the two Pirates before they could finish the wounded soldier off. The Valuan tossed his sword onto the deck and put both of his arms into the air, breathing heavily.
"What about you?" All four pirates now turned towards the last hostile combatant, who looked defiant.
"I will never surrender myself to you scum," He declared proudly, puffing out his armored chest. Three seconds later a spark pinged the side of his helmet, and he fell down, dead from the bullet lodged into his skull.
"You were the smart one," Dyne said to the surrendering Valuan, placing another bullet in his smoking aqua-colored moonstone pistol. Briggs and the Navigator flanked him to either side, with carbines of red moonstones.
"Dad!" Vyse grinned.
Dyne huffed in annoyance. "Vyse, I told you, when we're out here, you're to call me 'Captain', not 'Dad'."
"Fine, 'Captain'. What's our orders now?"
The pirates' leader considered for a moment. "You four, go meet the Captain of the ship and inform him that it's now our ship. Landis, take the prisoner to the brig then wait for our return. Me and Briggs will secure the Engineering Deck."
"Aye aye," All the pirates yelled. Vyse led his group into the door, and down a hatch. He leapt to the floor ten meters below, the other three took the convenience steps on the side of the shaft.
"Sometimes, I think you just like jumping for the hell of it," Luke said, setting down second. "Looks like a cargo area."
"An empty cargo area," Rodgers added idly, glancing around. "Hey, there's only one crate in here." She walked over, throwing it open. "Ten Sacri Crystals," She announced. "Must be the medical supplies. They'll be needing these soon, but let's take em anyway."
There were two doors exiting the cargo bay, on different sides of the room. "Which way is the Bridge?" Aika enquired.
Vyse blinked. "Erm."
"Great," Luke said. "Let's split up."
The Blue Rogue nodded in agreement. "Alright. Aika, you're with me. Luke and Rodgers, go the other way. Be careful, everyone. These guys are all likely as good as the people on the deck." Rodgers handed him five of the crystals, keeping the other five.
After passing through a dozen empty hallways, they emerged in a two-story room with walkways above. On them was a procession; ten guards surrounding Admiral Alfonso and Vice Captain Rivers. The Admiral's first officer had a large bag slung over his armored shoulder, and each of the Valuan guards had yellow rifles. One shot from them would electrocute a human into unconsciousness.
Alfonso caught sight of the two of them, and cast a contempt-filled glance down upon them. "Well. Air Pirates have decided to… infest my ship."
"I take it by your arrogant attitude and attempt to play dress up that you're this ship's Captain?" Vyse grinned.
The Valuan Royal Admiral paused for a second, then looked upwards and declared in a way that made the pirates suspect he had practiced and recited this many times before, "I am Admiral Alfonso the Fifteenth, commanding the First Fleet in the Valuan Armada and son of the mighty Empress Teodora. Common filth such as yourselves would usually never get so close to me. Consider yourselves honored."
Rivers was good-natured, however he was a little clumsy, and allowed the bag to shift in his grip so that the cover slipped down, revealing a veil and well-groomed golden hair over a pale forehead.
"Only honored to know that we get to rob you," Vyse announced. "Who's the hostage? I never thought a… man of your 'stature' would stoop to kidnapping."
Alfonso's eyes narrowed. "Very observant, filth. Guards, dispose of them." At this order, all the soldiers raised their rifles, cocking them.
"Uh-oh," Aika managed to say, staring down ten barrels that crackled already with lighting energy from the yellow moonstones used to enchant them.