Captain Kupepah clung to his rail, far-lookers dangling on their strap, banging into his chest. “How in tarnation are THEY DOING THAT??!!” That monster was turned higher into the wind than Sathrise could sail and close up that main deck was over his head… if they sheared the masts they could enclose the schooner’s hull and board her from above.
“Monster ship… jess a shitten MONSTER! First get that sail up we need to get into Heeler’s range so they can cover us! The two of us can still kill this slave-taint, stinkin' troll of a sailing ship!”
Sailors scrambled to rig a new fore-sail as they limped into the wind toward the Heeler, barely visible on the shining horizon, sun blasting off the tops of every wave, with that fiendish thing roaring down on them, oars flashing fast and the bronze ram was still invisible but every stroke raised her higher on the dang stilt-leg things; drove her faster.
He saw the moment the ram cleared the water, shaped like a gigantic bird’s head with a spear beak leaping forward towards them.
“UP! UP! UP!” Their marines pounded on shields in time with the heavy beat of the rowing drum.
Kupepah raised his speaking trumpet. “Carrons to the STERN! NOW”
The crews dragged the guns around and back to the transom, First Crew getting off a shot already, since they had the least to move, but only needed to swing to the stern carronport; BOOM. But it missed with a fast fading splash.
Their only hope was to take out crew or stilt-legs in front and there was a keel raising the ram right out of the water.
The foresail bellied out with a crack and for an instant the distance between the two ships stopped closing. A faint bellow of an order from that red and gold coated Captain. For an instant Kupepah thought they might out-run that fiend.
The oars flashed up and back with a unified clatter as they shipped and the sails filled with a sudden gust of wind. Kupepah stared in horror as every one of their forward catapults swiveled to aim at his ship and beside ever one, a smoking pot being dropped next to each one.
They meant to burn them to the waterline.
Another wild gust of wind came and that Arkan ogreship roared up and rammed into the stern of the fleeing schooner, knocking everyone about like ten-pins, wood screaming as the ship was pierced into her vitals. The Arkan ship’s speed was so great she rammed all the way up to the wood and shoved the Sathrise in front of her, water foaming up over her figurehead, as masts swayed and the mainmast, already stressed, cracked half way up, bringing the mains’l thundering down on the deck, trapping anyone not already knocked overboard like fleas thrown off a shaking dog. The deck groaned and cracked as the bow dipped under and Sathrise was bent hard twixt the pull of the sea and the ram of the Arkan.
He heard the word bellowed from the Arkan deck and with an unholy noise those catapults -- as one -- flung balls of flaming pitch and ceramic canisters to shatter and spread a blue-flaming oil to burn in the middle of the mainsail and tangled rigging.
Sathrise screamed again as the Arkan ship unshipped her oars and backwatered hard, wrenching backwards to open the splintered and gaping hole in her hull to the rush of the sea. “Fik YOU!” He screamed at the figure up above him on their main deck. “Fik YOU!”