The night upon the rolling dark sea was freezing cold. Winter had set in within this area of the world, and was something that Solomon had not been very accustomed to. Not yet, anyways. He pulled his fur cloak tighter around him to protect his rather weak form against the forces of nature, squeezing his eyes tightly shut. He was from a land far to the southeast, one where it was warm the majority of the time. A realm of heat, where the earth was dominated by urban landscape, shimmering high domed towers of white marble and gorgeous palaces, where magicians and wizard-police ran supreme and horrific beasts droned in the damp jungles and conflict between the civilization of man and the cannibalistic elves in the southern deserts.
This was not those lands, where he had grown in an abbey that his parents had sent him off to in order to learn the ways of the Tabebai, the ancient line of healer-warriors, who tended to be used as chroniclers, seers, lore-keepers, and healers while the armored wizards of the police forces and clockwork automatons fought in their ugly despicable wars in his native country.
Solomon pulled his short sword from its scabbard to inspect it. The steel blade shimmered in the moonlight. He sheathed it, rolling his eyes as they moved over a large wave. He was going to be sick for the fifth time during this journey.
“Human.” Said a soft voice. Solomon looked up. Standing before him was a tall elf in light blue clothes, with ears that were at least seven inches long, and knife-like. “You have sat alone in your quarters the entire journey.” He continued, his face somewhat disgruntled.
“I am sorry. I tend to… keep to myself. My superiors tell me this is one of my weaknesses.” The elf rubbed his chin.
“I could most definitely see why it would be considered such. What brings you across the sea to this… cesspit? It’s not exactly a happy place right now. And it’s winter, to boot…” He crossed his arms. Solomon coughed, and stood, pulling upon the metal railing to bring himself to his booted feet.
“Bedlam is what brings me here.”
“…Bedlam?” The elf’s eyes winded in surprise. “Why is this?”
“I have only found one scroll on the subject in the librarium of my native temple. There were only several sentences in the old tongue of Quet. I of course could only translate a few words, but I have come to learn what I can on the subject, and report back to my superiors.” Solomon’s gaze turned to the sailors on the frost-covered deck. All of them wore heavy furs and wool to keep protected from the deadly cold embrace of disease, or worse.
“You are half mad, I believe.” The elf smiled.
“People who are not at least one percent mad lead dull lives, my friend.” The elf nodded in agreement.
“I am Eezen. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” He pointed at a set of mountains rising from the thick fog far off to the left. “The Aspis Nor Mountains. It would seem that we are at least close to land. Ha, I need a meal.”
“Where would we be docking, Eezen?” Solomon asked curiously.
“Port Creathorne…” He frowned, “It’s a few days away, I’m sure. We’d best get below deck before the worst of the cold creeps over…”
“I am in agreement with that.”
“Tell me of your homeland, human.”
“Solomon, actually.” He smiled as they started toward the hatch that would send them below the cold deck.
“Bloody goblins!!” Shouted a hairy man running across the deck. Everyone stopped and watched as the man fell, an arrow planted in his back. Then, over the lip of the vessel, sprang four goblins warriors, all dressed in rough iron armor that had seen better days. Solomon drew his sword.
“I am really not much of a fighter… I’m a scholar…”
“Ha!” Shouted Eezen, drawing two cutlasses and rushing at the goblins. He ran one through the stomach, and cut the legs of another to send it into the ground before giving it the death blow in the back. “You may join at your own pace, master Solomon!” He cried out with glee, slamming his gloved fist into the face of another goblinoid. The green creature grabbed its bleeding, broken pointy nose and fell back overboard.
“Boom boom!” Chanted the goblins down on their roughly-constructed raft down in the waters, “Boom boom boom!” They danced, still chanting.
“What’re they even saying…?” Solomon asked.
“Boom boom, you fool.” Eezen responded. And then the entire stern ignited with a sickly greenish blue flame. A dwarf sailor jumped off into the icy black waters, screaming as his back raged with magical fires.
“BOOM BOOM BOOM!” The goblins continued to chant.
“Solomon, I hope you can swim.”
“In this? It could kill us faster than the fires, probably!” The mast caught flame, the main sail burning fast. One fiery sail landed atop a group of sailors upon the deck. More and more men jumped off into the sea.
“Suite yourself. I want my meal, and my bed.” The elf dove into the sea.
“BOOOOOOOM!” Screamed the goblins. Their leader, the largest of the warband and wearing the skull of a horned troll as his helmet, was dancing and waving his arms as though he were conducting an orchestra of horror. The lights flashed over his emotionless, happy eyes. It was the most terrifying sight Solomon had ever laid eyes on. This was the welcoming party?
The healer ran back, jumping over flames and dodging falling debris, trying desperately to locate a rowboat, or something. There were none. Looking over into the sea, he could see that all escaped sailors on the ship’s rowboats had been murdered with arrows. The little green bastards.
“I am not too happy with this…” He grunted, and ran, leaping into the frozen sea. The entire vessel began to sink down beneath the black depths. Solomon surfaced, and several more goblin rafts emerged from the dense fog. Searching for survivors. Why?
“Solomon!” Whispered Eezen, who had grabbed him by the shoulder. The elf’s long black hair stuck to his face. “We make for shore, come this way!” He began swimming off toward the mountains. Solomon just hoped they were inconspicuous enough to evade the goblins.