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The Battle for Varna Bay by Radi Anchev

It seemed like any other day. The elf opened his eyes in the ever-so-lightly swaying cabin. He was on his ship, and it took him a while longer than usual to get to his senses. He had barely slept, and something didn’t feel right. Today was the 24th of March, the year being 2023 after the Empire and the day beforehand a sudden shock overcame the Sea Wolves as a great deal of their high-ranking officials were assassinated, poisoned, abducted. The Jarl sent whomever he could spare to the rest of his lands and the elven captain opted to stay on the docks to offer assistance in whatever way possible.

It was sunny outside, yet it seemed grey to his eyes, and the winds were warm, yet they felt cold for but a few moments. He put on his hat and headed out. On the deck of the “Millennium Gull” the crew was gathered and briefed to keep a weather eye out on the horizon for anything out of the ordinary. They all nodded in confusion, and the elf walked the plank down to the dock and paced towards the city.

The brightly dressed elf was headed towards the café of the Hadji to warn him of the very same thing but trouble was not far behind. Halfway there a man out of breath stopped him and relayed to him a message. He told the elven man that the city was about to be besieged or attacked and the messenger continued on his way no matter the exhaustion – all of the Wolves had to know.

Being the newest member of the Sea Wolves, Captain Darimdam aen Karanig, uttered a single curse in his tongue and started running towards the now audible screams. He hated running but he had to find the Jarl, or the Hadji. He spotted them not long after, both giving orders to the armed and armored northern warriors that had come with Jarl Arinox to the Dragonlands, as well as local fighters and warriors, all in the name of defending the city of Varna, and all standing surrounded by bodies of fully black-clothed people, as well as their own. He had barely approached them when another messenger came running towards them. His message was just as dire – enemy ships were spotted, black of color and sail, flying strange flags, and heading straight for the bay. The three of them exchanged a few glances and nodded, seemingly understanding what needs to be done. The elven captain turned and started heading back before stopping and looking over his back and ordered that fifteen bodies of the enemy were to be brough to his ship as soon as possible.

He arrived at the “Millennium Gull” with a smile, as his crew had already begun arranging the caravel for sailing and battle. Off to both his sides he could see the drakars of the Wolven fleet doing the same thing, and being way smaller in size, were ready to go sooner than his ship was, but they waited.

Elven senses seemed to work strangely; the captain noted. But that was something he would look into another day. A deep breath was taken as he was looking at the horizon. The battle of Varna Bay was about to begin.


Standing on the bow of the ship, many things flowing through his mind, the Captain was brought out of his thoughts by the news that the bodies were brought. He put on a wicked smile and instructed his first mate what was to be done with them. Casks of oil, archers, chain hooks, swords, shields, armor and helms all ready, messages were spread from drakar to drakar and ship to ship to signal that all was set.

The captain was in his cabin. He placed his hat gently on its stand and put on his gambeson and all the armor he had. With his trusty glaive and with the sound of hard boot heels on wood he walked to the wheel. Shouting filled the docks as every captain of every ship there gave out the command to sail forward and prepare to board.

The hull of the Gull was designed for speed and maneuverability and as the white sails unfurled and wind filled them with volume, the caravel headed straight for the enemy. The obsidian-black spots on the ivory-white sails could not be missed by even the farthest of the enemy ships. Fifteen slain Tenebrian warriors were hanging from the rigging on various levels, like squashed bugs on a marble tile. The message was clear.

Having the wind on their sides and the waters of their home, the Wolves had all the benefits on their side. It was hard to gauge whether the enemy fleet was larger, even though it seemed like it was. They were going to suffer either way, for daring to invade the lands of the Sea Wolves. The Gull was headlong and center in the offense against the encroaching darkness of the Tenebrians and it showed no intent on slowing down. The black ones had to reposition a few of their central ships as to avoid a crash, thus forcing much of their fleet to alter their course slightly, which was enough to give them a window for action. The drakars of the north were nimble and quickly started gaining and surrounding the enemy ships. Men hurled hooks on chains and ropes on the taller ships and quickly traversing the taught ropes onto the enemy decks.

And so the slaughter ensued.

Many screams filled the air, the sounds of metal hitting metal and wood all ever so audible, creating a symphony of death. The archers on the Gull shot arrows of fire at those ships where no Wolf had boarded. A few were set ablaze and the fire burned bright on the waters of Varna Bay. It all seemed to be going perfectly. But perfect it was, but not for them. The enemy adapted swiftly, nimble on foot and quick of wit and took advantage of the situation. They crushed a few of the empty drakars and the boarding parties had no back-up plans. Quickly surrounded and outnumbered on each deck of the galleons of the enemy they were either slaughtered or succumbed to surrender.

As the elven captain was comprehending all of this boarding hooks landed on the portside of the Gull. The lighter ship started drifting to the massive black galleon on the left, as the enemy sailors were pulling on the hooks. His own crew quickly took arms but were not quick enough. The enemy was already boarding the Gull. With loud thumps they jumped on the caravel and wasted no time in getting close and person with the crew there. They were brutally effective and extremely determined. But the captain did not see why, nor did he have any time to dwell on it. He had to jump back to dodge a strike and lifted his glaive in the air. With all of his might, which was not a lot, usually, he brought down his blade on the enemy as he was recovering. It was a mix of adrenaline, luck and anger that helped the elf in that very moment as his strike cut deep down into the shoulder of the enemy, splitting half of the torso in two. With a clang the sword of the enemy fell on the deck and the captained pushed the body off with his foot. His eyes widened with fear as he turned. The sight of the entirety of his crew being either dead or having a blade to their throats was devastating to the captain. The elf dropped his weapon and dropped on his knees, one by one, signaling surrender. His eyes filled with rage and his heart was overcome with wrath. Vengeance was vowed on that day.