Into the Ice

“I want one!” pleads Bran-D as the massive ship of crystalline ice disappears in the fog ahead. “Oh, sure!” replies Inermis, sitting on a nearby cannon. “Why don’t we all go out and get ice ships? I’m sure they’ll last a long time when we get back in the tropics!”

Bran-D sticks her tongue out at him. She says, “You just don’t want me to have any fun!” Inermis says, “Fun? I think it’s plenty fun right here, sinking mysterious enemy ships and heading further into the Antarctic…yeah, that’s my idea of a good time!”

Cpt Henna smiles at Bran-D. He says, “Don’t worry. You can have that one after we defeat Taru’el. Maybe it’ll even retain its ability to not melt in warm waters.”

Groany says, “You’re assuming it doesn’t melt at all. What if it actually DOES melt, but the enchantment on it replaces the melted bits with newly frozen seawater?”

“Dude!” says 2 Bluntz, “That’s some totally metaphysical shit, there!”

Groany looks at him narrowly. “I’d take that as a compliment if you weren’t such an asshole.”

The Pope intervenes. “My children! Let us put aside these inane subjects and discuss our current dilemma. Our esteemed brother, Red Beard, has a few words.”

Red Beard steps forward. “As he flees from our ships, Taru’el leads us closer an’ closer to the Isle of Chiloé. Which is a good thing, I reckon, since amid them waters lurks the Caleuche, our final destination, accordin’ to me dear friend, Ignaas.”

Some of the pirates exchange looks. Red Beard had been acting oddly ever since he got hold of those two skulls, talking with them as if the previous occupants were truly there. The Pope didn’t seem quite so affected by his skull. But, of course, he WAS the Pope, after all.

“The problem,” continues Red Beard, “is that he may not be leading us there. He may have an alternate destination in mind.”

Capt. Chronos shouts, “Obviously! He intends to drown us in the coast of Antarctica and seal our corpses forever in the sea ice! You may recall that little speech about being ‘Master of the Frozen Deep’ and all that?”

Bubbles’s eyes go even wider than usual. “Did you come up with that all on yer own?”

Chronos hurls his silver caltrops at him and Bubbles takes cover behind a barrel.

Henna looks thoughtful. “Taru’el seems to be able to call up fog whenever he wants…unless we’ve just had a lot of bad luck lately.  If he can get us lost in the fog, we may wind up colliding with an iceberg. Or even with Glacialis itself.”

Bubbles’s head pops up from behind the barrel. “Glacialis? Is that Poseidon’s new palace?”

Henna answers, “Taru’el’s ship. I saw the name carved on its side during our encounter with that mercenary armada. Which was also probably the Ice Wizard’s doing.”

Bran-D says, “Sorceror. Get it right. Besides, what choice do we have? Turn back and miss out on the adventure of a lifetime? Not to mention all that treasure? I call dibs on Glacialis.”

Inermis says, “Chill. I got this covered. I still have Old Ironbeard’s Compass. It should help us stay on course.”

“Me too, me too!” shouts Chronos. “We will make sure we sails through the nassty, filthy mist unharmed!”

Red Beard says, “Very well. We proceed. Let us be ready for whatever may appear. And may Shallia, the goddess of safe seas, keep us from harm.”

2 Bluntz continues staring into the misty sea as the other pirates head below deck. He says, “Dude! I think I see my mom in there! Mom? Is that you?” A nearby deck hand asks, “Wha’ sat? You want summat?”

Bluntz says, “Naw. Just getting a little drop-by from my mom’s ghost, you know what I mean?” The deck hand smiles and walks away, leaving Bluntz to enjoy his private hallucination in peace.

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