Heroes of the Sky
Vas “Ruin” Samuel
Mysterious passanger aboard the Skystrider, a Teifling Warlock
“To a job well done,” Kenneth Raptor said proudly as he raised his mug to his crew. The quartet raised their mugs to his and all exclaimed “Cheers!” together. It was late at night in Bahest, and the Savvy Sow was nearly empty at this time.
“It’s such a rare treat for all of us to be able to celebrate off the ship like this,” Claudia Aspiria stated with a smile on her face. “We should think of something fun to do!”
Hadron Rook scoffed at this notion. “The only thing I want to do tonight,” he said as he flipped a coin in the air, leaning his chair back, “is find a loose woman who could use a little bedtime therapy.”
Letharyis Skyedge, or ‘Ris as they called her, scowled at the young human. “You’re sick you know that. Is taking advantage of women all you think about?”
Hadron caught the coin and pointed an accusing finger back and the Eladrin. “Hey, how is it taking advantage of them? Every single one has been willing.”
“Preying on the emotionally weak for a quick gratification of yourself is taking advantage of others,” ‘Ris responded, her tone no less haughty. “It shows weakness on your part as well as theirs.”
“Psht, whatever,” Hadron responded. “It’s the only way I’m gonna any action around here, it’s not like either of you put out.”
Claudia gave Hadron a seductive glance. “Oh? You haven’t exactly asked.” She gave him a wink that made ‘Ris audibly gag.
Hadron paused didn’t know what to make of this statement. He never knew with Claudia what she was thinking. Finally he smirked, “unless there’s something you’re not telling me Claudia?”
Claudia smiled and turned to her captain. “Maybe, Captain would you like to sleep with Hadron tonight?”
Ken made a dismissive motion with his hands and shook his head vigorously as ‘Ris nearly choked on her ale and started laughing. Hadron leaned back in his chair and gave Claudia the finger, “Fuuuuuccckkk you…” he exclaimed as he took another sip of his ale. Claudia just kept smiling while Ken and ‘Ris laughed at his expense. “Keep laughing you two,” he mused as he set the mug down. “I’m not the one who is sleeping alone tonight.”
“Okay so aside from whoring ourselves out,” Ris stated, still giggling a little, “anything you’d like us to do tonight captain?”
Ken shook his head. “Nope, like I said job well done, you have the night to yourselves. Just stay outa trouble, that’s all I ask. We’ve got a bit of spending money now even after buying repairs for the Skystrider, so please have ya-selves a restful and fun evening, y’all earned it.”
“Hey ‘Ris, I heard there’s a fancy tailor that’s open late not far from here.” Claudia stated, setting down her mug. “Want to go see if there are any dresses we like?”
Claudia watched as ‘Ris didn’t answer, but instead focused on another table. By the time she turned to look where the Eladrin was staring the hooded figure had nearly reached the table. Ris stood up, about to reach for her swords but Ken grabbed her arm and gave her a slow nod. Without a word, Ris brought her hands to her side, but didn’t relax.
The figure stopped at the table and looked at Ken. His robe’s hood concealed most of his face, but the sharp stubble and tint of his skin gave away that he was probably a Tiefling. In an imposing voice he asked, “Are you Captain Kenneth Raptor?”
”’Depends,” Ken replied leaning across the table. “Who’s askin’?”
Without answering the figure dropped a sack on the table. It made a loud clink when it landed, suggesting it’d been filled to the brim with gold pieces. “This bag of gold coins is asking,” the figure replied. “If you are Captain Raptor than these coins can be yours, if, and only if, you assist me in getting away.”
“Gettin’ away?” Raptor asked giving a quizzical look. “From what? From whom?”
“I’d rather not say,” The figure replied. “I will also pledge my considerable power and expertise to your cause.”
Hadron and Claudia looked at the Captain. ‘Ris didn’t let her eyes leave the figure. Her glare expressed quite clearly he was being allowed to speak to Ken because she is letting him. Hadron and Claudia both bore looks of suspicion, and were relived to see Ken’s face mirrored their concerns. “I’m sorry stranger,” Ken replied at last, “I’m afraid I can’t put myself and my crew at risk without some kinda guarantee that you’re on the level.”
The robed figure paused and looked at everyone on the table. “What can I do to offer my assurances? I do not have a god I pray to. I’ve already placed what’s left of my life savings on the table, and I’m offering to pay you for so I can help with whatever your next adventure is.”
“May I captain?” Claudia asked. Ken waved his hand for her to proceed. “Mister, where would you want us to take you?”
“Wherever the wind leads you,” the figure replied. “I have a past I am not proud of. I wish to leave it behind, forge a new life, and keep moving fast enough that old life can’t catch up with me.”
“You look like a damned tiefling to me,” Hadron butted in. “And you smell worse than ‘Ris here.”
“I don’t smell!” Ris countered under her breath without looking at Hadron.
“Sure ya do,” he replied, “you smell of fairy dust and pixie crap like all fey do, but that’s still a pleasant stench over the taint of infernal arcana.” The figure made a slight shift in response to this. “Yeah, that’s right, I can sense your arcane aura ya warlock. I wasn’t born yesterday you know.”
“Hadron,” Ken cut him off. “What did I tell you about keeping your Acktavian xenophobia to yourself?”
“I ain’t afraid of no tieflings,” Hadron countered, “but anyone who’s willing to tell their soul to a power from the hells probably ain’t wroth trusting. That’s my point.”
Claudia tried to restore some level of civility to the conversation. “At least tell us your name.”
“If you must call me something, call me ‘Ruin,’” the figure replied. “It is an apt description of what I’ve done, and what I will do to those who cross you.”
Hadron and Claudia looked at Captain Raptor again while he deliberated. In the middle of his deliberation, Ruin removed his hood and looked the Captain in the face. His expression was not one of arrogance or pride, it was one of sorrow and desperation. Finally Ruin bowed his head and said “I swear to whatever god you believe in, whatever purpose you swear to, to whatever loved ones you are fighting to protect or avenge, my purpose is genuine. Just please, give me a new reason to live.”
His voice did quite not crack or waver, but you could hear the strain he was putting into keep himself stoic. For the first time since Ruin showed up Ris’s stance loosened.
Captain Raptor looked at Claudia and Hadron. The psion nodded firmly while Hadron gave a bemused smirk and waved his approval. “Alright Ruin, y’all can come aboard, but consider yourself on trial status. We don’t like how you preform, we’re dropping you off at the next port and keeping the gold.”
Ruin placed the hood back on his head. “This is more than acceptable Captain. I understand your hesitation, but I do not wish to discuss my past. I am… not ready to talk about it.”
“Alright, it’s settled then.” Captain Raptor ordered. “Ruin, you’ll keep whatever accommodations you had for the evening, meet us here at sunrise and Claudia and I will take you aboard. Hadron, Ris, expect you both to be there by the time we show up, ready to depart. In the mean time you’re all dismissed.”