Heat II
By: Melissa Small

Leaving the Inn, Union and Borist made their way into the empty cobbled street. They walked towards the Harbour when they heard a voice behind them.

"Leaving so soon Boy?" A voice quarried from behind.

Union turned around to see four huge men and one small man walking up towards them.

"SSSsss Beta Gang…Sssss told ….SSSS…you. "Borist hissed as he dropped Unions bags on the ground.

"Now Arkham…" Union began to say.

"Can it Union, You dropped the fight. You owe the boss. Pay up or we might have to dirty that pretty face of yours." Arkham growled. The four men behind Arkham pounded their fists and smirked an evil smile. "Oh, please don't pay…. I'd like to rearrange that face for you." One of the muscle men said.

"Heel boys don't bite the hand that feeds you." Union said. "I'm on Kings business so please don't make the King to wait. I shall inform His Lordship that he owes you money as I broke a contract with you for him." Union said.

Ulva let out a low growl. Union turned to the huge Dire wolf. "Sit Girl" The Wolf growled unhappily but she sat watching the men closely.

"SSSS this…Bad" Borist signed and knew this wasn't going to end well for the men.

"Boy's Show this Kingsman how we deal with non–payers." Arkham said with a grin. "I love this part of my job."

The four men manoeuvred around Borist and Union encircling them. Borist began to wiggle weirdly. Something was straining against his clothes. He dropped to the street as four long black spiders like limbs emerged from his body. The limbs had small red spikes going down the legs. He lifted his hind quarters up to help release a long black scorpion trail that held a huge copper coloured stinger at the end of it.

Union looked over at his friend and then back at the men. "You boys still want to do this. Last chance." he offered while petting the head of the giant wolf. "Easy Ulva, just stay here with me."

The men looked at Borist and then attacked. First man was a huge with tan coloured skin and multiple tattoos wielding a wicked looking knife lunged at him. Borist scuttled out of the way and swung his tail around and stabbed the man in the shoulder with his stinger. The man howled in pain and fell to the ground paralyzed.

The next two men decided to move together towards Union and Ulva. Borist seeing the two men swung his tail tripping both men.

The Forth man, smallest of the gang slipped in behind Borist wielding a small dagger. "I wouldn't do that" Union warned.

Ignoring Union, the man stabbed Borist. The moment the blade connected with Borist skin it shattered. Borist turned to face his attacker. "ssss…Slimy man you are." Borist rose up on his back legs and grabbed the man. With ease he tossed the man through a second story window.

The other two men seeing their friend fly decided this fight was not worth it and they fled. Leaving Arkham standing in the street staring at the two men.

"Well …" Arhkam stuttered. "I will leave you all to your kings' business. Pay me when you…" He didn't finish as Borist stepped towards him and he fled off down the street. Leaving his injured man lying in the street.

Union looked down at the hurt man. "How long will that stinger last? He asked Borist.

"Sssss…he…sss fine. Sssss no poissson….ssstunned." The creature replied as he pulled his legs in around himself. He opened Union bags and grabbed a dress shirt, slipping it over his shoulders to help hide his torso. He then closed the bag and picked up the rest of the bags.

"Good no need to kill him. "Union replied and stepped over the man. "Come along Borist, Ulva, we have a ship to catch."

A few minutes later Union, Ulva and Borist made it to the harbour. The Harbour was huge and every dock was full of people or carts or animals. It was a loud mess of movement but Union manoeuvred through the crowds and around the carts like he was flowing water. He had a hard time keeping up to Union with all the bags in his hands.

"SSsir" Borist called out as he hurried after him.

"Keep up." Union replied as he soon found his way through the docks to a huge warship.

Union walked over to the Ships Master. "The officer stiffed up and called out. "Captain to board." He replied. "Ship is being crewed and loaded Sir. We should be ready in one hour."

Union nodded and walked on board with Ulva at his side. As he stepped on to the ship, he heard the officer stop Borist.

"Only military personal Sir." he replied.

Union turned back and replied. "Oh, he's with me. He's our Head Security force."

"SSSir…I'm a military proto…sss type…" He wasn't allowed to finish. "

"Borist just get on board." Union said rolling his eyes. "They don't need to know." Union then made his way to the Captain's quarters on the ship with the other two in tow. Borist tossed Unions bags down on his bed and ruffled his shirt trying to get his arms freed.

"Borist why don't you go have a look around the ship and no scaring the cook. As least wait until we get out to sea before you go all legs. "he added. "Not all theses men will be pleased to see all of you. Keep covered for now. "he said. "Shirt looks better on you then me. Keep it." Borist nodded and scampered out of the room.

Union sat down at his desk going over the map charts, information and sighting they had on the Seawitch and Ulva laid down in the corner of the room on an old sheep's rug.

Union sat at his desk looking over the papers and reports the Seawitch was last seen was by the Isle of Sky. Sea Troll territory. They would have to travel through some of the roughest and poorly charted waters. Union wasn't sure that event this battle ship would keep up to the Seawitch let alone match it in battle.

He looked up as his first officer walked into his quarters. "Sir, the scientists, have arrived." He said and looked over at the huge Wolf in the corner and then back at the captain.

"Good Send them to the briefing room. I will be there shorty." Union replied.

"Yes sir." And backed out of the room.

Union read through the reports he had on the Seawitch, her crew and what she was made from. "Magic why magic? "he mumbled to himself as he stood up. Ulva went to stand but Union gestured her to stay. "Its fine girl waits here. I will be alright." She laid back down and stretched out her legs. Union then left the wolf to her dreams.

When he arrived the four scientists where already having a heat debate. He wasn't sure what it was about and he really didn't care. "Enough." He said as he entered the room. "I want to know everything you people know about The Seawitch, how it was built and more importantly how to destroy it?"

"Sir you can't destroy it. "the chief scientist replied. "As least not with this ship. You'd need an army of ships and I'm still not sure you could destroy her."

Union looked at the man. He was a skinny grey–haired man probably close to his mid Fifties. "Tell me."

The man began to tell. "The ship is made from Soultrees." The grey–haired man said

First officer mouth dropped open. "Soultrees. That's insane. "

"Let him finish. "Union replied.

"The ship was built to be a prototype Battleship that the Duke of Skye commanded we make. The Seawitch was built to deal with the pirate threats along the Isle of Skye and Azulan boarders." The chief explained. he then went on.

"The Seawitch is not made from normal wood or iron like other Battle ships. The ship is made 100% of Soultrees. A scientist named Russell was working on a theory of using magic to power machines instead of steam or oil. As you know Sir, Soul Trees are where our people believe our souls come from. Cutting down Soul Tree is forbidden. As the souls of our dead drop back to the underworld to be reborn into a soul tree then when tree dies it releases the soul to this world. "The chief stopped for a second and Union nodded for him to continue.

"Russell of course thought this was pure superstition. However, no one can deny the power that is released when a Soultree is cut down. So, for purposes of this discussion let call that power a soul" Union made a rolling motion with his hands indicating let's move this along.

"This Scientist found away to hold the soul inside the tree while it was being harvested, trapping the soul inside the wood. Using the magic of the soul to run the ship instead of the wind. But there is a flaw in this. With so much soul energy confined to one space and we believe that the crew could be affected by the souls."

Union looked at the man. "So, your saying the crew of this ship is possessed by Souls."

"In so many words, yes. "The chief replied.

"How did this ship get built? Where were the ladies of the Priestess Circle? They are the keepers of the Soul Trees. "Union asked.

"The Duke had them dismissed." The scientist explained.

"I see and what of the kings wishes." Union asked.

"I don't believe the King asked for the ship sir." One of the other scientists replied. "As you know he is a young King and he's been indulging in parties at court and young women. I do not think he's in charge anymore." The man replied. "For the matter I'm sure the Royal Court even know about it until a short while ago."

"I see. "Union said. "So, we are asked here not by our King but from the Duke who screwed up to go hunt a ship of the dead."

"No sir. The ship is not a dead ship it's a giant Soultree." The chief explained.

"It's taken our people hostage and is now attacking the local fishing villages along the coast. I'd say its hostile and I'm not interested in taking this ship alive. For all we know if we step aboard that ship we too could get possessed. "He replied to the scientists.

"That is a possibility sir." The old man replied sadly. "But I believe we can stop them with out blood shed. "

"How?" Union asked.

"You can speak with their Captain. "

"I'm not sure she would listen to me." Union replied.

"She's your…." Union cut him off before could finish.

"Bring me Borist." Union called out.

"Borist arrived a few minutes later. He had a roll of sausage over his shoulders and he was eating what looked like sausage.

"Soul trees." Union said.

"SSSS No…I'm sss Out."Borist replied and turned on his heels to leave.

"Borist." Union yelled.

"SSSsMaster……magic and me…ssssss Bad." The creature replied. "SShates it. "

"I know but the ship is made from it." Union said.

"SSSBlew sssss it ……ssss. Borist said shivering. And he wasn't cold. Borist hated magic.

"That's the plan. Just need to get close enough to do it. Could you sneak aboard and plant the sticks?" he asked him.

"sssssYes …… No. "Borist replied shaking his head.

"So yes, you can but no you wont." Union said this time with anger in his voice. "Now's not the time to question me."

"SHHH Fine." The creature nodded. "SssssssBut Trees …Ssss…talk ……know me…ssss Magic."

"I know so I will have to keep their Captain busy. "Union replied.

"Ssss Shes …sss Your…" Borist tried to say.

"Not now." Union said glaring at Borist. "Just get ready."

Borist did this weird eye roll at Union and dropped to all fours as he scampered out of the room.

"Get me as much of the power in those sticks as you can." Union said to the chief "and tell no one what we are doing." He said leaving the scientist to their duties.



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