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Acquisition

Can be found randomly in loot containers, and is randomly sold by general goods and books vendors.

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“That wasn’t funny, Coyle,” Cyrus said, folding his telescope. The rest of the Carrickers were at their stations, ready to scramble at moment’s notice. The young Yokudan glanced over at his captain, smiling.

“Fornower’s idea, really,” he said. “And we had spare paint. I wonder if they notice that our flag is an Imga cape.”

Cyrus stared at him hard. “You see their sunbeam? You can’t miss it, Coyle, spyglass or not. I’m still seeing double. That thing can--”

“Good. Then you won’t know which Coyle to punch. C’mon, cap, it’s Old Mary. They’re no better at catching us here than they were in the Divide.”

Cyrus grabbed his vest from the rail, shaking his head while buttoning it. He laughed a little.

“You’re an idiot, boy” he said. “But you’re probably right. And it was smart to have them follow us.”

“I know.”

“Don’t get cocky. Go on and have the men beat the sloadbags. We need the speed. You’ve given me an idea.”

“Aye-aye, sir.”

Coyle made motion and joined the scramble himself, taking up the cattle-prods that Gar had reworked with enchantments. The crew carefully speared the fleshy spores attached to the sides of the Carrick and hissing sounds followed.

Thras gas steered them into a new wake, and Cyrus watched his men with something akin to pride on his face. It lasted but a moment, when the sunbeam of Longbow fired, a length of fire splitting the void behind him. Thorpe moved to look for scorches.

“M’sorry, Cy, the lads were just having their fun. It’s your own fault, you know, getting them all riled up and fearless, their eyes on a prize you challenged them to be impossible.”

There’s a fine line between madhouse and mutiny, Cyrus thought, but this isn’t one of them. The old scrub was right. I wonder if I’ve been with them too long now, changing their heads like this over and over again.

“Tobias,” he said. Thorpe heard him, thinking it a call for order, realizing it wasn’t. The captain was acting right weird these days, but some might just argue it was the void. It had a tendency to drive men to questioning.

~~~

Ach, get out from there, laddie. You’re under the cat’s clamdesk again. Thorpe’s just near the same out in the alley. Chamberpotted him to wake up, so I’ve got none for you. We need to move. Dunmereth’s a long way from here and I’ve decided not to use the Pass. We’re going through it up the gut instead. I’m not taking any chances, even if it means lizards.

~~~

“I remember Tobias when he made a mistake in front of all of us,” Cyrus said to Thorpe, “I left him then, thinking him old, and, worse, over. What am I talking about?”

“Nothing, sir, you was just askin’ if the timbers were blackened and none are so no worry.”

“Right. Thank you, Thorpe.”

Cyrus then undid the buttons again, noting how most of his vest’s velvet filigree had long gone into the way of leathered smudge.

“Cy, find your head. Look at them, the apes you’ve made that love you. Now, look at that beast that follows, its crew o’ wrong-eyed alien murderthirst that we’ll never understand.”

Cyrus looked up, tongued the tooth that was still moveable [sic] since he and Borden disagreed on this journey and its end heist. “Nord had knuckles, I’ll give him that,” he said.

Thorpe tossed his sponge and Cyrus caught it without thinking. The scrub was angry. “Lookee now, I remember Tobias, too, but which set of knuckles are ye talkin’ yer teeth about here?”

“My whole life is a fight--”

“Some of them didn’t stay, some of ‘em looked on ya like ye were gone too mad, but yet-so get over it. If ye start to forget why we’re here, beatin’ mast to make the moon, we’ll shipwreck on a whim of yours made under blue an’ proper skies.”

~~~

All right, people, some of them didn’t stay. It’s Morrowind, after all. But eyes to the sand. Look. Best as I can make, this is their layout. It’s a bug-camp, though, so expect it to be wrong when we get in. Timbalt, you and your boys are shoot duty. Itu, Naddock, Mal, Thorpe? You’re with me. Frigar, you’re watching those hornet-riders; memorize their patterns if they got one, shout ‘em down if you figure we’re in there fighting, it’ll be obvious. Cyrus, the cats are held captive here, here, there, and most likely there, too. They look thin, but they’re jits, so they’ll come out fighting if this all comes to trouble. And that would be a mistake.

~~~

“I’m sorry, Thorpe, you mistake me. We’re not being chased like you think. I was trying to say--”

“Hell we’re not, and now yer actin’ nostalgic, an’ getting’ yer brawls past and present all mixed up. Making peace with your old captain is yer own lug-weight, Cy, and now’s not really the proper clock.”

“Shut up, Thorpe, that’s not you talking. It’s this sail. And call it a whim one more time and I’ll have you. Now watch if you won’t listen. See our chaser’s cannon all moved out and forward? They’re about to fire and I haven’t set to order our move to change course.”

~~~

I told you, Frigar had the hornets! Ach, look, cat, I appreciate the help but I’ve got this. Cyrus, stop staring at the sky and look at me. At which point did you decide to change course? Change course? That hornet had you pinned. Is that your view from the top, now, laddie? I was staying my head down and waiting for our shooters. No, this was a fight and I just won it for you. When I’m down, you get to make that call. Looked plenty down to me. That jaw just won’t stop now, will it? We’ll collect our drake and be done with it. I’m through protecting you. You never did, Tobias. You just had the boat and a face I remembered.

~~~

Cyrus looked to Thorpe. “Wait for it.”

~~~

And the cricket-click went: “Sunbeam charge reroute to main engine move to intercept the remains of our prey they are glass’d for cannon fire what was that eruption report”

~~~

The Carrickers hit the deck when the SMIS Longbow exploded, a small warp of the Lords of Misrule clamoring for the creatia they might claim for their own. Daedric servitorslips blinked into view around the Alinor Sunbird’s last moment. A small Oblivion war happened in the space that was not.

Cyrus looked at Thorpe, who was on the floor in brave panic. “There. Is everyone’s head on straight yet? Should be, because look at that.”

A massive shape moved across the silver disc of Masser on the fore. Gar started to shake some magic from his hands, but Fornower put them down. “It won’t help. That’s the Imperials.”

Cyrus heard this from high up and nodded. “Yes,” he called to the crew. “Yes, it is. Now I’ve only seen these on blueprints and in books, but it’s one of their void-castles. It’s them that fired. That’s why we’re still sailing. Stay good.”

Thorpe, eyeing the shape, a collection of towers on a [sic] upturned crag of rock, immense in its entire, red loops shining like earrings along its flanks, cooling from the blast they sent towards the Altmer ‘bird, and said, “A Battlespire. Godsblood, Cy, I see now why Borden set to knock you on yer head.”

Cyrus was smiling. “Borden was short-sighted. So are you. The prize we seek is just behind that beast, on those lunar breaks you can make out just there. See?”

“You just started a war, dummy. That’s all I see.”

“No, I just made sure the elves chased us too far. There’s a treaty out here on the edge of nothing between men and mer, just like back home. The Carrick, she’s a Wayrest boat, easy on their eyes and less threatening to boot. We were just the bait. And now we switched.”

Thorpe made a sound through his lips. “We’ve got bleedin’ sload bumps for gas and a sphere o’ anti-madness that’s barely held, cap. What exactly did we switch up to?”

“Offense.”

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