Dragontide's Daughter by Strewnpapers | World Anvil Manuscripts | World Anvil

Chapter 21: Comrades in Arms

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The massive seadrake surged forward, its mouth agape as it prepared to strike the Wavecrest. Tyler’s palms sweated as he gripped the railing. The sheer size and power of the snakelike creature filled him with fear. While its serpentine body undulated through the churning waves with an almost hypnotic grace, there was a deadly power coiled withing its sinuous form.

Beside him, Tobias gripped the railing tightly. "By the Seafarer's Trident, I've never seen anything like it."

“All hands, brace for impact!” Drillmaster Ravenlock shouted through the chaos. “All hands, prepare for battle! Archers, to your positions. Ready the harpoons and spears! We’ll not let this foul beast take our ship without a fight!”

The deck erupted into a flurry of activity as the crew scrambled to follow the Drillmaster's orders. Archers took up their positions along the railings, nocking arrows to their bowstrings. Others rushed to man the ship's heavy weapons, cranking back the massive ballistae and loading them with barbed harpoons.

"Steady, lads!" the Drillmaster shouted. "Aim for the eyes and the soft underbelly! We must drive it back before it can strike!"

Tyler drew his sword. He had never been much of a fighter, and the thought of facing the seadrake in battle filled him with a sickening dread.

As the seadrake drew closer, its massive head rising from the waves, Tyler jabbed at the creature's snout, his blade glancing off the tough scales. The seadrake barely seemed to notice.

Tyler stumbled back. He knew he was no match for the seadrake, his inexperience painfully evident. He glanced over at Tobias, who was faring somewhat better, his sword finding gaps in the creature's armored hide.

“That’s it, Tobias!” Tyler shouted. “Keep it up!”

But even Tobias's skill seemed paltry in the face of the seadrake's might. The creature lunged forward, its jaws snapping mere inches from the railing. Tyler felt a rush of hot, fetid breath wash over him, and he recoiled in disgust.

The deck of the Wavecrest had become a treacherous battlefield, the wooden planks slick with seawater and the blood of the wounded. Tyler fought to maintain his balance as he darted between his fellow Oceanriders, his sword gripped tightly in his hand. The seadrake’s massive form loomed over the ship.

Tyler lunged forward, his blade seeking the creature’s flesh, but his greenness showed in the clumsiness of his movements. The seadrake’s tail whipped around, the force of the blow sending Tyler skidding across the deck. He scrambled to find purchase, his fingers clawing at the slippery planks as he teetered on the edge of the ship. Tyler managed to roll away just as the seadrake’s tail slammed down where he had been moments before.

The beast opened its maw, revealing rows of razor-sharp teeth, and unleashed a torrent of flames upon the Wavecrest. The searing heat washed over the ship, igniting the wood and setting parts of the vessel ablaze.

Tyler shielded his face from the blistering flames, the acrid smell of burning timber filled his nostrils. Around him, the crew scrambled to douse the fires, some wielding buckets of seawater while others used their cloaks to smother the flames. Tobias appeared at Tyler’s side, his face smudged with soot.

“We have to keep the fires from spreading!” Tobias shouted over the roar of the flames and the seadrake’s bellows. “If we lose the ship, we’re all done for!”

Tyler grabbed a nearby bucket and began scooping water onto the flames, the heat searing his skin. The seadrake continued its relentless assault, its flames and thrashing tail a constant reminder of the peril they faced.

Amidst the chaos of the battle, Tyler’s attention was drawn to a heart-wrenching sight. One of his fellow recruits, a young man named Finn, had ventured too close to the seadrake’s head. In a flash of scales and teeth, the beast’s jaws clamped down on Finn’s torso, lifting him off the deck like a rag doll.

Tyler watched in horror as Finn’s screams pierced the air, his limbs flailing helplessly as the seadrake shook him violently. The creature’s teeth sank deeper into Finn’s flesh, and with a sickening crunch, his cries fell silent. The seadrake tossed Finn’s limp body aside, his lifeless form crumpling on the blood-slicked deck.

Through the haze of smoke and the din of battle, the Drillmaster’s voice cut through like a beacon of authority. The grizzled veteran stood tall amidst the chaos, his commands precise as he coordinated the Wavecrest’s defense.

“Archers, aim for the beast’s eyes!” Ravenlock bellowed, his voice carrying over the roar of the flames. “Spearmen, focus on its underbelly! We must drive it back!”

Tyler marveled at the Drillmaster’s composure and tactical acumen, even as the ship threatened to come apart around them.

As Tyler stumbled across the deck, his sword slipping from his grasp, Ravenlock’s gaze fell upon him. The Drillmaster’s eyes narrowed, and he barked, “Landsman! Watch your footing! A clumsy warrior is a dead warrior!”

Tyler felt shame, but he quickly retrieved his sword and stood at attention as Ravenlock approached him.

“You’ve got heart, boy,” the Drillmaster said, his voice tinged with a hint of approval. “But heart alone won’t keep you alive. You need skill and discipline. Keep your wits about you, and you might just survive this day.”

With that, Ravenlock clapped Tyler on the shoulder before turning his attention back to the battle at hand. Tyler felt a surge of pride at the Drillmaster’s words, a recognition of his bravery.

The Wavecrest groaned under the onslaught of the seadrake’s attacks, its timbers splintering and its sails tattered. Tyler found himself shoulder-to-shoulder with his crewmates, frantically working to patch the holes and reinforce the ship’s structure.

“Pass me that rope!” shouted an Oceanrider named Bjorn, his hands outstretched.

Tyler quickly grabbed the coil of rope and tossed it to Bjorn. “Here! What else can I do to help?”

Bjorn grunted as he lashed the rope around a cracked beam. “See those planks over there? Start nailing them over the gaps. We need to keep the water out!”

Tyler nodded, grabbing a handful of nails and a hammer. As he worked alongside his crewmates, he marveled at how each Oceanrider seemed to anticipate the others’ needs, passing tools and materials without hesitation.

“Oy, Landsman!” called out another Oceanrider, a wiry man named Leif. “Toss me that bucket of pitch!”

Tyler looked around, spotting the bucket near his feet. He scooped it up and hurled it towards Leif. “Catch!”

Leif caught the bucket with a grin. “Good arm, lad! Keep it up!”

Then Tyler found himself face-to-face with the seadrake, the beast’s hot breath washing over him as he raised his sword to strike. Suddenly, the creature’s tail whipped around, catching Tyler off guard. He stumbled, his sword falling from his grasp as he lost his balance.

The seadrake reared back, its jaws opening wide to deliver a fatal blow. Tyler braced himself for the end, his heart pounding in his chest.

“Tyler!” Tobias’s voice rang out. In a flash, he leaped between Tyler and the seadrake, his spear held high. The weapon found its mark, piercing the beast’s open maw and causing it to recoil in pain.

Tobias turned to Tyler. “Are you alright, Ty?”

Tyler’s breath came in ragged gasps. “I . . . I think so.” He paused, then said. “You saved my life.”

Tobias grinned, clasping Tyler’s arm and helping him to his feet. “That’s what comrades do.”

“I won’t forget this, Tobias. I’ve got your back, too.”

The Wavecrest’s crew fought valiantly against the seadrake, their weapons finding their marks and their resolve unwavering. Tyler and Tobias stood back-to-back, their swords flashing in the clouded sunlight as they fended off the beast’s attacks.

“We’re pushing it back!” Tobias shouted.

But their triumph was short-lived. A shout from the crow’s nest drew their attention, and Tyler’s blood ran cold at the lookout’s words.

“Another seadrake! Off the port bow!”

Tyler and Tobias exchanged a look of dread as they turned to face the new threat. The second seadrake burst from the waves.

“By the gods,” Tobias said. “How are we supposed to fight two of them?”

Tyler gripped his sword tighter. “We don’t have a choice. We fight, or we die.”

The two seadrakes circled the ship, their roars echoing across the waves and their flames scorching the air.

The battle raged on, the Wavecrest’s crew fighting with every ounce of strength and courage they possessed. Slowly but surely, they began to gain the upper hand against the seadrakes, their weapons finding weak spots in the beasts’ armor and their teamwork proving invaluable.

Another shout from the lookout came down. “Dragonkin warship! On the horizon!”

Tyler and Tobias turned to look, their eyes widening in horror at the sight that greeted them. A massive warship, its hull adorned with the twisted symbols of the Dragonkin, was bearing down on the Wavecrest, its sails filled with wind and its weapons pointed directly at them.

Drakken Lords Ship
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