All around him, the deck had erupted into chaos. The bodies of several attackers and defenders alike were already strewn across the surface of the Lady Irewyth. Many Naga were climbing aboard, spilling onto the ship's deck from all possible sides. A quick look told Llorrin the other frigate was facing the same problem. The scaly Mur'guls used their sharp little hands and feet to climb the side of the ship while the reptilian Myrmidons and female Sirens pulled themselves onto the deck more slowly, like giant, scaly slugs. Steel clashed against coral blades as gunshots filled the air like the sound of a raging thunderstorm. The cries of man and beast alike were deafening.
Though he was standing in the middle of the ship, it wasn't long before the next opponent was upon him. A Mur'gul reaver jumped at Llorrin, his sharp teeth blickering in the moonlight as he raked at Llorrin's shoulders with his claws. Llorrin ducked to the left and swept his cutlass up as he came back up, his blade catching the Mur'gul in his side. The momentum of the strike slammed the creature into the deck, where it remained.
Llorrin quickly looked around to find his next opponent. A myrmidon slithered over the deck, coming at him with surprising speed. Blood gleamed on the creature's trident as it thrust forward at him with enough force to run him through. Llorrin jumped right, the side of the trident grazing his skin. He struck back, but was easily parried and pushed away by the Myrmidon, whose tongue flicked in and out of his mouth as he awaited his opponent's next move.
Llorrin suddenly realized he had urgent business to attend to. The Naga's numbers were swelling much too quickly and would certainly overwhelm his crew if he did nothing. Before the Myrmidon could move, Llorrin turned around and sprinted towards the quarterdeck. As he passed a pack of fighting warriors he took the opportunity to slash at a Myrmidon's back, dropping the beast to the ground. The blood froze on his cutlass before dropping to the ground in small shards, leaving the blade clean.
At the foot of the stairs the corpse a marine who's stomach had burst open blocked his way. Without dwelling on it, Llorrin jumped over the corpse and continued running up the stairs. He jerked to a stop when a small bloodstained creature jumped out of the shadows and latched onto his leg, hungrily carving at his flesh with its tiny claws and beak. Crying out in disgust, Llorrin struck out, shoving his sword down the base of the creature's skull. The parasite began to shake violently as the sword exited from its back and Llorrin was relieved to see it burst into a million frozen shards.
He immediately continued his way up the stairs, relieved to find no more enemies waiting for him at the quarterdeck. Llorrin took a deep breath and found himself using the moment's reprieve to try and spot Irewyth on the deck of the other ship. He didn't see her, nor did he feel any spells that might indicate her presence on board the frigate.
A sudden whoosh and a screech behind him returned him to reality. Llorrin immediately dropped himself down, covering his face with his arms to cover his fall. Something passed over him with a great whooshing sound, almost touching him. As he looked up he saw one of those winged creatures the Naga trained pass over him – a Couatl. The creature was dark enough so that it was almost invisible against the night sky. Before the creature could make another pass Llorrin had pushed himself up, pulled his pistol from his vest and fired. His shot caught the Couatl in the wing and the beast quickly spiraled down into the water, disappearing with a splash large enough to spill water onto the deck.
He finished running up the stairs and was right on time to spot three Naga Myrmidons slithering up from the back of the ship. One man who had come running up the quarterdeck from the other side was awaiting their charge. The only thing clearly visible about him was the blood stained on his sword, and the shine of his burning, azure eyes. Jeredan, Llorrin thought, for once grateful for the warrior's presence as he rushed to the crusader's aid. Before he even reached them, Jeredan had already cleaved the top half of the first Myrmidon's body off. While extremely deadly in waters, the Naga were considerably less agile on solid ground, and Llorrin was able to evade one Myrmidon's trident and get in behind him. Outmanoeuvred, the surprised beast didn't stand a chance. His cutlass drove deeply into the monster's back, piercing the heart and sending the Naga warrior crashing forward into the deck, the creature's weight almost ripping his cutlass from his hand.
Llorrin jerked his weapon free and then wasted no time to join Jeredan in his fight against the third. The crusader swung at the Myrmidon's trident repeatedly, keeping the weapon at bay as Llorrin stabbed at the Naga warrior time and time again, driving him back to the ship's railing. The Myrmidon wielded his cumbersome weapon with admirable skill, but nevertheless was soon sent falling over the railing of the ship, bleeding from many wounds.
"Watch my back" Llorrin told Jeredan, not even waiting for an acknowledgement. He reached out and grabbed the wheel, slowly trying to bring the Lady Irewyth closer to the second frigate. He knew if he did this too fast, he'd risk toppling one of the ships or smashing the hull.
LLorrin used his reserve pistol to fire a shot into the air, hoping to catch some attention from the men fighting on the other of the deck. From what he could see from here, they were as hard-pressed as his own men.
"BRING THEM SIDE TO SIDE. NOW!" he shouted at the top of the lungs, and he kept repeating his orders until one of the footmen on Chuth's ship caught on to his orders. The man grabbed the wheel and started bringing the frigate closer to his. Soon the ships were practically touching each other, denying the Naga the ability to crawl onto the ships from both sides. Any of the vile serpents that didn't make it out fast enough got caught in between them and were then crushed excruciatingly slowly. Their cries were like music to Llorin's ears.
His smile had only just spread his lips when something hit into him and sent him crashing into the railing, nearly throwing him overboard. As he sunk down he saw a Siren slithering up the quarterdeck. Llorrin was strangely fascinated by the creature. It was simultaneously beautiful and twisted in appearance, almost like they had been something… different in a past life. The creature's lower arms were weaving another spell to send at him, while the extra pair of arms held a large glaive in defence. Even as he drew closer Llorrin realized he wasn't going to make it before the Siren finished casting her spell. Instinctively Llorrin dropped himself onto his left shoulder and rolled. Something cold passed right over his shoulder, missing him by a shred.
The Siren seemed to be smiling even as Llorrin came up and found himself close enough to strike at her. As he tried to strike out, he felt he couldn't, and he quickly realized he'd been so fixed on her spell casting that he'd lost sight of her extra pair of arms. The Naga's glaive was holding his cutlass down, and her upper arms were weaving another spell. An icy hue appeared around her. Left without another option, Llorrin ignored the spell and punched, his hand passing through the icy barrier. A painfully cold sensation passed through him as he felt icy teeth biting into his arm across its entire length, but he didn't let it stop him. His fist pushed deeply into the Siren's side. Encouraged by the shocked expression on her face, Llorrin punched again, and felt the pressure on his cutlass weakening. He immediately swooped the sword up under the Naga's defence and cut her across the stomach. With a shrill cry, the Siren collapsed.
He was granted no reprieve, for another Myrmidon, one far larger than the ones he had already faced, came slithering up the stairs. The creature's massive glaive missed his body by inches, and he quickly turned to face it. The second stab was caught on his cutlass, creating a deadlock, but no matter how hard he pushed, the beast wouldn't back down. What was even more disturbing, was that it didn't look like the Naga was using all of his strength. Where the hell was Jeredan?
"Surrrenderrr the drrruuiid" the Myrmidon hissed. "Giivve him uupp, and we mmay sssparre yyourr livesss."
"Go. To. Hell!" Llorrin growled, reaching down to pick up the Siren's fallen glaive. He stabbed the glaive into the creature's belly, but not without enough force to kill it. The Myrmidon shook his trident violently in response, sending Llorrin's cutlass flying from his hand. He backed down quickly and grabbed the glaive with both hands, pointing it at the Myrmidon like a spear to keep him at bay. It initially held him back, but when the Myrmidon started taking powerful, calculated swings at the glaive Llorrin had to back up to avoid being disarmed.
It was only then that the Myrmidon's words began to dawn on him.
They're here for Elduin, Llorrin realized as he evaded the glaive once more. He was quickly running out of options, but then he got a crazy idea. Feigning right and then going left, he jumped the railing and pushed off against it, bringing the bottom of the glaive down to break his fall as he sailed through the air. The landing on the lower deck was harsh, but it felt better than what the Myrmidon had been about to do with him. To his dismay, he saw the hatch to the lower deck had been opened!
No! Llorrin thought. Elduin was almost completely defenseless down there, and so was Carekon. The tide of the Naga had been slowed down by his maneuvre, but the tough creatures were still pressing the crew hard, and Llorrin had to fight to get to the hatch. By the time he'd gotten closer he was fearing it was already too late, when he suddenly caught a Mur'gul flying out of the hatch, carried by naught but the wind. The creature was hurtled off the side of the ship and Elduin came running out of the hatch immediately after. He was wounded, one hand pressed to his side.
"Elduin!" Llorrin shouted, diving under a Siren's glaive and attempting to get closer to the druid, who looked like he was assessing the situation. A lot of the Naga were already breaking away from their fights to swarm towards him. The druid didn't wait, but instead transformed, and quickly flew up into the air. Time seemed to slow. Musket shots filled the air, and Llorrin saw Elduin begin to lose altitude and spiral down towards the sea surface. Llorrin's heart sunk. Time seemed to slow. The druid's body transformed even as it fell and left a trail of blood in the air, and was then swallowed by the sea.
"No!" Llorrin cried out. He fought himself a way towards the left side of the ship, evading as many opponents as he could, but by the time he'd reached the railing the only sign of Elduin was a small ripple on the water where he had fallen. Llorrin was alarmed by a sudden painful pounding he experienced, realizing it was his heart.
"No!" he shouted again, his eyes glazing over. Feeling a presence behind him, Llorrin spun around and cut a running Mur'gul with so much force the beast's upper body was sent flying while its legs continued forward until they crashed into the railing. He blinked a few times after he realized the creature hadn't been attacking him, but had rather been making haste to get off the ship. The haze lifted from his eyes and he could see the Naga were beginning to retreat, diving headlong into the sea. A cheer went up from the marines, who thought they had driven the creatures off, but Llorrin did not join them. His eyes were voids, staring right past the corpses covering the deck. His body was frozen, and he felt like he couldn't even open his mouth to breathe.
Llorrin didn't even notice he was bleeding.