The Saga of Captain Wereshark Vol. 5

The Pyandonea Expedition, Continued

It was only after the crew finished dragging the boats ashore that it started. Irregular growling and snorting peppered with ear-splitting snaps of breaking wood, like a wild boar rutting on a bed of rotted timbers. It came from somewhere in the thick cluster of skinny trees that crept up on the white sand beach.

Any other captain would have had us back on the boats and out to the Pale Spirit before you could gather enough spit to fill a thimble, but the Wereshark’s a different sort. He called us all to order on the white-sand beach, his booming growl forming sailors up as pretty as a military procession. The first sailor to gut whatever beast made that teeth-grinding racket, the Wereshark proclaimed, would get his pick of plundered items from the expedition, as well as a welwa steak dinner in the Wereshark’s personal cabin.

Just like that, the crew went from worried to eager, for battle and everything else. If you’ve never had welwa steak, dear reader, know there’s nothing better. The way Bagroga salts and cooks it, it tastes like beef and salted cheese and slides down your gullet like greased plantains. No man who sails with the Wereshark can smell it without their mouth watering, and I’ll admit, even my own stomach grumbled its assent.

The Wereshark broke us into groups. Hard-Scales would lead a party consisting of Bugnose, One-Eyed Bahzi, and five sailors from the Cliff Racer along the beach, in case the forest beasts ventured out to the sea or there was habitation to be found and looted. Mighty Flicka would lead the tribe of Nord axe swingers, who signed on with us at the Starving Dog, east into the forest to kill or flush whatever was making that rhythmic growl, with Galena Two-Scars along to scout. Never did I see a Wood Elf happier to see trees.

The Wereshark chose to lead the last group himself. That including his loyal first mate (yours truly), the Snowclaw twins, Vimy Lacroix, and the exiled High Elf Neramo. We were to scout the rocky shoals to the south of our landing position and circle around to Hard-Scales’s group. We were a smaller party than the rest, but I’ve never met a knife-ear better at making people explode than Neramo the Mad Mage.

The shoals were treacherous but empty, and we trekked for almost an hour, listening to that horrible growling, before we came across a bunch of empty huts made out of sticks, mud, and leaves. No one was home and there was nothing in the homes but giant egg shell fragments, but it confirmed the island was inhabited, or had been, until whatever was in that forest got hungry and came out on the beach.

The growling came and went, teeth-grinding as ever, but we’d heard no screaming or shouts of terror from the other parties. That meant whatever it was, Mighty Flicka hadn’t found it yet. I almost pitied whatever was making the racket until it stepped out onto the beach and stared at us, a four legged lizard bull twice as tall as Bugnose. The thing had green scales and, I swear by Mara’s skirts, a glittering trident shiny as one you’d see carried by some stuffy Altmer Queensguard on the streets of Auridon.

Needless to say, no one objected when Neramo hit it in the face with a fireball.

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