Creaking wood and metal woke the young Kal�dorei.  Her head spun when she tried to stand, causing her to collapse back on the straw covering the floor. This was wrong.  This was very wrong.  Having never felt this way before, Weedy didn�t have any previous experiences to rely upon to determine what happened, but she felt like what she think people felt like when they had hangovers.  She decided she didn�t like it and wouldn�t ever have one.  But she didn�t drink the night before which is what was needed to have a hangover in the first place.  That much she knew for sure.  

Not only was her head spinning, but her body felt � weird too.  All � weak and floppy.  Now *that* made her mad.  She wasn�t weak and floppy.  She was strong.  Mr. Captain Blackwald sir, Mr. Lord Grand Marshal Walkinson sir and Miss Lady Justicar Dawnfield ma�am all said so.  Even Miss Koryander ma�am who was really strong for a human said she was strong.  She couldn�t be all weak and floppy.  Growling, she forced herself to stand, bracing herself on the wooden wall beside her.  Nobody ever told her having a hangover made them weak and floppy so she knew she couldn�t have one.  This was something else.

Feeling wood on her back made her look down.  Her armor was gone.  Frantically patting her body, she looked around the room.  It was just … gone.  Her lower lip trembled.  Mr. Lord Grand Marshal Walkinson sir made it for her and now it was gone.  Not only her armor, but her sword and shield were gone too.  Mr. Captain Blackwald sir gave her that shield.  Tears gathered in her eyes and she sniffed.  Those were her best, her favorite things.  Another thought struck her cold; her engineering bag was gone.  All of her devices, all of her toys … gone.  Worse, her special brushes to keep Mr. Captain Blackwald sir�s mane soft and shiny were gone.  Now she couldn�t do her job, the best job in the world anymore.  Sadness turned to rage as she wiped the backs of her hands on her eyes to get rid of the tears.  Those bastards.  They�d pay for taking her stuff, whoever they were.  Fury burned through the effects of whatever they�d given her as she stomped across the room to rear back and kick that poor defenseless door.

Wood didn�t just splinter � it shattered upon impact with the wall after her well-placed foot broke not only the lock but also the doorframe itself.  The unfortunate goblin who�d �won� guard duty had only a moment to realize that probably wasn�t the best or easiest job on the ship like he thought it�d be before her fist plowed into his face, reducing his skull to little more than mush.  She almost immediately regretted using her full strength because she couldn�t shake him to make him give her armor and stuff back.  Almost.  The goo on her hand did make her wrinkle her nose because EWW goblin brains and boogers.  Fortunately, another goblin entered the area, brought in by the loud crash of the door.  Unfortunately, when she grabbed him by the neck her grip was a bit too firm because first there was a funny little crack then a squish and then his tiny goblin head just popped off and flew across the room.  A smidgeon of her rage cooled at that; she might not be able to get all her favorite things back if she ended up killing all of them because she didn�t control her strength.  How could she face Mr. Lord Grand Marshal Walkinson sir and Mr. Captain Blackwald sir and even Ms. Lady Justicar Dawnfield  ma�am and Ms. Lady Koryander if she couldn�t get her stuff back?

That thought almost brought the tears back.  Inhaling deeply, she took a calming breath to center herself.  She needed to think.  She was smart after all and the Sentinels always told her she needed to think before she acted so she could better control her motions.  First of all, where was she?  The soft creaking and gentle rocking of the floor below her let her know she was most likely on a ship of some sort, probably on the water because airships didn�t usually rock.  That brought a bit of comfort.  Mr. Captain Blackwald sir taught her about boats.  Cooler air and muffled sounds told her she was near the bottom, probably below the waterline which meant she was in one of the holds.  If that�s where she was, she shouldn�t go stomping around punching everything because she might accidentally break a hole in the boat and drown herself.  Okay.  

She was probably in the hold of a boat with guards.  Why?  Mr. Captain Blackwald sir said goods were stored in the holds of boats, not people.  Unless the person was one of the goods?  Why would she be a good?  Did the goblins think they could sell or trade her?  No one would want to buy her so that was stupid of them.  Besides, she didn�t want to be sold or traded.  She liked being with the Templars and Mr. Captain Blackwald sir�s crew.  So, she had to figure out not only how to get all of her things back, but also how to get away from whoever had her.  Killing everyone on board wasn�t an option, then, since she couldn�t get home by herself on a boat.  A big boat like this one took an entire crew to run and, honestly, she wasn�t that good at running the boat kinds of things.  She was only good at boarding the bad guys� boats and beating them up.  That meant she needed to find out which ones were just guard types like her and which ones actually knew how to sail a boat.


How could she tell?  Honestly, she didn�t know enough to determine who was a skilled seaman and who wasn�t.  But, the captain of the ship would.  After all, Mr. Captain Blackwald sir knew who could do what on his ship and who was good at what.  Determining who was the captain would be pretty easy because he or she would be the person making everyone do all the things that needed to be done.  And would have a nicer place to sleep than the rest of the crew did.  And a captain room.  Mr. Captain Blackwald sir had his own special captain room.  With maps.  She liked the maps because he�s show her where they were going and where he�d been and tell her stories of all his adventures.  When her eyes started to fill, she stubbornly wiped the backs of her hands along them again.  She wasn�t going to cry just because she was alone and missed her friends.  She was a warrior.  A Sentinel in training.  She was strong.  She�d make them give all of her things back and take her home.

If she was in the hold, there had to be stairs leading to the upper deck somewhere.  Or a hatch with a drop-down ladder.  Depending on where she was, and what kind of ship she was on, it could be either.  Fate seemed to smile down on her since it sent yet another goblin to check on his companions.  The creaking of the hatch gave her the warning she needed to hurry over and hide behind one of the barrels lashed to a support post before the goblin lowered the ladder and descended.

�Yo! What�re you two up to?  Ya know the captain said ta leave the toots alone.�  

The young Kal�dorei�s hand lashed out, carefully (for her) grabbing the goblin by the front of his uniform and snatching him off the ladder.  At his surprised yelp, she growled, �Unless you want to be like them, you�ll be quiet and tell me where you put my stuff!�  She pointed to the two bodies outside the door of the room where she�d been.  

The goblin turned a deeper shape of green.  �Okay! Okay!  I don�t know where your stuff is, Toots.  Only the captain does!�

�Then where�s the captain?�

�He�s in his cabin.�  True to his nature, the goblin began trying to negotiate. �Look, I toldja what ya wanted to know.  How�s about ya let me go?  I can help ya.  Never did like the idea of kidnapping one of Blackwald�s crew.  The Sea Wolf �s goin� ta tear us ta pieces if he ever catches us.�

Kidnapping?  She was kidnapped?  Why would they kidnap her?

She must�ve wondered at least part of those thoughts out loud because the goblin answered, �Ya looked like the easiest mark, Toots.  No offense, but you�re a big, pretty girl and ya don�t act like a sailor so the captain figured you�re just one of the Sea Wolf�s eye candies and he�d pay ta get ya back.�

�But I�m one of Mr. Captain Blackwald sir�s crew just like everyone else.  Well, not just like everyone else since I�m so big and I don�t do much of the boat stuff but I do the beating up bad guys part.  But I�m not-�  She tilted her head.  �What�s eye candy?�

The goblin blinked, trying to follow her train of thought before she asked the question.  �A woman ta look good on his arm ta impress the other guys.�

�I can�t be on Mr. Captain Blackwald sir�s arm.  He couldn�t use his guns and I couldn�t use my sword and shield.�

�Riiiight.  Anyway, is it a deal?  I help ya and ya let me go.�

�Okay.  But, if you lie to me or try to get me in trouble I�ll punch your face in like the other goblin even if it does get icky brains and boogers all over my hand.�

The goblin waved his hands in front of him and shook his head. �No, no!  No need for that, Toots.  We made a bargain.�

Keeping her hand fisted in the front of his uniform, she climbed the ladder leading to the next level with her other hand.  The goblin gawked at the unconscious display of strength and rubbed the bruises on his chest from her fingers, suddenly very glad he made his bargain with her.  She eased her head above the floor to look around and frowned.  Several goblins were wandering around, checking the upstairs stores.  Giving the goblin in her hand a menacing look, she finished her climb, dropping him on the floor next to her.  Fate decided at that point to stop working with her.  One of the goblins with a clipboard saw her and yelled.

�Ay!  That elf is free!�

As every goblin head below decks turned to look, she charged headlong into the one that yelled.  The goblin had a moment to regret his decision to join a pirate crew before the combined impact of her body and the hull behind crushed his ribs and liquified several of his organs.  Spinning around, she used the limp body as a club and shield, bashing her way through the goblins desperately either trying to load pistols or scramble out of her way.  Of course, all the noise below deck alerted all of the goblins on deck, making the situation more complicated.  Goblins began pouring down the stairs, brandishing weapons, making things more difficult � for them.  As the ones on the deck came down the stairs, the ones still alive tried to clamber past them to get up the stairs and away from the goblin-club-shield wielding elf.  Chaos ensued.  The goblin-club-shield began falling apart, forcing her to grab two more.  She smashed them together, intending just to knock them, but managing to merge the two bodies into one.  Sorta. 


That got the few stalwart ones� attentions.  

The cacophony of panicked yells, dying screams, and impact of her new �weapon� encouraged most of the remaining goblins to scatter.  The goblin standing near the hatch watched in morbid fascination and once again congratulated himself on making a deal with the huge elf.  From the blooding spots on parts of her body, he knew at least some of his shipmates had managed to injure her.  Then again, he wasn�t really sure those spots weren�t the remains of his former shipmates.  What�s worse is that she smiled the entire time she was decimating a crew of trained goblins.  The woman was apparently enjoying the fel out of herself.  She even bounced while she fought and bounced back over to him.

�Um, none of them is the captain, is it?�

�Ah, no.  At least I don�t think so.  Kinda hard ta tell with some of �em.�

She sighed.  She really needed to work on controlling her strength.  �I didn�t mean to kill them all but they were shooting and trying to hit me and so I hit them back and didn�t think about them being so much smaller than me even though most people are smaller than me so I broke more of them than I meant to.�

The goblin blinked, trying, once again, to follow the words coming from her.  �Yeah, right.  Anyway, our deal�s still on, right?�

Beaming at him she nodded.  �Yes.  You�re being helpful and nice so I won�t beat you up like the other meanies who attacked me.�

�Right.�  The goblin nodded, wanting to stay in the huge woman�s good graces.  �We need ta get ta the deck ta get ta the captain�s quarters so ya can get your things and we can be on our merry ways.

Author Elli
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