jeremiahvedder wrote:It's then that a swarm of fireflies explodes to life above your head, like miniature stars under the cabin roof, and begin revealing foliage and that small stream you heard in the cavernous darkness. At your feet, an apparent cliff leading down where the fireflies can't reach, turning the stream into a tiny waterfall. (It's a good thing you didn't take another step forward. In your mind's eye, imagine one of those in-door natural habitats at the zoo.)
Bathed in flickering, yellow light, you find yourself surrounded (impossibly) by the forest -- a living thing full of bushes, bugs and birds. The place isn't displaced in any parallel dimension like the Aria was; the captain's quarters merely take up the entire rear of the boat. And rising up out of the ravine, a ten foot gap of air between you, stands the captain.
Or, more accurately, grows the captain. He appears to be an ancient treant and the Dark Water was molded and shaped and grown around him, a very part of his being. His roots are grounded in darkness but you can see where his uppermost branches turn into hull and ceiling, and the blank pupils in his eyes betray him to be blind.
You're smart enough that the obvious question occurs to you: What in the Blue Hell does a treant like this, who was either tortured into this shape or masochistic enough to ask for it, want with the life of a pirate captain?
"What ... can this Weasel do ... for It?" the captain asks, slowly, wearily.
"Anything you like, noble sir. But first, we must deal with my flock, who have likely been dismayed by my absence. While most of them follow me devoutly, there are two who are troublemakers, one a filthy rogue who calls himself Sabo, and the other a fool with the name of a Faolan, a fool's name. The two are no doubt plotting right now to assault this ship, despite my warnings that they stay behind. Of course, they will find the vessel unassailable, but they should still be dealt with."
'But how?' thinks the Weasel.
"Their biggest weakness is an absurd desire to protect others, so rather than waste effort in attacking them, simply fire on the raft, and they will retreat or surrender quickly. You may need to kill a few, but they will simply blame the rogue and the fool for disobeying my orders. The rest of the survivors will willingly wear your shackles and do whatever you bid. Some can be ransomed for some value, and others can perform labors, and such they will do with enthusiasm, for they will view you as their savior rather than their captor."
"After that unpleasantness is done, I can regale you with the tales of my heroic adventures on the Aria, and what occurred to sink such a ship," says the Weasel, still deciding what exactly to tell of this particular story. "And when you tire of that tale, we can deal with the traitors, Sabo and Faolan. Perhaps you would enjoy seeing them walk the plank."