RP Between Sand and Stars


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They descended from above.

The Dragonfly had seen them coming. With miles of golden orange sand, dunes the size of buildings, and nothing - nothing - resembling life, the pirates were hard to miss. Without cover, they followed, toying with the royal ship like it was nothing more than a field mouse.

Heavy and purposeful steps echoed through the air - tension filled air - as the soldiers prepared to fight, reaching for steel and iron, a calm voice leading them forward. Racing to his office, the navigator reached for his poorly developed maps, the maps they'd supplied him, and began to consider other options. Options that didn't exist. There was no where to run, no where to hide, no sanctuary, not in this strange, dangerous land.

Cannons, splintering wood - it was deafening. But nothing compared to the sound of heavy boots slamming onto the deck, nothing compared to the clash of iron. Nor the screams. Led by a figure cloaked in darkness; their face hidden, bright yellow eyes gleaming, even through the covering that shielded their gaze.

When it started, he turned away from the maps, knowing that they wouldn't help, not now. With shaking hands, he reached for his own weapon, heart thundering in his chest as realization sank deep, down into his very core.

He was going to die.

Glass shattered, and a cannon shot through the room, destroying the adjacent wall. Distant buzzing filled the air and his mouth went dry as he looked through the gaping hole. Beyond, it approached, unnaturally fast. A wall of grey and orange, taller than anything he'd ever seen before. Dwarfing the tallest building in Costa Duba; taller than the Academy, taller than ten of them, stacked on top of the other. He began to shout his warning, entirely in vain, and scrambled for the supplies he'd been given. For the head covering, the material that'd cover his nose and mouth, the goggles that'd shield his dark eyes. The material would stick to his face, staunching the blood flow from his wounded cheek - and then the wall would hit the side of the ship.

Had they known?

Screams were swallowed by sand, and then there was nothing but the heavy groans of wood. Nothing but the motion of falling. The feel of the doorway beneath his grasp, fingers digging into the wood desperately. Nothing but darkness.
As she opened them, her eyes itched with the sand that fell from her lashes. Her mouth had been dry for days, since they first entered the desert, but the taste of iron was new, as new as the wound on her arm with blood leaking through her teal jacket, also covered in sand. The sand was everywhere.

The pirate attack came out of nowhere, an ambush that had sunk many ships before Klaire’s, she was sure of it. The captain of the Dragonfly pushed through the wreckage that had protected her from the storm, the memories of what had happened before she blacked out flashing before her eyes. How long had passed since then? There was still light, but the sun was about to set so she had to hurry, find the survivors and set up camp before nightfall. If the pirates hadn't kill them, the cold would.

“Hoffer! Adfir!”
She shouted, pressing her wound tightly to stop the bleeding while looking around in search of movement. She didn't see any, not at first, but she kept searching - turning planks of wood, pushing cannons and digging through the sand.

"Willow! Callahan!" She tried again, being met with an overwhelming silence.
Consciousness returned to him suddenly; like he'd been submerged in deep, dark water and he'd finally broken the surface. Inhaling sharply, his lips were met with tightly wound cloth, preventing an inhalation of grit, yet causing a serge of panic to run through his body. He lifted himself up onto his knees, hands reaching for the fabric, attempting to stretch it down beneath his stubbled chin. It clung to his cheek and he winced; it was as though he were ripping the outer layer of skin from his face. But with another tug, it released. Ishaan took a second breath; desperate yet conscious, and when he found it, the third followed with composure.

Sliding the eye gear onto his forehead, he looked around his immediate surroundings. There was sand, too much of it, and not enough of the ship. A section of wood, perhaps once a wall, arched over him, shielding him from one side.

Crawling out from beneath it, Ishaan slowly began to rise, hands resting against his knees until he was able to straighten completely. He was sore, likely from the impact, but otherwise unharmed.

And alive.

He stood for a moment; just him and the sound of swirling sand against wood. Then he saw movement. He lurched forward in an uncoordinated fashion, toward his fellow survivor.

Rowan Adfir. Thank the gods - the man he'd trained with. "Sir - ," he began to say, the word coming out like a breathless rasp, likely inaudible. He tried again, but as he grew closer, the words wouldn't come out. He was there, alive and reaching, half buried beneath the sand, a plank of wood wedged between his ribs. Blood coated his teeth, dripping down his jaw and the side of his neck. Wordlessly, Ishaan felt himself kneel beside the man, who attempted to speak instead.

Echoes of names, belonging to another survivor, filled the air around them.

"Klaire-," Adfir breathed out, hand reaching.

"Here! Over here!" Ishaan called out, glancing away from the man to try and locate the only woman who'd been on board the Dragonfly. Their Captain.
Klaire was about to give in to exhaustion when she heard a voice answering her call. She followed it blindly, running as fast as the sand would let her towards the fairy, her vision swirling with the heat.

She exclaimed, recognizing her navigator prior the man at his feet. Her heart sank, and she dropped to her knees by his side.

“Help me get him out!” Klaire yelled, digging through the sand surrounding her mentor. “Rowan! Rowan, listen to me. I’m here. We’re getting you out- HELP ME!” Her voice wavered, because despite her determination, she could see how pale his face was. Perhaps she was too late.
Ishaan listened, but only for a moment. Until he saw the look in Rowan's eyes. Usually steel-eyed, the fae looked to the Captain with nothing but gentleness.

Rowan's hand reached out and took Klaire's, stopping her from the pointless digging. Despite everything, he closed his mouth and smiled tiredly. "You need to conserve your strength now," he said. "Find what you can and stay together. Cilma taught him well - he will find a way. Like Cilma did for your father. You will find a way together."

He paused to catch his labouring breath, one final time. "He would be proud of you, Klaire. I am proud of you."
A firm grip from a dying man. Klaire’s expression softened, tears forming in the back of her eyes. He was right, she knew it. Words were lost in her as she tried her hardest not to cry, to scream, to keep fighting. But he was right, and she knew it. In a last gesture of grief, Klaire closed Rowan’s eyes.

“Are you hurt?” She asked Ishaan, while standing up. Her eyes glistened, but her cheeks remained dry and her posture was back to that of a captain. “We have an hour to search for others who might still be alive, then we’ll find shelter. It’ll be a cold night. We can’t light a fire, it’ll denounce our position.”
The dead man's revelation did little to affect the Captain. Perhaps she'd already known, leaving Ishaan alone in the dark.

Cilma had known Klaire's father. Known him, and somehow helped him survive the desert.

It was shocking, of course. Ishaan couldn't imagine his mentor; frail and covered in age spots, seemingly ancient, navigating this excruciating heat and torturous landscape. Cilma had always been home, in Costa Duba, in his shop with his gadgets and maps. Why had he been out here?

Swallowing hard, choosing to follow the Captain's lead and focus on their survival, Ishaan shook his head. "No, I'm fine. You - you're bleeding," he stated, gesturing to her arm. "How bad is it?" Searching was an excellent idea, but not if she was about to bleed out.
Right, her arm - She’d forgotten about it. Klaire walked away from Rowan’s corpse, removing her jacket in the process and tearing apart what remained of her sleeve. It was a deep cut, one that probably needed stitches, slightly beneath her shoulder. She tried to bandage it by herself at first, giving up when she realized it was impossible.

“Can you?” She asked, handing over the fabric to Ishaan. She stood still, waiting for him to wrap it tightly enough so it would stop the bleeding. It would have to do, at least until they could find a needle, and something to clean up the wound. She knew where those things would be, if they could find a passage to the lower levels.

“What do you need to trace a route?” She asked, remembering the massive and expensive supplies they had provided for the navigator, most of which would have probably been destroyed by the crash.
There was a lot of blood. More than he'd ever seen. Sure, there'd been cuts and scrapes and the occasional slice, but nothing like this. He swallowed and gave the Captain a curt nod before taking the fabric from her hand and tentatively stepping closer. He wound it around her upper arm, the first loop being the hardest with the cut still in sight. A metallic smell touched his senses from the proximity but he continued slowly, making sure that the fabric was tight enough. "If I can find my pack from home, I'll have everything I need."

He'd brought the basics, of course, unsure of what they'd provide. And when he'd found the very best sitting in his office, the pack was placed inside a cabinet, forgotten. It was their best bet now though - the rest was probably destroyed or scattered. Finding it all would be near impossible. But his pack...

"There," He finally said, tying a final knot, before bringing his gaze up to meet hers. "That'll be our plan for tomorrow morning then."
If they survived the night. They had to, Klaire had made him a promise and she’d find a way to keep it, no matter what.

“We don’t have much time.” She said at last, stepping away and initiating the search.

A few minutes later she found Hoffer with a slit throat, and a body crushed by the weight of a cannon that she wouldn’t have been able to tell was Rob’s if not by the yellow wings. Those were just two of the half a dozen bodies she had found over the course of an hour.

Those men had trusted her, she was their Captain. The brunette wanted to scream and cry at the same time, but she held it together for the sake of Ishaan. He was all she had left, and they were the only souls left in that godforsaken place. After that realization was made clear, she changed the route to the clinic for the supplies they needed. She carefully walked over the glass covering the floor, noticing a lot of the medicine was missing, likely sacked by the pirates that had sunk them into the sand.

“Search the cabinets.” She said, pulling a blanket from the cot to use it as a makeshift bag.
There wasn't much of anything left. Between them, they'd found the remains of several of the crew, the rest presumed to be buried, along with the second half of the ship. Throughout, Ishaan kept an eye out for anything he thought might be helpful for their survival - for the night, and hopefully, beyond. In addition to the clothes on his back, he'd been able to return to his partially buried quarters, digging out his pack, including a rough map of the continent, pens, a compass, telescope, octant, as well as the clothes he'd worn while first boarding the ship. Much to his delight, he quickly remembered the small bottle of rum he'd tucked away within the clothes, which had survived the impact. Small spare knives were scavenged, three partially lit candles and a cracked lantern.

The mood between them was solemn and near silent as they began to search the clinic. He squinted to see now, eyes glazing over the wrecked shelving unit. There was one roll of bandages - partially used, probably down to the last couple of feet. And he'd found a small box meant to hold nine vials. Four remained, neatly stacked and separated by dividers to prevent breakage. The rest were missing; likely scavenged by the pirates, and those remaining, deemed as unimportant, though it was too dark to make out the labels.

With meager supplies, they headed for the structure that held the most integrity: just across the hall from his. It was dark now and growing colder by the minute, drastically increasing his uneasiness. Once inside and shielded from the wind, Ishaan took a seat, back resting against the smooth surface of the wall. He could just barely make out her movement. "You don't happen to have any matches, would you?" He asked, his voice quiet even amongst the near silence. "I found some candles, surely we can light one of those."