The Chains that Bind

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Blood on the Silver seas

The human troops have declared martial law on every bit of land they own, and the elves have taken up arms in the forests and isolated themselves on that bloody island. Heck, the whole world is one big bloody powder keg ready to explode.

In this chaos of this new world, a world where people, allegiances, boundaries and the balance of power changes as quick as my bandana. It makes sense to take advantage of the lawlessness, and it becomes easier to not choose sides. This becomes a new calling for a new brand of pirate to take over the seas, and plunder the chaos of the seven seas.

So why wouldn't you follow your calling?

These thoughts came from the pirate captain John Ravenblack, captain of the pirate ship Killer's Dream. Ravenblack stood at the helm of his man of war as his crew milled around on deck.

The Killer's dream creaked under them, and Ravenblack smiled at the reason for that creak. Several gnome engineers had outfitted the ship with metal armor and several cannon emplacements, which they had stolen from a human merchant ship, and although the ship was heavier it gave them an advantage over the elves1 and allowed them to hold their own against similarly armored human ships.

It had been a good day today, at least, given the fact they were sailing into elven waters. They were mercenaries and they had been hired by the resistance to make a supply run to the Elven Island. The pirate code had demanded that they help those in need, but they were the ones who were selected to make a run into the dangerous elven waters.

Ravenblack looked at the man next to him, who was a spy for the resistance; the man looked at the clear seas and smiled "I can't thank you enough for smuggling me and these supplies to the resistance fighters on the island; it will help us end this war."

Ravenblack shook his head "Don't thank me until you are on that island and we're on our way back to our waters. I'm taking a big risk coming even this close to the elven territory."

The man turned to the Captain "You know if you join the resistance you can help end this war, and get a good cut of both elven and human loot."

Ravenblack shook his head "We pirates don't pick sides it's a part of who we are, would you ask us to give up what makes us pirates?"

The man shook his head "No, but loot is part of what you fight for, and you pirates can get it all."

Ravenblack suddenly raised a spyglass as one of his men shouted "Captain there's another ship on the horizon! Looks like a wreck."

The fifty crewmembers rushed on deck and craned to get a look at the ship while loading cannons and passing out swords. The crew was a well-oiled machine after years of piracy, and every scenario was planned and thought out until the crew could respond to any threat in their sleep.2 The crew was also a mix of races with humans and elves working together to make the most out of a lawless world. Hatred and discrimination were outlawed on the ship, and after the first successful mission, hating your neighbor wasn't an option, and once the loot was brought on board discrimination was the last thing on any pirates' mind.

Ravenblack sighted the flag and readied himself. "Stand ready boys we don't know what we are sailing into!"

Another crew member identified the flag. "It's Captain Beckett!" He yelled.

The Killer's dream sailed closer to the ship as fog began to pick up around them.

The resistance spy turned to Ravenblack "I'm sorry about your loss, did you know him?"

"I hated his guts, but that doesn't matter. He had ship that was twice as big as ours and a tough as nails crew, and look"

Captain Beckett's ship was covered in arrows and debris and several crew members lay dead. Ravenblack looked up at the wheel and saw the body of Captain Beckett slumped over the wheel with three arrows sticking out of him.

"That's too much death, even for me." Ravenblack muttered

Then Ravenblack turned shouting "Alright we are going to turn this ship around! All fighters to their stations!"

The Resistance man turned to the Captain "We need to get to that island!"

"We will trust me! But the elves know we are here, so we are going to turn around and come around the island from the back!"

The Killer's Dream began to turn slowly as the fog swirled around them. Ravenblack spun the wheel hoping that his ship wasn't going to join Beckett's.

The fog made it incredibly hard to see as the ship suddenly smashed against something. The crew screamed and grabbed onto anything stable as the ship tilted and wobbled Ravenblack seized the wheel and screamed "What the heck hit us?"

"We were rammed sir!"

The ship righted itself as arrows arced down from the fog and slammed into the deck.

"Scatter!" Ravenblack screamed as several crew members fell dead or wounded.

"Elves!" Ravenblack cursed and drew his sword. "Return fire!"

His men seized javelins and hurled them at the source of the arrows hearing cries of pain.

Arrows rained down on the ship from above as the crew ducked for cover, and the elven ship cleared the fog.

It was about as big as Beckett's ship and it was covered in elven archers all firing down at the Killer's dream. Ravenblack heard a clanging and turned to see one of his men coming up from below deck with an armload of rifles. He passed them out to the men who loaded them and cocked them expertly, like they were trained to do.

Ravenblack seized a rifle himself and smiled God bless the gnome engineers and the dwarves. The dwarves had been wiped from the world3 but their technology was still around and it was constantly being improved by the gnomes. Rifle technology was one of these things that was improved, but you could only get them on the black market which is why pirates had most of them.

The men knelt and aimed upward at the elves barely flinching as arrows zipped past them, embedding themselves in the wood.

"Fire!" Ravenblack shot first as he spoke watching his target fall into the water with a plop.

Several sharp cracks echoed over the sound of battle as the rest of the rifles fired and elves splashed into the water. More men hurled javelins adding to the attack and covering the rifle men as they reloaded.

More arrows slammed down on the deck, and a thud also was heard. Ravenblack looked up and saw a grappling hook attach itself to his ship. He lunged and with a sweep of his swords sheared the line in half.

"Pikes and long spears out! Don't let them board this ship!"

More hooks were hurled and they clanged against the Killer's dream. Elves heaved on the ropes and hauled the Killer's dream closer to their ship, once they were in range the elves leapt onboard.

The crew instantly responded and stabbed pikes and spears at the intruders knocking several back into the sea, they tried to form a spearwall, but a storm of arrow fire sent them backward.

The elves on the ship charged forward with two handed swords and swung at the crew who drew their own shorter swords and fought back. Dozens of duels broke out as the pirates backed up trying to avoid both arrow fire and their opponents. The riflemen fired again at the archers then charged into close combat themselves.

Ravenblack grabbed two crew members and shouted "Can we fire the cannons at this range?"

"No captain! We'd blow up with them!"

Ravenblack cursed and then looked both crewmembers in the eyes "Alright I want you two to go below deck to the cannons, if all goes to Davy Jones I'll blow three whistles, you know what to do."

"Aye sir" Both men saluted and ran through the fighting and vanished below deck.

Ravenblack held his rifle and watched his crew fight, even though they were in the middle of a battle, he could see them using the skills that he had taught them. They were shoving elves into the path of their own arrows, kicking the elves overboard, and swinging on ropes to attack from above. These tactics had to be used in order to survive because his crew was made up of survivors.

Ravenblack leapt from the helm of the ship, down onto the main deck below with his rifle in both hands. As he landed he tackled two elves with his rifle and pinned them to the ground. He swung his rifle like a staff and whacked two more elves in the face with the butt; he parried a sword strike and jammed the end of the rifle into the wielder's stomach kicking the elf in the knee as he did so. He rushed forward and began to duel two more elves shoving them towards the end of the ship, his crew ran away from their fights and rallied behind him as Ravenblack shoved both elves backward and then knelt, shooting his gun between the pair.

Directly at a group of explosive barrels that were gathered at the end of the ship.

The barrels exploded sending elves flying through the air and knocking several pirates off balance though they quickly recovered. The fighting resumed again after the smoke faded, and the elves charged forward knocking the pirates' blades aside and then finishing them with strong swings. The pirates fell back, making the elves pay for every inch of the deck in blood. The storm of arrows had stopped and the only sounds other than the waves were the sound of clashing steel.

The pirates were losing despite their best efforts to defend the only home they knew. The ship was their home and their crew were their brothers. The battle was as much about defending their home as it was fulfilling the contract, and they fought to the best of their abilities, but the elves were too many.

They cut the best swordfighters down like they were nothing, and they moved to fast to be shot down accept by the best4 riflemen. Ravenblack backed away as his pirates fell around him. He turned around and leapt back up onto the helm.

The Resistance man held a dagger in his hand and fended off two elves. He lashed out and stabbed one in the neck, then kicked the body into the other. The second elf rolled and stood, when a bang echoed through the air and the elf fell dead.

Ravenblack lowered his smoking rifle and turned as the elves charged the helm. Ravenblack swung the rifle knocking two elves over the side. He whacked another elf over the chin and then jabbed the barrel into the elf's stomach and heaved him and the gun over the side.

He drew both his swords and charged swinging his blades like a whirlwind; he stood at the top of the stairs and made mincemeat out of every single elf who tried to pass. The blades and skills of the elves were nothing compared to his swords and skills. He knocked a blade away from an elf then kicked him down the stairs knocking the rest of them down. Several elven archers fired arrows towards him. He slashed his blades shearing the arrows in half, but another elf tackled him and drove him down.

The Resistance man swung his dagger and lashed out left and right as he backed up, bumping the edge of the ship. He ducked and drove his shoulder into an elf and vaulted him overboard, but a spearbutt whacked him in the stomach and he collapsed.

Ravenblack couldn't reach his weapons, but he could reach something else. He brought a whistle out from around his neck and blew three sharp tones, hoping beyond all hope that his crew heard it.

Underneath the ship the two crewmembers had just finished priming their trap when the three whistle blasts reached their ears. The first crewmember lit a match and held it up revealing the pile of gunpowder at his feet which led to the explosive strapped to the cannons.

"Let's go out with a bang!" He smiled and grasped hands with his friend.

Suddenly the door opened and several elves entered. The first elf smiled "Nowhere to run pirates!"

"Gotcha!" both crewmembers said at the same time, smiling like they shared a private joke, and the match fell in the gunpowder.

All eyes were on the spark as it traveled up the gunpowder trail and towards the cannons. "Uh oh!" muttered an elf.

Ravenblack was jolted as the ship rocked with the force of the explosion; the elves were thrown off their feet. Ravenblack stood and seized his blades kicking and slicing at any elf near him. He lashed out at a prone elf, but an arrow slammed into him, and he screamed collapsing to the ground. The elves rushed over and placed their spearpoints at his chest.

Another elf walked onto the ruined deck of the Killer's Dream and she walked with an air of authority over the others and the ship. The elves bowed and one spoke up "Pirates Milady, not human troops."

"Meddlers and they are in our waters nonetheless."

"Yes Queen Mael"

Mael drew a spear from her back and smiled at Ravenblack. "Your ship is lost and your crew is dead." She raised the spear then stabbed it downward.

"No survivors."

Mael left her spear in Ravenblack's body and turned to the only other survivor. "You are going to give me some information my friend: Where is the Resistance hiding on my island?"

The man smiled "I'll never tell you! I will only tell you this: Where there is war, there will always be Resistance!"

Mael smiled "Your little ragtag band can't defeat the elven war machine, just like you can't defeat this!"

Her eyes glowed, and the man's gaze was drawn back to her eyes. He struggled for a minute and then a minute more as an elf looked at her "How is it possible to resist your talent?"

"It's not." Mael responded as the man started to speak

"The Resistance is gathering information on you and your forces; we will stop your war from engulfing the world." The man took a deep breath and continued fighting every single word "This ship is full of military supplies and I am here to report that the outside world is trying to rally itself to stop your war."

Mael drew a dagger and stabbed the man in the chest shoving him overboard.

"Thank you." She called as the body hit the water. She smiled and walked back to her ship and her elves followed, then they disappeared into the fog leaving the burned out shell of the ship behind.

In due time they got back to the elven island and an aide spoke to Mael "Milady what happens if the outside world interferes in our war?"

"Nothing, the humans and the elves are the two largest forces on this Earth. What other world is there? Any resistance that can be mustered is insignificant to our plans."

"Where the heck are our supplies?" A one-eyed half elf leapt through the trees loading a bow in midair. He landed, turned, snapped off a shot, and then leapt into the air again.

A young woman leapt beside him "The pirate ship never checked in Elan! Our spy hasn't either!"

The half elf fired another arrow hearing a squeal of pain from his pursuers. "Dang it!" What's the use of leading this Resistance if we won't have enough supplies to do anything!

He turned to see those pursuers jumping through the trees and running on the ground. The pursuers were Elves, elves who hated him simply because of the blood running through his veins. He had to constantly train himself to be better, faster, and stronger just to gain some respect. It had taken fifteen years to realize he would never have that respect as an equal, so he became an enemy and he was now the leader and founder of the Resistance! His face was everywhere: well sure it was on wanted posters, but still better than nothing.

Elan fired another arrow pinning an elf to the tree, and he ducked several return projectiles. The woman heard more footsteps and saw more elves coming at them from the front. She drew a sword and stood firm, but Elan pushed her hand down.

"Run, fall back to the headquarters! I'll hold them off!"

More elves charged until a wall of fire cut them off, and a demon leapt from the trees sparking with flames. She caught a sword and crushed it with one hand and punched the elf with the other. "Alone, you won't last mortal man, but now with Zebel you stand!"5

Zebel grabbed another elf by the throat and swung his body around slamming him into three others. The woman stood beside them, her face illuminated in the fire light. She held her sword in firm hands and smiled "I'm with you too!"

The elves walked forward trapping the group as they stood ready. Elan looked up and saw an eagle soaring above them. He smiled as the eagle swooped downward and screeched, the elves screamed and clutched their ears and fell to their knees. Another form came barreling through the trees and it was a massive ogre. The ogre smiled and pointed to the escape route that he had made.

The three rushed through the escape route and were long gone as the elves recovered.

Elan rushed into the cave that the resistance called their headquarters, and he looked at the four warriors who had saved him. The mute ogre with big muscles and a big heart, the screeching eagle named Screech, Zebel the demon easily the most powerful being here, and Diva who lived up to her name.

They were members of the resistance along with several other refugees and war criminals and basically whoever wanted to save the world from this war.

Elan frowned "Great no supplies, and no outside help. This Resistance is going on smoothly!"

Diva put a hand on Elan's shoulder "We'll get some supplies soon enough Elan, and this resistance is doing a good thing."

The ogre nodded and scratched out words on a stone tablet "Who needs the others? We are fine on our own."

Elan patted the ogre's shoulder and Screech screeched.

Elan suddenly knew that tomorrow would be brighter no matter what.

He just wished he had some supplies.

1 Who hated technology and their warships were primitive.

2 or in the rain, the dark, under fire, or whatever else Ravenblack could think of

3 more on that later

4 Or the luckiest

5 Yeah she rhymes!

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