Commander Nrelix ti'Kaelnor of the Brig Melgorth
* was not in a good mood, even though things had technically speaking been going quite well for him. He was the son of one of the major houses of Janilonas and had managed to gain a command after thirty years of service. This was not unusual for those of well connected families though said promotion mostly came from the fact the war with the Coldlanders had left a lot of dead man's shoes to fill. A few more years or a victory and he'd be made a captain and be given something that could hold her own in a fight. But doing so involved going on patrols of Dragonstorm Bay. Four months of tedious circuits around the western half of Dragonstorm Bay. Occasionally there was some loot from an Imperial cargo ship or some other puppet of The Eternal Foe which would try to sail in, but most of the Trade with them happened either in convoys or the Interterran sea. All other traffic was either good enough trading partners to preclude casual piracy or had given up hopes of sending ships. Mostly they looked out for activity from the Nemesis Kingdom, but given the cycle of events that had been going on for the last couple millennia anything besides the odd trade convoy was unlikely. It beat being sent to die against an Ironclad, but he was looking forward to returning home.
It was about half past ten in the morning when he heard the cry of the lookout "Arrowship Sighted East by Southeast! Range 16 miles Approaching fast!" He sighed at his general lot in life. The Skryer that they had assigned him was a newly minted journeyman who was operating on her own for the first time and the High Elves did not lack for mages who could conceal lone ship. He'd have to chew her out for this and have her shocked for her failure, which was a distasteful part of his job but rules were rules. But that was to be done latter.
"Signal the Grelsath
** of this. Helm, set course to 30 degrees North and prepare for Full Speed. Roll out all guns and prepare for action." Soon enough the two brigs had broken off from each other at a 90 degree angle. The Arrowship could attempt to intercept one of them, but not the other. Much to his annoyance the Melgorth
became it's quarry. There were other patrols out there and hopefully they could team up on it, or they might be able to escape them in a sprint. If worse came to worse he had rifled 10-Vauls which could bloody the Arrowship's nose with the first punch, but hopefully it would not have to that.
The pursuit went on for four and a half hours and as every one went by the Arrowship gained a few miles on them. The Arrowship had better legs than she did or her captain was willing to burn through mana on a mad dash. Thing were looking more and more grim, then the lookout gave a relieved cry "Drow Frigate sighted 17 miles due north!" There were some cheers even from the slaves. Nrelix gave a smirk.
"Very well. Helm bring us about and send up a Manaflare!" The ship then turned around and a column of splitting light rose into the sky for a few seconds. Even so the maneuver did cost them some speed and allowed the Arrowship to converge even closer. Nrelix observed the High Elvish ship as it got closer and did some quick mental math. It would be close but they should be able to keep enough of a lead so that the frigate would be in a prime position to strike. While he knew to reign in his enthusiasm, he could not help but thing of the prospects this encounter offered. Even if the Frigate did most of the heavy lifting in the coming battle he'd still had a credit in it's defeat or destruction. His House would gain another deed to the list, he would gain a feather in his cap and promotion would be that much closer.
Even so things did not go as he had hoped. The High Elves were a bit faster than he'd estimated and they managed to close to nearly two miles. He'd had the guns rolled out and had them ready for a salvo while his archers stood ready to send off off a long range volley. Oddly enough, however the High Elves did not loose a single shaft and on inspection most of the crew on the white and gold ship was below decks. Even so, it was time to strike. "Fire Starboard broadside!" A few seconds latter the five guns went off in rapid succession. Three missed and splashed into the ocean, one skipped once across the water before impacting amidship doing minimal damage and one hit near the aft. More drills were clearly needed. Even so, guncrews scrambled to get their weapons ready for a second volley.
Even so about twenty seconds latter, to Nrelix's surprise the High Elves returned fire with a single shot. That was the first thing which he noticed as odd, why fire one gun instead of a broadside. The second thing was the range, usually High Elvish ships would only open fire at about a mile at most. The third was also the fact that the brief whiffs of white smoke instead of billowing clouds of it. He wondered about this until a powerful boom and a sudden tower of water rising into the air made it clear. "By the Gods they've got Infrastructural Guns." Some other people got wind of this and there was a lot of shouting, which was soon followed by five more explosions, one of which blew right into the Melgorth'
Captain Weithyn gave a pleasant chuckle as she saw the sudden eruption of fire, smoke and splinters from the Drow brig. She'd read the reports and had done a few live drills, but actually seeing what they could do firsthand was another thing altogether. By her judgement that little ship might be able to limp to shore if things went well or it might break apart anytime soon. Either way it could be left alone for the moment. The Frigate was a juicer target that could still flee back to safety. Besides, leaving a few to live (for the meantime) would serve her purposes. The prospect of facing High Elvish ships with with Infrastructural Artillery would spread and with it fear.
*A breed of Pitdog used in Dark Elven gladiatorial matches
Previous: Infrastructure: Part Two Hundred and Seventy One
To be continued...