They Can't Mess With Us #Theo #zaire


Who: Zaire
With: Theo, Siren's Song NPCs
Where: King's City, lake docks
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK


"Said sundown, aye?" Bosede Okeke complained, meandering closer to the edge of the dock to toss the bone and gristle of his turkey wing into the water.

"He did," Zaire confirmed, taking a pull of rum as his eyes went to the sunset, streaking the sky in purple and orange. At least it was a nice evening, no small thanks to himself. "They ain't late yet, mate." He could understand the huge rigger's impatience though. His men had been too long on land and they were eager to feel the swell of the sea under their feet once again, to smell the salt air and hold their families . . .

The Captain's dark eyes swept over the crew. Some were keeping watch for the city guard but most had broken off into small groups of two or three, some talking softing while others further down the dock laughed as Jimmy regaled them all with a bawdy tale of a tavern wench with two different colored eyes. Wasn't the only thing on 'er was two diff'rent colors, if ya get me!

Zaire chuckled at the punchline, shaking his head as he held the rum bottle out to their newest recruit, "Drink up, lad. We may 'ave a long evenin' 'head'uv us."




Who: Theo
With: Zaire, Siren's Song NPCs
Where: King's City, lake docks
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

Sailors! Sure, they weren't pirates. This was a legitimate shipping voyage. Or, at least, as far as Theo knew it was. But, hell if they didn't strike him as being so exactly like he'd expect pirates to be. From the choice of clothing to the language to the innuendo-laden stories about tavern wenches, and straight down to the bottle that Kago was offering him.

He took the bottle in hand and masterfully tipped it up, downing a swig. He wasn't a stranger to a night of drunken partying--more than a few tabloids could attest to that fact--but the few times he'd had the opportunity to drink on this side of the fairy circles, he'd found the beers, ales, and wines to be fairly tame.

This rum was not tame.

His eyes might have widened a touch in surprise at the strength, but he didn't sputter, either, just finished taking a mouthful and held it back to Zaire with a grin.

"I've been drinking with too many knights lately," he joked, hoping that the jab would land a laugh. He doubted sailors had a high opinion of knights. "That's good stuff. Thank you kindly, Kago."



The carriage that stopped suddenly in front of the Siren's Song was - other than its unusual size - rather unremarkable. And had Zaire not recognized the tall blonde guard, Antonio, from Francesca's entourage, he would have been unremarkable himself. He wore no uniform and no weapons, but instead the clothes of a merchant - simple, inexpensive, but clean. His face had two days of scruff on it, while he was usually clean-shaven. He jumped from the carriage and approached the ship, offering a hand to Zaire.

"Captain," Antonio greeted, simply but respectfully, with a nod. Then, he looked over his shoulder toward the servants who were unloading the large boxes of cargo. Each required two men to carry - two meters long, one high, one wide, but they seemed significantly heavy.

Still holding Zaire's arm, Antonio pulled the pirate in to whisper: "You'll want to store these in the brig. Captain."



Theo: "I've been drinking with too many knights lately," ... "That's good stuff. Thank you kindly, Kago."

The joke had the effect that Theo meant it to, bringing to life a snicker from those close enough to hear the exchange and prompting another rigger, whose deft fingers were busy repairing a hole in a fishing net, to start in with his own tale of knight he'd once met.

". . . too drunk t' even take 'is dick out'is trousers t' piss, 'e was!"

"Ain't nuthin honorable in that," another added with a shake of his head.

Zaire though, kept his attention on Theo. The boy hadn't figured it out yet, had he? That was fine with the captain though, since they'd likely unload him right along with the cargo they were transporting. They wouldn't bring him back to the Island unless he signed on as a permanent crew member and earned the trust of the crew.

A short whistle from the direction of the city caught Zaire's attention and he handed the rum bottle back to Theo before sauntering forward to meet Francesca's man.

Stealth!Antonio: "Captain,"

It took only half a second for the Captain to recognized Antonio, despite the casual dress and scruffy appearance and as he returned the nod, Zaire made a vague gesture to his crew and a few of them broke off from the group to hop-to and take over for the servants. Others began climbing aboard the ship, heeding the Quartermaster's orders to prepare to weigh anchor.

Antonio: "You'll want to store these in the brig. Captain."

Returning the nod, Zaire allowed himself to be pulled in closer, eyes going to the cargo again at Antonio's words. "Aye," he answered, keeping his skepticism to himself for the moment. They'd made a deal and he wasn't about to go back on it now, though he couldn't help but wonder just what sort of cargo needed to be stored inside a locked cage . . .

He looked at Theo, "Pass that on t' Jimmy, yeah? To the brig with 'em."



Who: Theo
With: Zaire, Siren's Song NPCs
Where: King's City, lake docks
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

Sure, Theo's joke landed, but before he could go on with making friends with these wonderful pira--sailors! They were legitimate sailors, he reminded himself yet again--the shipment that they were going to be carrying arrived. He took the bottle of rum given to him by the captain and held it, watching the exchange between Zaire and Antonio with the same interest he would have given a plot-relevant video game cut scene.

Store the crates in the brig? The... six-by-three-by-three rectangular prism crates that reminded Theo very much of coffins, even if they weren't in that coffin diamond shape? If it phased the captain at all, he wasn't showing it, and neither were any members of the crew.


"Pass that on t' Jimmy, yeah? To the brig with 'em."


"Aye, sir, captain, sir," Theo said quickly. One of the other sailors snagged the bottle of rum from him as he turned to find Jimmy and relay the message, bounding up the gangway.

From the vantage point of the deck, he happened to notice the ship a couple of berths over, tied up to a nearby pier. Considering the hour, it wasn't too surprising to see most ships were quiet for the evening, but this one... He thought he could hear a sort of off-rhythm thumping coming from it. And that large hatch in the center of the deck, the kind that could be opened to store away whatever goods the ship was transporting, was it bouncing upward repeatedly, or was that just him...?

"Jimmy, Captain says the cargo's to be stored in the brig."

A sailor up in the rigging gave a sudden shout, and there was a loud cracking noise from that odd thumping ship, as the central hold burst open, and suddenly man-shaped figures started clawing out of it, climbing over each other's backs, swarming across the deck.

Something... strange was happening...



Zaire: "Pass that on t' Jimmy, yeah? To the brig with 'em."

Theo: "Aye, sir, captain, sir,"  "Jimmy, Captain says the cargo's to be stored in the brig."

With the boxes on their way, Antonio added, "One more."

He turned back to the carriage, held his hand out, and helped a young woman safely to the ground. She was a commoner by her simple clothing. She would have been lovely with her voluminous curls and her soft chocolate skin, except for the quiet, desperate look on her face. She gripped Antonio's arms tight and whispered quickly.

"No, no, no - I've changed my mind…. frightened… don't want to go…"

Antonio shushed her comfortingly at first, pulled her in for a reassuring hug, then answered her more firmly than his body language suggested. "It's too late for that."

This surprised her. As a volunteer, it seemed she had fully expected the right to change her mind. She withdrew and stared at Antonio in dumb horror, and then cast that glance Zaire's way - she recognized him, clearly, but she continued to try to bargain with Antonio. "My lady said…"

Antonio cut her off, and there was a derisive amusement in his voice. "...and when you see my lady next, you can tell her how terribly unfair I've been."  

The young woman's mouth opened and her eyes narrowed in outrage - this was a terribly underhanded insult in some way. But before she could begin to make a scene, Antonio addressed the captain, let the young woman go. "This is the last of the cargo. Thank you, Captain. Bon voyage."




Theo: "Aye, sir, captain, sir," ... "Jimmy, Captain says the cargo's to be stored in the brig."

"The brig?" Zaire heard Jimmy ask, but he knew the boatswain would do as he was told and, apparently, Antonio wasn't quite done yet.

Antonio: "One more."

Mystery Girl: "No, no, no - I've changed my mind…. frightened… don't want to go…"

Zaire kept his face carefully neutral as he watched the two interact, reserving judgement for the moment. He wasn't sure exactly what was going on here but it was quickly becoming clear that this wouldn't be a simple cargo drop.

"This way, love," Zaire said gently, stepping back and waving the girl forward with a sweeping gesture. It was quickly followed by, "Chione!"

"Aye Cap'n?"

"Make our guest comfortable."

Chione looked as if she'd swallowed a bug but she didn't say a word, just tipped her head in a silent order for the girl to follow her.

Antonio: "This is the last of the cargo. Thank you, Captain. Bon voyage."

"Aye," Zaire nodded, momentarily ignoring the rythmic thumping coming from the ship on the next dock. She was a person, not cargo, and Zaire was tempted to say as much aloud but Antonio was already turning away and mouthing off to Francesca's man wasn't likely to be a good idea. Their partnership was still far too new for that.

"Ahoy!" came a sudden shout from the rigging, drawing Zaire's attention upward and then outward as the pirate pointed. "Eyes up, gents!"

Hold Door: *cracks and bursts open!*

Zombies: *pour out!*

"Fuck!" Zaire snapped, meeting Chione's eyes for half a second as he drew his spadroon. Protect the girl.

"Aye," she answered, drawing her own blade and hustling the girl up the gangway.

"Ready sails!" Zaire shouted to the men already on deck. "Weigh anchor!"

As Zaire turned his attention to the zombies pouring over the side of the ship, he could hear his Quartermaster shouting orders to the crew, Jimmy yelling for them to get that bloody cargo aboard! and then Zaire was raising his sword and slashing through the nearest zombie. He just needed to buy some time for them to out some space between the ship and the docks and, apparently, he wasn't doing it alone. Mr. Alby appeared at his side then, axe in hand, and beside him Chaz, Jimmy's brother, but it was Theo who's eyes Zaire met for half a second. "With me, lad!" he ordered, shoving a rotting body away from him and seizing the moment to draw the dagger from his waist before plunging it into the eye of the nearest attacker.




Who: Theo

With: Zaire, Siren's Song NPCs

Where: King's City, lake docks

When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

There was something Theo didn't like about forcing a young woman, especially a young woman with dark brown skin, onto a ship against her will. Blame it on years of built up white guilt through repeated emphasis on the slave trade in history courses his whole life. Or, blame it on living in diverse, liberal New York City. Whatever it was, he part wanted to break with this crew and stage a rescue for her. And he could tell he wasn't the only one--Choine's reaction, too, spoke to reluctance.

Except, suddenly the ship was a whole lot safer than the docks. Because some kind of humanoid monster horde really was bursting out from a nearby ship, shambling fast but not too fast, but fast enough that the reek of death and the sight of rotting flesh was upon them fast enough. Theo did have his sword with him, and he drew it, looking to the captain for some guidance while at the same time trying to mentally go over everything that he'd learned from his mentor-knight Tristan thus far. Had they even talked about zombies?


"With me, lad!" he ordered, shoving a rotting body away from him and seizing the moment to draw the dagger from his waist before plunging it into the eye of the nearest attacker.


Theo stabbed out with his sword and felt it go deep into a zombie's chest, then he drew back. It would have been a perfect killing blow on a living human, but the undead creature kept moving, and Theo cursed.

"Hit 'em in the head, right?" he checked aloud, moving to Zaire's side, ready to follow the captain's lead,w hatever way they went. He slashed wide and managed to sever an arm, at least, before it grasped and scratched him.



Theo: "Hit 'em in the head, right?"

"Aye!" Zaire answered, chancing a glance over his shoulder at the ship to find the last of the cargo was on board and the gangway was being raised. Luckily, they'd set up a kedge line earlier in the evening in case any locals had become suspicious and the wind wasn't with them for a quick getaway, and it was coming in handy right then as his quartermaster shouted heave! heave! and the inches between the dock and the ship began rapidly turning into feet.

They couldn't leave yet, Zaire realized then, not if leaving meant the zombies from the ship making their way further into the King's City. They'd tear the city apart, infecting others as they went, and within a night and a day the entire city would be overrun - including the Silver Tankard and the Queen's College.

"Belay that order!" Zaire shouted, planting a booted foot into the center of a zombie's chest and sending it stumbling back into a few others.

"Cap'n?" came the Quartermaster's curious call back.

"Make ready to sail! Vanguard! To me!" Zaire answered. The ship was far enough away from the dock that the zombies wouldn't be able to reach it, yet still close enough for his own men to easily make the leap from ship to deck and back again. A chorus of battle roars just barely preceded the sound of feet landing on the docks as his fighters did as they were told, falling upon the zombies without hesitation.

"We end this 'ere!" the Captain called. Because he sure as hell wasn't letting his son and/or Mistress become one of these. "Kill 'em 'fore they leave the docks!"



Who: Theo
With: Zaire, Siren's Song NPCs
Where: King's City, lake docks
When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK

Of all the things that Zaire could have said in that moment, Theo did not expect him to order his crew to get out there and slay the zombies spilling over from the infected ship. If this were a game, he was pretty sure it would be an "Escape the City" quest setup. They had a ship. They had cargo they were supposed to deliver. The most obvious plan would be to take their getaway ship and get out of dodge.

But this? Defending the docks?

All right. He could get behind that. He hadn't been in Eventyr long, but he did like the city, and he'd hate to see it turned into zombie apocalypse ground zero.

"Aye-aye, Captain," he shouted out, staying close to Zaire's side even as he kept on swinging his sword around and trying to focus his strikes on zombie heads.

Though Theo didn't know a lot about ships, he was surprised by the number of zombies pouring out over the side of the ship, some plopping into the water and starting to swim, some clambering toward the shore, others landing with their feet on the docks and heading across the wooden pier toward the sailors who were lining up to meet them.

Technically, it was a lot more zombies than the number of sailors necessary to crew the ship, so many that it had to be fairly evident to anyone who knew a thing about ship and crew sizes that the hold had been stuffed full of zombies. This was a plague ship, sent intentionally to the City Docks. There was no other way to look at it.



Theo: "Aye-aye, Captain,"

Theo had no way to know it, but Zaire's thoughts were echoing the young man's - that cargo hold had been stuffed beyond capacity and whether those people had been zombies before or after they'd been closed inside was irrelevant. That ship had been sailed here to the King's City, docked here, and then left with every intention of its cargo getting free.

"Cap'n, we should go while we can!"

Zaire didn't recognize the voice and could only assume it was someone who'd signed on within the last few days. One of his other crewmates was quick to set the man straight with a cranky shout of, "His boy's in t' city, ya bilge rat!"

"Aye, an' my sweet Calpurnia," Mr. Okeke added, cracking open a skull with the business side of his axe. They all knew how attached Bosede got to his whores and most of the crew had been around long enough to know Killick from before he'd gone off to college.

"An' Cap'n's Brandy-love," Mr. Alby added with a sly glance in Zaire's direction.

Zaire gave a bark of a laugh at the ribbing, taking it in stride. They weren't wrong; Killick and Brandy were literally the two reasons why he wanted to keep this zombie outbreak confined to the docks. He could also admit that he didn't really want to see Calpurnia turned into the walking dead either, especially since the crew was in near agreement that the whore's youngest son was actually Bosede's, even if the Master Rigger wouldn't admit it.


The call for his attention had Zaire dropping back a step, allowing his men to fill in the hole he created in the defensive line as his eyes swept upward. Jimmy had taken up residence in the crow's nest and between his vantage point and the spyglass in his hand, he could see far more of the city than Zaire on the docks could.

"City's burnin', Cap'n!" he shouted down. "Looks like zombies near Merchant's Square!"

Fuck. Zaire found his eyes meeting Mr. Okeke's as the huge rigger turned to him with worry clear on his black skinned face as they both weighed the implications of that news: if there were zombies in Merchant's Square, then it was only a matter of time before the city would be overrun. "Go," Zaire ordered, then nodded toward Mr. Alby to join him. "You too."

The two broke away and disappeared into an alley between two shops, heading deeper into the Soldier's Quarter in hopes of making it to Calpurnia before the plague made it to the tiny brothel she worked at. Slashing through the head of a nearby zombie, Zaire called back to Jimmy, "Northwest?" He doubted the boatswain could see much of the northwest part of the city from where they currently were, but if the Merchant's Quarter was a disaster and things seemed quiet near the College, then Zaire knew which direction he'd head in first.

"Looks clear, Cap'n!"

"Board ship!" Zaire shouted, signalling for his crew to retreat back to the Siren's Song. If the city was already compromised then it wasn't worth standing their ground; they could just as easily whittle down the number of zombies on the docks with bows and crossbows from the safety of the ship and he trusted his Quartermaster to handle it.

Then, Zaire turned to Theo. "With me," he ordered, leading him away from the docks. There was a chance that Killick had gone to Merchant's Square to watch the Royal General's announcement, but he knew for a fact that Brandy was at the Silver Tankard . . .