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Tana Sea Raids
by Jano Donnachaidh

Reika watched the horizon with a keen eye. Long had she waited for this moment. She knew it would come just as she knew her brother would become a DragonWright days before. Both their parents were proud of their children and now her mother brought her on a battle raid. Her heart soared with excitement as she leaned against the Dragon at the bow of the ship. It lead their way providing cover in the mist and bellowing forth fog to cover the movement of the small Tana fleet. They would need the cover, the ScryeWrights warned of danger on this raid, other ships had begun patrolling the waters, strange ships. But the Tana navy would be prepared. The Dragons made them more than even to any opponent. The Dragons made them silent, swift, and gave them the cover of the morning and evening mist.

A land raid would be different, even a normal sea raid would be different. Normal raids were meant to create fear and amass loot in its various forms. The Tana did not raid to kill because massacre meant a diminish of potential in future raids. No, fear and the unexpected was the Tana's stock and trade.

She felt anxiety rise as the sound of water cut by a large object moving through it's liquid plane. Behind her, others moved, some by the sail, another at the rudder, several secured the oars so they would not interfere with the fighting. In the Dragon's Mist the enemy would not be able to see or hear the Tana until it was too late. Those not occupied with other duties readied bows as one waved a signal to the other ships, long boats with wide shallow bottoms and high sides providing cover and stability. The battle was about to begin.

Other boats drew close, they would use the advantages the Dragon gave to create a flotilla on which to fight. If necessary they could quickly disengage to pursue or to escape, to move freely in and out of the mist hiding their numbers in superior maneuverability. The sails helped to make them as fresh as the morning in which they sailed and in which they would fight. Other people they had encountered knew of the sail, but they were often slaves to the wind. Since the Tana used oars in the calm, they had the advantage on the water. The sound of the other ship slicing through the water drew all attention to bear as the every warrior silently waited for the ship to be sighted in the mist. The low boats of the Tana would make them difficult to see as they approached.

The Tana always had the advantage, on land and water. The Dragon always sided with the Tana.

Reika looked out into the mist scanning for the ship she knew was there. Her ears straining to locate the source as her narrowed. Then her eyes started to cloud even as her mother came up behind her. The older of the two said something, but it was lost on Reika as her hearing faded and the swirl of sensation filled all her senses. She saw the Tana long ship as she left it's confines to move over the water. She moved to a point some fifty spans fore and port. It was a ship, larger than the long ships but also much less maneuverable. The longships could completely circle the larger vessel before it could turn a quarter turn.

The girl looked aboard at the men completely unprepared, unwary of the danger as they tried to peer through the fog to find their way. She was just about to count the sailors when she was suddenly again aboard the long boat. Her mother held her in her arms fully suporting her weight, she had collapsed. "I saw, I saw..."

"Yes Reika, I know. Where are they?"

"There, fifty spans," she weakly lifted her arm in the direction of the other ship. Other long boats had come alongside and were merely waiting for the word which quickly and quietly went amongst them. Reika looked up into her mother's eyes, "I saw."

"I know dear, just rest. They say the first time is the hardest. Just rest." Reika's mother held her daughter, the ScryeWright. Within days of each other her children had shown talents treasured among their people.

The warriors pulled the strings of their bows, forty or fifty per ship, eight ships; as one the arrows flew. Screams told them they hit the mark. Four more volleys went before the enemy ships were even in sight. After the first couple of hails the screams subsided as the men took cover and prepared for battle. But already their strength had been sapped, they had lost numbers against a foe they had not even seen. As the Tana approached, sail pulling them through the water as the rudder determined their course, Reika watched the warriors prepared for hand-to-hand combat. Their ferocity was seldom matched in battle.

These new-comers were interfering with a way of life for that they would feel the terror of the Tana.