Wukei's (and Mikhail's) BackstoryChapter 1
Obviously, not ever captain starts out as such. My first job on my first ship was important, but nowhere near as monetarily gainful as a captain. And no pirate goes without changing their name. I don't even remember my true name. But my first pirate name was Wukei Kairava...
What looked like a young man stood near the bow of the Maiden's Kiss--a rather cliche name to the cook. His long black hair was flowing in the wind created by the ship's wizard to fill the sails. He narrowed his deep violet eyes--eyes that attracted attention even when Wukei Kairava was pretending to be male. She knew, of course, what would happen if any of these lonely and lowly pirates should they learn that there was a woman aboard. Especially one that was only human.
Kairava's attention was on the sea ahead. Sure, there was a man in the crow's nest; but her instinct told her that something was out there. Something dangerous. It was a shadow in the water that didn't seem to move that caught her eye. It was a ship's bow, and it was rising! Captain! Underfoot! A ship!
The elf that Wukei called out to called to the helmsman, Hard to port! He then turned his attentions onto a dark elf. Shields, Solear! The white-haired elf nodded and began to cast. Brace yourselves, Gents! Wukei managed to grab onto the mast closest before the ship spun quickly to the left. The ship below broke the surface of the water, rising like a great monster.
The Leviathan, Arasolear called out with fear uncommon to the powerful wizard. Ships with crews as strong as the Kiss, sometimes stronger, had fallen to the paladins of the Leviathan without the paladins breaking a sweat. But that might just be a myth. No one knew for sure, because no ship attacked by the Leviathan ever had any survivors.
The large ship rammed into the side of the Kiss--not doing too much damage due to the wizard's spell--jolting one of the crew members from his post. As he tumbled overboard Wukei dived from the mast and grabbed for him, catching him by the ankle. The weight of the man pulled her forcefully into the side of the ship and she felt her ribs crack under the pressure, but she refused to let go of the pirate. Once footing was reestablished, two men ran over to help Kairava pull him up, their swords drawn for battle already. The man put a shaking hand on Wukei's shoulder in gratitude before drawing his weapon, looking up at the Leviathan, all of the blood drained from his face. Green was an experienced fighter. To see him so frightened worried Wukei to no end.
She'd never fought before...
Below decks, Cook, said someone, grabbing her arm firmly. She looked up to see Captain Raad's first mate, a half-orc that went by Bigs. Whether that was his name or just a nickname, she wasn't sure. He was smart for a half-orc. And he knew the dangers of someone as green as Kairava out on deck during such a dangerous battle. He shoved her off toward the stairs, making the small-framed cook stumble slightly. His intent, of course, was to get her to run--not to knock her down. If he'd wanted that, he could have knocked her straight through the wood of the deck, she had no doubt of that.
Wukei ran for the galley, holding her side as she went. Bigs didn't want her fighting--especially since she was already injured by her rescue of Green--but there was always the chance that one or more of the paladins might get through the rest of the crew. She drew her sword with her free hand as she ran.
Wukei stood in the galley, sword bared and facing the door. Every second felt like an hour. Every hour felt like an eternity. And she could hear fighting overhead--though barely over her own breathing--even after three hours. Still she stood firmly in place, petrified. She heard a sound behind her and turned, slicing down with her sword at the darkness. A ghostly white hand caught her trembling one. The towering being's other hand reached over and plucked the sword from her hand as easily as removing a grape from the vine. Hello, Pirate, the creature greeted, staring down at her with shockingly ice blue eyes. Their glare was as cold as their colour. Kairava tried to pull away, but the man--whatever he was, he was male--had a grip as strong as a steel clamp. Wukei--not really knowing what she was doing but acting on instinct alone--brought her other hand around in a punch. The man was quicker, though, and caught her other hand. It seems you're out of options, Boy.
No, he's not, said a voice from the shadows. A pair of red eyes glared up at the snow white creature before sending several bursts of painful light at him. This knocked the man back, and he dragged the cook with him. He drew a dagger, planning to finish off Kairava quickly, not wanting her to get into the middle of the fight between him and the drow. After all, pirates fought dirty.
Wukei, always having been quite flexible, kicked up at the hand. She was surprised to find that this worked to knock the weapon from his hand. It also gave Arasolear a chance to cast Magic Missile again. This jolted the white creature's hands from Wukei and she quickly drew her dagger, driving it into his chest. He gasped in pain and Wukei watched as the light faded from those cold, cruel eyes. She shivered as she backed away from the body. Her mortality had never felt so threatened. She finally knew why people feared death. But something in her also enjoyed the feeling of the fear. The thrill.
A hand rested on her shoulder and she jumped. She turned quickly to find the drow standing in front of her. The battle is over. Their wizard was the last on the ship. The Leviathan's gone. Let's go. The captain wants to see you. Wukei nodded nervously. Had she done something to upset the captain? Surely not. She followed the Kiss's wizard up.
The captain stepped over to Kairava. He was handsome, with long platinum hair and bright, intelligent blue eyes, though he was currently covered in blood and bruises. His thin frame hid the powerful strength of the elf. And his charm was well-known among many cities throughout the world. A good call there, Cook. And a good save. We should have you up on deck more often. The captain did not hand out praises easily, especially to non-elves and new shipmates. The young cook smiled broadly at the significance of such a compliment.
Thank you, Captain Raad, Wukei responded.
You saved all of our lives today, Mister Kairava, the elf continued. Had it been her imagination, or had the captain made the slightest of pauses in the break of the word "mister?" She wouldn't put it past him to know that she was female. And his pause would cement the fact that she should watch what lies she told him. He could learn anything on his own ship. We're indebted to you. And this is an auspicious start to your career. No other neophyte can claim to have come face to face with a member of the Leviathan and lived. This one was definitely a warning that he knew all of what went on on his ship. He hadn't even been near the galley when Wukei and Arasolear had fought the snow elf. But it wasn't a warning toward her--though Wukei didn't know that. One of the members of the ship had been planning to strike against Raad while he was weak. It had been this member that had told the captain of the Leviathan where to find the ship. However, this warning had been heard, and this pirate weighed carefully the consequences of still trying to strike. He did not strike at that point, however.
Everyone has 'personal demons.' Mine got a little more personal than most. Mine even had a name. His true name I wouldn't write here, but his earthly name is Mikhail Pyotre Nicholae Arkadiy...
Nemetaitzur stood at the edge of a cliff, his strange silver and red hair gleaming in the light of the fires of hell. His eyes the same strange colour as his hair searched the city below. His garments of gold and red denoted his station as a prince. As the youngest of his father's children, however, he didn't have any true responsibilities.
How boring, he stated. Whether it was to the incubus acting as his servant or merely a thought stated aloud with no true target was not quite obvious. Inxexzian and Lumetzius are constantly under attack. Constantly fighting. When not being attacked by other families, Lumetzius tries to kill Inxexzian to become heir to Father's throne. If he succeeds, he'll probably try to kill me so that I don't try to kill him. Not that I would. I don't want it.
But there has to be more to life than constantly killing or watching your back, he said, narrowing his eyes as he watched the city of demons. There was no passion in what these demons did. There was only a struggle for power. Boring, he repeated, turning. The incubus stepped back, looking rather frightened. Despite Nemetaitzur's unwillingness to fight, people feared him. Mostly because they have heard tales of when he did fight. What confused those near him is that their fear didn't make him smile.
Go. Inform my father that I wish to speak with him.
The incubus stammered, looking horrified. If there was one demon that you didn't want to mess with, it was the king. S-sir...your father is v-very b-busy--
Nemetaitzur cut him off, narrowing his eyes. He couldn't stand here all day while the incubus stuttered out a reply. My father will make time for me, Zenczus. And he knew that this was true. His mother had been the king's favourite lover. The power of the boy and his uninterest in overpowering his father made the king like him even more. Nemetaitzur was too much of a boon to his father for the king to ignore any request from the boy.
Zenczus bowed to the prince. It would not do well to question Nemetaitzur a second time. He might find himself out of breath. Permanently. Zenczus quickly made his way to the prince's father. Nemetaitzur wouldn't be far behind.
Nemetaitzur stood before the king of hell, looking completely calm despite the fact that the demon in front of him was fifteen feet tall, covered in flames, and had a body as wide as a stagecoach when not counting the large bat-like wings on his back. Nemetaitzur bowed, kneeling, as was only proper--even for a son of the king. I assume there is a reason that you requested an audience, Nemetaitzur, the king asked. He was being short and to the point. Nemetaitzur would have to proceed carefully.
Your Majesty, our own realm has become tedious. I would like to request a chance to go to the mortal world and learn of things outside of my teachings here.
The king sat back in his throne, steepling his fingers as he considered his son. It was true that knowledge was another form of power. The mortals could be--at times--craftier than demons and devils. And no demon could kill the boy permanently during his time on the mortal plane. It would be good to get him away from the war between his siblings. He motioned one hand in approval, Granted. Know that you must bind yourself to a human to remain on their world for more than two days. Pick one strong, for if it is weak and dies you will return to our own realm. Your injuries will be the mortal's to bear, and his yours. Your powers will lend some aid to the mortal, but the mortal is still quite susceptable to death. Should he die, it will take much time before you will be able to return to the mortal world.
Nemetaitzur knew what this implied. Should he need to escape Lumetzius, Inxexzian, or members of another family, he couldn't if he was trapped in the hells. He bowed his head, I will be most careful, Your Majesty. The king nodded to the boy and waved his hand dismissively. This motion not only excused Nemetaitzur, but sent him to the mortal world.
Wukei, having had worked on the Maiden's Kiss for two years at this point, was still not yet a well-known pirate. She was still a cook. But she enjoyed her job. And she had become an amazing fighter. Raad, Bigs and Green had taught her all they knew. Even Solear had taught her two-weapon fighting that he had learned when he was young. Any time that they struck at a ship--or had a ship strike at them--Wukei was on deck fighting just as ferociously as the next pirate. Captain Raad had noticed her excellent progress, of course, and trusted her as much as he trusted Bigs and Solear. Only the three of them knew that Wukei was actually a woman, and this did not make them think any less of her. She was one of the finest fighters and most loyal members in the crew. She made up for the lack of strength as the elves did, using dexterity rather than strength to fight: using the opponent's strength against them.
At the moment, Wukei was in port looking over vegetables to gather for the ship, as well as cured meats and other things that would last until the next port. But something was making her feel uneasy. It was the same intuition as when the ship had been attacked two years earlier. It was a feeling that something inescapably dangerous was near her.
Across the market was what looked like an elf. Nemetaitzur had his tail tucked into his pants, and as long as he didn't smile he would be able to pass for an unique looking elf with no problems. He noticed many knights and other adventurers that seemed strong enough to bind with him. But he could feel that they only killed in the name of good. There were plenty of pickpockets wandering about, but they felt too weak to be worth binding to. And then he saw Wukei. Though she seemed like nothing special on the outside--in fact, she looked rather frail to the well-muscled demon--he could feel the rage and strength within her. She wasn't extremely strong, but there was potential. A lot of it. If demons had souls, this would be his soulmate. This was the one. He was sure of it.
He slowly approached the pirate and saw her reaching for her dagger--though she was very subtle about it. He smiled to himself. Good, he thought, he can't be snuck up on. That will make him harder to kill.
As he stepped up behind her she spun and pointed the dagger at his throat. He stared down into her indigo eyes. There was a bit of fear there, but it was mostly cold determination. She would kill him--or at least attempt to--without remorse. I don't want to hurt you, he offers.
Funny, my gut says otherwise, Wukei stated, pressing the dagger in on Nemetaitzur's throat and drawing blood.
Nemetaitzur still didn't move. Wukei frowned as she watched him. He was calm, self-assured, and unafraid. She'd never met anyone that could be like that with a knife to their throat. Who are you, she asked in suspicion.
An interesting question...a simple name doesn't seem to fully describe who a person is.
What name would a smartass choose for himself, then, Wukei asked, narrowing her eyes at Nemataitzur.
The demon considered this carefully. What would the bored prince choose as a name for himself? He smiled as he decided. Mikhail Pyotre Nicholae Arcadiy.
Kairava scoffed at the demon. Couldn't think of anything longer?
Nemetaitzur noticed that the dagger wasn't pressing as much on his neck. His hand moved swiftly as he brought it up and grabbed Wukei's hand. He then twirled her around to where he was holding her one arm to her chest from behind her, and the one with the dagger up to her own throat. He put the side of his head up against hers and whispered, Maybe I could, but I like being unique. He wanted to see what the pirate would do. What the man--at least he thought it was a man--could do.
Without hesitation, and without fear, Wukei stomped hard on his foot and when he shifted slightly from the pain she used the small gap between them to bring her foot up into his crotch. The demon withdrew, wincing, and Wukei spun to face him, backing up--drawing her sword as she went. At the moment, Nemetaitzur wasn't so impressed that Kairava would use any method to gain the advantage. In fact, she had managed to irritate him.
Suddenly, there was a flaming whip in the demon's hands. He snapped it at the pirate, the burning leather wrapping itself around the pirates wrist tightly. Despite the pain, Wukei wrapped her hand around the whip and tugged herself toward the demon slightly, loosening it's grip on her wrist. As Nemetaitzur attempted to pull her forward, she let go of the whip and he stumbled back. Kairava took this chance to move forward and strike at him with her sword.
The two fighting had drawn the attention of others in the marketplace. One was Solear, though he was currently magically morphed into a high elf. Dark elves were feared in most cities, after all. He recognized the balor for what he was. He was tempted to jump in to help the cook, but he was curious to see how well she would do alone. If the demon had truly wanted to kill her, he would not be holding back as he was. There was something else going on here.
Nemetaitzur tumbled away from Wukei's strike. She was quick. Much quicker than most mortal fighters. She worked with speed, not strength. He wasn't used to that. Strength and power was everything where he lived. Nemetaitzur stood, and his whip disappeared. This didn't deter the pirate, however, and Wukei lunged in a way that suggested that it was more than just a charge. As Nemetaitzur's sword appeared in his hands to block her, she leapt--her boots must have been magical, because this leap sent her well over his head--she spun to where she was facing down and struck with her sword. Nemetaitzur--almost stunned by the move, but not quite--dodged to the side. Wukei landed behind him and Nemetaitzur turned, his sword angled to the ground in a nonoffensive pose. I have a proposition for you, he stated.
Sorry, I'm already employed, Wukei stated, glancing in Solear's direction. He hadn't known that she'd noticed him. He had an odd feeling that Captain Raad had been giving the girl lessons in slyness.
This is more complicated, the demon stated, following Kairava's gaze. A dark elf? Good. She didn't mind evil beings. You do want to gain power, yes? I can give it to you.
Wukei watched him with suspicion. Now that the fight seemed to be over, patrons of the marketplace were dispursing. Solear approached the two. He stood beside Wukei, watching the demon with curiosity. He wanted to give Wukei power? A binding, perhaps? What else would a demon want someone so low in the group for? Solear leaned in close to Wukei, Captain Raad trusts you, and your judgement. It would be advantageous to you to gain a demon as your friend, he saw the hint of surprise as Wukei's eyes widened slightly, but it was hardly noticeable. Still, the demon would have noticed it. The fact that Wukei didn't know that she was fighting a demon surprised Solear. But he was well taught in such areas. She didn't have parents, and didn't go to a school as far as Solear knew. That she knew how to cook so well was little more than a miracle. So there shouldn't be too much surprise that she didn't know that she was facing a demon. And the captain would not frown upon it.
Wukei considered her options. A demon? She did not view herself as an evil person, even though she was a pirate, and she killed without remorse. Though she'd heard fairy tales of demons being evil, she also heard such tales of drow. And to her, Solear was no more evil than she was. Perhaps the demon, too, was not as bad as the stories said. What do you want from me, she asked, her voice giving away no sign of whether she was truly interested or simply humouring the demon.
We must discuss this somewhere more private, the demon suggested. Solear nodded his agreement and Wukei sighed. She motioned for Nemetaitzur to follow the two to the Maiden's Kiss.