Monday, August 4

sailing on a ship of fools

"This is a cruise ship?"

"Aye, Sir!" replied the Captain. "At least it was before we were impressed into the war with New Erebus. We were the Sisyphus of the Seas! Touring the Obsidian King, His Court, and visiting dignitaries along the Styx, the Lethe, and all the shores of the Underworld!"

The boy frowned as he walked past the assembled crew, every biological variation putting the laws of Natural Selection (as it applies to the Underworld)in question. Each crewman was more doubtfully suited for combat than the next.

"No military training of any kind?"

"I'm afraid not, Sir. Your crew is made of the finest concierges, interior decorators, fashion designers, sommeliers, lounge singers..."

"I can't believe this...keep the ship cloaked until the Middlesea Fleet stops looking for us..."

Marcus stopped at the sommelier. He was a blue crustacean creature, his tapered head resembling a lobster. Hanging from his carapace was the metal ring on a chain, indicative of his station. Draped over one claw was a towel, and clutched in the other was a bottle.

The Captain stared at the flightless bird who had loped behind him nervously.

"Wait, sommeliers? What sort of wine?"

The lobster cleared his throat. His antennae flailed as his mandibles made a noble attempt at human speech. "Gud Suhr. Wee hef zeh finest bludwines from zeh prehvet rezehrv..."

His eyes narrowed. "A taste, please."

The lobster sniffed nervously, and bent down. His extra legs scratched nervously under his apron. "Arh you feeling ull reht, Suhr?"

Marcus nodded. "Pour, please."

The claw pulled the cork from the bottle effortlessly. The pop ehoed throughout the deck.

Far below, as Gematria swings her axe at the Blood Dolls swarming about her small airship on wooden wings, all of the clockworks suddenly look up...

A glass emerges from beneath the sommelier's apron by one of a row of vestigial limbs beneath. The neck tilts gracefully, and dark red liquid flows. The pungent aroma causes all of the demon except the server to sigh.

The dolls forget the combat and hover, necks craned straight over head. including the one in the fireship, collectively sigh and lick their lips. Colonel O'Toole watches fromthe deck of his ironclad through a spyglass, and motions for his ships to hold their fire.

The sommelier's eyestalks swerve nervously as he stands in place towards the Captain, the First Mate, and the rest of the crew. The creature holds the glass in front of what passes for his face, and inhales. Marcus rubs his nose, noticing the smell of the sea the crewman carries with him. The claw lowers the glass for Marcus to hold. The boy touches the blue claw as the crewmen gasp.

"Thank you." He puts the rim of the glass to his lips.

"NO SIR!" The Captain snatches the glass from the boy, who stares up angrily. "Don't ye know this vintage ain't for mortals, Boy? Ye want ta be a vampire like yer Granpa Aleister?" Without giving him the time to react, the Captain opens a portal with a furry claw and tosses the entire glass overboard.

The Blood Dolls shriek at the sight of droplets of bloodwine falling like rain, and immediately climb upwards. Gematria trembles as she hold onto her port bow, staring upwards.

"I am not a Blood Doll...I am Captain of the Caledon Volunteer Fire...DAMMIT WAIT FOR ME!!!" Gematria throws her helmet overboard as she straps on a set of Emergency Flight Wings to her back and abandons ship as the bewildered Middlesea Fleet looks on.

The Colonel turns to his crew, lowering his spyglass. "Somethings up there, that's for sure! CLIMB!"

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