162 Bloody Training
\"Finally nice to get off the ship!\" Lone exclaimed.
Pale nodded, \"And with our feet on the sand.\"
\"Welcome to Port Dog Shit, Sir Tycon,\" Marine Sergeant Garret saluted Tycon as he got off the rowboat and stepped onto the beach.
Tycon glanced back to the Unfortunate, anchored a bit off the coast. He was told that the island's existing docks were in use, mostly by ships that weren't as seaworthy. Recruits and most inhabitants of the island were expected to swim from their ship to the rocky beaches.
\"Mister Garret...\" Tycon grimaced, \"I'm sorry-- you said... Port Dog Shit?\"
\"Ehehe, yeah,\" The bald man smiled with chagrin, \"It's a local name, kehe. You can smell it in the air, can'tcha? Figured it best you heard it from me, 'fore you heard it anywhere else.\"
Tarquin Wroe took a deep breath, shutting his eyes and smiling radiantly.
Tycon did not do the same. It smelled of fish rot and sulfur, \"Your thoughts, Mister Wroe?\"
Wroe tilted his head, \"I love it. Not the smell, though... but there's this feeling of familiarity.\"
Tycon frowned. That sounded like an absolute nightmare. What was familiar? Rotting things? Ghosts? Creatures from the great beyond?
A loud bubbling sound echoed across the waters. Sergeant Garret looked over, along with Invictus members: Tycon, Wroe, Pale, and Lone. In a rumble of bubbles, the Unfortunate began to sink beneath the waves.
The group stared on for over two minutes, watching the ship sink in its entirety.
Tycon looked to his good friend, the blue-haired Warlock, \"Mister Wroe... is that... supposed to happen?\"
The daeva gently grimaced, \"No, Boss. It is not.\"
It had been a few suns since the Sea Wolves' return. The blood orange sun was swiftly setting upon the white sands of Port Saint Guinefort.
High-Captain Lang Hai loved these sands, its bloody history, and the fresh blood of his sea pups, shed each training day.
\"Swim faster, pups!\" He raised his voice, snarling in anger, \"Or you'll run the course AGAIN!!\"
A dozen Marine recruits swam as if their lives depended on it. The pack emerged from the creature-infested waters, many of them leaving bloody footprints in the rocky sand. The whelps shared filthy grins. They had reached their training goal for the day.
The young half-elf boy, Pale, led the pack, carrying a spear and wearing thick sharkskin boots. Trailing at the end of the pack was the Lone Shadowdark, encouraging a Marine recruit beside him. Private Petit jogged with a haggard expression, three different flesh-eating fish nibbling on his torn back.
\"Stop crying, Petit. You'll live,\" Lang Hai said, without giving him a second glance.
Lang Hai allowed them to catch their breaths as their training instructor, Corporal Jacque, saluted and reported the trainees' success. Each of the sniveling recruits could survive their inhuman training at Saint Guinefort due to practicing the Sea Wolf Body Art. Each wound would regenerate in time. Most wounds, anyway.
Lone cautiously approached Lang Hai... \"Captain Lang... There's a problem.\"
Hai frowned. Lone and Pale of Guild Invictus had joined the training over the past several suns. Both of them being obvious combat veterans, they were allowed the privilege of being allowed to speak. Any other recruit would be beaten for talking back, \"What is the issue, Mister Lone?\"
The balding, slightly heavy-set young Petit yelled, \"Sir! This recruit is missing a finger, sir!\"
\"They'll grow back, Pup,\" Lang Hai rolled his eyes.
They'd grow back if he reached at least middle comprehension with the body art, something that took years of practice. Petit's injury wasn't severe enough to summon a doc. His training would continue.
Hai gave a nod to Corporal Jacque. Jacque would make Petit's life hell for speaking so informally to a Captain.
\"Alpha Pack. Fastest in the company. Corporal Jacque, allow them a decent meal and a full night's rest.\"
\"Aye aye, sir!\" Jacque responded, showing no trace of emotion.
Captain Lang Hai was pleased. He was shorter than all of the male recruits, but they still paid him the proper respect his rank demanded. Corporal Jacque had done well... He was well on his way to a promotion.
\"Oh, and Corporal-- have one of your peer instructors assume your duties. Your wife gave birth a few weeks back, didn't she?\"
\"Captain?\" Jacque hesitated, \"The pups are still green, I can't just--\"
\"I understand your concerns, Corporal. Denied. Take the paid leave.\"
Lang Hai walked forward to address the pups, \"We take care of our own, recruits. Enemies threaten our shores, each and every day. By my command, you'll charge until either *we* or the enemy lie dead.\"
Hai glared at each of the recruits, making certain his words were understood, \"Take care of your friends. Take care of your family. Take care of your brothers and sisters to the left and right of you.\"
He grimaced in annoyance... \"And someone get those damned nibblers off of Private Petit.\"
Pale was first to sprint to Petit, grabbing a fish and squeezing-- gently unlatching the creature from Petit's back. Lone and a different recruit haphazardly grabbed the remaining fish, pulling out painful chunks of flesh from Petit's back. A female recruit cupped some sea water and poured it over his wounds. Though Petit screamed in agonizing pain, the man's torn flesh began to visibly regenerate.
Training the Sea Wolf Body Art to Lesser Completion was almost necessary to survive training.
\"Corporal, get the recruits back to their shanty and dismiss Invictus to reinforce Sergeant Garret.\" Hai saluted, \"Dismissed.\"
\"Aye aye, Cap'n!\" Jacque returned the salute.
After Lang Hai saw Jacque and his pups off, he sighed and pulled his hat low. As the sun set, the cool sea breeze threatened a biting-cold night. The recruits would not sleep peacefully.
Hai sighed wistfully, \"They don't make them like they used to...\"
That idiot Shao Ran could swim and run the course Alpha Pack took in half the time. He had no idea how the man did it.
Baron Tycon-- err.. Lieutenants Tycon and Shao Ran approached, armed and armored.
The short blue-haired Captain crossed his arms, \"What took you ladies so long?\"
Ran laughed, \"Hahaha! I had to keep going back for the nerd!!\"
Tycon rolled his eyes, \"Shao Ran insisted on running a circular path instead of straight here.\"
Hai raised an eyebrow, \"And you took so long, why?\"
The corner of Tycon's mouth tilted up, \"Because I jogged at a steady pace, like a normal person. I'm not undergoing training. I'm readying for combat.\"