|Unit Class:|| Naval Unit|
|Requires:||Spawned through a Random Event with the Barbarians|
|Starts With:|| Cargospace: 3|
|Info:|| 5 +1 Death|
The old captain reluctantly rose from his seat at the cabin, where he had been perusing his collection of maps. They had arrived, one of the crew had told him in a rather shaken voice. He was not at all comfortable with the situation, but he knew that he must not show it, or even think of it. They could sense that kind of thing, he had heard, and while not superstitious, he nevertheless was a careful man, the evidence of which being the fact that he had managed to become so old despite his dangerous profession.
As he came up on deck, he noticed that the afternoon sun had given way to foggy twilight. He must have been in the cabin for longer than he thought, though a small voice in the back of his mind told him that it was because of their presence. He resolved to ignore the voice, but he feared it was going to become more insistent soon. He'd better get these negotiations over with quickly, hopefully he would receive the reward without trouble, and be able to head home to Selena as soon as possible. The small voice laughed at this thought, but it was a bitter and humorless laughter tinged with desperation.
He saw their ship anchored next to theirs, he saw the plank that had provided a makeshift bridge, and finally his eyes fell upon the dark silhouette standing on the deck before him, with a few smaller ones scattered behind. "Good evening, captain. It is truly a nice ship you've got here."
The voice was warm and friendly in a slightly disturbing sort of way, a little bit like the warm and friendly voice of a predator luring its prey, the small voice commented. The figure made a gesture with what the captain fervently hoped was its arm, apparently meant simply to indicate the ship, but somehow managing to appear much more omnious. By the overlords, this was unsettling! Then, a bit too late to be proper etiquette, he realized that he was expected to say something.
"Y-yes, thank you. Reputedly the best ship in the fleet, we are...."
"Of course you are. We chose you for the mission. Because your ship was chosen by Us, it follows logically that it is the best. We do not make mistakes. Thus it is and thus it always will be. Tell us of your mission." The captain was momentarily baffled at the way the tone of voice so quickly changed from alluring to commanding, but he could do nothing but obey.In a voice more stuttering in actuality than the captain believed it to be, he recounted the story of the past week. Of how they had sailed with the rest of the fleet to lead the final attack. Of how the fleet had sailed through hidden canals and shallow rivers to take the city by surprise. Of how the captain and his crew had, the night before the fleet reached the city, stealthily left the fleet to sail ahead and warn the city of the attack, betraying the positions of the other ships. Of how soldiers from the city had rushed to the ships' position under cover of darkness, destroying them and massacring their unprepared crews with ease.
As the tale progressed, the captain felt increasingly uncomfortable, and it must have been evident on his face, because the dark figure replied:
"Do not trouble yourself with meaningless guilt, captain. When We first approached you, We offered you a choice between death and life. You chose life. Life at the expense of many deaths, deaths of friends and allies perhaps, but life nonetheless. It was the rational choice. It is the choice We would have made. Given the circumstances, yes, it was the right choice. You couldn't have known, after all..."
The captain at first felt comforted by this, but then he suddenly heard the last sentence again in his mind, and a great feeling of horror overcame him.
"You did not know that the choice We offered to you was not in fact a choice between life and death, but rather a choice between loyalty and betrayal. What We knew and you did not was that death would follow in either case. As We previously said, We do not make mistakes. Letting you live would be a mistake."
"No...NO! You promised...you promised...what have I done...?" The captain was sobbing now.
"An amusing comment. A betrayer should know better than to hold others to their word, We find." The dark figure took a staff that had been hanging on its back, and proceeded to ram it straight downwards into the ship, ignoring the sobbing captain. A flash of darkish purple light shone, and when the captain looked up again through his tear-filled eyes, They had vanished, along with their ship, leaving an enormous hole straight through the vessel, which was quickly starting to take in water. As the rest of the crew rushed about on the ship, panicking and making feeble attempts at saving themselves, the captain merely sat on his knees in front of the crack, thinking of the lives he had destroyed, thinking of Selena, thinking of his folly, all the while longing for the waves that would end his suffering.
As They knew then, and he did not, the suffering of him and his crew was not, in fact, about to end. It was about to begin.