Chapter LXXVII – Return to Auspulia

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Our trouble begins in earnest as we head into port. We’ve been taking turns watching as we get closer. Inacha’s on watch, and comes running to wake both Chypa and me up. “There are soldiers in the port,” she tells us.

Chypa and I get dressed, and the three of us head up to the main deck to stand in the bow. The waterfront is lined with troops. Every ship we see is either occupied by troops or has no one visible on it.

Without turning to me, Chypa asks, “Recommendations?”

“Invisibility would help,” I suggest.

“And if they swarm on?”

“Hmm, that could cause problems.”

“Still, it’s a good idea. Prepare an invisibility spell for the three of us. I have something I suspect will scare them off.” Chypa is grinning.

By the time Inacha gathers bags we can carry, and I prepare the invisibility spell, Chypa is ready. She tells the captain to order the crew to take in all the sails. And then she unleashes her unusual choice of weapon: the wind.

First, there’s a breeze coming from seaward. Then a wind. It picks up force. And then it turns into an outright gale. Small objects go flying. We see the soldiers staggering and taking cover.

Then the wind really starts to blow. The Flying Fish has not a stich of canvas up, and yet it goes hurtling toward the docks at a frightening rate. I see people onshore being forced down, having to take cover. We’ve dropped to the deck ourselves. I try to ask Chypa how she’s going to keep this from wrecking the Flying Fish, but I can’t outshout the wind.

As it turns out, it doesn’t matter what Chypa was planning. Chypa raised elemental forces. So our enemy, whoever or whatever it is, does likewise. Inacha gasps, grabs me by the shoulder, and points down the harbor. I see a building enveloped in flames.

The next moment, the flames stand upright. They take the shape of a man. It starts walking toward us along the shorefront.

I’d heard of fire giants before, but I’d never seen one. It must stand thirty feet tall. And everything in its path turns into an inferno.

I use a little bit of magic to amplify my voice, and yell in Chypa’s ear, “Fire giant. We’ve got to go faster.”

She doesn’t nod or anything, but the wind picks up again. She turns and screams into my ear that we have to get away from the bow. I tell Inacha, and the three of us start crawling along the deck, making painfully slow progress. I see one of the masts snap off and go flying.

The next thing I know, an immense shock runs through the ship as it hits one of the docks. The ship tips, we go crashing into each other and the railing. The railing gives way, and we’re tossed over the side into the harbor.

Striking the rail knocked the wind out of me, and I take in some water. But I surface, breath in, cough up some water, and start swimming to shore. It takes me several moments to realize I’m in only two feet of water. Then I stand up, and immediately cough up some more water.

Chypa and Inacha are with me, and Chypa is heading us to a ladder up a nearby wharf. I know I need to follow Chypa.

Somehow, I find myself sitting on a hill. Inacha is bandaging my head. Chypa is looking into my eyes with a look of concern on her face. I ask her, “What?”

“Tollon, how many fingers am I holding up?” Chypa holds up a closed fist.

I snicker. “Trick question.”

“Yeah, well, you weren’t with us for a while there. That knock to your head scrambled your brains, I guess.”

Knock on my head? I start to reach up, only to have my hand slapped away. I turn, almost tip over from being dizzy, and see Inacha sitting behind me. She scolds me, “Don’t touch that bandage until it’s had a chance to start healing.”

I nod. I get that much. And then I look around.

Down at the foot of the hill, the port is burning. I can’t even make out where the Flying Fish is. I hope most of the crew got off her in time.

Fire, wind, and water can devastate a port

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