They saw the storm coming on the horizon, but even as they moved to avoid it it seemed like it was shifting to block their path. It swiftly covered the ship… but Lorelei knew it didn’t actually have any real purpose. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Some of the traditional things to do in a storm were pointless or more specifically impossible in their ship. There were no sails to raise on a ship without sails, after all. However, sealing the hatches to the lower decks and keeping the upper decks clear of water was still important.
The rain started to fall in sheets, and waves rose up over the deck of the ship. Lorelei hadn’t seen a storm like it in a long time, and she had never been out at sea during one. However, the most important thing was to not panic. Though the crew hadn’t been in a large storm on this particular kind of ship, they were experienced sailors who had weathered storms on more traditional ships.
They knew what to do, turning the ship so that it would have the least chance of being rolled over by the waves, with the crew that remained on deck attached with ropes to various anchor points.
Belowdecks, Lorelei knew they were operating pumps if any water managed to get inside, and watching for any damage that pierced the hulls. The dwarven ships were nothing if not sturdy, so it wasn’t a major concern- but if they missed it through carelessness it could lead to disaster.
Lorelei sealed herself in the room where the magical formations were managed, which meant she couldn’t see what was going on- though there wasn’t much that could be seen. The driving rain and dark clouds made vision nearly impossible, except for brief flashes when lightning struck.
Lorelei looked around the room, shifting around in the ropes that were keeping her from flying around the deck. It wasn’t possible to shovel coal in the current conditions, so the magical formations had to run off the remaining energy from the boiler and any storage they had. Lorelei watched the various bits and pieces. Though none of them were damaged, they were quickly going through their energy. The most important part was the formations reinforcing the hull, and especially the drive functions. They couldn’t afford for those parts to be damaged.
As Lorelei was concentrating on watching the flow of mana, she noticed a change. One side of the ship had a different flow of mana. She tried to discern what it was. Though being shaken around didn’t help, she determined that nothing was damaged. However, the strange phenomenon was moving up the side of the ship. It was hard to see clearly with all of the ship in the way and magical barriers, but the phenomenon was definitely radiating mana.
Lorelei didn’t find that to be a good sign. Whatever it was, she needed to get a closer look. She detached herself from the ropes keeping her from flying about and exited the room. She shouted down the corridor for someone to replace her in the formations room- just in case- using a bit of ki to make her voice travel through all the noise. That was the sort of trick William was quite fond of.
As Lorelei headed for the deck she found herself flung about. Rather than trying to fight it, she just let the ship turn as it would- and whatever was found itself down at the moment was the floor. Fortunately, this never made her have to walk on anything but the floor and the corners of the floor any walls, but she did find herself climbing more than walking at several points, stepping on doorframes as the bow of the ship rose and fell with incoming waves.
Opening the hatch met Lorelei with a torrent of water, but she pulled herself out and shut the hatch. She had to fight the wind and waves, but she hadn’t slacked on training her body. She managed to anchor herself until there was an opportune moment to reseal it, then looked around for the next spot she could grab onto.
Still holding onto the door, Lorelei saw the phenomenon she had been worried about. It was quite obvious when she looked at it. It was the only thing mostly visible even without flashes of lighting, as it seemed to provide its own.
Crackles of electricity produced some light as they ran around the body of an eel nearly the length of the ship and as thick as a normal gevai torso was wide. Currently, the eel was coiled around one of the smokestacks. The smokestack wasn’t made to support such weight, and with the eel twisting around it Lorelei could see it squashing and buckling. She would likely have heard it, but the roar of the wind and rain made it impossible, even without the occasional thunder.
Lorelei managed to move herself to a more secure location, hooking herself to sturdy ropes. She still had to hold onto a handhold to keep herself somewhat steady, but it was better than using both hands to grip. Lorelei saw several sailors attacking the eel- but none of the harpoons seemed to stick into the giant eel. Lorelei imagined that was a combination of slick skin, tough scales, and poor footing.
For its part, the eel barely seemed to notice. Though it was currently causing damage to the ship as it squeezed around the smoke stack and flailing its tail, it didn’t seem to be doing it on purpose. Lorelei was even more certain of that once she saw what its actual goal was a few moments later.
For a brief moment over the roar of the storm she heard a shrill keening, and then heard almost nothing at lightning struck the ship- or more specifically the eel. It took a few moments for her sight to recover, but once it did she no longer saw the eel- or the smokestack. Smaller tendrils of lightning seemed to have snapped the ropes of several of the sailors, and she saw some of them clinging onto the edge of the ship… and below them in the sea, at least a dozen more eels.