Ballad of the Fleet: Loyalty

January 30, 2015:

The South Atlantean War Fleet continues it's campaign against HYDRA. Namor and Rowan have an exchange.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The King of Atlantis shot? Namor isn't sure whether to laugh or be angry. He's somewhere in the middle with it all and seated inside of his new flagship, the Dako. It's smaller than Numenor's Wrath with less crew but faster. More personal. Prince Namor prefers it that way.
"Warlord Krang is nowhere to be found…" A report comes in. The 3D rendering of one of his soldiers appears on the screen to his right.
"I had feared as much." The Sub-Mariner responds. Before the Fleet the crushed hydrobase of a HYDRA facility erupts with muffled explosions, pops in the dark water here and there announce victory of the Atlanteans. This is the fourth HYDRA installment since the declaration of war that the South Atlantean War Fleet has destroyed. "This is an empty victory if Krang is indeed betraying us… "
"It is my liege."
"The usurper, does he yet live?"
No response, instead there is a pinging sound. "Sire, we have incoming at incredible speeds… it is… on our channels… a blue? Yet it looks like no Blue I have ever seen. Nor their vessels. Perhaps they have a new ship?"
Namor grunts and stands, "No, it is the dragon creature. I will meet it head on…" The hybrid slides free of his Warship and in to the waves a bulb appears in the water behind him before a rush forward and he is moving through the ocean at a pace that few creatures of this world can match.

Rowan is… cruising is the best word. In the form of a sleek thirty foot aquatic lizard. He's attuned to the depths both by birth and by training, but these aren't the depths he grew up in. They're quieter. More still and peaceful. Not an ocean at war.

Until today. The news has already reached him from a few of the local Blue. Who appear to be leaving. Back to the enclave in the Caribbean. From what he can tell, they all are. Won't be long before there are no Blue left in Atlantean territory but for some diplomats and their staff. Which is worrying but there's nothing Rowan can do about it right now.

The sound of cavitation in the water reaches him with the pressure differential. He turns, peering to see a lone being approaching. The dragon stops. He can't outrun that down here and he's not inclined to try. Er, at least not yet.

"What do you want beast?" Namor's voice on that telepathic level that all Atlanteans share loud and clear. He's without the edge and violence he had before but it's always just under the surface with the hotheaded Prince of a Dead Realm.
"You come to spy? I assure you. My kin had nothing with the death or soon to be death of your flaxen haired child-king." The man's halt has him hovering in place within the waves, arms folding across his chest. Far off behind him the sounds of underwater combat can be heard - at this point it is little more than Namor's nomads playing clean up. They are thorough.

"I live here. Sometimes." Rowan rumbles. As a dragon his voice is deeper, and underwater it resonates in a way that it cannot in the air. But it's still unmistakably the same man.

"I sought news and quiet. I found only one of those things." The great reptile cants his head. "The affairs of your fleet and the city of Atlantis are not something I'm involved in, generally." And now he's wondering if he shouldn't consider making more direct contact with his people. Things seem… tense here.

"Wise to stay away from the affairs of kings and queens." Namor says with a faraway look. A hand then rises up and waves behind him, "We mete out vengeance upon the Nazi spawn."
Thoughtfully the Sub-Mariner regards the mutated Blue-Dragon. "What manner of beast are you? You claim Blue, you feel of a Blue as to any I have encountered yet this… "

"I am Blue… and yet both more and less." Rowan pauses for a moment, considering. He's told several people the story of how he came to be here. It couldn't hurt to tell the wing footed one. Well, it could, he just hopes it does not.

"I am not from these oceans. Nor this world. On my own, the Blue and Atlantis and the surfacer magi fought against a great evil. The war had consumed all. I was born without my people's ability to manipulate water. This made me a liability to my own kind. In such a world, all must contribute to the fight. I consented to be modified into a weapon that I might fight for my people."

Not to unlike Namor McKenzie himself or Arthur Curry. Of their people but not so much, "Noble if I so choose to believe such a story." Blood is a scent on the waves, a shiver of sharks race by them eager to feast, no mind is paid to the Prince or the Dragon.
"So you are beholden to no kingdom of the waves nor above?"

"Were I to choose one, it would likely be that of my own people, but our nearest waters are many leagues away, and our power another ocean away. But to answer your question…" The dragon actually shrugs. Odd sight that. "For the present, no. I worked with Arthur to quiet his political concerns about my presence, but I owe him no fealty."

"A ronin." A human word, one Namor was familiar with however. "Your people, the Blue, they skirt by amazingly well in the pond of politics. It is an acquired talent. Sometimes I find it admirable othertimes cowardly." A shrug of those knotted shoulders and the man cocks his head, listening as Atlantean soldiers converse with one another in the distance. "They're unsettled by your appearance, are you always a dragon and just smell of a Blue?"
Strange that the man actually seems to be seeking conversation. Perhaps he only wishes to understand.

"No… allow me…" The beast begins to glow and shrink, the extra mass coming off of him in waves of whispy white smoke even underwater. Something at work that transcends the normal laws of phyiscs and physiology. When the glow fades there is a muddy haired young Blue, certainly less than thirty, floating before Namor. His wargear, such as he still has, is present but he makes no move for it. "This is as I was born, and as I still live most of the time."

"Much less impressive yet an action I find not impolite." The Sub-Mariner despite his backhanded compliment is pleased. It just seems to be in his nature to speak in such a manner. "The Seal Men do such things as well. Vicious creatures… " A grunt escapes Namor, "The thing you said to me in parting last we met. You and the Amazon… If you find the truth to be poison, you will die of your own rot."
"Do you have a prophet's gift or were you aware of my own people's treachery? Arthur's spies that far reaching to be in my own court?" Namor does not doubt it.

"Of the intregues of the courts I can be of little insight." Rowan says with frown and another slight shrug. He doesn't like politics. "Arthur plays the game of thrones well, however he may or may not relish it. That he might have agents in your court would not surprise me. However I did not speak prophetically. Your warlord screamed defiance and treason as he battled the woman. That there is rot in your court is not a doubt in my mind, whatever the source."

"Words I doubted until this day. Krang sees me unfit… " Namor considers, "Warlord Seth and the others would have turned on me already if they felt the same. It would seem I am a people divided. Matters little, not everyone has the stomach for war."
A flex of his fingers on one limb and he looks to be in thought once more, "What is the Blue's stance? Or are you that much of an outsider? With the King of the largest nation in the sea surely they will be feeling their own wakes by now. Do you know where they stand? I can speak easily on behalf of Lemuria - they will give two shells of what may come."

"The ones I speak worry for the future. Not all love surfacers here, though I have yet to ask why. In my own world they made war upon us and we upon them, yet we had allies there as well. Here some hate all who breathe air. Some… though not all. Not even most." Rowan shakes his head, collecting his thoughts.

"They are leaving. Whatever the Atlanteans do next, they will do it alone."

"The Atlanteans… the Blue are as much of the people as anyone else under the banner of Neptune's waves. This will effect us all whatever stands next to come. Will you leave like the rest of your kinsmen or stand by Arthur?" Those blue-grey eyes of the ocean Prince level on Rowan. "Or, would you like to join a cause? My Fleet."

"In another lifetime… perhaps." There's a faint smile on the Blue's face. One of remembrance, perhaps. "We are warriors, you and I, King of New Atlantis. Where I came from this was not a choice. One fought, or one died. Whether you had one I could not say, but I know that the power of the surfacers is considerable if yet untapped. They fought us in our very homes on my world for decades on end. I will not be party to visiting such a cataclysm on this world, nor on my people, even if they're not the people I remember." Rowan squares his shoulders.

"I shall do as I think right. I gave the same promise to Arthur when I first arrived. I will stand with any who do so, and shed blood beside them without hesitation. You as well, King of the Wandering Fleet. But I will not tie myself to the shifting tide of the whims of Lords, nor the cruel calculus of need that plagues the monarch and the general. I hope this does not make us enemies. You seem, for all the harm you've visited upon the surface, a man consumed rather with the need to care for his people, rather than a desire for vengeance."

"My people are long lived. Longer lived than our kinsmen and it has it's toll… whatever magic remains in our veins from Old Atlantis is fading and the wait has overcome us. HYDRA is what remains of the Nazi's who destroyed our cities, our culture, our hope." Namor continues his stare, "No, that does not make us enemies. Your hand only lifts to strike in the name of what you believe right or wrong… normally I can find fault in such a thing but as your own tale speaks, you are not from this dimension." No stranger to such things. "I once knew many warriors on the surface, champions, heroes, men who would say the same things but they too were swept up in a war that was not all to their own. I just hope we are on the same side. It is rate I find others that I do not constantly envision headless. I have a remarkable imagination. It is quite troublesome when those with stubs for necks begin to speak overmuch."
Two Atlanteans with spears and that familiar armor of the Fleet draw up next to Namor, "Your highness. You have been gone for some manner of time… "
"It is fine. We only engage in discourse, worry not. No man would dare strike at the Avenging Son during the high tide." A look back at Storm Surge, a small smile curling the Prince's lips, "Nor beast. We are to hold a great feast in honor of our victory and fallen, you are invited to join, Blue-Dragon."

Rowan inclines his head. From what he understands of Namor, it's rather a rare invitation. "I will honor your dead and your victory over your ancient foe." One can never have too many friends, nor too good a measure of those who might one day be rivals or, as the tides shift, opponents.

"Ancient? I suppose it has been sixty years now. Come then… to the Dako. You can meet Lady Dorma and those of my Broken Court." Turning Sub-Mariner and his men lead the way in to the heart of the War Fleet.

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