Chapter Ninety: Foggy Dew

In the galley, Irian was clearing the dust from his eyes when a slumped form crossed his vision.  Namid lay in  the litter on the floor, blood streaming from nose and ears.  After making sure that she still breathed, and that someone nearby knew she was there, he rose and made his way back to his room.

He shuffled through papers, plans and charts looking for anything, anything at all to carry in the name of making who did this pay.  As he knelt to look under the bed, a sound rang out that made even he stop from his mission and rush toward it-the piercing cry of a hurt infant.  He bolted down the corridor that separated the chambers of he and Namid from those of Hariel and Elanor, not even bothering to work the door mechanism but simply tearing it from its hinges and heaving it behind him.

Within, a small, squirming infant with a scalp laceration wailed as hard as it could, as its dazed (but conscious) mother and more severely injured father attempted the best they could to comfort it.  Hariel bore a piece of rafter in his shoulder, a clear effort to keep the falling ceiling off his child.  Elanor’s neck was growing dark, as he could see she had a cut on the back of her head from throwing her body over the child as well.  The look in the eye of Hariel as he surveyed his small family’s distress matched that of Irian at the thought of his wife unconscious and battered by the attack.

Hariel caught sight of Irian a moment later, and simply nodded-if there was any thought that bygone woes would shape their actions it fled in the rolling of the ship.  With Elanor able to take care of their child, he motioned for Irian to follow him.  Down to the ship’s armory they passed, clearing anything in their way with a fire normally reserved for those possessed of the gods.  No obstacle stood in their way, and no human would dare try-both of them shone with the laeth-fraoch, the warror-light, the werelight of those who will fight till death if the need be, and on beyond until the foe falls into dust at their hands.  At the armory, Hariel retrieved his massive sword, which they used to pry up the bulkheads that had fallen in front of the laboratory and assemblers.  Hariel led, Irian following without a clear understanding of his purpose, but a clear understanding that he knew something that Irian didn’t.  What it was could only be helpful.

Inside the laboratory chaos reigned.  Hariel ignored all in preference to a shrouded table at the back.  Under its covering, two slender tubes and a large irregular mass lay.  Hariel handed the first two to Irian, and then activated the overhead light to show him the last item.  The two men sat to render it functional as the ship wailed on around them.

It didn’t take them long, and then they ran as fast as their feet would carry them for the decks of the ship.  Thor was in the doorway ready to search them out, but they turned him around and bade him travel with them.  The three men hit the deck like the Aes Sidhe themselves, their anger burning in them like a furnace.  Irian motioned Hariel to the main rigging and Thor to the anchor lines, then he leapt up to the wheel, assisted by the final gift of the Prince-his own lift wings, completely reworked to fit Irian’s enhancements.  As he drew his blade, Hariel raised full sail and Thor jerked the anchor lines clear onto the deck.  The dazed crewmen stood in awe momentarily, but they caught the message quickly.  Each man turned to his work, those attending the wounded continuing on around them.  Irian turned the wheel toward the place the shockwave hit, and Hariel pulled the sails taut.  James and Ssanyu made it to the deck just as they wheeled the ship around, and James simply nodded.  “To your tasks every man!  Lay course as you see fit, Irian!  I give the helm to you!  I can do more below than I can here!”  The pair retreated below decks to continue their mission of mercy.

With eyes half-lidded with fury, Irian called to the crew, “Each man calls that shore home.  The Harvest would take that home from each of you.  I say that the only thing they will take from me is casualties!”

Hariel’s voice rang out in the opening words of a ballad that Irian knew of old.  As the ship picked up speed, the song picked up voices, each man singing in his place as the ship began to function as a single unit, a waterborne messenger of fury whose clarion call rang out against the sea’s roar.  As Irian finalized the heading, he began the sequence to unlock the ship’s cannons, and his strong Irish tenor finished the ballad as the crew bent their backs to the task of bringing the ship up to full speed.

“As back through the glen I rode again and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men whom I never shall see more
But to and fro in my dreams I go and I kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, when you fell in the foggy dew.”

“For every bloodied nose we will take ten times what we were given!  Raise those guns!  Targeting take your places!”

As the massive cannons broke the deck of the ship, the conversion to full speed finished, and the ship’s rigging fell down.  The masts of the ship disappeared into the hull, and in its place sat targeting systems for the massive three-barreled cannons.  At the console was Ilyana, blood streaming from a cut over here eye but planning trajectories as if it weren’t there.  Crewmembers filled the seats, every person working in concert to aim the cannons as accurately as possible to maximize the Harvest’s woe and minimize the danger to civilians.

“I’ve got a Damocles signal!  ETA is six minutes!”

As Irian asked what a Damocles signal was, Ilyana shouted him down.  “Main batteries fire now!”  The guns swung skyward, and she slammed her hands down on a row of firing buttons.  Particles like fireflies glowed as the cannons gathered energy, then they broke forth in noonday brightness.  Twin beams, each with the power to level mountains lanced up into the night.  Ilyana watched the counter on her screen spool down, as she waited for the confirmation.  As the beams struck home, the entire sky lit up rosy-red as the Damocles pillar was burned up and the beam broke straight on through to the satellite itself. 

Irian clapped her on the shoulder.  “I thought you were a translator.”

Ilyana turned to face him.  The cut above her eye still poured blood, azure against the red-purple of the exploding night sky.  “I had to deal with my brother’s worst mistake.  He’s not here to do it himself.”

Irian shuddered with realization, but he turned instead to the crew.  “Set course for the point of attack-I tire of sorties, let’s give them what they really want!”  Inside, Irian couldn’t make sense of what he had just seen.  If Ilyana’s blood was blue, was she Harvest?  What were the Harvest, anyway?

Published in: on July 29, 2012 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  

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