The Saga of Captain Wereshark Vol. 3

[Several pages before this have been torn out].

We'd no sooner reached the surface of the frozen island when the dread words of Prince Vaugr echoed through the air above and all around us. It sounded as if the freezing air was itself speaking his words.

"That is my treasure, mortals. My legacy. You will not steal it away. The great northern winds serve me!"

Yet as we hurried up the extended landing ramps of the Pale Spirit, hauling our liberated booty, no more draugr emerged from the sunken barrow to pursue us. With the haste befitting an experienced pirate crew escaping with a horde of treasure, we made the Wereshark's grand vessel ready to sail. With pirates with longbows ready to defend her, and a belly laden with the liberated treasure of a long dead Draugr prince, the Pale Spirit unfurled her crimson sails.

We left the frozen island and its sunken barrow behind, new snowflakes swirling around us as a northern gale filled out sails. Yet we'd barely escaped the island before the winds failed us. The once churning seas off Skyrim's coast became a placid lake, so still even a learned observer could mistake them for glass. There was no sound, no wind. Even the lapping against the Spirit's hull went silent.

To those on the grand boat, it was like we were frozen in time, but I suspected an even more terrifying fate. Prince Vaugr, as threatened, had stilled the northern winds. While we could row, such activity was strenuous and slow. It might be days, even weeks, before we succeeded in rowing to shore, and the Pale Spirit's belly was laden with gold, not provisions. We could not eat gold. Would we starve amidst this placid sea, as the cruel, glowing eyes of Prince Vaugr observed from inside his sunken tomb?

"No!" Captain Wereshark declared. "We are not defeated! I have recovered the Jewel of the Entombed Prince, and with that and the scrolls we found on the Isle of the Red Mist, we will defeat this sorcery!"

Led by Mighty Flicka, the pirates and I cheered. Our captain had never failed us, no matter how dire the situation, and I had no fear he'd fail now. Prince Vaugr might be ancient and powerful, but Captain Wereshark was the savviest captain with which I'd ever sailed.

With a merry bow and wave, Captain Wereshark and Crackteeth the Cannibal Priestess retired to the Wereshark's private quarters. Together, the captain assured us, he and the Isle of Red Mist's fugitive queen would tame the magics we needed to escape.

With our captain and the Queen of Bones set to their task, there was naught for the rest of us to do. Vimy played a merry tune on her flute as Neramo sent sparks of magic into the empty air, determined to solve the problem on his own.

Some others arm-wrestled or threw dice, while the more industrious of us, under the watchful eye of Mighty Flicka, swapped the decks clean of blood and checked the ropes and sails. When the wind returned, and we were certain it would, we'd need the Spirit in her best form.

Hours passed. Morning turned to noon, and soon Galena Two-Scars and the two silent Bosmer who always shadowed her passed out the day's rations. We ate too quickly, boasted too loudly, because the deafening silence of a becalmed sea had us all spooked. Even Vimy's merry tune grew mournful. And then, without the flutter of sails or creak of wood, the sound of froth rose against the hull. We moved!

Like excited children clamoring to Daggerfall's walls to cheer an approaching Jester's Festival, I and the other pirates pressed against the Pale Spirit's railing. The Pale Spirit moved, froth spreading from her bow, but our sails remained limp. How were we sailing without wind?

Galena Two-Scars called out with joy from the stern, beckoning us to her. We rushed aft and witnessed two gargantuan shells beneath the waves, as well as the frothy movements of flippers as big as our landing boats. I could not believe my eyes. Giant sea turtles!

Somehow, Captain Wereshark and Crackteeth the Cannibal Priestess had summoned the ancient sea titans. The turtles pushed the Pale Spirit at a speed even winds couldn't match!

As we watched in awe, Captain Wereshark and the Queen of Bones emerged from his private quarters, clothing in disarray. Both were flush with recent exertion, and it was only then I remembered the tales of the rituals practiced on the Ilse of Red Mist, tales perhaps too graphic for an account such as this. Whatever the captain and priestess had conjured in the Wereshark's private quarters, it had worked!

Smiling with her bright yellowed teeth, Crackteeth brushed aside the clattering bone-charms in her hair and pointed to the sea. "Behold, ye simple pirates, the ancient matrons of the sea. Gnarlnose and Steggofins! Your captain's prowess has earned their aid!"

And though it would be night before we reached shore, I already knew we'd escape this becalmed sea.

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