Kasa Brace, The Crimson Pirate

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Chapter 3

“Some pirates we are, bested by a pack of mites,” Bausk, the grey-skinned titan, grumbled.

“You did not see what happen to Horas,” Kasa stated, pulling out the chart. “One shot. That was all it took, one shot.”

They all stood silent for a moment. Kasa was familiar with the technique: her own weapon employed similar poison. The journal had not mentioned savage mites on the island. Kasa took a mental note of it and was prepared to deal with that problem later.

“Let us take a break. You all get some food and water in you. Kleine, come walk with me.”

“Aye, aye, Captain,” they all answered, stripping out of wet clothes and drying out what supplies they had.

Kasa and Kleine walked to the water’s edge. Kasa handed the chart to her second mate,

“You see what I see?”

Kleine looked over the chart and their location using the mountain as the reference point,

“This is a entrance point.”

“So it seems; the problem is the instructions would have sent us north of this point.”

“That does seem odd, a backup maybe?”

“I don’t know. I'm worried that there were some sort of triggers we were supposed to hit along the way.” Kasa stated idly twirling a dagger.

“I'm unsure, Captain. I haven't detected any magic other than the residual magic in all things. It does not help that said residual magic so is strong on this island,” Kleine said, looking around the beautiful lagoon. “What is the next step?”

“We go for another swim. The entrance is just below us. How many water-breathing spells can you muster?”

“Five at most, even that will be tiring.”

“OK, just do the two of us. I believe the first of the traps will be at this door. If it’s magical, you can handle it. If it's mundane, I can. We have enough re-breathers for the others, if the path is not too long.”

“OK, Captain; rest first?” the dripping wet half-elf asked.

“Rest first,” Kasa agreed, walking over to her crew.

The crew set up a quick camp and ate a small meal as the sun began to set. Around the small fire, words were said in memory of Horus and they all shared a moment of silence. Kasa instructed the others to stay put, wait for their return and to keep a watchful eye out.

Kasa stripped off her gloves and removed her overcoat and boots, wiggling her now free crimson toes. Kleine spoke the words for the water-breathing spell, and as she did a blue glyph appeared swirling before Kasa's face. Kleine touched the tip of her wand to the glyph and a bubble of air flew forth and surrounded Kasa's head. She smiled, turned and dived into the clear blue waters of the lagoon.

The waters swirled around the luminescent bubble which allowed Kasa to see clearly. A moment later, Kleine stripped down to her blouse and pants appeared next to her. The lecherous captain took a moment to appreciate Kleine’s virtually see-through top, before for gesturing deeper into the lagoon. Together they swam deeper into the waters, looking for indicators of traps and wards before swimming towards what looked like a stone gate. Kasa signaled for Kleine to check for any magical defenses. The nimble half-elf swam a slow circle around the gate. After a second time around, she turned back to Kasa and with hand signals confirmed that there were none.

Kasa swam forward, looking over the construction of the gate. She discovered a small lever off to the right and gave it a tug. There was a muted clicking sound and the circular stone gate rolled open. Just then, massive tentacles lashed out of the dark opening, wrapping themselves around the two pirates. Kasa could see Kleine panicking and quickly withdrew Widowmaker. She slashed the enchanted blade at the mighty tentacles that were attempting to squeeze the life out of her.

The massive limb retreated as the water darkened with the creatures blood. Kasa swam through the other grasping limbs over to Kleine whose smaller frame was completely covered. Kasa swam to the thickest portion of the creature’s limb and stabbed the grasping tentacles repeatedly, each thrust injecting the creature with deadly poison. More tentacles lashed out of the opening in a blur of tiny bubbles. Kasa swam with the grace of a fish, slashing gaping wounds in the assaulting limbs. After a moment, the tentacles slackened and Kasa was able to pull her frightened second mate free.

Slowly, the dying form of a giant squid squirmed its way from the hole. It silently drifted to the bottom of the lagoon, black ink clouding the waters around it. Kasa checked Kleine over and ensured that she was fine. Kleine nodded in response, breathing heavy in her air bubble and they both swam for the opening.

The tunnel was dark as pitch and Kasa was unable to see more than a few feet inside. Kleine reached into her pouch and withdrew a glow-stone. The small stone shone brightly and illuminated the tunnel. The two pirates nodded and swam forward, following the channel to where it might lead. After twenty minutes or so, they came upon another stone gate. Kasa motioned for Kleine to check for spells. The tired half-elf nodded and swam forward. She floated in place for a moment with her right hand outstretched.

Kasa could see Kleine's lips move, though she could not hear the words, and a moment later a magic glyph appeared swirling in the water before the gate. Kleine motioned for Kasa to swim back a few feet. Kasa was not magically inclined, but she recognized the colors. Yellow and orange light, which indicated an explosive-like spell, had been placed over the gate. Kasa always marveled over the art of magic and watched in awe as her second mate disassembled the spell that was set to blow up in their faces.

After a time, the glyph shimmered and dissolved into nothingness. Kasa swam forward and discovered another lever. She looked back at Kleine, who had her wand at the ready, a swirling yellow and orange glyph floating before her. Kasa pulled the lever and swam back behind her second mate as quickly as possible. The stone gate opened silently, revealing an eerie blue luminescence.

They waited a moment, unsure if another sea creature would lash out and attack them. Nothing happened. Kleine allowed the spell to collapse and Kasa ventured forward. The gate opened up to a small pool made of stone bricks covered in algae and lichens. The roof stood some fifteen feet high, supported by stone pillars and littered with glittering, glowing blue crystals.

At the end of the pool stood a tall archway leading to a set of stairs. They swam toward the stairs not wanting to dally. Kasa aided Kleine out of the water and the air bubble from the water-breathing spell collapsed with a pop. They each sat for a moment catching their breath.

“Well, that was fun!” Kasa stated with a smile.

“Hardly, Captain. How the hell did he get a bloody squid in there?”

“Beats me, lass. Do you have enough in you to send a message to the others?”

“Yes, but I’m going to need a rest afterwards,” Kleine replied slowly getting to her feet.

“That's good, the re-breathers we brought should be good enough to get them this far.”

“Very well, Captain.” Kleine whispered words of another spell.

A small green and white glyph manifested just above her open palm. A tiny sprite made of water and air formed from the swirling energy. Kleine whispered instructions to the spite and threw her hand forward. The tiny figure dived into the pool of water and vanished from sight.

“Rest up, lass. I'm going to take a look ahead,” Kasa said.

“Careful, Captain.”

Kasa nodded and pulled Widowmaker and Blood Biter from her belt.

“Of course,” she replied with a sly smile.

Kleine huffed a breath of air and rolled her eyes. Kasa nodded and stepped through the arch toward the unknown.

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