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Darkfire Stargazer
Song of the Savage - Chapter Six: Landing at Sunrise

All through the night, the Sayladar's captain stood by the bow rail, searching in the pale moonlight for blessed land. The stars all winked at him, telling him not to give up his desperate hopes. Soon, a tiny promising speck crept out of the inky darkness beyond the horizon, and Morgan's heart was lighter. His tired paws clutched the deckrail tighter, choking the salt from the aged wood. Gradually the speck grew, the shortening distance fueling its expansion. After many tedious hours, the weary captain could make out distant trees by the faint rosy light of the oncoming dawn. Brutus and Lieutenant Scaplax had risen from the comforting arms of sleep by this time, and the pair were soon beside the mouse Corsair. Brutus' large face broke out into a grin. "Ahh, ne'er a more beautiful sight, eh Cap'n?" Morgan nodded, smiling as well. Scaplax merely folded his paws across the deckrail, a distant look in his eyes and a faint smile upon his lips. It was a few moments before he spoke. "I've always liked the sea more than the sand.. but for once I'm very glad to see shore.."
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By the time the sun spread its rosy rays over the shimmering seas, the Sayladar was resting in the shallows near the island. Morgan lifted his head to welcome the sun's warmth, sniffing luxuriously at the early morning breeze. He turned to Brutus with a hint of a grin. "Smell that, mate? I'm sure you never thought land could smell so wonderful.." Brutus made no attempt to stifle his own grin, which lit up his dark face like a beacon. The mouse captain patted his friend on the shoulder and turned to Scaplax, who seemed to be ready to leap into the shallows and dash for land. Only just that morning had the water barrels been fully emptied, and the whole crew seemed tense for the promise the island brought. From the shallows, the sandy beach and what lay beyond did indeed seem promising. A good stretch of cool white sand gradually dissolved into a densely wooded area, thick with tall bamboo and ferns. Beyond the bamboo, it could be assumed some sort of water would be found. After some thought, Morgan roused the pine martin Sargeant Levair from his bunk. Levair blinked a moment, then snapped to attention upon realizing who awakened him. "Captain, sir?" "Good morning, Sargeant. I hope you're ready for a little trip, but I'm entrusting you to scout out the island this morning before we send the crew ashore. Take a pawful of your most trusted with you, scout the location of the nearest water source and report back. If you run into any trouble, get back here immediately." Levair nodded stoutly and hopped from his bunk, grabbing his longsword and spear from his footlocker. He followed Morgan out of the cabin, strapping on his sheathed sword. After gathering a stoat, two weasels and two rats, the gangplank was lowered. The scouts were sent off by an enthusiastic crew, optimistic and excited. The hope of not only water, but a relaxing break offshore on a tropical paradise. Everybeast aboard watched with heavy interest until the six scouts vanished into the thick forest.
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Several hours passed, and most of the Sayladar's crew found themselves merely lounging about, squabbling over ale or playing dice. Only Morgan, Brutus and Lieutenant Scaplax remained with their gazes riveted upon the pawprints of the scouting party. Soon, however, they found their vigil rewarded. The sounds of hurried pawsteps caught their ears, mainly due to the heavy amount of brush snapping and rustling under those paws. They all glanced at eachother a moment, then apprehensively at the forest. Bursting forth from the heavy bamboo came a very bloody and haggard Levair. The Sargeant managed to choke out as loud as possible with a large amount of blood trickling from his mouth. "Ambush! C-Cap'n! AMB-" Levair suddenly went silent with a gasp, blood beginning to trickle down his throat. The pine martin fell forward into the sand without another sound, the tufts of a dart sticking up from the back of his neck. (To be Continued..)