“What?!” Helga couldn’t make out anything over the winds whipping around her and the din of driving rain.
“I said pull her down!” yelled the captain, “We can’t make it through this!”
“Down’d be the heart of the storm, cap’n!” the dwarf cried.
There was a crack of lightning to starboard, and the ship lurched as Helga threw a lever by the wheel. The bow dived swiftly, and a clatter of loose objects against the hull sounded from below deck. A blanket of rain slammed into Helga as the Cloudrunner’s prow tore through a great grey cloud, and she stumbled back. A screech sounded as a fleshy, winged beast landed on the deck, malformed and with a sharp, pincer tail raised above its head. There was some screams from the crew.
“What is that thing?!”
“Culkin, Abrams, take care of it!”
Helga heard the brandishing of steel, but was too focused on navigating through the storm to pay attention. She didn’t even take time to process the beast’s arrival. Just another day. The ship rocked as a blast of lightning struck the centre deck, and there was a screech as the thing, whatever it was, took off again.
“Steady!” came the captain’s call.
Helga narrowed her eyes, swung the wheel around, and braced herself as the Cloudrunner cut a swath through another wall of cloud. Bursting through, she blinked in the sudden bright sunlight, then the ship lurched again, skidding round through a quarter turn as the dwarf narrowly skimmed past the smooth granite walls of the Spire. Above the university, the storm still raged, a chaotic torrent in an otherwise clear sky.