Part 8 – The Eye of the Storm
The admiral swore angrily as the pirate vessel peppered his ship with heavy disks and weakness zamors. A sudden explosion blasted chips of wood out of the railing beside him, and he jumped back instinctively, narrowly avoiding being peppered with shrapnel. He strode forward, shouting orders to his men.
“Return fire!” he roared, even as yet another volley rocked his decks. The enemy ship was smaller, faster and more manoeuvrable, and it was getting too close to the admiral’s ship for the rest of his small fleet to risk opening fire.
But the pirates didn’t give them the chance. On their next sweep, they swung in close and flung grappling hooks onto the admiral’s ship, firing one final volley of projectiles at point blank range before clambering aboard.
The admiral activated his Pakari and swung out a fist, hitting a marauding enemy Skakdi square in the chest and sending him flying back onto his vessel. The pirates were outnumbered three to one, but he knew that didn’t necessarily mean that he had the advantage.
The Wayward Wind was only a small ship, so every crewman had to be capable, and experienced at both sailing and fighting. Every one of them was a veteran of dozens of conflicts, whereas the admiral’s own crew was mostly composed of sailors drafted from the local populace. Decent at crewing a ship, but not great in a fight.
Another Skakdi leapt at him, and the admiral snatched him up by the throat, crushing his throat and flinging his lifeless corpse over the railing. The only weapons he had in this fight were his fists. His elemental power – earth – was useless out here on a wooden ship on the open ocean.
More than a few people had questioned his decision to join the navy, but he’d proven himself a capable commander. And now here he was, an admiral. But if he failed to apprehend these karzdamned pirates, he might not stay admiral for long.
“Push them back!” he marched forward, cracking his knuckles. He beat down another attacked, then whirled to face the deck of the enemy ship. “Who’s next?”
White-hot pain seared across the right side of his face, and he was blinded by blood. His blood. Blinking red splatters out of his vision, he looked up to see the self-styled “pirate king” himself, the Vortixx Kelz. He’d seen the mercs he’d hired turn on each other, so he’d come to personally finish off the admiral. “Oh, I just missed your eye,” he growled, flicking blood off his jagged crystal sword. “Let’s fix that.”
The admiral threw himself at the pirate, but Kelz evaded his grasp, sidestepping his clumsily-swung fist and lashing out with his gauntlet, sending a blade of solid energy slicing across the admiral’s side. He stumbled, and that was when Kelz struck, reaching forward and almost casually plucking the admiral’s right eye from its socket, as if he were simply picking berries.
The Onu-Toa screamed in agony, flailing wildly with his hands and falling to his knees on the deck as beings fought and died all around him. Kelz danced away from his wild blows, cackling with glee. “I think you dropped this,” he taunted, dropping the admiral’s eyeball in front of him before brutally squishing it underfoot. “I came here to kill you, but I think it would be so much crueller to let you live. I’ll see you around.”
He started to walk away, then turned back, sneering at the injured Toa. “Although, you might not see me.” With that, the pirate returned to his ship, leaving the admiral to flounder helplessly on the deck of his ship.
With their leader out of commission, the rest of the admiral’s small fleet remained uncertain as to what to do next. Some of the ships opened fire, or tried to pursue the Wind, but the smaller, faster vessel swiftly outran them.
The last thing Onic saw before passing out in a pool of his own blood was the Wayward Wind receding into the distance. He had failed.