Also, if you see any mistakes or have any criticism, please tell me. Post up your ideas and I will see where I can implant some into the story!
Chapter 1 –The Nimbus-
Like a great eagle The Nimbus, a ship of the Sky Fleet and Transporter of Apprentices from Maple Island, broke through the clouds at great speed. The mist evaporated around the mast and collected in small beads of Mivor’s face. He laughed loudly and closed his eyes, letting the wind rushing past his face and ruffle his hair. The great sea fell below, it's crushing waves a warning to all who cross it.
The crew of The Nimbus moved quickly, securing the rigging, scouring about the masts and scrubbing the decks. Other novices moved about the ship, some fearing the sides and staying as far away as possible, others daring enough to jostle about the crewman on the rigging and moving about freely.
A lean figure moved up beside Mivor at the bow, ducking her head to avoid the onrush of winds. “Excited?”
Mivor looked at her face where he saw sorrow and fear, but also happiness and excitement. Talon’s eyes were one great emotion that couldn’t be read. That wasn’t a surprise though.
Chuckling, Mivor bent over the side of the ship, looking along the starboard and locking his eyes on the distant floating island, looking so small and pristine against a background of blue and white. Then he looked down; feeling himself lost in the dizzying heights they flew at.
“The question, I think should be; are you?” Mivor answered, staring headwind again, his eyes edging with water as the wind lashed them.
“Why must you do that?” Talon said, smiling, and tying her hair back as it had come loose.
“Do what?” Mivor answered, knowing exactly what she asked.
“That. Answer with a question.” Talon said, rolling her eyes at his reply.
He laughed and turned around, leaning his back on the railing. He held the lifeline rope around his waist tight and looked around the busy deck. “Where is Marlock?”
“Below deck, I imagine.” Talon replied, pressing her hand on the railing harder. “You know how he is…”
Mivor frowned and he swollowed, looking over his shoulder. Talon’s voice was what concerned him. It was… edgy, yet quiet and he knew it oh too well. “Problem?”
“Talon…” Mivor turned to see a great shape forming on the horizon. For a moment he thought he had seen Victoria Island but his eyes were deceived. No, the hulk was close – and drawing closer.
Chapter 2 Enjoy!
Chapter 2 – Incoming Shadow -
The warning bell rung from the mizzenmast and the crew quickly began to climb higher in the rigging and draw out their telescopes. The captain, a large man dressed in fine blue silk and a large hat trimmed gold, slid open his scope and scanned the horizon. He grimaced, snapped the eye-tool closed again and bellowed out orders.
“What is it?” Marlock’s smooth voice snuck up behind Mivor. He turned to see his friend, clocked from head to toe in a cowl and his hand resting on the sword at his belt.
“Ask Talon. I have no idea.” Mivor replied, his eyes locking back onto the beast flying towards them.
“Below deck! Below deck!” The captain roared, and the novices began to scuttle down into the ship. Mivor, Talon and Marlock were last and they slammed the doors closed, their magical lifelines glowing gold in detection of another solid. Candles were lit and the ships hull was revealed.
At least twenty novices sat huddled about in small groups and most of the crew now brandished weapons. Mivor and Talon sat down on a crate while Marlock moved to a small porthole where he had to stoop to see through.
“Talon… you saw it first… what was it?” Marlock said, rubbing the steam from the glass.
“I don’t know.” Talon replied honestly. “My magic only warns me of danger – it does not allow me foresight. Perhaps the captain knows more.”
The doors swung inwards and the great bulk of the captain emerged through. The hull dulled to a whisper as the big man cleared his throat. He scanned the small crowd and nodded solemnly.
“Good novices and Apprentices, loyal crewman and officers, I’m afraid we face a – dilemma of sorts.” He spoke with fluidity but still restrained. “One of the crewman have spotted a… a…” He trailed off. “A Balrog.”
The room broke out it shouts, cries and muttering of death. The captain bowed his head and Mivor frowned. He wasn’t quite sure what a Balrog was, exactly, but judging from Talon’s pace expression, it couldn’t be good. Marlock stood at the porthole still, his face dark in appearance.
“Talon. What is a Balrog?” Mivor asked, turning to her. She was getting paler, if that was possible, and it looked as if she would faint. He bit his lip and looked at the captain. “Sir?”
The captain nodded and spoke quietly, his voice barely hearable over the noise. “A Balrog is a creature of uncertain origins. It… It is hard to be sure why it is so close to this side of Victoria Island. In fact, this is unheard of. I fear for the safety of everyone here, but we may be able to get away. Right now, our steersman is taking us away from the beast, but we will not avoid it for long.”
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Chapter 3 – Encounter with a Demon -
All was silent for five minutes, each soul listening to the gentle creaking of the ship and the wind whistling through the sails. The gentle hums of the engines were lowered and the ship came to a stall. More had gathered around the single porthole and Marlock had rejoined Talon and Mivor.
Eerie beating began to sound and some of the novices cowered in the center or huddled under cargo. Mivor swallowed hard and noticed his knuckles were drawn white on the hilt of his knife. Marlock was stern-faced, as usual, and Talon was pale and quivering. Mivor wasn’t sure whether he was more scared in the fire that took down his home and killed his parents, or now.
A great and evil face appeared in the porthole and a few Apprentices screamed, falling backwards on the wooden floor. The crewman drew swords and crossbows, aiming at the glass panel. The creature snorted flame, laughed its cackle then smashed the side of the ship in with it’s leg.
Talon was screaming and Marlock cried out as a plank hit him on the forehead. Mivor was shocked, awed and frightened all at once. The great beast now hovered out the great hole in the ships side, it’s wings beating lightly and it’s great shape a black silhouette in the dying sun.
Mivor lay panting now, grasping a loose floorboard to stop himself sliding from the vessel. The ship listed badly to the right and the captain now gripped to the roof, his face seared with pain and anger. He unhooked one of his arms, drew out a crossbow that was already loaded, and fired. The bolt sliced the air and hit the Balrog in the shoulder. The creature roared and swung a great paw into the cabin, barely missing a novice that surely would have cut him up like ribbon. Red ribbon, that is.
“What do we do?” Marlock shouted against the roar of the wind. The ship now fell through the air, it’s fore-engines destroyed.
Mivor closed his eyes and with his free hand fumbled around on the floor. He gripped something and opened his eyes. A bow lay there. It was plain blue, and it’s bowstring was frayed. He an arrow one of the crewman had dropped and slid it into the bow. The cord slid into the nock on the back of the arrow and Mivor braced his legs against the floor so he had both hands free.
The Balrog swooped back into the sky, then banked hard in the distance and faced the doomed ship once more. The monster snorted its cruel laughter and plummeted forward. A novice lost his grip on his friends arm and slid down the deck, and out the side of the ship. His magical lifeline glowed gold and snapped taught. His body hung grossly loose below the ship.
Drawing back, Mivor never let his eyes move from his target. He pulled until his fingers touched the corner of his mouth then released. The speeding arrow struck the monster head on and the Balrog banked downwards, roaring.
A bit on the short side but enjoy nonetheless.
Chapter 4 –Gone with the Wind-
The Nimbus dropped quickly now, the stern of the ship alight and the sails shredded. It was almost lying horizontal and the only thing keeping it from plummeting right down was the left engine. Suddenly, the propeller gave way, hissing through the air like a thief’s throwing star.
Mivor swallowed and wiped the tears from his eyes as he strained to see through the vast hole in the ships side. He now lay on his side, along with Talon and a dizzy Marlock. Mivor pulled himself along the wooden sides and looked through the hole. The crushing seas lay below and the cliffs of Ellinia came into view. The Balrog had seemed to have given up and left the ship to certain doom.
The flaming beacon of The Nimbus was bright against the night sky. People of Ellinia watched in awe and confusion as the ship plummeted down from the heavens. The ship hit the canopy of trees, the razor hull slicing through vines and branches. The ancient trees withstood the shock well, and the ship soon slid to a halt, crackling with fire.
Parts of the hull had been lost and the two masts were snapped and covered in loose rigging and sail. The stern flared bright with red and smoke began to build up under the restrictions of the huge trees.
Cough and spluttering, Mivor looked through the thick smoke with watery eyes. He heard various groans around him, one female from right beside him. Talon. He turned and looked down at her. He didn’t realise that his side of the ship had hit the trees first, and the leaves and vines had become a lifeline for them.
“Talon…” Mivor croaked, looking down at the girl. He rolled her onto her side so that she could breathe. It was hard to see her face through the smoke.
“Mivor? Are you well?” Marlock spoke now. He lay on his stomach, resting on a thin pile of hay.
“Aye. But I think Talon is hurt. I can’t see through this smoke!” Mivor said dryly, brushing Talon’s hair away from her face.
The wooden boards beneath them suddenly groaned and gave way, and Mivor felt himself plummeting down at terrifying speeds. The great hulk of The Nimbus floated away into the sky and two shadowy figures fell beside him...
Edited by NightHunter, 25 June 2008 - 05:00 AM.