Shimmering stripes of sea and shining blue clouds zipped by like rushes from a drowning dream. Where was the bastard gonna show? What tricks did the Colorless Lord have left up his ass? We tried to stay alert, to be watchful, but the scenery was a bitch. As we flew, the sky’s blue nuisance started to match the sea’s hue until the horizon blurred into one blue wall. Soon we went into withdrawal from Goethe’s adrenaline junky magic and Drick decelerated. There was still no sign of the Colorless Prick, only cerulean on all sides. I started to remember something important about the blue but it got snatched away by a sudden jerk when Drick screeched to a halt.
“Neeeeedddd…WAATTTTTERRR!”, moaned Drick. Its liquid body was draining away rapidly like bucket with a bullet hole. I guess it is still part water elemental after all. I signaled to dive. Then out of the blue we spotted it again! The same ship that lightning flashed in the distance during Besmara’s blizzard an hour before. The Great Bark of a Pirate Lord! No a Axis Ship of the Line! No a Chellish War Galleon! No a Merfolk Kraken! Or was it a red sail of a Flying Barque! Begads, we all saw a different ship! Fuck. It could only mean one thing. The Pirate Goddess Besmara was waiting for us in her majestic prize ship, the Seawraith. Double fuck. We were smack in the middle of the Cerulean Void!
“Umm…we do owe our thanks for that crazy ice wave business…” Lorenz sighed. He sounded exhausted.
“Do we, really?”
For those keeping score at home. Besmara has used us more than a toothless whore on payday. We killed the pesky False Pirate Queen, rescued Vaghol from the dark depths, and faced off against a wannabe Archduke. Not to mention, crossed a planar bridge and pillaged a demi-God’s Lighthouse. All this, in exchange for what, you may ask? Besmara graciously took back the haunted bicorn she planted on the Current in the first place. Now I wouldn’t have felt raw about it if she hadn’t rubbed our faces in it, over and over again. In addition, turning over Vaghol, our navigator, to her just felt wrong and rotten. We’d grown fond of whatever the hell it was. It made me laugh. I doubted meeting Besmara again was going to end up aces, but our choices were getting thin. At least, the Colorless Lord turned yellow belly at the sight of the Goddess’ Blue Void. I never wanted to see that rainbow coated, mono-hat wearing, dandy magic bastard again. We flew to the grand mysterious ship in silence. Hard to get excited when you’re about to get fucked over for a second time.
Legends say the Seawraith holds the treasure of 100 ships, that’s dragon-dick, it’s closer to a thousand. There was plunder to left of me, plunder to the right, plunder under my feet, fuck there was even plunder in the sails. Coins, jewels, knick knacks, weapons, and chests – you name it and there were at least two or three of them. Goethe told be later many items came from long dead civilizations from the Material world and beyond. An eternity of reaving is ever so profitable! I wondered if sneaking some into my boot was fatal? The ship itself was in tip top condition. Large, fancy, and a bit terrifying. My kind of vessel! It danced seamlessly on the waves with no wasted motion in the rigging or sails. Obviously, the Seawraith was built for speed, but I imagined it packed a sucker punch or two! Let’s just say the ship gave me ideas for my next vessel!
Besmara, the Pirate Queen, came down the main gangway in full godly regalia. It got eerily quiet like she was coming for us in slow motion. She looked ravishing in a tight black calico overcoat outlined in red stitches that draped to her snowy naked thighs, a polished golden skull for a buckle, and a jeweled pistol and inlayed saber on either hip. Gone was the pretense, gone was the little girl routine, and gone was all illusions. Besamara the Goddess was all business. There was nowhere else to look except at her, even the treasure instinctively moved away not wanting to tarnish her leather boots. Without the slightest bit of acknowledgement of our presence, she confidently walked by and dipped below deck. I guess she wanted to parlay away from the rest of her petitioner crew. We quickly followed.
Her cabin double doors were left wide open. There were no guards but there were still probably guards. Like we’d get rough when facing a God? See I learn. Don’t get me wrong I will fight anyone when the stakes get high enough, but the time was not right now. The cabin could have made Kaledith faint or tantric orgasm a half dozen times. The richest of plunder and largest trophies were on full display! I think I saw a Black Lotus and the One Piece! Besmara didn’t look to us. She busily worked over her fancy glowing navigation chart. We crept into the corner of the room. Did we just get sent to the Headmistress’s office for shooting spitballs? Sure felt like that. She tapped her desk impatiently with an enameled fingernail, “Where is it?”
Crap, she went right for the throat.
“How about a Colorless crown for a Colorless crown? We managed to get our hands on a different Ssila crown”, offered Lorenz. He slid the Lantern lenses over to Besmara. She gave it one look and said, “Worse than shit, a dime dozen. I have 7 or maybe 30.”
“I see you’re unconvinced. You there little dead fox. Try it” she commanded. Myrrh bowed and took the Lantern in his arms. He closed his eyes and said a little chant. Myrrh started to bubble and grow! He grew to his full height, eight extra tails sprouted, and his blush of vitality returned. He looked shocked. His hands searched about his body making sure all his fleshy bits were there. Goethe in particular looked very-very excited to get the old Myrrh back, even with the eight extra tails. Such a good friend!
“Myrrh, your welcome! It heightens a creature innate shape shifting” she smiled. Myrrh’s eyes met Goethe’s for an instance. In silence, Myrrh poofed into a full nine-tailed fox and scurried off.
“Now a drink” Besmara motioned. Goethe snapped out of his mind palace, fetched a bottle from the bar, and poured six drinks. It tasted good like really good. My mind got a bit fuzzy and tongue a bit looser. Besmara didn’t seem so bad! I can respect a liar and a cheat, especially if they got good rum.
“Now the crown I want. The crown that was promised to me” she demanded with a smile.
The order almost came out of my mouth for Myrrh to hand over the wooden Vaghol. It would have been so easy. Except, there was this little picture in the back of my head of flashing runes in great big bold print “Help Me”. What kind of Captain would I be if I turned over a valuable crew mate who hasn’t done anything wrong? A shitty captain for sure. I squirmed in my seat, I babbled incoherent excuses, and I promised the starlight. All my blathering did was let Besmara know that the rune was in Myrrh’s possession. She cozied up to him, close. She rubbed his nine-tailed fox belly. “Give it here foxy!” she cooed.
“Myrrh, give it to!” I ordered. The extra ingredient in my divine rum must of reached its limit. Besmara scowled at me. Myrrh’s head turned back and forth, frozen by indecision, though he’d never admit to it.
“Taking away our navigator at present time would be detrimental to our journey”, added Master Goethe, “Our odds of finding the Gray Dragon treasure will go down which means your odds go down.”
“Howaboutsomeseedsinstead?” rapped Mr. Finn.
“You can’t be serious to hold us to that farce of a parlay?” Lorenz finally intervened.
There were no weak links in this chain! We stood together unified! Besmara wasn’t going to get Vaghol back without a fight! Of course, we’re no match for a Goddess. Maybe we could annoy her or at least mess up her ship some! I was certain I could shoot a hole in her pillow. Lorenz and Goethe were banking on our old dead horse play of being worth more alive than dead. It all depended on Besmara’s end goals. Why did she need Vaghol?
“Aye, you’re a bunch of whiny bitches through and through. I bet ye get your periods together. I can’t see you pansies going far. Much too soft like uncooked dough!” teased Besmara. Thoughts of spilling ink on her fancy map danced in my head.
“I will do something for you doughy bleeding boyos that I never do. I will make you a promise! I promise you can keep Vaghol. But we are going to need another arrangement” Besmara mused.
“What did you have in mind?”
“It’s a shame you didn’t steal the Colorless Lord’s final crown, his Diadem. I don’t have one of those yet. The ability to control proteans could come in handy out in the Maelstrom. Also, you still need to insure no other False Pirate Queen pops out of the Eye” said Besmara.
“We can do that!“ I hurriedly accepted.
“Wait we have a few conditions…” Lorenz interjected.
Besmara sighed, “So bloody puddle soft…”
The scorecard now read. We steal the Colorless Lord’s last crown. She told us Ssila was in the Boneyard petitioning Pharasma for chaotic souls. After that nonsense, back on our world, we got to snuff out the False Pirate Queen operation. In turn, Besmara lets us keep Vaghol and provides us with a ship to get to Axis. I think this was the best deal we could get. We’re the one’s putting cock and balls on the line, but at least this time we got more than a hat removal. Of course, there was a twist. Besmara asked to see Vaghol. She took her long feathered quill and touched the point to Vaghol. It got swallowed up in an instant! What the hell? She started inscribing Vaghol onto her special map. This was not what we’d agreed too! I was about to unload on her pillow! She raised her hand to my face to stop me while expertly finishing her calligraphy. With one last swirl, it was done. Besmara looked lovingly at her work. Strange lights hopped about the canvas like sunshine bent through a crystal prism. Suddenly, she rolled up the glowing map, kissed it, and stuck it in my breast coat pocket. I was completely bewildered; we all were. Was she planning on giving us the map the whole time?! Mother Fucker! Tricked again!
Besmara led us to the a great hall in the belly of the Seawraith. I wondered how a grand salon big enough for several hundred sailors even fit. Oh well, a god will be a god. To seal the deal we partied all evening and all night. If there is one thing Pirates do better than anyone else, it is throwing a goddamned banquet that eats up the whole night! We feasted on the best food imaginable. Blimey, our bellies never got full; no matter how much you shoveled in your face hole. Best thing was the meal was as diverse as the crew. Much of the meal was as alive as the carnivores eating it. My compliments to the Halfling chef! The same went for the drink. Bottomless cups around! Ale, wine, rum, and spirits of every color! And to boot, you never blacked out! The Queen’s crews’ stories of plundering were epic. Not as good as ours but still fantastic. The music was equally divine. During the night, Mr. Finn learned to play that weird Koch shell like a virtuoso. This time I danced on my accord. Besmara even had praise for him and let him keep it for some reason. Truly an evening without end!
Only once did the dinner conversation turn dark during the height of the midnight on the top side.
“Is that Ghost-Faced Skull Moon thingy always like that”, I said, while pointing up. The monster Moon took up the whole freaking sky! The angry bone face was the size of the heavens! Also, It looked like a massive Dark Tower, that was being orbited by a tangle of flying islands, was going to rub up against it any second.
“When the God Moon hangs low, it spells doom for us all!” Besmara recited like from a text book.
“So that’s the opposite of normal out here”
“The last time Groteus was this low an Age ended and a God perished. The God Moon is even lower now. At least, the looting was good in those days. This time I’m not so sure” gravely said Besmara.
“I still don’t understand. So what if the Moon is low?”
“Fuck if I’ll be your tutor. I’ll say two things. One, get your worldly affairs in order, the Apocalypse is nigh! Two, you can blame your patron” finished Besmara. She stumbled off for another drink of Ambrosia honey wine. I guess the end of days makes her uptight. It made me think. What if that God Moon hits that Dark spire? I doubt anything would be left. Would it continue to crush all of the outer planes. When that happens I better escape back to Golarion where it’s safe.
In the morning, it was business time again. I drank enough to fill a barrel. Mr. Finn two. But somehow we weren’t hungover. To get us into Axis, the plan was simple. Besmara would sprout one of Mr. Finn’s seed ship and restore the Halcyon, an Axis ship of the Line, which Goethe liberated from the Colorless Lord’s bottled ship collection. The Colorless Lord the gift that keeps on giving! The seed ship was lush and sleek, a miniature clipper tea ship that could outrun most Navies. I liked it a lot. It even bore my colors and my styling. I dubbed it the Flying Dragon Fly. I always favor speed over power on the water. When your foe can’t catch you they can’t hit you!
The Halcyon was humongous; it was only a hair smaller than Redbeard’s Sideburn, may be, by a deck or two. It made our ship look like a tiny green kayak. We hailed the giant ship and got permission to come aboard. The Axis ship had factory precision. Clean, insanely well-kept with every knot tied perfectly, and as unwelcoming as clock guts. Our host Captain was a flying robot eyeball, called an inevitable, named Modron. He looked a serious sort then he talked! His voice was pure gravel and all ball sac, “This, is hard for me – to say. I..ahh…thank you for saving Me. Huh. How can I repay you?”
First we did a group double take. Second we questioned our manhood. Third we responded, “We need an escort to Axis, if you please” to the flying peach basket.