Unliving - Chapter 150

Published at 14th of May 2022 05:37:31 AM

Chapter 150

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"Home is not necessarily where you were born, not where you made your living, for some not even necessarily where your family lives.


Home is where your heart lies." - Saying attributed to the Silver Maiden

Port City of Quelos

Western Elmaiya

Third Elmaiya Empire

5th day, 4th week, 5th month, year 96 VA.


In the end, Artair had kept his promise to Aideen. On the way back from the capital, the family had taken a week-long vacation on the atoll. His mothers had exchanged knowing smirks with one another when they had left together to parts they couldn't see during that time, which had embarrassed him to no end.


She just found his embarrassed look adorable, though. It was so much a contrast to his massive, powerful build and fierce looks that she couldn't help but find it amusing. That was apparently a feeling one of her mothers-in-law shared, since she's a human as well, living in therian lands.


Aideen and Artair had spent another half a year at the Veros family mansion, as winter turned to spring, and spring turned into summer. Eventually, the time came for them to return to Ptolodecca, and they bid their farewells to the rest of the family.


The matrons had given her fond embraces as they said their goodbyes, while the younger children had looked saddened by their departure. She had eventually coaxed them with promises to return again in the future, before they let her go.


It was a rather quiet carriage trip they had, as they left the mansion and headed to the port city once again, just the two of them. Both of them thought of the warm welcome and familial treatment they received this past year, a feeling both of them had long missed.


They boarded the family ship without incident, as the crew were already informed beforehand. Those crew members also looked perfectly happy that they gave them something to do, since most of the time they just idled at the port city instead.


It was in the height of summer that they embarked from Quelos. This time, the family ship had headed straight to Danevos. Around that same time, Mimia and Éirynn were supposed to embark from Sabaya and travel downstream on a barge, and they would meet up at the port.


After five days of sailing, the galleon reached Danevos. Their travel time was slower as western winds weren't as prevalent in the summer, unlike in winter. It proved to be a moot point anyway as it turned out that Mimia and Éirynn had not arrived yet.


Those girls arrived two days later, as it turned out that there had been an incident during their trip on the river. Apparently a long-necked sea beast had swum up the river when it was much smaller, and had since lived and hidden itself in a smaller lake in lands which had not been settled.


That had caused the delay when the beast had swum to the main river, and by coincidence, ran across the river barge Mimia and Éirynn was on, and attacked it. The few guards on the boat were naturally overwhelmed, but the two girls were far from defenseless.


While they had left the more noticeable Trí and Ceathair behind for this trip, Mimia and Éirynn had asked and received the emperor's permission to bring Haon and Dó with them. Needless to say, the two undead constructs proceeded to make short work of the beast.


Even so, the barge was damaged from the attack, and they were forced to delay their travels for a couple of days to repair the damages. At least the girls ate well during those days, as they discovered the sea beast's flesh to be unexpectedly delicious.


After they met, the girls hugged Aideen, and they walked onto the ship. Haon followed openly behind them, which drew looks from many people, something the girls were used to by now. On the other hand, Dó had long gone invisible and boarded the ship ahead of them, with none of the crew detecting her presence.

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The girls had brought them along because the empire was not entirely safe. The land was still in the midst of its recovery from the civil war after all, and while most regions had been pacified, some remained in minor turmoil, and the security in those areas were not the best.


Unlike the western lands where Aideen spent most of her stay, which were pretty much left untouched by the ravages of war, Mimia and Éirynn mostly toured the central regions. Those regions were the ones most fought over, and thus took the worst of the devastation from all the fighting.


Haon and Dó served as insurance to keep the two girls safe. While both of them knew how to fight, neither were particularly experienced at it, with the one campaign at Vitalica being their only real experience. Both Aideen and the Bone Lord felt more secure to have the necromantic constructs as guards for the girls.


The open seas were also an area of unrest following the civil war. The previous regime had employed privateers heavily, an expense that the current regime balked at given their now-peaceful relations with their neighbors. As a result, most of those privateers went full pirate instead, and plagued the waters further east from the empire.


They avoided the imperial waters, mostly because they were worried about the navy, which had regular patrols to deal with this exact issue. Many of the pirates had migrated further east, as the jarldoms to the east had far less unity and thus were easier prey for them.


Ships that had left Ptolodeccan waters also often ran afoul of these pirates, as while the security within the waters claimed by the lichdom was beyond tight, they had not cared much for what went on beyond its confines.


It was five days later, half a day after the galleon left imperial waters, and before they entered Ptolodeccan waters, that the ship found itself accosted by such pirates. No less than three smaller ships, one of them a smaller galleon and the other two caravels, had approached them from different directions, with the black flag flown openly on their main masts.

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